Khalil Gibran, 1934

Pity the nation that is full of beliefs and empty of religion.
Pity the nation that wears a cloth it does not weave,
eats a bread it does not harvest,
and drinks a wine that flows not from its own wine-press.


Pity the nation that acclaims the bully as hero,
and that deems the glittering conqueror bountiful.
Pity a nation that despises a passion in its dream,
yet submits in its awakening.

Pity the nation that raises not its voice
save when it walks in a funeral,
boasts not except among its ruins,
and will rebel not save when its neck is laid
between the sword and the block.

Pity the nation whose statesman is a fox,
whose philosopher is a juggler,
and whose art is the art of patching and mimicking.
Pity the nation that welcomes its new ruler with trumpeting,
and farewells him with hooting,
only to welcome another with trumpeting again.

Pity the nation whose sages are dumb with years
and whose strong men are yet in the cradle.
Pity the nation divided into into fragments,
each fragment deeming itself a nation

The Law is, that there are no Laws…..

I have only just started discovering what the cyclists on our roads experience,  that is because somewhere in the recesses of my memory lies the experiences of my youth; when in school and college one first rode on the rear carrier or the cross bar of the bike ridden by a domestic employee, then one graduated to one’s own 2 wheels with pedal power; later in college to be replaced by 2 wheels driven by a 200 cc petrol engine, my trusty Triumph Tiger Cub.

During all those years on 2 wheels, we youngsters not only respected the laws of the road, by were also respected by other road users; we had lights on our bikes and reflectors on the rear mud guards, double-savaree was not permitted, so the 2nd rider would jump off the minute a constable came into view! Otherwise, it meant one or a number of punishments; first timers were made to be a murga on the side of the road till the cop felt you had learnt your lesson, repeat offenders would have the air let out of the tires and made murgas, while hardened offenders would actually end up at the police stations!!!

The tongas in those days were the main form of transport, and even they were strictly monitored, like, their oil lamps had to be lit before sunset, and they were challaned for over loading goods or people, yes! They would attempt that to make a few extra rupees.

Vehicle drivers were cautious in the way they drove their machines, from army trucks to motorbikes and everything in between. So, we the cyclists felt comfortable riding around all over the city without the slightest fear of being hit by any other road user, not that it never happened, mind you.

So, recently I took the plunge and acquired a bicycle! And took to the roads of the Lahore Cantonment, to begin a new road experience; what I have encountered and concluded is that the cyclist is the most vulnerable of all the road users! For starters they should have been born with an additional set of eyes at the back of their heads! Then they have to forget that there are rules that every user abides by, and remember that the rules of the jungle apply!IMG_6295e

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have concluded that I need to share with the reader my conclusions and expose the worst offenders on the roads, they are listed below in an ascending order worst at the top.

  1. Drivers of Public/Private Carrier vehicles from mini pickups/buses to large trucks/buses
  2. Vehicle drivers using cell phones while they drive
  3. Employed drivers of private cars/vans
  4. Youngsters, some even under age, on m’ bikes/cars
  5. Entire families of 4-6 individuals on 1 m’ bike
  6. Female learner drivers
  7. Elderly drivers
  8. The rest who carry out conversations like they are in their drawing rooms totally oblivious of the developing situations on the roads

It is with much sadness that I have to admit that my decision to use a bicycle for short trips around the Cantonment was not a good one so I am hanging up my helmet and my safety vest for now! But I do want to stress that as a result of this eye opening experience I very much wish to be part of a movement to force the Authorities to formulate a stricter modus operandi to manage the traffic on the roads.

May I humbly suggest that they take a leaf out of the Emirates Police’s book? I have lived there, so I know! They run their own driving school, that way they ensure that the standards and regulations are maintained to a level that guarantees drivers have the ability and skills to use their roads!

So far the track record of the Highway/Motorway Police is very impressive! And I would very seriously suggest that they be given the responsibility and task, country-wide, to set up driving schools to ensure that future drivers are trained to obey the Laws and rules as well as create awareness in them, that courtesy on the roads is mutual!

In addition to that I suggest that all violators henceforth not only be fined but forced to take up a refresher course to ensure they learn what they were never taught in the first place! And thereby qualify to retain their licenses. It is only then that we can look forward to a better driving environment and perhaps my grand children will be able to dust off and use my helmet and safety vest to ride on a bicycle with some safety!

Miracles are known to happen! you know…IMG_6296

Pak journalist receives life threats

The Nation Tuesday, 27th, October, 2009

 

ISLAMABAD – The US presence in Peshawar is being felt in a most aggressive manner, especially in the form of harassment and actual threats given to the journalists writing critically against the US and its covert operatives.
One such journalist, referred as S.F.A. Shah because he now fears for his life, who first broke the story of the presence of Blackwater (now Xe Worldwide) in Peshawar along with Creative Associates International Inc (CAII), has literally been hounded out of his home.

He had published names of the investigation and operational heads of the notorious agency and unmasked the nexus of BW, FBI and CIA. He had also investigated the activities of the US Consulate in Peshawar including details of their activities, phone numbers and the dozens of houses rented in lavish localities for the purpose of torturing, kidnapping, detention and so on.

He in an exclusive chat with TheNation from his present hiding place explained how the CIA first tried to recruit him into spying on some Imams of mosques through their man Stephen Cash who used to investigate Afghan refugees and some Pakistanis in the NWFP. On his reports, people were picked up including Afghan refugees under the supervision of another operative, Cooper. Even Pakistani authorities were unaware about those ‘kidnappings’. After spending two years in Peshawar, Cash left just two months ago and was replaced with an operative named Roderick.

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When Cash and Roderick found Shah unwilling to cooperate with them, they threatened him and unfortunately when he approached our intelligence people, they were not ready to provide him security and instead advised him to leave the city and even the country. Only one Major gave him some support but he was transferred to Karachi and there was no one else. It seems he was prepared to take on Americans in their threatening activities.

After Shah’s initial revelations, there was an apparent bid to kidnap him but he escaped and managed to fly to Iran a few weeks back but could not get refuge there. He also managed to get into Armenia but could not stay on and was forced to return. Now he fears to lose his life and his family is also petrified. So far no journalist or human rights body has come to his support. Even more shameful, no organisation from the government has come forward to offer even an iota of protection to this citizen of the country – in contrast to the massive security provided to members of the government and other VIPs. Clearly, the US operatives have been given a carte blanche to do as they please with the ordinary citizens of the country and the “troublesome” journalists.

VOA takes over PBC?

The Nation Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

ISLAMABAD – As of this month, the Pakistani government has quietly allowed the United States to expand its Afghanistan-based media propaganda network to include Pakistan, in a clandestinely signed deal that is bound to generate more anger when the Pakistani government that is yet to fully recover from accusations of a sellout to intrusive American aid conditions.
In 2006, the United States set up a transmitter in Afghanistan for the radio broadcast of US political and military propaganda in that occupied country. Four years later, now this propaganda moves to Pakistan.

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The irony is that Pakistan, which disputes unverified US claims that terrorist camps exist deep inside Pakistan — in Quetta and Muridke — will now be allowing a US government financed propaganda arm to say as much using transmitters owned by the Government of Pakistan and directed at Pakistani citizens.

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The Voice of America (VOA), which is a US government agency, and the Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation reached an agreement earlier this month where Pakistan had agreed to expand the Afghanistan-based US propaganda network – the Americans call this ‘public diplomacy’ – to Pakistan. Under the deal, VOA will use PBC equipment and transmitters in Peshawar,

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Islamabad and Lahore to distribute VOA material in Pashto and Urdu on medium and FM waves.

A little noticed VOA press release, issued in Washington 14 days ago by no less than VOA director Mr. Danforth W. Austin, quotes him as announcing, “We’re delighted Pakistan’s cabinet has ratified our agreement with PBC,” adding, “This arrangement will allow millions of people in all parts of Pakistan to listen to the VOA’s popular news and information programmes.”

Interestingly, the Pakistani cabinet did not publicise the agreement. An internet search of the stories filed for this month by the state-run Associated Press of Pakistan does not return any stories on the VOA-PBC agreement, or on Pakistani cabinet’s ratification. The VOA press release is reproduced online by several American and other news websites and is dated October 13. However, government sources in Islamabad indicate the agreement was signed sometime in September and referred to Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani for approval.

e arrangement was not only a breakthrough but was apparently concluded smoothly. And there is a reason behind this. After all, Murtaza Solangi, Director General PBC, and the man who sat opposite Mr. Austin on the proverbial negotiations table was one of Mr. Austin’s subordinates until May 2008, working as a presenter and editor at VOA. The soft-spoken Murtaza Solangi was close to late PPP Chairperson Benazir Bhutto and interviewed her several times during her visits to Washington while in self-exile. After February 2008 elections, the PPP government appointed him as DG PBC. Solangi came highly recommended by PPP’s closed circle of media handlers, considered close to President Zardari.

Washington will now be taking its information warfare to the Pakistani Pashtun population at a time when Pakistanis are debating if they should share Washington’s policy goals in Afghanistan and especially on the unfair US treatment to the Pashtuns.
Two US propaganda radio channels, Deewa Radio in Pashto and Urdu-language programme ‘Radio Aap Ki Dunyaa’ will now reach more parts of Pakistan with stronger signals.
Since there are major differences of opinion between Islamabad and Washington over how to manage America’s floundering Afghanistan occupation, it is yet to be seen how the Pakistani government will tolerate if the two foreign propaganda radio channels air material that contradicts official Pakistani position.

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It should be remembered that ‘Deewa Radio’ and ‘Radio Aap Ki Dunyaa’ are part of the US government’s information warfare effort targeting certain regions where US has strategic interest. The two channels are part of a long list of recent similar channels that include: Radio Sawa (in Arabic, targeting Iraq and the region), Al Hurra TV (targeting Iraqi audience], Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (targeting Russia and its Eurasian backyward), among others, including a radio beam targeting Iran.
In normal circumstances, agreements such as the VOA-PBC are not unusual. But in the context of the emerging differences between Washington and Islamabad on how to clean up the American mess in Afghanistan, the deal will raise eyebrows.

Saudi Arabia, for example, declined to allow Washington the use of its territory to relay radio signals aimed at the Arabic-speaking audience in the Middle East. Smaller and insecure countries such Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain, however, agreed to this arrangement.

 

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The VOA-PBC deal shows that media management remains one of the weakest links within the civilian and military bureaucracies in Pakistan. Otherwise, a country the size of Pakistan should have been establishing by now its own media projection radio and TV networks in strategic languages instead of accepting to rebroadcast American propaganda. Pakistan’s needs to put its message across to the Iranians in Persian, to the Afghans in Pashto and Dari, to the Chinese and to an international audience. Pakistan is even unable to convey its message to the people of an ally like China. And instead of recruiting and reorganizing its official media outlets on nationalist and creative lines, Pakistani governments have a knack in ‘importing’ professionals not only from certain countries for political reasons, but also importing their thinking and biases. While Solangi is a professional radio journalist by the testimony of most of those who worked with him, his policy direction betrays itself in the recent deal and might even be seen as running counter to what Pakistan should be pursuing in terms of its own public diplomacy.
During former President Musharraf’s government, a Pakistani-American was imported to head something called Pakistan Image Project that eventually led to a loss of millions of rupees from the public money with nothing to show for them.

An Imperial Strategy for a New World Order: The Origins of World War III

Introduction

In the face of total global economic collapse, the prospects of a massive international war are increasing. Historically, periods of imperial decline and economic crisis are marked by increased international violence and war. The decline of the great European empires was marked by World War I and World War II, with the Great Depression taking place in the intermediary period.

 

Currently, the world is witnessing the decline of the American empire, itself a product born out of World War II. As the post-war imperial hegemon, America ran the international monetary system and reigned as champion and arbitrator of the global political economy.

To manage the global political economy, the US has created the single largest and most powerful military force in world history. Constant control over the global economy requires constant military presence and action.

Now that both the American empire and global political economy are in decline and collapse, the prospect of a violent end to the American imperial age is drastically increasing.

This essay is broken into three separate parts. The first part covers US-NATO geopolitical strategy since the end of the Cold War, at the beginning of the New World Order, outlining the western imperial strategy that led to the war in Yugoslavia and the “War on Terror.” Part 2 analyzes the nature of “soft revolutions” or “colour revolutions” in US imperial strategy, focusing on establishing hegemony over Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Part 3 analyzes the nature of the imperial strategy to construct a New World Order, focusing on the increasing conflicts in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Latin America, Eastern Europe and Africa; and the potential these conflicts have for starting a new world war with China and Russia.

Defining a New Imperial Strategy

In 1991, with the collapse of the Soviet Union, US-NATO foreign policy had to re-imagine its role in the world. The Cold War served as a means of justifying US imperialist expansion across the globe with the aim of “containing” the Soviet threat. NATO itself was created and existed for the sole purpose of forging an anti-Soviet alliance. With the USSR gone, NATO had no reason to exist, and the US had to find a new purpose for its imperialist strategy in the world.

In 1992, the US Defense Department, under the leadership of Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney [later to be George Bush Jr.’s VP], had the Pentagon’s Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, Paul Wolfowitz [later to be George Bush Jr.’s Deputy Secretary of Defense and President of the World Bank], write up a defense document to guide American foreign policy in the post-Cold War era, commonly referred to as the “New World Order.”

The Defense Planning Guidance document was leaked in 1992, and revealed that, “In a broad new policy statement that is in its final drafting phase, the Defense Department asserts that America’s political and military mission in the post-cold-war era will be to ensure that no rival superpower is allowed to emerge in Western Europe, Asia or the territories of the former Soviet Union,” and that, “The classified document makes the case for a world dominated by one superpower whose position can be perpetuated by constructive behavior and sufficient military might to deter any nation or group of nations from challenging American primacy.”

Further, “the new draft sketches a world in which there is one dominant military power whose leaders ‘must maintain the mechanisms for deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role’.” Among the necessary challenges to American supremacy, the document “postulated regional wars against Iraq and North Korea,” and identified China and Russia as its major threats. It further “suggests that the United States could also consider extending to Eastern and Central European nations security commitments similar to those extended to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and other Arab states along the Persian Gulf.”[1]

NATO and Yugoslavia

The wars in Yugoslavia throughout the 1990s served as a justification for the continued existence of NATO in the world, and to expand American imperial interests in Eastern Europe.

The World Bank and IMF set the stage for the destabilization of Yugoslavia. After long-time dictator of Yugoslavia, Josip Tito, died in 1980, a leadership crisis developed. In 1982, American foreign policy officials organized a set of IMF and World Bank loans, under the newly created Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPs), to handle the crisis of the $20 billion US debt. The effect of the loans, under the SAP, was that they “wreaked economic and political havoc… The economic crisis threatened political stability … it also threatened to aggravate simmering ethnic tensions.”[2]

In 1989, Slobodan Milosevic became President of Serbia, the largest and most powerful of all the Yugoslav republics. Also in 1989, Yugoslavia’s Premier traveled to the US to meet President George H.W. Bush in order to negotiate another financial aid package. In 1990, the World Bank/IMF program began, and the Yugoslav state’s expenditures went towards debt repayment.  As a result, social programs were dismantled, the currency devalued, wages frozen, and prices rose.  The “reforms fueled secessionist tendencies that fed on economic factors as well as ethnic divisions, virtually ensuring the de facto secession of the republic,” leading to Croatia and Slovenia’s succession in 1991.[3]

In 1990, US the intelligence community released a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), predicting that Yugoslavia would break apart, erupt in civil war, and the report then placed blame on Serbian President Milosevic for the coming destabilization.[4]

In 1991, conflict broke out between Yugoslavia and Croatia, when it, too, declared independence. A ceasefire was reached in 1992. Yet, the Croats continued small military offensives until 1995, as well as participating in the war in Bosnia. In 1995, Operation Storm was undertaken by Croatia to try to retake the Krajina region. A Croatian general was recently put on trial at The Hague for war crimes during this battle, which was key to driving the Serbs out of Croatia and “cemented Croatian independence.” The US supported the operation and the CIA actively provided intelligence to Croat forces, leading to the displacement of between 150,000 and 200,000 Serbs, largely through means of murder, plundering, burning villages and ethnic cleansing.[5] The Croatian Army was trained by US advisers, and the general on trial was even personally supported by the CIA.[6]

The Clinton administration gave the “green light” to Iran to arm the Bosnian Muslims and “from 1992 to January 1996, there was an influx of Iranian weapons and advisers into Bosnia.” Further, “Iran, and other Muslim states, helped to bring Mujihadeen fighters into Bosnia to fight with the Muslims against the Serbs, ‘holy warriors’ from Afghanistan, Chechnya, Yemen and Algeria, some of whom had suspected links with Osama bin Laden’s training camps in Afghanistan.”

It was “Western intervention in the Balkans [that] exacerbated tensions and helped to sustain hostilities. By recognising the claims of separatist republics and groups in 1990/1991, Western elites – the American, British, French and German – undermined government structures in Yugoslavia, increased insecurities, inflamed conflict and heightened ethnic tensions. And by offering logistical support to various sides during the war, Western intervention sustained the conflict into the mid-1990s. Clinton’s choice of the Bosnian Muslims as a cause to champion on the international stage, and his administration’s demands that the UN arms embargo be lifted so that the Muslims and Croats could be armed against the Serbs, should be viewed in this light.”[7]

During the war in Bosnia, there “was a vast secret conduit of weapons smuggling though Croatia. This was arranged by the clandestine agencies of the US, Turkey and Iran, together with a range of radical Islamist groups, including Afghan mojahedin and the pro-Iranian Hizbullah.” Further, “the secret services of Ukraine, Greece and Israel were busy arming the Bosnian Serbs.”[8] Germany’s intelligence agency, the BND, also ran arms shipments to the Bosnian Muslims and Croatia to fight against the Serbs.[9]

The US had influenced the war in the region in a variety of ways. As the Observer reported in 1995, a major facet of their involvement was through “Military Professional Resources Inc (MPRI), a Virginia-based American private company of retired generals and intelligence officers. The American embassy in Zagreb admits that MPRI is training the Croats, on licence from the US government.” Further, The Dutch “were convinced that US special forces were involved in training the Bosnian army and the Bosnian Croat Army (HVO).”[10]

As far back as 1988, the leader of Croatia met with the German Chancellor Helmut Kohl to create “a joint policy to break up Yugoslavia,” and bring Slovenia and Croatia into the “German economic zone.” So, US Army officers were dispatched to Croatia, Bosnia, Albania, and Macedonia as “advisers” and brought in US Special Forces to help.[11] During the nine-month cease-fire in the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina, six US generals met with Bosnian army leaders to plan the Bosnian offensive that broke the cease-fire.[12]

In 1996, the Albanian Mafia, in collaboration with the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), a militant guerilla organization, took control over the enormous Balkan heroin trafficking routes. The KLA was linked to former Afghan Mujaheddin fighters in Afghanistan, including Osama bin Laden.[13]

In 1997, the KLA began fighting against Serbian forces,[14] and in 1998, the US State Department removed the KLA from its list of terrorist organizations.[15] Before and after 1998, the KLA was receiving arms, training and support from the US and NATO, and Clinton’s Secretary of State, Madeline Albright, had a close political relationship with KLA leader Hashim Thaci.[16]

Both the CIA and German intelligence, the BND, supported the KLA terrorists in Yugoslavia prior to and after the 1999 NATO bombing of Yugoslavia. The BND had KLA contacts since the early 1990s, the same period that the KLA was establishing its Al-Qaeda contacts.[17] KLA members were trained by Osama bin Laden at training camps in Afghanistan. Even the UN stated that much of the violence that occurred came from KLA members, “especially those allied with Hashim Thaci.”[18]

The March 1999 NATO bombing of Kosovo was justified on the pretense of putting an end to Serbian oppression of Kosovo Albanians, which was termed genocide. The Clinton Administration made claims that at least 100,000 Kosovo Albanians were missing and “may have been killed” by the Serbs. Bill Clinton personally compared events in Kosovo to the Holocaust. The US State Department had stated that up to 500,000 Albanians were feared dead. Eventually, the official estimate was reduced to 10,000, however, after exhaustive investigations, it was revealed that the death of less than 2,500 Albanians could be attributed to the Serbs. During the NATO bombing campaign, between 400 and 1,500 Serb civilians were killed, and NATO committed war crimes, including the bombing of a Serb TV station and a hospital.[19]

In 2000, the US State Department, in cooperation with the American Enterprise Institute, AEI, held a conference on Euro-Atlantic integration in Slovakia. Among the participants were many heads of state, foreign affairs officials and ambassadors of various European states as well as UN and NATO officials.[20] A letter of correspondence between a German politician present at the meeting and the German Chancellor, revealed the true nature of NATO’s campaign in Kosovo. The conference demanded a speedy declaration of independence for Kosovo, and that the war in Yugoslavia was waged in order to enlarge NATO, Serbia was to be excluded permanently from European development to justify a US military presence in the region, and expansion was ultimately designed to contain Russia.[21]

Of great significance was that, “the war created a raison d’être for the continued existence of NATO in a post-Cold War world, as it desperately tried to justify its continued existence and desire for expansion.” Further, “The Russians had assumed NATO would dissolve at the end of the Cold War. Instead, not only has NATO expanded, it went to war over an internal dispute in a Slavic Eastern European country.” This was viewed as a great threat. Thus, “much of the tense relations between the United States and Russia over the past decade can be traced to the 1999 war on Yugoslavia.”[22]

The War on Terror and the Project for the New American Century (PNAC)

When Bill Clinton became President, the neo-conservative hawks from the George H.W. Bush administration formed a think tank called the Project for the New American Century, or PNAC. In 2000, they published a report called, Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces, and Resources for a New Century. Building upon the Defense Policy Guidance document, they state that, “the United States must retain sufficient forces able to rapidly deploy and win multiple simultaneous large-scale wars.”[23] Further, there is “need to retain sufficient combat forces to fight and win, multiple, nearly simultaneous major theatre wars,”[24] and that “the Pentagon needs to begin to calculate the force necessary to protect, independently, US interests in Europe, East Asia and the Gulf at all times.”[25]

Interestingly, the document stated that, “the United States has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security. While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein.”[26] However, in advocating for massive increases in defense spending and expanding the American empire across the globe, including the forceful destruction of multiple countries through major theatre wars, the report stated that, “Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor.”[27] That event came one year later with the events of 9/11. Many of the authors of the report and members of the Project for the New American Century had become officials in the Bush administration, and were conveniently in place to enact their “Project” after they got their “new Pearl Harbor.”

The plans for war were “already under development by far right Think Tanks in the 1990s, organisations in which cold-war warriors from the inner circle of the secret services, from evangelical churches, from weapons corporations and oil companies forged shocking plans for a new world order.” To do this, “the USA would need to use all means – diplomatic, economic and military, even wars of aggression – to have long term control of the resources of the planet and the ability to keep any possible rival weak.”

Among the people involved in PNAC and the plans for empire, “Dick Cheney – Vice President, Lewis Libby – Cheney’s Chief of Staff, Donald Rumsfeld – Defence Minister, Paul Wolfowitz – Rumsfeld’s deputy, Peter Rodman – in charge of ‘Matters of Global Security’, John Bolton – State Secretary for Arms Control, Richard Armitage – Deputy Foreign Minister, Richard Perle – former Deputy Defence Minister under Reagan, now head of the Defense Policy Board, William Kristol – head of the PNAC and adviser to Bush, known as the brains of the President, Zalmay Khalilzad,” who became Ambassador to both Afghanistan and Iraq following the regime changes in those countries.[28]

Brzezinski’s “Grand Chessboard”

Arch-hawk strategist, Zbigniew Brzezinski, co-founder of the Trilateral Commission with David Rockefeller, former National Security Adviser and key foreign policy architect in Jimmy Carter’s administration, also wrote a book on American geostrategy. Brzezinski is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Bilderberg Group, and has also been a board member of Amnesty International, the Atlantic Council and the National Endowment for Democracy. Currently, he is a trustee and counselor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a major US policy think tank.

In his 1997 book, The Grand Chessboard, Brzezinski outlined a strategy for America in the world. He wrote, “For America, the chief geopolitical prize is Eurasia. For half a millennium, world affairs were dominated by Eurasian powers and peoples who fought with one another for regional domination and reached out for global power.” Further, “how America ‘manages’ Eurasia is critical. Eurasia is the globe’s largest continent and is geopolitically axial. A power that dominates Eurasia would control two of the world’s three most advanced and economically productive regions. A mere glance at the map also suggests that control over Eurasia would almost automatically entail African subordination.”[29]

He continued in outlining a strategy for American empire, stating that, “it is imperative that no Eurasian challenger emerges, capable of dominating Eurasia and thus of also challenging America. The formulation of a comprehensive and integrated Eurasian geostrategy is therefore the purpose of this book.”[30] He explained that, “Two basic steps are thus required: first, to identify the geostrategically dynamic Eurasian states that have the power to cause a potentially important shift in the international distribution of power and to decipher the central external goals of their respective political elites and the likely consequences of their seeking to attain them: [and] second, to formulate specific U.S. policies to offset, co-opt, and/or control the above.”[31]

What this means is that is it of primary importance to first identify states that could potentially be a pivot upon which the balance of power in the region exits the US sphere of influence; and secondly, to “offset, co-opt, and/or control” such states and circumstances. An example of this would be Iran; being one of the world’s largest oil producers, and in a strategically significant position in the axis of Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Iran could hold the potential to alter the balance of power in Eurasia if it were to closely ally itself with Russia or China, or both – giving those nations a heavy supply of oil as well as a sphere of influence in the Gulf, thus challenging American hegemony in the region.

Brzezinski removed all subtlety from his imperial leanings, and wrote, “To put it in a terminology that harkens back to the more brutal age of ancient empires, the three grand imperatives of imperial geostrategy are to prevent collusion and maintain security dependence among the vassals, to keep tributaries pliant and protected, and to keep the barbarians from coming together.”[32]

Brzezinski referred to the Central Asian republics as the “Eurasian Balkans,” writing that, “Moreover, they [the Central Asian Republics] are of importance from the standpoint of security and historical ambitions to at least three of their most immediate and more powerful neighbors, namely Russia, Turkey and Iran, with China also signaling an increasing political interest in the region. But the Eurasian Balkans are infinitely more important as a potential economic prize: an enormous concentration of natural gas and oil reserves is located in the region, in addition to important minerals, including gold.”[33] He further wrote that, “It follows that America’s primary interest is to help ensure that no single power comes to control this geopolitical space and that the global community has unhindered financial and economic access to it.”[34] This is a clear example of America’s role as an engine of empire; with foreign imperial policy designed to maintain US strategic positions, but primarily and “infinitely more important,” is to secure an “economic prize” for “the global community.” In other words, the United States is an imperial hegemon working for international financial interests.

Brzezinski also warned that, “the United States may have to determine how to cope with regional coalitions that seek to push America out of Eurasia, thereby threatening America’s status as a global power,”[35] and he, “puts a premium on maneuver and manipulation in order to prevent the emergence of a hostile coalition that could eventually seek to challenge America’s primacy.” Thus, “The most immediate task is to make certain 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.”[36]

The War on Terror and Surplus Imperialism

In 2000, the Pentagon released a document called Joint Vision 2020, which outlined a project to achieve what they termed, “Full Spectrum Dominance,” as the blueprint for the Department of Defense in the future. “Full-spectrum dominance means the ability of U.S. forces, operating alone or with allies, to defeat any adversary and control any situation across the range of military operations.” The report “addresses full-spectrum dominance across the range of conflicts from nuclear war to major theater wars to smaller-scale contingencies. It also addresses amorphous situations like peacekeeping and noncombat humanitarian relief.” Further, “The development of a global information grid will provide the environment for decision superiority.”[37]

As political economist, Ellen Wood, explained, “Boundless domination of a global economy, and of the multiple states that administer it, requires military action without end, in purpose or time.”[38] Further, “Imperial dominance in a global capitalist economy requires a delicate and contradictory balance between suppressing competition and maintaining conditions in competing economies that generate markets and profit. This is one of the most fundamental contradictions of the new world order.”[39]

Following 9/11, the “Bush doctrine” was put in place, which called for “a unilateral and exclusive right to preemptive attack, any time, anywhere, unfettered by any international agreements, to ensure that ‘[o]ur forces will be strong enough to dissuade potential adversaries from pursuing a military build-up in hope of surpassing, or equaling, the power of the United States’.”[40]

NATO undertook its first ground invasion of any nation in its entire history, with the October 2001 invasion and occupation of Afghanistan. The Afghan war was in fact, planned prior to the events of 9/11, with the breakdown of major pipeline deals between major western oil companies and the Taliban. The war itself was planned over the summer of 2001 with the operational plan to go to war by mid-October.[41]

Afghanistan is extremely significant in geopolitical terms, as, “Transporting all the Caspian basin’s fossil fuel through Russia or Azerbaijan would greatly enhance Russia’s political and economic control over the central Asian republics, which is precisely what the west has spent 10 years trying to prevent. Piping it through Iran would enrich a regime which the US has been seeking to isolate. Sending it the long way round through China, quite aside from the strategic considerations, would be prohibitively expensive. But pipelines through Afghanistan would allow the US both to pursue its aim of ‘diversifying energy supply’ and to penetrate the world’s most lucrative markets.”[42]

As the San Francisco Chronicle pointed out a mere two weeks following the 9/11 attacks, “Beyond American determination to hit back against the perpetrators of the Sept. 11 attacks, beyond the likelihood of longer, drawn-out battles producing more civilian casualties in the months and years ahead, the hidden stakes in the war against terrorism can be summed up in a single word: oil.” Explaining further, “The map of terrorist sanctuaries and targets in the Middle East and Central Asia is also, to an extraordinary degree, a map of the world’s principal energy sources in the 21st century. The defense of these energy resources — rather than a simple confrontation between Islam and the West — will be the primary flash point of global conflict for decades to come.”

Among the many notable states where there is a crossover between terrorism and oil and gas reserves of vital importance to the United States and the West, are Saudi Arabia, Libya, Bahrain, the Gulf Emirates, Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Sudan and Algeria, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Chechnya, Georgia and eastern Turkey. Importantly, “this region accounts for more than 65 percent of the world’s oil and natural gas production.” Further, “It is inevitable that the war against terrorism will be seen by many as a war on behalf of America’s Chevron, ExxonMobil and Arco; France’s TotalFinaElf; British Petroleum; Royal Dutch Shell and other multinational giants, which have hundreds of billions of dollars of investment in the region.”[43]

It’s no secret that the Iraq war had much to do with oil. In the summer of 2001, Dick Cheney convened an Energy Task Force, which was a highly secret set of meetings in which energy policy was determined for the United States. In the meetings and in various other means of communication, Cheney and his aides met with top officials and executives of Shell Oil, British Petroleum (BP), Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Conoco, and Chevron.[44] At the meeting, which took place before 9/11 and before there was any mention of a war on Iraq, documents of Iraqi oilfields, pipelines, refineries and terminals were presented and discussed, and “Saudi Arabian and United Arab Emirates (UAE) documents likewise feature a map of each country’s oilfields, pipelines, refineries and tanker terminals.”[45] Both Royal Dutch Shell and British Petroleum have since received major oil contracts to develop Iraqi oilfields.[46]

The war on Iraq, as well as the war on Afghanistan, also largely serve specifically American, and more broadly, Western imperial-strategic interests in the region. In particular, the wars were strategically designed to eliminate, threaten or contain regional powers, as well as to directly install several dozen military bases in the region, firmly establishing an imperial presence. The purpose of this is largely aimed at other major regional players and specifically, encircling Russia and China and threatening their access to the regions oil and gas reserves. Iran is now surrounded, with Iraq on one side, and Afghanistan on the other. 

Concluding Remarks

Part 1 of this essay outlined the US-NATO imperial strategy for entering the New World Order, following the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991. The primary aim was focused on encircling Russia and China and preventing the rise of a new superpower. The US was to act as the imperial hegemon, serving international financial interests in imposing the New World Order. The next part to this essay examines the “colour revolutions” throughout Eastern Europe and Central Asia, continuing the US and NATO policy of containing Russia and China; while controlling access to major natural gas reserves and transportation routes. The “colour revolutions” have been a pivotal force in geopolitical imperial strategy, and analyzing them is key to understanding the New World Order.

Energy, the Challenge for the world

Report in the Wall Street Journal of Oct 02:

Khurshid Anwer

For more than a century, producing power has been a matter of flipping a switch. Things won’t be that easy as the world goes for energy from renewable sources. Winds tend to blow harder at nights, a problem, since people use electricity mostly during the day. Sunshine can lose its intensity in seconds if eclipsed by a cloud, inconvenient for people who like their air conditioners to run steadily on summer days. Wind and solar energy cannot be stored, as storage technology is still embryonic. And so the search for ways to accommodate the vicissitudes of wind and sun continue to shape up as one of today’s great technological quests.  

Many countries are pledging to produce 20% of their energy from renewable sources within about a decade. This will be a major stretch. Recession has severely crimped renewable energy investment. Proposals to turn over large swathes of desert and coastline to renewable energy generation are encountering angry opposition.

Currently, every wind farm and solar installation has to be backed up by a nearly equivalent amount of conventional fuel to keep the power grid running. That raises costs. Also required is investment in high voltage transmission lines to carry renewable electricity from remote areas to the cities.

In 2008, thousands of wind turbines installed across the US collectively produced only 1.3 % of actual electricity. Most of the wind turbines are located in Bonneville service area at the Columbia river gorge. This Tuesday at 1.00 a.m the wind farms were cranking out 1,550 megawatts. By 7.00 a.m that fell to about 800 mw, just as people were waking up and turning on their lights and toasters. That night, when most people were asleep, wind power topped 2,000 mw.

Most of the electricity in the Bonneville area comes from hydroelectric power. Water release from the dams is reduced to  make use of the wind power, but when wind is blowing hard, Bonneville releases extra water down the spillways without generating electricity to protect the system wires from overheating. And when the wind is so strong that Bonneville cannot ditch enough water, the utility orders wind turbines to shut off.

Texas produces more wind power than any other state. At 3.00 p.m on Feb 26, 2008, wind farms were throwing off about 2,000 mw  electricity, enough to serve about one million households. Then a cold wave blew in making the Texans turn up their heat. However, by 6.30 pm – when energy demand typically peaks – wind production had cratered to about 360 mw.  Ercot, the operator of Texas electric grid scrambled. It cut off power to various industrial customers. To avert situations like these, Ercot has hired a company to provide, an hourly forecast of how the wind will blow at every wind project on the Ercot grid. A very expensive arrangement.

Just after midnight on Christmas morning, 2007, an unexpected wind surge hit Colorado, a state with a lot of wind turbines. It sent power production soaring on the system operated by Xcel Energy. “We were walloped” says the vice president of the company. To compensate, Xcel scrambled to dial down some of its fossil-fuel power plants. Those plants were never designed to ramp up and ramp down at the level we are asking them to do. In this age of renewable energy, “We are learning as we go”.

My question is, if the American are still learning, what hope have we of successfully harnessing wind and solar power at affordable cost. What has not been mentioned in the above report is that water is as much a renewable source of energy as is wind and solar. And we have the technology for harnessing water power to produce cheap and clean electricity.

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PPP Govt set to punish Mansha Group, RBS handover to MCB in jeopardy

Islamabad—The handing over of Royal Bank of Scotland, Pakistan (RBS)
to MCB Limited headed by Mian Mohammad Mansha has virtually hit snags
because of the wrath of the incumbent regime, which is too much
incensed over non-cooperation by MCB Bank to resolve the issue of
circular debt in energy sector, a senior government official revealed
to the Pakistan Observer.
MCB signed an agreement on August 12, 2009 with The Royal Bank of
Scotland Group plc to acquire 99.37 per cent of the ordinary share
capital in RBS Pakistan at the cost of Rs 7.2 billion ($85 million).
“Now, the materialization of this transaction and acquisition of RBS
is in jeopardy, as State Bank of Pakistan toeing the line of the
Government has expressed concerns that include that this transaction
will help strengthen one group in the country and will trigger the
concentration of ownership of one group in the banking industry which
will prove lethal in the days to come.”
“The State Bank of Pakistan also showed its anxiety that the banks
should not be run by the industrialists as it will not help ensure the
level playing field for all business tycoons to have access to the
credit lines.” The Central Bank has also expressed the concern that
MCB bank is not being run under the corporate governance model, rather
it is being run as a family entity.
Mian Mohammad Mansha is the head of the Mansha family and the Chairman
of the Nishat Group. He is regarded as the richest man in the country,
with a net worth of $4.5 billion.
Mian Mansha’s conglomerate greatly benefited from the privatization
drive of the 1990s during Mian Nawaz Sharif era. Through this period,
he made a number of acquisitions and buy-outs, including engineering
at least one hostile takeover. When the dust settled, Mansha had
acquired a controlling position in Adamjee Insurance, the country’s
largest non-life insurer, and DG. Khan Cement, previously owned by the
Saigol family. While going through these large acquisitions, he was
simultaneously expanding his legendary Nishat Textiles, the country’s
largest exporter of textile goods.
But all these achievements, perhaps, played third fiddle to Mansha’s
master-stroke: the acquisition of one of Pakistan’s most profitable
banks MCB Limited.
MCB has also joined hands with Mybank of Malaysia which has a 20%
controlling share in the bank. “Keeping in view the existence of Mr
Mansha being the biggest industrialist and most influential financial
wizard, the State Bank of Pakistan has come up with certain concerns,”
the official claimed.
However, the formal transaction valuing Rs 7.2 billion ($ 85 million)
and handing over of RBS, according to the official, can take place
subject to approval of the regulatory body (The State Bank of
Pakistan) and issuance of NOC by the Finance Ministry.
The unwillingness by the Government in handing over of RBS, Pakistan
to MCB Bank Limited is the first part of its wrath to punish the
Mansha group, which according to the officials, refused to cooperate
with the Government on erasing the circular debt because of the
political backing and unwavering support of top leadership of Pakistan
Muslim League-N that Mr Mansha is enjoying.
The official said that the Zardari regime had taken the refusal by MCB
Limited very seriously and was all set to cut Mansha Group to size.
“Mr Mansha who brands himself as over 100 per cent a smart person and
refuses to play his role in purchasing the Terms Finance Certificates
issued by the Government in the national interest whereas other all 18
banks purchased the TFCs valuing Rs 85 billion, should be ready to
face the music,” the chief economic manager of the current regime
Shukat Tarin was quoted as saying during the Iftar party arranged on
September 14 by Dr Asim Hussain, former Advisor to Petroleum Ministry
and Natural Resources to PM and Chairman NRB.
“Mr Mansha will now face the music as the government will withdraw its
deposits valuing Rs 13 billion in the MCB and will never give any
business to the said bank.”
When asked if MCB Limited had refused to take part in TFC purchasing
on the ground that its lending exposure to power sector had exceeded
its limits and it had also to cater to extend the credit line to other
sectors of economies, the official said that all other banks had come
forward in the national interest of the country, and only this bank
did not cooperate.

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