Geopolitics 101. Here's some cliff notes for everyone - all the research is done by serious talented people including The Institute for Conjectural Research, Dr.Pig,Saranovla, Brzeinski and so many more. I just wanted to see what you made of it. I'll link it to a better version with pictures... Zbigniew Brzezinski writes in The Grand Chessboard, 'it is imperative that no Eurasian challenger emerges, capable of dominating Eurasia and thus of also challenging America. … For America, the chief geopolitical prize is Eurasia ... America's global primacy is directly dependent on how long and how effectively its preponderance on the Eurasian continent is sustained'. Following very closely in Mackinder’s footsteps, Brzezinski goes on to emphasise that Eurasia is 'geopolitically axial', that 'a power that dominates Eurasia would control two of the world's three most advanced and economically productive regions', namely inasmuch as 'Eurasia accounts for 60 per cent of the world's GNP and about three-fourths of the world's known energy resources'. 'To put it in a terminology that harkens back to the more brutal age of ancient empires, the three grand imperatives of imperial geostrategy are to prevent collusion and maintain security dependence among the vassals, to keep tributaries pliant and protected, and to keep the barbarians from coming together'. Like for Mackinder, it is the regional cohesion of Eurasia (the coming together of the barbarians, so to speak) which poses a threat, all the more so because of the conjunction of rising energy consumption and Asian economic development which 'is already generating massive pressures for the exploration and exploitation of new sources of energy and the Central Asian region and the Caspian Sea basin are known to contain reserves of natural gas and oil that dwarf those of Kuwait, the Gulf of Mexico, or the North Sea'. A fortnight ago, two US Navy aircraft carrier groups and an amphibious assault group, packed with around 17,000 US Marines, took up a position off the coast of Iran. How was this ominous geopolitical development reported? Except for the increasingly supine UK Guardian, who dressed a White House press release up as a news story and splashed it across their front page, it was barely reported at all. Of course, the Americans aren’t the only nation with a serious oil agenda to pursue. The US Army journal resuscitates the naval geopolitics of Alfred Thayer Mahan (baptiser of the ‘Middle East’) in order to enlighten its readers about China's 'Oil Obsession' and its strategic conundrum: how to bypass the Strait of Malacca, which currently witnesses 80% of its oil traffic, and avert a remarkable military and strategic weakness. For those of you who don't know, 70% of worldwide piracy incidents occur in the straights of Malacca. Some, such as Michael Klare, who speaks of the possibility of a 'new cold war in south-central Eurasia', have viewed a link between this vision of geopolitical supremacy and energy as the sufficient reason for the fortunes of recent American foreign policy. As he writes in a 2003 article precisely entitled 'The New Geopolitics', 'American leaders have embarked on the classical geopolitical project of assuring US dominance of the most important resource areas, understood as the sources of power and wealth. There is an ideological consistency to what they’re doing, and it is this geopolitical mode of thinking. … Against this background, it can hardly be questioned that the purpose of the war in Iraq is to redraw the geopolitical map of Eurasia so as to insure and embed American power and dominance in this region vis-à-vis these other potential competitors'. In this regard, for the likes of Klare, a geopolitical constant interacts with the absolute and produced forms of scarcity that afflict a global oil industry plagued by an imbalance between increasing demand and increasing capacity to generate a new, or at least more intense species of inter-imperialist rivalries: resource wars. To paraphrase Hobson’s classic Imperialism, we would have moved from capitalism in general as the 'economic taproot of imperialism' to oil as the energetic taproot of imperialism and of coming inter-imperialist conflicts. Of course, much of the critical consensus on US policy is based on the notion that its flagging commercial and productive energy, joined with its increasing material need for energy is what has pushed some ideological tendencies within the US establishment into catastrophic geopolitical fantasies. These fantasies, breeding a kind of imperialism of decline, are not just catastrophic, but deeply contradictory: if the singularity of American-led economic imperialism is to 'make the world safe for capitalism', so to speak, then the pursuit of an open pre-emptive geopolitical design – of the kind which would join its Iraq venture and its overall system of bases with the aim of a geostrategic intervention into the Rimland of Eurasia– cannot but appear as hardly functional to US interests. So is Harvey’s riff on the geopolitical mottos mentioned above – 'whoever controls the Middle East controls the global oil spigot and whoever controls the global oil spigot can control the global economy, at least for the future' – a dead end? Does it really make sense for a declining US power to 'ward off that competition and secure its own hegemonic position [by controlling] the price, conditions, and distribution of the key economic resource upon which those competitors rely'? Only if we think (a.) that the oil industry allows such forms of control, (b.) that the securing trumps the backlash against such a brazen geostrategic gambit, and (c.) that it is evident what the interest of America or 'US capital' tout court might be.