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Live 8, or 8 Alive?

The Long Walk to Geo-Political Reality

Enough to go around?

The Earth was at one time a resource-rich planet. However, as human population and society has grown and evolved, we have managed to deplete its inheritance of metals and petroleum. This has been done for the most part historically by the primary industrialised nations on Earth, which are now known collectively as the ‘G8.’

Large resource deposits have become increasingly difficult to find, and today, most of the world’s oil explorers are finding that the richest deposits are long gone. This is a problem as demand certainly hasn’t diminished, and has in fact increased in places like the United States and China.

The goal is to control valuable natural resources in order to eliminate or repress the emergence of any competitive rivals.

But it’s not only fossil fuels that are running low. The demand for clean water, caused by surging population growth, environment abuse and poor water management, is also becoming a dangerous source of friction in many parts of the world, especially in the Middle East and Africa. For instance two-thirds of the water consumed in Israel comes from the occupied territories, while nearly half of the Israeli water installations are located in areas that were not part of its pre-1967 status.

In Africa, the Chobe, a tributary of the Zambesi, has become a cause of tension between Botswana, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe, while there have been border incidents between Mauritania and Senegal over control of the Senegal River.

Winner takes all

These realities are certainly not lost on the G8 nations. In the United States (the group’s most powerful member), influential neoconservatives, including George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, William Kristol, Douglas Feith and Richard Perle, have been petitioning for years in favour of a more assertive US strategy in the post-Cold War world. In 1997, they and other like-minded ‘intellectuals’ organised the Project For The New American Century. This project fundamentally avows that American leadership is key to world stability and any hope for spreading democracy and freedom around the world. It proposes a ‘paradigm shift’ in which the US spreads American values by asserting American power by any means at its disposal, including both economic and military might. The name the movement gives this new US empire is Pax Americana, taken from the name for the British Empire’s Pax Britannia, which in turn was inspired by the Roman Empire’s Pax Romana. Like all such empires, the primary goal is to control valuable natural resources in order to either ‘eliminate’ or repress the emergence of any competitive rivals.

The profits of Unilever, a British company in Africa, are a third larger than Mozambique’s GDP.

Welcome to Fantasy Island!

In July 2005, the G8 reportedly agreed on a $50bn (£28.8bn) aid boost to Africa. Live8 organiser Bob Geldof reacted to this decision by calling it a “victory for millions”. He also described President Bush as “passionate and sincere” about ending poverty.

However, for every $1 of aid sent to Africa, $3 is taken out by western banks, institutions and governments, a figure that does not include the repatriated profit of transnational corporations. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, 32 corporations, all of them based in G8 countries, dominate the exploitation of this deeply impoverished, mineral-rich country. In the Ivory Coast, three G8 companies control 95 per cent of the processing and export of cocoa, the main resource. The profits of Unilever, a British company long in Africa, are a third larger than Mozambique’s GDP. The American genetic engineering corporation, Monsanto, controls 52 per cent of South Africa’s maize seed, that country’s staple food.

The G8 nations of the world made $1.035 trillion dollars selling weapons around the world in 2004.

Aid in arms

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute reports that the G8 nations of the world made $1.035 trillion dollars selling weapons around the world in 2004. President Bush’s pledge to “end tyranny and poverty in our world” seems therefore rather ludicrous on many levels, especially in light of the US’ role as the world’s leading arms-exporting nation. Likewise, British arms sales to Africa have risen to record levels over the last four years and have reached the £1 billion mark. Analysis of official figures shows annual weapons sales almost quadrupled between 1999 and 2004.

Other G8 nations involved in arms deals include:

• Canada: supplies light armoured vehicles and helicopters to Saudi Arabia and aircraft engines and handguns to the Philippines.

• France: supplies bombs, grenades, ammunition and mines to countries subject to European Union arms embargoes such as Myanmar and Sudan.

• Germany: provides components in military equipment destined for countries involved in serious human rights violations such as Myanmar.

• Italy: supplies large quantities of so-called ‘civilian firearms’ to countries suffering gross human rights violations such as Colombia, the Republic of Congo, and China.

• Russia: exports heavy weaponry including combat aircraft to states whose forces have committed abuses such as Ethiopia, Algeria and Uganda.

What better way to keep potential national rivals repressed than through the active promotion of continuous armed conflict?

If the G8 nations were genuinely sincere in wanting to help Africa, shouldn’t they attempt to ease the pressure on Africans working for genuine change in their homelands from the militarised genocide-state, by halting arms sales to the continent? Still, we’re talking about a multi-trillion dollar industry, and what better way to keep potential national rivals repressed than through the active promotion of continuous armed conflict? What’s more, if the African continent were allowed to industrialise, then its nations would require the use of their own natural resources, resources that we in the West require in our own resource-depleted world. The truth of the matter is that the West has created and currently sustains Africa’s present-day tragedy. The governments and institutions of the G8 nations have taken a long time to establish control and exploitation of the African continent and will not quickly abandon their spoils.

War is Peace.

Freedom is Slavery.

Ignorance is Strength.

Words: AF Keck, Illustration:


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