The Great Chess Game (first published on indymedia.ie Oct. 2012)
Everyone is aware of a multitude of problems that besets our world, however the nature of these problems and why they exist is distorted by the media and by governments all over the world. Our leaders, corporate heads, military top-brass etc. all have a fairly good idea of what is really happening, they just don’t want us – the ignorant masses known as the general public to know what they know.
The multiple crises on this planet are caused by our insane mode of living – one that seems to be dominated by economics. Our way of life (unfortunately now for most of the world) depends on an ever-expanding economic system, for if it is not expanding it is contracting.
This system was all well and good while there was plenty of capacity for continued expansion, but unfortunately for all of us the limits of expansion are not far off. The ‘people in the know’ are well aware of this, although they are not going to admit to anyone outside of their ‘club’ that this is the case, at least not in any direct or honest manner.
Capitalism requires growth and markets to exploit – in the past there were always new markets and new people to exploit, which fueled growth and also the resources needed to run the engine of commerce seemed inexhaustible.
At this point in time the number of new markets is shrinking, the number of people who can be easily exploited is shrinking and the availability of resources is shrinking. So that really doesn’t leave modern ‘civilised’ countries or coalitions of countries with a lot of options with regard to the continued expansion of their economies.
It strikes me that there are only really three options available: 1. Expand the planet and the resources available on it by 50% or more. 2. Reduce the demand on resources and reduce the number of people expecting a fair deal (i.e. not being exploited). 3. Give up on a redundant system that is destined to crash and find a new economic paradigm. Hopefully you will realize that option 1. is my little joke and that option 2. is in the realms of megalomaniac fantasy.
Unfortunately for us, many of the people in powerful positions in the world are hopefully of achieving something equivalent to option 1. (e.g. colonizing Mars) and are quite confident of achieving option 2. and hence are still not even close to considering option 3. It seems that option 2. is the historical precedent for solving economic woes, generally implemented through war and the by-products of this – famine, sickness, relocation and disempowerment etc.
If we look at the current global situation it is clear that there is a struggle for power and resources, which is only partially viewable to the ordinary ‘man in the street’. The intrigues and complexities of this struggle or game are concealed from the average consumer of mainstream media. This has been the case for a long time, which is clearly evidenced by the periodic release of state secrets relating to events of previous decades – in some cases clandestine activities/ambitions of up to a century ago. Despite the clear evidence that we have been continuously lied to in the past by mainstream media and our governments, it seems that many people do not seem to correlate that information with current lying and propaganda.
The truth is that this struggle for dominance and control is like a giant chess game, with USA and it’s allies/friends on one side of the board and Russia/China and their allies/friends on the other. They represent to kings and queens of this game and ultimately decide the strategy and the actions of their ‘pieces’. Countries like Britain, France, Japan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Turkey, India etc. represent the middle ranking pieces – they are important players in the game, they are not instantly expendable but they are coerced or seduced into following the game plan.
The pawns of the game are all the other minor and relatively powerless countries that make up the world. These are all seen as expendable but at times they may be given an inflated sense of their own worth by either or both sides in order to achieve a goal. Of course, like a real pawn, once their purpose has been fulfilled or they are no-longer useful they are thrown to the wolves or just ignored.
Two perfect examples of a pawn are Afghanistan and Iraq – neither were particularly unique strategically, in terms of resources or influential politically or militarily. For a time Iraq seemed important but it was just a piece being played as a piece in a much larger game. Afghanistan seemed important for a while both to the Americans and the Soviets but (in terms of the game) again it is just a fairly resource rich non-entity that needed to be exploited as part of a far greater plan.
What many people in the world do not understand is that this great chess game is about control of resources and their flow around this planet. He who controls the oil, gas, rare-earth metals, uranium, water and food has control of everybody else. The instability in the Middle East may appear to be related to terrorism, the struggle for democracy or religious preferences but this is all just a smoke screen. If we look below the surface we can easily see that this is about transit routes of resources – in particular for oil and gas. The big boys (USA, China and Russia) are jostling for position, their allies want in on the action (as a kickback for helping out) and the fate of the remainder rests on the success of the competing strategies for dominance of the board.
Unfortunately for us, this obsessive game over resources seems to completely ignore the basic premise that we must continue to live in a world of finite resources. Instead of deciding to give up the game and concentrate on finding a way to remodel society in a way that we can sustain our future the game seems to have intensified in recent decades. I would liken this to two men on the Titanic fighting over the silver cutlery while the ship continues to sink! I wonder at what point governments will actually wake up to the fact that these ‘traditional’ solutions can no-longer work in a world where there is nowhere new left to colonize, nowhere new to discover and precious few new resources to find.
Of course people pay lip-service to the ideas of a new paradigm at the UN, at environmental summits etc. but this is really just candy-floss. The big boys and their minions are still focusing most of their energy, political, intellectual and creative resources on fighting to maintain their economies instead of seeking solutions to a glaringly obvious problem.
It’s high time that the ‘superpowers’ and their allies took a serious look at option 3. (a new economic paradigm). Once the penny drops that our system is fatally flawed, the necessity for economic, psychological and physical warfare becomes redundant. Once we truly accept that we cannot have infinite growth, that our planet and human society is in danger of collapse then it should shift our focus away from conflict towards co-operation.
Humans are selfish creatures, we all want the best for ourselves, our family, our town, our tribe, our country – that is just part of human evolution that has enabled us to succeed. However that competitive streak has outlived its purpose and is in fact destroying us. The ultimate in selfishness is really the desire to survive – don’t we all want to survive (and hopefully prosper)? If we are going to fulfill that ultimately selfish wish then it’s actually necessary for us to evolve beyond competing and abandon clearly failed and destructive actions.
Co-operation is the only real hope for humanity. It’s time for the game players to tear up the chess board and throw it away forever. And if our governments do not want to change or listen then it is up to all of us to make sure that they do – for our own selfish desire to live and to have a country and a planet to live on.
Luke Eastwood is a writer and horticulturist, you can read more of his work at lukeeastwood.com