Why the War? The Kuwait Connection

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This essay originally appeared in the May 1991 issue of The
Rothbard-Rockwell Report
.

Why,
exactly, did we go to war in the Gulf? The answer remains murky,
but perhaps we can find one explanation by examining the strong
and ominous Kuwait Connection in our government. (I am indebted
to an excellent article in an obscure New York tabloid, Downtown,
by Bob Feldman, “The Kissinger Affair,” March 27.) The Sabahklatura
that runs the Kuwait government is immensely wealthy, to the tune
of hundreds of billions of dollars, derived from tax/”royalty” loot
extracted from oil producers simply because the Sabah tribe claims
“sovereignty” over that valuable chunk of desert real estate. The
Sabah tribe has no legitimate claim to the oil revenue; it did nothing
to homestead or mix its labor or any other resource with the crude
oil.

It is reasonable
to assume that the Sabah family stands ready to use a modest portion
of that ill-gotten wealth to purchase defenders and advocates in
the powerful United States. We now focus our attention on the sinister
but almost universally Beloved figure of Dr. Henry Kissinger, a
lifelong spokesman, counselor, and servitor of the Rockefeller World
Empire. Kissinger is so Beloved, in fact, that whenever he appears
on Nightline or Crossfire he appears alone, since
it seems to be lese majest (or even blasphemy) for anyone
to contradict the Great One’s banal and ponderous Teutonic pronouncements.
Only a handful of grumblers and malcontents on the extreme right
and extreme left disturb this cozy consensus.

In 1954, the
31-year-old Kissinger, a Harvard political scientist and admirer
of Metternich, was plucked out of his academic obscurity to become
lifelong foreign policy advisor to New York Governor Nelson Aldrich
Rockefeller. Doctor K continued in that august role until he assumed
the mastery of foreign policy throughout the Nixon and Ford administrations.
In that role, Kissinger played a major part in prolonging and extending
the Vietnam War, and in the mass murder of civilians entailed by
the terror bombings of Vietnam, the secret bombing of Cambodia,
and the invasion of Laos.

Since leaving
office in 1977, Dr. Kissinger has continued to play a highly influential
role in U.S. politics, in the U.S. media, and in the Rockefeller
world empire. It was Kissinger, along with David Rockefeller, who
was decisive in the disastrous decision of President Carter to admit
the recently toppled Shah of Iran, old friend and ally of the Rockefellers,
into the United States, a decision that led directly to the Iranian
hostage crisis and to Carter’s downfall. Today, Kissinger still
continues to serve as a trustee of the powerful Rockefeller Brothers
Fund, as a counselor to Rockefellers’ Chase Manhattan Bank, and
as a member of Chase’s International Advisory Committee. Kissinger’s
media influence is evident from his having served on the board of
CBS, Inc., and having been a paid consultant to both NBC News and
ABC News. That takes care of all three networks.

But Kissinger’s
major, and most lucrative role, has come as head of Kissinger Associates
in New York City, founded on a loan obtained in 1982 from the international
banking firm of E.M. Warburg, Pincus and Company. Nominally, Kissinger
Associates (KA) is an “international consulting firm” but “consultant”
covers many sins, and in KA’s case, this means international political
influence-peddling for its two dozen or so important corporate clients.
In the fullest report on KA, Leslie Gelb in the New York Times
Magazine for April 20, 1986, reveals that, in that year, 25 to 30
corporations paid KA between $150,000 and $420,000 each per annum
for political influence and access. As Gelb blandly puts it: “The
superstar international consultants [at KA] were certainly people
who would get their telephone calls returned from high American
government officials and who would also be able to get executives
in to see foreign leaders.” I dare say a lot more than mere access
could be gained thereby. KA’s offices in New York and Washington
are small, but they pack a powerful punch. (Is it mere coincidence
that KA’s Park Avenue headquarters is in the same building as the
local office of Chase Manhattan Bank’s subsidiary, the Commercial
Bank of Kuwait?)

Who
were these “superstar international consultants?” One of them, who
in 1986 was the vice chairman of KA, is none other than General
Brent Scowcroft, former national security advisor under President
Ford, and, playing the exact same role under George Bush, serving
as the chief architect of the Gulf War. One of the General’s top
clients was Kuwait’s government-owned Kuwait Petroleum Corporation,
who paid Scowcroft for his services at least from 1984 through 1986.
In addition, Scowcroft became a director of Santa Fe International
(SFI) in the early 1980s, not long after SFI was purchased by the
Kuwait Petroleum Corporation in 1981. Joining Scowcroft on the SFI
board was Scowcroft’s old boss, Gerald Ford. One of SFI’s activities
is drilling oil wells in Kuwait, an operation which, of course,
had to be suspended after the Iraq invasion.

Brent Scowcroft,
it is clear, has enjoyed a long-standing and lucrative Kuwait connection.
Is it a coincidence that it was Scowcroft’s National Security Council
presentation on August 3, 1990, which according to the New York
Times (February 21) “crystallized people’s thinking and galvanized
support” for a “strong response” to the Iraq invasion of Kuwait?

Scowcroft,
by the way, does not exhaust the Republican administrations’ revolving
door among Kissinger Associates. Another top KA official, Lawrence
Eagleburger, undersecretary of state under Reagan, has returned
to high office after a stint at KA as deputy secretary of state
under George Bush.

Also vitally
important at KA are the members of its board of directors. One director
is T. Jefferson Cunningham III, who is also a director of the Midland
Bank of Britain, which has also been a KA client. The fascinating
point here is that 10.5 percent of this $4 billion bank is owned
by the Kuwait government. And Kissinger, as head of KA, is of course
concerned to advance the interests of his clients – which include
the Midland Bank and therefore the government of Kuwait. Does this
connection have anything to do with Kissinger’s ultra-hawkish views
on the Gulf War? In the meantime, Kissinger continues to serve on
President Bush’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, which gives
Kissinger not only a channel for giving advice but also gives him
access to national security information which could prove useful
to KA’s corporate clients.

Another KA
client is the Fluor Corporation, which has a special interest in
Saudi Arabia. Shortly before the August 2 invasion, Saudi Arabia
decided to launch a $30 to $40 billion project to expand oil production,
and granted two huge oil contracts to the Parson and Fluor corporations.
(New York Times, August 21)

One member
of KA’s board of directors is ARCO Chairman Robert O. Anderson;
ARCO, also one of KA’s clients, is engaged in joint oil-exploration
and oil-drilling in offshore China with Santa Fe International,
the subsidiary of the Kuwait government.

Other KA board
members are William D. Rogers, undersecretary of state in the Eisenhower
administration, and long-time leading Dewey-Rockefeller Republican
in New York; former Citibank (Rockefeller) Chairman Edward Palmer;
and Eric Lord Roll, economist and chairman of the board of the London
international banking house of S.F. Warburg.

Perhaps the
most interesting KA board member is one of the most Beloved figures
in the conservative movement, William E. Simon, secretary of treasury
in the Nixon and Ford administrations. When Simon left office in
1977, he became a consultant to the Bechtel Corporation, which has
had the major massive construction contracts to build oil refineries
and cities in Saudi Arabia. In addition, Simon became a consultant
to Suliman Olayan, one of the wealthiest and most powerful businessmen
in Saudi Arabia. Long a close associate of the oil-rich Saudi royal
family, Olayan had served Bechtel well by getting it the multi-billion
contract to build the oil city of Jubail. In 1980, furthermore,
Olayan hired William Simon to be chairman of two investment firms
owned jointly by himself and the influential Saudi Prince Khaled
al Saud.

Bechtel, the
Rockefellers, and the Saudi royal family have long had an intimate
connection. After the Saudis granted the Rockefeller-dominated Aramco
oil consortium the monopoly of oil in Saudi Arabia, the Rockefellers
brought their pals at Bechtel in on the construction contracts.
The Bechtel Corporation, of course, has also contributed George
Shultz and Cap Weinberger to high office in Republican administrations.
To complete the circle, KA director Simon’s former boss Suliman
Olayan was, in 1988, the largest shareholder in the Chase Manhattan
Bank after David Rockefeller himself.

The pattern
is clear. An old New Left slogan held that “you don’t need a weatherman
to tell you how the wind is blowing.” In the same way, you don’t
need to be a “conspiracy theorist” to see what’s going on here.
All you have to do is be willing to use your eyes.

Murray
N. Rothbard
(1926–1995) was the author of Man,
Economy, and State
, Conceived
in Liberty
, What
Has Government Done to Our Money
, For
a New Liberty
, The
Case Against the Fed
, and many
other books and articles
. He was
also the editor – with Lew Rockwell – of The
Rothbard-Rockwell Report
.

Murray
Rothbard Archives

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