NATO continues to push east, Russia is moving south, China is sweeping across to Africa, as central and south America press north into mainland United States. This is manifestly a clockwise rotation in the regional geostrategic. Are we, then, going in circles? And, as some have suggested, do all roads lead to Washington?
Destabilising the nations of the Middle East, upsetting a Sunni-Shiite status quo, and exploiting sectarian rivalries, it can be argued, is modus operandi of the West, from Arab Spring to eternal discontent. Sykes-Picot, Bernard-Lewis, Brzezinski, and Lieutenant-Colonel Ralph Peters are all names in the step-wise progression from post-WWI to neo-colonial Middle East, the roadmap for its ‘Balkanization’ and ‘Finlandization’ laid out (see map below).
Yet U.S. foreign-policy focus has moved steadily northeast, from the Middle East into Eurasia. Fuss not over the ‘bit-player’ (or even the moderate power) to concentrate efforts on the big players — Russia and China, and remaining ‘BRICS‘ nations.
Enter, … stage West, NATO. Enter, stage South, ISIS and a disintegrating Middle East. And, enter stage East, Pacific nations and Japan. Encirclement —to the point of choking— is the name of this game, and it is being played at the highest level and for the highest stakes — and highest risk.
Aim to have positions —achieved already by NATO in Poland and Czechoslovakia, for instance, and those in planning for Ukraine and others— to nullify any potential for an immediate response to an American pre-emptive nuclear strike on Russia. More specifically, widespread loco-regional full spectrum dominance aims to re-exert hegemony by restraining opponents through minor skirmishes and forced resource bottlenecks and controls, without a resorting [hopefully] to tactical nukes and ICBMs.
That is, in effect, a global “Check-Mate” strategized for the prolongation of Anglo-American dominance of this Asian century, by applying a ‘choke-hold‘ to opponents, to forestall collapse of the USD as global reserve currency. Empire does not die wandering.
Consider the effect of the Libyan crisis on not just Middle-Eastern but the (obvious, yet less spoken of) north and central African geopolitic (take a moment to look at the image below), at a time when an emergent China is licentious in its courting of Africa for resources and economic cooperation.
But to achieve this the West will need also to keep China busied closer to home — from unrest in neighbouring Pakistan and Afghanistan [“check”], uprisings in Xinjiang province [“check”], and disputes with its Pacific neighbours [“check”], for which the basis for significant local disruptions has been fomented. And add to this now also Hong Kong.
Russia will need to be preoccupied too. This is where the Middle East comes in. Flaming the Shiite-Sunni fire and keeping the likes of Iran and Turkey embroiled, using the ISIS mercenaries to run amok not only in the Middle East but spread and foment unrest at the Caucasus and up into Russia’s soft underbelly. (Many people are unaware of the number of Chechen and fighters of Central Asian origin recruited to ISIS ranks).
In this respect it has been said, by Zbigniew Brzezinski no less, that the Middle East is the lever through which to exert indirect control of the resource-rich crossroad and transportation hub that is Eurasia, with its geographic intimacy to the emergent eastern power base. Such a, albeit fantastic, scenario shines the spotlight onto the ISIS mercenary force (funded by Qatar and Saudi Arabia, aided and abetted by arms transfers through Turkey as well as Libya, via the proxy-war in Syria). How else to explain the dog-and-pony show otherwise known as the war on ISIS? Everywhere these Western-trained slaughterers turn, it seems, they stumble upon munitions, armour, or cash.
And all the while we have the Saudis playing oil games — flooding the OPEC market and plunging the price of a barrel to below the critical USD90 level, at which point it starts becoming uneconomic for Russian miners [much to U.S. delight], but also paradoxically to the U.S., ensuring ongoing political leverage in Washington by way of Saudi oil.
An LNG pipeline from the Pars field in Qatar through Syria, bypassing the Ukraine [Russian gas] pipeline to Europe, was blocked by President Assad. Qatari gas is significantly more profitable than Russian and consequently can be offered at a discount to the Russian. Aside from upsetting the delicate balance within the critical ‘Shiite crescent‘, this is a major reason for U.S. posturing against Assad. Obviously this would be detrimental to Shiite Iran, an ally of Russia whom the U.S. is also courting, in the potential for exchange of sanction relief and freedom to enrich uranium. Southern Europe’s Gas Wars confirm only that every man has his price.
Unlikely as it may seem — but short of crossing the Rubicon into conspiracy theory — perhaps Colour Revolutions, Arab Spring, Euromaidan, Sudanese fighting, civil war in Syria, and the crescendo in Israeli-Palestine unrest are, after all, more interwoven issues than is apparent at first blush. Eschatologists will think so. And the same eschatologists will also be interested to know that “D.C.“, as Rome (and Jerusalem for that matter), is a city that sits on seven hills …
This alternative [and at times compelling] counterpoint to the main news narrative is one of a fault line, where East meets West, and in which West is not necessarily best. And we are left going in circles.
Featured Image: Istanbul observatory, 1577 [Wikimedia Commons]