Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Monday, March 17, 2014


Apparently the Russians are back to operating under Pravda rules.

Under the Soviets, the Politburo controlled everything.  Now it is Putin and the siloviki.  With any closed group of powerful men, you run the risk of them believing their own bullshit.  That's what got us into Iraq after all.

As for Russia annexing Crimea, it's tough to say whether the election was fraudulent.  While there was undoubtedly some fraud and intimidation, the fact is Crimea is overwhelmingly Russian.

Now the Turkish foreign minister has suggested that changing the borders of Ukraine could trigger a wave of similar actions across Eurasia.

The examples given are interesting ones.  First, the secession movements of Western Europe are really not comparable.  If Catalan, Basque and Scottish independence movements DO succeed, you're inevitably left with the question: So what?  An independent Scotland would mean very little in an integrated Europe.  Spain would obviously be aggrieved at losing a substantial part of its territory (and tax base), but with no passport or trade issues, you're talking about a loss of sovereignty over those areas, but no real change in commerce, culture or travel.

The Kurdish example - no doubt foremost in the minds of the Turks - is different.  First, the Kurds SHOULD have their own state.  They got robbed of the opportunity the first time around in 1921.  With Kurdish Iraq and Kurdish Syria effectively severed from their previous (dysfunctional) countries, a Kurdish state exists now in all but name.

Turkey's worry that Turkish Kurds might forcibly secede from Turkey could be easily remedied.  Simply arrange for any Kurd to repatriate to the new Kurdistan.  Population flows to Kurdistan and Turkey becomes more Turkish.  The Kurdish separatists within Turkey are kneecapped by the presence of a viable Kurdish state.

The persistence of illogical borders is an artifact of imperialism that still exists in the fringes of Europe.  The British, Russian and Ottoman empires still distort the map and force people to live in some cases under governments not of their own choosing.

National sovereignty once meant something when governments depended on tariffs for revenue and interstate wars were common.  But in an increasingly integrated world, those necessities should give way to people's desire to choose their own government.

And if Alabama, South Carolina, Louisiana and Mississippi want to give secession another try, I'm cool with that, too.

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