The national aspirations of peoples are governed by rank public relations schemes
On July 9, the Republic of South Sudan became the newest internationally-recognized nation-state. As the result of a civil war truce and peace deal worked out five years previously, South Sudan and its former master, the Republic of Sudan, independent since 1956, mutually recognized their divorce.
Unlike the “velvet divorce” of the Czech Republic and Slovakia from the former Czechoslovakia, the Sudanese divorce of the largely Muslim north and majority Christian south was all but peaceful. The two sides staked rival claims to border regions such as the oil-rich Abyei and a renewed war between north and south Sudan loomed as the south achieved independence.
The independence gala in the South Sudan capital of Juba was attended by such luminaries – some would call them “interlopers” – as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, U.S. Africa Command chief General Carter Ham, British Foreign Secretary William Hague, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe. The international “glitterati” from the West studiously avoided meeting Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir, who faces an International Criminal Court arrest warrant for war crimes in Darfur.
The snub of Bashir in Juba by the Western leaders points to the essence of international diplomacy today.International relations have become a “reality television show,” where leaders who do not comport to the standards dictated by a consortium of political leaders representing multi-national corporate interests and international “do-gooders” like actor George Clooney and actress Angelina Jolie representing un-elected and well-paid executives of non-government organizations decide what peoples are repressed, what regions deserve independence, and what leaders are “good guys” and “bad guys.” International diplomacy has become a children’s game and the effects have plunged nations and peoples into civil war and strife…
South Sudan was immediately recognized by Sudan, the United States, Russia, China, and other major nations and was quickly voted in by the UN as its 193rd member.
Although Kosovo, carved out of Serbia by some of the same players that succeeded in breaking South Sudan away from Sudan, was not able to join the UN because of Russian and Chinese permanent member veto threats, the largely Albanian state received the warm embrace of Washington, Paris, London, and Brussels.
Why did South Sudan and Kosovo succeed where other aspirant nations like Palestine, Abkhazia, Western Sahara, and Somaliland have failed? The answer is a very basic capitalistic one: South Sudanhas large oil reserves and Kosovo has large coal and rare earth mineral reserves. Therefore, their independence was nurtured and blessed by the world powers that want to exploit the resources of these new “nations” on behalf of corporate interests. It was decided that for the corporate elites it was more beneficial to deal with newly-independent states than the central governments of Serbia and Sudan. The historical template for such imperialist and corporate backing of secessionists is an old one: the United States backed Panamanian separatists from Colombia to get a better deal on the construction of the Panama Canal and American-backed secessionists in Texas helped to ensure that the vast Mexican territory would eventually become an American state. U.S. shipping companies would benefit greatly from the canal as would U.S. railroad and cattle tycoons from the acquisition of Texas.
Some would argue that East Timor, which achieved independence from Indonesia in 2002 after a bloody war for independence, had nothing to do with natural resources craved by the West but was an outreach by the West to a beleaguered people. However, it was shortly after independence that Australia sought to gain lucrative deals on oil exploration in the Timor Sea, in waters claimed by East Timor. Canberra obviously believed that it could get a better deal from East Timor than from the Indonesian government in Jakarta, with which Australia has had a tortured history.
Somaliland, which declared independence from fractured Somalia in 1991, and briefly enjoyed independence in 1960, after it was granted independence before joining Italian Somaliland, feels it should also be granted independence. Somaliland is a functioning democracy and enjoys de facto independence. However, the African Union maintains that it has a policy that colonial borders should not be altered.
That policy has been overturned by the independence of Eritrea from Ethiopia in 1993 and the recent independence of South Sudan. However, as much as Somaliland has legitimate reasons to be recognized as independent, the axis of NGO’s with overt and hidden agendas – groups like the International Crisis Group, George Soros’s Open Society Institute, International Rescue Committee, as well as celebrities like Clooney and Jolie – have determined that there is nothing Somaliland has to offer the capitalist exploiters, bankers, or heart strings of the constantly-duped citizens of Western countries. Making matters worse for Somaliland is the presence of a large CIA counter-terrorism presence in Mogadishu, a capital largely without a country to govern but one where the U.S. props up a pathetically-ineffective “national unity government.” As long as Washington maintains a love fest for the anarchy known as Somalia, Somaliland has little chance of becoming a full member of the UN.
The same situation exists with Abkhazia and South Ossetia, the de facto independence of which is strenuously opposed by the Georgian government. Georgia has used the same lobbying tactics and influence operations that its ally Israel uses to wage a battle against independence and statehood for Palestine. In both cases, Georgia and Israel have received the backing of the same ruling global elites that successfully promoted the independence of Kosovo and South Sudan.
As South Sudan became the 193rd member state of the UN, Palestine was preparing its own application to become the international organization’s 194th member. However, Palestine faced a definite veto from the United States in the UN Security Council, which must approve new members without a veto from any of its permanent members. Israel wielded its considerable influence among its international lobby, largely composed of politically- and financially-connected Jewish pressure groups, to stymie the statehood and UN membership aspirations of Israel. The U.S. House of Representatives voted to suspend aid to the Palestinian Authority for pursuing a statehood resolution in the UN General Assembly, where the United States holds no veto power.
On July 11, 104 European Parliament members wrote a letter to Baroness Catherine Ashton, the EU Foreign Affairs High Representative, urging her not to support Palestine’s bid for recognition by the UN. Israel, desperate to mobilize its lobby in the EU Parliament, looked foolish when the motley list of the parliament members signing the letter was closely examined: a Danish member who likes to sing Nazi songs and give the Nazi salute; a British Euro-skeptic who is a lesbian activist; the British Tory father of a journalist for the Rupert Murdoch-owned and scandal-plagued paper, The Sun; a Spanish neo-fascist and proud descendant of a notorious Spanish slave-trader; a British-Sri Lankan who represents the interests of the U.S. far right-wing Heritage Foundation and U.S. Republican Party in both Britain and the EU; a British Tory one-time scholar for the American far-right state-level American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) group; and a Polish member whose main interests in parliamentary committees include Israel and beer.
The sad facts are that, today, the fates of nations and aspirant peoples are no longer determined by tactful and seasoned diplomats but are left to the whims of charlatan politicians, movie performers, and unanswerable executives of NGOs that shill for multinational corporate interests. Diplomacy is not in the purview of modern-day Dag Hammarskjolds, Ralph Bunches, or Lester Pearsons but left to the devices of flirty Susan Rices, publicity-hungry George Clooneys, and circus act parliamentarians eager for their stipends of shekels from Jerusalem’s influence peddlers.