Pipeline-Istan

 

The Russian sanctions bill has got to be one of the most perverse pieces of legislation that I’ve ever seen.

Since WWII the presidency has increased its power vis-a-vis congress in relation to foreign policy and the ability to declare war, resulting in the imperial presidency that most of us have grown up with. One of the overlooked positives of the Trump presidency is that through his sheer ineptness he’s diminishing these imperial powers. However, Trump  called for better relations with Russia, resulting in a  bi-partisan attack led by the neoconservatives in both parties.

With the sanctions congress is effectively taking back its war powers to stop Trump from making peace with Russia.

What’s even more darkly amusing is that the sanctions are based on Russian meddling in our precious democracy, when recent studies have confirmed that the US is officially a plutocracy.

Maybe they should meddle.

That the sanctions passed both chambers of congress so overwhelmingly got me thinking that maybe the sanctions are about something else?

Perhaps they’re related to the wellspring of US foreign policy–oil and gas?

Asian Times, reporter Pepe Escobar coined the phrase Pipeline-Istan, to describe the New-Great-Game, a struggle for control over the oil and natural gas resources that are critical to our industrial world. Escobar says that nothing of significance happen with US foreign policy without an energy angle.

In a new article, Escobar argues that the new sanctions are all about the  energy wars against Russia.

“Even without considering the stellar historical record of Washington not only meddling but bombing and regime-changing vast swathes of the planet — from Iraq and Libya to the current threats against Iran, Venezuela and North Korea — the Russia-gate hysteria about meddling in the 2016 US presidential election is a non-story, by now thoroughly debunked.

The heart of the matter is, once again, energy wars.”

Escobar says that by imposing such harsh sanctions congress is also declaring economic war against Europe, especially Germany.

“According to a Middle East-based US energy source not hostage to the Beltway consensus, the message in these sanctions is the EU has no future unless it buys US natural gas to cut out Russia. To deny Russia the natural gas market of the EU was the goal behind the just lost war in Syria to put the Qatar-Saudi Arabia-Syria-Turkey-EU pipeline in and the opening to Iran for an Iran-Iraq-Syria-Turkey-EU pipeline. None of these plans worked.

The source adds as evidence the 2014 oil price war against Russia, orchestrated by “the dumping of Gulf States’ surplus oil or reserve capacity on the world market. Since this has failed to bring Russia to its knees, the destruction of the Russian natural gas market in the EU has become a national priority for the United States.”

Escobar has been following the energy wars that constitute the New-Great-Game since the 1990’s when President Clinton, with the advice of Zbignew Bresinski, plotted the initial moves. Once the Soviet Union collapsed, control of the energy-rich former Soviet republics in the region was quickly seen as essential to future U.S. global power. It would be there, as the neocons imagined it, that the War on Terror would intersect with control over energy flows in a way that would allow the US to remain the dominant hegemon.

You’d never know any of this from reading the Washington Post or New York Times, where they describe US foreign policies as a never ending crusade to spread democracy and establish order in a chaotic world. If they criticize US foreign policy it’s–mistakes were made but the goals were noble.

Escobar asks the questions that our media dare not, and then connects the dots.

“How could Russia not interpret the war in Kosovo, then the invasion of Afghanistan (where Washington had previously tried to pair with the Taliban and encourage the building of another of those avoid-Iran, avoid-Russia pipelines), followed by the invasion of Iraq (that country of vast oil reserves), and finally the recent clash in Georgia (that crucial energy transportation junction) as straightforward wars for Pipelineistan? Though seldom imagined this way in our mainstream media, the Russian and Chinese leaderships saw a stark “continuity” of policy stretching from Bill Clinton’s humanitarian imperialism to Bush’s Global War on Terror.”

Many educated Americans dismiss this type of analysis. They point out that the US doesn’t need to go to all the trouble to get oil and gas when we can buy it cheaply on the open market, and now with fracking technology we have our very own American sources. But that misses the point. It’s not about access, but control of energy flows.

US foreign policy since the end of the Cold War has been about controlling energy flows and making sure Russia is cut out.

If you want to understand what it is that the US does in the world–follow the pipelines.

 

 

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