Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations, Vol.4, No.4, Winter 2005
The Beginning of the End of the Petrodollar:
What Connects Iraq to Iran
Throughout history, empires and their civilisations have come and gone.
During the first
part of the last century, the US quietly built its empire, first in the North and Central Americas
and in South America.
Soon after the Second World War, the US worked to maximise the
advantages it gained, and the power it assumed, between 1943 and 1945, from its victory over
Germany and Japan, and as a consequence of massive Soviet casualties, and large British debt
and financial burden caused by the war.
The USA assumed the leading role in the Western world
by, on one hand, containing the Soviet Union and preventing the spread of communist revolution
beyond the borders of the Soviet bloc; and on the other hand, ensuring uncontested American
supremacy within the Western world.
During the Cold War years, there was little or no challenge to the dominant position of
the US in the Western world.
However, with the end of the Soviet Union in 1991, the knot tying
the basic objectives of the US global strategy together began to come unravelled.
communist danger was off the table, American supremacy ceased to be an automatic requirement
of the Western system.
Since 20 September 2002, the US government has abandoned its former multilateral
approach to global affairs, and adopted an imperial posture known as the so-called Bush doctrine.
The United States has long maintained the option of preemptive actions to counter a sufficient threat to
our national security. The greater the threat, the greater is the risk of inaction- and the more compelling
the case for taking anticipatory action to defend ourselves, (…). To forestall or prevent such hostile
acts by our adversaries, the United States will, if necessary, act preemptively.
This new agenda is based on militarist and imperial values with some theocratic
This agenda looks much like what some people see in US foreign policy at the end of
century, and the beginning of the 20
, when the US actively sought to dominate the
entire Caribbean basin, Central America and even the western Pacific.
Six months after the Bush doctrine was announced, the new American doctrine was
applied as a justification for an unprovoked war against Iraq by the neo-conservative