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02.22 Report: Climate Denier to Lead White House Climate Panel [“Stupid is as stupid does.” –Forrest Gump]
02.22 The Uninhabitable Earth [Lots more important than all other problems put together]
02.16 Toxic black snow covers Siberian coalmining region [0:49 video; If its killing us, stop doing it]
02.16 Renewable energy will be world's main power source by 2040, says BP [But in America's capitalistic bubble, bribed-to-be-biased media and government defy reality]
02.16 What the pesticides in our urine tell us about organic food [What does inaction tell us about capitalism and our government?]
02.14 Exposure to Glyphosate-Based Herbicides and Risk for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma: A Meta-Analysis and Supporting Evidence [If its killing us, make it illegal]
02.14 To avoid environmental catastrophe, everything must change [Consider why this headline is laughable or confusing to many, if not most, Americans...]02.13 Study Shows Toxic Pesticide Levels in Families Dropped by 60% After One-Week Organic Diet [2:10 video; Produce and canned vegetables laced with toxic chemicals—from fertilizers and herbicides, too—must be quickly phased out to use safe organic alternatives]
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US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'
02.20 ‘Sustained and ongoing’ disinformation assault targets Dem presidential candidates [If you can sense them, block them!]
02.20 Despite the slaughter in Yemen, Britain is still chasing arms sales [and the Great-Again-America is too...Capitalism without morality is horrible]
Economics & Corrupting-Capitalism
International & FuturismSanders Has an Advantage, and It’s Not [Just] About Economics
02.22 When multilateralism crumbles, so does our rules-based order [this enables easier corruption by banks and oligarchs and may result in complete societal breakdown, chaos and war]
02.22 Trump has turned foreign aid into shabby political theatre [Psychopaths are a sub-human species without empathy or morals.]
02.21 John Oliver Compares Brexit ‘Disaster’ to Will Smith’s Genie in Live-Action ‘Aladdin’ (Video) [21:26 video; we’re approaching an Idiocracy-type of society, where stupidity is “normal”]
02.20 House report lays bare White House feud over Saudi nuclear push [Its hard to keep up with all the criminal crap going on...]
BOOK REVIEW & COMMENTARY:
Reviewing F. William Engdahl's "Full Spectrum Dominance: Totalitarian Democracy in the New World Order:" Part I
Monday, 22 June 2009
In late 1989, America had a choice. As the sole remaining superpower, it could have worked for a new era of peace and prosperity. Instead, Washington, under GHW Bush and his successors, chose stealth, deception, lies and wars to attempt to control the Eurasian Heartland – and by extension planet earth – through an agenda later called "full spectrum dominance."
For over 30 years, F. William Engdahl has been a leading researcher, economist, and analyst of the New World Order with extensive writing to his credit on energy, politics, and economics. He contributes regularly to business and other publications, is a frequent speaker on geopolitical, economic and energy issues, and is a distinguished Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.
Engdahl's two previous books include "A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order " explaining that America's post-WW II dominance rests on two pillars and one commodity - unchallengeable military power and the dollar as the world's reserve currency along with the quest to control global oil and other energy resources.
Engdahl's other book is titled "Seeds of Destruction: The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation " on how four Anglo-American agribusiness giants plan world domination by patenting all life forms to force-feed GMO foods on everyone - even though eating them poses serious human health risks.
Engdahl's newest book is reviewed below. Titled "Full Spectrum Dominance: Totalitarian Democracy in the New World Order ," it discusses America's grand strategy, first revealed in the 1998 US Space Command document - Vision for 2020. Later released in 2000 as DOD Joint Vision 2020, it called for "full spectrum dominance" over all land, surface and sub-surface sea, air, space, electromagnetic spectrum and information systems with enough overwhelming power to fight and win global wars against any adversary, including with nuclear weapons preemptively.
Other means as well, including propaganda, NGOs and Color Revolutions for regime change, expanding NATO eastward, and "a vast array of psychological and economic warfare techniques" as part of a "Revolution in Military Affairs" discussed below.
September 11, 2001 served as pretext to consolidate power, destroy civil liberties and human rights, and wage permanent wars against invented enemies for global dominance over world markets, resources, and cheap labor - at the expense of democratic freedoms and social justice. Engdahl's book presents a frightening view of the future, arriving much sooner than most think.
After the Soviet Union's dissolution in late 1989, America had a choice. As the sole remaining superpower, it could have worked for a new era of peace and prosperity, ended decades of Cold War tensions, halted the insane arms race, turned swords into plowshares, and diverted hundreds of billions annually from "defense" to "rebuild(ing) civilian infrastructure and repair(ing) impoverished cities."
Instead, Washington, under GHW Bush and his successors, "chose stealth, deception, lies and wars to attempt to control the Eurasian Heartland - its only potential rival as an economic region - by military (political, and economic) force," and by extension planet earth through an agenda later called "full spectrum dominance."
As a result, the Cold War never ended and today rages with over a trillion dollars spent annually on "defense" in all forms even though America has no enemy, nor did it after the Japanese surrendered in August 1945. So the solution was to invent them, and so they were.
Post-Soviet Russia, "The 'new' Cold War assumed various disguises and deceptive tactics until September 11, 2001" changed the game. It let George Bush "declare (a) permanent (Global War on Terror) against an enemy who was everywhere and nowhere, who allegedly threatened the American way of life, justified (police state) laws," and is now destroying our freedoms and futures.
The roots of the scheme go back decades - at least to 1939 when powerful New York Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) insiders planned a post-war world with one nation alone triumphant and unchallengeable.
Engdahl's book is a geopolitical analysis of the past two decades - peering into "the dark corners of Pentagon strategy and actions and the extreme dangers ('full spectrum dominance' holds for) the future," not just to America but the entire world.
Things are so out-of-control today that democratic freedoms and planetary life itself are threatened by "the growing risk of nuclear war by miscalculation" or the foolhardy assumption that waging it can be limited, controlled, and safe - like turning a faucet on and off. The very notion is implausible and reckless on its face, yet powerful forces in the country think this way and plan accordingly.
The Guns of August 2008
On the 8th day of the 8th month of the 8th year of the new century, a place few people in the West ever heard of made headlines when Georgia's army invaded South Ossetia - its province that broke away in 1991 and declared its independence. For a brief period, world tensions were more heightened than at any time since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis when only cooler heads avoided possible nuclear war.
Like then, the crisis was a Washington provocation with tiny Georgia a mere pawn in a dangerous high-stakes confrontation - a new Great Game that former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski described in his 1997 book, "The Grand Chessboard."
He called Eurasia the "center of world power extending from Germany and Poland in the East through Russia and China to the Pacific and including the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent." He explained that America's urgent task was to assure that "no state or combination of states gains the capacity to expel the United States from Eurasia or even to diminish significantly its decisive arbitration role." Dominating that part of the world is key to controlling the planet, and its the main reason for NATO's existence. From inception, its mission was offense.
Post-Cold War, Washington used the illusion of democracy to dominate everywhere - with the long arm of the Pentagon and NATO as enforcers. Euphoric East Europeans couldn't know that American-style democracy was even more repressive than what had ended. Decades of Voice of America and Radio Free Europe propaganda was soon revealed to be no different than the Soviet system they rejected and in some ways much worse.
Western-imposed "shock therapy" meant "free market" hokum, mass privatizations, ending the public sphere, unrestricted access for foreign corporations unemcumbered by pesky regulations, deep social service cuts, loss of job security, poverty wages, repressive laws, and entire economies transformed to benefit a powerful corporate ruling class partnered with corrupted political elites. Globally, Russia got billionaire "oligarchs," China "the princelings," Chile "the piranhas," and in new millennium America the Bush-Cheney "Pioneers" and Obama Wall Street Top Guns wrecking global havoc for self-enrichment.
As for ordinary people, Russia is instructive for what's heading everywhere:
Mikhail Gorvachev tried to revitalize Soviet Russia with Glasnost and Perestroika but failed. In return for agreeing to "shock therapy" and nuclear disarmament, GHW Bush promised no eastward NATO extension into newly liberated Warsaw Pact countries. The Russian Duma, in fact, ratified Start II, providing a firm disarmament schedule - contingent on both countries prohibiting a missile defense deployment as stipulated under the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM).
On December 14, 2001, the Bush administration withdrew from ABM and much more. It claimed the right to develop and test new nuclear weapons (in violation of NPT), rescinded the Biological and Toxic Weapons Convention, greatly increased military spending, refused to consider a Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty to increase already large stockpiles, and claimed the right to wage preventive wars under the doctrine of "anticipatory self-defense" using first-strike nuclear weapons.
The door was now open for enhanced militarization, creation of the US Missile Defense Agency, and proof again that trusting America is foolhardy and dangerous. Both GHW Bush and Bill Clinton lied by enticing former Warsaw Pact countries into NATO, one by one.
At the beginning of the 1990s, Zbigniew Brzezinski described America's arrogance this way:
Brzezinski understood the dangers of imperial arrogance, causing the decline and fall of previous empires. Even a superpower like the US is vulnerable. He was very comfortable with an American Century, only leery of the means to achieve and keeping it. In 2008, with 28 NATO country members, including 10 former Warsaw Pact ones, Washington sought admission for Georgia and Ukraine, and did so after announcing in early 2007 the planned installation of interceptor missiles in Poland and advanced tracking radar in the Czech Republic, both NATO members.
Allegedly for defense against Iran and other "rogue" states, it clearly targeted Russia by guaranteeing America a nuclear first-strike edge, and that provoked a sharp Kremlin response. Washington's deployment is for offense as are all US/NATO installations globally.
Vladimir Putin expressed outrage in his February 2007 Munich International Conference on Security address stating:
Putin's speech drew a storm of US media Russia-bashing. Last August, it got this writer to comment in an article titled "Reinventing the Evil Empire," saying: Russia is back, proud and re-assertive, and not about to roll over for America, especially in Eurasia. For Washington, it's back to the future with a new Cold War, but this time for greater stakes and with much larger threats to world peace.
Over the past two decades, Washington upped the ante, encroaching on Russia's borders and encircling it with it with NATO/US bases clearly designed for offense and to block the spread of democratic freedoms to former Soviet Republics. "Diabolical propaganda" made it work by projecting imperial America as a colonial liberator bringing "free market" capitalism to the East. It succeeded as "long as the United States was the world's largest economy and American dollars were in demand as (the) de facto world reserve currency...." For decades, America "portray(ed) itself as the beacon of liberty for newly independent nations of Africa and Asia," as well as former Soviet Republics and Warsaw Pact nations.
Geopolitical Reality - America's New Manifest Destiny, Global Expansion to the Vastness of Eurasia
For over a century, America sought "total economic and military control over (Soviet) Russia" through the full strength of its military-industrial-security sectors - by war or other means. From 1945, the Pentagon planned a first-strike nuclear war, an "all out conventional war (called) TOTALITY (as) drafted by General Dwight Eisenhower" per Harry Truman's order, the same man who used atomic weapons against a defeated Japan instead of accepting its requested surrender.
With the dissolution of the Soviet Union, America's superpower supremacy depends on "precluding Eurasian countries from developing their own defense pillars or security structures independent of US-controlled NATO," especially to prevent a powerful China-Russia alliance capable of serious challenge, along with other Eurasian states, notably oil rich ones.
As geopolitical strategist Halford Mackinder (1861 - 1947) observed in his most famous dictum:
Mackinder's World-Island was Eurasia, all of Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
Early in the last century and notably post-WW II, America determined to rule even at the risk of all out nuclear war. For its part, Britain intended to stay in the game, and in April 1945, Winston Churchill urged Dwight Eisenhower and Franklin Roosevelt "to launch an immediate full-scale war against the Soviet Union, using up to 12 captured German divisions (as) cannon fodder to destroy Russia once and for all."
Instead, Washington invented a post-war enemy, and got Europe and Asian countries to feel threatened enough to agree to US dictates, even ones contrary to their own interests. As for America, in 1945, Truman ordered Eisenhower "to prepare secret plans for a surprise nuclear strike on some (Soviet) cities (despite knowing the Kremlin) posed no direct or immediate threat to the United States" or its close allies.
A nuclear-armed Russia with intercontinental missile capabilities halted the threat - until the 2001 Bush Doctrine asserted the right to wage preventive wars, with first-strike nuclear weapons, to depose foreign regimes perceived dangerous to US security and interests. That was the strategy behind the 2008 Georgian conflict that could have escalated into nuclear war.
Defused for the moment, "a number of leading US policy makers (see Russia today) as unfinished business (and seek its) complete dismemberment (as) an independent pivot for Eurasia." Nuclear superiority, encirclement, and "diabolical propaganda" are three tools among others to finish the job and leave America the sole remaining superpower. Disempowering Russia and China will create an open field for a "total global American Century - the realization of 'full spectrum dominance,' as the Pentagon called it."
Today, under Obama as under Bush, the risk of nuclear war by miscalculation is highest in nearly half a century. With America the clear aggressor, Russia may feel its only option is strike first while able or delay and face the consequences when it's too late. The closer offensive nuclear missiles are to its borders, the nearer it gets to disempowerment, further dismemberment, and possible nuclear annihilation.
Its reaction left few doubts of its response. In February 2007, Strategic Rocket Forces commander Col. Gen. Nikolai Solovtsov said "Moscow would target US Ballistic Missile Defense sites with its nuclear arsenal if Washington" proceeded with its plans. Putin delivered harsh rhetoric and announced Russia would spend $190 billion over the next eight years to modernize its military by 2015 and that state-of-the-art weapons would take precedence. His message was clear. A New Cold War/nuclear arms race was on with Russia ready to contend "out of national survival considerations," not a desire for confrontation.
"Missile Defense" for Offense
On March 23, 1983, Ronald Reagan proposed the idea in a speech calling for greater Cold War military spending, including a huge R & D program for what became known as "Star Wars" - in impermeable anti-missile space shield called the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI). The idea then (and now) was fantasy, but a glorious one for defense contractors who've profited hugely ever since.
The Clinton administration gave it modest support until the National Missile Defense Act of 1999 proposed an active missile defense "as soon as is technologically possible...."
When George Bush became president, Donald Rumsfeld wanted war preparations to include missile defense and space-based weapons to destroy targets anywhere in the world quickly for "full spectrum dominance." The strategy included "deployment of a revolutionary new technique of regime change to impose or install 'US-friendly' regimes throughout the former Soviet Union and across Eurasia."
Controlling Russia - Color Revolutions and Swarming Coups
"Swarming" is a RAND Corporation term referring to "communication patterns and movement of" bees and other insects and applying it to military conflict by other means. It plays out through covert CIA actions to overthrow democratically elected governments, remove foreign leaders and key officials, prop up friendly dictators, and target individuals anywhere in the world.
Also through propaganda and activities of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the International Republican Institute (IRI), and National Democratic Institute (NDI) - posing as NGOs but, in fact, are US government-funded organizations charged with subverting democracy, uprooting it where it exists, or preventing its creation by criminally disruptive means. Methods include non-violent strikes, mass street protests, and major media agitprop for regime change - much like what's now playing out in Iran after its presidential election.
Other recent examples include the Belgrade 2000 coup against Slobodan Misosevic, Georgia's 2003 Rose Revolution ousting Eduard Shevardnadze for the US-installed stooge, Mikheil Saakashvili, and the 2004-05 Ukraine Orange Revolution, based on faked electoral fraud, to install another Washington favorite, Viktor Yushchenko. The idea is to isolate Russia by cutting off its economic lifeline - the "pipeline networks that (carry its) huge reserves of oil and natural gas from the Urals and Serbia to Western Europe and Eurasia..." They run through Ukraine, a nation "so intertwined (with Russia) economically, socially and culturally, especially in the east of the country, that they were almost indistinguishable from one another."
Achieving geopolitical aims this way is far simpler and cheaper than waging wars "while convincing the world (that regime change was the result of) spontaneous outbursts for freedom. (It's) a dangerously effective weapon."
In 1953, cruder CIA methods toppled democratically elected Iranian Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh - the agency's first successful coup d'etat to install Reza Shah Pahlavi, the Shah of Iran.
In 1954, it deposed the popularly elected Jacobo Arbenz and replaced him with a military dictator - on the pretext of removing a non-existent communist threat. Arbenz, like other targets, threatened US business interests by favoring land reform, strong unions, and wealth distribution to alleviate extreme poverty in their countries.
Short of war, various tactics aim to prevent them: "propaganda, stuffed ballot boxes, bought elections, extortion, blackmail, sexual intrigue, false stories about opponents in the local media, transportation strikes, infiltration and disruption of opposing political parties, kidnapping, beating, torture, intimidation, economic sabotage, death squads and even assassination (culminating in) a military (or other coup to install) a 'pro-American' right-wing dictator" - while claiming it's democracy in action. For decades, countries in Latin America, the Middle East, and other world regions have been frequent victims.
Since the CIA's 1947 creation, "national security" and a fake communist threat justified every imaginable crime from propaganda to economic warfare, sabotage, assassinations, coup d'etats, torture, foreign wars and much more.
However, by the 1960s, new forms of covert regime change emerged along the lines that RAND studies called "swarming" - the idea being to develop social manipulation techniques or disruptive outbreaks short of wars or violent uprisings. After 2000, as mentioned above, they played out in Central Europe's Color Revolutions. According to State Department and intelligence community officials, "It seemed to be the perfect model for eliminating regimes opposed to US policy," whether or not popularly elected. Every regime is now vulnerable to "new methods of warfare" by other means, including economic ones very much in play now and earlier.
Organizations like the Gene Sharp Albert Einstein Institution, George Soros' Open Society Foundation, Freedom House and others are very much involved, and Sharp's web site admits being active with "pro-democracy" groups in Burma, Thailand, Tibet, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Belarus, and Serbia. They all conveniently "coincided with the US State Department's targets for regime change over the same period."
Eurasian Pipeline Wars
Central to the current conflict is control of the region's vast oil and gas reserves, and as long as Russia can use its resources "to win economic allies in Western Europe, China, and elsewhere, it (can't) be politically isolated." As a result, Moscow reacts harshly to military encirclement and bordering Color Revolutions - hostile acts, the geopolitical equivalence of war.
For America to remain the sole superpower, controlling global oil and gas flows is crucial along with cutting off China from Caspian Sea reserves and securing the energy routes and networks between Russia and the EU.
It's why America invaded and occupies Afghanistan and Iraq, incited Baltic wars in the 1990s, attacked Kosovo and Serbia in 1999, threatens Iran repeatedly and imposes sanctions, and keeps trying to oust Hugo Chavez. For its part under Vladimir Putin, Russia's economy began to grow for the first time in decades. It's rich in oil and gas, and uses them strategically to gain influence enough to rival Washington, especially in alliance with China and other former Soviet states like Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, united in the 2001-formed Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) with Iran and India having observer status.
Under Bush-Cheney, Washington reacted aggressively. "full spectrum dominance" is the aim with Russia and China the main targets. Controlling world energy resources is central, and nothing under Obama has changed. Iraq's occupation continues and Afghanistan operations are enhanced with increased troop deployments under newly appointed General Stanley McChrystal's command - a hired gun, a man with a reputation for brutishness that includes torture, assassinations, indifference to civilian deaths, and willingness to destroy villages to save them.
As long as Russia and China stay free from US control, "full spectrum dominance" is impossible. Encircling the former with NATO bases, Color Revolutions, and incorporating former Soviet states into NATO and the EU are all part of the same grand strategy - "deconstruct(ing) Russia once and for all as a potential rival to a sole US Superpower hegemony."
Vladimir Putin stands in the way, "a dynamic nationalist (leader) committed to rebuilding" his country. In 2003, a defining geopolitical event occurred when Putin had billionaire oligarch, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, arrested on charges of tax evasion and put his shares in giant Yukos Oil group under state control.
It followed a decisive Russian Duma (lower house) election in which Khodorkovsky "was reliably alleged" to have used his wealth for enough votes to gain a majority - to challenge Putin in 2004 for president. Khodorkovsky violated his pledge to stay out of politics in return for keeping his assets and stolen billions provided he repatriate enough of them back home.
His arrest also came after a report surfaced about a meeting with Dick Cheney in Washington, followed by others with ExxonMobil and ChevronTexaco. They discussed acquiring a major stake of up to 40% of Yukos or enough to give Washington and Big Oil "de facto veto power over future Russian oil and gas pipelines and oil deals." Khodorkovsky also met with GHW Bush and had ties to the Carlyle Group, the influential US firm with figures like James Baker one of its partners.
Had Exxon and Chevron consummated the deal, it would have been an "energy coup d'etat. Cheney knew it; Bush knew it; Khodorkovsky knew it. Above all, Vladimir Putin knew it and moved decisively to block it" and hit hard on Khodorkosky in the process. It "signaled a decisive turn....towards rebuilding Russia and erecting strategic defenses." By late 2004, Moscow understood that a New Cold War was on over "strategic energy control and unilateral nuclear primacy," and Putin moved from defense to a "new dynamic offensive aimed at securing a more viable geopolitical position by using (Russia's) energy as the lever."
It involves reclaiming Russia's oil and gas reserves given away by Boris Yeltsin. Also strengthening and modernizing the country's military and nuclear deterrent to enhance its long-term security. Russia remains a military powerhouse and displays impressive technology at international trade shows, including the S-300 and more powerful S-400, reportedly more potent than comparable US systems.
Controlling China with Synthetic Democracy
From the 1940s to today, America's China strategy has been "divide and conquer," only tactics have varied from "big stick" to "carrot-and-stick" diplomacy. Key is to keep Russia and China from cooperating economically and militarily, "maintain a strategy of tension across Asia, and particularly Eurasia" (that, of course includes the Middle East and its oil riches) - for the overarching goal of total "control of China as the potential economic colossus of Asia."
With America embroiled in Eurasian wars, policy now "masquerad(es) behind the issues of human rights and 'democracy' as weapons of psychological and economic warfare."
Another initiative as well is ongoing - the 2007 AFRICOM authorization, the US Africa Command to control the continent's 53 countries no differently than the rest of the world, using military force as necessary. China's increasing need for Africa's resources (including oil), not terrorism, is the reason.
The 2008 Army Modernization Strategy (AMS) focuses on "full spectrum dominance," controlling world resources, and the prospect of wars for three to four decades to secure them. China and Russia are most feared as serious competitors - the former for its explosive economic growth and resource requirements and the latter for its energy, other raw material riches, and military strength.
AMS also included another threat - "population growth" threatening America and the West with "radical ideologies" and hence instability as well as unwanted "resource competition" that expanding economies require - everything from food to water, energy and other raw materials. These issues lay behind AFRCOM's creation and strategy for hardline militarism globally.
America's second president, John Adams, once said: "there are two ways to conquer and enslave a nation. One is by the sword. The other is by debt," or more broadly economic warfare. With much of US manufacturing offshored in China, both methods are constrained so an alternative scheme is used - human rights and democracy by an America disdaining both at home or abroad.
Nonetheless, in 2004, the State Department's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor targeted China on these issues with millions in funding, headed by a right-wing conservative, Paula Dobriansky. She's a CFR member, NED vice chairman, Freedom House board member, senior fellow at the neo-conservative Hudson Institute, and member of the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) at which she endorsed attacking Iraq in 1998. Now she targets China with "soft warfare" strategy that's just as deadly.
Other tools include the Dalai Lama organizations in Tibet, Falun Gong in China, "an arsenal of (global) NGOs" carefully recruited for their mission, and, of course, the Western media, including public television and radio in America and BBC globally.
Weaponizing Human Rights - From Darfur to Myanmar to Tibet
In targeting China, Washington's human rights/democracy offensive focused on Myanmar, Tibet, and oil-rich Darfur. Called the "Saffron Revolution" in Myanmar (formerly Burma), it featured Western media images of saffron-robed Buddhist Monks on Yangon (formerly Rangoon) streets calling for more democracy. "Behind the scenes, however, was a battle of major geopolitical consequence" with Myanmar's people mere props for a Washington-hatched scheme - employing Eurasian Color Revolution tactics:
Also at stake is control of vital sea lanes from the Persian Gulf to the South China Sea with the Myanmar coastline "providing shipping and naval access to one of the world's most strategic waterways, the Strait of Malacca, the narrow ship passage between Malaysia and Indonesia."
Since 9/11, the Pentagon tried but failed to militarize the region except for an airbase on Indonesia's northernmost tip. Myanmar rejected similar overtures - hence its being targeted for its strategic importance. "The Strait of Malacca, linking the Indian and Pacific Oceans, (is) the shortest sea route between the Persian Gulf and China. (It's) the key chokepoint in Asia" so controlling it is key. China has close ties to Myanmar. It's provided billions in military assistance and developed the infrastructure. The country is also oil-rich, on its territory and offshore.
China is the world's fastest growing energy market. Over 80% of its oil imports pass through the Strait. Controlling it keeps a chokehold over China's life-line, and if it's ever closed, about half the world's tanker fleet would have thousands of extra miles to travel at far higher freight costs.
In summer 2007, Myanmar and PetroChina signed a long-term Memorandum of Understanding - to supply China with substantial natural gas from its Shwe gas field in the Bay of Bengal. India was the main loser after China offered to invest billions for a strategic China-Myanmar oil and gas pipeline across the country to China's Yunnan Province. The same pipeline could give China access to Middle East and African oil by bypassing the Malacca Strait. "Myanmar would become China's 'bridge' linking Bangladesh and countries westward to the China mainland" trumping Washington should it succeed in controlling the Strait - a potential geopolitical disaster America had to prevent, hence the 2007 "Saffron Revolution" that failed.
India's Dangerous Alliance Shift
From 2005, India was "pushed into a strategic alliance with Washington" to counter China's growing influence in Asia and to have a "capable partner who can take on more responsibility for low-end operations" - directed at China and to provide bases and access to project US power in the region. To sweeten the deal, the Bush administration offered to sell (nuclear outlaw) India advanced nuclear technology. At the same time, it bashed Iran for its legitimate commercial operations, and now Obama threatens hardened sanctions and perhaps war without year end 2009 compliance with clearly outrageous demands.
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to The Global Research News Hour on RepublicBroadcasting.org Mondays from 11AM to 1PM US Central time for cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on world and national topics. All programs are archived for easy listening.
Mr. Lendman's stories are republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.
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Baltimore News Network, Inc., sponsor of this web site, is a nonprofit organization and does not make political endorsements. The opinions expressed in stories posted on this web site are the authors' own.This story was published on June 22, 2009.
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