'Wars, conflict- it's all business', sighs Monsieur Verdoux, the cynical anti-hero of Charlie Chaplin's classic film. Well, he certainly wasn't proved wrong when it came to Kosovo. And he certainly wasn't contradicted by events in Iraq either, as Naomi Klein's brilliant new book The Shock Doctrine details.
Both the illegal aggression against Yugoslavia and the equally unlawful attack on Iraq were wars of plunder: wars that were waged for economic, not humanitarian reasons.
And the next war that the neo-cons have planned, against Iran, is a war for corporate profits too. Forget the claptrap about Iran attempting to develop nuclear weapons- which is a neo-con fiction as false as the non-existent 'genocide' in Kosovo and the mythical WMD in Iraq: the real reason why 'regime change' is so important in Tehran is that Iran still operates a predominantly state-owned economy. It is a little known fact that around 75-80% of the Iranian economy is in some form of public ownership: meaning that there's some very rich pickings in store for western capital, should a privatising, puppet government be imposed.
The countries the neo-cons have targeted have in many ways been very different. Yugoslavia, under President Milosevic, was a European multi-party democracy. Saddam Hussein's Iraq was a secular dictatorship. And today's Iran is a Islamic republic, whose head of state is an Ayatollah.
But Yugoslavia, Iraq and Iran, for all their differences, had one thing in common. A large state-owned economy, which was not fully 'open' to western capital.
It really is no coincidence.