58 online
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 59 Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
Exclusive to OpEd News:
OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 1/9/10

Afghanistan: only the first move in the grand chess game for control of Central Asian resources

By       (Page 1 of 2 pages)   1 comment
Message Michael Payne

Though not being reported in the mainstream American press, there is a very intense struggle going on between the U.S. and China to determine which nation will emerge as the dominant presence in Central Asia. These two economic giants, the U.S. declining and China rapidly growing, know full well that their economic future depends entirely on their ability to acquire critical resources; in the case of the U.S., it's primarily oil, while with China it's both oil and natural gas.

The specific Central Asian region of which I speak, rich in natural gas and oil, includes India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, among others. Russia, which borders the region and Iran are also key players. Transport of these critical resources via current and planned pipelines is at the center of the struggle to determine who will control them into the future. To understand the magnitude of this struggle we need to begin by examining the strategy that the U.S. is pursuing in Afghanistan and Pakistan as related to its greater objectives in Central Asia.

Our president talks about a surge in Afghanistan; but that represents only the initial stage in the overall strategy that America is pursuing in Central Asia. The real surge will follow as the U.S. becomes more involved with military actions to establish a presence in Pakistan. There has been constant pressure by the U.S. on the Pakistani government to have their troops increase actions against insurgents in South Waziristan near the Afghan border as well as in other Taliban-controlled areas.

The U.S. is also increasing the use of drones in Pakistan in remote areas with the reluctant permission of the Pakistani military. But, apparently, that's not enough and now those operating the drone program want to extend it into Balochistan, the largest province in Pakistan; and in its largest city, Quetta. If the leadership of Pakistan allows this very aggressive, misguided use of drones within its cities, then they are opening the door to massive civil violence that could lead to domestic disaster.

So, it becomes apparent where Mr. Obama's surge is heading. Without a doubt, all these moves into Afghanistan and the increasing pressure on the government of Pakistan portend that America will become involved in yet one more war in another sovereign nation. It is also evident that Obama has now fully adopted the Bush doctrine of pre-emptive war; that is to strike within the borders of any nation where the U.S. deems the "enemy" exists.

Existing pipelines in Central Asia are currently capable of getting only a fraction of the total potential oil and gas wealth to market. Central Asian nations and Iran are very anxious to sell more gas and oil. The U.S., Europe, Russia, India, Pakistan and China are anxious to buy more. The only thing holding back the desired transport of gas and oil is the construction of new pipelines. That's what this grand chess game is all about and why the U.S. and NATO are right in the middle of all the action and activity.

The reason the U.S. is setting its sights on Balochistan and the city of Quetta is that this area has been identified as a key transit corridor for both natural gas and oil. There are plans for two pipelines that would transit through Balochistan; the IPI is the Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline that the U.S. is dead set against because of Iran's involvement. Then there is the U.S. backed TAPI, the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India pipeline. Unfortunately, the Taliban tribes in Afghanistan are not being cooperative and that's why they must be pacified. This is easier said than done.

In Balochistan, China has provided funds and expertise to construct a deep sea port at Gwadar, which provides China with a transit terminal for crude oil imports from Iran and Africa to China's Xinjiang region. This strategic port, together with rail and road links connecting Pakistan with Afghanistan and Central Asian nations will give China an important opening into Central Asian markets and energy sources. The U.S. is trying to counter these moves by China in every way possible because of its own competing interests.

Next Page  1  |  2

(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).

Rate It | View Ratings

Michael Payne Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines

Contact EditorContact Editor
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEd News Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Orwell's "1984" becoming a reality in modern-day America

Heed the Warning Signs; America is Edging Ever Closer to a Societal Implosion

Ethics and Morals in America; an Endangered Species

How Do You Spell Sociopath? G-O-P

The Beginning of the End for the U.S. Dollar as the World Reserve Currency

A U.S. President Defies Congress, the Constitution and the Will of the People; Will Impeachment Follow?

To View Comments or Join the Conversation:

Tell A Friend