Just three years after a citizens’ referendum returned Crimea to Russia, from which it had been separated for sixty years, the people of Catalonia, Spain’s largest province, will vote to leave that country.
And just as the international community has decreed that the Crimean referendum was a fake, Spain’s Prime Minister felt compelled to declare that the vote could’t possibly take place, that it would be illegal, that independence, in his words, could only be ‘a pipe dream’ for the country’s richest province.
Clearly, national governments don’t like losing land and people, however when it suits the international community, some communities are permitted to become independent. In 1999, after NATO destroyed Yugoslavia, whose constituent republics were inhabited mainly by diverse groups of Slavs, after a prolonged crisis that culminated in a referendum, the Albanian majority in Kosovo, which had been part of Serbia, was granted statehood.
Almost twenty years have passed since then, and the world is coming to a different frame of mind. Russia and China have become an item, leading other major non-western countries to form the BRICS, drawing Brazil, India and South Africa into an alliance that spans the globe, while local independence movements signal a move toward decentralization.
The European Union, about which much criticism is heard, pioneered the idea that problems should be solved at the lowest possible level, to which it gave the name of subsidiarity. This has encouraged unemployed college graduates across Europe to reinvent themselves in abandoned rural villages, creating cyber versions of sixties communes.
As citizens around the world invest themselves in politics close to home, they are increasingly aware that the big picture requires a different kind of leadership from the one that purports to represent the idea of democracy. Taking its cue from ancient Greek city-states, the Western world evolved into parliamentary systems that partly diluted the power of kings to make war on each other: those of ‘the people’ who had the means and could take time away from earning a living, ultimately got to sit in august chambers and argue over whose constituencies should be favored in any given issue, leaving the ‘silent’ majority to hope their ideas might prevail in a future ballot.
In recent years, electronic communication has enabled minority populations within nation-states to bring decision-making closer to home — but when even that failed to bring a fairer distribution of obligations and benefits, some decided they would be better served if they had power at their own ‘national’ level. Although not many leaders have recognized the inevitability of such an arrangement, the size of the two countries which together are challenging American hegemony, China and Russia, has made it inevitable that power vis a vis the outside world has accrued to ‘the top’, under what the US calls ‘authoritarian’ regimes.
What this means is that in an atomic age, matters of human survival are wisely left in the hands of unquestioned authority, rather than on the endless jockeying for power among interest groups in so-called representative democracies, whose major achievement has been to prevent wise kings from being followed by tyrants. The power of ‘authoritarian’ rulers is also renewed periodically by their citizens, while preserving the governing process from being watered down by ‘compromises that favor the demands of backers.
Turning now to Crimea, Kosovo and Catalonia, the Crimean referendum, long on its Russian population’s minds, became a matter of life or death when a Western managed coup brought anti-Russian Nazis to power in Ukraine, while the Kosovo referendum enabled Albanians, a non-Slav people whose language is unrelated to any other, to no longer be ruled by Slavs.
The Catalan case is different from that of both Albanians and Crimeans. The area known as Catalonia was long contested between France and Spain, and Catalonians, like most Europeans, have an acute sense of history, which contributes to their determination to achieve independence. Their language, Catalan is related to French, Spanish, Portuguese and Occitan, which was formerly spoken in southwestern France, Northwestern Italy and northern Spain, thus they see themselves as equal to these cousins who have long had states of their own. (Similarly the Corsicans sought independence from France after World War II, gradually obtaining greater autonomy. Like the Catalans, they have their own language, and an acute sense of history, aided by the fact that Napoleon was Corse.
If the Catalonian referendum returns a high percentage for succession, the chances of Scotland holding a second referendum will increase. The first one, held in 2014, elicited promises of greater autonomy from the then British Prime Minister, which were soon forgotten. With Great Britain exiting the European Union, Scotland is likely to again seek independence in order to remain in Europe.
As for the Kurds, a people spread over a contiguous area divided among four national states, Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran, they have gone about earning statehood by providing some of the best fighters in the war against terrorism — including female battalions, unhappily becoming part of the standoff between the US and Russia in the Middle East. They rule a significant area in Northern Iraq and have had a referendum of their own which, however, is not seen as the first step toward a state that would include the three other Kurdish areas, as both the host states as well as Russia and the US have reservations about the idea.
Finally, in recent times, several Americans states have birthed successionist movements, the farthest advanced being that of California, with the campaign called Calexit, and the most recent being that of Texas. At some point, the American press will discover that the founder of Calexit, Louis Marinelli, has been living in Russia for the past several years. Oblivious to the complementary roles played by ‘authoritarian’ governments cooperating at the international level, and decentralization, also known as local democracy, it will see this as proof that President Putin is trying to dismember the United States.
Originally published on 2017-09-26
About the author: Deena Stryker is an international expert, author and journalist that has been at the forefront of international politics for over thirty years, exclusively for the online journal “New Eastern Outlook”.
Source: New Eastern Outlook
Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection, Public Domain & Pinterest.
Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!
Donate to Support Us
We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.
[wpedon id=”4696″ align=”left”]
US foreign policy has nurtured Al Qaeda, a creation of the CIA for more than 35 years, with the support of Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) and Saudi Arabia’s infamous General Intelligence Presidency (GIP). Lest we forget Osama bin Laden was recruited in 1979 by the CIA at the outset of the Soviet- Afghan war.A complex network of Al Qaeda affiliated terrorist organizations overseen by US and allied intelligence agencies has unfolded, extending across the Middle East, North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, Central Asia, Western China, South and South East Asia.Rand Corporation Report 2012While mainstream analysis regarding CIA covert support of “jihadist” terrorist entities is a ...
On July 9, 2006, the U.S. Army charged five US soldiers with the rape and murder of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl, Abeer Qasim Hamza al-Janabi, and the murder of her parents and 5-year-old sister. This brutal and senseless war crime raises the issue of rape in war. The lynchpin of US propaganda and infowar spin is that Soviet troops raped German women when the Red Army took Berlin in 1945. This was meant to take away from the Russian military achievement in taking Berlin. The Russian soldiers were “rapists” while US soldiers were “liberators”, handing out chocolate bars, chewing gum, ...
Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection & Pinterest.Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!Donate to Support UsWe would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics, and international relations.
May 12 to 14 marks the 90th anniversary of the coup by Józef Piłsudski in Poland with which the Polish bourgeoisie tried to save its rule from the threat of socialist revolution. Today, he is being idealized by large sections of the Polish bourgeoisie and the US imperialist elite.In large measure, this is bound up with the increasing popularity of his conception of the Intermarium, a pro-imperialist alliance of right-wing nationalist regimes throughout Eastern Europe that was primarily directed against the Soviet Union. The resurgent interest in the Intermarium has been bound up with the increasing drive toward a new ...
Syria is being bombed as part of a “counter-terrorism campaign” allegedly against the Islamic State, an elusive “outside enemy” based in Raqqa, Northern Syria.
While the ISIL is said to be “threatening the Western World”, the evidence confirms that the Islamic State is supported and financed by the Western military alliance, together with Turkey, Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states. Amply documented, Al Qaeda and its various affiliates including the Islamic State Caliphate Project are creations of Western intelligence.
Moreover, whatever the justification, the bombing of a sovereign country is an illegal and criminal act under international law. It constitutes a war of ...
With criminal corporate monopoly media masking the US created prosecutable genocide ongoing in Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan by focusing attention on Russia, fantasized as a dangerous enemy needing military confrontation, it might be a good time to review past US planned, facilitated and at times perpetrated genocidal crimes in Russia. History in context kind of puts to rest all the hype about evil Russia seeking to expand when it already is the largest country in the world spanning nine time zones with only half the population of the US to fill it.In 1900, Russia and America ...
The missile attack on a US ship off the coast of Yemen was a major news event, but the subsequent follow up story, that it may never have happened, was either ignored by mainstream media or intentionally covered up. The whole thing has the same odor as the Gulf of Tonkin incident that never occurred.Does history repeat itself? Sure does seem like it. That is if you compare America’s entry into the Vietnam civil war, with America’s latest entry into the war in Yemen.Don’t be mistaken, we have been at war with Yemen for a year now. America sided with ...
In December last year , NATO officially invited Montenegro to become the 29th member state of the most powerful military organisation of our times, if not, in fact, of all time. The country’s Prime Minister, Milo Đukanović, assured the NATO secretary-general that “you can count on us at any time.” It is always nice to hear that someone has your back. But in Montenegro’s case, it means that they have our back with an entire active-duty military force of only two thousand personnel. It is not quite clear how the tiny nation of less than 700,000 people enhances U.S. security ...
American torture is back in the news again as Gina Haspel, President Donald Trump’s pick to head the Central Intelligence Agency, prepares for what could be a rocky Senate confirmation hearing with some tough questions about her role overseeing a secret torture prison in Thailand and destroying tapes of brutal detainee interrogation sessions.Haspel’s nomination, and to a lesser degree her earlier appointment as deputy CIA director, reopened what more well-meaning observers, including torture survivor Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), have called “one of the darkest chapters” in US history, the so-called “enhanced interrogation” abuse of men, women and children caught up ...
Fascist Franco may have been dead for more than four decades, but Spain is still encumbered with his dictatorial corpse. A new paradigm has been coined right inside the lofty European Union, self-described home/patronizing dispenser of human rights to lesser regions across the planet: “In the name of democracy, refrain from voting, or else.” Call it democracy nano-Franco style.Nano-Franco is Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, whose heroic shock troops were redeployed from a serious nationwide terrorist alert to hammer with batons and fire rubber bullets not against jihadis but … voters. At least six schools became the terrain of what was correctly called The ...
In July 1974 the US-controlled Athens military junta organized a coup d’état in Cyprus and an assassination attempt against the President of Cyprus Archbishop Makarios. Everything was executed in exactly the same way as it had been a year before in Santiago Chile. (Cyprus is an island of great strategic importance, now a member of EU and Eurozone. 82% of his population are Greek by nationality and 18% Turkish Cypriots. The country obtained its independence from Britain in 1960, after one of the most successful national-liberation struggles after the 2nd World War).
Unlike Salvador Allende, Makarios escaped death and with him ...
The refusal of the United Nations to qualify the recent US airstrike against Syria as an act of aggression makes the Organization irrelevant – something Russia has been trying to prevent. It has become vulnerable to scathing criticism after demonstrating its impotence and inability to act. The continued paralysis is an eloquent example of the UN’s disengagement and lack of political will to fulfill its duty. The Organization’s image has suffered great damage. It still has a chance to rectify it by launching an investigation into what really happened in Syria.
Article One of the UN Charter states that one of the purposes is ...
According to Inside Syria Media Center military sources in Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), SDF-Kurds will join the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) as “Northern Syria Protection units” after the establishment of the federal system in Syria.A Rojava official and the joint chief of defense in Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava), Rezan Gilo stated that the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have no problem joining the Syrian army if a federal state is awarded in northern Syria (Kurdish autonomous territories as part of the federal Syria). They are now in process of considering the possibility of joining the SAA.“There is no problem for our ...