Choke Points and Chessboards

So I asked, “Why has the US occupied Afghanistan for so long?”, other than the emotional reasons that are spewed at us on a regular basis. What is really at stake for the US and allies in occupying Afghanistan and what is there to gain for those that push the chess pieces of civilizations? A sketch of the geo-political situation began to draw out in my mind after reading a lot on the subject (histories of the region, discussions on US grand strategy, learning about political alliances, and foreign investment) studying maps (historical and modern political maps of the world and region, resource maps, and topographical maps), taking classes, and having a vested interest, that the occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq was way bigger than a “war against terrorism” or a “war for oil.” It looks like it is a war for ‘regional stability’ (a term that seems to mean ‘within the United States or NATOs sphere of influence’). Regional stability = weapons contracts, land-grants, constitutional or dictatorial influence, and priority of business contracts to those companies that have been chosen by the ruling class to manage and exploit the resources within their grasp.

The US is conducting ‘secret wars’ all across the globe. In Africa SOCOM (Special Operations Command) is operating at high capacity to maintain or strengthen region stability (governments and militaries under the sphere of the US). In Yemen (i.e. global choke point “Bab-el-Mandeb”) the US is launching drone strikes from Djibouti to combat ‘terrorists.’

These terrorists are people fighting against the current government of Yemen which is influenced by “western” capital and investment. In Afghanistan and Iraq the sitting governments were toppled and new ones were put into their place. Now its further collapsing and ‘Balkanizing’. Look at a map and you can see that it is not only the resources of those countries that are important but their strategic location. Iraq at the head of the Persian Gulf and sharing the southern border of Iran. A major buffer state to Israel, the Saud regime, major deployment bases in Turkey, and the entire Persian Gulf has been a traditional mercantile ‘choke point’ since the incursion of the Portuguese monopolistic merchants in the 15th century. Afghanistan shares the Eastern boarder of Iran, shares a boarder with the former countries of the former USSR (and haven’t chosen a side in the unspoken undeclared Cold War simmering), It also shares a small boarder with China (potential future contender and current whispered rival) and Pakistan, which sits on the northern border of one of closest allies in the region, India.

All of these wars have been ascribed the same name “Global War on Terror” and assigned the same enemy “Al-Qaeda” (and a laundry list of affiliates) but these are only a few of the conflicts that are taking place now where the US is playing a major role (in personnel, equipment, economy) and has chosen to back some people against other people. This is always a dangerous game because many of the issues of the old wars, the wars of global dominance, have not been resolved, and many other strong powers have their fingers in some of the same pies as the US does but with similar intentions as the US.

What do you think?


Link to Tom O’brien’s Pirate and Smugglers History class lectures



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