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Ressource Wars

"According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujaheddin began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, Dec. 24, 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise: Indeed, it On July 3, 1979 US President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul...We didn't push the Russians to intervene, but we knowingly increased the probability that they would. The day the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter: We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war..." (Zbignev Bzezhinski, in an interview to French Le Nouvel Observateur)
The end game is on:

In the geostrategic game a region with defensible borders or a nation-state is simply a field, which can be used to move troops. Understanding the value of locations is as important as in retail, and logistic significance is as compelling a factor as exploitable ressources. The hidden hand in all warfare is logistics. Location is essential for troop movement and for strike capacity.
While China has dropped 97 percent of its holdings in U.S. Treasury bills, decreasing its ownership of the short-term U.S. government securities, retiring U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said in a parting speech to Asian war weariness, debt won’t deter US from widening military presence in Pacific Rim.

The first is a natural market response to growing uncertainty about the US economic recovery and growing debt, but widely misconstrued as an aggressive measure among common Americans. Most rational analysts admit that China has limited regional territorial disputes on which she aims to express herself with vigilance, but no interest in replacing USA as a global hegemonic power.

It is important also to remember that China is not the second largest economy in the same sense as Japan was, until recently, nor will she become the largest economic power in the same way USA was. China is a developing country with swarms of underpaid industrial workers, and a huge portion of rural Chinese excempt from the privileges of the middle class.

Even in the Chinese middle class the average household income is eight times that of the American household.

As for the cutting of the short term US treasury bills, it is more of a prelude than a blow, a signal rather than a definitive financial decision.

It does, to some degree, increase pressure on Washington to resolve its budget deficit, which Beijing has also urged via regular diplomatic channels. China remains the largest holder of the foreign portion of US treasury securities.

Her interest, right now, is to cut away from the US debt, partially in order to be able to make foreign investments. Beijing has recently criticized USA for not making enough investments, thereby hampering global economic growth.

The current movements can be interpreted as a sign that Beijing is ready to abandon the concept of USA being the primary engine of global investment and begin using its capital for direct investment on its own, as direct foreign investment in China grows at staggering rates, fuelling risk of the economy overheating.

China as the Arch-Enemy

The second event, the bold statement from Pentagon to increase its military presence in the Asia Pacific, a declaration of war against Beijing. It is an affirmation of a security pact between USA and the Western-leaning democratic nations of East Asia.

Participants in the Shangri-La Dialogue carried out since 2002, have been Australia, Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, Canada, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, New Zealand, Pakistan, People's Republic of China, Philippines, Russia, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Thailand, East Timor, United Kingdom, United States and Vietnam.

Below the radar, however, USA is talking up a storm against China. While trading with China, and relying on Chinese capital to prop up its bloated budget, USA has a general interest in portraying China as belligerent, intent on imposing her will on the world in the manner of Washington.

The political code for this is to state that "China will act like a superpower", intended to strike fear into especially the smaller and weaker democratic nations in East Asia.

To curb such fears, General Liang Guanglie vowed, at an Asian security conference in Singapore, that "China will never seek hegemony or military expansion", stressing also that the country's conventional forces is 20 years behind USA.

Six countries are making claims on the South China Sea: China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Brunei, Taiwan and Malaysia, as China estimates there could be up to 213 billion barrels of oil beneath the sea, making the owner the world's second-largest proven oil reserves, just falling behind Saudi Arabia with 264 billion barrels.

Estimates include up to two quadrillion cubic feet of hydrocarbon natural gas.

Since 1997, when China established its first pipeline connection with Central Asia through Kazakhstan, the emerging military doctrine of USA has been to combat and curb the rise of China.

In 1997, when John McCain announced his bid for presidency, the senator has consistenly called for a "League of Democracies":
"We need to renew and revitalise our democratic solidarity. We need to strengthen our transatlantic alliance as the core of a new global compact – a League of Democracies – that can harness the great power of the more than 100 democratic nations around the world to advance our values and defend our shared interests."
The concept is widely perceived to be directed by "America's perceived national interest", adressing pet issues like the "turn towards autocracy in Russia" and "unimpeded market access". You may, without infringing upon realism, add to these the US interest in establishing control over the development of the Chinese republic.

The Matrix of US Imperial Decision Making

With the waning of US economic and diplomatic power are likely to see US unilateralism carried out on an even vaster scope than in previous decades, with a closer resemblance to what we commonly know as terrorism. 

USA will direct its military operation and clandestine coups not only towards areas and regions where they have direct financial interest, but strategically, aiming at the Sino-Russian alliance, disrupting nations and economies on which the Chinese economic growth and development and stability relies.

In this context controlling the Pacific Rim, encircling China, is not deterrence, but a set-up for universal strike capacity. The Grand Area Strategy of Washington/Pentagon demands guaranteed mobility to intervene in every nation or region.

The matrix upon which this strategy relies is multi-tiered and complex, which is why it is also confounding to the majority of citizens, and capable of hiding in plain sight.

Paul Wolfowitz famously declared that Iraq was made a target, because it contained oil, but he did not mean that USA invaded for the sake of the oil. He just meant that it was an added incentive, making Iraq a more desirable goal.

There are a number of identifiable parameters for a good target:

1) Pretext: The ability to mislead the general population, as well as achieve backing from prominent multinational entities, whether they be UN or Amnesty International. The case must look solid, or provide the capacity to be made to look "just". In many cases news stories are launched in a "trial and error" mode, where Washington test the waters to determine the public response, as well as diplomatic, to see if they hold the political leverage.

2) Economy: The target must provide an avenue for increased productivity for oil, mining companies, construction contractors and so forth, fuelling the American war machine. In this grand context all of America, including her citizenry, is perceived as the structural engine of the penetrating forces. Advantage can be negative, as I pointed out in the previous comment: If you deprive China, for instance, of an advantage, Washington is seen to gain indirectly. Tibet is an economic target, even if it appears to most people to be political. It is essential to the Chinese development program, because the region is the source of the water for the Chinese irrigation projects.

Afghanistan and Pakistan remains crucial, because they provide the platform for controlling and securing the Kazakhstan Pipelines. As mentioned, China already established its first oil pipeline to Central Asia through Kazakhstan in 1997, and just like the case of the generous investments of the Bush administration in Africa, Washington policies for the region is a case of attempting to copy Chinese "soft power."

3) Strategy: A target is also a potential permanent military base, providing the logistical backup for further expansion. In the geostrategic game a region or a nation-state is simply a field. A field adjacent to field, such as Iraq (bordering up to Iran), and such as Afghanistan (bordering up to Kazakhstan), is therefore desirable. The borders of a nation, and the sphere of control it affords the military, is often the determining factor behind the military decision to attack.

Direct strike capacity is not the only value - the logistic capacity to transport or store war materials, fuel vehicles and establish "momentum" behind a campaign for "shock and awe" also adds value. You can draw direct lines - not dissimilar to the movement of pieces in checkers. The military pieces need permanent bases to "jump" from, and regardless of the hustles and bustles of politics, without permanent military presence in Afghanistan, the withdrawal of forces constitutes a military failure.

4) Politics: The effective control of a nation-state, its subduction to Washington consensus politically and economically, and its value as leverage in political matters, is also crucial to imperialist decision making. Taiwan, for instance, is relatively strategically insignificant, and economically not sufficiently important to hamper Chinese growth, even if it is the prime foreign investor. Taiwan is mainly politically significant, because it can produce pretext as a part of the "free world" oppressed by China. Western reports on human rights, worker's rights, women's rights, racism in China (Han Nationalism) - however relevant and factually accurate - are frequently being exploited to paint a picture of China as a less than benevolent rising empire.

The matrix of US foreign policy decision making is so transparent, it makes Washington predictable. You can quite accurately identify the fault lines along which American forces will be deployed. In a sense, it is the mode of the nation to engage, whenever it seems possible, wherever there is a reasonable view to American geostrategic advantage, according to the four parameters listed. In other words: If conflict can be produced, it will be produced, simply because USA is driven by the momentum of continued aggregation of advantages by military means. In that sense USA is a profoundly rational player.

Detractors and Complicating Factors

US, European and East Asian interest (namely Japan and South Korea) in a region may be threatened to a point, where USA does not find it viable or productive in a final analysis to destabilize. This is to some extent - even if there are indications that the rebel forces are controlled by CIA liaisons - the case in Libya, which is also why the campaign is so ambivalent and bungled.

There are significant oil interests, but Russia, India and China are deeply opposed to US-NATO invasion with ground forces, which is seen as a way to establish a new military-political bastion in North Africa. US complies, because of the expedience of action, and because she is not ready to compromise existing investments in the country.

Considering the direct British and French interests in the region it is unlikely that the French and British became the leading voices calling for intervention, because they participate in some destabilization game. The risk assessment effectively rules it out.

However, USA has no vital direct interests in Libya. It is entirely feasible that Libya is a constructed attempt at exploiting the Arab Spring as an element of a general "curb, contain and control strategy", and for the sake of expanding the Western hemisphere with an important "plus one" bordering directly to Egypt, a country whose influence in the escalating Middle East Conflict has suddenly become multiplied.

In Iraq and Afghanistan the neocons greatly underestimated the cultural opposition, while it overestimated its own ability to conduct effective anti-guerilla warfare, plus its own martial virtue.

Martial virtue is a hugely underestimated factor in modern warfare, whereas it has been crucial in all historical conflicts. The inability to control your troops, and conduct invasion in an ethically defensible manner, and the deterioration of a campaign into atrocious behavior such as Falluja, Abu Ghraib, the Afghan Kill Team and many other examples, is a clear detractor and complicating factor.

Atrocities are, particularly in the case of illegal invasions, seen as a natural extention of the lack of virtue of the invading culture, and perhaps fairly so. What to the cynic may appear to be structurally insignificant deviations from some paper code is, to the vast majority of citizens on Earth, indications of the ability of a power to govern affairs to the interest of common people. This is, to a large degree, why neo-conservatism had to be publicly buried, and why in the last woes of empire, American commanders complained about losing "the battle for the hearts and minds."

In the resurrected version of US imperialism these elements will have to play a larger role.

The last dectractor and complicating factor I will mention is MAD, Mutually Assured Destruction or, as some have dubbed it, "Mutually Assured Distress", as the doctrine has also been expanded to encompass certain devastating sanctions in case of violation. It is the case for Iran, who holds the Hormutz Strait Crisis weapon, and for China who holds the power to dump the US treasuries and remove teh privileged position of the dollar as universal reserve currency.

Combined, Russia and China "outnukes" USA. Sanction comes in "high wield" and "low wield" form. Total disruption of US economy, or blocking 80 percent of oil transports from the Persian Gulf, are to be considered "high wield" and, just like nukes, a last resort.

In this game low wield sanction is as important as high wield options, and in many cases far more useful. Countries need a carefully laid out strategy of gradual deterrence in the age of ressource war, in order to be able to "signal" to the public empowering decision makers that there is a price to be paid for aggression, but also that the diplomatic response is measured, reality-accurate and not "fanatic" or a part of a zero-sum game aiming for the total destruction of USA.

The problem for a lot of poor countries is, of course, that they hold neither high wield or low wield deterrents against foreign aggression of the scale represented by USA. Even China has admitted she is not capable of defending herself against an American invasion by conventional means.

A Measured Defensive Strategy

The most important keys to effectively securing autonomy in the age of Ressource War are:

1) To study and learn the Washington decision matrix and identify your country's ranking on the "hit list", which may not be as favorable as it would appear from public dialogue. The idea that you can stay out of trouble by being inconspicous in the conflict belongs to the era before the Cold War. USA is not going to take on China and Russia head on, which is also why the utterances against them are muffled. USA is going to continue to pick on weaker parties that are perceived to be crucial to especially Chinese interest.

2) To clearly identify the main instruments of control exercised on your country, economic as well as military, and potential gateways for control, including media and cultural imperialism, funding of insurrection, and strategic arms dealing. That is not to say that Western media is an instrument of aggression or disruption as such, but in many cases specific tendencies in reporting are products of political programming and tendentious rhetoric, aimed to produce pretext for sanctions or intervention.

3) To assess the real value of your country's product and the subsequent strength of its diplomatic ties, and the probability of diplomatic or military support in case of calls for aggression. It will be essential to form alliances according to the most pessimistic risk assessment. Your geographical position can become the sole reason for your involvement in a global conflict. Assess therefore also the strategic importance of every nation your are linked to with mutual borders.

4) To assess the strength of your entire network, and the primary partners upon which the growth and stability of your nation relies, since these are associated targets in any conflict. It is also important to remember that, as in the case of Pakistan, you may become a target by association with a higher ranking target, such as China. Conflict travels along opaque lines of communication - an economic conflict can morph, inside the minds of decision makers, to a strategic necessity, and reversely a strategic interest may morph into hostile economic measures.

5) Utilizing media and means of modern communication to make your country's security concerns widely known. The Resource War conflicts build up beneath the public radar and are often outside the attention or interest of global supranational entities. The West holds almost absolute control of the narrative to the degree, where questionable cultural habits in a small region, or isolated  human rights violations, can become the rhetorical vehicle for aggression, whether economic or military. Controlling the narrative is, in the age of globalized information, the most effective deterrent, and it is advisable to make attempts at this before a conflict breaks out, rather than to climb the steep ladder in the midst of turmoil.

In essence, it behooves any intelligence agency, nation leader or parliament to conduct a brutally honest SWOT analysis. It is also important to recognize the fact that in this new structure of multi-tiered aggressive competition defense systems alone cannot protect a nation.

The main problem in this age is that the economies and subsequently the political structures grow increasingly intertwined, while Washington, the largest economy and the greatest military power, is continuing its operations in an antiquated doctrine of power. This effectively makes everybody a potential target, along the lines of "if you are not with us, you are against us", even when not expressed as crudely.

Until the US bid for total planetary control is buried and replaced with a genuine soft power approach carried out in good faith, the rest of the world, including Europe and other allies, have no choice but to cautiously cautiously comply for as much as it is reasonable and good for the overall development, and for the interests of the individual nations, while at the same time creating checks and balances to Washington by stacking an effective opposition to its hegemonic power.

Economic downturn increases the propensity for political radicalization, militarism and irrational policies. The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has just issued a warning that the ‘Deep State’ intelligence and security organizations in the United States have now grown larger than similar agencies in the fascist dictatorship of Nazi Germany in the 1920’s.

For all its merits in science and philosophy, the American learning curve is significantly behind the curve when comes to learning to operate in the globalized reality. The American ignorance about geography is a common point of ridicule. The reason is simple: The learning curve is not steeper for USA, rather the opposite. USA falls behind in understanding the world, because what she is doing has worked for so long. The faster the world steps up and introduces the lesson that unilateral military action does not pay off, not even for the "world's policeman", the sooner a new and more peaceful dynamic than the one described here can be established.

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