By Ghassan Kadi for the Saker Blog
As the European colonialist empires were being dismantled, many nations that gained independence inherited enormous problems that remain unresolved to-date. If anything, countries like India and Pakistan are currently in a bigger state of discord than the one that led to partition and the creation of Pakistan in 1947; and this is an understatement. They are adversaries, both nuclear capable and armed to the hilt. The reunification of Greater India does not seem plausible; at least not in the foreseeable future.
On the home front, with the French slicing Lebanon away from Syria and the creation of the independent state of ‘Grand Liban’ back in 1920, Lebanon was soon to blossom, producing a tale of substantial success. But this success came to an unceremonious end as the Civil War broke out in 1975, after which Lebanon was not only destroyed, but rendered as a failed state and one that exports instability to its neighbour Syria, to which it historically and demographically belongs.
Foreign interference, mainly from the West, turned Lebanon into a dagger pointed at Syria’s soft underbelly. Certainly, many Lebanese disagree with this statement and regard Syria, not the West, as the source of instability in Lebanon.
Almost concurrently, the origin of the creation of the modern state of Ukraine in 1922, sits with the USSR. And later, it was Stalin who negotiated having a vote for Ukraine in the UN General Assembly only to be followed by Khrushchev who gifted Crimea to Ukraine. But for a long time, Kiev was historically the capital of the Russian Empire, just like Damascus was once the capital of today’s Lebanon.
With financial incitements and bribery, corruption became endemic in Ukraine and the West eventually turned it into Russia’s Lebanon. Not surprisingly, some Ukrainians, corrupt in nature and their cronies, only see facts from their own blurred vision and tinted spectacles, but historic and demographic facts cannot be changed.
Pending issues between Syria and Lebanon are not the business of the West or any other foreign entity. The onus is on the Lebanese and Syrians to resolve this situation which can only be achieved when Lebanon returns to its Syrian roots. Many Lebanese may need more punishment to reach this understanding and acceptance.
Likewise, the Ukrainian/Russian crisis is an internal issue that the rest of the world has no business involving itself with. It is that section of Ukrainian Western cronies who have caused the problem, and this needs to be firmly and effectively dealt with.
But the British, French, Dutch and others were not the only producers of post-imperial havoc. The USA played a huge role in this ever since the end of WWII.
Vietnam resolved the partition issue, but the cost was enormous. Korea still hasn’t, and it won’t for as long as South Korea is under the influence of the Western Hemisphere. To complicate matters more for Korea, South Korea is an enormous technological, industrial and financial success whilst the North is not. Having said that, the economic dichotomy did not stand in the way of the reunification of Germany. In hindsight, and against the divide-and-conquer doctrine, the West applauded German reunification. But one would not have to be cynical to conclude that the West regarded it as a stepping stone towards more influence in Eastern Europe and an opportunity to move closer to Russia’s borders.
As the influence of the West is waning globally and domestically, instead of turning its focus into rebuilding its home-grown literal and virtual rust belts, the West continues to set traps for future global conflicts.
China took back Hong Kong in 1997 because the agreement between it and the UK expired. But Taiwan is a different matter. Taiwan exists as an independent state, even though no longer unanimously recognized internationally as being such. But until the Nixon administration opened up dialogue with the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan was the UN member that represented China and even had a permanent position in the UNSC; including the Veto power.
But Taiwan became separated from the mainland only because the Nationalists (headed by Chiang Kai Shek), escaped to Taiwan after their defeat by the Communists (headed by Mao Zedong). The West saw in two Chinas a status quo that is weaker than a single united China, and one that they could use as a bulkhead against China. It therefore stood against any attempts of reunification. The argument however that the impasse between China and Taiwan is an internal and domestic issue is valid.
Chinese reunification is a matter of time. It is hoped that both parties will negotiate it peacefully instead of it involving a military takeover, one which could see a heavily armed Taiwan put up a big fight. If Taiwan thinks that the West will come to its aid and fight on its side, all it has to do is learn from Ukraine’s experience.
Whilst the parable of Lebanon vis-à-vis Syria may appear proportionally inadequate to use as an example to describe Ukraine as Russia’s Lebanon or Taiwan as China’s Lebanon, the principle applies despite the huge difference in size and military capacities of China and Russia in comparison to Syria. But this is one of the shortfalls of Western thinking, one that believes that it will forever be able to bully everyone, including other superpowers.
For decades, statements alluding to any aspirations for reuniting states that have been divided by larger global powers were seen by the West-dominated international community as taboo, as attempts to destabilize the world. In the Levant for example, it is still almost illegal to say that Lebanon and Syria should be united. And when China says that Taiwan is a part of China, the West fumes with anger and regards the statement as one that is aimed against the national and security interests of the West. And of course, Russia is ‘not allowed’ to say that Ukraine is part of historical Russia.
Ironically however, and as the Western anti-reunification rhetoric intensifies, there has never been a better time for nations still reeling from post-colonial divisions to reunite.
Political maps constantly change and always have. India and Pakistan, and with the later addition of Bangladesh, will probably remain as separate entities for a very long time. The two Koreas will have to wait, but perhaps not for as long as India and Pakistan. Lebanon and Syria have more critical problems do deal with currently than to worry about reunification. But if anything, in being the bully and intervening between Ukraine and Russia on one hand, and Taiwan and China on the other hand, the West is inadvertently forcing both Russia and China to take affirmative action and bolster their bilateral relationship at many levels. We have thus far seen Russia saying ‘enough is enough’. Whether China employs the current state of global turmoil and the over occupation of the West with the events in Ukraine to move towards Taiwan remains to be seen.