Is the Anglo-American
empire losing the "Great Energy Game"?
By Larry Chin
Online Journal Associate Editor
a second successful bid to tap Kazakhstan’s oil, China’s state
owned CITIC Group has won approval from the Kazakhstani
government to buy the Karazhambas oil field (owned by Nations
Energy of Canada) located near Aqtua on the Caspian Sea.
China slakes oil thirst: Kazakhstan to sell field for nearly $2
billion (San Francisco Chronicle)
The first success came in 2005, when Kazakhstan’s president,
Nursultan Nazarbayev, approved of the sale of Petrokazakhstan to
China National Petroleum (CNOOC) in 2005.
As revealed in the San Francisco Chronicle report, both
China-Kazakhstan deals have come at a steep price (that China is
willing to pay), and over intense and continuous opposition from
Washington and western oil consortiums. China has agreed to
build and finance the proposed 2,000-mile pipeline from
Kazakhstan to eastern Chinese border.
While China and Russia continue to "win" in Central Asia, the
West continues to lose political and economic clout everywhere.
The George W. Bush administration’s destructive "war on
terrorism," begun with 9/11, has failed to accomplish its
central purpose, which was to occupy Central Asia and the Middle
East, control the energy flows and strategic corridors across
both regions, while blocking competitive cooperative agreements
and energy-related ventures by Russia and China.
The increasing Chinese stake in Kazakhstan, and the successful
Russian influence over Central Asian energy flows, is a
particularly bitter defeat for a Bush administration now staring
back at years of disastrous and blood-soaked failure.
Access to Kazakh riches was a priority in the 1990s, exemplified
by the deals (legitimate as well as illegitimate) hatched with
the Nazarbayev regime, which included bribery by the likes of BP
Amoco, ExxonMobil and Dick Cheney (who was both the CEO of
Halliburton, and a sitting member of the Kazakh state oil
"The Elephant in the Living Room" (From The Wilderness, Mike
"Cheney's Energy Policy Task Force, and ExxonMobil" (Peter Dale
"Will ExxonMobil be indicted for payments in Kazakhstan?" (Peter
"Big oil, the United States, and corruption in Kazakhstan"
The lure of the energy riches of Kazakhstan, and Central Asian
pipelines, were the focus of many years of corruption and set-up
leading up to 9/11, and a central goal of 9/11 itself. Beyond
small victories such as the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline project out of
Azerbajian, the Bush administration has little to show for their
unprecedented destruction and tens of thousands of dead.
The war has done nothing but create chaos and innumerable no-win
scenarios, and spawn even more intense anti-Western opposition.
Seen through the eyes of the West’s own elites, it has been very
bad for business. China and Russia have been among the main
beneficiaries of the Bush disaster, almost by default.
China knows, as does the Anglo-American axis, that energy is the
key to its own national security, and China’s power elite is
willing to resort to dramatic measures for every drop of oil and
every watt of electricity. This includes paying a high price for
Central Asian/Caspian riches that have turned out, so far, to be
a disappointing non-bonanza, devoting massive resources to
building a Kazakhstan-China pipeline that was considered
unfeasible, when proposed years ago, and the unprecedented
damming of the Three Gorges region (one of the largest
construction projects in history).
The Chinese economic juggernaut continues to roll. For years,
Western elites and corporations have been content to ride along
with globalization’s greatest (and perhaps final) feeding
frenzy, while simultaneously supporting Washington’s Cold War
containment policies against China, and the long-term
infiltration of China’s economy (through the World Trade
Organization). The US-China relationship is bound to become
increasingly antagonistic, as the energy supply warfare
intensifies, and US political losses mount.
The new Congress in Washington, led by the neoliberal Democrats,
will attempt to restore America’s image with calls for
multinational cooperation (collusion) and diplomacy (the UN and
NATO), and retrieve the clout perceived to have been gained by
9/11 (a window in which the rest of the world, in shock, would
willingly accept Western hegemony), but "squandered" with
Bush-Cheney’s brutal conquest of Iraq.
But the self-destruction of the American empire is irreparable.
Peak Oil and Gas has arrived in earnest, with no rational
contingency plan from the top Washington, Wall Street elites, or
major oil producers, and continuing denials of the problem from
America’s corporate media (as well as China’s).
Worse, the Bush-Cheney administration is set to escalate the
violence. The administration is fortifying its inner circle by
promoting John Negroponte and Zalmay Khalilzad (and bringing in
stalwarts such as Ted Olson) to even higher positions, "lawyering
up" to fight investigations of its activities, treating the new
Congress, and the world, with even more militant contempt, and
preparing new military attacks for its final two years.
Where does the Empire go next, to get what it must have?
The Middle East is increasingly inhospitable to Western
interests, a literal hell that gets worse with every passing
day. Oil is not flowing out of a gutted Iraq. Afghanistan, also
spinning out of US control, has not helped the US energy supply
problem (however, Afghanistan’s heroin industry, which has
blossomed under US occupation -- the resulting heroin flooding
the US -- has been a boon to the world narco-economy and Wall
Street). Saudi Arabia, still the final prize, suffers from its
own supply questions, simmering unrest, and problems regarding
Saudi connections to the Bush regime. Securing more Latin
American energy has proved to be a difficult, particularly as
savvy political players, such as Hugo Chavez, successfully
identify and block new attempts at incursion. Iran is still
being set up for an attack.
Resource warfare is intensifying across Africa (Somalia,
Nigeria, Sudan, Darfur, etc.), evidenced by increasing US
military-intelligence operations, the escalation of unrest, war
and covert operations, and "al-Qaeda" presence (the telltale
sign of active US covert operations).
In every target area, the Anglo-American empire enjoys no unfair
advantage or overarching clout over its geopolitical rivals, and
even under the rosiest of scenarios, will find it impossible to
control conditions on the ground.
Quagmire by quagmire, the American Empire is quickly running out
of options, even bad ones.
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