The commentary below will be distributed Friday, May 18, and Saturday, May 19, in a flyer at the G8 in Maryland as part of the Know Drones Tour
Many of the G8 countries – comprised of France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States and Russia – are former colonial powers that have thrived by capturing at gunpoint basic mineral, petroleum and agriculture resources around the world, paying relatively little and thus subsidizing their corporations and their national economies.
Right now, the G8 interest in Afghanistan is undoubtedly related to investment potential in minerals, as well as overland routes for oil, gas and electric lines.
A 2004 World Bank report, “Transitional Islamic State of Afghanistan – Mining as a Source of Growth” gives a sense of G8 interest in Afghanistan’s mineral wealth, which includes, “a world class copper deposit at Aynak,” iron, gold, barite, chromites, talc and gemstones.
Mining is a high-risk and capital-intensive industry. The Afghanistan government does not currently have the funds to invest in minerals development and, even if it did, such investment could not be justified due to other priorities and the risks inherent in mining. It will be necessary to attract private investment, from both domestic and international sources. Foreign investors, in particular, may be interested in Afghanistan not only because of its excellent geological potential but also because the country has missed a generation of modern prospecting methods that look for deposit buried below the ground’s surface. Clearly, Afghanistan offers early entrants into the sector highly favorable ground.
Although there will be absolute official denial of this view, the goal of the war in Afghanistan is largely to subdue local people in order to create a hospitable environment for investment by G8 businesses. This is true in other US war zones – Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia – which are also important to G8 corporations because of material resources – primarily oil, gas and minerals – or their location near these resources and/or resource shipment routes. There are Yemeni factions, for example, who threaten the Saudi princes; Somalia, in addition to having apparent great potential for oil production, is located on a main oil shipping route.
The urgency to subdue local people has increased for G8 politicians as their national debt loads increase to a significant degree because of the increase in the prices of resources, particularly oil. The prices of basic resources have increased as local people become more educated and determined to control their God-given natural wealth.
G8 corporations suffer less than governments because they pass their increased resource costs through to governments and the public, in some cases making huge profits. Corporate leaders know, however, that they will come more under public scrutiny and face threats of government takeover if their prices become unbearable to the public. Hence, for their survival as well as their profit, corporations want relatively cheap resource prices as well.
Although the G8 need to subdue factions and nations is increasing, their military ability to do this, particularly the United States’ military ability, is diminishing. Members of the general public of the G8 countries are weary of the wars, and, in the case of the United States, its military is also exhausted and demoralized by relentless, multiple troop deployments.
Drones enter the picture now, coupled with special forces units, as a new way of exerting control on the aforementioned local people on behalf of major corporations and G8 politicians. Drones reduce the dollar cost of war, and public support is not as essential as it would be if there were “boots on the ground.” Drone warfare is evidence of desperation on the part of the G8, a desperation that has led to a declaration of lawlessness by the United States, whose top officials have said that international and domestic constitutional law will not apply to the use of drones. The United States, to the silence of the other G8 members, has adopted an explicit war-by-assassination strategy.
The drone experiment is not working. Fighting among factions and against G8 forces has increased in Afghanistan and Pakistan as a direct result of drone attacks. Factional fighting has also increased in Yemen and Somalia, where drone strikes are creating rage against the United States. US drones are monitoring Syria and Iraq, with the possibility of drone attacks to support one faction or another. Drone attacks coupled with CIA operations, often in cooperation with local criminals, have arguably increased chaos and killing, increased and sustained high resource prices, and lengthened the time before G8 corporations and politicians can benefit. Drones will not help the G8 deal with its debt problems; they will only dig the G8 public a deeper hole.
The G8 has to face the reality that the heydays of colonialism and unchallenged corporate fascism are numbered. The Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street are evidence of increased educational levels globally that will make more and more people demand self-determination and direct control over the resources they need to survive and thrive.
Nick Mottern is the director of the 2012 Know Drones Tour.