Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Why Iran? again.

re yesterday's "Why Iran?" post, one of my very clever anonymous posters writes:
One other factor is that, to some unknowable degree, this whole push into the Middle East is being guided by hundred-year-old geostrategic theories, which are at least as much mystical in nature as pragmatic and which lay it out as a given that whoever controls the heartland of Eurasia controls the world.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies, co-founded in 1962 by Ray Cline (OSS/CIA guy and later a top advisor to George H.W. Bush), has long been the focus of this sort of thinking. Donald Rumsfeld (then a newly-elected Congressman) and Henry Kissinger both attended its first conference. Michael Ledeen was an associate from 1977-86, during his Italian and Iran-Contra periods. Dick Cheney, Brent Scowcroft, and Zbigniew Brzezinski have all been associated with CSIS.

Obviously, if you believe that the heart of Eurasia is the key to world power, the US is at a considerable disadvantage compared to Russia or China, but that hasn't kept successive American administrations from trying to state a claim in the region, starting with Brzeinksi's disastrous involvement of the US in Afghanistan in 1979 and accelerating after the 'stans broke off from the USSR. The fact that Scowcroft is currently head of the American Turkish Council is also clearly due to his geostrategic interest in the region and not to any particular love for Turkish culture or even Turkish military contracts.

China's recent re-opening of the ancient Silk Road to the south is part of what the geostrategists see as an ongoing chess game. So is China's assistance to Pakistan in building a deep-water part at Gwadar -- in Pakistan's rebellious Baluchistan Province, near the Iranian border and the mouth of the Persian Gulf -- and a highway from there to Karachi. (The Wikipedia article on Gwadar has the basic details and some useful maps.)

These people are often identified as Realists, in contrast to the supposedly more ideological Neocons -- but in fact, their heads are just as full of nebulous fantasies. It's just a matter of which particular nebulous fantasy they endorse.
thnx anon.

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