Friday :: Jun 11, 2004

Losing The Great Game

by pessimist

'The Great Game' was the way the British of the 19th Century described the international intrigue performed between the British and the Russians over who would control the path through Afghanistan to warm water, a long-term dream of the Russian Empire.

Problem was - no one asked the Afghans, who had little trouble repelling invasions from both nations.

Today, similar situations exist, only the British have been replaced by the Americans, and the warm-water port has been replaced with control of the oilfields of the Caspian region. Which country gains that control determines which direction the oil flows - and the Americans want it to be essentially the British plan - south to the Arabian Sea, where either the Indians or the Pakistanis provide the actual port facilities.

Both India and China have designs on the area as well, as their populations are being Westernized rapidly, puchasing cars and needing gas for them - one of the reasons our own gas prices are so high.

So far as I have been able to determine with a cursory search, India has no one working in Afghanistan. But the Chinese? They now have eleven less:

The slaughter of 11 sleeping Chinese road workers Thursday was the deadliest attack on foreign civilians since the fall of the Taliban, and dealt a blow to U.S. claims that Afghanistan is becoming safer ahead of milestone elections this fall.

So much for winning the Battle of Afghanistan in the Oil War on Terra.

The assault in the relatively tranquil north also underlined the dangers for thousands of foreigners helping to rebuild Afghanistan, where President Hamid Karzai's U.S.-backed government is fighting off an insurgency by Taliban rebels and their al-Qaida allies.

But a man who says he is a spokesman for the Taliban militia, which hosted al-Qaida in Afghanistan when it ruled the country, said the Taliban were not involved. ''It doesn't have any link with the Taliban,'' Hamid Agha said.

Aid workers warned the bloodshed could prompt a further pullback of their activities to the capital, Kabul.

Maybe I'm just a lib'rul no-mind who can't see the Right-wing 'logic' in every situation (as certain of our regulars hint at on occasion), but I fail to see where our gifts of 'freedom (to provide the) liberty (for foreign oil companies to run the country) are being graciusly accepted.

Although on a smaller scale, attacks on foreign civilians have intensified in Afghanistan since a similar pattern of targeting expatriates emerged in Iraq, where Americans are also trying to achieve a democratic transition that could allow U.S. troops to withdraw.

There have been recent reports of additional US troops being sent to Afghanistan, which has to be a stretch for the military to cover with all of the other assignments they've been given by George Warmonger Bush, and there are reports that Korea and Germany will see troop reductions to help cover the need.

I have no specific problem with pulling troops out of Germany, as the need to remain disappeared with the fall of the Soviet Union, but Korea is a definite hot spot just waiting to add Seoul to the Hiroshima Club. Pulling troops out of there, considering the poor foreign diplomacy of the Bush (mis)Administration, is not a wise idea.

But then - show me just ONE idea of theirs that has proven wise.

pessimist :: 3:41 PM :: Comments (1) :: Digg It!