The tragic illusion of geopolitical control
Smoke rises from the Israeli raids on Oct. 8, 2023 in Gaza City, Gaza. After the attack launched by Hamas on Israel yesterday, which surprised them, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked the Palestinians to leave Gaza, and warned that the army would turn Hamas positions “into rubble.” (Photo by Ahmad Hasaballah | Getty Images)
For centuries, colonial powers stomped around the globe, crushing indigenous resistance, enslaving their people and stealing their resources. It was called “The Great Game” by the likes of Britain, France, Portugal, Spain, the Dutch and many others competing for control, influence and wealth. In the end, their illusion of geopolitical control collapsed like the myth it always was.
Then came the rise of the United States, blessed by an entire continent chock full of natural resources, there for the taking after slaughtering any Indians who resisted their quest for almost unimaginable wealth.
That was not enough, though, and we jumped into the new version of The Great Game. Our politicians said we had to “exert spheres of influence” encompassing entire hemispheres of the planet we considered “ours.”
Now, it’s no longer huge galleons bristling with cannons that project the illusion of power. No, it’s nuclear aircraft carriers and submarines, jets, intercontinental ballistic missiles with enough nuclear warheads to burn the planet to a cinder.
Mind you, this is Montana, where every day mile-long trains haul our “golden waves of grain” to the coast for export. Those same trains do not bring Ukrainian or Russian grain into Montana on their return trip. In fact, it’s doubtful we’ve ever seen a single kernel of Russian or Ukrainian wheat.
Yet Montanans wait patiently at railroad crossings while more mile-long trains of black tanker cars export oil to the coast. Exporting, not importing. The cost to produce the oil from here has not changed because two tiny and far away countries have once again gone to war over their religious differences. But it’s our citizens who suffer from being gouged at the pump due to “concern over a wider conflict” in a part of the globe that has seen those conflicts for thousands of years.
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