Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the
round pegs in the square holes... the ones who see things differently -- they're
not fond of rules... You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify
them, but the only thing you can't do is ignore them because they change
things... they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the
crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that
they can change the world, are the ones who do.

Steve Jobs
US computer engineer & industrialist (1955 - 2011)

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Patriot Games: Ukraine,Venezuela and the like.

The Olympics are over, and so is the peace. During the games, two separate, but curiously related insurgencies erupted: one in the Ukraine and one in Venezuela. Separated from each other by geography, but linked to each other by the "national interests" of the United Sates. Venezuela being the pot that stirs the anti-american kettle in South America, and the Ukraine being the soft under belly of Russia's traditional buffer zone to the West.

They each erupted over civil issues: Ukraine-a loan agreement with Russia and the abandoning of the European Union approach; and Venezuela - a student protest over security on a campus. From there they both transformed into mass demonstrations, complete with violence and death. Each insurgency sought primarily one thing - the over throw of their government. A troubling trend.

If you believe that democracy is the rule of the majority, as expressed by election of representatives, then you have to be concerned about these events. Both Venezuela and the Ukraine are democracies that elect their own governments. We may not like the choices made, and the losers of the elections may not like to lose, but that is the natural result of democracy. There are those that win elections and those that lose. The key is to respect the result of the election. To do otherwise is to undermine the very foundation of democracy, and unfortunately we've been seeing a lot of that recently.

A short while ago, the Egyptian military overthrew the elected President of Egypt. The reason? He wasn't governing on behalf of all Egyptians. Those that voted against him in the election protested and demanded he be overthrown, and after much bloodshed he was. Ditto for the Ukraine. Possibly the same coming for Venezuela. If any one reads this that believes these "revolts" are spontaneous cries for freedom, well, you're fooling yourself. These are quite obviously "revolts" that resulted from the destabilization of these governments, because they didn't serve the "national interest". The problem with this approach is that it takes us back, yet again, to the rule of the jungle.

We barely walked away from the American/European intervention in Syria without a world war. If you recall, while the Americans and French were threatening to turn the Syrian government into a parking lot by way of military strikes, the Chinese and Russians were sending war ships and troops to the area in response. Like the Ukraine, Syria involved key strategic allies of Russia - vital to its national interests. Now, we are headed back to a similar scenario. However, this time the stakes are far greater, and far more dangerous.

Up until now the Russians and the West were satisfied with trying to bribe the Ukraine government over to one side or the other. The Russians offering $15 billion in aid, and the West offering EU trade membership. When the Ukrainian government chose the Russian option over the Western option all hell broke loose. Demonstrations and then violence flooded the centre of Kiev. Then, when the government agreed to go with the Western option and abandon the Russian option, the crowds demanded a change of President. Finally, the Ukrainian President changed his mind again, and went with the Russian option. That resulted in an escalation of the violence, many deaths, and his overthrow.

Now, as I write this, Russian troops, ships and aircraft are being deployed all around Ukraine. At a minimum, it looks as though Russia is prepared to annex Eastern Ukraine, which is heavily influenced by Russia, and home to many Russian speaking people. It's also home to the base of the Russian Black Sea Fleet. That is a minimum. At a maximum, Russia could decide that its "national interests" require a buffer state the size of all of the Ukraine. Russia has always used countries around it as buffer states to foreign aggression. It is at the core of Russian strategic planning, and always has been. It is the reason why the US and Britain have already issued warnings to Russia not to militarily intervene. It's another game of chicken between the US and Russia - just like Syria.

What should trouble us in all this, besides the obvious dangers of war, is what I call "democracy of convenience". That is, yes we'll be democratic, but if we decide that our interests aren't being served, we will overthrow that democratically elected government. Having a "democracy of convenience" is like having "principles of convenience", neither of them mean anything. The problem with having "democracies of convenience", that don't mean anything, is that the entire order of our world is threatened. After all, our trade and integrity as countries in a global community requires rules, protocols, and order. Without it, the world becomes a free for all. We are at that point now. A free for all. We can't expect to disregard the very things that separate us from the animal kingdom, and remain apart from the jungle.

Perhaps, that is the way it's meant to go. Perhaps our society, and our freedoms such as they are, have become inconvenient. Perhaps this is all one step toward the collapse of our international order which might result in a world government of sorts. Perhaps that is the point. Maybe the only thing left to decide between the big powers of the US, China, Russia, and the West is who will dominate that world government. Just maybe that is what we are witnessing in our time. In any case one thing is for certain, the values of democracy are being rendered meaningless each and every day - to our certain detriment.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are welcome that contribute to the discussion or foster further debate.

In the interests of ensuring that people take responsibility for their own words, individuals can make comments using their Blogger ID or OpenID.

Profiles should be open to the public and reveal an e-mail address so that people may contact the commenter directly.

Anonymous comments, including those from people using fake, apparently fake identities, or profiles without contact information may be deleted. Spam will be deleted as soon as it is identified.