Saturday, August 18, 2007

New Silk Road has Mighty River of Oil

What is old becomes new again just by changing the players, not the game. World domination in trade was the province of a superpower like the USA. America cemented its standing by helping to found a little organization called NATO - North Atlantic Treaty Organization, complete wih a standing Army - always under the command of an American. Europe got their collection of smaller countries together to up their trading, political and potentially military clout to form something called the EU - European union. There are Asian versions that meet; APEC, ASEAN with Climate Change dominating the agenda.

Long suspicious and resentful of NATO, Russia and China - former bitter enemies, are creating a strategic alliance that is fraught with peril and possibility. SCO is the Shanghai Co-operation Organization. To get into that exclusive nation club next to presidents Putin and Jintao, requires one or more of the following: massive energy provider, hungry energy consumer with spare megabucks/rubles/yuan with nothing to do but sit there collecting compound interest or a teeny tiny poor country bordering the biggies for a pipeline or ahem, an oil road - the new Silk Road is a mighty flowing river of oil.

To celebrate an engagement and show a bit of the Central Asia
dowry, China and Russia just started the biggest joint military war game, together. Two, million "man" armies practicing together with the USA only able to watch from a pay per view spy satellite. Top it off with a terribly unpopular incompetent US president and an ineffective US Secretary of State - a supposed Russian expert with a PhD, and America is feeling a bit jilted. Iran, Pakistan, India, Turkmenistan and Afghanistan are bringing flowers and candy to gain entrance into the SCO. Two or more of that group have nuclear bombs or technology and three of that group are still dating America for the foreign policy goodies. Besides it takes an awful lot of oil to make armies that big work effectively.

Pretty sure the American media will catch on sometime during the SCO's energetic honeymoon phase as the balance of power rocks American professional navel gazing. Russia is reverting back to a Cold War stance by resuming their own patrolling of the global skies. Its been sixteen years since Russia last did it and you can bet your last penny, pound or paisa, they "pimped their rides" with amazing new technology.

Russia and China invited Iran's bombastic president to dinner for a quickie tête - à - tête at an Anti-US summit. The message to America is way past subliminal.

The ancient Silk Road is famous for opening trade to new partners in Europe. Tourists traveled to Afghanistan and China to partake of the scenic beauty and the dangerous trek. Venetian Marco Polo (1254 - 1324 CE) is credited with founding it.

History has a way of repeating itself. Books illuminate past mistakes while providing illumination for those so inclined. An elegant, illustrated version of The Silk Road by Frances Woods is a keeper. Two thousand years of history in this review. Russian and Chinese history, especially since Stalin and Mao are excellent maps for current events under the new leaders.

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