A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order

Review of F. William Engdahl's Book


A CENTURY OF WAR: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order, William Engdahl. London: Pluto Press, revised 2004 (orig. 1992) 

The distinguished economist and historian William Engdahl provides must reading with this book. A Century of War once again proves Santayana’s dictum, “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” (And proves George Bernard Shaw’s corollary, “We learn from history that we learn nothing from history.”)

The theme running throughout the book is the ruthless corporate and governmental pursuit of the magic moneymaker, Oil. And the unremitting subversion and wars to seize black gold. Engdahl describes the US and UK corporations and governments as international predators, occasionally as rivals (in earlier times), but normally as an axis of financial and military power bent on capturing the petroleum resources of the world.

Let us go through portions of the book in outline, paraphrasing fashion (although sometimes quoting), showing its thrust and sweep. [Bracketed comments will be mine; emphases also mine]:

early 20th century — Serbia as the first line of defense of UK eastern possessions. [hence the strategic position of the Balkans, and the unfortunate position of Serbia — see 1990’s US-UK subversion and war against Yugoslavia, and demonisation of the excellent nationalistic leader, Milosevic, who refused the IMF’s kiss-of-death funding]

By 1902, large reserves of petroleum believed to exist in Iraq and Kuwait, soon to be validated

1913 — British Government secretly buys up a majority share ownership of Anglo-Persia Oil (later called British Petroleum). “From this point, OIL was the core of British strategic interest.”

World War I — Petroleum began to effect a military revolution. “In the last phase of the War, a staggering 12,000 barrels of oil per day were used in the final British-French-American offensives.”

In the Middle East, Britain falsely promised independence to Arab leaders if they revolted against the Ottoman empire. [T.E. Lawrence knew this at the time, unlike in the film Lawrence of Arabia.] 100,000 Arabs lost their lives in the successful revolt.  Britain took over much of oil-rich

Middle East, reneging on promises.

Britain, covertly owning Royal Dutch Shell as well as BP, moves for oil supremacy in a petroleum world hitherto dominated by the USA Rockefeller family’s Standard Oil corporations

The Anglo-American corporations/governments close ranks against all comers. [see the notorious Lockhart Plot, the assassination of German Foreign Minister Walter Rathenau, etc., plots and mysterious deaths over the decades]

A secret pact between US-UK corporations creates the world’s most powerful economic syndicate which agrees to set a secret world cartel price for oil [of course, at an astronomically high price relative to cost; and of course the number of criminal felonies involved in this are as high as the prices]

American oil corporations [Rockefeller Standard Oil group plus the Mellon family’s Gulf Oil, which is today controlled by the Rockefellers] secured Saudi Arabian oil. [a State Department official called this “one of the greatest material prizes in history”.] late 1940s:

America uses the Marshall Plan to enrich US oil corporations, and establish them [and other US big businesses] in Europe.

“Anglo-American oil companies controlled incredibly cheap Middle East supplies, and held captive markets in Europe, Asia, Latin America and North America.”

Iranian Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh took on Anglo-American Oil [seeking to exploit Iranian oil for the benefit of the Iranian people].

Two years of unrelenting Anglo-American economic warfare against the country [as would be done with Iraq prior to the US-UK invasion, and earlier in Yugoslavia], and the subversion of key support for the parliamentary government, ended in a CIA-British secret service coup d’etat in 1953.

They installed [the brutal and feared regime of] Reza Shah Pahlevi.

Italy: Oil Minister Enrico Mattei [anticommunist resistance hero and “the most important individual in Italy”, responsible more than anyone for the “Italian economic miracle” –New York Times] also sought to make his country independent of the Anglo-American Cartel.

In October 1960, Mattei blew fuses inside offices of US-UK Oil Cartel and in the White House and 10 Downing Street. “Mattei was in Moscow… Moscow and the vast Russian petroleum resources became [reminiscent of the assassinated German Minister Rathenau ‘s situation in the 1920s] the focus of European negotiations.”

Once again the Anglo-Americans stood dead opposed to success of negotiations with Moscow [and the collapse of their illicit cartel].

“On Oct 27, 1962, under circumstances which to this day stir speculation and charges of sabotage, the private airplane carrying Mattei crashed after taking off from Sicily en route to Milan, killing all three on board.”

“Perhaps it was merely a coincidence that CIA chief John McCone, at the time of Mattei’s suspicious death, held more than $1 million in shares in Standard Oil of California (Chevron).”

At the time of his death, Mattei had been preparing for a trip to meet with President Kennedy who was then pressing the US oil companies to reach an agreement with Mattei.

Nov 22, 1963 President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. “New Orleans Judge Jim Garrison years later continued to insist that the murder was carried out by the CIA, with the aid of selected organized crime figures.”  [The CIA are essentially Rockefeller interest employees, only serving the U.S. government when Washington’s aims do not divurge significantly from Rockefeller interests.  Such divergence has rarely if ever happened, however, except when Kennedy was president.]

 “Kennedy, in issue after issue, ran at odds with the East Coast’s powerful financial and political interests.”

Ecological Agenda — “The American oilman present at the May 1973 Saltsjobaden meeting of the Bilderberg group, Robert O. Anderson, was a central figure in the implementation of the ensuing Anglo-American ecology agenda. It was to become one of the most successful frauds in history.”

Anderson and his Atlantic Richfield Oil Co. [related to the Standard Oil corporations] funneled millions of dollars through their Foundation into select organisations to target nuclear energy [which was considered a threat to oil at that time — now it appears to be controlled by the oil corporations, or President Bush would not have promoted it].

“One of the prime beneficiaries of the largesse was a group called Friends of the Earth which was organized in this time with a $200,000 grant from Anderson.

One of the earliest actions of Anderson’s Friends of the Earth was an assault on the German nuclear industry through such antinuclear actions as the anti-Brockdorg demonstrations in 1976.

“FoE had ‘friends’ in very high places in London and Washington.”

“By the time of the Kissinger oil shock of 1973-74 [a 400% price increase], a massive antinuclear propaganda offensive could be launched.”

[See George Monbiot’s very important article in the Guardian, 4 September 2001, “Sleeping with the Enemy: Consumer and environmental groups are getting into bed with big corporations”.  In the case of Friends of the Earth, the organization was actually founded by a big oil-cartel corporation, and its board of directors habitually reflect the control of planet earth’s premier polluters.  From my own personal experience as well, it can be asserted that Friends of the Earth can be an extremely deceptive and dangerous NGO.]

Who really controlled OPEC? Only the politically naive could believe that Arab countries would suddenly be allowed to exercise independence on issues of such importance to British and American interests.”

India and Pakistan: nationalistic prime ministers Indira Gandhi and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, their policies sought to extricate their countries from the grip of Western cartels, particularly Oil [Gandhi sought to accordingly organise much of the Third World — both die violently.  [Rathenau, Mattei, Gandhi, Bhutto, President Kennedy, his brother Robert, Martin Luther King  – not to mention untold millions of names unknown to us who are victims in Oil wars – all of these U.S.-UK Oil cartel opponents (or incidental victims) die violently.]


Imposing the NEW WORLD ORDER — “Thatcher’s ‘economic revolution’ intended the beneficiaries to be the international financial interests of the City of London, and the powerful companies grouped around Shell, BP and their allies.”

Third World Debt — IMF funding for the Third World is the Kiss of Death. IMF, global policeman enforcing payment of  “usurious debts through the imposition of the most draconian austerity in history.”; crucial voting bloc of IMF firmly controlled by an American-British axis [banks interlocked with the Oil corporations].

Debtor nations caught in a death trap, only way out is “surrender national sovereign control over their economies, especially valuable resources”.

IRAQ, 1990s — manufactured pretext by Thatcher and Bush governments to establish direct military presence at the choke point of world’s, particularly Europe’s, petroleum supplies.  [As George W. Bush would engineer a pretext to invade Iraq as did his forbear, 9/11 this time.]

US ambassador in Baghdad, April Glaspie, enticed Iraq to invade Kuwait, after which came the US-UK attack on Iraq which resulted in their firm military presence in the Middle East.

Earlier, Washington had secretly encouraged Saddam Hussein to invade Iran, feeding false information about the ‘ease’ of victory.

YUGOSLAVIA must be brought into the IMF version of free-market reform. NATO would secure the deal that an economic destabilisation campaign had begun.

“Full spectrum domination”, the U.S. military’s phase for American global domination goal, including cyber space and outer space, to establish “the New World Order” [the term very probably adapted from Adolf Hitler’s “the New Order” ]


Long before September 11, Bush Government decided to target Iraq and Afghanistan, “anti-Terrorism” to replace the now defunct “anti-Communism” as the excuse for aggressive military interventions.

Iraq War, 2003 — years of economic destabilisation prior to outright military invasion, as with Yugoslavia. [Given the history of the US-UK Oil Cartel and their enforcing Governments, this war was quite predictable.]

In short, A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order by William Engdahl (be sure it’s the revised 2004 edition) is MUST reading. Very good history, and finally we have an author who comprehends both history and economics !! 

[Footnote from M.S.   Incessant U.S.-UK  Oil Cartel wars for oil are not always just to capture more oilfields for exploitation.  The Cartel fears an independent source of oil which might put petroleum on the market at a price well below the Cartel’s astronomically-high price.]

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