This was our most surreal bear experience of 2018. Click here for the video. Will 2019 be better?

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Quest

Click the map to view a part of the world that is of considerable interest to today's big players: Russia, China and the United States. Iran and India are also muscling their way into the picture. Britain's influence, on the other hand, is waning.

Throughout history Central Asia has been the scene of a contest that has been dubbed The Great Game. The original game was played by the British Empire and the Russian Empire. The Russians eventually gained control of Central Asia and this vast territory was an instrumental part of the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union. During World War II, the Germans were determined to seize Central Asia. What were they after? O-I-L. To get to the Baku, Azerbaijan oil fields, the German war machine had to go through Stalingrad, Russia. Stalingrad is now called Volgograd. See if you can find these cities on the map.

At this point, to understand the Battle of Stalingrad, I would encourage you to scroll down to the next two posts. When you have completed that, I would suggest viewing the following presentation by Steve LeVine, who recently authored The Oil and the Glory. In his presentation, Mr. LeVine discusses the quest for Central Asia's oil in the past and continued quest for it today. For further research, view Steve LeVine's blog by clicking here.

“The immediate cause of the German defeat was the unheard folly of attacking the USSR, while Britain was still undefeated and America was manifestly getting ready to fight.  Mistakes of this magnitude can only be made, or at any rate they are most likely to be made, in countries where public opinion has no power.  So long as the common man can get a hearing, such elementary rules as not fighting all your enemies simultaneously are less likely to be violated.”  - excerpt from a book I read


Anonymous said...

Hi, I dont know if I know anything but one does realise the politics of the Central Asia once you are actually there. It still is a mystery to many. Russian and British Empires were very close, in fact, relatives to each to other and kept the region in tight leash until so called the revolution. Then came the Russian elite which turned out to be the same people who were around the Tzar. Then came the communists, etc. But the region has always been supressed region. Of course it is the same story: OIL and other natural resources. And believe it or not still the region is controlled by the power houses of Russia and Britain. Places like Kazakhstan are supported by Brits and Russians not only because of oil but also uranium and plutonium rich resources they have. Americans are getting in there too and try to put some pressure and bring some change as well. Still if you look into so called "independent states" the presidents are the former Soviet Party members, and they have been in power since day 1. Unless they die. But who gets into power? their relatives in so called democratic elections. Have you heard Russia, Britain or America objecting for false transparecy, human rights violation, corrupt elections in that region ever? of course not? Russia controls, shares and the others keep their mouth shut.

The people of the region are amazing. I think it is a combination of supression they had so many years, but took advantange what the system offered to them. You would find not only amazing amount of resilience as the public always raise but also incredible amount of intellectual capacity, creativity and also seeking peace and happiness in different ways. I met amazing artists, thinkers, writers, inspring characters in that region. They do not only survive but they keep their spirit and soul despite all.


Major Allen Espy said...

Thanks for your insight Nilugn. You're one of the people I turn to for a global perspective. You truly are a global insider! I agree that Central Asian people are intriguing and warm. The Uzbeks are for their hospitality.

Anonymous said...

I look at this as natural progression from communistic past. You see we (Uzbekistan) had 70 years of dictatorship, and we never had a real revolution, communist revolution of 1917 is foreign, it is imported from Russia . I admit in terms of development we are far behind Russia , not even mentioned Europe or USA . People’s minds never evolved into a real freedom and democracy ideas. It only started happening now.

After Soviet rule, and 15 years of hardship and dictatorship, people started realize that government only cares about themselves. Does not give a shit about people. Because they are not elected by people, so they don’t have people interest in mind. You know government positions in Tashkent is bought and sold everyday. If u want to be grand judge, just pay money and u will be one. And, all these people on the top of government of Uzbekistan now, are former communists, people who are used to corruption and dictatorial way of leadership.

What is happening in Uzbekistan is very similar to what happens to countries coming from dictatorial past, look at so many countries of Asia, and Africa . Even though they are independent, they still have dictatorship, until a real revolution. It is also going to happen in Uzbekistan someday.

Karimov is one fucked up dude, just another dictator, like Saddam , North Korea , Zimbabwe etc, so many examples. He only cares about his seat. So, if USA can not guarantee his dictatorship, then he will go to someone who will, to Russia . But I believe it is temporary, he is almost 70 now, and he has maybe 10 years to rule at most. Someone else will come. We can only hope for better life after his death, since as long as he is alive, he will do everything to stay on top, just look at what happened to people in Andijan region, where close to 700 people were massacred by Karimov’s people.

And also USA could not support Karimov after Andijan, it would have been too much double standard for USA , so, Karimov went to Russia . Yeah, Russia now is another story with this Putin, former KGB agent. He needs as more allies as possible since Russia and USA now enemies again. Putin, longs for lost might of Soviet Empire, when USA was had to take Soviet Unions opinion into account since it was nuclear power. Now, USA does not think Russia is to be scared, since it is falling apart with economy and Chechen war, Putin is furious. As they say, my enemy’s enemy is my friend, Russia and Uzbekistan now friends, common enemy is USA .

And there is China . Since china is growing very fast they need oil. They also need piece of Iraq and Gulf. They can not go to region through Pakistan and Afgaghistan, since Muslims hate Chinese, they will never let Chinese step foot to Muslim land. Another way to Iraq is to bypass Pakistan and Afghanistan through Central Asia . Plus, Central Asia, especially Kazakhstan is rich in oil and coal. China needs Central Asia, so Uzbekistan friends with China now. We are sort of liberal Muslims after soviet era, so can be friends with Chinese. Iraq , is so chaotic now, that anyone goes in now, has chance to stay after USA leaves, if they ever leave. So, besides USA , everybody wants piece of Iraq and Gulf, of course because of oil. China , Russia , Europe , everybody. And Uzbekistan just happened to be in this situation, we are small piece of bigger problem, quest for oil.