Friday, February 09, 2007

Over the cliff?

The invaluable Asia Times has another must read article by M K Bhadrakumar, Iran turns up the heat on gas where he describes the latest maneuvers by Iran, Russia, India, China and others to set up energy (gas) infrastructure and agreements.

I recommend you read the entire three page article, but here are a few points that stick out for me:
Iran is the "last frontier" for European countries seeking to access natural gas from the Middle East. By 2015-20, Europe will face serious gas shortages, even if Russia augments its supplies via the Northern European pipeline. Tehran knows it is a "special case" for European countries. Tehran was hoping all along that it could normalize relations with the European Union, and that it would receive serious economic and political carte blanche.
Between them, Russia and Iran control more than 40% of the world's natural-gas reserves.
In geopolitical terms, what merits attention will be the prospects of an "energy club" taking shape within the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) framework. Significantly, the foreign ministers of India, Russia and China are to meet in New Delhi in a trilateral format this month. Meanwhile, the Indian foreign minister has just concluded a visit to Iran, setting the requisite political climate for accelerated energy cooperation.
Primakov added, "You see, we want the American hegemonistic aggressiveness to be blunted. Objectively, things will be moving in this direction because giants such as China and India are rising. By the way, the combined GDP [gross domestic product] of China and India is exceeding that of the United States and they are growing 2.5 times faster than the United States."
The unipolar world that the Cheney administration 'strategists' conceived and tried to implement is in tatters, though the US is still paying for it, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. After all, there's still a lot of (US taxpayer) money to steal. But the Europeans in particular are finding themselves in a delicate position, dependent on the US for their security arrangements and US leadership, and more dependent on Russia and Iran (especially in the future) for their energy needs.

India and China are less beholden to the US and have correspondingly greater flexibility to line up advantageous energy deals now. The political impotence of Europe will cost them in the long run, it seems.

Of course, the kicker here is the US and their intentions in the Persian Gulf and elsewhere in central Asia. Tom Engelhardt paints a disquieting picture of our current situation in his latest article: Over the Cliff with George and Dick, Thelma and Louise Imperialism. Tom points out that just about anyone who has a lick of sense in the 'establishment' is starting to jump up and down and wave their arms to attract our attention to the fact that an attack on Iran would be a disaster for all concerned.

In that over-the-top interview with CNN's Blitzer, Vice President Cheney, in essence, accused him of, as the Washington Post put it, "embracing defeat."

What an apt phrase for Dick himself -- and for his presidential pal! Having long embraced a fantasy of victory, they now show every sign of wrapping their arms around their own Iraq defeat as if it were victory, and -- with the enthusiasm of Thelma and Louise, trapped by all those cop cars -- taking the only path that seems open to them. As the alternatives grow ever starker -- surrender to all those "Democrat" electees, to the reporters and the critics, the cavilers and the antiwar demonstrators, the ragtag insurgents, the alien Mullahs, and even the panicked Republicans in their own ranks -- what's left but that liberating, exhilarating trip over the cliff?

Well, if you're not worried now, Paul Rogers enumerates the massive naval force that the US is building in the Gulf, and what it seems to imply.

Sleep well!


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