In the aftermath of World War II, the weakened colonial powers were forced by circumstances to give up physical control of their colonies. It was therefore necessary to devise new strategies to continue controlling the resources of these areas, as otherwise the resultant poverty in the imperial states would lead to discontent among its peoples leading to conflict, unrest and uprisings in those countries.
The Middle East, awash with vast oil and petroleum resources has always been of tremendous importance to The US and its western allies whose skyscraper-based economies are totally dependent on petroleum products. Not surprisingly from the time it became clear that the Middle eastern countries would soon shed the shackles of imperialism and take control of their resources the US and the west actively formulated unrest and divisions in the region. The redrawing boundaries, the creation of new states like Kuwait and empowering puppet rulers whose hold on power depended on the west, ensured continuous unrest in the region.
The carving out of the state of Israel in Palestine to resettle Jewish people -victims of European genocide- during World War II, took the turmoil in the region to a new high. Surrounded by people who differed from them in religion and angered by the robbery of their lands, the Jewish settlers were seen as enemies by both Palestinians and Arab states. The resultant fallout, has since been an ever enlarging source of conflict in the region. Sadly Israel is as much victim to the wiles of the west as the Palestinians, but has not understood it is being used as a mere cats paw by its western allies, who a year earlier, subjected Jewish people to genocide.
During the heady days of the ‘Arab Spring’ in 2011, western leaders led by the US, openly supported groups/organisations in the middle east ranging from Libya to Egypt to Syria and Tunisia who rose up against their governments. What began as small demonstrations suddenly took on the form of large-scale armed uprisings led by well-armed and trained militias. Yet whence came the arms and the training...
The setting up of pro-west regimes in the middle eastern countries brought on its own backlash. The rise of terrorist organisations like the al-Queda and the Islamic State.
Today the Middle East or West Asia is in a region of complete bedlam. Today the US is transferring its focus on Asia. China has been rankled as the number one economic super power in the world by the IMF. Reports indicate it will maintain this lead in economic power rankings. Chinese military power is also on the ascendancy. The Global Fire Power (GFP) review ranks China 3rd out of 136 countries currently considered for the GFP review. China has also begun displacing decades-long American pre-eminence in most parts of Asia.
And so, we are now seeing American attention ‘Pivoting to Asia’.
On May 31, US Admiral Harris, former head of US Pacific Command and next US Ambassador to South Korea said “North Korea remains the most imminent threat to peace in the Pacific, but ‘China’s dream of hegemony’ is Washington’s biggest long-term challenge...”
Sri Lanka, which western countries -- a few years ago -- vilified for ‘so-called war crimes’ is now suddenly being seen as a ‘strategically important’ and courted to join to join ‘middle powers’ and band together to manage China’s ascendancy!
We are being warned against possible ‘future hegemony’ and Chinese economic projects transforming into a ‘neo-colonial experience’. Of a sudden, Sri Lanka is being welcomed to engage with a range of powers including the US, Japan and Australia.
In the ultimate loans are loans, and have to be repaid. What we do not want to see, is the chaos created in the Middle East replicated in Asia. Loans from the west come with a multitude of strings attached. As for example, scrapping of relief, raising of taxes, attempts to subjugate national sovereignty via amendments to the constitution to accommodate donor demands leading to domestic turmoil and bloodshed. Inability to repay Chinese loans lead to China taking possession of particular assets for a fixed time period.
At the end of the period, the asset stays in the country together with the added value of improvements such as trade zones, markets etc.