Turkey Weekend Reading: James Fellows’s Article, Kazakhstan v. Iran, China Military Bases

Howdy All Y’All…Happy Thanksgiving Day.

Here’s quick Weekend Reading…just in case you need a break from all that turkey and gravy. By the way, I’ve been doing some light posting this past two weeks, but I’ll start going back to the normal beat of things soon.

OxBlog on Jame’s Fellow’s “Why Iraq Has No Army” in December’s Atlantic Monthly

David Adensik does an analysis of James Fallows’ cover story in the Atlantic monthly “Why Iraq Has No Army”. The article has caused such a buzz that even “George Stephanopoulous attempted to use the article to cross-examine Donald Rumsfeld on Sunday morning.”

I agree with David Adesnik that despite the hype of a title, Fallows doesnt really say anything new nor goes into depth about anything groundbreaking. Adesnik also the lack of definately strong position in the article (from critical/pessimistic to hawkish) as reflective of the overall difficult position of the Democrats:

“So is there a third way that will allow Democrats to both criticize the war and be seen as hawkish? Yes there is. They can click their heels three times and say “I agree with John McCain.””

The article is available for subscribers only, but if you would like a copy let me know and I can email it over. And, dont forget your local library (via online database) may carry a copy.

Oil Drum’s “There’s A New Kid In Town — Iran Versus Kazakhstan”

I’ve done an extensive research on Kazakhstan’s foreign policy and energy resources as part of my thesis in college, so its interesting (but not too surprising) to see Oil Drum’s “There’s A New Kid In Town — Iran Versus Kazakhstan” – which boldy proclaims the growing importance of Kazakhstan OVER Iran on energy resources:

Iran is still a giant and Kazakhstan is a middle tier country among the world’s oil suppliers. Iran produced 4081/kbd in 2004, 5.2% of the world’s total while Kazakhstan produced 1295/kbd, a paltry 1.6% percent of the whole. Iran has 132.5 billon barrels in proven reserves, 11.1% of the world’s total while Kazakhstan has 39.6 billion barrels, a 3.3% world share. But let’s look into our chrystal ball to see what the future may look like.

Around the years 2008 to 2009 period, Kazakhstan is exporting more total oil supply to the OECD countries, China and (perhaps) India than Iran is (Empahsis mine)

Eurasianet’s “China joins the Central Asian Base Race”

Stephen Blank of Eurasianet writes on China’s recent move to secure a military base in Kyrgyzstan and even in Uzbekistan, which the US has recently been kicked out from.

While Blank focuses on Chinese miltiary presence on Central Asia, we should not forget the joint Chinese-Pakistan naval base in Gwadar, Pakistan.

Beijing’s search for a base has occurred against a backdrop of growing regional militarization and an intensification of great power rivalry in Central Asia. Thus, China’s requests of Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, even if made sotto voce, have served to heighten the geopolitical jockeying in the region. It also suggests a growing willingness entertain the use of the military instrument to address regional issues. This cannot be considered a good sign.

While SCO (which includes Russia, China all all major Central Asian states) asked for the US militray to leave Central Asia, Blank correctly points out that Russia come out more strongly against a Chinese over a US presence in Central Asia.

In the UK: “Gas industry on brink of winter crisis”

The OilDrum and EnergyBulletin have been covering the less known natural gas issues that faces the US, UK and others, but here’s a mainstream news on UK’s winter energy crisis:

The country’s gas industry is on a knife edge this winter and could tip into crisis if there is a major breakdown in its ageing North Sea fields and pipelines, analysts said on Thursday.

Europe’s biggest consumer is fast running out of gas from the fields that once made it self sufficient and kept prices among the lowest in Europe. Today, UK gas is the world’s costliest fuel and winter supply will be the tightest in memory.Government ministers are under pressure to explain how one of the world’s richest nations has left its energy policy hostage to the weather and ageing North Sea equipment.


One response to “Turkey Weekend Reading: James Fellows’s Article, Kazakhstan v. Iran, China Military Bases”

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