In his introduction (TomDispatch, 5/12/09) to Pepe Escobar analyzing the current politics of the Aghanistan/Pakistan region, Tom Engelhardt describes how "there, the skies are filled with planes and unmanned aerial drones, and civilians as well as combatants die every day in increasing numbers as ever more frequent attacks and expanding conflicts make daily headlines." But there's more to the story:
Those are, of course, the front-page stories. Energy, especially in the form of oil and natural gas, fuels everything from civilization to its various discontents and means of destruction, and yet it remains largely on the business pages of our papers. Even in a time of relatively depressed oil and gas prices, energy runs like an undercurrent just beneath global headlines. Under the carnage of war, that is, courses what Escobar likes to call the Liquid War, and just how the energy flows and through which territories controlled by whom does turn out to make–quite literally–a world of difference, even if that isn't what captures our attention most of the time.
Of "The Real Afghan War," Escobar writes in his essay: "In the ever-shifting New Great Game in Eurasia, a key question–why Afghanistan matters–is simply not part of the discussion in the United States. (Hint: It has nothing to do with the liberation of Afghan women.) In part, this is because the idea that energy and Afghanistan might have anything in common is verboten."