inter-imperialist rivalry

Mark Jones mark.jones at
Wed Dec 12 15:24:00 MST 2001

At 12/12/2001 21:15, John wrote:
>Got a little nervous with my name plastered all over the place ...
>Mark Jones wrote:
>The 'resource war' ongoing now in South-Central Asia is a case in point.
>Far from it being an illustration of a police action by an emergent
>'superstate', this is a war of proxies and subalterns at the behest of the
>great powers who are dividing and redividing this regions for the purpose
>of imperial loot and plunder. America is in Afghanistan to secure the
>region against nascent world powers, above all China.
>I ask:
>To frame it in overly vulgar fashion, is the implication here that by
>means of increasing its military and client state presence in C Asia, the
>US can exercise
>more control over whether long-distance fossil fuel pipelines are built to
>Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and so with metropolitan coastal China via
>Xinjiang ?
>A person who subscribes to the "super-imperialism" hypothesis might reply:
>The PRC can't keep up its mighty growth rate w/o sourcing more
>extra-national hydrocarbon inputs, including those from C Asia (in
>addition to Siberia,
>Sakhalin, etc.). Capital accumulation in the US is to some significant
>degree dependent (and perhaps increasingly dependent what with the PRC
>joining the
>WTO) on exporting feed grains, industrial equipment and machinery, and so on
>to the PRC, as well as the repatriation of profits made by US TNC's in the PRC
>(not just Boeing, Mattel, etc., but increasingly business and financial
>And US capital producing on US soil keeps it wage bill down with cheap
>consumer goods imported from PRC. Since the fate of PRC economic growth
>and US capital accumulation are tightly linked, why should the US seek to
>divert fossil fuel inputs from the PRC ? Is it about the _"nationality"_
>of the energy sector firms which are involved in supplying the PRC with C
>Asian natural gas ? That is, is the US not opposed to dynamic strength of
>PRC economy (at least at the moment), but opposed to the fact that it is
>Sinopec and not Exxon/Mobil or UnoCal or whomever who is tapping and
>delivering C Asian natural gas to the PRC ? That seems to be awfully
>reductionistic, and plays into single-note conspiracy theories of US
>imperial policy (like the Unocal Afghan/Pakistan pipeline hypothesis).
>(Not implying that anyone here has endorsed such views,
>just posing the contrasting arguments).

If the dollar collapsed how would the US prevent Middle East/Central Asian
oil producers from selling their oil and gas for renminbi? If this happened
wouldn't violently accelerate the process of splintering and fracturing of
the world market, and the destruction of dollar hegemony with all the
benefits of that to the US? In this situation, direct military control of
the region and technological control of the pipeline and delivery
infrastructure might be all that prevents the total unravelling of US
positions in the Mid-East. That must be Washington ultimate nightmare scenario.

>Among others, a hidden issue here seems to be, will the Japanese ruling class,
>which will have to swallow its intense national pride, tack east or tack
>west ?

>My sense of things is that to the extent they can raise the funds,
>Japanese TNC's have been repositioning their overseas sourcing networks to
>coastal China and away from SE Asia, especially in the wake of the 97-98
>meltdown. At the
>same time the Japanese ruling class is terribly worried about the role
>that inadvertent technology transfer will play in boosting the
>competitiveness of
>the rising regional economic power. And, if I'm not mistaken (if I wasn't
>so lazy
>I'd look it up), despite the strengthening of the ultra-nationalist wing
>of the LDP
>and fringe rightist parties in recent years, didn't Japan and the US re-up the
>security pact not long ago ? But my sense of things is that belligerent US
>unilateralism in all things (penalties against dumping of Japanese steel in the
>US, opting out of Kyoto Protocol after Japanese establishment most reluctantly
>signed on, all the various and sundry violations of the UN charter by the US)
>will increasingly reconcile Japan to NE Asian economic integration and even
>tentative steps toward some kind of NE Asian security alliance. Dunno,
>just firing shots into the dark.

And there's an awful lot of substantive issues to unpack here, too. Good
that you subbed to the list!


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