Geopolitics, Globalization, and Terrorism

There’s a political and planetary solar system at work, where the earth revolves around the sun, while it comprises near-200 nations that revolve around various interests and ideologies that cooperate, compete, and clash.   In short, regardless of norms or ideals, no government or society has escaped the gravitational pull of geopolitics and globalization, which are bookend forces that configure today’s “balance of power” to the advantage of select nations while – either artfully or inadvertently – breeding seeds of terrorism along the way.

Globalization in benign terms refers to the world’s ever-growing interconnectedness via common markets, technology, and development.  Within this necessary interdependency however, colonial-like political and corporate arrangements are maintained whereby power and wealth remain largely concentrated within the orbital grips of Western nations and institutions.  This is reflected in the 67-year-old Bretton Woods outcome whereby only Americans would head the World Bank and only Europeans would head the IMF.  Hence, the EU’s adamancy that former-IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn (who resigned amid rape charges) must unquestionably be replaced by a European.

Geopolitics in benign terms concerns the relationship between geography and politics . . . a government’s legitimate activities in domestic and foreign territories.  But from an operational standpoint of certain governments to safeguard or advance their economic, security, and foreign policy interests, geopolitics doubles as a sneaky codeword for the political muscling, coddling, and/or finessing of particular nations that have strategic value or pose threats, based on factors including location, resources, intelligence, terrorism and military implications.

Invariably, classified operations ensue that the world public never knows or imagines because, along with geopolitics comes foreign intrigue, domestic deception of citizens, and manipulation of media, as governments jostle for upsmanship in a globalized pecking-order for world power.

As such, the US has long played a dangerous game of “geopolitical roulette” in places like Iraq, Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan, which – not unrelated – are places that it now identifies as hotbeds for terrorist networks.  President Richard Nixon, who set modern precedents for America’s geopolitical approach to foreign relations, wrote in The Real War (1980) about maintaining geopolitical leverage in the Middle East and Africa, saying early on Page 3: “We have to recover the geopolitical momentum, marshaling and using our resources in the tradition of a great power . . . We must recognize the relationship between strategic resources and patterns of world trade, between economic productivity and military might.”

Accordingly, in roulette fashion, the US has no permanent enemies or permanent friends around Middle East territory, except for Israel.  Even Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak became disposable after 30 years of expediency.  Geopolitical relations have vacillated based on oil interests and the degree to which Arab governments are amenable to US policies.  Iran for example received billions in support after a known CIA-engineered coup installed Shah Pahlavi (1967-1979).  But once Ayatollah Khomeini ruled Iran, America propped and supplied Saddam Hussein in Iraqi’s war against Iran (1980-1988).

Saddam later fell from geopolitical grace when his 1990 attempt to annex Kuwait jeopardized US oil stability.  He thereafter became the terrorist face of “What’s Wrong With the World,” until 9/11, when Osama Bin Laden unforgivably bit America’s geopolitical hand that fed him during the Afghan Mujahideen war against the Soviets (1979-1989).

Once Bin Laden went turncoat, the US played roulette with Pakistan’s General Pervez Musharraf, ignoring all warning signals . . . Musharraf already had active sanctions imposed for his 1999 coup; his government was one of few with diplomatic relations with the former Taliban government in Afghanistan; and Pakistan had violated international arms agreements by obtaining missile technology from China and conducting nuclear weapons tests.

On September 11th 2001 Musharraf was therefore ostracized as a “military dictator.”  Nevertheless, by September 12th 2001 in haste to avenge Bin Laden, the US began to geopolitically reincarnate the “military dictator” into the honorable stature and media image of “President Musharraf.”  He was coddled and gift-wrapped over $1 billion for his allegiance against terrorism, and Pakistan was seduced with over $20 billion since.

After a near-decade of this wobbly courtship, along with thinking Bin Laden was a desolate cave-dweller in Afghanistan; he was paradoxically caught and killed in – of all places – Pakistan, where he’d lived unbothered for years with his family in a million dollar urban compound in – of all places – a military neighborhood.

While the US consequently suspects Pakistan of consorting with al-Qaeda, Pakistan resents that the US conducted the raid unannounced.  To teach America a geopolitical lesson in return, Pakistan denied the US further access to the compound and refused to handover wreckage of the abandoned “special forces helicopter” for 2 weeks.  Eye-for-eye, it’s well plausible that Pakistan even accommodated China’s suspected overtures to “reverse engineer” the copter’s technology, especially knowing China has since awarded Pakistan 50 fighter jets.

The world is locked into a rotational axis where geopolitics, globalization, and terrorism are fixed realities.  And since America’s globalized-edge is predicated upon strategic resources like oil, the US cannot discontinue its risky proneness of trying to rent or convert Arab allies who are just as diametric to Americanization as Americanization is to them.  So irrespective of the president’s color, America will duplicitously continue to abet regimes that it may afterwards seek to violently dismantle – under the pretext of “fighting for freedom.”