It seems the United States has been embroiled in too many regime-toppling wars to count in the past decades. Of course, every conflict has its nuances, but it is important we understand the underlying cause of this military interventionism, so we can stop it from happening again.
I’m going to focus mainly on three entanglements: Iraq, Libya, and Syria.
In 2003, the United States invaded Iraq with the intent of overthrowing Saddam Hussein’s regime. The media and the Bush administration in the years prior had been fear-mongering about Iraq, making the populace believe that Saddam had the capacity and intent of creating weapons of mass destruction, such as a nuclear bomb (e.g. “we don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud”). This was all a lie, as is now commonly known, but by March, the invasion had begun (it helped that the people were in distress and fear after 9/11 and got their boogeyman in the form of Saddam, even though Iraq had nothing to do with the attack).
In 2011, a coalition of mostly NATO countries led a military intervention in Libya. The original pretense was of protecting civilians from dictator Muammar Gaddafi with limited intervention, but the goal eventually turned into toppling his regime. As we now know, this led to destabilization and a power vacuum which gave way to terrorist groups. It has also significantly contributed to the European migrant crisis.
While the US government hasn’t fully invaded Syria or taken as much action against them as they did against Libya, they have been funding and aiding rebels that are fighting against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. Back in 2013, efforts were made to take military action against Syria, but the lack of support from the American people proved too big an obstacle.
On April 6, 2017, two days after a gas attack, which we were told was perpetrated by Assad, US President Donald Trump fired 59 Tomahawk missiles on a Syrian airfield. On March 30, relatively shortly before the gas attacks, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that the “longer-term status of President Assad will be decided by the Syrian people,” which seemed to suggest that the US would be easing off of Assad and letting the Syrian Civil War run its course. The gas attack on Tuesday, however, seemed to change the administration’s mind, as on Thursday, the day of the attacks, Tillerson said “steps are underway” to organize a coalition to take out Assad.
When Nixon pulled the dollar off the gold standard in 1971, he made agreements with oil producing nations and convinced members of OPEC, most notably Saudi Arabia, to sell oil only in US dollars, in exchange for America’s protection of their oil fields. In order to buy oil, other countries would need US dollars. In order to get US dollars, other countries had to export commodities to the US. This saved the dollar, and is the driving force behind its value to this day. The system is called the PetroDollar.
But how does the PetroDollar relate to these aforementioned wars? Here’s how:
In late 2000, Iraq started selling its oil solely in euros, which clearly challenged the PetroDollar system. Considering the hype about Saddam Hussein’s regime and potential WMDs began shortly after this, I don’t think it’s too outlandish to suggest that the PetroDollar had a major role in the invasion of Iraq.
Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi was planning to quit selling Libya’s oil in US dollars and to create a gold currency for Africa called the dinar. This would have challenged America’s economy by challenging the PetroDollar system. He was taken out by NATO-backed rebels within one year.
America’s problem with Syria comes mostly from the fact that instead of cooperating with US-obeying Qatar and Saudi Arabia and letting them build a pipeline through their country to Turkey and then to Europe, they chose to arrange a pipeline with Iraq and Iran. That way, Iran—an ally to Syria, with which it has a mutual defense agreement—could export oil directly to Europe, as opposed to going through the aforementioned Arab US allies.
Why does this matter?
It matters because it has since the turn of the 21st century caused wars and wreaked havoc in the Middle East and North Africa. It destroyed Iraq and Libya and is in the process of destroying Syria.
We can’t undo what happened in the former two, but in the latter, we can still stop a major conflict. Trump’s missile strike only took out an air base. Russia was warned and Assad wasn’t dealt too much damage. Despite Tillerson’s hinting that regime change is “underway”, an invasion and ground war would be a foolish act without the support of the American people. We can resist it, like back in 2013, and the stakes with a war in Syria are higher than in either Iraq or Libya.
Syria, again, has a mutual defense pact with Iran, but they are also allied with Russia. Furthermore, they have explicitly warned the US that if they strike Syria again, they will respond with force. A war with Syria is a war with Russia and Iran, and is thus a—potentially nuclear—World War.
It would be one thing if these wars were beneficial or at least benign. If when they took out a regime it was followed by peace and liberation. But Iraq in particular was catastrophic, and was good for nobody except a few war profiteers. It was disastrous for the Iraqi people, who are now subject to radical Islamist terrorists such as ISIS, who I’m sure most of the civilians would agree are worse than Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship. It was horrible for the people of Fallujah who have had massive increases in birth defects due to NATO’s use of depleted uranium. It was bad for the debt, as over $2 trillion (and counting) has been spent directly due to the war. It was bad for the American people as since 9/11 and the beginning of the war our freedoms have been eroded dramatically with the Patriot Act and the NDAA as notable examples. And, of course, it cost the ultimate price for the over 4,000 US soldiers killed in the war and the 11-20 out of every 100 soldiers that got PTSD from the conflict.
In conclusion, I ask you to look into the PetroDollar. Next time you see the media attempt to propagandize you against yet another country that poses no threat to us, look and see if you can find a connection.
We don’t need another destabilizing, regime-toppling war that benefits nobody but war profiteers and terrorist organizations. We don’t need more soldiers coming home in body bags for the cause of destroying other nations. We don’t need World War III with Russia over Syria.
Extra: In 7th grade, I wrote an essay about nuclear weapons, and the reasoning for my position of disarming them revolved around the PetroDollar. It was very long and I don’t think anyone paid attention when I read it in front of the class, but hopefully I red-pilled someone. You can read it here.