A very interesting article published by Newsweek earlier this month – link below – about sort of a new Marshall Plan for the Middle East, a joint U.S.-Russian (and Saudi-financed) program to get control over the Arab world’s rush to acquire nuclear power. The “genius” plan essentially was about establishing a U.S.-Russian partnership to build and operate plants and export the dangerous spent fuel under strict controls – so essentially it’s about building infrastructure and providing the security necessary for these plants. The plan did not go too far due to the lack of interest from the Saudi’s who seem to have other plans in terms of the nuclear capability sought in light of Iran’s deals though there continues to be efforts to bring life back into the project. I leave the details for the article which is a very interesting read but I briefly make a few points;
- The West has a long history of interventions in the Middle East, largely for strategic reasons mainly as a resource pool. It is no secret that the the Middle East almost doubled its defence spending compared with the 2007-2011 period, taking a 29 percent share. So there now seems to be another lucrative market in the form of national security & nuclear energy – (not so much renewable energy as viable/rich alternative with the vast natural resources in the region).
- These deals are not strictly about business dealings but rather have a profound impact of the politics of nations because an integral part of these plans is suppressing political decent and supporting autocratic regimes – as mentioned in the article with these giant projects autocratic regimes are actually buying their own security; here is are excerpts from an interview with Michael Flynn by Al Jazeera in 2016 as quoted in the article and how he perceives the project;
“An entirely new economy is what this region needs,” he said, “especially for the millions of unemployed young men living under corrupt autocracies and tempted by extremism”. “You’ve got to give them something else to do. If you don’t, they’re going to turn on their own governments.” Kind of funny actually that he complains about corrupt autocracies while at the same breath suggesting that he wants to avoid young people turning on these same governments by giving them something to do to keep busy. Economic corruption/political suppression my friend are 2 key/chained ingredients in autocracies so economic development in of itself is useless.
The key take away from the referenced article is that western actions in the Middle East are (and have for ages been) driven largely by greed/corruption something that continues to fuel conflict in the region; the results of which tends to eventually land in our own back yard. So the next time we “start” complaining about terrorism, migration and our national security let’s just take stock of our own government/s actions that continue to directly contribute to this mess. So quite a few people making a chunk of money by bargaining millions of lives in the process – that’s the way I see it.
PS I have written plenty of posts on the Middle East and you can find then here