Posted by NewsRoom on May 02, 1997 at 14:03:56:
EAST VS. WEST
Last weekend, this writer was at the 2nd Annual Cnvention of the Association for the Study of Nationalities--i.e., the study of all the splinter groups from the alleged breakup of the Soviet Empire.
There is little study of nationalities in the West. It is mostly about East vs. West, and about how
the West might take advantage of the current de-centralization of power in the East, that is, the “breakup” of hte “former” Soviet Union into “newly-independent states” and the corrollary breakup of “former” Yugoslavia, etc.
The conference was really about how East vs. West never ends, and maybe in the next century the East will really be on top.
How? By controlling the overwhelming bulk of world natural gas reserves, both in Russia and what could become its main Middle Eastern ally, Iran. A most telling discussion was titled, “Oil and Political Development in Post-Soviet Azerbaijan.:” The bulk of world gas reserves were recognized to be in the inward-draining basins of Central Eurasia, including the Caspian, interior Iran and interior Sinzkiang, and whether the “West”, i.e., the Anglo-American-Dutch majors formed at the begining of the 20th century, would have primary access, looked cleraly murky. Why should Russia or Iran be nice to the victors of the oil & gas contests of the 20th century, in what has been called “The Great Game.” Round One, the first two world wars, left the Anglo-Americans in charge of the Gulf. But now the prime resource base, particularly for gas, is shifting north, and it looks more likely that the Russians and Iranians will be in charge. This explains the French, German and Japanese eagerness to become friendly with Iran.
Back in 1907, the Great Game was set up with a partition of spheres of influence in Iran. Russia took the north, and the UK took the south. The succeeding century has been dominated by the UK part. Now, with the resource base shifting north, the domination is likely to be that of Russia--of Russia, like the US-UK before, with Iran as its friend. This does not bode well for the countries in between, like Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan. How independent will we find these new republics indeed to be?
Against this background, the US-UK, preoccupied by memories of the Cold War, seek to PUSH EAST. They seek to “expand” NATO membership. They seek to do this all along the Eastern Front, from the Baltic Republics through Poland down to, even, Bulgaria. And they seek to tell Russia, with its vast gas reserves which it wants, that none of this military Push East will be any sort of threat.
Why does the West never learn?
Veteran diplomat George Kennan warned against “expanding” NATO. The experiences of Hitler and Napoleon warn against it, as well. Why is there this urge to push the Other in Europe into a corner? Rather than just letting it be roughly Half?
Some bizarre nostalgia governs. When Churchill asked Stalin if he would like Eastern Europe at Yalta, Stalin said Yes (probably thinking of all his casualties and all those poor girls in goldilocks), and he got a vast set of client states. But ino this maneuver Stalin lost the Cost War. For he forgot to ask for his half of the Main Prize, the Persian Gulf. Churchill and his colleague Roosevelt went on to dominate the Gulf, and therefore World Petroleum, and Stalin became burdened with occupying and defending a lot of European territory without much mineral resources. Now the West, forgetting how Stalin lost so much in taking Eastern Europe, wants to try the same mistake. All it will do is tempt Russia to work more closely with Iran, and to push Russia into building pipelines for its gas & oil not west, past troublesome places like Armenia, but south through Iran, or--worse for Western interests--east towards China and Japan.
Push east with NATO, and there will be an even -greater polarization of geographical East (Russia, China, and maybe even Japan) with West. NEWS ROOM May 2, 1997
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