By Patrick Henningsen
21st Century Wire
April 26, 2011
With the addition of Libya to the US and NATO’s regional conflict portfolio, our world is currently host to more wars and forced occupations than at any other time in history. Given its current trajectory, you only have to sit back and wait for that illusive match that could ignite another full-blown world war.
Events in Libya are not exclusive to the military theatre. There is a geopolitical and economic chess match at play between the West and China in a battle for Africa and with it, the largest basket of natural resources on Earth.
In Libya we are witnessing what could be described as a New Cold War between the West and China, but from its early stages we can see that this war is hardly a cold one. It’s a hot war, one which might very well threaten the delicate stability that remains between the major economic and military powers across multiple global regions.
Patrick Henningsen on Russia Today explaining the basis of a “New Cold War” between China and the West.
Mostly under the media radar, the US has already outlined its strategic agenda through the formation of AFRICOM, a subset of the infamous neo-conservative Project for a New American Century(PNAC). Central to AFRICOM’s strategic goals is to confront the increasing Chinese influence on the continent.
Strong strategic and economic links already exist between Russia, Pakistan, Iran and China, and NATO military actions are already coming into direct conflict with these relationships. Led by the US and Britain, NATO is currently being deployed like an international hit squad in order to secure territories and resources which carry a high transnational corporate value.
The use of NATO in these far-flung regions has taken it far away from its original charter to preserve peace and stability along the old front-line between the now defunct USSR and the US-European alliance. The use of NATO in these regions, however, is further proof that its old cold war function is still active, the old chess pieces are still in play and its Western directors are not hiding this fact at all.
Obama presiding over new wars
In late 2007 and early 2008, Americans and fawning fans around the globe bought into a much different picture altogether. The election of US President Barrack Obama had convinced masses worldwide that those dark days were behind them; he promised them he would close America’s off-shore military concentration camp in Guantanamo Bay, pull the troops out of Iraq, reignite the fabled “peace process” between Israel and Palestine, and focus on more pressing economic matters at home.
Much to the surprise of his loyal devotees, just the opposite transpired; aided by his unlikely pro-war Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, we have seen an expansion of military troops overseas, the addition of Pakistan as a theatre of conflict, the activation of military tribunals to fabricate convictions of innocent detainees in Guantanamo, no mention of Israel, and the launch of a new undeclared illegal war in Libya. Even his greatest fans have been left scratching their heads over how the West could get it so wrong. How could this once celebrated man of the people, the first man of colour in the White House, the young turk, the reformer- steer his flock into such a pattern of geopolitical digression?
THE HAWKISH DOVE: The irony of Obama is that he may be credited with propelling the West into a WWIII disaster.
Ironically, Barrack Obama was given his Nobel Peace Prize only two months after being in office, a bizarre move by the Nobel Prize Committee. ”Obama has now fired more cruise missiles than all other Nobel Peace prize winners combined”, not a good line on the resume of a dove. He’s now joined the ranks of Henry Kissinger and other notable mass bombers. At this point, there appears to be little chance for redemption.
The Resource Wars
Despite the utopian projections by the ranks of neo-liberal globalist disciples, cadres of nations and trading alliances have formed since 2000. BRICS, MENA, and LATIN AMERICAN emerging economic blocks are challenging the pre-eminence of the traditional Anglo-American and European dominion over the global markets and cultural monopolies. Oil, gas, uranium and water feature prominently in this realignment of the global chessboard, and with each additional military theatre comes an additional risk of a multi-regional war. For decades this premonition has been known commonly as World War III. Such a new war will most certainly be fought around one singular issue… natural resources.
The capture and control of the world’s remaining resources and energy supplies will be the theme which will govern and literally fuel all major conflicts in the 21st century. This pattern has already begun with the First Gulf War in 1991, leading to the West’s complete control of energy lines in Afghanistan and Iraq from 2001 onwards, and again to the current resource grab we are currently witnessing in Libya.
A comprehensive video analysis of how a World War III scenario would likely unfold.
The Nuclear Risk
Hawks, think-tankers and arm chair cheerleaders in countries like the US and Britain may be convinced that in the event of a Third World War they will most certainly be on the winning side because the military and nuclear scales are weighing heavily in their favour. What these hawks do not consider is that the one risk which trumps all other concerns in this scenario is just that: the use of nuclear weapons. It is very likely that any version of a Third World War will almost certainly feature the use of thermo-nuclear bombs and missiles.
Confident hawks should be reminded that the risks of escalation in a two-way or a three-way shooting match will result in a massive loss of innocent lives and certain permanent environmental damage on a very large scale. Large stocks of valuable and relatively finite resources including energy, food, fish and water supplies will be rendered useless and inaccessible for many generations. In addition, nuclear fall-out will have an environmental knock-on effect globally. In short, even a regional nuclear conflict will have catastrophic consequences both in and outside of the conflict zones. Few can disagree that this is one genie which should not be allowed out of the bottle again.
Nuclear weapons have already been introduced into the conflict zone. The use of illegal and highly dangerous Depleted Uranium (DU) munitions by the US, Europe and Israel has featured widely in their respective war theatres. US and NATO forces used DU penetrator rounds in the 1991 Gulf War, the Bosnia war, bombing of Serbia, and the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
DU essentially amounts to recycled nuclear waste, repackaged for profit into a highly lethal and toxic ammunition for use on the battlefield- and it’s been around for years. While clearing a decades-old Hawaii firing range in 2005, workers found depleted uranium fins from training rounds from the formerly classified Davy Crockett recoilless gun tactical battlefield nuclear delivery system from the 1960-70s. These same training rounds were used in a highly classified program and had been fired before DU had become an item of interest, more than 20 years before the Gulf War:
“The Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities of the United Nations Human Rights Commission, passed two motions — the first in 1996 and the second in 1997. They listed weapons of mass destruction, or weapons with indiscriminate effect, or of a nature to cause superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering and urged all states to curb the production and the spread of such weapons. Included in the list was weaponry containing depleted uranium.”
DU: The US and NATO continue to use Depleted Uranium rounds, Libya is the latest environmental victim.
With a minimum half-life of 400,000 years, lethal radioactive DU dust has already spread over the Middle East region and beyond. Despite international efforts to ban its use, it appears that the US and its allies are determined to use it on its foreign victims… indefinitely.
Role of Domestic Bystander
On the domestic front, elites still need to prime the public for their participation in these new 21st century wars. The theme of “terrorism” and “domestic terror” will continue to occupy a prime place in our domestic conversation, ensuring a state of permanent domestic war which is currently being administered by a rapidly growing Police and Surveillance State, particularly in the US and the UK. The rapid advance of the domestic Police State in these two countries could be an indication that they may very well form one side of any impending global conflict.
It’s also a certainty that more young men and women from these same Western nations will be asked to replenish the dwindling ranks of soldiers to be stationed in legions overseas, as well as for domestic service in forming standing armies at home. And here is where the rubber actually meets the road: citizens who still consider themselves free should seriously consider for what reasons and for whose interest they are putting on their uniform… and ask why they will asked to point their guns at foreign citizens and citizens at home.
We are currently in the early stages of what appears to be a global escalation phase and it is anyone’s guess how this chess game will unfold in the immediate future. However, taking long-term trends and the colonial behaviour patterns of certain North American and European countries into account, it is almost certain that the battle for finite resources, the preservation of corporate monopolies and the dominance of a single global currency will force a confrontation between old and emerging economic blocks.
Your individual role in such an unstable future is up to you. Depending on your level of education and awareness, you will either play a role in stemming the tide of war, or contributing to it. Unfortunately, in this case, staying on the fence will likely place you in the latter category.
Author Patrick Henningsen is a writer and communications consultant and currently the Managing Editor of 21st Century Wire.