Sunday, March 02, 2014

Ukraine - worth fighting for?

Well, the world is again holding its breath over another stand-off between the US and Russia.  NOT the USSR, but the Russian Federation.  It seems that the invasion Putin has been panting for (ever since Palin "predicted" it five years ago) is on the near horizon.

Don't get me wrong.  This is another of those very complicated situations that gets simplified down to black-and-white by the nationalists on both sides and inevitably ends up with everybody concerned getting shafted.

In this case, the US is getting drawn into this by a complex mix of interests including the European Union, the Ukrainian government (the new one NOT aligned with Russia and Putin) and, of course, the old stand-by in the US, the Republican War Mongers Goading Obama.

In one sense, I get it.  A lot of ethnicities who are not Russian are threatened by an invasion intended to split Ukraine in two parts.  Inevitably, the line between Russians and non-Russians and where they live in that benighted country is not a clear one - there are large numbers of both in areas that are likely to be isolated from the side they'd rather be on once a line gets drawn, and the affects of being on the wrong side of that line are likely to be severe, no matter what your ethnicity.

So, yeah, this threatens to be a humanitarian disaster.

But then, isn't ANY situation involving troops and rattled sabers and slavering nationalists likely to end up as a humanitarian disaster?

In short, that is what makes me sigh, rub my face with both hands, look heavenward in a vain appeal to the Universe that, for once, can there really be a deity up there that gives a shit, and upon realizing that, no, there won't be this time either, drop my hands to my lap while I sit back and contemplate the multiple reasons why I hate nationalism.

No, I don't hate America.  I have lived here most of my life (less four years in Germany while in the US Army), and served this government for over forty years in both the military and civilian roles I have held.  I have driven across it either partially or all the way several times, and find the people to be in large part a wonderful group to be associated with.

Ok, I admit that there are some groups within this country I am NOT happy to be associated with, and I have distanced myself from them at every opportunity.  Republicans, Christians, Evangelicals, Right Wing theists and ::drumroll please:: Nationalists.

I use that last term loosely.  Mostly I use it to define folks who identify as rabid patriots to whom anything or anyone who doesn't identify as a white, Anglo-Saxon (kinda), Right Wing War Mongering Lover-of-All-Things-American is someone who must be either expelled as persona non grata or just shot out of hand.

Those kind of folks are Nationalists.  In other countries, that white Anglo-Saxon thing might be a bit different, depending on what ethnicity is the majority, but you get the picture - the rest of it fits just about any nationality - just change the country name.  And, make no bones about it, but the ethnicity makes a HUGE difference to Nationalists.

Don't forget - the idea of nation-states began as an extension of ethnicity where one had to hold on to territory that was the best for your culture's ability to use the resources available and make a good life.  It didn't matter that it might be a rock strewn, sandy dry piece of hell itself, if it fit your people's lifestyle, and if your people had been there since anybody could remember, it was YOURS, and you'd defend it to the death.

Never mind that you may have displaced someone else in your efforts to run from someone who'd run YOU out of an even older homeland - no, what mattered was what your generation could remember and where you were born.  You are there now, and by damn, you'll keep it.

Anybody who didn't look like you got run out or killed.

The problem is that during those hundred thousand years or so, none of the various ethnic groups of humans have managed to stay together.  Inevitably, when the group decides to move on, there's always some grumpy stay-at-homes who just don't have itchy enough feet, so they stay.  Or there are the women who've been raped by one side or another who bore children of mixed ethnicity, both in the group that's invading and in the group getting forced out.

Then some trouble maker in Mesopotamia about 5000 years or so ago got the bright idea of building a city.  For some reason, that started a whole new level of problems, because for some strange reason, when people build buildings, plan roadways, pave roads and build palaces, they get this feeling of "ownership".  "This is MINE, you can't take it!"  Whereupon, some testosterone laden fool with a sword takes the bet and the fight is on.

Well, thanks to a hundred thousand years of migration, exploration, sea faring, city building, and out and out invasion of just about every square piece of rock or soil on this wonderful green globe of ours, we've got almost all of it staked out and claimed except for Antarctica, which is just too damn cold.  Thanks in large part to our tendency to interbreed with anybody else in possession of two arms and two legs, regardless of the color of their skin or their hair or whatever (and sometimes because of it!) there just isn't a country in the world with a heterogeneous ethnic population.

So, when some rabid nationalist (see above definition for the reason I use the word "rabid") gets the idea that there's a piece of real estate he wants to call his own, there's going to be somebody that isn't going to fit his narrow vision of who should stay and who should leave.

All thoughts of past migrations, population movements, invasions, or peaceful vigorous lovemaking get tossed gleefully aside in the zeal to stake your claim to someone else's territory.

Hence the result of a humanitarian disaster.  In any past venture of this kind, NOBODY ended up happy.  Not a single soul.

Remember Bosnia?  Croatia?  The Balkins were exactly this sort of disaster.  Yes, we got involved, and in the end, nobody was happy.  Just like I expect it to be in Ukraine.

Damn it, humanity just doesn't learn.  Neither does the Republican party.

Other than as part of the major industrialized nations or the UN, this country must NOT get militarily involved.  Let's not let the War Mongers make more money off of another unfortunate third world country.

It just encourages the Nationalists for the next go-round in which nobody will be satisfied, but thousands will die.

No comments: