The New Great Game
The Decline of the West & the Struggle for
Middle Eastern Oil
After centuries of Western domination, the waterways of the Middle East are now being contested in unprecedented ways. Pirates are roaming sea lanes. Local powers are threatening chokepoints. And the people are rising up to bring their authoritarian rulers down. With no simple solutions for maintaining control of oil flows, the West is facing a crucial decision. Already weakened by extended military interventions, faltering economies, and strained global partnerships, the US and Europe must decide whether violent intervention or benevolent passivity is the best course of action.
Canadian filmmaker Alexandre Trudeau's fascinating documentary The New Great Game
charts these turbulent waters to show how the logic of empire is being tested by a rapidly changing Middle East. With fresh-from-the-ground footage and testimony from experts and actors in the region, the film zeroes in on how disparate events occurring on land in such places as Iran, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Yemen, and at sea in the Gulf of Aden, the Persian Gulf, and the Red Sea, are all part of the same story -- a story about conflict, change, and competing global interests in one of the most strategic and volatile regions of the world.
Produced & Directed by Alexandre Trudeau
Co-Directed by Jonathan Pedneault
Written by Alexandre Trudeau & Jonathan Pedneault
Executive Producer & Story Consultant: George Matta
Cinematography: Bill Stone & Sebastian Lange
Editor: Etienne Gagnon
Associate Producer: Ulli Pfau
A Juju Films production
Co-produced with EIKON Media GmbH
International Television Distribution: Mundovision World Network Ltd.
Alexandre Trudeau graduated in philosophy from McGill University in 1997. Since 1998, Trudeau has produced and directed documentaries through his Montreal company, JuJu Films. In his work, he has focused on such issues as the Liberian civil war (Liberia: The Secret War
), youth and democracy in Yugoslavia (Belgrade : One Year After
), middle-class Baghdad during the war on Iraq (Embedded in Baghdad
), the security barrier between Israel and the Palestinian territories (The Fence
), the detention wthout charge of Canadian terror suspects (Secure Freedom
), and on the plight of the Darfuri refugees (Refuge
). Trudeau has frequently contributed to Maclean's
magazine and to The Toronto Star
. He is a director on the boards of the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation and the Nature Conservancy of Canada.
The National, CBC
Praise for the Film
"Sobering at every turn, The New Great Game
pilots us through the tight, violent sea lanes of the Middle East, where resident pirates wage war on foreign tankers, local citizens on their rulers and the West, and into the turbulent open waters of geopolitics, where an accelerating and ever-widening quest for energy is creating new empires, and dissolving old. Moving and instructive, morally charged yet open-ended and complex, this is a powerfully told story about the decline of the petro-fueled Pax Americana and the rise of a precarious global order."
- Darren Dochuk | Author of From Bible Belt to Sunbelt
| John C. Danforth Center on Religion & Politics at the Washington University in St. Louis
"The New Great Game
is a timely and important documentary exploring the complexities and uncertainties involved with the decline of American power and the rise of a multi-polar world. It is a must-see for those seeking to understand the impact that the Arab Spring, Iranian power, and the rise of China is having on an evolving U.S. foreign policy focused on domination of the world's strategic sea lanes."
- Omar S. Dahi | Assistant Professor of Economics at Hampshire College
"A fascinating expose of the decline of the West, this impressive and instructive documentary provides a compelling account of the changing balance of forces in the global political economy in the early twenty-first century."
- Berch Berberoglu | Professor of Sociology and Director of Graduate Studies in Sociology at the University of Nevada, Reno | Author of Turmoil in the Middle East: Imperialism, War, and Political Instability
"This is a tremendously provocative film. Well crafted and very watchable. It's replete with a careful historical analysis of the geostrategic competition for hydrocarbon resources in the Persian Gulf. It will surely spark debate. I think it's especially ideal for classroom use."
- Gregory White | Professor of Government at Smith College | Faculty member of the Five Colleges Middle Eastern Studies program
"This film is literally a sweeping journey through the contemporary Middle East, from the oil-rich Persian Gulf to the impoverished coast of Somalia to Egypt and other countries emerging from the Arab Spring. Along the way, we are exposed to the main issues that are shaping the region: the struggle for the region's resources, Iran's nuclear ambitions, piracy and terrorism, the spread of democratic aspirations, and prospects for Israeli-Palestinian peace. Above all, the film demonstrates why the Middle East is and will remain for many decades to come a region of vital concern to all the world."
- Dr. Sohail Hashmi | Professor of International Relations at Mount Holyoke College
"This is a sobering history of the decline and fall of Western hegemony in the Persian Gulf and Western Indian Ocean -- and the alarming reality of what comes next. The historic march through North Africa and the Middle East with the world's top strategists, economists, and thinkers provides an unsettling glimpse into the post-American maritime order."
- James Kraska | Howard S. Levie Chair in International Law at the U.S. Naval War College
"A sobering, comprehensive look at the contemporary geopolitics of the oil patch and the sea lanes that connect it to the world."
- F. Gregory Gause, III | Professor of Political Science at the University of Vermont |
Author of The International Relations of the Persian Gulf
"A trembling powder keg, the quest for secure oil becomes ever more scary as this fantastic film illustrates. It is fast moving, and far reaching. An essential watch."
- Sam Chambers | Co-author of Oil on Water: Tankers, Pirates and The Rise of China
"Alexandre Trudeau depicts a very clear and relevant picture of the oil-based conflict in the Middle East. The film is well-directed and only as sensational as its subject matter."
- Laurence Trepanier | CBC News
"An exciting and challenging film argues that the era of Western hegemony over sea lanes and Middle East resources is coming to an end, with both local populations and global players like India and China exercising new-found power and confidence in parts of the world formerly controlled almost exclusively by the United States and Europe. Suitable for high school classes and for college courses in cultural anthropology, anthropology of energy, anthropology of empire/colonialism, anthropology of emerging societies/economies, and Middle Eastern studies, as well as general audiences."
- David Eller, Anthropology Review Database