Civil Wars: Manufactured To Reduce Global Demand For Limited Resouces?
By Daniel Gibbins
22 April, 2014
An article in the Guardian (1) from July last year stated that a deal between the U.S and Russia was to end later in 2013. Apparently Russia had been supplying the U.S with 50% of its Uranium for its nuclear power stations but that is no longer the case which means the U.S may now be having use its military stocks of Uranium. The article also suggested that global supplies of Uranium are limited in terms of decades. This adds yet another angle to the unfolding crisis in Ukraine and it got me thinking about the broader picture global demand for dwindling resources and the relationship to the increasing number of civil wars and internal conflicts.
One has to assume that governments think strategically about resources and plan for any future crisis of which they are aware, attempting to manipulate their way out of a problem by taking from other countries that which they have. War after all, is the continuation of politics by other means. (2)
When supplies of the commodities which make our way of life possible are limited it goes without saying that there is not enough to go around for everyone to maintain (nor for any more to attain) such an extravagant standard of living. Perhaps we could all share equally but that does not appear to be human nature at present and in this context, where we all try to maintain an excessively high demand for energy and products it would mean that the lights go out and everything stops everywhere – equally!
We have reached that point commonly referred to as 'the peak' with practically everything we consume. In fact, there never was enough to go around for the levels of affluence that the dominant countries have conferred upon themselves to be matched by everyone else, this always was the myth of development. In fact, materialism, being based on egoism requires that a person is able to measure himself against another or else there would be nothing to strive towards and nothing to attain and nobody to be better than. Thus a materialistic culture requires stratification within the populace; classes and under-classes so for as long as it is regarded as a good thing to strive to attain more, there will also be poverty, homelessness, starvation and war.
There never was enough energy to support the wants of the few which was why energy was first taken in the form of slaves and subsequently land was appropriated from them to grow the energy intensive mono-crops that we consume. However there always has been enough to go around providing everyone takes only what they need, but that of course ceased when indigenous peoples were forced from subsistence cultures into slavery and poverty.
Leaving this point aside, we are at an apex where all countries have reached an unsustainable standard of living within part of the population, if not the whole and governments are now finding they are no longer able to sustain the cost unless they have military and commercial control of the resources, those being; energy, food, water, minerals and labour.
Since there are not enough resources to go around it comes as no surprise that we are seeing a last in, first out scenario. Consequently we should not be surprised if we find that the social unrest and civil wars which are becoming more widespread were not organic but in fact a direct military response by external actors to the problem of dwindling resources. That is to say that the revolutions such as the Arab Spring and the civil war which has reduced Syria to rubble may well be an attempt by external actors at removing the smaller players from the table thereby reducing overall demand for global resources.
If we can assume that the hegemonic global actors are aware that there are not enough resources to go around then the simplest way to resolve this problem in the short term, is to remove demand. Unstable countries on the periphery of the global economy can be destabilized by removing investment; taking jobs and infrastructure out of a country. They can also act to encourage splits along ethnic and religious divides. As the consequent social unrest unfolds, countries which formerly had a high energy demand and a population consuming food, water, and products from overseas are no longer doing so. In my opinion, these smaller players are being excluded from the game thereby freeing up limited resources for the most powerful players.
Few countries have the military capacity to walk in and take the resources from another, even the most powerful countries have to be careful not to overstretch their capabilities. One clear way to do this is to remove as many competitors as possible by ensuring they are caught up in internal conflict. War after all, is the continuation of politics by other means, but if a state can get others to fight among themselves all the better. If this hypothesis is correct then in the near future it is likely we will see an escalation of contrived civil wars as means to further reduce demand for resources.
When available supplies of commodities are limited in terms of decades we can be sure that future holds some surprises and that we as individuals need to be prepared for an altogether different way of life.
2 Carl von Clausewitz
Daniel Gibbins has a BA (Hons) Degree in Peace Studies from Bradford University. He believes that systems are collapsing and hopes to encourage awareness and social change. His website www.wildhope.info has heaps of information on survival and self-sufficiency along with short stories for children and adults and other works of non-fiction.
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