Global 24 March 2009Posted by marisacat in 2010 Mid Terms, Afghanistan War, AFRICOM, Culture of Death, DC Politics, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Iran, Iraq War, WAR!.
Lashkar Gah, 1 April 2006: A helicopter operated by the US security contractor DynCorp flies over an opium poppy field in Helmand province [John Moore/Getty Images]
[A]n American empire of bases spans the globe and gives the U.S. military the ability to strike anywhere with a fair amount of speed. The Bush doctrine of preemption wasn’t just empty talk: America, as crippled by spasms of economic pain as she is, retains its status as the hyperpower, in purely military terms. The empire may have reached – and passed – its apogee, but there is no telling how long it will take for the whole massive edifice to come down.
The ruling elite is naturally consumed by a desire to avoid the complete economic collapse of their system, which is founded on fraud and coercion. Their reaction, so far, has been to pursue precisely those policies which led to the crisis in the first place: they have embarked on a spending spree, with the big banks getting the largest share of the loot, and the rest going to bread and circuses for the commoners. This, however, will lead inevitably to hyperinflation such as we saw in Weimar Germany, or as we see today in Zimbabwe. These are extreme examples, but is it necessary to remind you that we are living in extreme times? :snip:
That from Raimondo… as for the hyperinflation.. well, let’s hope not.
Pepe Escobar casts a wider net:
Postcard from Pipelineistan
By Pepe Escobar
What happens on the immense battlefield for the control of Eurasia will provide the ultimate plot line in the tumultuous rush towards a new, polycentric world order, also known as the New Great Game.
Our good ol’ friend the nonsensical “Global War on Terror,” which the Pentagon has slyly rebranded “the Long War,” sports a far more important, if half-hidden, twin — a global energy war. I like to think of it as the Liquid War, because its bloodstream is the pipelines that crisscross the potential imperial battlefields of the planet. Put another way, if its crucial embattled frontier these days is the Caspian Basin, the whole of Eurasia is its chessboard. Think of it, geographically, as Pipelineistan. :snip:
Pipelineistan… good one.
[I]n Almaty, the former capital of Kazakhstan (before it was moved to Astana, in the middle of the middle of nowhere) the locals were puzzled when I expressed an overwhelming urge to drive to that country’s oil boomtown Aktau. (“Why? There’s nothing there.”) Entering the Space Odyssey-style map room at the Russian energy giant Gazprom’s headquarters in Moscow — which digitally details every single pipeline in Eurasia — or the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC)’s corporate HQ in Tehran, with its neat rows of female experts in full chador, was my equivalent of entering Aladdin’s cave. And never reading the words “Afghanistan” and “oil” in the same sentence is still a source of endless amusement for me.
Last year, oil cost a king’s ransom. This year, it’s relatively cheap. But don’t be fooled. Price isn’t the point here. Like it or not, energy is still what everyone who’s anyone wants to get their hands on. So consider this dispatch just the first installment in a long, long tale of some of the moves that have been, or will be, made in the maddeningly complex New Great Game, which goes on unceasingly, no matter what else muscles into the headlines this week.
Forget the mainstream media’s obsession with al-Qaeda, Osama “dead or alive” bin Laden, the Taliban — neo, light or classic — or that “war on terror,” whatever name it goes by. These are diversions compared to the high-stakes, hardcore geopolitical game that follows what flows along the pipelines of the planet.
Who said Pipelineistan couldn’t be fun?
[E]nergy expert Michael Klare has been instrumental in identifying the key vectors in the wild, ongoing global scramble for power over Pipelineistan. These range from the increasing scarcity (and difficulty of reaching) primary energy supplies to “the painfully slow development of energy alternatives.” Though you may not have noticed, the first skirmishes in Pipelineistan’s Liquid War are already on, and even in the worst of economic times, the risk mounts constantly, given the relentless competition between the West and Asia, be it in the Middle East, in the Caspian theater, or in African oil-rich states like Angola, Nigeria and Sudan. :snip:
The security grids, seen from China and Russia…
[A]sk any relevant expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing and he will tell you that the SCO [Shanghai Cooperation Org] should be understood as a historically unique alliance of five non-Western civilizations — Russian, Chinese, Muslim, Hindu, and Buddhist — and, because of that, capable of evolving into the basis for a collective security system in Eurasia. That’s a thought sure to discomfort classic inside-the-Beltway global strategists like Dr. Zbig and President George H. W. Bush’s national security advisor Brent Scowcroft.
According to the view from Beijing, the rising world order of the twenty-first century will be significantly determined by a quadrangle of BRIC countries — for those of you by now collecting Great Game acronyms, that stands for Brazil, Russia, India, and China — plus the future Islamic triangle of Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey. Add in a unified South America, no longer in thrall to Washington, and you have a global SCO-plus. On the drawing boards, at least, it’s a high octane dream. :snip:
A mother walks with her children in Kabul, where soaring food prices add to family stress. (Veronique De Viguerie/WPN/July 2008)
Just a bit more, for fun… and Pepe stays cheery to the end. And why not?… No matter what happens, how bad it gets, a good story to report on…
[A]s for Camp Bondsteel, it was the “enduring” military base that Washington gained from the wars for the remains of Yugoslavia. It would be the largest overseas base the U.S. had built since the Vietnam War. Halliburton’s subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR) would, with the Army Corps of Engineers, put it up on 400 hectares of farmland near the Macedonian border in southern Kosovo. Think of it as a user-friendly, five-star version of Guantanamo with perks for those stationed there that included Thai massage and loads of junk food.
Bondsteel is the Balkan equivalent of a giant immobile aircraft carrier, capable of exercising surveillance not only over the Balkans but also over Turkey and the Black Sea region (considered in the neocon-speak of the Bush years “the new interface” between the “Euro-Atlantic community” and the “Greater Middle East”).
How could Russia, China, and Iran not interpret the war in Kosovo, then the invasion of Afghanistan (where Washington had previously tried to pair with the Taliban and encourage the building of another of those avoid-Iran, avoid-Russia pipelines), followed by the invasion of Iraq (that country of vast oil reserves), and finally the recent clash in Georgia (that crucial energy transportation junction) as straightforward wars for Pipelineistan?
Though seldom imagined this way in our mainstream media, the Russian and Chinese leaderships saw a stark “continuity” of policy stretching from Bill Clinton’s humanitarian imperialism to Bush’s Global War on Terror. Blowback, as then Russian President Vladimir Putin himself warned publicly, was inevitable — but that’s another magic-carpet story, another cave to enter another time. :snip:
More than enough for nightmares… global nightmares.