Monthly political analysis on nations in
economic or political transition

April 2014

This issue: Ukraine: What Putin really wants; Bosnia in Crisis; “1994” & “Brave New World’s” predictive successor “Jennifer Government”; Was the Arab Awakening a bad Dream?; Egypt; Libya; Iraq; Syria; Russia & China - what sort of an Alliance?

Ukraine: What Putin really wants

Our overview last month accurately assessed the unfolding of events in Ukraine, but what now?
One has to first lose the fog of war aspect beloved of the confrontationalists, We speak primarily of those in the US of a Dick Cheney mind-set, who seek any handy stick with which to beat Obama.
Russia clearly breached international law in interfering with a sovereign nation in the removal of Crimea from Ukraine. But as a response, there is no good purpose to be served in reviving the cold war, particularly as this is not a black and white situation, legally or in any other way!
Much more important now are Putin’s intentions regarding the Russian-speaking Eastern and Southern provinces of Ukraine [...]

The ‘1984’/ ‘Brave New World’ of our time

Max Barry’s “Jennifer Government”* is a prophetic take on the direction the world is travelling; shrewd and marvellously funny.
‘Vanity Fair’s March ‘14 reportage on “G4S” (the global security behemoth) prompted this comparison, as it tells that (who knew), this UK reg’d global company with 620,000 employees, an amalgam of Armor Group; Group 4 Security; Securicor and many more, now exceeds the manpower deployed by the entire British Armed Forces.
In Jennifer Government’s world (she is a government field agent), effectively corporations now rule the world. People have now swapped their patronymics for the name of their employer. There are now just the two licensed armed forces, both ‘for profit’: The Police, now fully privatised; and the National Rifle Association, the complete mercenary corporation. They compete across a range of corporate military and other security operations. Nothing is off the tariff, but everything costs.
Countries - most of the western hemisphere and more, are now under the American government – that HAS to exist within a small Corporate-allocated budget. Taxation is abolished, government powers are strictly limited. The neighbourhood Mall has become the centre of social life as well as the epicentre of corporate rivalry. The picture is relentlessly upbeat and recognisably too accurate for comfort.
Go there, you won’t regret it!
* ISBN 1-4000=3092-7 (paperback); 1-4000-7634-x (e-book).

Bosnia’s ‘Empty Stomach Riots’

Bosnia, the post-Yugoslav state and scene of the 1995 genocide at Srebrenica, is making (bad) news once again, in danger of again inflaming the Balkans. It was 19 years ago when this Former Yugoslav component republic seized the world’s attention, just as Ukraine does today. Then as now, the world held its breath to see if the ethnic conflict there would become a wider war. The horrific event in the FYR that shows the depth of the historic problem will continue to stain the pages of history. It doesn’t get much worse than this - the massacre at the Bosnian city of Srebrenica, cold-blooded execution of 8000 civilian men and boys taken from their homes to ‘racially cleanse’ this part of Bosnia to make space for a permanent Serbian re-population.
Also and dangerously, the events in Ukraine’s Crimea are being celebrated in Republika Srbska as a model for them to emulate, to seek to take their Serb -occupied territory in Bosnia, across to the much larger Serbia, perhaps enlisting Russian help [...]

The Arab Awakening 2014 style

"All power comes from the barrel of a gun"

Egypt: blithely ignoring international law, after a two day trial, 529 people were sentenced to death for the murder of the deputy commander of a police district in August last year. 147 were in court to hear the sentences. Some 380 were convicted and condemned ‘in absentia’, ‘though some of these were already in detention [...]

Libya: The only Arab uprising in which western forces were engaged, it is not recovering from the traumatic civil war. Removing the Qaddafi dictatorship was like taking a cork from a bottle, pouring away such elements of order and civilisation that had survived the Colonel. Following the western air forces intervention, the civil war had been largely conducted by local resistance fighters around this large country. Some are Islamist inspired, others more akin to bandits - with a range in between [...]

Iraq: Al Qaeda and semi-attached associates such as ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) have campaigns to dominate (terrorise) Baghdad and other Iraqi cities seeking to reassert the preponderance of Sunni power that was enjoyed until the US/UK invasion, following which the terror attacks commenced as the majority Shia population assumed their rightful place. But they also strive to give reality to the notion of a new Islamic state formed out of chunks of Syria verging on Iraq’s Anbar province (hence ISIS) [...]

Syria: Nothing further on resumed peace negotiations. Of course, they may not be resumed. Fighting between the Islamists and the secular FSA groups has become commonplace. The Kurds settled for generations are also defending themselves, as Islamists seek to displace them to create their own territory - space for a Caliphate spreading across the Syrian - Iraqi borders [...]

Russia and China in the Far East

Regional divergences between Moscow and Beijing throughout Asia have not been resolved and may not be capable of resolution!

Bandwagoning with China against the US and simultaneously covertly trying to restrain China, have been the dominating motifs of Russia’s Asian policy in Northeast and Southeast Asia. As a result of this dual-track policy, throughout the 2000s, Russia had to accept the palpable signs of growing Russian dependence on China in economics and energy. In 2009-11, Russia took determined steps to portray itself as an Asian player. But, Russia’s failure’ to develop the Russian Far East (RFE) has forced it to “turn to China for help” which has allowed China to take initial steps to build a new economic and security order in Asia at Russia’s expense [...]

Clive Lindley - Publisher Bulletin, April 2014|New Nations - a not for profit company
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