Most people would likely say Islamic terrorism, or something along those lines?
I would say it is something completely different.
The real threat to the USA isn't anything remotely related to terrorism or human rights or anything like that. But rather it is something that one can describe as 'vile' and 'outright evil'.
In 2000 there was a major statement made in Iraq. Saddam announced that he would be adopting evil as official policy. That evil of course being the €, otherwise known as the Euro. This policy meant that all Iraqi oil would need to be paid for in the Euro.
Iraq is sitting on top of the 2nd largest oil reserves in the world, and that they would adopt the Euro, lessening the US$, was unthinkable for Washington. It was at this time that backroom plans for attacking Iraq really started to gather momentum. But nothing much was done about it. Plus economists generally thought that Saddam was crazy, so what the hell, let him fritter away Iraq's money, particularly as at the time the Euro was worth little (around EUR0.85 to USD1.00), not to mention that there were sanctions against Iraq at the time.
But now fast forward a couple of years. What happened? The Euro gained in value by over 30% against the US$. Very nearly overnight, a 'silly' political statement made by Saddam a dozen or so months earlier, netted him 'profits' in the tens of billions of Euro. Saddam had basically proven that the world standard currency for the last 30 years wasn't the only currency out there which could be traded with. Other countries might also realise this and also start trading in Euro.
Then the plans for war started to be made public. Weapons of mass destructions, links to Al Qaeda, etc, etc.
GWB himself said, along the lines, that Saddam is a threat to the "American way of life". What exactly is this "American way of life"?
An Australian writer by the name of Geoffrey Heard explains it very well:
You are deep in debt but every day you write cheques for millions of dollars you don't have – another luxury car, a holiday home at the beach, the world trip of a lifetime.
Your cheques should be worthless but they keep buying stuff because those cheques you write never reach the bank! You have an agreement with the owners of one thing everyone wants, call it petrol, that they will accept only your cheques as payment.
This means everyone must hoard your cheques so they can buy petrol. Since they have to keep a stock of your cheques, they use them to buy other stuff too. You write a cheque to buy a TV, the TV shop owner swaps your cheque for petrol, that seller buys some vegetables at the fruit shop, the fruiterer then passes it on to buy bread, the baker buys some flour with it, and on it
goes, round and round – but never back to the bank.
You have a debt on your books, but so long as your cheque never reaches the bank, you don't have to pay. In effect, you have received your TV free.
In short, Saddam exposed that the US was writing cheques it's butt can't cash, and that the 'American way of life' is a subsidised economic free ride.
Then look at the other major players in the Iraq issue. France and Germany -- were against the war -- part of the Euro zone. Russia -- against the war -- is increasingly adopting the Euro as it's currency of choice. China -- against the war -- now has large Euro reserves. UK -- for the war -- not in the Euro zone, and an oil producer (all paid for of course in US$). See a pattern there?
The invasion of Iraq, whilst generally thought to be about oil, wasn't about controlling obtaining a cheap and available source of oil, but rather controlling the currency in which that oil was sold, so it would come as no surprise that one of the first things the US changed in Iraq after they toppled Saddam was to dump the Euro as the petrocurrency in Iraq and re-adopted the US$.
The message to the world was sent. Or was it?
Now fast forward to the present day.
Iran recently, by accident, elected a hardline president. Immediately after the vote, accusations are made that he was involved in the overtaking of the US Embassy in Tehran years ago. It was shown later that he was in fact not the person who was photographed. But this had the desired effect with the public - mention "new Iranian president" to the average Joe, and he will tell you he was one of those involved. Even today the US government still basically insists that he was somehow involved in the Embassy incident -- even though all information says that he was against it, and was actually in favour of taking over the Soviet Embassy instead. This is all part of laying the groundwork.
The other line that is being used by Washington is weapons of mass destruction (a la Iraq), and Iran's 'intent' on developing nuclear weapons. No evidence has been presented that Iran is developing nuclear weapons. It is widely thought that this 'intelligence' has been obtained by Washington from the MKO, an internationally outlawed terrorist organisation, which has a clear intent on establishing it's own control in Iran at any cost (again, a la Iraq with Challabi and the Iraqi National Congress). It is unlikely the MKO would have such information as they have very little (to nil) support in Iran, and those working in the Iranian nuclear industry would have been thoroughly screened by the regime. In Iran the MKO is hated even more than the US 'supposedly' is, and the US' intelligence on Iran is quite poor, so one would have to presume the MKO's is even worse.
You then forward to the last few days. Iran announces it wasn't accepting the proposal put forward by the UK, France and Germany, information from Iranian media saying there was nothing proposed that they couldn't do legally any way. Germany says that they will keep the lines of communication open. France says basically the same thing. The UK starts playing the blame game (Iran is to blame of course). And the US threatens military action (albeit not explicitly).
Now have a look at that threat of military action. Bush said
“The use of force is the last option for any president and you know we’ve used force in the recent past to secure our country.”
There it is again. "secure our country", akin to "protect the American way of life".
France (a Euro country) said weeks ago that military action is not an option in Iran. Germany (another Euro country) lamblasted Bush for saying what he did. Britain (a US$ country), whilst distancing itself somewhat from the threats by Bush, is wanting to set a deadline for Iran to agree to the (illegal) demands (September 3 to be exact). And the US, well it has been made clear what it wants.
So what is Iran's real 'crime'?
If you guessed it has something to do with the Euro, you would be right.
Iran has been pressing within OPEC for the last few years to open up OPEC to not only the petrodollar, but also the petroeuro. There was support for this from Iran, Iraq (as per above) and Venezuela (another US 'target'). Saudi Arabia's economic community is allfor the petroeuro, as they pulled money out of the US markets in droves post-2001. But the Saudi government, which is 'begging' for regime change, has expressed their 'support' for the petrodollar, no doubt because they saw what happened to its northern neighbour after it made the switch.
Since 2003 Iran has priced exports to the EU and Asia in Euro, however, majority of its oil sales have continued to be priced in USD. This however will be changing.
Sometime in 2006 a new Euro priced oil bourse is expected to open in London, led by Iranian efforts, and will provide competition to the NYMEX (New York Mercantile Exchange) (American owned) and the International Petroleum Exchange (London based American owned). This will have the effect that Iran will price all of it's exports in future in Euro.
According to http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/ir.html Iran exports are valued at nearly US$40 billion a year, with oil making up 80% (US$32 billion).
By opening the bourse, this will place pressure on other OPEC countries to make the switch (either in part or in full) to the Euro priced bourse. And it's a move which makes sense. OPEC currently exports 50% of its oil to the Eurozone, so by pricing in Euro, you are taking the US$ out of the equation to the tune of tens of billions per year.
It could also make Russia, the largest non-OPEC exporter and 2nd largest overall, to follow suit more quickly than already planned. The bulk of Russian imports and exports are already priced in Euro, yet 75% of national reserves are still in US$, and seeing as they currently export ~60% of its oil to the EU (and over 50% of all exports), this switch too makes sense.
I have seen estimates that the current world oil trade is valued in the vicinity of US$650 billion per year (around 10% of total world trade). If you look at the top oil exporters http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0922041.html the countries which would be most likely to operate under a petroeuro regime (in full or in part) are:
Russia : 6.67mln b/d
Iran : 2.55mln b/d
Venezuela : 2.36mln b/d
Algeria : 1.68mln b/d
Libya : 1.34mln b/d
Work it out at US$60 per barrel, that equates to ~US$320 billion per year, which is half of the global annual oil trade. And then add all those TV's, vegetables, loafs of bread, etc and the amount will skyrocket. All priced in Euro.
And it would have the effect of other countries scaling back their dependency on the US$ for trade, maybe not so much out of desire, but out of necessity. I could go on and on, but I think you get the point.
The euro based oil standard is a real threat to the economic, political and general survival of the US, not to mention its world hegemony. If the petroeuro is allowed to gather momentum, it could be only a matter of time before the US, weighed under with many hundreds of billions of foreign debt, is taken to court, declared bankrupt, broken up and sold off to the lowest bidder (all bids to be settled in Euro of course). Washington needs to stop it at any cost. Some say that a US war with Iran is only a matter of time, many others (myself included) say that the war has already begun.