“War is commerce by other means.”
Several weeks ago I was in Borders in Concord looking at the recently reduced selection of magazines.
I usually don’t purchase magazines but since I was in a hurry this day and happened to have a 30% off Borders Rewards Coupon decided to pick up the Sep/Oct edition of Foreign Policy magazine “Oil The Long Goodbye.” In this particular case or issue featured stories by energy analyst Daniel Yergin and former Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz. But it wouldn’t be these articles that made me glad I purchased this magazine.
On page 120 there is an article by Daniel Freifeld called The Great Pipeline Opera. The next page is a picture of the players that are in this field. Russian Prime Minister Vladmir Putin, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliev, Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko, former German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer and former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroder. A quote from the article “One evening in 2002 in Vienna, a small group of Austrian energy executives took their colleagues from Turkish, Hungarian, Bulgarian and Romanian firms to see a rarely performed Verdi opera. It recounted the plight of the Jews expelled from Mesopotamia by King Nebuchadnezzar. The officials had spent the day sketching out a plan for a 2,050-mile pipeline that could transport up to 1.1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas every year across their countries and into European markets. The sources of this gas would not be Russia, but Azerbaijan, maybe Iran one day, and with a U.S.-led war against Saddam Hussein looking increasingly likely, possibly the gas fields of northern Iraq.”
Quite a project. Construction of a steel pipeline from the Caspian region across Turkey and ultimately into Vienna. But what does all of this have to do with Afghanistan?
Instead of terming it Obama’s War as Steve MacDonald and others have done and will continue to do for political traction, why can’t they term it something like the Direction of Afghanistan. Instead of blaming political parties, administrations and increasingly Afghan President Hamid Karzai why can’t the ideas shift towards commerce and how this is ultimately going to win this war. If it is really a war at all. I’ve read reports that Afghanistan has plenty of natural gas that would raise millions of U.S. Dollars or Euros in hard currency.
Instead of sending in military brigades why aren’t the U.S. and its partners working to build a consortium to enable Afghanistan to advance a project like this?