I see that fifty of you think what I write is important enough that you subscribe. Longtime readers understand that when something attracts my eye and I can’t express what I see in words I will work my way around the perimeter, writing about what is known.
IMG & Greece: Institutional Monstrous Failure caught my eye earlier, it’s one of those things in my feed where the title leaps off the page. Some of you are new and will not recall that The Oil Drum and The Automatic Earth once held my attention and shaped my thinking. I might not always say it, but climate change, liquid fuel availability, and their implications regarding our financial sector color everything that I write.
The Mideast has suffered through three imperial dissolutions in the last century. The Ottomans took a tumble starting around 1800 and ending in the 1920s. The Soviet Union arose around the time they ended, then came apart after bleeding out trying to control Afghanistan. The United States was baited into the same trap just ten years after the Soviet implosion. Exceptional Americans and their unwarranted opinions aside, everyone else is starting to grasp that this is an epochal change, as we bankrupted not just our financial system but the environment and our energy sources, too.
Here are the Ottoman losses from 1807 until the formation of Modern Turkey in 1924.
The Ottoman opponent in Europe was the Austro-Hungarian empire.
Austro Hungarian & Ottoman Conflict
Neither entity survived World War I.
And we were left with a muddle of ethnic groups and lines on a map in the Balkans.
Balkans Ethnic Groups
Greece made steady gains at the expense of the Ottomans.
Greek Gains & Ottoman Losses
Greater Syria, last represented whole by the French Syrian mandate, lost the Sanjak of Alexandretta to the Turks in 1939 and Lebanon gained independence, albeit with frequent meddling, starting in 1943. The Golan Heights were claimed by Israel in 1967, securing their northeast border and the headwaters of the Jordan river.
French Syrian Mandate Territory Losses
Greater Serbia, more a theory than history, raised its ugly head right after the Soviet dissolution and the idea was finally smashed to bits in Operation Noble Anvil in 1999.
The Only Red Line That Matters described the one potentially violent fault line between two NATO countries – the dispute between Greece and Turkey over the island of Cyprus, under UN observation for the last forty years.
Cyprus& British Overseas Territories
Russia does not wish to be excluded from the Mediterranean and the loss of their naval supply station at Tartus will do just that. Greek Cypriots have many Russian ties, their recent banking implosion was a diplomatic issue, and Russia may see Limassol as a fallback position if Tartus becomes untenable.
Stepping back to see the whole region, Russia was left feeling duped by the NATO effort in Libya, which was pitched as a no fly zone and then turned into a much more invasive armor plinking exercise. This won’t be repeated in Syria.
What comes next?
This is the big unknown. Here are some things I do know.
- As above: environment, energy, and economy are all going through an epochal change
- The U.S. government has been wholly captured by the financial sector and a chorus of a dozen far right think tanks drown out any hint of reality based assessment
- The media has abdicated its role as the fourth estate – count on them to miss most of what matters and mishandle the rest
- Whatever promise social media held in remedying big media’s failure is being poisoned by a mixture of corporate & government fiddling and the simple fact that we have no experience in dealing with what is coming
- 2012 has come and gone, “Worst. Apocalypse. Ever” became a punch line, and the destructive dynamic of Islam’s internal divide matters far more than any discredited end of days myth.
Reality trumps religion. Reality trumps rhetoric, no matter what the underlying ideology. Reality supports exponential growth in closed systems … but only until the limits are reached. The European union has found the edge of their petri dish – tiny Cyprus sneezed and the whole continent’s banking sector was instantly hospitalized with pneumonia. The U.S. is contracting, declining, and Europe is just half a step behind us.
I think what is needed is a graph like the one below, showing the progression of imperial alliances leading up to World War I, only recast for Today’s Tripolar Power Struggle in the Mideast, and it has to factor in the outer ring of global players such as the U.S., Russia, China, and the European Union. I may have a go at doing this if I can figure out which tool to use to express the concepts.
European Imperial Network 1872-1907