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The "New Great Game"
In February 1998, at a Congressional hearing of the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific of the House International Relations Committee, then Congressman Doug Bereuter (R-Nebraska), chair of the subcommittee, laid out a vision, some might say a grandiose vision, for the US in Central Asia.
Opening the hearing, Congressman Bereuter said:
"One hundred years ago, Central Asia was the arena for a great game played by Czarist Russia, Colonial Britain, Napoleon's France, and the Persian and Ottoman Empires. Allegiances meant little during this struggle for empire building, where no single empire could gain the upper hand.
"One hundred years later, the collapse of the Soviet Union has unleashed a new great game, where the interests of the East Indian Trading Company have been replaced by those of Unocal (purchased by Chevron in 2005) and Total (a French oil company), and many other organizations and firms.
"Today the Subcommittee examines the interests of a new contestant in this new great game, the United States. The five countries which make up Central Asia - Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan - attained their independence in 1991, and have once again captured worldwide attention due to the phenomenal reserves of oil and natural gas located in the region ...
"Stated US policy goals regarding energy resources in this region include fostering the independence of these states and their ties to the West; breaking Russia's monopoly over oil and gas transport routes; promoting Western energy security through diversified suppliers; encouraging the construction of east-west pipelines that do not transit Iran; and denying Iran dangerous leverage over Central Asian economies.
"In addition ... the United States seeks to discourage any one country from gaining control over the region, but rather urges all responsible states to cooperate in the exploitation of region oil and other resources ...
"It is essential that US policymakers understand the stakes in Central Asia as we seek to craft a policy that serves the interests of the United States and US business."
Originally posted by unicorn1
I had heard about the pipeline before but this thread makes it all pretty obvious thanks. But here's the 10 million dollar question. Would the pipeline in itself be a valid reason to fight for control? I'll bet some people might think it is!
Originally posted by middleclasssoldier
is this pipeline in place of the Caspian sea pipeline?
The breakaway province of South Ossetia is claimed by Georgia, a former Soviet republic that cast its lot with the United States and the West to the eternal irritation of Moscow. But South Ossetia has resisted Georgia's rule and has been under Russia's sway for years.
Georgia sits in a tough neighborhood, shoulder to shoulder with huge Russia, not far from Iran, and astride one of the most important crossroads for the emerging wealth of the rich Caspian Sea region. A U.S.-backed oil pipeline runs through Georgia, allowing the West to reduce its reliance on Middle Eastern oil while bypassing Russia and Iran.
"But we are going to enlarge and diversify our export possibilities for these products which are so essential to the global economy," said Putin, who on the same day reportedly called for the speedier completion of a new pipeline that will carry gas from Siberia to Asian markets.
The comments are fuelling speculation that Moscow will increasingly leverage Europe's dependence on Russia's vast oil and gas reserves for geopolitical purposes, particularly if EU leaders today decide to impose sanctions on Russia for its actions in Georgia.
Russia is trying to downplay these fears. "We have worked for many years to gain not just the image, but the status of a reliable energy supplier to Europe and we would never let it suffer, even in this political situation," Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko said on 29 August.
Despite these assurances, recent cutbacks in supplies to the Czech Republic (EurActiv 31/07/08) as well as cuts in deliveries to Ukraine and Belarus, which left several European countries without supply (EurActiv 11/01/07), remain fresh in EU leaders minds, making them nervous about the bloc's dependence on Russian oil and gas.
UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown told the Guardian newspaper on Sunday that "no nation can be allowed to exert an energy stranglehold over Europe". Brown wants to see a greater diversification of fuel suppliers to the EU, which currently depends on Russia for 30% of its oil and 50% of its gas imports, according to the Commission.
Originally posted by PrisonerOfSociety
I can't dispute those figures Slayer, other than going round myself with a dipstick and collating numbers. Just sounds like BS and if those numbers are true, then that negates the purpose of this thread - the war in Afghanistan.