Published time: December 19, 2013 11:02
Today’s globalized geopolitical grand chessboard often plays out in interestingly complex and roundabout ways. Such is the case of the on-going tug of war between the US, UK and EU on the one hand, and Russia and its allies on the other.
Pieces are moved; sometimes a pawn from one square to the next, at other times a rook or bishop straight across the chessboard; even a knight in its more crooked way… Such is the game of the looming “Arctic War” which is starting to unfold, in which seemingly unconnected events begin to make sense when we start joining the right dots correctly.
Round one in Syria: Putin: 1 / Obama: 0
Last September, US President Barack Obama suffered a crushing diplomatic and political defeat at the hands of Russian President Vladimir Putin over the Syrian crisis with its tragic civil war that is claiming hundreds of thousands of lives.
Together with Iraq, Libya and Iran, Syria forms part of the staunch Anti-Zionist front of Muslim countries in the Middle East (and further afield, if we include Malaysia).
Allowing itself to be dragged (yet again!) by Israel’s own selfish national interests and powerful Israeli lobbying at home led by AIPAC – American Israeli Public Affairs Committee – the White House got itself into a dangerous diplomatic row with Russia and its allies, this time over Syria.
In 2013 this was reflected by Obama’s “all-options-are-on-the-table” sabre rattling on behalf of America’s increasingly embarrassing Israeli ally, which forced him to stick his head too far out the window; particularly when the so-called “Syrian Freedom Fighters” showed their extreme brutality, mass-murder tactics, terrorist Al-Qaeda links, and suspect use of Saudi-Israeli chemical weapons against civilian populations in Damascus.
When things were on the verge of getting badly out of hand during September’s G20 meeting in Russia (of all places!), reality finally forced the US to stand down. That was when Russia’s and Putin’s prestige peaked and Obama dropped one further notch into becoming another lame-duck US president.
Round two: Setting up a trap against Russia?
So, when right smack in the middle of the Syrian affair and with the US declaring defeat at the G20 Summit, how timely it was for the “environmental NGO” Greenpeace’s vessel Arctic Sunrise show to “just happen” to take place… in Russia!
The crew of that Greenpeace ship, led by its US-born captain Peter Willcox, staged the irksome storming of the “Priraslomnaja” oil and gas rig owned and operated by Russia’s giant state-controlled Gazprom company, just off Russia’s Arctic coast inside its exclusive economic zone.
Video images of half a dozen of its 30-odd “environmental warrior” crew from 18 different nations hanging like a SWAT team from the Russian oil rig hit the global media headlines big time.
Given that Greenpeace is no innocent environmental organization but rather an NGO that systematically cosies up to UK (and by extension, US) geopolitical interests, one is tempted to insert many of its actions into the “grand chessboard” logic. Could its environmental zeal often play as a front for MI6, NSA, CIA spook activities?
Isn’t it odd that whilst Greenpeace makes lots of noise against potential Russian environmental damage (by the way, no oil contamination of any sort came from the Priraslomnaja drilling rig), it never carries out high-media profile protests by trying to storm, say, some BP, Exxon or Chevron rig these days?
This is particularly suspicious considering that these Western oil giants have a simply horrific pollution track record as BP’s “Deepwater Horizon” rig Gulf of Mexico disaster in 2010; the “Exxon Valdez” in Alaska in 1989; or Chevron’s three decades of mass pollution in Ecuador have proven time and again?
Greenpeace also kept thunderously silent when London’s “The Guardian” newspaper reported in December 2003 that the UK Ministry of Defence “refused to say whether any nuclear depth charges were on board (British war ship) HMS Sheffield, which was sunk during the Falklands/Malvinas War” by Argentine forces during its 1982 war against Britain.
So whilst suspiciously quiet regarding US and UK polluters, Greenpeace has a history of very noisy militancy when it involves countries whose leaders do things counter to UK/US global geopolitical interests.
The world remembers, for example, how the Greenpeace ship “Rainbow Warrior” tried to stop French nuclear tests in the Pacific Mururoa Atoll in 1985. They failed after France’s General Foreign Security Directorate covertly sank that ship before it could interfere with the French military. And, – oh surprise! – US Captain Peter Willcox was also at the helm of the “Rainbow Warrior” as its skipper. Are we seeing a pattern here?
Russia, however, contrary to the French in 1985, kept a very cool head last September. Instead, they arrested the “Arctic Sunrise”, forcibly towed it to Murmansk Port in the Arctic, and promptly threw its environmentally inspired crew in jail for a couple of months.
Now, think what a media circus would have been staged by the US-UK if Russia, following France’s bad example, had ordered the sinking of Greenpeace’s intruder as the French did back then…
Oh, what a hullabaloo! One can almost imagine the headlines: “Authoritarian and environmentally incorrect Russia ignores basic human rights of a group of nice peaceful Greenpeace environmentalists from 18 countries”.
The Western media would have relished in giving Putin one great big “Zero” to tarnish growing Russian prestige. But, no: Russia just ordered vessel and crew arrested for piracy on the high seas. Again, US/UK: 0 / Russia: 1.
Ever since, Greenpeace has been licking its wounds with outright lies. For instance, since two of the “Arctic Sunrise” crew were Argentine nationals – Camila Speziale and Miguel Pérez Orsi – Argentina has been simply plastered with a very costly propaganda campaign which includes TV ads and giant posters showing these two young adults’ faces with the legend, “Prison for trying to avoid an oil spill? Outrageous!”.
The truth, however, is that there was no imminent oil spill; there was no danger of pollution. Again, shouldn’t Canadian-founded, Holland-based. US/UK-funded Greenpeace look more at their own dirty and filthy polluting oil companies at home rather than poking their noses in the Arctic?
Round Three: Run to the Pole?
No, I’m not talking about NATO’s Anti-Russian Missile “defence” installations authorized by the Poles in their native Poland. I mean, the North Pole!
For in recently months, the cat’s been scratching and biting its way out of the proverbial bag, ever since simply huge oil and gas resources have been discovered under the Arctic Ocean. Estimates run as high as 90 billion barrels of oil (20% of global reserves; 13% of world supply), 1.67 trillion cubic meters of natural gas (30% of world reserves), plus 30% of natural gas, plus platinum, gold, tin, plus…
One of the most aggressive countries claiming territorial sovereignty over all this wealth is Canada, which more than an actual country is but an offshoot of the British Crown and an American beachhead into the Arctic. One can clearly sense Uncle Sam’s breathe behind Canada’s forceful territorial claims.
Then there’s also NATO-ally Denmark filing its claims through Greenland territorial projection, weak ally Norway and, of course, there’s Superpower Russia which in 2007 actually planted its flag on the Arctic sea bed right on the North Pole. Canada too claims that the North Pole is hers. Alas! Poor Santa Claus, let’s just hope he’s not evicted before Christmas…
As history has shown time and again, the only language that the US-UK Alliance really understands is the language of force or the threat thereof.
So President Putin has very prudently ordered his military starting 2014 to beef up Russia’s presence and defence over its entire huge Arctic sphere of interest: a “top government priority to protect its security and national interest” in his own words.
In recent months, Russia has started creating new Arctic military units, reinstating its military bases in the Novosibirsk Archipelago and Franz Josef Land that had been abandoned after the demise of the former Soviet Union, and began restoring key airfields in the region including those on Kotelny Island which includes making ready the towns of Tiksi, Naryan-Mar, and Anadyr for increased military personnel and logistical needs.
10 Russian warships and nuclear powered icebreakers are now operative in that region overseeing key shipping lanes joining the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, including ports like Murmansk (where the “Arctic Sunrise” lies peacefully anchored).
Clearly, the Arctic is very much on the global grand chessboard’s radar screen. What happens there over the next few years will have immense significance considering that the manoeuvring and relative positioning achieved by the powers in conflict will also help to consolidate their respective presences in the region and worldwide.
For when it comes to oil and gas, the US and UK have clearly decided to militarize oil exploration, exploitation and shipping lanes. Just as they have done in the South Atlantic with the UK’s Falkland/Malvinas nuclear military base and the US’s powerful Fourth South Atlantic Fleet with its rosary of military bases discretely spread into Paraguay, Argentina, Chile, Colombia and other countries in the region.
For there lies another even vaster and richer region: the Antarctic which is not just a sea but an entire continent centred on the South Pole.
Indeed, in our complex world what happens in the scorched deserts of Arabia, Libya and Iraq; in the infinite steppes of Asia; in the steaming jungles of Africa; or in the windswept pampas of South America has an impact – albeit, indirect – on this new front which we could described as the coming polar wars.
Wars involving superpower nations, their allied countries, environmental NGO’s fronting for the global power elites, oil, gas and mining giants, and of course the bankers pulling the strings from above; way above 10 Downing, way above the White House, the Palais D’Elysee and Greenpeace’s HQ in Amsterdam.
Adrian Salbuchi is a political analyst, author, speaker and radio/TV commentator in Argentina. www.asalbuchi.com.ar
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.
Categories: Escalation / Destabilization Conflict