Rumsfeld's "Blitzkrieg" to dominate Central Asia
by Sara Founders "Blitzkrieg" — the devastatingly effective Nazi war strategy — is how Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld describes current US military strategy in Afghanistan. Rumsfeld maintains, that the Pentagon must shift its priorities to building a high-tech military capable of launching similar lightning strikes across the world. (Financial Times, 1/2/02) Blitzkrieg is the term the Nazis used for their rapid advance across Europe to conquer markets, resources and territory for German capital. Rumsfeld's use of the same belligerent word Hitler's generals used is not an accidental slip. He was speaking at a war college — the National Defense University — to the very officers and strategists who are planning future US wars. Along with Nazi military terminology, Rumsfeld made it clear he was embracing the Nazi justification of overwhelming force and pre-emptive strikes. "The best defence and in some case the only defence is a good offence," he said. Rumsfeld also underscored the developing view of US imperialism that other imperialist countries, which are at the same time allies and competitors, "must not be given a veto over US military goals". Encirclement and occupation In blitzkrieg fashion the Pentagon smashed into Central Asia, using the excuse of a "war against terrorism" to establish a permanent military presence in oil-rich Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tadjikistan and Uzbekistan, four bases in Afghanistan and four more in Pakistan. The rapidly expanding US military occupation is arousing deep apprehension among all the countries in the region. Articles in the Pakistani, Indian and Russian press, and a number of European newspapers, have raised alarm regarding the long-term US presence in the heart of Asia. Kommersant — Russia's main business newspaper stated, "The main goal of the military presence is to uphold the economic interests of US companies, primarily the oil and gas sectors." Another Russian newspaper warned, "The so-called honeymoon in relations between Russia and Washington, which started after the September 11 attacks, seems to be gradually developing into a new cold war." Chief of the General Staff of the Chinese People's Liberation Army General Fu Quanyou warned that positioning US troops in Kazakhstan, which shares a 1000-mile border with China, "poses a direct threat to China's security". Now US oil corporations are rushing to consolidate their position. The Hindustan Times of India reported (3/2/02) that a consortium has revived plans to build a gas pipeline that will link gas fields in Turkmenistan to India after stretching 1000 miles across Afghanistan. At the beginning of the last century the Caspian region generated one-half of the world's petroleum. The Nobel and Rockefeller dynasties built vast fortunes based on their ownership of this valuable resource. But after the socialist Russian Revolution in 1917, these resources belonged to the many peoples of the Soviet federation of socialist states. Nevertheless, the giant oil monopolies never gave up on their drive to reclaim these vast fortunes. Immediately after the breakup of the Soviet Union, oil company executives flooded back into the Central Asian republics to reclaim their past wealth through new privatisation schemes and pipeline routes. Today the Bush administration is top-heavy with CEOs from oil and gas corporations that have an enormous stake in the control and development of resources in this region. These lucrative contracts, worth billion of dollars, only have value if they are backed up and defended by military force. War is not over The U.S. military command secured its position in Afghanistan through a terror campaign of high-altitude bombing and overwhelming force. The tactics utilised by this occupation army are beginning to leak out into the US and world media. On January 23, Pentagon commando units mistakenly identified as Taliban fighters some Afghan forces who were actually loyal to the US-puppet regime. In a night-time raid on their village, US forces reportedly shot 21 people in their sleep. Some of the men were found shot in the back, their hands still bound by US-Army-issued plastic handcuffs. Twenty-seven prisoners who were released two weeks later related that they had been kicked, beaten and imprisoned in cages at a US base in Kandahar. In another incident, the Washington Post (5/2/02) reported that Hamid Karzai, the US-appointed president of Afghanistan, said US forces admitted to him that they had killed 65 innocent people on their way to his inauguration. US jets destroyed a convoy of vehicles near the city of Khost. Almost four months of pulverising bombs have turned hundreds of villages into rubble. Infrastructure that barely functioned before has been destroyed. Warlords are back in control of every city. Even the few United Nations emergency relief convoys are being looted. Hospitals are not functioning. In the midst of a cold winter, following a year of drought and famine, hundreds of thousands of refugees have been abandoned. As in all the countries Washington has occupied — from Korea to Vietnam, the Philippines and Kosovo — it is unable to solve any of the enormous social problems it has created. The same capitalist drive for new markets in a capitalist recession, which fuelled the German military blitzkrieg across Europe 60 years ago, is fuelling the Pentagon today. The corporate CEOs are backing military expansion to combat economic contraction. But the Pentagon's vast overreach, its new bases, and the massive subsidies to the military-industrial complex in the form of an inflated military budget, have not jump-started the economy. Instead they are dragging the economy down, while creating a volcano of opposition abroad and growing anger in the United States.
* * *Abridged. Acknowledgement to Workers Work Service firstname.lastname@example.org