From the daily archives:

Thursday, August 14, 2024

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  • Is it scatter-brained to think that the nation states are mere stage dressing for a broader and more fundamental power struggle amongst an oligarchic elite that thinks they own the planet? Forbes list of billionaires provides a clue regarding who some of them are, but there are undoubtedly a lot of unwashed deca-millionaires who control shit like the world’s supply of molybdenum, power brokers who have a place at the table too.

    Now this Georgia versus Russia thing flared up and I looked around and found that the Ossetians speak a language different from the Russians and different from the Georgians. Over to the west in Georgia lies the autonomous region of Abkhazia. These people speak a different language from the Georgians too. Here’s a map of the crazy quilt of ethnolinguistic groups around the Caucasus.

    (You might note that Chechen is just a short way to the east of Ossetia. They speak a couple of languages there that are neither Russian nor Georgian.)

    So the Russian oligarchs have some geopolitical strategy in play when they subordinate the Chechens to their will and when they clasp the Ossetians to the bosom of mother Russia. That interest has little to do with national security, since the Caucasus provide a great buffer zone of protection against any incursion from the south. A cursory inspection of the source of the wealth of the Russian oligarchs in Forbes’ list of billionaires contains no surprises… not a lot of Web 2.0 wealth, but plenty of influence tied to providing the Russian federation with gas and oil.

    And Georgia is a pipeline route for oil and gas from the Caspian that is needed in countries around the Mediterranean. But ironically they are also a huge customer of Russia’s Gazprom Company (which if you look at the list of billionaires and how many owe their wealth to oil and gas… well, you see where that goes. Shoot, it almost mirrors the whole Texas oil mafia thing.)

    National posturing and PR patriotism are tangential distractions for those of us in the middle and working classes. If we spend our time flag waving or debating the merits of Georgia’s territorial integrity over the rights of the Ossetians to choose Russia for their homeland, we really just look the other way while the wealthy and powerful people compete for the planet.

    It’s not about Georgia. It’s not about Ossetia. It’s not about Russia. It’s about natural gas from Kazakhstan and the oligarchs who will profit from its extraction and distribution.

    [tags]georgia, south ossetia, russian oligarchs[/tags]

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