Press TV – April 26, 2011
While revolts in Tunisia and Egypt caught the US by surprise there is speculation that they are behind revolts in Libya and Syria. Russia and China are also see observing these developments.
Press TV talks with Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, former assistant secretary to US Treasury in Panama City who concisely provides insight as to the larger scope of American hegemonic strategy that seriously risks Russian and Chinese interests.
Press TV: There is talk about Washington being advised to arm the revolutionaries in Libya. Do you think this is a good idea?
Dr. Paul Craig Roberts: They are already arming them. That is what’s unique about the Libyan revolt. It’s not a peaceful revolt; it’s not taking place in the capital; it’s an armed revolt from the eastern part of the country. And we know that the CIA is involved on the ground and so they are already armed.
Press TV: How do you compare this military intervention to the one in Bahrain?
Dr. Paul Craig Roberts: We don’t want to overthrow the government in Bahrain or in Saudi Arabia where both governments are using violence against protesters because they’re our puppets and we have a large naval base in Bahrain.
We want to overthrow Gaddafi and Assad in Syria because we want to clear China and Russia out of the Mediterranean. China has massive energy investments in eastern Libya and is relying on Libya along with Angola and Nigeria for energy needs. This is an American effort to deny resources to China just as Washington and London denied resources to the Japanese in the 1930s.
The interest in the Syria protests, which Wikileaks shows the Americans are behind — we are interested in that because the Russians have a large naval base in Syria and it gives them a presence in the Mediterranean. So you see that Washington is all for invading against Libya and is putting more and more pressure to intervene in Syria because we want to get rid of the Russians and the Chinese.
We don’t have anything to say about the Saudis – how they treat protesters or anything to say about the violence used against protesters in Bahrain.
Press TV: Are you saying the ultimate goal in attacking Libya is because of the oil factor?
Dr. Paul Craig Roberts: It’s not just the oil, it’s the fact of China’s penetration of Africa and China lining up oil supplies for its energy needs. You may be aware that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has released a report that says that the ‘Age of America’ is over and that the American economy will be bypassed by China in five years and then the US will become the second largest economy rather than first. So one of the things Washington is trying to do is to block; to use its superior military and strategic capabilities at this time to block China’s acquisition of resources in order to make the development of the Chinese economy slow down.
This is a major reason why the CIA has been active in eastern Libya and it’s the reason protests broke out in the east not in the capital like in the other Arab countries and it’s the reasons it’s armed.
Press TV: Do you think Libya’s diplomatic isolation was the main reason for this military intervention?
Dr. Paul Craig Roberts: I don’t think it was the main reason. The main reason I think was to evict China from Libya, which is what is happening. The Chinese had 30,000 people there and they’ve had to evacuate 29,000 of them.
It’s also payback to Gaddafi for refusing to join the US Africa Command (AfriComm). It became operative in 2008 and was the American response to China’s penetration of Africa; we created a military response to that and Gaddafi refused to participate – he said it was an act of imperialism trying to purchase an entire continent.
And I think the third reason is that Gaddafi in Libya controls an important part of the Mediterranean coast; as does Syria.
So I think those two countries are just in the way of American hegemony in the Mediterranean and certainly the Americans don’t want a powerful Russian fleet stationed there and they certainly don’t want China drawing energy resources.
Washington was caught off guard by the outbreaks of protests in Tunisia and Egypt, but quickly learned that they could use and hide behind Arab protests to evict Russia and China without a direct confrontation, they wouldn’t want that, so they’ve engineered these protests.
We know for a fact that the CIA has been stirring discord in eastern Libya for some time, this is a known fact. And the release of Wikileaks cables show that the Americans are involved in stirring up unrest in Syria.
We didn’t stir up unrest in Egypt or Bahrain or Tunisia or Saudi Arabia. We probably are responsible for the unrest in Yemen because we were using drones and strikes against various tribal elements.
So, that is the big difference that the Syrian and Libya affairs have American hands in them, organizing the demonstrations, providing money and so forth. There are always discontented people that can be bought and promises given.
Press TV: Drones are now being used in Libya. From where do these drones operate? Technically they cannot fly from Italy because of a shortage of fuel so where do they operate from?
Dr. Paul Craig Roberts: I don’t know – could be from American naval vessels. I believe the last report about the drones did come from a Navy officer.
I’d like to add something to this conversation. Probably the biggest risk and the one that’s being ignored is China’s attitude. The Chinese companies are losing hundreds of millions (dollars) from this intervention. They have 50 massive investments there all going down the drain and this is clearly perceived by China as an act against them. They don’t have any illusions; they don’t read the New York Times or Washington Post and believe all of that crap. So what they see is a move of the Americans against China.
Press TV: Are you suggesting that the Americans want to take out China and replace these investments with American companies?
Dr. Paul Craig Roberts: Or anybody, that’s right. And I think the Russians are beginning to perceive that the whole Syrian thing is a move against them and their base there.
So what we’re really doing is antagonizing two large countries: China, which has an economy that is probably better than the US because their people have jobs; and the Russians have unlimited nuclear arsenal – and so we’re starting to press very strong countries in a very reckless way. We’re behaving in a very reckless and dangerous way.
Once you start this and Russian and China come to the conclusion that the Americans simply cannot be dealt with in any rational way and are determined to somehow subdue them and do them damage, all kinds of escalations can result. This is the real danger and we’re risking a major war.
Press TV: (Italy is heavily reliant on Libyan oil) What about the role of Italy (as part of NATO) in Libya?
Dr. Paul Craig Roberts: This is another unique thing with this Libyan intervention. What is NATO doing fighting a war in Africa? NATO was formed to guard against the potential of a soviet invasion of Western Europe. The Soviet Union has been gone for twenty years. Steered by the US and the Pentagon it has been turned into an auxiliary force and we now have NATO involved in an aggressive war in Africa. This is a war of aggression, a war of attack.
So this is an extraordinary development. Why is this happening? We didn’t use NATO in Egypt, Tunisia and will certainly not use it in Saudi Arabia or Bahrain so we see something highly unusual – NATO at war in Africa. This needs an explanation.