THE Vietnam War lasted 20 years and an uncomfortable sense of déjà vu in the Mediterranean basin is unsettling. As with most wars an incident critics describe as a black flag operation ignited American involvement in Asia with catastrophic regional consequences. That incident was the Gulf of Tonkin engagement when the North Vietnamese were goaded into attacking the U.S.N destroyer Maddox.
The Americans needed to draw a line in the sand to stop what they saw as the advance of Communism. Where then are the similarities?
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Armed insurrections, not to be confused with civilian unrest such as that in Tunisia and Egypt, are raging in Syria and Libya. There is little secret that the CIA and the NATO alliance is overtly siding with those seeking to overthrow legitimate internationally recognised governments. There is reason for this.
Both China and Russia encroached upon what the NATO alliance see as a Western sphere of influence. As recently reported in the Euro Weekly News their warships now cruise the Mediterranean. They have been joined by those considered as potentially hostile such as Iran.
Their warships are here because of what some people believe is China’s economic colonisation of Africa which has largely filled the vacuum left by Western de-colonisation. As with all trading empires there is a need for a protective military presence.
China has massive investment in Libya. 30,000 Chinese nationals were engaged on numerous projects, mostly civil engineering in return for oil concessions. Since the outbreak of NATO-led hostilities 29,000 workers have been evacuated.
Russia’s now abandoned Rosoboronexport’s contract with Jamahiriya will lead to a $4 billion loss if Gaddafi is toppled. Tatneft, Gazprom, and Russian Railways (RZD) have a multi-million euro presence. The head of Russian Technologies Chemezov predict losses of $4.6 billion
Dr Paul Craig Roberts, former U.S. Treasury Assistant Secretary and a former editor and columnist for the Wall Street Journal, told Iran’s Press TV: “We want to overthrow Gaddafi and Syria’s Assad because we want to clear Russia and China out of the Mediterranean.”
“China has massive energy investments in eastern Libya. This is an American effort to deny resources to China just as the U.S. and Britain denied resources to the Japanese in the 1930s.”
This resulted in the Japanese retaliatory attack on Pearl Harbour that brought America into World War Two.
Syria and Libya recently welcomed Russian and Chinese warships. The Russian naval base in Syria offered access to the Mediterranean region; it has enough firepower to protect its routes to the Atlantic and the great trade routes to Latin America. Those countries are becoming favourably inclined towards Russia and China.
The United States and its European allies see a growing threat to their own interests. Western-backed insurrections are warnings to Russia and China to back off. Not surprisingly both China and Russia have expressed profound displeasure at what they see as illegal barring of access to international waters. They argue that they too have legitimate commercial interests in the region which need protecting.
If a decision is made by either to play the NATO alliance at their own game the Western alliance could find itself in a no-win war stretched across the Mediterranean geopolitical fault line.
If that happens the nations of the Mediterranean could find themselves the new Cambodia and Vietnam in the clash of civilisations.
The outcome is anyone’s guess but holiday homes used as sniper’s dens quickly lose their market value.
By Craig Ireland