On Friday geopolitical plates of tectonic scale may have visibly shifted as Iran and Saudi Arabia, two of the most important countries in the Middle East and erstwhile bitter adversaries, announced that they had reestablished diplomatic relations after a lengthy round of negotiations held with top Chinese officials in Beijing.
Back in 1945, President Franklin Roosevelt famously met on an American cruiser with Ibn Saud, and our important alliance with oil-rich Saudi Arabia came into being.
Though sometimes stressed during the 1973 Oil Embargo and in the aftermath of the 9/11 Attacks, the relationship remained our most important in the Arab World, being responsible for the rise of the Petrodollar and the maintenance of our own greenback as the world’s reserve currency. With America’s industrial base having been reduced to a mere shadow of its once global dominance and our country plagued by horrendous annual budget deficits and accumulated debt, much of our national prosperity and current standard of living probably today depends upon that maintaining that status.
Meanwhile, during the four decades since its 1979 Islamic Revolution, no country in the region has been a greater object of American hostility than Iran. As recently as January 2020, we assassinated Gen. Qasem Soleimani, Iran’s greatest military commander, who had been considered a likely presidential candidate in their 2021 elections.
There are obviously many long-term factors behind this apparent diplomatic revolution, notably including China’s economic rise and its position as the leading purchaser of Middle Eastern oil. Over a decade ago, I had described these powerful trends, which have now become obvious to the entire world.
China’s Rise, America’s Fall
Ron Unz • The American Conservative • April 17, 2012 • 6,600 Words
However, I think that the colossal arrogance of our own country, and the extent to which we have increasingly abused and victimized our own allies and vassals over the years must surely have been a huge contributing factor. One problem with relying too heavily upon the power of your dishonest propaganda is that you may continue to believe in it yourself even after most of the intended targets of your deception have stopped doing so.
In late September, a series of massive underwater explosions severely damaged the Russian-German Nord Stream pipelines, perhaps Europe’s most important civilian energy infrastructure, a particularly devastating blow at a time when Europe was suffering its worst energy crisis in generations.
The enormous scale and extreme difficulty of these deep water demolitions led German investigators to quickly declare that a state actor had likely been responsible. Yet strangely enough, this huge event received minimal coverage in the American mainstream media. After briefly quoting anonymous government officials who absurdly suggested that the Russians had destroyed their own pipelines, our press immediately lost interest in the story, which soon disappeared with almost no follow-up or investigation. A gigantic environmental disaster seemed to draw negligible media interest from the legions of normally hair-trigger environmentalists.
The obvious reason for this strange lack of curiosity and the resulting blanket of silence was the likely identity of the perpetrators, which had grave political implications. Top American leaders had issued numerous public threats against those pipelines and seemed to rejoice in their successful destruction, so there seemed an overwhelming likelihood that our own country had played a central role in the illegal attacks, among the worst peacetime examples of industrial terrorism in world history. If enough Europeans began to suspect that their American allies had destroyed energy infrastructure so vital to Germany and the rest of the continent, our NATO alliance would be dealt a devastating blow and might be set on the road to dissolution.
American Pravda: Of Pipelines and Plagues
Ron Unz • The Unz Review • October 3, 2022 • 3,900 Words
One of America’s most powerful international weapons is its overwhelming control over the global news ecosystem, and a complete blanket of media silence was soon enforced, causing that huge event to quickly fade from public consciousness. When someone such as Prof. Jeffrey Sachs mentioned what had probably happened on Bloomberg TV, he was quickly yanked off the air.
Reprinted with permission from The Unz Review.