by James Corbett
November 22, 2011
When The Shanghai Five held its first presidential summit in China in 1996, this innocuous group hardly registered as a blip on the geopolitical radar. Within just five years, however, the loose-knit cooperative organization of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan was already attracting the attention of some of the premier globalist institutions as a potential opponent to Western imperial hegemony.
In May of 2001, then Brookings Institute Director Bates Gill wrote an op-ed entitled “Shanghai Five: An Attempt to Counter U.S. Influence in Asia?” which openly frets about the group’s growing clout. In one particularly prescient passage for our post-Libyan era, Gill highlights a statement from the group’s 2000 summit declaration proclaiming the five partners will “oppose intervention in other countries’ internal affairs on the pretexts of ‘humanitarianism’ and ‘protecting human rights;’ and support the efforts of one another in safeguarding the five countries’ national independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, and social stability.”
Gill finishes his op-ed by noting that efforts to establish “security-related mechanisms without the participation of the United States” is “a trend worth watching.”
Gill’s concerns for the future of a NATO-led monopolar world proved well founded; within one month of of penning his article, the five countries convened their annual summit in Shanghai where they admitted the body’s sixth member, Uzbekistan, and signed the Declaration of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. In June of 2002, just eight months after NATO began its invasion and occupation of Afghanistan, an occupation that continues to the present day, the leaders met in Saint Petersburg to sign the SCO charter.
Although not many of Gill’s peers were likely to have seen the importance of this event with the clarity that Gill himself did, from these inauspicious beginnings emerged an economic, cultural and military alliance which is now threatening to become a serious contender for control over one of the most geostrategically important areas of the globe. This region, which arch-globalist Zbigniew Brzezinski referred to as “The Eurasian Balkans” in his infamous 1997 opus, The Grand Chessboard, encompass portions of Southeastern Europe, Central Asia, South Asia, the Persian Gulf and the Middle East.
In his book, Brzezinski wrote that this region is “of importance from the standpoint of security and historical ambitions to at least three of their most immediate and more powerful neighbors, namely, Russia, Turkey, and Iran, with China also signaling an increasing political interest in the region. But,” he continued, “the Eurasian Balkans are infinitely more important as a potential economic prize: an enormous concentration of natural gas and oil reserves is located in the region, in addition to important minerals, including gold.”
Significantly it is this very region–which boasts not only the vast resource and mineral wealth alluded to by Brzezinski but a geostrategically vital location providing all of the key access points to the increasingly important Caspian gas pipelines–where we can find four of the SCO’s founding members, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, and one of its guest attendees, Turkmenistan.
Earlier this month I had the chance to talk to Pepe Escobar, reporter for the Asia Times Online and author of several books, including most recently Obama Does Globalistan, about the organization, its interest in this important Eurasian region, and the potential threat that it poses to the Washington-led NATO interests that desire control over the same area.
As tensions begin to mount between this would-be NATO counterbalance and the NATO countries themselves, some posit that we have already seen the beginnings of what could be the future of military aggression between the two power blocs: a Cold War-like series of proxy conflicts in countries away from the center of contention. This may in fact have already happened in Libya.
For years, a series of increasingly hysterical reports have fretted over the growing influence of China in Africa, with reports filed at the beginning of the year announcing in ominous tones that the Sino-African trade was set to surpass $110 billion this year. Much of the focus has fallen on cooperative Sino-African projects and bodies like the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, a meeting of regional leaders highlighting economic, development and security ties between the two blocs.
The meeting was hosted in 2009 by Hosni Mubarak, who spoke of the “need to consolidate cooperation at both bilateral and continental levels to back African efforts to establish peace and security across the continent” just one year before being ousted by a supposed people power’s coup that was openly supported by US officials and diplomats. Talk of Chinese cooperation in securing peace on the African continent posed such a threat that in recent years the US had been pressuring African nations to join AFRICOM, a central command for Africa established in the wake of China’s establishment of the FOCAC. AFRICOM encouraged joint training exercises with Mali, Chad, Niger, Benin, Botswana, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Ethiopia, Gabon, Zambia, Uganda, Senegal, Mozambique, Ghana, Malawi and Mauritania. Libya had been a notable holdout on AFRICOM, and significantly the New York Times ran an article shortly after the NATO-led bombing of the country began touting AFRICOM’s important role in the decimation of the country.
If the bombing of Libya is an ominous sign of things to come in the new geopolitical paradigm, there are even darker clouds on the horizon as tensions flare up between key SCO members Russia and China and other of the region’s hotspots, including Syria and Iran. Now, NATO intervention in Afghanistan and US intervention in Iraq seems to be reorganizing relations in the region and causing some very strange bedfellows.
Both Pakistan and India, traditionally mortal enemies, are observer states in the SCO, and both are now in the process of attaining full membership.
Earlier this month, I had the chance to talk to investigative journalist Wayne Madsen about the development of the SCO, and the very strange political bedfellows that are being driven together out of fear of further NATO aggressions.
14 years ago, globalist insider Zbigniew Brzezinski began his key work on the geopolitics of the 21st century by noting that “Ever since the continents started interacting politically, some five hundred years ago, Eurasia has been the center of world power.” He admonished the world leaders and global power players who constitute his real readership that “any successful American policy must focus on Eurasia as a whole and be guided by a Geostrategic design.”
Now with the creation of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and its increasing role in the formation of economic, political and even military cooperation in the region, we see the formation of a new power bloc, one that is not within the purview of the NATO powers and threatens western sovereignty over this vastly important region. In the coming years, this tension is only likely to increase, as both sides become more entrenched, and more desperate to attain control over the area before the major pipelines from the Caspian basin come online and start hardwiring the political landscape for the benefit of certain players.
And ultimately, once again it seems that it is the average citizen who will pay the greatest price in this struggle for imperial conquest, as just as in Libya, the people become little more than expendable pawns on the grand chessboard of global domination.
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