Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Archive for the ‘Kurds’ Category

BORDERS II

leave a comment »

Well, I got a few testy comments about yesterday’s map. People took umbrage to how it was divided up, or to the idea the US would ever break up. All of which kind of proved my point, we are taught that borders are sacrosanct, and they sure are for a lot of people. In actuality borders are just lines drawn on a map by very powerful people, and often reflect nothing more than those people’s desires. Not that I have a problem with borders, they just need to represent  actual peoples, not made up peoples. And just in case it wasn’t clear, I’m presenting alternate maps to provoke thought and discussion, I’m not actually espousing these exact maps.

The map above was what started me thinking along these lines so many years ago. The Middle East is truly a disaster when it comes to borders. In fact reading my old article linked just now, this map got me some nasty comments too. People really get the existing borders into their identity I guess, so proposed changes are a personal affront. I guess similar to how people get their idea of sexuality and gender so much a part of their identity, that acknowledging that others don’t agree is a threat to their identity.

Did that make sense? It does to me, but trying to explain these things is a challenge. So moving right along, Biden shut down construction on Trump’s border wall. This is because he wants hordes of brown people to pour into America and destroy the white race, turning America into a liberal run socialist nightmare. And if anyone actually believes that, they have sheet for brains. (I’m getting less diplomatic on my old age.) Trump’s border wall was stupid and counterproductive, that’s why it was shut down. Stupid because it won’t work and may just make the problem worse, exactly what happened when Bush 43 tightened up the border, traffickers just moved to other parts of the border and more people got across. And since the border was now harder to cross illegally, people who used to go back and forth seasonally to work decided to stay and send for their families.

All of which was missed by Trump supporters, since Fox News never mentioned it. The border wall is counterproductive on multiple levels as well. It encourages simplistic answers to complex issues. It reinforces the racist ultranationalist trope that people coming over the border illegally are some sort of threat to us. It implies that illegal immigration is some sort of crisis that needs to be solved. No, illegal immigration is like people speeding when they drive, just something that the government has to regulate as best they can.

All kinda leads back to “The map is not the territory.” This is why I reject all dogmatic ideology and religion, it’s painfully clear by now that there are no ideological/religious solutions to humanities’ challenges. Or to be fair, none that have been discovered yet. I think it’s time to try, idk, science and reason? I think they are the best bet at deciding how to move forward. Is there some problem with solutions that are reasonable and science based? And no, science is not a religion or a cult, it’s just a way of looking at the world. An algorithm if one wills.

And finally this link: Viral Lies. Basically pointing out that our media and social platforms are doing a terrible job of preventing the spread of illogical, science denying, harmful misinformation. Having an immunologist debate an anti-vaxxer isn’t balanced reporting, it’s giving a dangerous crank a platform and credibility they don’t deserve. Granted I made that particular example up, but the point is valid. Read the article at the link. I think the internet and social media sites should be run as public utilities with equal access for all, but that’s looking less likely every day as the rich consolidate their hold on the Internet.

In local news, I tried to walk to the store, got four feet before realizing every outdoor surface was covered with 1 mm of ice. Yeah, deathwalk city. I didn’t want to add a few mm of frozen blood to the equation, so I wisely drove my car to the store. By the way, until just last year, why ice was slippery was a scientific mystery. Now we think we know why: Why Is Ice Slippery?

Stay safe and warm everyone. StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: New Middle East map. Credit: Ralph Peters/Chris Broz. Claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

January 30, 2021 at 8:19 pm

BORDERS

with one comment

OK, off we go. News? I used to get a lot of news from the Wapo and the NYT, not anymore for reasons I explained at length in recent blogs. Now my top two news sites are the BBC and The Guardian. Plus other sites too, one should get their news from a wide variety of sources, international ones for sure. Haaretz and Al Jazeera are good for example. They all have their biases, blind spots, propaganda. This is what God gave us brains for, to separate the wheat from the chaff. I’ve never seen any major fact checking errors on Snopes for example, the truth is out there. In fact how people react to Snopes pretty much tells one if they are connected to reality or live in a fantasy world. I often hear a nice selection of false arguments from Snopes deniers. “They’re not professional fact checkers!” is my favorite. Um, so what? Show me a topic where Snope’s is factually in error. I’ll wait. And then Wikipedia is a great source for non controversial topics. A topic that corporate America or the US government wants to control the narrative on, skip Wikipedia entirely. What’s there may not be wrong, but it certainly won’t represent reality.

So, back to news, China threatens war if Taiwan declares independence.* Taiwan is a small island off the coast of China, a little bit bigger than Maryland, a little bit smaller than the Netherlands. It’s yet another relic of the Cold War. When Mao and his communists won the Chinese Civil War after World War Two, the US backed side fled to the island of Taiwan, and protected by the United States, there they remained. If the US hadn’t protected them, Taiwan would just be another province in China that no one outside of China had ever heard of.

And as I understand it, most people in China are adamant that Taiwan is indeed part of China, no discussion allowed. And this, in a nutshell, is why nationalism sucks sheet. The idea of a nation is great from many perspectives, but when that idea runs roughshod over self determination, it’s simply tyranny. When the United States declared independence from Britain, its revolution was based ostensibly on the ideals of self determination, not to mention inalienable human rights.  Yes, the founding fathers were hideous hypocrites who completely dishonored these ideals in the breach, founding a nation based on slavery and propertied white male supremacy, but the concepts are stll valid.

Alas, the world’s governments only apply them when it is in their interest to do so. America’s hypocrisy on this level is mind numbing, but of course completely normalized by the western press. To the point that many (most?) Americans are all for Taiwan being independent, but Crimea wanting to be part of Russia, that’s a terrible crime! The borders of the world were drawn up by the European colonial powers for their own exploitive ends, there’s nothing “normal” about them, but they are treated as such by the western press. A huge percentage of the world’s people, it must be in the 100s of millions, would rather be independent or part of another country than the one they are in.

Countless examples. The Kurds, 30 million of them, Kurdistan should have been a country after World War One. Kashmir, if they ever got to vote, would almost certainly want to be part of Pakistan. Large parts of Pakistan would rather be part of Pashtun Afghanistan. Tibet was once an independent country. I wouldn’t even know where to start in Africa, it’s a nightmare of colonial boundaries. And then countless indigenous people around the world would rather be their own country as much as possible. Why not, there’s at least 5000 ethnic groups on the planet, why should there be only 300 countries? Andorra, a nation the size of Peoria Illinois, has been independent for over 500 years. It can be done. And there are many others.

This, at the core of it, is why the aliens fly right by us. About 300 armed gangs control Earth for the benefit of a tiny number of people already so rich they could live a thousand lifetimes and not spend it all. Any sane species would long ago have fixed this. Give people self determination, and the border problems sort themselves out. And put mechanisms in place to make sure everyone benefits from the world’s wealth, it is a collective effort. Make it so businesses can’t pass health and environmental costs onto the public, the free market will indeed fix things like global warming. No ideology or religion need apply. They are the problem, not the solution. Granted some are worse problems than others. Anti-vaxxers. White Supremacists. Nazis. Yeah, I’m still anti-Nazi. Convince me otherwise. Though I do accept and try to understand the appeal. Germany was a modern educated land.

The above map is a preliminary speculation about a balkanized America. The native peoples especially should be scattered about in ancestral lands, but it’s a start. I don’t think the world colonial government is going to collapse anytime soon, but many people were surprised by the fall of Rome and the collapse of the Soviet Union. Times change, I plan to blog about it as long as I can. The Earth Burning blog. Stay safe gentle readers. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

*China tends to be more forthwith than doublespeak western diplomacy, this is likely a promise, not a threat.

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Map by blog author: Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.)

Written by unitedcats

January 29, 2021 at 9:36 pm

TURKEY, SYRIA, TRUMP … SHOES, SHOES, EVERYWHERE. AND A CORRECTION.

with one comment

Turkey has launched a full scale invasion of the Kurdish controlled region of northeastern Syria. This link has a good map, not a trivial bit of real estate, about a third of Syria. Serious fighting, dozens to hundreds dead. Tens of thousands of refugees, hundreds of thousands is possible. The operation is very popular among Turks, among ethnic Turks at least. In the US Trump’s political opponents are pillorying him, claiming that by pulling out of Syria he gave Turkey a “green light” to attack. Claiming Trump is betraying our allies, the Kurds, who we supported in their war on ISIS. Yes, Turkey’s leader Erdogan was undeterred by Trump’s threats to destroy Turkey’s economy. It’s unclear to me just how true these claims by Trump’s opponents are, the Turks would likely have invaded sooner or later. The presence of a tiny handful of US troops wasn’t going to stop them.

While I agree this is a terrible thing, I really wonder where all these people who are enraged by Trump’s “genocide” and “betrayal” of the Kurds have been for the past 20 years. The US has been waging war on half a dozen countries for a decade, where’s the outrage? Where was the outrage when Obama illegally sent troops into Syria with no coherent mission and no exit strategy? Or more precisely, when Obama’s disastrous blunder in Ukraine handed Crimea to Putin, why no outrage at Obama? To be suddenly outraged by Trump, when the US has been conducting and supporting invasions for decades is the height of partisan hypocrisy.

A couple of points. The Kurds are not our allies, they are people we support when they are fighting people we don’t like. Granted Trump’s bizarre rant about how the Kurds “didn’t help us on D-Day” was surreal. We’ve betrayed the Kurds before and we will betray them again. And like Vietnam, it would be harder to find a region of the world less important to the US. The Kurds are in no position to help us protect American interests in their sphere, because there basically aren’t any. Turkey on the other hand, is absolutely a key US ally and NATO member, with key US military bases inside Turkey. So I’m not sure what Trump’s critics thought we should do, stay in Syria forever? Go to war with Turkey?

Basically the world is run by 300 or so armed gangs, and the US is one of the worst, despite our lip service to freedom and democracy. And most of them are rational actors, ruthless in protecting their own interests. And that is exactly what Erdogan is doing, a Kurdish enclave in Iraq would certainly act as a supply base for Kurdish separatists operating in Turkey. If part of Mexico was being run by people inimical to the US, you better believe the US would intervene. That doesn’t mean it’s right, but it does mean to criticise it while accepting and supporting the international order that creates these situations in the first place is absurd. As long as there are over 5,000 ethnic groups on the planet but only 300 or so of them have nations, this sort of thing is the reality. The Kurds may be one of the larger stateless peoples in the world, but there are hundreds of others equally deserving a state of their own. As long as this elephant in the room  is unaddressed, the US is part of the problem, not part of the solution.

God help the Kurds, nobody else will. We have failed as a species. As for what will happen now, I suspect it won’t be pretty. Efforts to set up a Turkish occupied neutral zone in Syria will likely prove unstable in the long run. Like the Israeli occupation strip in Lebanon, it may create more problems than it solves. Maybe it will drive the parties involved to the negotiating table and something will be done. It would actually make sense for parts of Iraq, Turkey, and Syria to be made into an independent Kurdistan. I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for that to happen.

A sad week all around. I admit I overstated my case in my last post. I claimed there was a period of global peace after the Vietnam war. It was something I read decades ago, and it was only partially true then. A warning, once again, that so much of what I think I know is wrong. Yet I can’t double check every single thing I write. C’est la vie. The number six chart on this page shows battle deaths over recent decades. There was a big downtick in the late seventies, that is what I was referring to. Then horrible butchery taking off in the eighties, mostly in Africa. Battle deaths are low in recent decades, but they are only part of the story. And fodder for another blog.

I write to try and understand the world. My current take: Claiming Trump is a ‘monster’ for ‘betraying the Kurds’ is using the Kurds for domestic political points. That colonial mindset is far more a betrayal of the Kurds than Trump’s blundering, it’s what made the world a dystopian nightmare for people like the Kurds. I rest my case. Even blogging about it is a betrayal by those standards I guess. The more one knows, the more one hates oneself.

Good chance this will get edited in the AM. Have a great weekend everyone.

Copyright © 2019 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Polish cavalry during the German invasion in 1939. Credit: Unknown, wikipedia image, appears to be Public Domain under US copyright law. From Wikipedia: “Battle of the Bzura: Polish cavalry in Sochaczew in 1939.”)

Written by unitedcats

October 11, 2019 at 4:10 am

Posted in Kurds, Syria, Trump, Turkey, War