The theatrics of President Donald Trump: Let’s take the oil he says

SHAFAQNA – Who’s up for a little comic relief? What a busy week it has been in Washington … we must admit that in the few days Mr Trump has been in office, he has managed to ruffle more feathers than former President Obama ever could in his 8 years at the White House. Bearing in mind that Obama has been the only American president to have been at war for the entire duration of his mandate, I’d say it is no easy feat but to top that kind of antics.

But then again Obama never made any overt claims on another country’s natural resources and called it fair.  But before I get into what was said and what it could entail moving forward for both the United States and the Middle East; let me lay down some ground rules.

Yes, inflammatory comments were made and President Trump more than likely should learn to value silence rather than formulate nonsensical would-be policies, but how is his behaviour any different from that of the Obama administration – and even those that came before, except for the fact that he openly owns his imperial self-entitlement?

Let me rephrase that: for well over a decade the American establishment has argued pro-democracy building and counter-terrorism to occupy foreign nations and play corporatism on countries’ life blood. In both Syria and Iraq corporations have played chaos to their advantage by plugging themselves onto the Black economy – turning exploitation into a capitalist art form.

Let me be clear here: Daesh sold its oil to someone. Money did not just manifest into the Black Army’s coffers. It got there by way of illegal trade! Great many corporations inflated their bottom lines out of cold opportunism – not talking about it does not make it less real!

Now, how is this any different from what US President Trump is saying?

Don’t get me wrong, I found his comments despicably arrogant and pompously shameful – Iraq’s sovereignty is not open to discussion full stop, but at the same time, I don’t see how his narrative is any different from that fronted by America’s Establishment.

I’d much rather a state official be candid about his intentions than one who hides behind rehearsed niceties while committing the unthinkable and the atrocious … just saying!

So what is it that US President extraordinaire Donald Trump actually said? By the way Mr Trump made those comments on Iraq before his inauguration as 45th president – so let’s all take a deep breath and not fall into the delirium that George Soros and Co have weaved around our gullible ears.

At a forum hosted by NBC on 7 September 2016, Trump suggested oil seizure would have been a way to pay for the Iraq war, saying: “We go in, we spend $3tn, we lose thousands and thousands of lives, and then … what happens is we get nothing. You know, it used to be to the victor belong the spoils.”

He added: “One of the benefits we would have had if we took the oil is Isis would not have been able to take oil and use that oil to fuel themselves … You’re not stealing anything … We’re reimbursing ourselves … at a minimum, and I say more. We’re taking back $1.5tn to reimburse ourselves.”

Incendiary, right?!

Well not really. If we consider the litany of crimes the US government perpetrated in Iraq over the decade, theft almost sounds like a good idea … Again, just saying!

If in fact you want to get angry and self-righteous on Iraq then what about we discuss those weapons of mass destruction, or those black sites the US has run on Iraqi soil? What about we air those links in between Terror and certain US politicians whose last name rings something like Clinton?

America’s military complex made billions of dollars on the back of Iraq’s war. The whole point of this war was so that corporations would inflate their profit margin, and assert US dominion over the Middle East, while of course claiming the moral high ground.

What was it again that former US President George W. Bush wanted to do in Iraq: bring peace and democracy wasn’t it? Smashing job I’d say! Of course, no one is really crying the deposition of Saddam Hussain, but then again there was a time when THAT dictator was a US ally against America’s then-mortal enemy: Iran.

Need I say more on Washington’s political epiphanies?

Let’s be rational here: President Trump is unlikely to show up on Iraq’s door step with a barrel in his hand asking for “more please.”

But here is what’s really annoying: mainstream is going to town on this one, arguing international law and moral decency.

The Guardian quoted Anthony Cordesman, the Arleigh Burke chair in strategy at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies as saying on the issue: “In international law, you can’t take civilian goods or seize them. That would amount to a war crime … Oil exports were almost the only Iraqi source of money. So you would have to pay for government salaries, maintain the army, and you have triggered a level of national animosity far worse than we did. It would be the worst kind of neo-colonialism. Not even Britain did that.”

Interesting theory! What does international law says on unilaterally declaring war on a country?

What does international law says about rendition, systematic torture and military occupation? Because those are the questions I personally want answers to … theft is somewhat lower on my list of priorities.

Should we condone Mr Trump’s cowboy behaviour? Absolutely not? Is Mr Trump the product of America’s imperialist culture? Absolutely!

Will he act upon his comments? Most probably not!

Can we be rational about this and realise that Mr Trump is being sold to the river so that neocons could claim the White House their birth-right?


By Catherine Shakdam – Director of Programs for the Shafaqna Institute of Middle Eastern Studies

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