The nugget. (Sisters, Or.) 1994-current, March 08, 2017, Page 8, Image 8

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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
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
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
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The Bunkhouse
Craig Rullman
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
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
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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.
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Officials say a gray wolf
was unintentionally killed
in rural northeast Oregon
by a cyanide device used
by the U.S. Department of
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
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.
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