Prediction Came True: New Alliance.
Like Bush 41, Obama Gathers Dozens of Ally Nations.
Uncanny Prediction. In recent postings, I recalled the amazing alliance cobbled together by President Bush 41 to drive Saddam out of Kuwait back in 1991. Over 100 nations recognized the existential threat of a brutal megalomaniac like Saddam controlling the world's oil supply. Indeed, the street thug and assassin, on being expelled from Kuwait, left his signature by setting that nation's entire oil fields ablaze. That required another massive internatioal effort to undo. although the damage was little more than an evil troll's tantrum. Today's beheaders and big mouths in Mesopotamia are hollow men, like Saddam. They have been able to run roughshod over the relative niceties of a puzzle-board society in which dozens of ethnic rivals have managed to live in an uneasy peace for centuries. Think about it this way. Any idiot can steal a tank. Have you ever tried to maintain a tank? Typically, you lose a tread within a hundred miles or less. It takes muscle, brains, and specialized (very heavy) tools to repair. That is the story of the entire phony caliphate of these noir comedians. They stole a region, but already the treads are coming off. And did they really expect the nuclear-armed West to ignore or cower at their juvenile, malicious boasting?
The Civilized World Responds to Savagery. The news today is filled with stories (Barbara Starr CNN report for example) of bombing and retaliation against ISIS/L. None of this obviates the possibility of a weaponized 777 being flown spectacularly into the Vatican or the White House or the Houses of Parliament (re: my novel Vanished Flight 777.
The Chess Game Never Goes Away. Southwestern Asia (or, in obsolete Eurocentric terms, the Middle East) was once the Land of Milk and Honey. It is lately the Land of Oil and Gasoline. In the region, basic facts do not seem to change. A few days ago, I quoted Tacitus, a Roman historian writing about 1800 years ago, talking about his nation's invasion of the region, and the ongoing hatred between Jews and Arabs even then. Take for a moment Kurdistan. It may sound like an independent nation, in the mold of Pakistan, Kazakhstan, and other states whose names end in stan. The reality is that, even as now Turkey and Iran funnel support to the brave fighters of this enormous ethnic nation, the minute the current threat goes away, it will be business as usual. Neither Turkey nor Iran wants to see an independent Kurdistan, because they understand the next logical step would be to lose vast tracts of their own territory. Today's Turkey, for example, is still a shadow of the Ottoman Empire. Eighteen percent of Turkey's population (nearly one in five) are ethnic Kurds, who have been as oppressed as the Irish were for centuries by the English. Just as the Irish were forbidden to read, write, or speak their native language (Gaelic), so the Kurds have been suppressed for generations. The litany of injustices is a long one.
Injustice is Universal. It is a great mistake to think that today's jihadism is fundamentally an Arab or Muslim problem. It is actually a universal condition, about which I plan to write much more in explanation. Consider, for example, on the matter of suppressed ethnicities. In France, well in to the 20th Century, people of the Langue d'Oc ethnicity (potentially Celtic) living in southern France were treated similarly; children were beaten if they spoke the local dialects instead of the Langue d'Oeil centered on Parisian French. Their neighbors, the Catalans and Basques, have never made a comfortable fit in Greater Spain. Portugal at various times has been an independent nation or a province of Spain. Look at the recent referendum in Scotland, where only a kind of Stockholm Syndrome has managed to keep the ethnically Goidelic Scots subjects of their English masters. Then think of the efforts of Tibet to free itself from Communist Chinese hegemony, and the blatantly untrue denials of reality coming from Beijing (which has even created a phony Dalai Lama substitute of its own, while violently banning freedom of religion).
These sorts of rifts exist around the world, calling into question the ultimate validity of nation states themselves. In fact, during the Scotland referendum, I was surprised not to hear more shrillness from the likes of Fox News and its vapid fandom. The legalities and issues of sovereignty teetering in the balance are many. There is room here only to conclude with one interesting and important note, regarding First Nations. Eurocentric colonial powers (the United States, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and many others, not just of the Anglophone world) have long had to grapple with the uncomfortable reality of aboriginal groups ranging from the Maori and Bushmen to the many flavors of Native Americans. When Keltic people invaded Europe 3,000 years ago, similar problems developed, which boomeranged on the Kelts when the warlike Germanic nations in turn pushed the Kelts out. From Canada to Norway and Brazil, some modern nations have made concerted efforts to finally honor their debt to First Nations. Canada, especially, has effectively ceded half its territory to Nunavut. Would Turkey cede one fifth of its territory to an independent Kurdistan? Would Iran follow suit? Not in our lifetimes, you can bet. And so the bloodshed goes on, along with the Four Horsemen of the constant Revelation that we are a species that has a hard time thinking and learning. (I could have put it in more graphic language; e.g., "make way for the Stupid People"). The bloodshed will continueISIS today, some other thing tomorrow (look to the past for the future)but it will be small comfort to at least stop being in denialor stop listening to the lies of those who run the world and lie cheat and steal to stay in power. Ultimately, I believe that most people are decent and will do the right thing if they have the right leadership. Plato was wrestling with that problem some 25 centuries ago, and we're not much closer to a solution today. The United States' corporate owners may butcher 45,000+ citizens annually in our national holocaust of healthcare denial, but that's got a certain subtlety couched in windy rhetoric; at least we understand that the kind of boastful savagery and beheadings of ISIS, or the stadium executions of the Taliban, have no place in a world that at least pretends to be modern.
Copyright © 2014 by John T. Cullen. All Rights Reserved.