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Silk Roads, Night Trains, and the Third Industrial Revolution in China
The U.S. is transfixed by its multibillion-dollar electoral circus. The European Union is paralyzed by austerity, fear of refugees, and now all-out jihad in the streets of Paris. So the West might be excused if it’s barely caught the echoes of a Chinese version of Roy Orbison’s “All I Have to Do Is Dream.” And... Read More
The several hundred Republicans who have thrown their hats into the ring for the 2016 presidential race and the war hawks in Congress (mainly but hardly only Republicans) have already been in full howl about the Vienna nuclear deal with Iran. Jeb Bush took about two seconds to label it "appeasement,” instantly summoning up the... Read More
Washington Versus China in the Twenty-First Century
For even the greatest of empires, geography is often destiny. You wouldn’t know it in Washington, though. America’s political, national security, and foreign policy elites continue to ignore the basics of geopolitics that have shaped the fate of world empires for the past 500 years. Consequently, they have missed the significance of the rapid global... Read More
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As Washington “Pivots” to Asia, China Does the Eurasian Pirouette
November 18, 2014: it’s a day that should live forever in history. On that day, in the city of Yiwu in China’s Zhejiang province, 300 kilometers south of Shanghai, the first train carrying 82 containers of export goods weighing more than 1,000 tons left a massive warehouse complex heading for Madrid. It arrived on December... Read More
Neoliberal Dragons, Eurasian Wet Dreams, and Robocop Fantasies
Last December, a super-secret RQ-170 Sentinel, part of a far-reaching program of CIA drone surveillance over Iran, went down (or was shot down, or computer-jacked and hacked down) and was recovered intact by the Iranian military. This week, an Iranian general proudly announced that his country’s experts had accessed the plane’s computer -- he offered... Read More
The Decline and Fall of Just About Everyone
Pepe Escobar, that ever-energetic, globetrotting correspondent for Asia Times, has long been on the Pipelinestan beat for TomDispatch, covering the skeletal geography of energy that girds the planet. Today, however, he leaves pipelines behind to consider the planet they service -- or is it we who service them? His topic: if the West is going... Read More
Future historians may well agree that the 21st century Silk Road first opened for business on December 14, 2009. That was the day a crucial stretch of pipeline officially went into operation, linking the fabulously energy-rich state of Turkmenistan (via Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan) to Xinjiang province in China’s far west. Hyperbole did not deter the... Read More
Iran and the Pipelineistan Opera
Back before email, a world traveler who wanted to keep in touch and couldn't just pop into the nearest Internet café, might drop you a series of postcards from one exotic locale after another. Pepe Escobar, that edgy, peripatetic globe-trotting reporter for one of my favorite on-line publications, Asia Times, has been doing just that... Read More
Pipelineistan in Conflict
Back in March, Pepe Escobar, that itchy, edgy global reporter for one of my favorite on-line publications, Asia Times, began laying out the great, ongoing energy struggle across Eurasia, or what he likes to call Pipelinestan for its web of oil and natural gas pipelines. In his first report, he dealt with the embattled energy... Read More
The bloodstream of the global energy war is the pipelines that crisscross the planet’s potential imperial battlefields.
Introduction by Tom Engelhardt At one point last week, the price of a barrel of crude oil—which had risen as high as $147 last July and, with the global economic meltdown, hit a low of $32 in 2009—rebounded above $51. Prices at the local gas pump are expected to rise as well in the coming... Read More