The Great Game

The Great Game

The Great Game was invented by the British.

“The Great Game” was a term for the strategic rivalry and conflict between the British Empire and the Russian Empire for supremacy in Central Asia.

The classic Great Game period is generally regarded as running approximately from the Russo-Persian Treaty of 1813 to the Anglo-Russian Convention of 1907.

A less intensive phase followed the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917.

In the post-Second World War post-colonial period, the term has continued in use to describe the geopolitical machinations of the Great Powers and regional powers as they vie for geopolitical power and influence in the area.

The term “The Great Game” is usually attributed to Arthur Conolly (1807–1842), an intelligence officer of the British East India Company’s Sixth Bengal Light Cavalry.

It was introduced into mainstream consciousness by British novelist Rudyard Kipling in his novel Kim (1901).[5]

Settled History suggests the objective of The Great Game was “supremacy in Central Asia” whilst a map of the British Empire suggests the British played for far higher stakes.

The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom.

It originated with the overseas possessions and trading posts established by England between the late 16th and early 18th centuries.

At its height, it was the largest empire in history and, for over a century, was the foremost global power.

The British Empire

Settled History suggests the British Empire played The Great Game against the Russian Empire whilst the world map suggests the British Empire was playing against the world.

By 1922 the British Empire held sway over about 458 million people, one-fifth of the world’s population at the time.

The empire covered more than 33,700,000 km2 (13,012,000 sq mi), almost a quarter of the Earth’s total land area.

The object of the game is to own as much land (property) and be the richest person.

The rules (which can be found in any monopoly box) are similar, no matter what edition you own.

Settled History suggests the British Empire stopped playing the “classic” version of The Great Game in 1907 whilst Prince Andrew stated the British were “back in the thick of playing the Great Game” in 2008.

In a leaked US Embassy cable released by WikiLeaks, it was reported that in October 2008 Prince Andrew, Duke of York, supported the concept of a Great Game:

Addressing the Ambassador directly, Prince Andrew then turned to regional politics.
He stated boldly that “the United Kingdom, Western Europe (and by extension you Americans too)” were now back in the thick of playing the Great Game.
More animated than ever, he stated cockily: “And this time we aim to win!”

Ms Gfoeller said Prince Andrew told her that the UK, Western Europe and the US were now “back in the thick of playing the Great Game”…

Those at the meeting were discussing potential investment in Kyrgyzstan, but the ambassador reported that Prince Andrew used the comments of one of the participants to criticise France.

She wrote: “Emboldened, one businessman said that doing business here is ‘like doing business in the Yukon’ in the 19th Century, i.e. only those willing to participate in local corrupt practices are able to make any money…

“At this point the Duke of York laughed uproariously, saying that: ‘All of this sounds exactly like France.'”

The dispatch continued: “His mother’s subjects seated around the table roared their approval. He then went on to ‘these (expletive) journalists, especially from the National [sic] Guardian, who poke their noses everywhere’ and (presumably) make it harder for British businessmen to do business. The crowd practically clapped.”

Middle East geopolitical map

One author who thinks the British didn’t stop playing the “classic” version of The Great Game in 1907 is William Engdahl.

After 1815, the peculiar ‘genius’ of British foreign policy lay in her skill in shifting alliance relations, abruptly if necessary, as her perception of strategic power in Europe or globally shifted. British diplomacy cultivated this cynical doctrine, which dictated that Britain should never hold sentimental or moral relations with other nations as sovereign respected partners, but rather, should develop her own ‘interests.’ British alliance strategies were dictated strictly by what she determined at any given period might best serve her own ‘interest.’ The shift from hostile relations with France in Africa to the ‘Entente Cordiale’ after the Fashoda showdown in 1898, or the shift from Britain’s decades-long backing for Ottoman Turkey to blocking the expansion of Russia, in what was known in Britain and India as the ‘Great Game,’ were indicative of such dramatic alliance shifts.

Rarely discussed, however, is the fact that the strategic geopolitical objectives of Britain, well before 1914, included not merely the crushing of its greatest industrial rival, Germany, but, through the conquest of war, the securing of unchallenged British control over the precious resource which, by 1919, had proved itself as the strategic raw material of future economic development – petroleum. This was part of the Great Game – the creation of a new global British Empire, whose hegemony would be unchallenged for the rest of the century, a British-led New World Order.

A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order
F. William Engdahl – 2004

The central thread developed by William Engdahl in A Century of War is that world history since the beginning of the 20th century has been dominated by an Anglo-American version of The Great Game where the route to riches is through the conquest and control of petroleum resources.

The core of the book reveals the pivotal role played by the Wall Street/London financial axis that determined how the world of the 20th century developed, whether it was the competition between rival capitalist powers or the control of the vital resources needed to power the entire process. So for example, whenever it looked like there might some kind of challenge posed to the Anglo-American alliance such as that of Germany in the 1920s or Italy in the 1970s, ‘convenient’ assassinations of key players would occur, or ‘exposés’ that scuppered deals that would have endangered USUK hegemony.

Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, the masters of the ‘Great Game’ as the rule of British Empire was so named, was dictated by oil and even though the by the post-WWII period, it was the de facto American Empire calling the shots, the alliance formed between the two remained solid, dictated by the seven great oil cartels and a handful of international banking corporations that between them were to control events including the inevitable slide into yet another war, again determined by oil, without which modern industrial capitalism was nothing.

Fast forward a century and we find a world almost entirely shaped by that imperialist vision notwithstanding the rather large obstacle placed in its path by the Bolshevik Revolution, an obstacle that delayed and indeed fundamentally altered how that vision played itself out.

‘The Great Game’
A Century of War – Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order
Reviewed by William Bowles – 31 December 2004

The narrative developed by William Engdahl in A Century of War suggests [for example] that General Galtieri and Saddam Hussein were both sucker punched by the Anglo-American Empire.

What did result from the British military action against Argentina in the spring of 1982 was the severe worsening of Washington’s relations with its Latin American neighbors. The Reagan administration had been persuaded, after much internal wrangling, to come out on the side of British gunboat diplomacy against Argentina, in de facto violation of the United States’ own Monroe Doctrine.

Perhaps unknown to President Reagan, Assistant Secretary of State Thomas Enders had traveled to Buenos Aires in March that year to privately assure the Galtieri government that the dispute between Argentina and Britain over the Malvinas would not draw U.S. participation. This assurance was considered in Buenos Aires as the ‘green light’ from Washington to proceed. It bore remarkable parallels to similar ‘assurances’ which a U.S. ambassador was to give to Iraq’s Saddam Hussein in July 1990, some days before the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.

A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order
F. William Engdahl – 2004
= = = =
A sucker punch… is a punch made without warning, allowing no time for preparation or defense on the part of the recipient.

The term is generally reserved for situations where the way in which the punch has been delivered is considered unfair or unethical.

One of the “(expletive) journalists” who invokes images of The Great Game is Paul Craig Roberts when he writes about current events in Ukraine.

Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, a rabid Russophobe and neoconservative warmonger, told the National Press Club last December that the US has “invested” $5 billion in organizing a network to achieve US goals in Ukraine in order to give “Ukraine the future it deserves.”

Nuland is the Obama regime official who was caught red-handed naming the members of the Ukrainian government Washington intends to impose on the Ukrainian people once the paid protesters have unseated the current elected and independent government.

It was fools like Nuland playing the great game that gave us World War I.

The conflict that Washington has initiated between the West and Russia/China is reckless and irresponsible. Nuclear war could be the outcome. Indeed, Washington has been preparing for nuclear war since the George W. Bush regime.

Washington has revised US war doctrine in order to initiate conflict with a first strike nuclear attack.

Washington has discarded the ABM treaty in order to build and deploy anti-ballistic missiles that are intended to prevent a retaliatory strike against the US.

Washington is engaged in a buildup of military forces on Russia’s borders, and Washington is demonizing Russia’s government with false charges.

As the Bush/Obama regimes dismantled the safeguards put in place in order to minimize the risk of nuclear war, no protests came from the American public or the media.
Washington’s European vassal states have also been silent.

Washington’s drive for hegemony has brought nuclear insanity to the world.

However, as with any historical narrative, there are many sides to this story.

History is written by the victors.
Winston S. Churchill

The truth is rarely pure and never simple.
Oscar Wilde – The Importance of Being Earnest – 1895

UPDATE 5 Jan 2015
When playing The Great Game remember that “large and rapid rises and falls in the price of crude oil” can significantly destabilise the opposition.

Large and rapid rises and falls in the price of crude oil have correlated oddly strongly with major geopolitical and economic crisis across the globe. Whether driven by problems for oil exporters or oil importers, the ‘difference this time’ is that, thanks to central bank largesse, money flows faster than ever and everything is more tightly coupled with that flow.

Oil Prices

Jeff Gundlach: “If Oil Drops To $40 The Geopolitical Consequences Could Be Terrifying”

But players have to be careful about blow back when meddling with the price of oil.

WTI crude oil prices are now down almost 55% from the June highs, the impossible just happened… WTI Crude broke into the $40s… the 6-month plunge is the largest since the pre-Lehman plunge and 2nd biggest plunge in 28 years.

Shale break even price

“There Is Moar Blood” WTI Crude Plunges Into The $40s – Tyler Durden

Gallery | This entry was posted in Books, Fossil Fuels, History. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Great Game

  1. Pingback: 경제위기의 본질 (36) 영국과 러시아의 그레이트 게임과 조선, 그리고 지금의 대한민국 | Dum Fata Sinunt, Vivite Laeti

  2. You neglect the usual weapon of war: starvation.

    The population graph of the world shows that energy grows in lock step into food and then population.

    One of the sharp tools is cheap food.

    Another is control of the seas.

    Recently, the USA has handed a terrible weapon to its enemies. I wonder now, if that was a mistake or on purpose? Aceh, Fukushima….. Deep Horizon may be a trap…. but way too much damage may be done.

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