Predatory Capitalism and War for Oil

Predatory Capitalism and War for Oil


PAUL JAY: Welcome to
The Real News Network. I’m Paul Jay in Washington. And we pick up our series of interviews with
Larry Wilkerson. Thanks again for joining us. LAWRENCE WILKERSON: Sure. JAY: So in ’93, Colin Powell retires and you
go back to teaching. So pick up the story. WILKERSON: Let me just back up a little bit
and say that the first Gulf War, which of course was Powell’s first we’re going to cut
it off and then we’re going to kill it, with regard to the Iraqi army, opened my eyes to
a certain extent about the Middle East and about the Strait of Hormuz and the Persian
Gulf and about Saudi Arabia and others. The reason we fought that war was not to uphold
UN mandates. It was not to prove that the new world order was going to be established
well by George Herbert Walker Bush. It was to protect oil. The reason we put forces down
in the desert early was to keep Saddam Hussein from turning right and going into Saudi Arabia.
We knew if he did, his tanks would roll over the 82nd Airborne Division we’d put on the
ground, but his tanks would be rolling over US soldiers, and that would be cassus belli
for sure. So my eyes began to be opened even more in this pragmatic way as to why the United
States was using force in the world these days. In this case it was all about oil. Of
course, that would come back again in 2003 when we re-invaded Iraq and threw out all
kinds of aspersions for reasons to the contrary, but we still were going back to oil, basically.
So this is a continuity, if you will, that gets established in terms of abusing me of
my naivete, what little was left, as to why the United States in the post-World War II
period uses force so often. JAY: Now, before we pick up the line of the
narrative, let’s just go back to one thing. You grew up in a family that voted Republican.
When you became of age to vote, you voted Republican. You had a certain loyalty to the
party. As you’re getting to this stage and as you’re talking about the reasons for this
first Gulf War, what’s your thinking in terms of politics and the Republican Party? WILKERSON: The Republicans had always been,
at least according to my father, and certainly my belief, too, had always been for individualism,
for hard work, for rising because of your own talents and skills, for merit, for a country
full of individualists who could do whatever they wanted to do. They could be bums, or
they could be president of Sears and Roebuck. That was what my father used to say. And he
got real close to being – . JAY: All a matter of choice. WILKERSON: Yeah. And he got real close to
being president of Sears and Roebuck: vice president. So I guess I’d have to say at the
same time that I was being disabused of my naivete with regard to the Armed Forces and
what the country used them for, I was also being disabused of my naivete about the Republican
Party. Not to say that it hasn’t transmogrified in those years. It has. It’s not nearly what
it was. My icon in that would be Dwight Eisenhower. Dwight Eisenhower – . And here again you had
a man who merged both worlds, the ultimate military responsibility with the ultimate
civilian responsibility. We don’t get those kind of people very often. Now, here’s a man
who knew both worlds in a sense that he knew the bad and the good from both worlds. He
once said, according to his granddaughter Susan Eisenhower, God help the United States
if anybody ever sits in the Oval Office who doesn’t understand the military the way I
do. This is a man who understood what was happening to post-World War America, that
it was turning into a military-industrial-congressional-dominated national security state. And the Republicans
have cheered that transmogrification – cheered it. Indeed, they’ve gained their power, their
political power, from helping it, from moving it in the right direction when it needs to
be moved, so that now you have guys like Mitch McConnell and Darrell Issa and Eric Cantor
from Virginia, my state. JAY: And Kyl. WILKERSON: And Kyl. They live, breathe, drink,
and sleep the military-industrial complex. They love war, they love this business, because
it keeps them in power. JAY: Now, where were you – what was your thinking
during Reagan’s days? Here’s the ultimate cold warrior, the ultimate deregulator, and
started making major moves in terms of the US economy, weakening union rights, and other
kinds of things. At the time of Reagan, do you share his vision of the world? WILKERSON: I think it’s fair to say that – I
voted for Ronald Reagan both times. I think it’s fair to say that I shared his vision
from the perspective of what I’ve just described about the old Republican Party – rugged individualism,
achieving on your own hard work and your own merits and your own skill. It wasn’t that
I was a social – as Colin Powell once said, I guess I’m a Republican for national security
policy, foreign policy, and I’m a Democrat for social policy. It wasn’t that I wasn’t
from time to time a Democrat for social policy, that I didn’t see that there were a need for
government programs, there was a need for things to help poor people, to help people
get a leg up, and so forth. I certainly did see that. But I saw Reagan as coming after
the Vietnam malaise, if you will, and particularly after the immediate problem with the Carter
presidency and the 444 days with our hostages in Iran and so forth and sort of resurrecting
the country. It was only later when I began as an academic to study his presidential decision-making
that I began to understand that he probably of all the presidents was the one who started
the most accelerated movement away from what were the traditional political and cultural
values of America, especially economically, but at the same time masquerading it as or
covering it, camouflaging it as a return to the shining city on the hill and a return
to previous values and so forth, which it was anything but. I mean, just eliminating
the regulation that he eliminated, leading to what Clinton did in his eight years, where
Bob Rubin was his most important player and his most powerful player, both as secretary
of the Treasury and head of the National Economic Council, we essentially emasculated all the
things that had been put in place prewar and postwar in order to protect us from what I
call predatory capitalism or the kind of capitalism that runs amok and produces, as you and I
were talking earlier, sociopaths. That’s what we’ve got today, and we’re in a mess because
of it. So my view, obviously, of Ronald Reagan is quite different today as an academic studying
his decision-making than it was at the time when I voted for him. JAY: Alright. Take us back. Ninety-three,
Colin Powell retires and you go back to teaching. And bring us up from there to when you go
back in again. WILKERSON: Well, I went to the Marine War
College and taught there for four years. And we went through the Balkans, we went through
Kosovo, we went through the end of Somalia, and so forth. So we got some real insights
into – from serving marine and other officers coming into my seminars, the continued use
by America of military force. We often commented that we were using the military, the Armed
Forces more often in the post-Cold War than we did during the Cold War. And was that all
because of the relaxation of there not being a superpower opponent out there? Or was it
because the United States really was turning into a national security state that increasingly
turned to the only element of its bureaucracy that it seemed to get to work for it, and
that was the Armed Forces? I think it was a mixed answer at that time. It’s later, when
I joined Powell at the State Department and see Bush-Cheney up close, Rumsfeld up close,
that I begin to understand that indeed we have turned into a national security state.
We do function for that national security state, for its interest, and the old federal
democratic republic is dying. What we have today is not what we thought we would have
post-World War II as we tried to design an apparatus to deal with the immense power we’d
accumulated as a result of World War II. JAY: But you don’t come to these conclusions
by the end of the ’90s like the way you’re articulating now. WILKERSON: No, this is a slow – I’m a slow
learner. This is a slow-growth process. It takes a very vivid look inside the Cheney-Bush
administration to understand that decision-making had taken on a new tone and tint, if you will,
with the Bushes, a tone and tint that President Obama has to some extent erased. But the basic
structure is still there and the basic reason for operating the way we do is still there.
We’re in four wars today. We’re in Afghanistan, we’re in Iraq, we’re in the so-called global
war on terror (and don’t believe that’s over; we’re still fighting in certain countries),
and we were in Libya. And my God, we could be in Syria tomorrow and Iran next week. This
is crazy. This is what we do today. We do war. And increasingly we do it with less than
1 percent of the population, less than 1 percent. This is unconscionable. George Washington
would not claim us today. JAY: Okay. In the next segment of the interview,
let’s talk about the day you get a call from Colin Powell. He says, I’m going to be the
next secretary of state; come work for me. And please join us for the next segment of
our interview on The Real News Network.

54 Comments on "Predatory Capitalism and War for Oil"


  1. "But but but, this is NOT the REAL capitalism!!! This isn't REAL capitalism!!!! This is CORPORATISM and it is because RON PAUL said so!!!!!!!! REAL capitalism makes everyone a millionaire and NEVER causes wars!!!!"

    Okay, that was my parody of about 2/3rds of the comments this video will receive.

    Reply

  2. @juliaisafilmbuff123 'Predatory Capitalism' is a redundancy.
    What other kind of capitalism is there?

    Reply

  3. Hunter S. Thompson on Reagan:

    "He could shake your hand and stab you in the back at the same time."

    Reply

  4. Reagan was daft. During his last term in office it was obvious that he was not up to task on running the office of the Presidency. What a shame that so many Republicans view Reagan as being this great leader which he was certainly not. True, most small businesses prospered and the military sure got a good share of funding but look at the national debt under Reagan. It accelerated dramatically. Revisionist history has a certain tinge of irony to it.

    Reply

  5. @elouwen I never said capitalism was a system of government. It's an economic system based on exploitative property and profit.

    Reply

  6. @Parazitas999 Since I (and those I regard as sane and intelligent) view capitalism as the economics of predation and exploitation, my 'word play' is just a restatement of your comment.

    Reply

  7. @woodbell67 Since I and the people I regard sane, view broccoli as Martian invaders who need to be destroyed to save Earth, your argument sounds as convincing as any other opinion. But seriously, why? Why do you view capitalism as predatory?

    Reply

  8. @Parazitas999 You are evidently not one of those aforementioned people.
    When you go to work in a capitalist system you exploit or are exploited, by definition.
    The profit motive.
    Do you need some help?

    Reply

  9. @woodbell67 You have a point, yet what I think Mr. Wilkerson tried to say is, that Capitalism is in its more aggressive, more concentrated monopole-Capitalistic phase.

    Reply

  10. @woodbell67 I think the word you want here is "tautology", the unnecessary repetition of words that mean the same thing, or, in logic, a necessarily true statement.

    Reply

  11. @woodbell67 No I do not need help I was just interested why you claim that capitalism is by definition predatory? I do not find that in the definition of capitalism. That is all I was wondering.

    Reply

  12. Just before the 1980 election George HW Bush with the help of the cia convinced the Iranians to NOT release the American hostages until after the election.They feared that if they were released before the election it might help Carter.Of course they were released 20 minutes after Reagan was sworn in as President and in exchange Reagan sold missles to Iran.

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  13. @Parazitas999 Yes it is, moreover it was famously predicated by Karl Marx in the 19th Century. Don't get me wrong, I don't like him, because he was a paid writer for the Rothschilds for one thing, yet he wasn't without talent for keen observation.

    Reply

  14. @wotan20 I like your arguing style, let me try it too. No it isn't 🙂 And simply stating that some authority figure thought the same is not a proof and not even an argument. So let's try it again. Why do YOU think that capitalism is predatory, and no it is not self evident. And yes I do want to hear a coherent explanation.

    Reply

  15. @Parazitas999 Sorry to disappoint you, but there appear to be some confusion here, I haven't argued in either way, but someone mentioned that predatory Capitalism to him is a redundant terminology, for which I tried to explain, that what Mr. Wilkerson may have meant was Monopolistic Capitalism. Then someone else chimed in…. and that's where we are now.

    Reply

  16. @Parazitas999 Dictionary aside, what about your own lived experience, and powers of observation and interpretation? (To say nothing of libraries full of books on the subject.)
    Rhetorical question, no need to reply.

    Reply

  17. I DID NOT vote for Reagan in both elections. To me – a bad actor did not translate to a good President.

    Reply

  18. @woodbell67 True capitalism. Not the fascism our government passes off for capitalism, and makes people like you look like an idiot for not knowing the difference.

    Reply

  19. @MzBUZZKILINGTON
    What "your" government passes off as capitalism is the easily and often predicted end result of what
    people like you call "real" capitalism. You're welcome to it.
    You get Donald Trump and Ayn Rand, I get Einstein and Jesus Christ.
    Bye-bye.

    Reply

  20. @woodbell67 Donald Trump is an idiot. Ayn Rand was more of a philosopher and doesn't speak for libertarianism. Einstein wasn't an economist, and he had his noticeable biases such as denying quantum mechanics. If our country followed the bible and truly adhered to its teachings we would be like Afghanistan. Cya later.

    Reply

  21. @woodbell67 Jesus Christ? How is being a Christian something to brag about in this day and age. Theists, especially Christians, have a horrible track record for being the most intellectually dishonest, amoral, and hypocritical people on the planet. Religion is a lake of hot piss… and you are bragging that you have bathed in that lake. It makes you sound like a disgusting pedophillic creep. Religion should be something we are embarrassed about. Just like an adult that still believes in Santa.

    Reply

  22. @elbowbiter1 "the teachings of Jesus", or any moralist you could name.
    Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, be a steward and not a destroyer of this planet etc.
    I think you have the wrong video…

    Reply

  23. all these people who blame capitalism as evil. The largest number of people murdered in this world have been exterminated by Socialist, communism, all of which minus socialism , created by St. Simon a rich french man who lost hiwealth just like Che, his parents lost all their money then he became a cold blooded killer. All these posts who deride capitalism should research the CFR, The Riia in England and will find socialism is an idea of the rich for the rich against the every day man

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  24. @mikeoli Well that is all well and good but the regimes you are citing… yeah they were semi capitalists posing as Communists. Socialist countries… like Canada and Sweden… we don't do too much killing. Now total up the death toll for the US of A starting with millions of indians and ending with millions of middle easterners… you'd be bedazzled at how fucking terrible capitalism has done. Now include deaths due to starvation, crime and illness and you'll wanna slit your wrists.

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  25. @woodbell67 I think that's almost exactly the misconception. Predatory capitalism is where companies focus only on the short term interests of their bottom lines. Non-predatory capitalism imposes standards that say that suggest that a competition between companies should ultimately produce something that strengthens society as a whole. It's difficult to enforce as a cut-and-dry law but that doesn't make it any less relevant.

    Reply

  26. @woodbell67 Books are fine and I'm not saying that capitalism is the greatest idea ever and we should not chalange it. But why create your own definitions and try to explain how evil it is just because you decided to change definition?

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  27. @wotan20 Yes there is some sort of confusion, sorry your nicknames are similiar. Just trying to have discusion.

    Reply

  28. @woodbell67 Social Democratic Capitalism, where it is clear, that the state sets and controls the rules, that markets adhere to, while not the activities in the markets themselves.

    Reply

  29. The size of the United States as a Federal entity cannot be discounted in assessing what that Nation is capable of. Iintercontinental trade allows both East and West coast markets to compete against the middle, to prey on itself, tighten the Bible Belt, is grit to the mill more than grist, foil more than oil, spoil more than toil.The belief in technology as saving the absentee landlord from all sorts of sin also discounted cannot be in understanding why culturally we see less good education now.

    Reply

  30. The problem isn't "capitalisim" it's monopolism! What do you call the ultimate monopoly? Communisim.
    Break up the monopolies so capitalisim can do its thing through competition.

    Reply

  31. Where is the fucking hope and change you voted for?

    We are still in these godforsaken wars….and a few more ObamaWars™

    For what? Still oil now pussies? Now that your man is in the White House…it is cool to be killing all those innocent men and women in USELESS FUCKING FOREIGN WARS. BUCK UP AND GROW A PAIR ALL YOU FUCKING USEFUL IDIOTS. What…are you scared you will be called a racist for not supporting OBAMA'S MURDERING in these wars? If so…you are all fools. PEACE NOW. NO WAR FOR OIL.

    Reply

  32. @theothertoolbox Stop feeding the beast. That's the first step. The second is to join The Free World Charter . org
    By making everything free, 99% can enjoy all this earth has to offer. NOT the select silver spoon fed elite.
    Check it out

    Reply

  33. We may as be watching the death rattle of the US. If we have to result to national thuggery to gain access to natural resources, then we are no better totalitarians of the past.

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  34. Yeah next time you guys go to war for oil, could you actually get some?? Seriously you should see what I'm paying for gas.

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  35. The "evil Jewish twins" are PREDATORY CAPITALISM and COMMUNISM/MARXISM.  We are conditioned by propaganda to immediately reject socialism–even though the pure forms of socialism occur as the most equitable and compassionate of governing and economic systems.  If you are registered with Social Security, you are participating in a socialistic system–yet, the devils would have you curse the hand that feeds you much as boobus Americanus think Obama is deferential to muslims.

    Reply

  36. 6 years later and we are still in the Oil Game !  Here comes the Russians , Turks , Israel , Iran , China and who else wants to stake a claim on the crude business ?

    Reply

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