When it comes to the growth of domestic government it may be arguable that administrations of either Democrat or Republicans pursue different agendas, albeit usually revolving around the prevailing social issues of the day. When it comes to foreign affairs, however, there is a seamless continuity of agenda aimed at maintaining and growing – American hegemony.
In foreign affairs at-large this American influence leads an Anglo-European coalition through its military arm – NATO. It should be clear, however, that when NATO acts it is invariably at the behest of U.S. interests as it “contributes between one-fifth and one-quarter of NATO’s budget. In FY2010 that contribution totaled $117.8 million…But that factors only direct payments, not deployments of personnel,” reported CBS News last year. U.S. equity in NATO has been concentrated even more as European member nations’ contributions shrank by $45 billion over the past two years due to fiscal turmoil.
Nevertheless, NATO and its 28 member countries flexed their collective muscle last month during their summit in Chicago. NATO announced its first step toward implementation of a ballistic missile shield, to be deployed in four phases by about 2020, sending clear signals to those not in the Club – namely China, Russia, Iran and North Korea – that amid growing security threats NATO is ready to counter any potential aggressor. According to a statement released by NATO leaders:
"We have declared an interim ballistic missile defence capability as an initial step to establish NATO’s missile defence system, which will protect all NATO European territories, populations and forces against the increasing threats posed by the proliferation of ballistic missiles…”
Given the current threat of asymmetrical warfare from non-state actors it seems as though conventional confrontations may not be a thing of the past.
|This is a layout of just some of the players involved in the
containment zone NATO and the U.S. are attempting to install.
The real containment sphere, as it were, is 4-dimensional incorporating
land, sea, air, space, and the internet.
Western Flank, Europe
The U.S. and NATO now have bases and/or military operations in former Soviet spheres of influence: Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Lithuania, Estonia are among those little known. Moscow, understandably rejects the idea that the NATO missile shield in this area is merely for Iran. Russia offered to operate the missile shield jointly with NATO, but was dismissed by the alliance revealing the ruse for what it is. NATO’s secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen called Russian “concerns groundless.”
Before NATO leaders met last month Russia threatened to strike the NATO missile shield should progress continue. Despite the threats, NATO’s deputy secretary general, Alexander Vershbow, told the conference last month the shield is "not and will not be directed against Russia" and that Russia's intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) are "too fast and too sophisticated" for the planned system to intercept. If this is true, NATO countries will be even more vulnerable as Russia recently tested a new ICBM, which according to the Russian military improves its ability to overcome current or future missile defense systems.
Western Flank, The Middle East
It has been the plan since 1991, soon after the fall of the Soviet Union, to have the U.S. infiltrate – diplomatically or otherwise – its former client states right up to the Russian motherland. The plan, referred to more appropriately as a “foreign policy coup,” was revealed by Gen. Wesley Clark to an audience in California in 2007. He claims Paul Wolfowitz, then undersecretary of defense, told him that the U.S. has 5-10 years to "clean up those old Soviet client regimes, Syria, Iran, Iraq, before the next great superpower comes on to challenge us."
In 2001, the timetable was given an extension after the attacks of 9/11. While visiting the Pentagon, a classified strategy was revealed to Gen. Clark that the U.S. planed to dismantle and replace the governments of seven nations: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Iran. Other than Iran of course, five of the seven governments have already been deposed.
Somalia remains in the throws; corrupt, occupied by a coalition of African armies, fending off fundamentalist factions and offering little more than 21st century pirates. Lebanon was coaxed into uprising in 2006 through a sophisticated “color revolution” strategy piloted successfully by the likes of the U.S. government funded National Endowment for Democracy (NED) – a sort of social CIA.
And Syria as we have documented in detail is in the midst of a dangerous foreign backed insurgency focused on delegitimizing the Syrian government in the eyes of the rest of the world. Should Syria fall, Russia will lose its only direct ports of access to the Mediterranean – Tartus and Latakia. As late as 2007 it was revealed the Russians were to re-establish a permanent naval presence in the Mediterranean through access to these new ports. Needless to say, this alarmed many in Washington and Tel Aviv.
A brief by Stratfor.com, a private U.S. intelligence firm, offered this analysis:
“A Russian naval presence off the Syrian coast could allow Syrian president Bashar al-Assad's regime to better inoculate itself against a potential attack by the US or Israel ... The Russians would be offering an attractive insurance policy."
Recognizing western efforts to deny Russia this access reveals that the Syrian “civil war” is really a microcosm – or if its allowed to succeed, a prelude – of World War III. There are no less than seven countries involved in the hostilities in one way or the other and because of it Russia has recently buttressed the Assad government and Russian strategic interests with new attack helicopters, weapons and advisors. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Pentagon, least to say, have not welcomed the move.
Western Flank, Central Eurasia
The U.S. and NATO now have bases and/or military operations Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan among other Central Asian states including Georgia where U.S. forces are training their military. While all these young, recently emancipated countries, are ostensibly democratic there has been evidence of rampant corruption, rigged elections and ethnic strife as can be expected from a region carved up quite arbitrarily.
The U.S. has nonetheless embraced whatever system these post-Communist orphans have come up with as long as they didn’t run back to a resurgent Russian Empire. Afghanistan might also be included as one of these former Soviet states, but of course only for a brief period as the USSR was rebuffed and sent packing after its botched invasion during the 1980s.
The U.S. and NATO have been in Afghanistan for over ten years now. Detractors scratch their heads and wonder why the U.S. would be sucked into another Vietnam, mired in scandal and setbacks. Some call it a quagmire, however, a sober assessment might conclude we were never intended to leave. Afghanistan, amidst this vast containment strategy is an ideal outpost. It sits atop trillions of dollars of mineral reserves, a crossroads for oil essential oil pipelines and offers a perfect peak into Russia and China.
Since NATO hasn’t been the best houseguest, killing hundreds of civilians and military personnel in the most aggressive drone war to date, Pakistan is no longer willing to serve as a NATO supply conduit. NATO and the U.S. military will now use a “reverse transit” through three former Soviet satellites (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan) to ship military equipment out of Afghanistan bypassing Pakistan altogether. The move is purportedly six times more expensive. Whether this is a bonafide exit route or merely a way of creating better partnerships closer to Russia remains to be seen.
What is clear is that Pakistan serves a similar role to China as Syria serves Russia – naval access. While many are talking about Syria few are talking about the fact the Pentagon admits the U.S. is at war in Pakistan. While the cover story is of course the favored fiction – Al-Qaeda reigns in Pakistan – groups, which are funded by staunch pro U.S. allies Saudi Arabia and UAE, the ultimate goal is denial of access as much as it is in Syria.
The Wall Street Journal reported last year that the Port of Gwadar, in coastal Balochistan region of Pakistan, is scheduled to be the latest in China’s “’String of Pearls’ wherein China has also funded construction or upgrades of ports in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Myanmar,” a stratagem aimed at strengthening economic ties, securing access to crucial resources and projecting force into the Indian Ocean, Arabian Gulf and the African Continent.
As the U.S. exits (at least publicly) its relationship with Pakistan, China is taking over. In addition to the Port of Gwadar China sees the Iran-Pakistan pipeline, the Turkmentistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline as vital to its economic health. To this end China has delivery of 50 JF-17 fighter jets, a unspecified number of 4,400 ton frigates, submariner training and possibly China’s more advanced FC-20, also known as the J10, but details are thin. In the final analysis Balochistan has been and will continue to be the victim (like Syria) of subversion, destabilization and political sabotage, "a nexus," writes Eric Draitser at Stop Imperialism, "the point at which diametrically opposing strategic interests converge." These are the typical tools of the realist school of geopolitics.
Part II will cover the South China Sea, the South Pacific and India, the Asian linchpin.