The Use of Power in the International Game of Chess

Those who look at history with a critical eye and those try to peel back the layers of government policies to understand the true motives behind them, understand that the face our government shows the public every day is not the only face our government has. There is a face that for good reason is not exposed to light of day, or at least is very rarely exposed. Inside and outside of our government, as well as other major powers, there are strategic think tanks that look at the world as a chess board. They look way into the future at political alliances, potential dangers of certain nations obtaining influence in some part of the world, and they look at such things as strategically important natural resources and much more. They analyse different scenarios and how they might be dealt with diplomatically or militarily. an  example might be this Global Research article from November of 2006 which was republished recently. It talks about redrawing the Middle-East to create a “New Middle-East”. This piece of strategic thinking can probably be traced back to the days of Henry Kissinger in the Nixon era and Zbigniew Brzezinski of the Carter years.

Accepting that international statecraft has never developed effective tools — short of war — for readjusting faulty borders, a mental effort to grasp the Middle East’s “organic” frontiers nonetheless helps us understand the extent of the difficulties we face and will continue to face. We are dealing with colossal, man-made deformities that will not stop generating hatred and violence until they are corrected.

Is this what our government is up to in what otherwise appears to be an asinine policy of the current administration in the Middle-East? I don’t know, but it is food for thought.

A friend of mine operates the Spellchek blog. He is a very smart man and he is one who does a lot of research to support his arguments. He has written two posts recently that suggest that part of the reason the US is still in Afghanistan and may stay much longer than is currently being said publically by our government, is the presence in Afghanistan of important strategic resources to which America needs access. His first post is here and his second post is here. In this second post is a long list of links (that I have not yet read) to back up his assertion. I happen to know for a fact that the United States Geological Survey believes there are huge deposits of lithium in Afghanistan. Lithium has become a strategically important mineral in today’s high technology   world,including our high technology military world. And, today the US depends mostly on China for its supplies of lithium.

So, for the sake of today’s discussion, let us assume that my friend at Spellchek is right. And, let’s talk about two things: our concept of “War on Terrorism” and the morality of spilling our blood and treasure for strategically important resources. To this end, this humble observer will share  his thoughts on how the war on terrorism should be conducted and how a war to protect America from aggression can also be used to  achieve other strategic interests.

I was for far too many years no different from the Neo-Cons. I was a hawk on all things military. I got over it. I don’t like war and I believe many of our wars have been fought for the wrong reasons, which I won’t go into today. Having said that, I am no shrinking violet either. I believe tha America, as a the super power, must at times use its power to protect our national interests. But, our current concept of our war on terror is thee most stupid approach to protecting America that i can imagine. The idea that we are going to fight terrorist groups on the soil of sovereign nations is an asinine approach, in my opinion. To fight small mobile terrorist groups, I believe you have to take the battle to the governments that allows them to operate inside their territories. For example, if the we  know the Saudi royal family is funding terrorist groups, we should send a few smart missiles into some of their palaces to get their attention, as Ronald Reagan did to Muammar Gaddafi. If the current Libyan government is allowing al Qaeda to operate in their territory, then we need to put the fear of G-d in them and the same goes for Iran. In my opinion, none of these leaders are planning to offer up themselves to be suicide bombers. Despite all their talk, they are in no hurry to meet Allah. Okay let¡s move on to Afghanistan.

After the 9/11 attacks, there is no question that the United States had to retaliate. But, using my methodology describes above, this is how I think it should have gone down. Instead of declaring this fuzzy war on terror, our government should have given Afghanistan thirty days to deliver bin laden and all of his top aides, knowing full well they could not do it. We then should have made plans to make war against the Afghanistan nation. If the strategic thinkers bring to our leaders’ attention that there are x, y, and z resources in Afghanistan that are very important to America’s future, our leaders should thank them and then keep that information in mind as they conduct the war. They should have gone into Afghanistan and kicked butt as they did in the first three years of the war; killing as many Taliban and al Qaeda operatives as possible. They then should have forced the Afghan government to the negotiating table on the day of their choosing. they  then should have dictated the terms of ending our war against them. Those terms might have included an on going presence to continue hunting for bin laden and the terms might have included that the Afghan government would sign 99 year leases of the rights to the x, y, and z resources in exchange for a fair royalty. Call that last part spoils of war or retribution. I don’t care. But, to me that is the most moral or least immoral way to get access to the strategic resources. To prolong a war in order to find a way to get at the resources without Americans knowing that their government is sacrificing the blood of our soldiers is in my mind absolutely immoral.

Undoubtedly, I have over simplified the issues. For that, I apologize. And, maybe the bigger questions is does morality have a role in national security?

Well, now you know what I’m thinking. What are your thoughts?

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34 thoughts on “The Use of Power in the International Game of Chess

  1. I think you have written a powerful article, especially the concluding paragraphs.

    I had coffee with two retired Marines this Sunday, both in their 70’s, and they essentially said the same thing. Bush created a disaster, and Obama is continuing it.

    Sorry about Sunday, Jim

      1. Chavez seemed so sure of the election, even when it looked like your other guy might win. Not so unlike what has been happening here.

      2. I saw an article that had Chavez already celebrating and he was way down. That leads me to believe something was up. This country is going in the same direction, any wonder that Obama called to congratulate Chavez? Two peas in a pod, yep.

  2. Right on target, well said. However unless we wish to become an agrarian society we will need to one way or another buy or trade rare resources. The world’s bullies will/are not willing to play well and share their toys. I leave it to others to speculate how this all works out in the end.

  3. The whole “war on terror” thing is based on liberal white man’s guilt. We couldn’t actually say we were going to Afghanistan to kill our enemies (who happened to be non-white non-northern Europeans) because that would be wrong and raaaaaacist. So we used the “war on terror” thing to help our tender consciences.

  4. Well done Jim and thanks for the mention. I would hope that people wouldn’t merely discount this as conspiracy talk and do some researching of their own. It boils down to the fact that natural resources access is a national security concern and will be even more so going forward. The Great Game is a centuries old conflict in the region. Today we have some new players in The New Great Game.

    Will this change under a Romney regime? Here’s a quote from today’s foreign policy speech.

    “And in Afghanistan, I will pursue a real and successful transition to Afghan security forces by the end of 2014. President Obama would have you believe that anyone who disagrees with his decisions in Afghanistan is arguing for endless war. But the route to more war – and to potential attacks here at home – is a politically timed retreat that abandons the Afghan people to the same extremists who ravaged their country and used it to launch the attacks of 9/11. I will evaluate conditions on the ground and weigh the best advice of our military commanders. And I will affirm that my duty is not to my political prospects, but to the security of the nation.”

    Not too difficult to read between the lines. “The security of the nation”. We will have a long-term presence in the region. We aren’t going to pull up stakes and allow the Taliban to dictate who wins.

    I’m sure we’ll see more of a public relations campaign take place over time to ‘educate’ us as to the importance of global access to natural resources and that it qualifies as national security. Is the blood worth the treasure? Is it moral? No answer fits all but if our logic for war is eliminating ruthless dictators we would be in far more wars than we are today. Instead, we pick and choose based upon other factors.

  5. I must have missed something. It all seems unnecessarily complicated.

    I don’t get it. There is a lithium plant here in my county. Read this: http://www.bizjournals.com/charlotte/blog/outside_the_loop/2011/11/fmc-lithium-to-add-130-jobs-in-gaston.html
    “FMC Lithium will add 25 jobs in a $50 million expansion at its electric-car battery-component plant in Bessemer City.

    The addition will bring employment at the Gaston County plant to 240 as it ramps up production of lithium hydroxide at the facility, which opened in 1954.
    The Bessemer City plant is the largest U.S. manufacturing operation for the company, Evans says.

    “Eighty percent of our sales are actually outside the U.S., and a great majority of those sales comes from this plant,” he says.
    FMC’s lithium is used in a range of products and processes — from an ingredient in grease to use as a reagent in the processing of pharmaceutical and agricultural products. In particular, lithium is used in batteries for consumer products such as electric cars and in the manufacture of drugs to treat AIDS, viral infections and patients with high cholesterol.

    Read that one part again…
    “Eighty percent of our sales are actually outside the U.S., and a great majority of those sales comes from this plant,” he says.”

    So we need Afghanistan for Lithium??? I don’t think so.
    Why doesn’t Afghanistan mine their own Lithium and sell that instead of opium???

    We’ve sent how much of our metals to China in the last 15 years that we could have recycled and used here? Container after container…gone to China. We shut down sugar plants in Florida and import rather than produce our own. We take water away from the best produce growing area of California and then import produce from Mexico + other places. We refuse oil from Canada, refuse to drill in Anwar, yet we send good people to die in the middle east?

    Something doesn’t add up. This Chess game is RIGGED against us. I would get up from the table, pick up my pawns and my Queen, Knights and King and Rooks, and get the heck out of Dodge.

    1. Carol… Is there any pollution that the EPA can find that would cause them to NOT want us to use our own lithium, just like we don’t use our own oil and gas? Good lord! Don’t we have MINE it? Mining!!! ARGH! Can’t do that. No siree. Why… That’s even worse than drilling.

      How many lives have environmentalists cost? How much political havoc in the world? From the ban on DDT, to fighting our own energy self-sufficiency, they’d rather put the world at risk than use our technology and resources. So foolish… You can’t help but think of Thomas Sowell’s “first stage thinking.” Like your example of the pipeline. They don’t want to use the tar sands from Canada, and they don’t want us to pollute by refining it, and they are afraid of harming our water supply… But they’ll happily let that oil go to China where their environmental controls are complete crap. They talk about being “world citizens” and “one planet” but don’t seem to realize that if, on that one planet, you have a choice of having resources utilized by the cleanest, most highly technological and environmentally sensitive country on the planet, and having it used by people who give not a flying crap about pollution, you should probably let the cleaner guys exploit the resource.

    2. Carol,

      It isn’t just lithium. There are 17 rare earth minerals as well as fossil fuels that the entire Caspian Sea region is loaded with. It isn’t so much today’s demands as it is future demands and the need for a global supply chain. Check out this report from the Congressional Research Service that is a good primer for why this is going to be such a huge issue.

      http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/R41347.pdf

      Also, the post I wrote Jim was referring to points out the fact that we were going into Afghanistan anyway before 9/11 ever happened. The Taliban weren’t cooperating then and they certainly won’t once the U.N. pullout is complete.

    3. Hi, Cheryl. Look, I used lithium as an example because it is one that I know to exist in Afghanistan. But, as 5etedter said in his response to you (I don’t know why he and Pat changed your name Caroñ :-)) there are a number of rare earth element there that have strategic importance. The issue of whether strategic resources are woth the use of oir troops is not as clear cut as it may seem. Take a hypothetical situation. The US determined that in X years there will not be sufficient water resouces to sustain our population. If Canada decided to play hardball, what would we do?

      1. I’d just been e-mailing with a Carol. My bad. I’m a fan of Cheryl’s and should’ve known better. Apologies, Cheryl!

      2. Glad you all decided my name is Cheryl…instead of Carol. LOL.

        The first part of your article is right on target….the CFR has redrawn the New Middle East. Our military should not be involved. Our government seems hell bent on meddling in everyone else’s business. If you say that can be justified to obtain some “rare earth” minerals….I would ask, really? What is that worth? Cecil Rhodes got diamonds out of Africa and then turned his fortune into a platform for Global Socialist tyranny. Who is benefiting from this? Me with my Smart Phone? I could give that up for saving our soldiers lives. And I sure as heck do not want a Smart Meter on my house…to satisfy the globalists rationing of our energy. Trust me…I can live without that.

        As for minerals…The Taliban is never going to “cooperate.” Muslims are never going to “cooperate.” Get used to it. How can anyone with a brain expect Madrassah (sp) head bangers to do anything but hate and try to kill us?
        The left doesn’t want space exploration, but we could have declared the moon was ours and I hear there are minerals to be mined there. Is that cheaper than fighting endless wars and losing dear Americans? Let’s find some creative solutions besides killing and maiming our soldiers…..can we?

        The Russians’ experience in Afghanistan should have taught us something….no?

        I’m not buying the water shortage argument, either. The scenario there is the depopulation argument. Should that happen….people will be killing each other at a rate unimaginable. Desalinization could save us from that…have some faith! Or try to…

        I just don’t see any common sense, but a lot of hoo dooey and “visions” and doomers. I don’t think this is the attitude that will get us through to a stable future for America. Where is common sense? Where are reasonable limits? Where is the optimism of just getting up every day and living? All I hear from the government “regionalists” is the doctrine of scarcity, energy starvation, food justice, water shortages….on and on. What does that do to people? It causes strife, angst, justifies wars…etc. America can sustain itself…or could have without the global pied pipers leading us off the cliff with bad policies and endless illegal immigration.
        Faithlessness…not a good thing. Leads to lots of bad decisions. And depressed people who have to take LITHIUM ….no thank you! Save it for the batteries!!

  6. I’d rather fight for lithium, something we can readily assertain success for, than for “democracy” in ntions that do not, nor will they ever have such a thing as we regard it.
    Interesting points, COF.

  7. What we always want to avoid is being called imperialists. As a result, we go in and fight for others’ freedom, then leave with nothing. Or, worse, keep our checkbook open and continue to fund the liberated country’s climb out of hardship (mostly imposed by the government we’ve defeated). Then we hope against hope that the new government will be friendly toward us. It’s actually worked a few times. Europe after WWII and the Marshall Plan. Japan. But the Middle East? NOT going to work. You have nothing but greedy tyrants (or would-be tyrants) and a population torn between their own desperation and religious fervor… not to mention an appalling lack of education. Throw on top of that our desperate need not to be seen as imperialists (by a world that sees us as imperialists anyway) and you have a recipe for incredible waste of our soldier’s blood and our nations treasure, only to have the countries we try to help give us the finger.

    We assume that other nations will want good relations with us because we ask the question, “Don’t you want a higher standard of living for your people as a result of following our example and trading with us?” The Middle East is apparently not driven by such concerns. In that particular case, your answer is the only feasible one. But we’d have to be prepared for extreme resistance. Just as an example. After the first Gulf war, when we liberated Kuwait from Saddam’s Iraq (they didn’t go in there passing out flowers to their fellow Muslims, by the way… They went in ruthlessly and stole the resources of other Muslims and killed all who resisted), we left a base in Saudi Arabia so that we could contain Saddam and prevent him from attacking other Muslim countries (and interrupt the supply of oil, of course). Bin Laden used that base as one of his excuses (an American base in the country of Mecca) for hating the U.S. (the same U.S. that had supplied the weaponry to help his Mujahadeen defeat the Russians in Afghanistan, where the Russians were replaced by the even more oppressive Taliban).

    Even if people were getting wealthier, we couldn’t count on them being friendly to us because of the religion. Anyone not prospering (and I can’t imagine those corrupt a-holes that run those bizarre countries not enriching themselves at the expense of the people that they can manipulate so easily through their religion and their ignorance) would hate and fight us.

    It seems to me that the only way to deal with them is to swat the f-ers down every time they act out, and let them stew in their poverty until they understand who the real enemy is–their own leadership (political and religious). Contain ‘em. Trade with them as little as possible (drill for our own GD oil!) and support any democratic and free market resistance that springs up.

    1. As I said in reply to another comment, there are some animals that cn’t be domesticated and we shouldn’t try. Take the Iraq war. I din’t support it. But, ws did it and we stayed for ten years. What did we get out of it? We had a huge airbase there that was very strategic. This adminsitration asked if we could keep using it and the new iraqi government that we helped bring ablout, said they didn’t want us there. IMP, we should not have asked pernission. We shoud have told them how it was going to be. If we had, Iran would not be flying over Iraq today to supply arms to Syria.

      1. Part of that deal was the numbnuts we had doing the negotiating (the name starts with O and ends in bama). We could’ve gotten a much better deal. I agree, though. There are times when you need to casually glance around and say, “Nice little country you got here… Wanna keep it?”

  8. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only two times, since 1960, has the unemployment dropped by 0.5 percentage points in a two month span.
    The first time this happened was in 1984 under President Ronald Reagan
    The only other time (in over 50 years, again) is occurring right now under President Obama (Aug & Sept, 2012). When the rate went from 8.3 to 7.8,
    Think about that again. In over 50 years, starting with President John F. Kennedy, only twice has the unemployment rate dropped by 0.5 percentage points within a 2-month span. But then again we are dealing with Barack Obama the Messiah, so anything can happen…
    So we are to believe that one of those times is happening right now – under a president with the worst jobs record in history, one month before the most important election of our time – all with a backdrop of anemic GDP and job creation. Oh, and when Obama conveniently needed to get to 7.8% to “break even.” And exactly one month before the election and 2 days after he got his Ass Whipped by his opponent.
    This is really getting ridiculous. We have a dope in the while house who takes us for total morons, just because he is used to be dealing with the morons, idiots in his administration.
    Wake up you progressive fools, the numbers just do not add up.
    There is no rational for a .3% drop when the new jobs are nearly the same as last month! But suddenly out of the blue, the single largest monthly gain in almost 50 years takes place? Can you imagine the media outrage if GWB used those numbers? This country is in real trouble when the government openly lies to its citizens. I for one just can not believe my own government any more. And that’s pretty dam sad.

    1. Gen Smedley Butler said it decades ago that war is just a way for the Big Money to have their way. Nothing has changed because most Americans have been deluded by the “blood and swash” propaganda and not following the money around.

      Not only are the natural resources in play in Afgh., but the heroin trade is what is propping the big banks up according to Jerome Corsi. Pat Tillman got fragged in the face at thirty feet for standing up against it. Also, Brzezenski labled places like Af-Pak “geopolitical pivots” in his book The Grand Chessboard. Control of these is necessary to control the borad aka Eurasia.
      In other words, World Dominiation!!! Bwahahahahaha.

      Is there room for morality in foreign policy? We’ll get to see that when Christ “judges the nations”. Won’t that be interesting?

  9. “… I believe you have to take the battle to the governments that allows them to operate inside their territories.”

    That is exactly why Bush went after Afghanistan, except he did not send an invasion force. He economized and let the Northern Alliance do some of the hard work of running the Taliban out of the country. The whole rationale for the war in Afghanistan was to take the country off the board as a training and recruiting ground for Islamic terrorists. You apparently agree with Bush.

    I disagree that the concept of a war on terror was a fuzzy concept. The definition was out there for everyone to see. The conflict includes using military, financial, political, and psychological efforts and resources. It is a huge, international undertaking.

    In my opinion George Bush did it right. Of course, we could have let nature take its course with Al Queda continuing to incubate in Afghanistan and other places without contest.

    1. Bush did not make war against the Afghan government. If he had, we could have had our troops home long ago and we would have actually accomplished something.

      If you can explain to me how one fights a war on terror without punishing the governments that protect or do not try to stop them, I will listen. Going after the terroist in Afghanistan was the obvipos right thing to do. Not punishing and changing the Afghan government is what I see as wrong.

  10. I concur that when we spend the blood and treasure of our nation defending another country, we should not bother to ask if we can stay there.

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