Israel and America are both pursuing enormous attempts to float unsinkable life rafts in an ocean of Muslims. These are high maintenance projects that could capsize if left to survive on their own merits. If it weren't for the Holy Land, the Israeli people would have been better advised to establish their own nation in Utah, Paraguay, or Mongolia. But they never will; they wanted Israel and now they want Greater Israel.
If it weren't for America's need for Middle Eastern oil, and America's need for the world's oil to continue being sold in dollars predominantly, we wouldn't know or care any more about the Middle East than the Tales of Sinbad. Even after four years of war, America is still not interested in the Middle East, just the oil. We've only put six people in the Green Zone who speak Arabic, for Chrissake. Nope, we just want the oil turf, and control of the market. That lets us print mountains of money that other nations have to have, and hold. That lets us run a ruinous annual trade deficit, and ignore a national debt that should have sunk us in the mid 1980's.
America's core goal in the Middle East is to carve out our "Syriana" over there, a crescent of docile client states stretching from Lebanon right on through Persia to Pakistan. After that, we want Greater Syriana, which means creating client states up into the Caucasus and Caspian region, so that Russia does not default to being the sole energy superpower in the coming century. After that, we want to dominate the whole planet, and outer space as well. That's America in the new century, plain and simple.
You score points in the game of Go by taking, by taking territory and by making the population within it your prisoners. It is a game of clever theft, and clever theft in return. You can invest your all in surrounding a territory only to have your opponent -- at the very last moment, with one small move -- surround your effort and take your all. You ended up carving out a superb territory, only to gift it to your enemy intact and entire.
The Great Game in the Middle East, and in this world at large, is a game of Go, a game of clever theft by turns. It can only be played across the entire board, carving out multiple territories at once, regularly risking everything on the tiniest corners and intersections of interests. None of it is in your control even when it is. What has been carved out can become part of a greater slice of ground later, and then a greater slice again at a later stage.
All ownership is temporary, and all control is relative.
In real world terms, the Great Game is inherently incapable of being over, of ending with this or that result. Victory? Victory is a temporary edge, nothing more. If victory in any area is not exploited, risked, and put into the immediate service of seizing even more ground, then it is effectively surrendered at that point, awaiting only the enemy's leisure to pluck it from your hand.
Who sees the world this way? Who seizes states and nations and regions as if they were squares on a board? Who lives and breathes in this Extreme Game mode? Who has access to the military and monetary wherewithal to make these kinds of moves? Who takes thrones from kings, and who denies democracies their elected leaders?
Is it the housewives in their kitchens? The farmers in their fields? The cubicle rats in every major metropolis on Earth? Do they launch great offensives upon the cubicles across the way? Who is carving up the planet and denying it to the other carvers for however long they can?
It is the power behind all thrones, all democracies. Capital. Hugely concentrated, massive capital as it seeks to jockey and position itself to advantage. Capital is not money. Money is something you spend, money is a medium of exchange, something to replace the bartering of chickens. Capital is not about dollars, rials, rubles, euros or pesos. It is about parity. It is about not losing ground.
Fitzgerald said it well, "The very rich are not like you and I." No, they are not. Money is not real to the ultra rich. There is no concept of money to the mega wealthy lords of our planet. There is only the ranking of one fortune compared to another fortune. There is only influence, standing, power. There is only relative wealth to measure at that level of mind boggling affluence. All great fortunes are as far removed from the working man's concept of money as the moon is from a street lamp.
You can graph fabulous, massive capital. You can show yourself that you are worth more than the GDP of 83 nations and all their inhabitants. But no human mind can actually conceive of that kind of capital in terms of money. It is as meaningless as putting an aircraft carrier in your shirt pocket.
In the capitalist system, a nation's capital and governance gradually flows upward into the hands of a very few people, usually those who monopolize the Central Banks, which are present in every developed nation in the form of privately held, for-profit investment corporations. The control of each nation's economy, through the control of its money, allots a daily percentage of profit from every single money transaction within that economy unto those capital investors at the very top.
Like the House Rules at every casino in the world, the odds are stacked in favor of the casino. Just a bit. Just a little bit. That's all it takes. Let the games be played for an hour or for a century, the outcome is a mathematical certainty -- the House wins.
In the globalized capitalist economy we currently enjoy, a little bit of interest on every bit of currency in circulation goes to the Central Bank of your country with every venture of capital into the system. The loan brings back interest on top of the loan, and this little bit of interest accrues to the ultra wealthy who made the loan. At the top of the lending pyramid is your national banking system's top bank. The Bank of England. The Federal Reserve. The Bank of Nigeria. Your nation's highest bank.
That bank does not belong to your nation, or to your government. It belongs to fabulously wealthy, private, individual investors, hailing from every country of the world, through their stock holdings in banks and corporations and investment funds which own the actual Central Bank stock in your nation. These individuals were born into these mega fortunes, and trained to manage them (or hire competent management) through their lifetimes. These individuals are of no importance; they are just placeholders for their fourscore years on Earth. When they die, they turn to dust like the rest of us, and their fortune turns over to the next in line.
This is how capital is amassed, into mountains of money a million miles high, and then passed on to the next generation. It has been accruing for centuries, but with the emergence of the global economy in the most recent few decades it has come into its own as the true power behind all thrones.
These vast, vast private fortunes drive economies, which drive politics and statecraft, which ostensibly govern the world for the benefit of the inhabitants. These capital mountains are intertwined in all their activities and goals, and they seek the one thing all capital seeks which is growth. What, truly, is a sovereign nation state to this network of one percent of humanity who control well over 51% of all wealth? Nations are squares on a board, and their control is up for grabs.
When does a Go game end? Well, the game pieces are unlimited, but the game board is usually 19 by 19 squares. There is a physical limit of space, and so the game ends with either that limit being reached, or the exhaustion of the players. Unlike the real world, the game of clever theft is not carried to absurd lengths.
In real world terms, the physical world is limited in resources and territory. The planet Earth is a spaceship, after all, tumbling along through space. When someday a single corporation owns every accessible atom of the planet, and rules the lives of every creature upon it, the Great Game will have ended. That is the logical result of globalized capitalism. The House wins, in the end, everything.
Long before that occurs, most likely during the lifetimes of people walking around today, the world will turn from this course by existential necessity. You cannot let clever people have everything, to run as they feel will benefit themselves and their fortune. It is only during this transitional period we call the Post Industrial Age that such an absurdly unbalanced and ungovernable power center is permitted to exist, or to hide in plain sight.
Toward the middle of this century, the tiny thefts performed upon our daily human transactions by the usury of capitalists will be recognized as the debt slavery that it is. Usury is a parasitic practice for the benefit of the parasite.
Massive capital is a marvelous tool of civilization. It has always been the power of kings, and the power behind kings. Amassed capital comes from everyone alive and working and buying and selling and existing. It does not need to flow into a few private hands; it can just as easily flow from everyone to a centrally managed national or even world fund. Pyramids were built with it in the past. Wars were fought with it. Men went to the moon with it. We will colonize other planets with it.
We will save ourselves, and this planet with it.
Massed capital is perhaps the greatest tool humankind ever invented.
But it will be restricted to power games between the ultra wealthy few human beings who claim to own it, and own nations, until such time as it is recognized as the common lifeblood of every terrestrial creature, and not the property of fortunate vampires who guard an immortal treasure taken drop by drop from us all.
That day is coming as inevitably as the end of a Go game. One fine morning, everyone will recognize that there is no point in continuing a game of clever theft to absurd lengths. As massive capital pushes human lives further and further from their own space, and their own resources, everyone will realize that there finally is nowhere left to move.
It is at that point that human civilization will begin.