Like so many of my posts, they are spurred on by outside inspiration. In this case, by a question someone asked on social media. My response got too long to be a response anymore, so I have migrated it to it’s own post. Here is the initial question followed by what would have been my response.
“Just what is it about the Middle East that all major powers keep sticking their beaks into?”
If there is one thing I can say I’ve learned with certainty over the years, it’s that money is the god everyone believes in.
Many of the western countries are military industrial complexes. As well as Russia and increasingly China. If you’re making weapons to sell but there aren’t any wars or threats of wars or rumors of wars as the bible would put it, that isn’t very good for business. All of this true.
Now to get a little conspiracy theory. Which I admit I don’t buy into completely, but would not be surprised if true. So bare with me.
Throughout most of human history war was horrible but profitable to a victors. Raping and pillaging. You get land, slaves, women, natural resources, wealth, power, ego boost, etc. Plus since a lot of people died in the war, there are less people to share it all with. Tribe against tribe then kingdom against kingdom, empire against whoever. But empires are hard to manage and sustain because they mean occupying foreign territories indefinitely. Places where the natives don’t want you and eventually you get rebellions. Then we get to the modern world and the democracies and things slowly shift during and after the world wars. The US comes on the scene with a different method, having learned from the British Empire but also being slightly different in its own nature. It just doesn’t want to be an empire. The US has always struggled with this too much government or too little government dilemma all the way back to Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton who wanted the country to become different things. The US is a government who has always protected the interests of private capitalists. Even when taking down the monopolies of the robber barons within its borders, those robber barons still make out like bandits in the end. Just like we saw with the big bank bailouts. The rich and powerful get a ceremonial slap on the wrist to the show the public the government is working for them, but not really. Only the surface game changes, not the end game.
I think this is the compromise the US came to early on. That if it wasn’t going to be a monarchy, it would be an industrial oligarchy where the rich white well-educated men would remain in power. Each taking a piece of the pie and building a government that would ensure their own special interests got the attention they needed. Which means the government is really just a tool for the rich and powerful to stay rich and powerful and keep their reins on the populace as a whole. While at the same time opening up just enough opportunity that some new blood can come into the picture here and there but more importantly, make people believe that if they work hard enough they can be the equals of these oligarchs. It worked.
So the capitalists come in and say “war is still profitable, but we can’t go raping and pillaging in the traditional sense. No empire building because that’s not cool with the people anymore.” Instead they make their money selling weapons of war and pillaging the resources of other nations by putting them in debt. Which is not the same kind of debt as US debt, it’s more like real debt where smaller nations actually have to pay it back by selling the rights to their own natural resources to the capitalists of the west. Those multinational corporations who are also responsible for helping to write legislature in the US and who bankroll political campaigns through massive donations.
The wars happen to keep the money flowing through the military industrial complex, because what good are weapons without wars? But the big wars are too costly to the infrastructure the capitalists have built at home, plus all the big powers are nuclear now so people would expect nuclear reactions. That can’t happen and they know it. So instead they scale back the wars to smaller conflicts that happened in Asia and now the middle east, the new sandbox for all their war toys. New terrains (jungle to desert) require new tools which mean more sales. Proxy wars between major powers and now the perfect new never-ending enemy, terrorists. That stateless constantly moving target. Unlike proxy wars that are nicely contained inside other foreign countries, terrorists might actually strike your home town here in the west. So there is a heightened level of fear there. Which of course is great for business. Now you’re not just selling military weapons to other countries, you can sell them to your own police stations and airports and civilians.
I would not at all be surprised to discover America and China playing proxy wars in Africa within the next 50 years. In the end, everything these countries do is all about money. The rich and powerful play a game of war and money is how they keep score. Especially now that it is looked down on to empire build. Although that seems to be making a slow comeback with Russia annexing Crimea and China with those disputed islands in the South China Sea.
Again, there is some truth in here, but a lot of it is just conspiracy on my part. If true, it wouldn’t shock me in the least but I’m not going to put money on it. Those of us in the populace would also be just cogs in the machine. Rebellions often do little but just put new people in the power spots. But the game itself never really changes that much because it’s always been a select few rich and powerful that rule. It’s just the structure of human societies that inevitably happens as if it’s a law of nature.