You may have heard about the little stoush being fought out in
the Republic of Georgia at present. Georgia is a little country
that grew out of the former Soviet Union. Bordered by the Black
Sea to the west, Turkey and Armenia to the South, Azerbaijan to
the east and Russia to the north, this little country could well
be the flash point for a new cold war.
The bloody rule of the communist leaders of the former Soviet
Union, during most of last century, saw thousands killed and
many more displaced. We would now describe it as ethnic
cleansing. However, for the most part we weren’t interested in
another patch of soil well removed from our good friend and
partner, the US.
Yet all the while, US and European interests were very
interested in this part of the world. Not content with ‘winning’
the cold war, the masters of the universe - the financiers and
their cronies - recognised the strategic value of this little
place and were prepared to finance any war that would deliver to
them the spoils.
One can only appreciate the strategic value of this country in
the current political climate when you consider oil. The
pictures of the dead and dying, the focus on the high tech war
machines and the grief of those who have lost everything obscure
the real conflict. Forget ethnic separatists. Forget breakaway
states. Focus on the money, or in this case, the oil that makes
The conflict is another example of the increasingly common use
of revisionist history to support those for whom war is just
another way of doing business. With the US and Israeli military
backing Georgian militias, in an attempt to ensure the Georgian
government remains prepared to do deals with their interests, it
is little wonder the Russians are concerned. Whether the current
conflict was sparked by Russian or Georgian aggression doesn’t
really matter. The fact is they while oil flows through the
pipes running over and under that dirt, there will be conflict.
The pretext of “separatist” attacks or “rebel” forces has the
media focus at present. The increasingly shallow and disjointed
‘reporting’ on the region does little to alert us to the
involvement of the futures traders and investment houses that
stand to win, or loose, billions depending on whose might
With the British BP and US companies Chevron and ConocoPhillips
being heavy investors in the oil pipeline running through
Georgia, one has to ask, is it the right time to invest in the
oil giants? Certainly they and their end customers (other oil
companies) have quite a bit to loose should this regional war go
Governed by greed and geopolitical deals, the strategic value of
building the pipeline through Georgia was the easy option. It’s
not Turkey, Russia or Iran. By dint of its location, this
country lends itself to the whims of others not at all
interested in its peoples, cultures or languages.
Of course, this diversity can be used to stir up conflict when
needed and that is, perhaps, the greatest strength and weakness
of the whole region. Indeed, it has been the objective of all
colonial powers to find the divisions, amplify them and attempt
to shape them to fit their own agendas. Sometimes these agendas
are revealed in the tiniest news snippets.
George W. Bush said to the world that Russia should back off,
that it was not kosher to invade a sovereign nation. He said
that the Russians should withdraw and allow the democratically
elected government find a solution, with the ‘worlds’ help, to
its internal problems. What words! What a crock of male bovine
To quote a segment of a famous Monty Python skit, “the inherent
contradictions of the system” are showing. So long as US and
European oil interests are threatened and along with them the
stability of the structures that hold them up - the futures
markets, investment advisors and more importantly our tax
dollars - then it is inevitable under the capitalist system that
wars will be fought over access to wealth producing resources.
Justice and fairness do not enter these equations. The conflict
is not over ideologies, cultures or religions but over who will
take home the spoils.
Meanwhile the people of Ossetia and Georgia will continue be
played as the pawns in a much larger game of chess. A game of
geopolitical chess, in which people are but bit players on a
board laid according to the rules of capitalist accumulation.
While diplomats and foreign advisors continue to earn their
money by spruiking the interests of those who pay them, other
human beings, who want very similar things to us, will continue
to die. While the muscle men in the big houses squabble over the
spoils, the hopes and dreams of tens of thousands will remain
well outside their discussions.
Our current government sees itself as being able to hold its own
in the global debating club. However, as far as I can see from
history, the influence of our politicians to shape the global
agenda has been very small, particularly when it comes to the
resource wars. As a resource rich landscape the strategic value
of what lies under our soil remains high so long as we, that is
we the people, don’t argue to much over who benefits from its
The conflict in Georgia is just another reminder that the real
rulers of the world care little for the expectations of those
they rule. Like the feudal rulers of old, so long as were tend
our crops, pay them homage and taxes and bow and scrape when
they pass by, the new rulers of the universe are content to let
us be content with our lot. Should we, however, decide to
attempt to claim back what is rightfully ours and share the
spoils more equitably, then god help us all.
So while in far off lands innocent people die because of the
greed of others, we can remain content with our lot. Should we,
as suggested, attempt to interfere then, like other
‘democracies’ that have been overrun by foreign powers, we might
just find that an ‘insurgent’ or ‘breakaway’ group is suddenly
identified as a global terrorism threat right here on our soil.
I guess the question for us then would be, ‘whose side are we
Perhaps somewhere around that point the people of Georgia, who
still have homes and TV’s, might hear about a little nation at
the bottom end of the earth that suddenly becomes the focus of
the geopolitics of oil. For our sake, let’s hope not.