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Two Diametrically Opposed Strategies to Control the World's Critical Resources

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In addition to the Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan wars, there is a massive war going on just beneath the surface, one that is not being publicized but which will affect the world for decades to come. I'm speaking of the Resource War being waged between the U.S. and China. At stake in this struggle is the control of the world's critical resources, primarily petroleum and natural gas.

These resources affect every important element of the world's commerce. Oil and gas, in addition to coal and nuclear plants, neither of which will be a part of this discussion, provide the primary energy for the world's manufacturing and transportation, home heating and a myriad of other important uses . These two resources fueled the industrial revolution. Without them the world would be a much different place than the one in which we live. Almost any manufactured product is dependent upon either oil or gas.

The world is not going to run out of either of these resources for many, many years since there are plenty of reserves of each in many parts of the world. However, there are developing problems with these energy sources that the world is going to have to address in the near future. Let's take oil as an example. The demand for oil has been rapidly increasing as nations such as China and India require more and more for their growing manufacturing sectors.

As these demands continue to increase into the future, the capacity to produce more and more oil by the nations of origin will become problematic. At some point, as respected industry analysts and scientists are warning, the production capacity of the world will not be able to meet the world demand. The world will not run out of oil but it will become more scarce and much more costly to produce and transport. This is not yet a critical problem because most of the world is beset by recession and the demand has leveled off. But that condition will last only so long and when world commerce revs up again, the demands for energy will rapidly escalate.

The scenario that I depict will happen, that's a certainty. Those in power in the American and Chinese governments know that full well and, in fact, have been quite active in laying the groundwork to establish primary control of these resources. That is where we find ourselves today so the intent of this article will be to point out the individual strategies that America and China are pursuing to achieve their objectives and how they are working.

The U.S. and China are in a hot competition to control oil and gas pipelines in Central Asia as described in my previous article on this subject. The competition in this region of the world which contains massive reserves of both oil and gas could not be more intense. It is amazing that, at least so far, there has been no military confrontation between these two opposing powers; but that is most probably due to the fact that the Chinese have become masters at gaining advantages without firing a shot or dropping a bomb.

China and the U.S. could hardly be less alike and their ways of doing business in the world are like the difference between day and night. In China, the days are looking brighter and brighter while here in America, the night darkness seems to envelop all facets of this society. China is going up while America is going down; China is building economic muscle, America has become flabby.

Now let's look at the box score and see which of these strategies to control the world's resources is gaining the upper hand.

First, the strategy and success to date for America; Invasion and occupation of Iraq, Afghanistan and, potentially, the nuclear armed nation of Pakistan. On the horizon, potential conflicts with Iran, drone attacks in Yemen, and who knows where else. The degree of success? Well, hundreds of thousands of people of those nations under siege were displaced from their homes, had their cities destroyed, and became refugees; others were the victims of vicious attacks by drones. End result: A massive quagmire, turmoil, destruction, and death.

Now, the same measurement for China:

China has been very active in recent years in establishing relationships with nations all over the world, including Russia, Iran, Venezuela, Brazil and various nations in Central Asia and Africa. A new gas pipeline from Turkmenistan to Xinjiang is now operating. In 2009, Iraq and China signed a $3 billion contract to develop a large Iraqi oil field, the first major commercial oil contract Iraq has made with a foreign company since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion. The degree of success? Excellent results with more to come; no bullets, no bombs, no wars, no bloodshed, and significant additions of energy for China.

What in the world is going on here? Aren't we supposed to be the good guys that spread freedom and democracy around the world, the nation that people respect and admire, the bastion of justice and mercy? And aren't the Chinese those Communists who hate capitalism and freedoms, who want to force people into thinking only as they do? Well, we better think very deeply about those common perceptions because things are not always as they seem to be.

What is the long term prognosis, who is going to win this war to control these critical resources? Of course, at this point, we have no way of knowing for certain. But, based upon the strategies being pursued by each of these powers, and which strategy seems to represent the best example of intelligent, rational thinking, on which would you place your bet?

Sure, there is still hope that things can change for the better; that America can come to the realization that its current strategy is not working and will never work. Just one problem, though. Who exactly in America is going to make it happen?

Michael Payne

 

Michael Payne is an independent progressive activist. His writings deal with social, economic, political and foreign policy issues; and especially with the great dangers involved with the proliferation of perpetual war, the associated defense (more...)
 
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The U.S. and China both need critical resources, n... by michael payne on Thursday, Nov 11, 2010 at 11:40:55 AM
A replacement for oil is a looming challenge. The ... by Mark Goldes on Friday, Nov 12, 2010 at 4:55:47 PM