After World War I the third rate minds who brought us the conflict to begin with came up with another stupid idea: They decided to divide up former German, Austrian and Turkish empires into separate countries, like Czechoslovakia, and create makeshifts, like the Danzig Corridor. Germany lost territory to Poland to create a land corridor to Danzig that gave Poland access to the sea. Never mind that it cleaved a country in two.
It was these territorial wedges-- wedges that diced up ethnicity-- that Hitler used to gain legitimacy in the eyes of Germans. By cutting up countries in defiance of ethnicity, geography and often common sense, war and reasons for war dominated the interregnum between the two great wars, making mad men sometimes seem reasonable.
Today we are witness to similar maladies of the mind—along with maladies of geography, ideology and religion—in places like Ukraine, Crimea, Georgia, Syria, Iraq, Jordon, Saudi Arabia, Mali, Sudan, Libya and more. There is now a great swath wrent from the fabric of the world, drenched in red, with no promise to be patched up soon. Divided by ethnic, religious, ideological and national interests, the bloodletting once started in these lands is hard to staunch.
ISIS or ISIL or IS – I prefer the BLS term “terror-employed persons”—are gobbling up geography in the land between the two great rivers without regard to boundary lines on maps. In Ukraine and Crimea, Russian soldiers in civilian dress are intervening, crossing international borders to give support to the creation of their own corridor to the sea.
“Russia is not supporting the break-up of Ukraine,” reports our intelligence correspondent at NightWatch. “Foreign Minister Lavrov repeated the Russian position that The Russian leaders do not want a divided Ukraine. They appear to want a federal Ukraine that includes a secure over land route from Rostov to Crimea.”
Yeah, that worked out great for Poland.
And that’s an important distinction.
Because Obama’s hands-off policy in these conflicts is an outgrowth of his hatred for the maps created by the empires he so loathes, most especially the British Empire, which drew the lines on many of today’s maps after World War I. To a large extent Obama sees the conflicts going on now as a part of an historical redress of grievances amongst Muslims, and, to his logical, fanatical mind, this same courtesy ought to be extended to other countries with similar grievances.
Obama isn’t just working to help Muslims, in other words, he’s working to overturn centuries of cartography created by White, mostly European males who mapped out the realities that Syrians, Iraqis and Ukrainians share today, along with one hundred million others.
And in this redress, there is no room for rights and wrongs, but only simply brute self-determination, backed by force. Obama’s version of nation-building doesn’t include elections, and purple stained fingers, but rather a benign neglect, a Darwinian respect for survival of the strongest.
The only votes that count in this scenario are typically dipped in red, blood red.
I say all this because a president who seems to lack the will to protect U.S. interests puzzles some. It’s not the will that’s lacking but the interest. Obama’s only interested in red lines drawn on maps, not as a mark of U.S. resolution, but as a mark of U.S. permissiveness.
“Yes,” he seems to be saying, “invade Ukraine, take Takrit.”
That, or something very near it, is as close as we’ve come to foreign policy these days.
And the red lines thus will continue to be drawn in blood, from Ferguson, Missouri to Fallujah, Iraq until someone less fanatical takes the helm.