Iraq, Syria, Ukraine: The World Gets Smaller as Ambitions Get Bigger
… by Seth Ferris, … with New Eastern Outlook, Moscow
[ Editor’s note: Seth Ferris goes against the grain, and deeper, in his analysis of what is really driving the divide and conquer game playing out in several regions of the world.
And despite what all the America haters think, the US is not the only player. The many different independent factions among the targeted countries have been the natural allies of the expansionists, and don’t even know it.
Seth describes the mirage that has driven the smaller East European countries into the EU — like children thinking it was going to be a Santa Claus deal forever — only to discover that the big EU countries know how to play the game much better than they do.
Many small countries have many small voices… and many other countries pay no attention to them for that reason.
But there is an exception to this geopolitical trap if they can form “blocks of interests” among the other smaller states and effectively wield the influence of a larger state. this is a trick to pull off in the EU Parliament, because the delegates from the various countries can join an array of parties, which diffuses their influence even more.
The EU of course will never be eliminated. The only feasible option I would see is an affiliation of regional groups, where the smaller states were grouped into bigger numbers, and less power would be passed up the line to the upper body. And it would provide two layers of trade agreements, also — those within the regions themselves, and then all the regions as a block.
Time will tell, or I should say… is telling, as the EU has goofed on this Ukraine-NATO fiasco, a pig with lipstick that is still a pig. They have killed more non-threatening innocent people in E. Ukraine than the so-called al-Qaeda did in Europe in the last decade, the one that triggered a War on Terror.
And here we are now, and Russia has not even threatened to nuke us. Imagine that… and from the sons of Soviets even. You just can’t make this stuff up… Jim W. Dean ]
– First published … September 27, 2014 –
History goes in cycles. Sometimes every substantial country wants to create a colonial empire, by walking into other countries and taking them over, to become part of the family of great nations.
At other times, like now, not only are former colonies being made into independent states but new countries are being created out of larger ones, with the notion of “self-determination” being cited to justify this.
The two parts of Ukraine don’t get on any more, a problem artificially created by the US and its EU and NATO partners.
The same ethnic and language divisions which exist in practically every country are being used to create what are effectively two separate states. The same thing happened in Sudan, when the oil rich South was stripped from the rest of the country by Western powers.
The same model is now happening in Iraq and Syria, and probably Turkey next, through the creation of an independent Kurdistan, a solution which is rapidly becoming the only way out of the crisis everyone has an interest in prolonging because what is left of former unified states is not worth ruling over.
The trouble is, countries which have had empires don’t regard those days as anomalous pages in their histories. Given the opportunity, every country tries to get bigger and more powerful by exerting influence over others. Administering other people costs money, but making them aid dependent, trade dependent or politically dependent achieves the same level of influence more cost effectively.
It also makes it more difficult for opponents to get rid of you, as these levers are faceless. You can’t assassinate or rouse the people against an aid cheque or imported foodstuff, even if this means destruction of local economies and being food sufficient—it is all about dependency theory.
Why do countries who are always trying to get bigger and bigger think it is a good thing for countries in general to get smaller and smaller? It is not just to prevent them becoming future rivals. The real reason is much more sinister, and recent events are showing it yet again.
Too loud to hear
When a new country is formed, and particularly a small one, it tries to form international alliances and take positions on the global issues of the day, which in most cases are meaningless because no one cares what they say.
It soon finds however that it is very welcome in these alliances for precisely that reason. The less the world cares about what you say, the more determined it is to give you the chance to say it.
The European Union is one such welcoming alliance. It has expanded from six to no less than twenty-eight members, although the economic rationale for doing so has always been very dubious. Each country has joined hoping it will make them materially better off and well as politically better connected, only to find that despite their hypothetical equality with the older and bigger members, they are actually second-class citizens of Europe.
No one cares what the likes of Bulgaria want when the rich members have to support it, and they gain far more from entering Bulgaria’s commerce market than vice versa. Like all the new, small members, it has to know its place.
Bulgaria has less influence on the EU as a member than it would have as an external critic, and that is precisely why the EU wanted it to join. The more voices there are, the less you can hear what they are saying, and the less interest you have in trying.
No one knows, or has ever known, who really runs the EU. Its structure is so full of checks and balances that no one is actually able to do anything or talk to those who might be able to. If its members could actually be heard it might become accountable. With 28 voices to listen to, how many will ever be heard?
That is why big countries want as many other countries as possible to exist. There are a number of international organisations such as the UN which countries can join as theoretically equal members. The bigger they get, the more voices have to be taken into account and the more countries will want to make their mark by shouting louder and looking for the main chance.
Then no single country can be heard; nobody wants to listen; and those with the means can do whatever they want with the tacit support of hundreds of equal partners.
Separate but Unequal Small Countries
When the small countries of Rump Iraq, Kurdistan, Rump Syria and East and West Ukraine emerge, they will not look too different from the countries they came out of.
There will be no money for mass building programmes, and trade will be governed by the same combination of politics and necessity, and thus their economies will have a similar structure.
What the West has done in Iraq today has started a process that could become at least as destructive and bloody as the breakup of Yugoslavia. The longer it is allowed to unfold, the less likely it will be stopped, and the more likely it will spill over on a large scale to destabilize the surrounding region.
That is exactly the plan, and few can really doubt it: Baghdad as the centre ruling Kurdistan, Fallujah, Mosul, will be only something to read in history books.
Attempts will be made to introduce particular values to build the state and probably some form of conflict between people who want their own version of independence — not the one people will vote for — and can find an external sponsor who agrees with them. So the inhabitants of these new small countries can expect the same as before, only worse, as has generally been the case when such states emerge. But there is one important factor which will no longer be there, but soon be missed… tradition.
Established states have a tradition. They have internal political systems based on their history, foreign affairs positions based on where that history puts them in relation to everyone else and assumptions about form of government, economic mix, etcetera, which they consider natural. All these factors change over time, but always within the context of what has gone before as part of a continuous national evolution.
New states have to start from scratch. Everything has to be re-examined: do we only do this because that is the way the bad old state we came out of did it, and if so, should we do differently? If we are a new country, how do we develop any credibility of our own which makes us more respected than the lost land we have replaced?
Count Massimo d’Azeglio famously said in his memoirs after the unification of (most of) Italy that “We have made Italy, now we must make Italians”.
The whole point of uniting Italy was to remove these Italians from foreign domination, so they undoubtedly already existed, but those Italians were exactly that – Italians under foreign domination.
In what they were told was now their own country, whether or they felt it was, what should Italians be? Would positions should they take on their own initiative, what principles should they uphold to be Italian?
The inhabitants of the new small countries now being created will have to find out by trial and error who they are, and they will discover it by what they are prepared to put up with. For example, King George I made no actual steps to introduce what we now call “constitutional monarchy” when he accidentally became King of England while the previous dynasty was still trying to regain the throne.
But he did more than anyone to create it by being largely uninterested in the country but not politically unacceptable. The British found they liked being left alone by their kings, so no subsequent monarch has tried to behave like the ones before German George, as it would be too un-British to do so.
But all this takes time. While countries are less certain of who they are and who they should be they are always at a disadvantage compared to established ones. But when they are effectively equal partners of the big boys in international forums you have to listen to their claims anyway. When their inexperience becomes obvious, their contributions will be dismissed.
The more contributions are dismissed, the more the whole debate becomes irrelevant, and the less chance anyone has of contributing to any international debate on anything.
What is the Self?
The conflict in Syria is about “self-determination”, we are told. The people don’t want the elected dictatorship of Assad, and so are fighting to overthrow it with Western support. In any number of countries similar regimes have been propped up by the same West, which claims that because they are elected — as Assad was — self-determination does not come into the equation.
The two removals of Viktor Yanukovych were also “self-determination by the people”. However the referendum in Crimea, in which an actual democratic vote was held to determine the will of the people, is interference by a foreign power, not self-determination. So determination is certainly involved in these processes, but not the self-determination claimed.
If the self-determination cited to justify splitting up these countries was an inviolable principle there would be self-governing Native American homelands, rather than Indian Reservations, in the United States. Wars would be being fought over the Basque Country, Brittany, the South Tyrol, Corsica and Sardinia.
When a war was fought in Europe, over Yugoslavia, we were told the big bad Serbs were denying self-determination to the small peoples around them. The Serbian minorities in the new countries demanded the same self-determination, but were told they had no right to this and had to accept the new reality.
Tito split Serbia up into separate republics and autonomous regions because the Serbs were the biggest threat to his authority. With the Communist dictator gone, the democratic West did exactly the same.
The principle isn’t even being applied in Iraq, where ISIS is effectively creating Kurdistan and Mesopotamia by force. The Kurds have long wanted their own state, and deserve one. However they are not being asked if ISIS should be the means of achieving it, or whether its ideology should be the one their new state is built around.
Nor is anyone asking non-Kurds what they think about the situation, or taking in those fleeing the ISIS advance so that they can determine a new future somewhere they will be given the right to.
Of course, energy plays a part in this. But again control of Gulf resources and pipelines to the West is not the issue. The real objective is to create so many oil states, with different partners and competing interests, so many that they cannot act together to exert any control over anything. Then those who can do what they want will, accountable to no one.
Those isolated voices who said that the Soviet Union was broken up because the USA wanted to use the same methods without being beaten by the USSR’s greater experience are now seen to be wiser than we knew at the time.
Then too there is the issue of competing regional, personal and foreign interests. Turkey, Jordan, Israel, and the Gulf states all have their own concept of how the map and new reality should be shaped.
Turkish cooperation on oil exports and regional security is a wild card, and the West is concerned that Turkey is moving closer to Russia out of economic and political expediency than out of loyalty to NATO and a EU that it knows will never accept Turkey as a full-fledged member.
What we are seeing today is a slightly more benign version of post-Jagiellonian Poland – the era of the infamous Liberum Veto. In those days, every member of the Polish parliament was theoretically the equal of any other, so decisions could only be made by unanimity. If even one person voted against a bill it would not pass.
Poland’s allies proved themselves happy to accept this situation, as the eventual reforms all came from within. They were happy because all this respect for the independence of the members made Poland impotent. As we all know, its neighbours just decided to carve it up, without resistance, when it suited their purposes, without respecting any law or asking anyone’s opinion.
The military-industrial complex which runs the West behind the scenes is creating smaller and smaller countries, and more and more of them, for this reason. As in the Polish example, these countries will not realise that their independence is even worse than slavery until it is too late.
Seth Ferris, investigative journalist and political scientist, expert on Middle Eastern affairs, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”
Editing: Jim W. Dean and Erica P. Wissinger