In the second part, we now examine our common future in the coming brave world. It is accepted that, when the Roman city grew to a million people, it could only be maintained by colonising everything in its path. Without its huge pool of slaves, intensive farming techniques, massive aqueduct building projects and more crucially, the Empire's army, Rome could not have supported its population. Therefore, it had to pillage the whole world to overcome the limitations of the solar power that was in use at that age. This called for looting in the Near East, Egypt and North Africa. Likewise, to secure the remaining energy reserves, unless the world comes up with other plans which we doubt, we are going to witness one of the worst looting spree ever witnessed in history. The bad news is that, Africans will fair very badly in this looting.
Facts speak for themselves. Lest some say we are engaged in conspiracy theories, we refer you to a report presented by USA's Energy Information Administration on 7th April, 2009. Here is the link: Just scroll to page 8. The graph tells us that, by 2030, from the conventional existing sources, the production will fall from 81mbp (when the graph was prepared, the daily consumption was 81mbp) to around 30mbp, a drop of 63% in 2 decades. The rest will come from "Unidentified Projects. This is euphemism for shortage or faith based. Today, America uses 20 mbp. The implications are obvious. Most experts say we have about 1 trillion barrels of conventional oil left. At present rate (Feb. 2010) of 86 mbp, it will be about 34 - 40 years and it is all gone.
However, the main story is not when oil will be gone. It is the price as we go forward. Before we reach 2030, oil would have become too expensive for weak and disorganised economies like ours. The problem is this. Today's global "free trade" is based on denial of resource scarcity. The standard economics theory (dogma) assumes that new technology and the price mechanism will ensure availability of resources on sufficient quantities. In this way of "reasoning," in a free market scarcities of resources will be reflected in rising prices, increased costs will spur research and development which will discover new resources or inventions. This way of seeing the world comes from the idea that, we humans have emancipated ourselves from natural constraints as expressed by both Marxism and Liberalism.
However, the above beliefs are delusions for we cannot emancipate ourselves from natural constraints. It also exaggerates the power of technology while neglecting the historical and political factors that generate conflict over natural resources. More importantly, these theories ignore that; market forces cannot repeal the laws of thermodynamics. Furthermore, it rests on the assumption that, institutions of law and property will remain intact while prices are rising. That assumption does not consider the real world history which shows that, people will not gamble with their lives based on the theory that, technical fix is around the corner. Long before this theory has a chance of being tested, market competition will be supplanted by war, conquest and or revolution. Since price mechanism is a creation of the state power, when urgent human needs run against rising scarcities, market competition is always suspended and or rigged in favour of the most POWERFUL.
This brings us to the ever expanding USA military bases which now total over 700 across the world. Even interesting, as we were preparing this essay, it was announced that, Japan is setting its FIRST military base in Africa, in Djibouti (Japan's First Foreign Military Base to Open in Djibouti Africa). This is all done to fight “terror.” But, first, note this. Between 1945 and 1990, the West had cold war. Anyone who rejected their exploitative ways was painted with a red brush and crushed. Between 1990 and 2001, to dismantle Yugoslavia which was decided in 1984, we heard about humanitarian interventions of Mr Clinton in the Balkans. Since 2001 - to date, they have "war on terror." If you count 1st and 2nd World Wars, which were wars for resources and colonies between imperial Britain and emerging German power, you have come to the conclusion that, the West has been at war for more than a century.
Now, if you listen to the propaganda (propaganda is not meant for the critical thinker, but, moral cowards who are given an excuse not to think), you will be told that, these militaries are there to fight communists, dictators and terrorists so as to bring peace, democracy, development. It is a LIE. The sole objective of these endless wars is to secure energy supplies by military means from Eurasia (Middle East, Balkans, Russia, Central Asia and in Africa (read AFRICOM). If you doubt, sample this. During the 1WW, while France was needlessly battling Germans, Britain moved a staggering 1.4 million soldiers to secure Middle East, and especially Mesopotamia (Iraq where they are back again). Which terrorists were they fighting then, when the Arabs were (Arabs were duped) on the Western's side against Ottoman Empire? They were securing oil and a century later, they are still at it.
This brings us to the real story. Let us first recall some history. The coming of the Europeans to Africa was motivated by search for new sources of resources/energy to compensate for the depletion of their existing stocks. Thus, we see that, imperial or colonial expansions are always designed to secure sources of resources/energy. It is to secure energy/resources we are now witnessing the second scramble for Africa with all the military might. The difference this time is that, the West is not alone for Asian nations are also in the play. In view of this, three questions are in order. Firstly, why must the West and Asian nations scramble for African resources? The second question is, will they succeed in this second round? And, what will be the consequences for us Africans?
Why the scramble for African Energy?
As the global thirst for energy has increased, Africa has emerged as the site of the fiercest battle among major international companies and energy - hungry countries. For instance by 2015, Africa will be supplying USA about 25% of its energy needs. That’s why Walter Kansteiner in 2002 said, "African oil is of strategic national interest to us." Translated, we will fight and kill to keep it. Therefore, in the name of terror, Bush formed AFRICOM which that [con] man of change, Obama intends to keep. How can he not? In truth, it is a colonial army to safeguard energy supply lines. We also, know that, to safeguard Middle East oil, Carter, formed Central Command.
Meanwhile, as USA, EU intensifies their stranglehold on African resources, China has also elevated the importance of Africa in its geopolitical calculations as its reliance on African oil and minerals grow. Although lacking the might military machine like USA, it has deployed other cards while becoming a major supplier of arms to African nations while increasing tempo of military exercises and exchanges.
Essentially, policy decisions substantially flow from institutional structures. Since these remain stable, an examination of these structures can provide valuable insight into the “emerging norms” and the contemporary world. With this in mind, we just need note that, economic institutions, the transport system, communication systems, the location, design and operation of cities, towns are all derived from a common energy flow. Now, if you analyse the Western societies, one must come to the conclusion that, the social, economic, military and political institutions are designed to maximise the energy flow in consumption oriented societies. As a result of these institutional configurations, Americans alone consume energy resources that should be consumed by 22 billion people!
The problem with such stupid developmental model is that, if you cut energy flow to New York for just one week, it will be a scene of massive starvation worse than Somalia. To avoid this fate, America/West/Asia must at all cost ensure the flow of energy resources. The small problem is that, these resources are not enough for all for such wasteful lifestyles. Simple solution is to deny some people in some parts of the world their share. A number of ways are employed to deny us our share of God given resources:
(a) Keep the population growth down through whatever means necessary. If you think this is conspiracy theory, please read Henry Kissinger's National Security Memorandum 200 (NSM 200). In part, they said this:
"The U.S. economy will require large and increasing amounts of minerals from abroad, especially from less-developed countries. That fact gives the U.S. enhanced interests in the political, economic and social stability of the supplying countries. Wherever a lessening of population can increase the prospects for such stability, population policy becomes relevant to resources, supplies and to the "economic interests of the United States."(b) If the population keeps on growing, keep it poor so as to depress its consumption capacity. To achieve this, they use a number of means:
(i) They deny the Africans the ability to use their own resources by ensuring they are governed by Western puppets who must keep them poor. African’s affluence would cause global shortage and price rises to the detriment of those with divine right to God given resources. If these puppets get out of line, they are demonised and removed using "opposition" "parties." If that is not possible, by military means. If you doubt, check with Shah of Iran or with Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, Frederic Wills of Guyana and PM Bandaranaike of Sri Lanka who organised the Colombo Declaration of 1976 which shook the Western interests.
(ii) They employ Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAPS) via IMF and WB to keep raw materials cheap and availability of slave labour. This is why in 1975, in reaction to the attempts by 3rd world nations to regulate prices of their natural resources, the Fortune Magazine issue of August, 1975, said this. "If the material exporters succeed in this endeavour, the days of sustained improvement in living standards in the advanced industrial countries may well come to an end."
Therefore, it is not that, the Western elite hate poor Africans, rather, African's plight has little weight in comparison with more important values. If you want know these values, remember this statement from Bush, "We will not give up our way of life." Translated, it means, sustained improvement in living standards at the expense of rest of humanity.
Will they succeed in this second scramble for Africa?
Oh, yes, they will very easily. When the colonialists arrived in Africa, they curved the continent into a patchwork of colonies to systematise the extraction of resources. With independence in 1960's the emphasis shifted to Middle East and thereby, Africa lost some of its importance. However, as every barrel of oil has come to matter and the need to diversify from "terrorists" the ME, Africa has emerged as a potential source of critical materials such as bauxite, chromium, cobalt, copper, platinum, titanium and uranium, tropical forests, gold, diamond and of course the energy resources which are the primary target.
So, what makes Africa so attractive to predators? It is precisely what made it attractive back in 1885. Vast abundance of vital raw materials in a DEEPLY DIVIDED and POLITICALLY WEAK continent, which is REMARKABLY OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL EXPLOITATION. As a result of Africa's tortured history, it’s completely lacks defences against foreign resource exploitation that other regions have established. In other words, Africans have been enfeebled by colonization; the slave trade, economic exploitation, and post colonial power struggles (Kenya since 1990 where the opposition is funded and supported by foreigners without regard to Kenyan's vital interest) which has made it impossible to construct robust and fully functioning states.
More so, for lack of critical skills, Africa relies on foreign technology. And, since most African support their tribal leaders, which allows these leaders to be funny, the foreign companies find it easy to do business in Africa than in Middle East where governments have right supervision which restrict opportunities for profitable deal making. See "Uganda dismisses case seeking oil deals disclosure".
As these powers jostle to exploit Africa for their own benefits, they will be proclaiming their deep interest in African development insisting that. In this monkey language, we shall be told that, the exploitation of the African raw materials will contribute to the improvement of living conditions for the African masses. However, all one has to figure out is simple. Africa with high living standards (industrialised) will use these raw materials internally. To do so is to cause shortage and increase in prices in the world market.
Therefore, to keep these minerals cheap and available, Africans must be kept poor. In this sense, since poverty eradication must not be the outcome, the prospects for internal violence are very high. Under the current arrangements, the flow of illicit wealth to the few that are allowed to share the rents from these resources will envitably fuel resentment and in many cases open rebellions or violent attacks from those who will feel, and rightly so, excluded from any benefits that will flow from these deals.
Adding to the prospective flames, the Western and Asian nations will protect their interests by providing arms and military training to the armed forces for their key suppliers. As a result, the rulers of these nations will rely on brute force and not compromise and inclusion in dealing with any group that will seek a reasonable share of revenue from these resources. From this, we can see endless succession of coups (Niger and Republic of Guinea coups come into mind) at the top and revolts, ethnic upheavals as well as gang war below. In this scheme of things, some will get menial jobs at oil fields and mines (most will be offshore where Wanjku cannot reach), but, most of the highly paid jobs will be reserved for foreigners or those well connected with the elites in power at any time.
When violence related to resources eventually breaks, as we know from history, it will be the civilian population that suffers. And, when at long last the oil, copper, gold etc is depleted, the powerful mining company will fold and move elsewhere, leaving behind massive unemployment, broken promises and large empty holes. As this will be happening, the “intellectuals” from Africa and abroad will gather in Oxford and Harvard to lament at how “tribalism and corruption” is the bane of Africa. On our part, we shall dutifully as cheerful robots accept this nonsense as “political analysis” of what is going on.
Therefore, let us double our efforts in doing what we do best, i.e. "political analysis" of tribal alliances to "capture power." When we get frustrated since nothing seems to work, let us take guns and machetes and thereby, with speed and purpose, kill and rape the equally suffering brothers and sisters from the "enemy tribe." And, when "we" get into power, let us do "expert analysis" led by our “political scientists” of which ministry is "superior" as prime news on our radio and TV stations.
Let us also, with the support of our underdevelopment partners launch "war on corruption" for it’s the "greatest" obstacle to the African development. With such "creative thinking," the world will be watching the fulfilment of the prophecy of 1933 about the Negro that, "When you control a man's thinking [using brainwash education] you do not have to worry about his actions."