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 International Monetary Fund (IMF). Hence the European Union'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 of 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 U.S. 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 U.S. 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 U.S. policies. Iran, for example, received billions of dollars in support after a known CIA-engineered coup installed Shah Pahlavi (1967-1979). But once Ayatollah Khomeini ruled Iran, America propped up 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 U.S. 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 U.S. 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 Sept. 11, 2001, Musharraf was therefore ostracized as a “military dictator.” Nevertheless, by Sept. 12, 2001, in haste to seek revenge against Bin Laden, the U.S. began to geopolitically reincarnate the “military dictator” into the honorable stature and media image of “President Musharraf.” He was coddled and gift-wrapped, with more than $1 billion for his allegiance against terrorism and Pakistan was seduced with more than $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 U.S. consequently suspects Pakistan of consorting with al-Qaeda, Pakistan resents that the U.S. conducted the raid unannounced. To teach America a geopolitical lesson in return, Pakistan denied the U.S. further access to the compound and refused to hand over wreckage of the abandoned “Special Forces helicopter" for two weeks. Eye-for-eye, it’s 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 U.S. 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.”
Ezrah Aharone is the author of Sovereign Evolution: Manifest Destiny from Civil Rights to Sovereign Rights (2009) and Pawned Sovereignty: Sharpened Black Perspectives on Americanization, Africa, War and Reparations (2003). He is a founding member of the Center for Sovereignty Advancement. He may be reached at Ezrah@EzrahSpeaks.com.