The Future Targets For War

Cobalt, Lithium And Geopolitical Advantages

January 1st, 2021 | AR

When fossil fuels are forcibly phased out, many believe the wars will end. Wars like the ones in Iraq have been criticized as wars for oil, which they most definitely were, but it is wrong to think that the end of fossil fuels would bring an end to wars for energy resources. As battery-powered electric cars make their way into the global market and become affordable, demand for lithium and cobalt will substantially increase. In an effort to expedite their affordability, many corporate and international interests will increase cobalt and lithium production. Some nations may also attempt to expand their domains over lithium and cobalt availability.

In the future, controlling these two resources will equate to controlling the world's oil reserves. Nations that control these resources will not only be able to expand their economic power, but also their military and geopolitical might.

The Obama administration attempted to pacify Iran long enough to usher in the new electric, green revolution and decrease the West's demand for oil. Rather than go to war now, Obama sought to hold out long enough to make oil a less desirable and necessary resource. When oil permanently loses 30-50% of its value, nations like Iran and Iraq will face an economic and military decline—as they have since the great oil collapse of 2014.


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As fossil fuels are expected to continue supplying power grids and heating homes north of the equator, demand is expected to remain steady for the foreseeable future. However, the transition to moving all vehicles and transportation to battery power has already begun and will accelerate the demand for cobalt and lithium over the next ten years.

A long-term geopolitical strategy will involve securing cobalt and lithium mines in order to control production, distribution and availability—thus, controlling the price and controlling the geopolitical chessboard. These are the countries that could be targets for war by either the United States, China, Russia, or Middle Eastern powers within the emerging decade.


The Democratic Republic Of Congo (DRC)

Cited often for its human rights crimes and child labour, the DRC is the most likely target for Western intervention. Currently, the DRC accounts for 70% of the world's cobalt supply—most of which is mined through forced child labour. As international cries grow louder over the DRC's human rights abuses, so too will the drumbeats for war.

Any war waged against the Congo would not be small. For decades, entities in the DRC have groomed and trained child soldiers, numbering near 30,000. Internal conflicts have plagued the region for years, offering several logistical and strategic challenges for any occupying force. Not to mention the DRC's rugged and thick jungle terrain.

The country has been enriched by cobalt, which has been used for military parts and alloys for nearly thirty years around the world and by several countries—with demand gradually increasing. The United States has attempted to work with other nations to improve the DRC's security and military defences and to minimize civil wars and unrest, but with little success. China has increased investments in the Congo, hoping to buy and secure access to the country's abundance of resources and minerals.

The DRC's military capabilities are fairly weak, but not to be underestimated. There are no more than 160,000 armed soldiers and a navy and air force that are virtually non-existent. However, the country's militant factions, Republican Guard and rebel forces could add to the DRC's overall military might.

As much of a hindrance some rebel forces may be, they could also aid occupiers in a war against the DRC in an exchange for territory.

Without a catalyst, there would not be enough reason to declare war against the DRC. The United Nations houses troops in the DRC, mostly for peace keeping reasons, and several countries, like China and Russia, have shown a growing interest in the DRC. These factors could make justifications for war a bit more tricky. However, if attempts to peacefully secure investments and stakes in the DRC's abundance of resources fail, either nation could concoct a reasonable catalyst—including the United States.

A genocide or human rights catastrophe could provide an excuse for Western allies to pass a war resolution at the UN, or to assemble an international coalition much like the one in Afghanistan, with the intent to “liberate” the DRC and its people.


Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe has a violent history of genocide and civil war, including the infamous Gukurahundi genocide of the 1980s. The country also contains the world's sixth largest supply of lithium. Following the ouster of Robert Mugabe, things have appeared to improve in Zimbabwe since 2017. However, corruption and abuse appear to have crept back into the echelons of power under Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Among the world's other top lithium reserves—like Chile, China and Argentina—Zimbabwe is the easiest and most reasonable target for Western nations looking to control global lithium availability through corporate monopolies. Much like in Iraq, a Western occupier would sell mines and resource rights to multi-national, Western-run corporations.

At the moment, Zimbabwe's largest lithium mine is owned by an Australian company, Prospect Resources.

In the event of turmoil or civil war, anything could change. While things remain stable at the moment under Mnangagwa, Zimbabwe's situation is still volatile. Under the new president's reign, human rights have not left the international spotlight and in 2020—following the arrest and torture of political activists and journalists—a Twitter campaign drew attention to Zimbabwe's human rights abuses.

"Controlling these two resources will equate to controlling the world's oil reserves."

Since the ejection of Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe has developed a strong civic culture of Western principles, which has led to protests and BLM-styled rallies—all of which could work to justify the needed “liberation” of the country's people.


Pakistan

Pakistan is rich in minerals and resources. Above all, it has become increasingly hostile and confrontational with neighbouring Western allies, like India. A growing hotbed of Islamic extremism and anti-Semitism, Pakistan is ripe for Western intervention. It was where Osama Bin Laden was allegedly killed and where US forces struck without Pakistan's permission in their efforts to kill the terrorist leader.

Pakistan also happens to be a rising nuclear threat.

Confrontations with India could trigger Western intervention at any moment. Under the veil of global security and nuclear proliferation, Western powers could find several reasons to declare war on Pakistan and to secure the country as a geopolitical striking point, as well as its resources, in South Asia. Due to Pakistan's status as one of nine nuclear powers, war may be the last resort for most Western powers, but not an impossible option.


South Asia

Other, smaller nations in Southern Asia could become targets for geopolitical reasons. Afghanistan has been put under Western control and influence, but other nations could be forced to fall in line and to serve Western or Chinese interests in the future, such as Bangladesh or Bhutan.


New Wars For Resources And Influence

Keep an eye on nations that act with hostility toward China or the United States. If they offer valuable resources or strategic geopolitical effectiveness, they could become targets of war. As hostilities between the US and China are expected to intensify in the emerging years, both nations will seek out advantages on the global chessboard.

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