Saturday, October 14, 2006

"Blood Borders"

Yes, the title above is suggestive, and sounds like a Steven Seagal movie about hunting down illegal immigrants, but it's not mine. It's how the Armed Forces Journal (AFJ) titled their article written by Ralph Peters on how to solve the Mid-east's current problems. The piece is a synopsis of the retired Lt. Colonel's new book, 'Never Quit the Fight.' Here is the AFJ editor's centerpiece on what Blood Borders means:
Oh, and one other dirty little secret from 5,000 years of history: Ethnic cleansing works.
Peters' argument is actually much more sophisticated, it holds water in a long (very long) historical context, and it provides an ideal horizon to plan towards. He considers borders to have meaning only if they are "organic." That is, national borders should correspond to meaningful ethnic, religious, and geographical fault lines. This is very interesting, and applicable to places in the world with stability problems stemming from too many "synthetic" borders. Almost every border in the Mideast (except for Israel) was drawn at the end of WWI across tribal, ethnic, religious, and geographical features, specifically aiming to dilute their powers and make it easier to retreat from parts of the region. It was a form of rear-guard colonialism, theoretically reducing the force levels required to hold the region, and the book 'A Peace to End All Peace' explains how the British led this process. Where borders are out of sync with ethnographic realities, Peters advocates either moving like peoples together, or re-drawing borders to include them. For example, he states that the 15% of Saudis who are tribal Shiites would be much better off in something called "The Arab Shia State" (the acronym for which would be 'ASS') where Shiites in Iraq are now. The Saudi state in the map above looks quite a bit bigger to my eye than the one at present, but Peters also thinks Israel must go back inside its pre-1967 borders.

There are a few minor problems with putting the general theory into immediate practice, however. The first is that it accepts the region will destabilize, and implies this destabilization should be selectively encouraged. The second is that it offers no immediate solution to energy extraction needs and the counterproductive havoc further destabilization would surely wreak. The third is that the Bush Administration likes it.

On this last point, the Bush Administration's Pentagon caused a major diplomatic incident when a Colonel used the map above in a powerpoint presentation in Rome to NATO. Turkish officers were in attendance. You will notice that, on the map, The eastern part of Turkey is partitioned off into a new state called Free Kurdistan. When they saw it, the Turkish officers stormed out of the briefing room cursing, presumably to go get their weapons. Things calmed down, but not by much, and the matter has been covered by the Bullshit Curtain. Bottom line, the Bush Administration lacks the subtlety to successfully implement this kind of plan, not to mention the skill. If they try to do so, "Blood Borders" might be too tamely named. (I'll come up with supporting links later today, when a toddler isn't walking on my back and body-slamming me.)


Still Life Living said...

Borders are economically organic. Go to San Ysidro and watch the flows. Americans for south for booze & sex, Mexicans going north for "gringo dollares".

Okay, the flow is not unconstrained, but the money is acting like a barometer trying to equalize the pressures.

Linguistically, south of San Diego is much closer to Tijuana than it is to the North County. This is the same with the Czech border near old West Germany: Deutsch Gesproken Heir (not to mention Alsasce).

People who live in these areas benefit from one thing: arbitrage. They know where to buy cheap and sell dear. A similar thing happens in Vancouver, WA. Live and work in Washington, where there is no income tax, shop in Oregon where there is no sales tax. (That has to be worth 10% in income power each year per household).

Personally, I thin we are moving to a world of city states. In my days at the accounting firms, these were referred to as NFL Cities. If a city had an NFL team, they had enough power for local citizens to believe that the city with the stadium was all-powerful. Where the team loyalty splits, so does the end of the city state. For the Seahawks, this would be around Medford to the south and Billings to the east. That is quite a big terratory.

In Bush world, this model would work great, because the chinese do not have an NFL team, therefore they are by definition subserviant to America. Now if we switched to Futbol (aka soccer) this whole game plan would switch. Only three or four US cities have world caliber teams. The nice thing about a futbol model is that teams rise and fall into the upper leagues. If the status of a town is based upon being in the top league, in Europe, every villiage or dorf has the potential to have a world class team. Now, if they have no money, they would have to rely on talent -- and talent can be bought away, and usually is. So the big cities that can sell the big tickets tend to stay on top. Cities equivilent to minneapolis, cincinati, portland rise and fall in and out of the big leagues all the time. But there is still the chance that Albany NY could fullfill its Hoosier Dream and win the super bowl.

Not in American you can"t, Albany.

So back to Organic Borders, isn't this really what we want? The opportunity for people to bend back and forth in the competition for economic and political ideals, let alone sports loyalties. What arguably keeps us from doing it is the costs of changing local political systems everytime a futbol club's loyalty base changes. So if we just had a world government to standardize the systems and distribute taxes based upon who is winning.......

MarcLord said...

you have a very non-linear mind. don't change it.

taxes will be a problem, but revenue won't. you vote with your dollars.

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