A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order Paperback – Sep 2004
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The history begins with the description of the well known policy of England since ancient times to manipulate the countries of Europe, so that conflict would prevail there. Thus the island nation was left in peace to dominate the seaways, and loot the raw materials of the world.
This remarkable book goes on to describe in detail how the same policy was adopted by the United States in harmony with England, as the two super powers used surprising and subtle methods to gain control of the riches of other nations, particularly the world oil supply. When the victim nation tried to take control of its own natural resources it was often plunged into financial depression or mired in war or political upheavals. Always it was to the benefit of the two superpowers.
In thrall to this international game, they invested their huge financial gains internationally rather than in their own industries, infrastructures, and technological development, thus weakening their own true wealth.
The traditional view of history is completely overthrown by this piercing account, which reveals that behind the historical scenes were puppet masters, manipulating every movement of the play. For example, the second world war is normally blamed entirely on Hitler, but once one knows that he was helped to power by England to destroy not only Europe, but Germany and Russia, one can no longer view the Second World War in quite the same way.
This book is a must read in the effort to understand the story of how we got to where we are today, who the powers really are who are determining our futures, and what motivates them.
Later into the book there seems to be a lot of strange conspiracy stories to explain events.
Engdahl tends to rant against everything Anglo-American. He refers to the free market as anarchy. He then explains how the German model of regulating everything is so much better. In Germany you have to have a government license to watch TV, and another license to play golf.
Somehow the Anglo-American "evils" during World War Two are completely skipped over. The war itself is barely mentioned in a single paragraph.
That being said, Engdahl does make it very clear how the quest for oil is a major Anglo-American foreign policy. In September 2008 the USA gave Georgia $1 billion in aid money. The press reported this was about humanitarian aid for a war torn country. After you read this book you will realize the $1billion was all about access to oil reserves.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
W. Engdahl explains the all importance of oil in world domination, and more specifically its geopolitical, military, economic and financial impact.
Oil became for the first time an important raw material during World War I, when air, mobile tank and swifter naval warfare held the upper hand.
After WW I the British sought to secure their petroleum supplies, by creating the League of Nations, which was only a facade of international legitimacy to a naked imperial seizure of territory.
British imperial power was based on 3 pillars: control of world sea-lines, of world banking and finance and of strategic raw materials. Through its free trade policy (liberalism) it tried to preserve and to serve the interests of an exclusive private power: a tiny number of bankers and institutions of the City of London.
Its hegemony was attacked and replaced by the US after WW II, confirmed by the Bretton-Woods Agreements with the creation of the IMF and the World bank.
The new hegemon was (and is ) built on 2 pillars: military power and the dollar, but those pillars are fundamentally intertwined with one commodity: petroleum, the basis of the world economy's growth engine.
10 % of the Marshall aid to Europe after WW II served to buy US oil. The big US oil companies asked top dollars for their exports and obtained also that the aid could not be used to build refineries.
The Vietnam war constituted a massive diversion of the US industry into the production of defense goods (pillar 1).
The first oil shock of 1973 made the US banks the giants of world banking and the oil companies the giants of world industry: 'The artificial oil price inflation was a manipulation of the world economy of such a hideous dimension that it created an unprecedented transfer of the wealth of the entire world into the hands of a tiny minority. It was no less than a global world taxation through petrodollars.' (pillar 2, confirmed by Sheikh Zaki Yamani).
The oil companies also took the 'blossom of the nuclear rose'.
A cardinal goal of US foreign and military policy is control of every major existing and potential oil source. Such control would permit it to decide who gets how much energy and at what price: 'a true weapon of mass destruction'.
William Engdahl's brilliant but frightening analysis puts in the same framework Iraq, the Balkan wars, the collapse of the Soviet Union and the emergency of the oligarchs, the financial crises across Asia, the civil wars in Africa, the IMF and World bank policies, the fall of the Shah (after the collapse of the negotiations with BP), as well as the murders or 'accidental' deaths of W. Rathenau, I. Krueger, E. Mattei, J. Ponto and A. Moro.
At the start of the new millenium, the US has a near monopoly on military technology and might, commands the world's reserve currency and is able to control the assets of much of the industrial world. It fights for a near monopoly on future energy resources; in other words, for 'full spectrum dominance'.
William Engdahl has written an eye opening, fascinating but extremely dark book.
A must read.
The first few chapters lay the groundwork showing how early British `balance of power' politics produced a long and bloody history of colonial subjugation of developing nations and her subsequent steps taken to insure a war against an economically rising Germany who had embarked on a Berlin to Baghdad rail project. Maneuvered out of her isolationism, the United States joined WWI just as Britain, seeing a colossal opportunity at colonialism and control over oil, issued her mysteriously timed Balfour Declaration to Zionist Lord Rothschild during the darkest days of the war, and secured her foothold in Palestine by means of secret agreement.
The decades after, saw an increasingly close association of U.S. and British interests (among others), with many current US organizations being born out of their British counterparts who brought their Malthusian and social intelligentsia views along with them. So close in fact would this relationship become, that Henry Kissinger once admitted in his own words: "I kept the British Foreign Office better informed and more closely engaged than I did the American State Department"
Mr. Engdahl then takes us on a journey to show how the politically rich and powerful along with their accomplices in the private sector have created chaos out of order and used the depravity of each situation for their own ends as they played out their Faustian fantasies on the world. With their organized looting of nations, each new cataclysm preceded the charade of loaning `new money" to pay "old debts" and is ongoing to this day.
The number of victims in this book is startling, hence the play on words to Churchill's speech. As Bush and his wrecking crew are busily working on a script written long ago, their Iraqi exit strategy is most likely the balkanization of Iraq or imposition of "dollar democracy". Take your pick as either will suffice. And throughout the decades, the mother of all harlots is the system of fiat currency, which is the mechanism by which endless wars are financed while sucking the life of the tax paying middle class dry.
America has been hijacked by minds that have their roots in certain sociopathic ideologies that have gone out of their way to promote policies that lead to exploitation, inequality and despair. We were the first nation to free ourselves from British rule, and sadly in many ways. `A Century of War' shows just how much the former colonies have bought back into the very system our forefathers revolutioned against.
The fundamental theme of this book is to describe the relationship between international monentary policy, banking, and the geopolitics of oil, and how the confluence of these three economic factors has central link between virtually all of the great events of the 20th century. Engdahl starts by discussing the state of the British empire at the end of the 19th century, the threat posed by the industrial rise of Germany, and the role that new technologies play in this rivalry. Central to this technological revolution is an energy revolution and access to oil. He described how the large banking conglomerates of NYC and London formed and grew in power as a result of WWI and their intimate link to oil. This is tied in to the growth of the US economy before and during WWII, and the supreme position the US found itself in after the war. There is a lengthy discussion about the Bretton Woods conference in which the world formally accepted a link between the dollar and gold. The most interesting part of the book is the discussion of the floating of the dollar in the late 60s and the relationship between the dollar and 1973 oil shock. Finally, Engdahl explains how manipulations of the price of oil and the strength of the dollar have been made over the last 30 years to carry out various policy objectives. There is some discussion of peak oil in the final chapter.
There are several serious drawbacks to the book. Most importantly, the author does a great disservice to this subject by stating or (more often) implying that everything that occurs is part of some vast, organized conspiracy. It could allow critics/skeptics to dismiss the otherwise strong arguments of this book. Engdahl states that certain people `mysteriously' die, or brings up vague connections between various participants, but never explores these in depth. Second, there are not nearly enough references in this book to provide independent evidence to support many of the claims. The author should have done a MUCH better job documenting independent sources for his claims. Third, there is way too much hyperbole in this book, the language is just way overblown: everything is enormous, catastrophic, etc. Even with all these negatives though, I still rate this as a five star book because I believe that Mr. Engdahl's central argument regarding the relation between monentary policy, international banking, and the geopolitics of oil is correct, and this is the best single volume source that explains how these are tied together and how they have evolved over the past 100+ years.
Incidentally, there are two somewhat peripheral point brought up by Engdahl that most 21st century Americans will find interesting. The economic choices made by the British empire over 50+ years as it declined from the late 19th century until it was definitively replaced by the US after WWII are now being made by the US. Second, if you want to know why the US invaded Iraq, and why we are trying to instigate a war with Iran, read this book. The issue had absolutely nothing to do with WMD, Saddam's war crimes, or violations of UN resolutions. The overwhelming majority of people have no idea why we went into Iraq, and more importantly what the stakes are if we fail. People may say that it is about oil, which is true, but not in the way people think. We may never see one drop of Iraqi oil in the US, yet we still invaded. Finally, if you are sceptical of Mr. Engdahl's claim, take a look at the book `Sunrise at Abadan' about the British and Soviet invasion of Iran in 1941. Both countries were literally fighting for their lives, yet they committed vast resources to invade and occupy Iran. Richard Stewart (a retired major in the USMC) described how oil from Iran was absolutely critical to the British war effort.
Bottom line though - a shocking, eye opening book that I highly recommend, even if it is far from perfect.
1. The first world war was caused by the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand.
2. Hitler was chosen by the German people.
3. The oil crisis of 1973 was produced by Arabs.
4. The Third World debt crisis of the `80s was produced by Third World leaders spending way too much.
5. The current presence of the US-army in Afghanistan and Iraq has something to do with terrorists hiding over there, weapons of mass destruction, dictators, human rights, democracy, etc. (It's hard to follow what the reasons officially are, since they change continuously.)
Forget it. Briefly summarized, the five above mentioned events are explained by the author to have happened as followed :
1. The first world war was in fact the first *Gulf War*. Germany was a rising economic power, rivaling the British Empire. They were a step away of building a railroad to Baghdad. That would have permitted the German Reich surpassing the British Empire in economic and military power.
2. Hitler was chosen by Wall Street first, before the German people could do likewise. Wall Street thought that it would be easier to have a strong dictator - instead of a democratic government - to put the burden on the people to pay off the reparations debts of the first world war. On top of that, the British Empire thought they could play the German Empire against the Russian Empire, and have them bleed one another to death. Not everything went following the original scenario...
3. After uncoupling the dollar from gold in 1971, a new standard was introduced : the oil standard. But the price of oil was too low. And the dollar was considered by Europe ready for devaluation. Wall Street chose another strategy : lifting the price of oil. Who won by the oil crisis of 1973 ? Everybody lost, except : (1) Exxon, becoming the largest corporation of the US, surpassing General Motors, and (2) the Wall Street banks. (Do you really think some small and military underdeveloped countries could change the world economy in this way without US approval ?)
4. Wall Street became rich with petrodollars, and then went on to lend those dollars to the Third World. Volcker lifted the interest rates in the `80s up to 20 %. The Third World went nearly bankrupt. Remember Mexico 1982. Who is to blame ? Mexico, or Volcker ?
5. Peak oil was the real motive for the US-army taking possession of the second largest oil reserves in the world. 9/11 was the pretext needed to make that happen... A complementary reason is that the US army is now setting up the stage for the next global arms race. By invading Afghanistan, a neighbor of China and Russia, the US is driving up once again the pressure on those countries.
This is a very important book. It radically changed my view of the events of the last century.
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