Dragon or “Pawn” Star?

Trinidad, it too late to post this? We 9-day memory cycle kick een arready? I was thinking we should forget cricket and football and make chess our favourite game like how it is in Russia. For one thing, it go teach we to think several moves ahead, and another thing, we go learn about that chess piece known as the pawn. Cause dais the first thing that came to mind when I heard the news that this country was “granted permission” by the United States to develop the gas deposits in the Dragon field… owned by Venezuela.

Well… that thought along with my overly-made comment that our “independence” is little more than a hollow farce.

I know plenty, plenty of allyuh eh really think this one over, judging by the euphoria I heard on radio and on social media. And given this country’s history, anything that even smells of more dollars, we in dat!! Doh get mih wrong eh, I know people studying the money part and lord knows the country could do with a lil change. Hello, my 4×4 does need parts inno. But this maths eh mathsing for all kinda reason. Now I’m not going to talk about the economic and technical aspects of this development; I not nearly that qualified and others have already done so anyhow. I do think though, that we need to stop this myopic “innocence” (that’s what Lloyd Best used to call it) and be careful of being as penny-wise and pound-foolish like I usually am. 

There is an old saying: “Beware of Greeks bearing gifts.” Well honestly me eh have no problem with the Greeks, some of the ancient ones maybe, but the modern ones getting jam from the same old colonisers we know and love. The “West” though, who supposedly came out of ancient Greece, THEIR “gifts” I watching cokey-eye, especially that uncle allyuh have to the North dey, Uncle Sam. I told some of you before, the moment I saw USAID, which is a known CIA front, was going to operate here officially, I knew something rotten was afoot; just a matter of time before something developed either here, in Venezuela, or both places. 

Nothing the US has ever done was based on altruism, nothing. It’s always been about self-interest. Ok, fine, dais politics….but dais not how they frame their rhetoric. Right now things eh looking good at all for Uncle Sam in Europe and Eurasia or even in its own domestic situation, what with an estimated 48 million of its citizens homeless or unemployed. 

And before yuh roll yuh eye and say so what, we know that and the point is that we getting something out of this (well… eventually), you need to seriously ask yourself what is our political AND economic cost for that country’s cavalier disregard for other countries sovereignty? What is the potential fallout by them treating us and everyone else like pawns in some perverse chess game? So we “got permission” to develop gas in an area controlled by Venezuela (ANYBODY ASKED THE VENEZUELAN GOVERNMENT how they felt about this?) Anyhow, in 1813, no less than President Thomas Jefferson wrote in a letter that “America has a hemisphere to itself” so I guess that’s my answer. Furthermore, George Kennan, arguably the father of the “Containment” policy regarding Russia, when he visited Venezuela in 1950, was not pleased about the way the Venezuelans wanted to control their oil resources, complained that the price Western oil companies were paying into “the coffers of the Venezuelan government” was, a “ransom to the theory of state sovereignty.” In his view, Venezuelans “had not lifted a finger to create this wealth (and) would have been incapable of developing it.” So maybe that’s why the US outlined the terms in this manner. Hispanics cyar run nothing. 

And on top of that whatever revenues earned are reportedly not to go back to Venezuela? Not one cent… and we don’t see something wrong, very wrong here? Something that could easily come back to bite us? I mean me eh too frighten dat Maduro and Venezuela go vex with we, he surely understands our position being caught between the hammer and the anvil. Who concern me is dem crazy non-state actors who could stir up all sorts of mischief given the complex history between Venezuela and Trinidad (less so Tobago).

Far too many people aren’t looking at the bigger pictures here and local media — long since irrelevant, sycophantic parrots of whatever narrative comes out of Washington and Wall Street — have been once again near-totally useless in terms of enlightening its readers, listeners, and viewers the realities of geopolitics, particularly from the standpoint of a region shaped first by colonial and then imperialist interests. Any student of international history would recognise the evolution of the adolescent petulance, the sense of entitlement encoded in US foreign policy since the Monroe Doctrine — which prohibits Europe from exerting influence in the Americas (exactly is what it is doing in Eastern Europe) buttressed by the Roosevelt Corollary by which they arrogated unto themselves the right to be the region’s — eventually the world’s —policeman (Hmmm, oh so that’s why they’ve been constantly expanding into Eastern Europe and ignoring Russian official protests). 

Put another way, it considers this region as its backyard and that its borders encompass the entire globe (not me say so, they said so, there’s even a book on it, quite worth the read)

Now connect that to the situation unfolding in the Ukraine, a conflict that began long before Putin was an elected official. This was forcefully argued by several scholars from Prof John Mearsheimer, Scott Ritter, Prof Ramon Grosfuguel, Vladimir Pozner, Gerald Horne, Prof Vijay Prashad, Prof Michael Hudson, Former UN Rapporteur Alfred De Zayas, and several others. So too the aforementioned George Kennan, as well as the international war criminal Henry Kissinger. They all insist that this crisis traces back to NATO’s expansion which it began to do when the Russian military was seriously weakened following the collapse of the Warsaw Pact… y’know, its alleged reason for existence. This expansion was trumpeted very early on by reputable media houses like the Washington Post

So what was said by former Chancellor Angela Merkel about the insincerity of the West regarding their Minsk “Agreement” with Russia to halt an escalation in violence comes as NO surprise to me or anyone who has studied colonial/capitalist expansion. In this lengthy and informative web conference, one panelist, Scott Ritter, former US Marine and UN weapons inspector, said it best: Merkel is a liar as is the rest of the Western leaders and it is irresponsible for the Russians to continue to trust in the good faith and intentions of liars (in that regard Putin then has much more sense than many of us, sycophants here still go with their lies).

Another panelist, General Delawarde, a former French intelligence officer said Russia has had to contend with 32 years of lies by the West and as such, the word of the West is now worth nothing. This was pretty much the theme of the entire webinar with CIA analyst, Ray McGovern, further pointing out the way Western negotiators, AFTER the 2021 meeting convened to discuss security concerns Russia had communicated, pulled from the negotiations of the next meeting. One of the key issues that were of Russia’s concern: the placing of offensive nuclear weapons close to the Russian border in the Ukraine. It was agreed upon in Geneva, but as the subsequent meeting was convening, that was yet another thing the West went back on their word on and struck off.

Six weeks later, the Russians invaded.

Look, the only “Law” that has ever been recognised in geopolitics, is the law of *power*. Even this so-called International Law was drawn up by colonising nations regarding how best they could continue to be parasites to the countries whose resources they coveted without necessarily killing each other in the process. But it was only a matter of time before one state would emerge as the dominant and flout its own laws. That same George Kennan, late Director of Planning in the State Department, said in 1948 that “We have 50 percent of the world’s wealth, but only 6.3 percent of its population… our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will allow us to maintain this position of disparity.” He went on to say: “We should cease to talk about the raising of the living standards, human rights, and democratisation. The day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are hampered by idealistic slogans, the better.” 

That’s why I prefer the older neoliberal and colonial-minded thinkers; they were more open and honest. Ludwig Von Mises, one of the principal architects of neoliberalism, was even more direct. Mises, who flatly complained that much of the world’s resources are found in tropical areas “whose inhabitants are too ignorant, too inert, or too dull to take advantage of the riches nature has bestowed upon them,” also said that “The wars waged by England to expand her empire, laid the foundation for the modern world economy” and had India and China not been forcefully been opened to trade: “not only each Chinese and each Hindu but also each European and each American would be considerably worse off” Interesting considering that the Chinese, the Hindu, and the African were trading with each other for hundreds of years before Europe even existed. 

Another gem from his infinite wisdom and perception reasoned in 1952 that any decolonising society that refused to accept its position in the global division of labour created by the colonising and imperialist countries could then be legitimately forced to do so and if any “resource-rich backward countries” refused access to foreign corporations on the market’s terms, “can anyone expect that the people of the civilised countries will forever tolerate this state of affairs?” 

Sounds familiar? Sounds a lot like what EU foreign minister Josep Borel said in his infamous “Europe is a Garden” speech back in October to me. Keep in mind that Von Mises is one of the thinkers who influenced the ideas and policies of Reagan, Thatcher, and the many acolytes who came after them to this day. 

We’ve certainly been seeing that with the Venezuela crisis (no thanks to local media). One of Kennan’s contemporaries, Herbert Feis, economic advisor at the State Department, said in 1943 regarding the growing demand for energy resources found in countries like Venezuela that already had sovereignty “Nations that lacked oil had to bargain or barter for it (becoming) dependent on the bounty of others… the United States was unused to the idea.” I guarantee you that if no one here in this country’s government or university is a student of history, at least one of their counterparts in Venezuela is and would remember that in 1944 the Anglo-American Petroleum Agreement was drawn up to provide a framework for the post-war petroleum order. They would know that Article 1 of that agreement laid out a formula that essentially prevents sovereign countries to control their own oil, placing that control in the hands of the giant oil companies — which were mostly based in the US and the UK. I suspect that this would have been influenced by the thinking of figures like Von Mises, Wilhelm Ropke, and others of the Mont Pelerin Society, a curious gathering of elite thinkers who sought to confront the problem of curbing nationalism in colonies and to guard capital acquired in those colonies even after flags were changed. 

So power is the real law, and power is the West’s real religion. Not justice, not fairness, or equity. Putin should have talked to black people or Indigenous people, most would have told him that the West breaks treaties every other weekday — more so when one factors in that this current war is also racially motivated (Russia is not considered “real” Europe, but Slavic and as such, placed among those considered racially “impure” or “contaminated”, this is why Hitler attempted to colonise Eastern Europe following the British and the US model). 

The West has only respected power, power, or at the very least violent reciprocity. Russia was targeted for invasion and partition since Cecil Rhodes and the Society of the Elect, long before they ever became communist. So don’t even try to pull out that over-beaten excuse. Another panelist, Helga Zepp-LaRouche put it magnificently when she said that this war ultimately is not even about Russia or any Eastern issue, but about the desire by Western elites to return the world to a colonial order where they get even richer than they are now while in their own countries, people are starving and living on the streets.

And on that note, another huge irony would be what General Delawarde said; something almost none of these prestige school graduates here, certainly nobody on i95.5, Boom Champions, Power 102, and so on seem to have the depth or courage to discuss in most circles. This war is as much about shoring up an impending economic collapse by the United States and EU countries that is occurring at a time when the emerging economic bloc, the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa), have an estimated 15 other candidates applying for membership — Venezuela being one. That is fifteen more countries, from the numerically greater, mineral/resource-rich tropical south, moving away from the economic orbit created by the United States after 1947. Many of the countries that either support Russia or are at least taking a neutral stance are countries that have a colonial past that many have never forgotten. 

So be very careful of what “gifts” are being offered. There’s plenty more in this mortar than the pestle. Already we are seeing angry responses from the Maduro-led government in Venezuela and if we are banking on some sort of protection by the US, be very careful what you wish