Tuesday, April 04, 2006

New DSM: Bush told Putin Iraq War wouldn't cut OIL price

The Nation got a hold of a previously unreleased portion of one of the Downing Street Memos.

This one seems to confirm Greg Palast's recent column that said the goal of the war was to constrict not expand the flow of oil.

Bush assures Putin the price won't collapse, which means he was either lying or knew that the oil companies had no intention of opening the spigot wider once they got control of it.

If this turns out to be true, it destroys the last figleaf of a possibly defendable reason for invading Iraq--to secure oil for our economy.

This makes the war look like a variation of the no-bid contracts given to Halliburton, but in this case, the gift is the oil rights in Iraq, and like the Halliburton contracts, we get to pay for it.


BLOG | Posted 04/03/2006 @ 11:58am

Bush's Prewar Putin Strategy

David Corn

It was January 31, 2003. George W. Bush was moving toward war in Iraq, and he was meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair in the Oval Office to discuss various war-related matters. Last week, The New York Times disclosed portions of a secret memo--written by Blair's senior foreign policy adviser, David Manning--that summarized what the two leaders covered at this session, which Manning also attended. Blair, according to the memo, wanted Bush to fight for a United Nations Security Council resolution authorizing military action against Saddam Hussein. Bush agreed to try for such a resolution, but he told Blair that the start date for the war, win or lose at the UN, would be March 10. Bush also proposed provoking a confrontation with Saddam's regime that would justify attacking Iraq. The pair chatted about postwar Iraq, agreeing that sectarian violence was unlikely.

And according to a previously undisclosed portion of this memo--a passage obtained by The Nation--Bush and Blair discussed what to do about Russian President Vladimir Putin, who was opposed to a war in Iraq. Bush told Blair he had come up with a possible solution: send Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to lecture Putin on free-market economics.


During his White House meeting with Berlusconi, Bush tapped the Italian to win over Putin by teaching him about fundamental economics. The Manning memo--according to sources who reviewed parts of the document and took notes--records how Bush described this idea to Blair the next day:
For Putin, the problem was oil. He had convinced himself, quite wrongly, that military action against Iraq would lead to the collapse of the oil price. Bush had encouraged Berlusconi to go and explain a thing or two to Putin about the laws of supply and demand.
Did Bush truly believe that oil was Putin's primary concern--not, say, American unilateralism--and that a lecture from Berlusconi on economics would turn around the Russian leader? How did Berlusconi react to Bush's suggestion? How did Blair respond to this "explain a thing or two" strategy? The memo says nothing else about this part of the Bush-Blair conversation.



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