Child’s play

K.I. Angelopoulos («Beyond the ‘no to war,’» Jan. 30, 2003) would have us believe that «even a child knows the reasons why Washington is anxious to stage a showdown against Iraq» which he later explains as one of «asserting control over the Gulf states and, effectively, over the oil resources in the region.» This is the usual, tired myth of how the USA is uniquely motivated by oil, and how it treats the Gulf as its private gas station. When the USA liberated Kuwait, pundits like Angelopoulos again told us that it was all about US dominance over oil flows. And our public laps it all up because it feeds our simplistic anti-American sensibilities. And yet, looking beyond the standard slogans and at real statistics, we see the USA is no greater importer of Gulf oil than Europe is. In 2001, the USA imported 2.7 million barrels/day from the Persian Gulf, while Europe imported 2.8 million. Europe is more dependent on the Gulf, with 36 percent of its net imports and 19 percent of demand from the region vs 25.6 percent and 13.9 percent, respectively, for the Americans (where do we Greeks think we get our oil?). Japan depends on the Persian Gulf for a whopping 76 percent of its imports and China is close behind. (Source: US Dept of Energy) So we see that American intentions in the Gulf are anything but one of «asserting control.» Even if the US liberation of Kuwait was, and the upcoming action in Iraq is, also about oil, then we must establish that it is about preventing a despotic and powerful madman from controlling the world’s energy jugular, as well as to insure the free flow of oil for ALL the world’s economies, at prices set freely by the markets, and with profit for the Gulf states, the global (not just American) oil companies, and everyone else involved (including our Greek oil tankers which carry much of the world’s oil). Even a child can see that. Dimitri Zarboulas, New York City