Why Paris? The Questions No One Is Asking About the Post-9/11, Post-11/13 World

cropped-1604741_560811498264_7010113564277153021_n.jpgOn the morning of the Paris terrorist strike, 11/13/15, I was trying to write and, uncharacteristically for me, I was totally blocked. I seemed to be wading through a thick mental fog, and nothing I could do would clear it. I gave up, went about my day, and it wasn’t until that night, when the first reports of the bombings came in, that I understood: my inner turmoil was what we used to call a “sixth sense,” picking up on the fog of fear and distress that was about to descend not just on Paris, but on the entire West that evening.

For me, this post-11/13 period has been a time of swirling, insistent questions and concerns, which I share in the hopes of promoting some productive discussion.

One: Did the timing of the Paris strikes have anything to do with the imminent global climate talks scheduled to begin there this month? Is it possible that the global oil lobby could have somehow instigated at least the time & place of the strike as a way of destabilizing the climate talks that should be leading us away from a reliance on fossil fuels?

Two: Could the military-industrial complex of the United States, Russia, and European powers like Germany, France and England, be subtly promoting war in the Middle East by their “containment” policy, which includes keeping demand for weapons high? Every bomb dropped is an order placed, after all. We saw this strategy revealed in all its grotesquerie in the Halliburton/U.S. government policy in Iraq—first manufacture a war, blow everything up and destabilize society, then rake in millions in “reconstruction” contracts. Is this happening again in Syria?

Three: Why are so few commentators talking about the role of Saudi Arabia in supporting the Islamic State? After 9/11, when all other commercial air traffic in the U.S. was grounded, there were the reports of the sketchy Saudi Arabian flights allowed to travel around the country picking up Saudi nationals and transporting them back home. We know that Osama bin Laden was a Saudi and was supported by Saudi funds. Then as now, ancient Sunni/Shia rivalries are coinciding with contemporary geopolitics to fuel proxy wars in the Middle East. Is the situation in Syria really all about the rivalry between Shia Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia, with the lives of millions of people caught in the crossfire of these warring ideologies? Why is American policy aligning with the Sunnis when they have been shown to be promulgating the most violent, extremist religious intolerance and hatred?

In this last question, we circle back around, perhaps to oil and the climate. If the world really got behind the shift to renewable energy that we MUST accomplish if we are to keep human civilization stable, the oil wealth of the sheikdoms would become much less important. Could it be that behind the world events currently playing out lie some desperate fossil fuel barons, willing to risk the collapse of the world order as we know it in order to keep the black gold flowing from the ground into their pockets? Is the Islamic State really some kind of bizarre mercenary army, paid to destabilize the region, no questions asked about tactics?

I know this sounds like the scenario of a wonderfully gripping international thriller, which we would enjoy in the movie theater precisely because we know it’s just fiction. But what if it’s not fiction? What if this time it’s all too terribly real—and the fate of the planet, at least the planet as we know and love her, really does hang in the balance?

My sixth sense is telling me now that we ordinary people are just pawns in a high-stakes game played by the super-elite, the rulers of the military-industrial complex, the fossil fuel industry and their political henchmen. The final question becomes: what do we do about it?


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  1. The recent events will keep people from marching in the streets of Paris and make it difficult for civil society to fully participate in the COP21 proceedings. Our campus administrators didn’t want our delegation to go, but the students persuaded them that we cannot succumb to fear. We leave for Paris tomorrow to try to make at least a small difference.

  2. Jennifer Browdy, Ph.D.

     /  November 27, 2015

    Sending you and your students love and best wishes for safe travels and strong marches! It’s good that there will be many solidarity marches planned all over the world, too…unity is the name of the game when it comes to solving climate change….

  3. Thanks Jennifer. And yes, unity is essential in this fight.

  4. Hi Jennifer,
    I wonder if you know about the relationship between the dollar as the world’s reserve currency and oil? The American Empire is based on the establishment during the 70’s of the Petrodollar. The oil producing countries and companies all sell their oil only in dollars. You have to have dollars to buy oil. This makes the dollar valuable outside the US. It is what makes it possible for the US to be immune from the normal considerations about what gives a currency its value. From a conventional economic point of view the US dollar should have collapsed long ago.

    The common thread in all the things you mention is that the American Military is used to enforce the petrodollar. The deal is straightforward: If you challenge the hegemony of the dollar you will be at war with the US. Saddam Hussein started selling Iraqi oil in Euro at the first opportunity at the beginning of 2000. The deal with the Saudi’s is that the US will support and protect them as long as they only sell their oil in dollars.

    All of your suspicions about the relationship between oil and terrorism, undermining the Paris Climate talks, etc. are spot on but the main reason is the petrodollar as de facto reserve currency.

    If the people of the US can’t stand up to their own Government and end the collusion between Government and the Multinationals, what can the people of the middle east do?

    There are so many viable alternatives to oil that we hear hardly anything at all about in the media that it is no wonder people acquiesce to the oil industry. One is called the artificial leaf which breaks down water into HH O (Hydroxy Gas) with sunlight, and HHO can fuel any internal combustion engine (with minor timing adjustments because it has such a high octane rating) and the exhaust is potable water!. This is what I think we should be pushing for. Get the planet saving technology off the black shelves of the Oil Companies that buy it out or kill the inventors.

    And of course, justice would end terrorism as soon as the American people demand it and start implementing it.



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