On last night’s Glenn Beck Program, TheBlaze national security editor Buck Sexton joined Glenn to discuss the escalating tensions in Egypt and the “trigger” events that the world should fear.
While Buck talked a lot about the upheaval in Egypt, he also spoke to Glenn about the triggers that could ignite World War 3.
Below is a transcript of the segment, although you really should watch the segment at the top of the page for a full understanding with visual aids:
Glenn: Okay, I asked you to come back on this program, and we’re not going to have time today to get to all of it, but I want you to share with one thing, because I got your briefing today. And I asked you to look at triggers that could trigger World War III, what that might look like, and also where could we reduce our presence.
I’d like to get to those two questions later, and it may be another episode. What I really want to talk about is something you brought to my attention in this briefing of Mackinder, is it Mackinder?
Glenn: Mackinder’s Geographical Pivot of History, what is this? This is fascinating.
Buck: Well, I’ll show you on the map here, Glenn. This is…Mackinder was a turn-of-the-century geopolitical philosopher of sorts. He was really the father of modern geopolitical strategy, and what you have here is the map that is based upon his Geographical Pivot of History paper that he published in 1904. Now, what this essentially says is that for a country to rule the world, for it to be the preeminent power in the world, it has to control this area, the pivot area.
Now, a lot of his fellow Englishmen didn’t pay much attention to this theory. Who did was Haushofer, Karl Haushofer, who was a leading German general as well as political theorist who was the reason why they decided to invade Russia based upon this pivot theory. Now, why does this matter today, Glenn? If we were to talk about the areas of instability in the world as we are right now, we look at the Middle East, you see it comes right down here into the pivot area.
You have world powers squaring off – China, Russia, the U.S., and perhaps some people would push India in here. This area which now should extend down into the Middle East as well – he was doing this over 100 years ago, but he had a lot of foresight, Mackinder – this area is now the part of the world that’s being fought over by global powers. Anybody who controls this controls resources that have a dramatic impact on the geostrategic balance of the world.
And this, by the way, also gives us a sense of why is it now that the U.S. has bases? You asked me about bases – Okinawa, tens of thousands of U.S. troops; South Korea, tens of thousands of U.S. troops; Germany, tens of thousands of US troops. You look at where we have positioned our military strength abroad, and yes, it’s somewhat a remnant of the Cold War, but Glenn, the Cold War takes into account this theory as well. This is essentially where all the world powers meet, and it’s determined by geography, not even necessarily ideology.
Glenn: Show me where the Iron Curtain was. Can you roughly run your finger down where the Iron Curtain was?
Buck: It would’ve come down here, so a little outside of there. Now, part of this was he actually said, Mackinder actually said that whoever controls East Germany can then control the heartland, which is also called the pivot area, a name for the same thing. So that was why the Germans decided to push into this area.
The reason, Glenn, the reason for all this is that for a great land power, you need great resources. At the time, Mackinder was thinking about coal. He was thinking about timber. He was thinking about iron ore. That’s why he focused on this area; however, now with the fossil fuel economy, when you bring the Middle East into the equation, it dramatically changes the entire thing, and you understand why this is where the instability is. This is where the fighting is. And you have world powers and U.S. bases all around the rim in what’s known as the inner crescent.
Glenn: Okay. So that’s the part of the world that’s completely unstable here, Buck. So what is it that we should be doing? I mean, here’s my solution: That’s all on resources, so we should be forgetting about resources, and we should be exploiting our resources because it would allow us to maintain a power position in the world and be self-reliant. We wouldn’t have to worry about the rest.
Buck: This is the big question, Glenn, what happens if we abandon these strategic positions around here in what Mackinder called the rim land? This is where he said look, they’re fighting over this, but it’s not the powers within here necessarily. Obviously Russia at one point, the Soviet Union, controlled this. It’s those in the rim land around it that are fighting over what’s here in the middle, what is in that pivot area.
If we lose Okinawa, Glenn, if we lose South Korea, if we lose our bases in Germany – we have troops, by the way, in over 150 countries. In some countries, it’s three or four guys. In some it’s 40 or 50,000 depending. But if we pull them out from here, the world powers right now will continue to fight over this region, at least with regard to influence if not open war.
You’ve talked about global war, Glenn. You’ve talked about World War III. If it’s going to happen, it will be triggered in this area, because that’s the only place where these world powers collide. That is the collision point within Mackinder’s pivot area. It hasn’t really changed all that much.
Glenn: How well known is this to the thinkers in the Middle East? I mean, if you look at Putin, he clearly knows it because I mean, look what he’s doing. He’s right in that pivot area down at the bottom. He’s playing for all of that right now. That’s Syria and everything else that he has…they’re turning boats with bullets around that we, that the United States purchased from Russia. They’re turning those boats around and sending them back to Syria because they’re very serious about this. But how about the Middle East? I mean, how much sophistication is going on in the Middle East? Do they know about this?
Buck: Well, quite honestly, this tends to be the view taken by the global powers. Now, the Middle East is sort of the area that’s always being fought over here, including the stans. We always think of the stans, by the way, Glenn. It’s Persian for “land of.” So Afghanistan, land of Afghans, Tajikistan, land of Tajiks. They are the ones who have been caught in the middle of this.
If you take a longer view back into history, by the way, the steppe peoples, the ones that went all the way across into Europe, really threatened all of Christendom at one point in time, the Mongols, the Huns, and made their way as far east as Japan, this area of the world has been the fulcrum for geopolitical change going back for more than centuries, millennia actually, and it’s because it is the center of what’s known as the World Island, which is this whole mass here.
Yes, we can play a major role in it, and we do. We’re the preeminent power in the world. But if we don’t control this, Glenn, if we pull out of here, the whole point is other countries may do it. And the Middle East knows that they are sitting on top of the golden goose.
Glenn: So are we, I contend; however, we just have to be willing to exploit those resources, and we can be self-sufficient. Buck, from New York, our national security advisor and also one of the real stars on the Real News which follows this program, thanks for joining us. Back in a minute.