8 Wednesday, March 8, 2017 The Nugget Newspaper, Sisters, Oregon Uzbekistan to Kygyrzstan, a new center of power, anchored by the availability and abundance of natural resources, the home-grown ability and willingness to exploit them — and with a military parity with the global powers not seen since the collapse of the Ottomans — is poised to reassert itself. I would argue that power is already reasserting itself, and has been since the Iranian revolution and the fall of the Shah. I don’t know what this dramatic shift, which I believe is real — and which we can read in the tea-leaves of the world’s headlines every day — portends. I doubt it is good, at least for those of us who have grown accustomed to the ease and convenience of modern Western living. Which is, if we are being honest, all of us. We have grown accus- tomed to having most every- thing we want, when we want it, and we could afford that luxurious way of think- ing because — for better or for worse — we controlled the resources and the energy, and backed that control with unparalleled military might. Not so, anymore. In regions of the world that may well dominate the future, and how we live in that future, we have wildly, and repeat- edly, misplayed our hand. We have misplayed it so badly, and so often — from Kiev to Beijing — we risk becoming entirely irrelevant as a respectable player, inca- pable of supporting our own interests, and held in perpet- ual contempt and disdain by entire regions of people who consider us liars and thieves. Sadly, at this point, it doesn’t even matter if they’re right or if they’re wrong. At home, we are engaged in endless bouts of moraliz- ing about energy consump- tion, even as we arrive at the latest protest du jour in our SUVs and $300 puffy jack- ets, weighted down with lap- tops and cellphones. It’s no accident of irony that pro- testors of the Dakota Access Pipeline left behind 24,000 tons of trash, mountains of human waste, dogs, pup- pies, cars, and dozens upon dozens of propane tanks. Law enforcement officers were even monitoring the garbage collection on the chance there might be dead humans hidden in the refuse. That’s not an unplanned misfortune, excusable because the motives were sound: it’s exactly who we have become, a kind of cultural split-personality, duplicitous to the point of absurdity. Consider this: the proven crude reserves under the Caspian Sea are twice those of the entire United States. The Karachaganak reserve between Kazakhstan and Russia contains an estimated 42 trillion cubic feet of natu- ral gas, liquefied gas, and crude oil. The Donbas basin in eastern Ukraine has 10 bil- lion tons of extractable coal deposits, as well as 1.4 bil- lion barrels of oil, 2.4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, and the earth itself in southern Ukraine is so rich they dig it up and sell it to the tune of a billion a year. The Uzbek and Kyrgyz mines of the Tian Shan belt are second only to the Witwatersrand basin in Cork Cellars Dinner Specials — Credit Cards Accepted — Wine & Bistro Free wine tasting, 5-7 The Bunkhouse Chronicle Craig Rullman Columnist The New Silk Roads Last summer, while lounging around the Munich Airport waiting for a flight to Reykjavik, I bought a book: “The Silk Roads: A New History of the World,” by Peter Frankopan. Frankopan is a senior fel- low at Oxford University, and has written a convincing reassessment of world his- tory. It is also a poignant and extraordinarily well-consid- ered forecast of our possible future as a broader, Western culture. It’s a good enough read that, while spending the weekend moving horse manure from one spot to another on one of the last American-made trac- tors, I kept coming back to Frankopan’s ultimate con- clusion: that what we are witnessing today, in the realms of business and geo- politics and the obvious confusion and impotence of Western foreign policy, is a dramatic shift in the center of gravity, a return of power to the places it resided for thou- sands of years — the ancient kingdoms and cultures along the old Silk Roads. From China to Ukraine, from Russia to Iran, from Friday & Saturday Roasted Pork Loin Tasty Thursday with Jeannie! Live Music Fri., Mar. 10th, 7-9 pm; Mixed Nuts Sat., Mar. 11th, 7-9 pm Fiddler Bob & Brian Odell Open Tuesday-Saturday 12-8 pm | 391 W. Cascade Ave. | 541-549-2675 corkcellarswinebistro.com WE ARE A FULL-SERVICE WELDING SHOP! Welding Fabrication to Welding Repair Small to Large Jobs 541-549-9280 www.PonderosaForge.com S Sisters Industrial Park • CCB# 87640 gold deposits. In Kazakhstan are beryllium, dysprosium, and other rare earth metals vital for the manufacture of mobile phones, laptops, and rechargeable batteries — not to mention uranium and plu- tonium for nuclear warheads. There isn’t a well-mean- ing environmental protest in the world that is going to stop those countries from exploiting their resources, growing tremendously wealthy from the pursuit, and wielding the fruits as both hard and soft power in the Great Game. And, dis- turbingly, they aren’t likely to have even the remotest hint of democratic institu- tions in place to restrain their considerable ambitions. Like it or not, the real his- tory of the world has always been, and always will be, about resources. Last year, in my favor- ite outback bar in Nevada, I saw a sign hanging over the ranks of bourbon and rye on a dusty shelf. The sign read: “If it doesn’t grow, it has to be mined.” The sign was printed as a kind of sad pro- test, and pasted up by a dis- gruntled someone who was about to lose his job at the gypsum mine. It didn’t matter that the statement happens to be true, because truth in the 21st cen- tury has become increasingly obscure and elusive. And it didn’t help either, because the more pressing and indis- putable fact remained that he was losing his livelihood to someone on the other side of the world, to some other miner, in the heart of the New Silk Roads. Quality Truck-mounted PORTLAND (AP) — Officials say a gray wolf was unintentionally killed in rural northeast Oregon by a cyanide device used by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Oregonian / OregonLive reports the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife and the USDA acknowledged the Sunday killing in a news release. The male, 100-pound wolf was a member of the Shamrock Pack and believed to be less than 2 years old. The federal government’s Wildlife Services division was using a cyanide device known as an M-44 to kill coyotes and “prevent coyote- livestock conflict” on the private property in Wallowa County. The often-questioned tool is a spring-activated device that is typically smeared with bait and shoots poison into the animal’s mouth when it tugs on the trap. Federal officials are reviewing the death. NuggetNews.com is your online source for Classifieds | Weather Road Reports Offering Aveda ™ Skin & Body Care! CARPET CLEANING Quality Cleaning 16 years in Reasonable Prices Sisters! ENVIROTECH 541-771-5048 Feds kill wolf on private land with cyanide trap hair | massage | nails facials | makeup Licensed • Bonded • Insured • CCB#181062 541-549-1784 RESIDENTIAL • COMMERCIAL 161-C N. Elm St.