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The Demarcation of Empires’ Borders

The Demarcation of Empires’ Borders

Monday, 8 August, 2022 - 09:00
Ghassan Charbel
Ghassan Charbel is the editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper

It’s a hot summer and the message is clear; the residents of the planet must save themselves before it is too late. They have to get the signals sent by hurricanes, floods, and wildfires.

Climate change will destabilize the world, hit crops and make some places uninhabitable, cause massive migrations and possibly wars over water and harvests.

It is a cross-border dilemma, the solution of which is beyond the capabilities of big or small governments. Ignoring the imminent dangers means that parents will leave their children and grandchildren hostages of crises that threaten their food, job opportunities and the stability of their countries.

Addressing a problem of this magnitude requires another culture and a different climate. It needs less greedy governments, more prudent policies, and decision-makers who put responsibility over victory.

Tackling climate change is not luxury; disregarding it is like cutting a branch on which one stands.

We have been optimistic in recent years, when summits were held, warning of the approaching danger, strategies were prepared and pledges were made. We almost believed that climate change would be the top priority of governments, but the terrible reality showed us that the calculations of the major players can overlook imminent concerns.

Redrawing the borders of empires is a disturbing and frightening expression. History offers blatant examples: demarcation is achieved by wasting huge budgets, rivers of blood and waves of refugees.

We live in a world that gives absolute priority to redrawing the borders of empires. It is the most dangerous international climate not only since the fall of the Berlin Wall and the suicide of the Soviet Union, but also since the Second World War.

Anxiety is ravaging the world. Regions that were long seen as havens of stability are preparing their armies, doubling their defense budgets, and fearing that their citizens will be cut off from commodities that are essential to repel hunger or cold.

Is the world today paying the price for the deceptive policies adopted by major powers? Did the West, for example, betray Russia when it emerged from the rubble of the Soviet Union? Was the West unable to come up with an expanded and flexible plan for a European framework that would accommodate a wounded Russia and an injured Turkey?

Did the American Empire act with dishonesty when it began moving the pawns of the NATO alliance towards Russia, which suffers from the siege complex and refuses to reside except in the custody of a strong man? The victorious does not feel the need to listen to the weak. The powerful ignores the lessons left by the rise and fall of empires. It is true that the West failed to deal properly with orphaned Russia, but this does not justify Putin’s current behavior, which has turned as a punishment for Ukraine and the whole world.

Is it possible to talk about a Russian trick woven by Vladimir Putin since he assumed the throne of the tsars at the beginning of this century? Did the colonel come out wounded from the Soviet rubble to architect a plan of great revenge?

Did Putin take advantage of America’s preoccupation with responding to the September 11 attacks and the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan to prepare his army and society to confront the West at the appropriate time? Was his first golden opportunity on Syrian soil, specifically in 2013, when Barack Obama refrained from executing his threat to intervene militarily in response to chemical attack?

There are those who believe that Putin has inherited the policy of the tsars and the approach of Stalin together, and considers the West to be dangerous and corrupt. He interpreted Obama’s failure as evidence that the American empire is tired of wars and burdens, and that the West is heading towards decline.

Those also believe that the restoration of Crimea was based on the Kremlin’s feeling that America had lost its power. Consequently, Russia went on to intervene militarily in Syria in 2015.

America invoked the danger of the rise of China to resign from the Middle East. At this time, Putin was preparing maps, making calculations for gas, grain, straits and seas.

In parallel, he was weaving friendships and alliances. It is not surprising that he chose to declare unlimited bond with China before launching the major offensive in Ukraine, realizing that Europe is the obligatory passage for major coups.

The storm unleashed by Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan came to reinforce the impression that the world has slipped into a very dangerous stage - that of redrawing the borders of empires.

China, which attacked the world under the slogan of the Belt and Road Initiative, was keen to remind the American empire that it is not only the second global economic power, but also a nuclear force with a strong army that can defend its interests and role.

It is a big and dangerous game that takes place all over the world. It’s an expensive and open duel that requires the presence of capable, bold and sane governments, which can maintain stability and interests, arrange cards and employ resources and friendships.

At the time of demarcation of the empires’ borders, the people of the Middle East cannot forget the countries that are not satisfied with their current maps. We saw the behavior of Turkey, which tried to organize a major coup in the region during the so-called Arab Spring. We saw how Iran has seized the decision of four Arab capitals. The imperial past is sending signals of bitterness, revolts and coup projects.

It’s a blazing summer. Preoccupation with global warming has waned, while international conflicts are lurking in a climate of empires’ demarcation. It’s a hot summer, especially after Putin opened wide the old wounds of empires.

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