Posted in Politics

Pipelines and Propaganda

A couple of months into the third millennium, a few months before 9/11, and an American wearing a big Stetson, who really did remind me of that notorious misogynist J.R. Ewing, strolled into the room at the engineering consulting company where I was providing language training. The walls of the room were plastered with adhesive, easily removable, plastic sheets and on those sheets tradables and non tradables had been listed. The negotiations were in full swing with the students showing an ability to compromise by moving from the first conditional to the second conditional when tentatively turning a non tradable into a tradable. The Texan was told that the ongoing role-play represented negotiations between the government of Turkmenistan and the engineering company to build a pipeline down to Karachi, but everything was, unfortunately,hampered by the fact that we had Afghanistan in the middle. “Don’t worry”, the J.R. look-alike told me, “we will soon have that problem sorted out”.

Martin Bröckers and Paul Schreyer in their book, “Wir Sind die Guten:Ansichten eines Putinverstehers oder wie uns die Medien manipulieren” (‘We are the Good Guys: a “Putin expert’s  views or how the media manipulate us’) would have known exactly what the visiting cowboy meant when he refered to “sorting out” the problem. In their book they say that whoever thinks the war in Afghanistan is about women’s rights and opening schools for girls, or the war in Iraq was about democracy, or Libya was all about getting rid of a mad dictator, is a sad victim of that propaganda that the “morally superior” West needs to sell its imperialism (Bröckers M., Schreyer P.:15).

The “spreading democracy”, “fighting terrorism”, and “providing humanitarian aid” gobbledygook is given a proper perspective by Michael Klare in his book, ‘Blood and Oil’, when he writes: “….., it is getting harder to distinguish U:S: military operations designed to fight terrorism from those designed to protect energy assets. And the administration’s tendency to conflate the two is obvious in more than just the Gulf and Caspian areas” (Klare: 72). Of course, we might go a step further and argue that these military interventions are only designed to protect energy assets and geopolitical interests. This, of course, is not about terrorism, nasty dictators, and humanitarian intervention. It is all about “full spectrum dominance”, and, those terrorists, nasty dictators, and mass murderers who are willing to participate in it will most certainly have no problems with Washington. In retrospect our J.R. clone was refreshing. At least he couldn’t be accused of being hypocritical and he most certainly did not need some ridiculous pretext like the shortage of girls’ schools in Kandahar to address the problem.

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There are a lot of poor bastards out there being used and abused; it is just not cricket "old bean". Something tells me that ignorance is not bliss, but is, in fact, simply ignorance and in the global village we cannot look the other way.

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