Sept 29, 2014
Last week President Obama took his Islamic State (or ISIS) terrorist fight to the world. His United Nations’ speech called on Middle Eastern countries to halt Islamic jihadists waging war against the West. The president did not mince words when he described the barbaric behavior committed by ISIS and other terrorists in the name of Allah.
“No God condones this terror. The only language understood by killers like this is the language of force. So the United States of America will work with a broad coalition to dismantle this network of death.”
President Obama’s strong words on terrorism were welcomed at the annual United Nations meeting. So far the administration has the support of 40 countries in the latest global war on terror.
Watch Kimberly’s San Diego 6 News TV segment here
White House Deputy National Security Advisor Tony Blinken made the Sunday morning rounds saying his boss would not make the George W. Bush mistake of putting U.S. boots on the ground in the Middle East. “That trap,” he said, would not be repeated. However, Mr. Obama’s current campaign brings into question his previous high-fiving jubilation that the killing of Osama bin Laden decimated al-Qaeda.
Unlike most “coalition” members, Mr. Obama has no apprehension about striking targets in Syria with the new and improved al-Qaeda “all-stars” as the Khorasan group discovered. Unfortunately, this first strike has angered “moderate” militant factions in the region, as the group was one of the few jihadists to successfully challenge the Assad regime.
However, conspicuously missing from airstrikes in Syrian are the European allies. America’s staunches partner, England, voted to support U.S. bombing in Iraq. Prime Minister David Cameron, praised his Parliament for authorizing military action and said the brutality of ISIS is staggering – beheadings, crucifixions, gauging out of eyes, use of rape as a weapon, but the British war on ISIS stops at the Iraq border.
It’s been suggested by military planners that the Syrian battle is key to severing the barbaric terrorist group’s reign on terror, plus that’s where the leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr Baghdadi is believe to be hiding.
Further complicating matters in Syria is the country’s three-year civil war and President Bashar al-Assad’s unwillingness to heed Mr. Obama’s demand to step aside. This dispute makes a UN Security Council vote unlikely as China and Russia would both veto any proposed measure to intervene without Syrian government blessing.
So why are the European countries hesitant to fight in Syria?
There are a few reasons why the EU is steering clear of the Syrian quagmire. First the appetite for another war in Europe remains out of the question. Many countries are concerned that invading Syria would spark a much larger regional conflict, one that is too close to home. Also dampening enthusiasm is the possibility of terrorist attacks on their soil, like the Madrid train bombing in 2004.
According to intelligence reports it’s been estimated that more than 2,000 Europeans have left their western countries to fight on behalf of ISIS and many have returned home as trained jihadists. It’s not out of the question to believe that nations’ who participate in a Syrian bombing campaign could see retaliatory attacks.
Of course the beheading of two U.S. journalists and a British aid worker played on the fears and morals of coalition nations, but it wasn’t enough for the EU to jump into a bombing campaign that would most likely help the Assad regime.
What are costs to US taxpayers for the expanded war in the Middle East?
Even without “boots on the ground,” America’s third Gulf War (focusing on ISIS) is costing taxpayers roughly $10 million a day. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the cost of fighting militants in Iraq and Syria would likely force the Pentagon to request an increase in federal spending, currently proposed as $575 billion.
“We’re going to require additional funding from Congress as we go forward. We’re working now with the appropriate committees on how we go forward with authorizations and funding,” Hagel said last week at a press conference.
Nevertheless a new war report from the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments says the air war in Syria and Iraq has already cost taxpayers nearly $1 billion and will most likely cost $22 billion per year if troops are deployed to the region long term.
Why has China stayed out of the ISIS fight?
The Chinese reacted predictably to President Obama’s UN speech on the perils of terrorism. “We hold that in the international struggle against terrorism, the international law should be respected, as well as the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of the countries concerned,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Hua Chunying.
While China’s military spending is increasing year on year, it generally doesn’t deploy its military resources outside Pan-Asia, despite the Syrian and Iraqi threats. Currently the “Red Army” purchases one-half of Iraq’s oil and they will not risk a disruption in crude.
According to a Washington Post blog, “China already buys nearly half the oil that Iraq produces, nearly 1.5 million barrels a day, and is angling for an even bigger share, bidding for a stake now owned by Exxon Mobil in one of Iraq’s largest oil fields, the Times’s Tim Arango (and) Clifford Krauss reported. A former Pentagon official who worked on Iraqi oil policy during the Bush administration told the reporters, ‘we lost out. The Chinese had nothing to do with the war, but from an economic standpoint they are benefiting from it.’ The implicit message is that Iraqi oil was supposed to be our spoils of war, but they’re getting scooped up by China instead.”
As of late China has dedicated its economic growth to investing in the world’s resources and construction projects in building goodwill instead of destroying countries through bombing campaigns. America’s strategic short sightedness and quick resort to war have opened the floodgates of investment opportunities for China.
For example, while the U.S. is engaged in destruction through endless war, the Chinese are forging into construction projects around the world. They are building a new “Panama Canal” in Nicaragua that is set to break ground in December (story here). The early cost estimates for the state-of-the-art canal capable of accommodating super tankers stand at $40-50 billion, but once the waterway is built, China and Nicaragua stand to reap considerable revenue. The project will most likely have economic consequences for America’s west coast ports. The Chinese were even the winning bidder for repairs to San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge.
The Chinese are also building railroads in Africa and propose a tunnel on their border with Afghanistan to extract minerals discovered by the U.S. Geologic Survey.
In 2012 it was discovered that Afghanistan was much more useful to western countries than previously thought. After a decade of war, the Department of Defense commissioned a search for mineral resources that could be used to support the tribal nation.
The U.S. Geological Survey uncovered and estimated $1 trillion of potential wealth in the form of minerals, copper, iron, gold, cobalt and most importantly, lithium. The Chinese recognized the mineral bonanza and immediately negotiated with the Afghan government to claim rights for precious resources that Americans use on a daily basis.
The research to uncover Afghanistan’s potential natural resources came from a 2009-2011 USGS study that was funded by the DOD Task Force for Business and Stability Operations (TFBSO).
“The USGS is exceptionally pleased by the contribution we have been able to make to future development of Afghanistan’s world-class mineral resources, made possible through the application of modern remote-sensing tools,” said USGS Director Marcia McNutt. “There is always increased risk for commercial ventures investing in new mining facilities in frontier areas such as Afghanistan, but by making information on the locations and estimated quantities and grades of ores publicly available, we lower that risk, spurring progress.”
“The mineral resources in Afghanistan have the potential to completely transform the nation’s economy,” said Regina Dubey, Acting Director of TFBSO. “This important new work by the USGS will be a powerful tool for those attempting to accurately evaluate potential investments in Afghanistan.”
According to the surveys, Afghanistan’s lithium reserves may be the largest in the world. In fact, most U.S. citizens use lithium powered products everyday in the form of cell phones and laptop computers.
The New York Times, uncovered a Pentagon memo that said Afghanistan could be the “Saudi Arabia of lithium,” rivaling Bolivia who currently holds the world’s largest lithium resources.
While the rare earth mineral jackpot in Afghanistan is welcome news to the corrupt government, Americans have been left out of the negotiating process as China has gobbled up most of the rights to mine the minerals. It looks like history will indeed repeat itself as America invested trillions in treasure and blood in Iraq hoping oil contracts would help repay President Bush’s “War on Terror.” But not one cent has been paid to America from Iraqi oil sales, a Washington Post story claimed.
Fast forward to Afghanistan and America’s inability to procure meaningful rare earth mineral contracts that could bring much needed investment back to the ailing U.S. economy is a complete bust. According to a story in the UK paper the Independent, American and European companies have complained about improprieties from the Afghanistan government allegedly evoking underhanded methods to ensure Beijing gets contracts.
Alas, corruption is nothing new in Afghanistan, in fact the United States Congress commissioned a study, and the results concluded American troops pay warlords billions a year for protection money. Even Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai, was a known heroin kingpin. Moving forward diplomats warn the newly discovered mineral jackpot will only lead to more unsavory activities between tribes in the war torn region.
Even Russia sees investment not war
In an ever-present ability to shoot itself in the foot, America’s so-called tough sanctions against Russia has turned into a money making opportunity for China and Mother Russia.
In May, China reached a $400 billion, 30-year gas deal with Russia. With China’s growing economy and its thirst for oil the deal made sense. President Vladimir Putin asked, and received, a $25 billion upfront payment, all but guarantying a go-around for U.S sanctions. After Russia annexed Crimea this spring, the West announced stifling sanctions on Russia’s elite, however an unintended consequence was the reaffirmed Russo-Sino alliance.
“China agreed to prepay for supplies, which are scheduled to start in 2018, to help state-run OAO Gazprom (OGZD) finance the construction of the pipeline that will carry the fuel to the border,” according to a Bloomberg story.
Another facet of the deal is going around the U.S. dollar’s reserve status. “Introducing Yuan payments into the gas business would lead to an exponential rise in trading in the Chinese currency in Moscow,” Bloomberg reported. “China is already Russia’s largest trading partner, with turnover of $89 billion last year. Gazprom and its Chinese partner, China National Petroleum Corp., the country’s biggest oil and gas producer, have so far declined to comment on the financial details of the accord.”
The new Russian, Chinese alliance could further undermine the dollar’s global domination. Putin calls the “dollar monopoly” unfair and complains it allows the U.S. to “act like a global economic parasite.”
America’s appetite for cheap products and easy lifestyles has pushed America’s debt tab to $17 ½ trillion. It has also exposed America for the first time since the 1930’s to debate about remaining the world’s reserve currency.
The irony of the latest Middle East War is easily seen through the scopes of U.S. warplanes blowing up American weapons paid for by the taxpayers using military equipment developed and purchased by … taxpayer’s money!
Even Iran’s President Rouhani made a little sense about America’s foreign entanglements. “I am coming from a region of the world whose many parts are currently burning in the fire of extremism and radicalism,” he said. “To the east and west of my country, extremists threaten our neighbors, resort to violence, and shed blood. They, of course, do not speak a single language, they are not of a single skin color, and not of a single nationality; they have come to the Middle East from around the world. They do, however, have a single ideology: violence and extremism.”
Yet conspicuously missing in America is a vote from the people’s representatives on a declaration of war. It seems perplexing that the GOP sued the president for usurping Congressional authority by making unconstitutional recess appointments, but does not seem concerned with the Constitutional authority that only the Congress can declare war that puts America’s men and women service members in harms way. Go figure.
In the past, the U.S. won the hearts and minds of the world because of its indomitable spirit and “can do” attitude. The mindset of Americans over the last three or four decades has been a siege mentality, citizens are afraid of everything. While the world seeks America’s leadership and courage, the “can-do” country sends its military to drop bombs that result in death and destruction. No place is safe from U.S. drones or bombers. The nation that went to the moon and the farthest edges of the solar system can certainly accomplish more, but overspending now leaves astronauts having to hitchhike a ride to the space station from Russia.
Previous Ukraine story: Link Here
Ukraine Tensions Threaten Reincarnation of a Chinese-Russian Alliance: Link Here
Previous China story: Link Here
Previous drone story: Link Here
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