Visit ArabTopics.com

A New Year’s Fantasy

History is indeed little more than the register of the crimes, follies and misfortunes of mankind
– Edward Gibbon

Counterfactual history is generally a waste of time because, in the end, it’s just speculation. But it’s fun and it can sometimes illuminate factual history.

For example, take the aborted Soviet-French-British alliance to stop Hitler. It came to nothing for a number of reasons but, had it happened, history would have been very different. (And – dare I say it? – probably better. And not the least of the benefits would be that we would be freed from the endless appeals to “Munich” to encourage us to stand firm and bomb the “Next Hitler”.) But I am not going to explore that counterfactual history in which the UK, USSR and France got together, Poland was convinced to let a million Soviet soldiers in and the German military, seeing the hopelessness of it all, overthrew Hitler and the future followed a different set of possibilities (Poland probably being occupied each time).

I am going to consider a counter-factual post Cold War history. Not because I believe – cynical as I have now become – that there was much of a chance of triumphalist Washington, in thrall to PNAC fantasies, allowing it to happen; I do it to illuminate some of the mess that we are in today.

After the Second World War, Stalin, either because he was a dedicated expansionist enemy of the West or because he was determined that, the next time, invaders would have to start their attack farther away from Moscow, absorbed most of the countries the Soviet Army captured/liberated. Communists – and each country had plenty – were put into power. (I invite the reader to speculate: they were absorbed but which was his true motive?) After the Washington Treaty, Moscow formed the Warsaw Treaty. But while the former was, more or less, voluntary, the latter was not and, the moment the USSR weakened, everybody wanted out. Mikhail Gorbachev, GenSek in 1985, began glasnost and perestroyka, believing that the USSR as it was had exhausted its possibilities; one thing led to another, the Berlin Wall came down, the Warsaw Treaty organisation collapsed: when the USSR’s “allies” realised the tanks weren’t coming, they jumped. The USSR itself then fell apart and a whole new world was there for the making.

This is what happened, now begins my counterfactual speculation.

The Western (=NATO) capitals – none of which had foreseen these events – get together and think about how to profit from the collapse of their enemy and how to build a more secure world. A world that is not just better for themselves but more secure for everybody because the wise people in NATO understand that they cannot be secure if their neighbours are not: they know that security is indivisible.

The wise men and women of NATO ponder – it is their world-historical moment; they will create tomorrow. Alternate futures pass before their eyes, they have the power to choose one and eliminate the others; they will pick, out of all the possibilities, the one road the world will travel. Their challenge, now that a great war has ended, is how to fashion a wise ending to the struggle. Not a triumphant ending but a wise one; not just for us but for our descendants. Not momentary but enduring; not a quick sugar hit but lasting nutrition. Many roads to failure; only a few to success.

They take their place with modesty: while, naturally believing that their “free world” system was and is preferable to Marxism-Leninism, they are wise enough and modest enough to know that reality comes in shades of grey. No triumphalism here: just the pragmatic desire to build stability and peace. No boasting: just an acknowledgement that both sides have won.

They remember other decision points when a few created the future. The French Revolutionary / Napoleonic wars killed and maimed millions and devastated and squandered wealth throughout Europe. The easy end would have been to blame France and try to squash it for all time. But the victors – Britain, Prussia, Russia and Austria – were wiser: they included France in the settlement; and their settlement avoided a great European war for a century. They knew that France would always be an important player and therefore had to be invested in the settlement. If it weren’t invested in the settlement it would be invested in breaking the settlement. It’s the essence of The Deal: everybody gets something and everybody has an interest in keeping things the way they are. When no one wants to tip it over, you have stability. The victors of 1919 forgot this principle and their settlement collapsed into an even worse war in twenty years. The victors of that war remembered the 1814 principle (partially) and integrated Germany, Italy and Japan into the winners’ circle.

The wise ones of NATO know this history; they know that the losers have to be made into winners so that the peace can have a chance of lasting; they remember the terrible example of the 1919 failure. There’s no place for boasting or triumphantasising. They bend their powerful minds in the Great Peace Conference of 1991 (counterfactual fantasy event) to calculate how to accommodate everybody’s security concerns. They know that security is indivisible: if one doesn’t feel secure then, sooner or later, no one will.

They start with two realities: 1) Moscow’s former allies – or at least their current leaders – hate and fear Moscow and 2) Moscow doesn’t trust NATO. The Wise Ones waste no time moralising, they know these are the materials with which they have to work and have to make to fit together.

Expand NATO? No, say the Wise Ones: while it will please people in Warsaw or Prague (at least until they get the bill), it will make Moscow nervous and that violates the principle of indivisible security. If making Warsaw happy makes Moscow unhappy, then, at the end of the day, they will both be unhappy and, if they’re both are unhappy, then we will all be unhappy too. Indivisibility of security is the kernel of wisdom that the Wise Ones hold to. If nobody is unhappy then everybody is happy: it’s the geopolitical version of “happy wife, happy life”.

So, the question is this: how do we make a settlement to the Cold War in which NATO, the former Warsaw Treaty, former-USSR and Moscow all feel secure at the same time? Fortunately, at this unrepeatable moment in world history, the NATO leadership is replete with wise, knowledgeable and thoughtful people, well-informed about past errors, determined to do better, with the vision, modesty and ingenuity to square the circle. (I warned you it was counterfactual). They figure it out:

  1. They tell Warsaw, Prague, Kiev and the rest of them to form an alliance (Central European Treaty Organisation or some such name) grounded on NATO’s Article 5 (an attack on one is an attack on all).
  2. They get a formal, signed, ceremonial declaration from NATO that, should Russia attack any member of the Central European Treaty Organisation, NATO will come to its defence.
  3. They get a formal, signed, ceremonial declaration from Moscow that should NATO attack any member of the CETO, Moscow will come to its defence.

So, between NATO and Russia, there would have been a belt of neither-one-nor-the-other-but-guaranteed-by-both countries. CETO would have lots of weapons and a high degree of interoperability and command structure left over from the Soviet days; therefore they would be able to mount quite effective defences with what they already had. Their weapons, being Soviet and very rugged, would work for years to come so they wouldn’t have to spend much on their defence.

(Note that, we have, as a sort of scale model of something like this, the relationship between Malta and Italy. From 1981 Malta is officially neutral and its neutrality is guaranteed by Italy, a NATO member. The USSR recognised this neutrality soon after.)

If a CETO had been formed, guaranteed by NATO and Russia, wouldn’t everybody be 1) happier and 2) more secure?

But that didn’t happen. We all know what did: the men and women of NATO were not so wise, they missed their world-historical moment and they went for the triumphantasising quick sugar hit.

So I wish you all a happy

New Year

in which you may reflect upon what might have been

but wasn’t.

Source: 
Strategic Culture

Dear friends of this aggregator

  • Yes, I intentionally removed Newsbud from the aggregator on Mar 22.
  • Newsbud did not block the aggregator, although their editor blocked me on twitter after a comment I made to her
  • As far as I know, the only site that blocks this aggregator is Global Research. I have no idea why!!
  • Please stop recommending Newsbud and Global Research to be added to the aggregator.

Support this site

News Sources

Source Items
Please Stop the Ride 22
The Infectious Myth 21
Lockdown Skeptics 21
Sam Husseini 31
Dr. Andrew Kaufman 3
Swiss Propaganda Research 18
Off Guardian 72
Cory Morningstar 10
James Bovard 47
WWI Hidden History 51
Grayzone Project 424
Pass Blue 371
Dilyana Gaytandzhieva 17
John Pilger 425
The Real News 367
Scrutinised Minds 29
Need To Know News 3365
FEE 5413
Marine Le Pen 403
Francois Asselineau 25
Opassande 53
HAX on 5July 220
Henrik Alexandersson 1224
Mohamed Omar 404
Professors Blog 10
Arg Blatte Talar 40
Angry Foreigner 19
Fritte Fritzson 12
Teologiska rummet 32
Filosofiska rummet 143
Vetenskapsradion Historia 196
Snedtänkt (Kalle Lind) 261
Les Crises 3932
Richard Falk 220
Ian Sinclair 136
SpinWatch 61
Counter Currents 12609
Kafila 653
Gail Malone 45
Transnational Foundation 221
Rick Falkvinge 95
The Duran 11343
Vanessa Beeley 215
Nina Kouprianova 9
MintPress 6087
Paul Craig Roberts 2550
News Junkie Post 74
Nomi Prins 27
Kurt Nimmo 191
Strategic Culture 6132
Sir Ken Robinson 28
Stephan Kinsella 118
Liberty Blitzkrieg 884
Sami Bedouin 65
Consortium News 2685
21 Century Wire 4128
Burning Blogger 324
Stephen Gowans 102
David D. Friedman 165
Anarchist Standard 16
The BRICS Post 1541
Tom Dispatch 629
Levant Report 18
The Saker 5111
The Barnes Review 600
John Friend 535
Psyche Truth 160
Jonathan Cook 162
New Eastern Outlook 4895
School Sucks Project 1827
Giza Death Star 2179
Andrew Gavin Marshall 28
Red Ice Radio 685
GMWatch 2587
Robert Faurisson 150
Espionage History Archive 35
Jay's Analysis 1176
Le 4ème singe 91
Jacob Cohen 220
Agora Vox 19490
Cercle Des Volontaires 455
Panamza 2600
Fairewinds 121
Project Censored 1250
Spy Culture 626
Conspiracy Archive 84
Crystal Clark 14
Timothy Kelly 648
PINAC 1482
The Conscious Resistance 1055
Independent Science News 90
The Anti Media 6877
Positive News 820
Brandon Martinez 30
Steven Chovanec 61
Lionel 317
The Mind renewed 460
Natural Society 2627
Yanis Varoufakis 1140
Tragedy & Hope 122
Dr. Tim Ball 114
Web of Debt 166
Porkins Policy Review 456
Conspiracy Watch 174
Eva Bartlett 646
Libyan War Truth 373
DeadLine Live 1916
Kevin Ryan 68
BSNEWS 2128
Aaron Franz 269
Traces of Reality 166
Revelations Radio News 123
Dr. Bruce Levine 160
Peter B Collins 1790
Faux Capitalism 205
Dissident Voice 11957
Climate Audit 227
Donna Laframboise 509
Judith Curry 1191
Geneva Business Insider 40
Media Monarchy 2728
Syria Report 84
Human Rights Investigation 94
Intifada (Voice of Palestine) 1685
Down With Tyranny 13601
Laura Wells Solutions 50
Video Rebel's Blog 482
Revisionist Review 485
Aletho News 22937
ضد العولمة 27
Penny for your thoughts 3397
Northerntruthseeker 2892
كساريات 37
Color Revolutions and Geopolitics 27
Stop Nato 4882
AntiWar.com Blog 3416
AntiWar.com Original Content 7666
Corbett Report 2663
Stop Imperialism 491
Land Destroyer 1298
Webster Tarpley Website 1154

Compiled Feeds

Public Lists

Title Visibility
Funny Public