During an NBC News forum on Wednesday, GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump said the United States should’ve taken the oil in Iraq, thereby preventing ISIS from benefiting from oil profits. Pundits are nattering on both left and right, but conversations on both sides of the aisle are omitting a full explanation of what happened with Iraqi oil.
Why did the US adopt a China First policy?
Although the United States spent blood and treasure on the Iraq War, one of the first beneficiaries of Iraq oil was China. It’s ironic most media seem to have forgotten a controversy dating to the end of George W. Bush’s presidency.
A perfect example of kneejerk responses to Trump’s comments can be found in a brief at left of center Talking Points memo where commenters adopted the usual moral superiority. Take the oil from a sovereign nation? How dare we?
Note the only time you hear leftists talk about sovereignty is when another country besides the US is up for grabs.
At any rate, leftists in Congress made a decision about that Iraq oil, and one of the biggest beneficiaries is China. China began to realize benefits from the US war with Iraq as early as 2008. That’s when three Democrats in the US Senate booted oil contracts to China. I wrote about this then in the last weeks of the final term of Bush the 2nd:
Writing in the Weekly Standard, [Frederick W.] Kagan offers a simple answer. “[t]hree Democratic senators intervened in Iraqi domestic politics earlier this year to prevent Iraq from signing short-term agreements with Exxon Mobil, Shell, Total, Chevron, and BP.”
The Iraqis were about to sign no-bid contracts with these companies—improvements on Iraq’s oil infrastructure could begin immediately, leading to investment from other countries, an increase in Iraqi oil money and of course an increase in supply for the global market including the U.S. But Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) intervened, sending a letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and issuing a news release…
It’s important to note Kagan also said the Iraq government preferred to work with the Western companies. The reason China got the oil rested on pure politics. The Washington Post reported on this shortly before I did:
“Iraqi officials hope the deal with China ‘will refute all the rumors that say the American companies are the only ones benefiting from the American occupation.’”
China didn’t spill one drop of blood in Iraq.
Once President Barack Obama, guided by Clinton insiders in his administration, took office, China and Iraq were on their merry ways to building profits.
By 2014, China and Iraq announced a “strategic partnership.”
By 2015, according to The Diplomat:
“China’s oil imports have skyrocketed over the past decade. China imported just 1 million tonnes of oil from Iraq during the whole year of 2006. By contrast, in January of 2015 alone, China received 3.4 million tonnes of oil from Iraq, making the country Beijing’s second-largest oil supplier (behind only Saudi Arabia). Chinese oil firms expected to import about three tonnes of oil per month from Iraq in 2015. Overall, China imports nearly half of Iraq’s total oil production.”
Iraq wasn’t the only country China profited from. In 2011 China cozied up to Afghanistan. USA Today said China became “the first foreign company to exploit the country’s oil and natural gas reserves.”
Perhaps debate and town hall moderators should ask candidates—especially Mrs. Clinton, considering her impact on Obama’s foreign policy—why China became the victor with the spoils in two countries the US vested such resources in.
Meanwhile, the natter-class at Talking Points Memo might want to consider which country would be held more accountable in financial dealings with Iraq and Afghanistan, and why Democrats controlling our foreign policy delivered great benefits to a communist country where human rights are oppressed, the environment is of lesser concern, and the trade is anything but “free.”
Trump’s idea to keep the oil out of ISIS’ hands makes more sense than the Obama-Hillary Clinton approach of handing benefits to China.
The CBC, Canada’s public broadcasting media, provided a glimpse at the destruction ISIS has wrought when it comes to oil. As ISIS’ turf began to contract, the terrorist group adopted a slash-and-burn approach. CBC cited one instance among many others, running a photo of Iraqi children—“after ISIS blew up pipelines and wells next to a main hospital in a likely attempt to obstruct visibility for coalition air strikes.”
With Democrats, it appears there’s a China-First policy. Trump’s approach is America First.
(Commentary by Kay B. Day/Sept. 8, 2016)