Will resource wars look any different?

The lead-up to future wars will resemble WWI, Klare says.
  • Transcript


Question: Will resource wars look any different?

Michael Klare: Well, I think that we should be thinking in terms of World War I, not World War II, not World War III or Korea or Vietnam, these are the kinds of wars that we're accustomed to thinking about, but think more about World War I and the events that proceeded it. That's the kind of situation we are looking at in Central Asia and the Caspian Sea and Africa. Those were all conflicts over geopolitical struggles over resources, what was called the “Great Gain” in those days and that case it was the struggle between the British empire and Russian empire in the same areas of the world, Central Asia in particular, and they were very much about the control of imperial territories, and they led to these kinds of clashes in these far-off areas over territory, over controls of key bases, of passes, the Khyber Pass, and that sort of thing. Well, this is the kind of struggles that are now taking place in the Caspian Sea region, in Central Asia, to some degree even beginning in Africa and certainly in the Persian Gulf region where the US, Russia and China are all jockeying with each other for geopolitical advantage and could lead not to intentional conflict, not to a deliberate decision to go to war. I don’t think that is going to happen, but to unintentional conflict, to miscalculation, to bad decisions and the heat of panic, precisely the kind of situation I was describing where a local ethnic apprising of some sort in Tajikistan or a Kyrgyzstan or Azerbaijan overnight leads to unintended conflicts between US and Russian troops, without anybody thinking ahead that something like this could happen.

Recorded on: 3/14/08