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Published on July 30th, 2014 | by Bill Burton
Image © 2013


The catch 22 of nation states

Nation states, a curious and outdated concept, are responsible for many of the problems prevalent in the world today. At least many of the problems on the news at 10. In most Western countries democracy comes through representation. People have limited sway over actual decisions, however big or small they are. Cliques of elite members of society are entrusted to act in the interests of the people. Yet what they represent is often far from the case. Vested interests in the form of corporations mainly but also nationalism and religion come forth to exert their greasy workings on the political system, often with dire consequences.

The missile attack enacted over Ukraine is full of mystery. Or at least it is mysterious to the general populace. Casting dispersion is rarely a suitable response to breaking news stories but in this case it seems appropriate. Russia’s increasingly anarchic debauchery combined with numerous sightings of missile propelling devices being ferried back across from the border must be treated with suspicion. Claiming Putin orchestrated the attack is step too far, though his control over Russian national affairs, the media and propensity for outrageous acts leaves the situation precariously balanced.

The international response has been tame. Calls from English statesman Nick Clegg for the World Cup to be moved from Russia were likely to have raised even a shrug inside the Kremlin. David Cameron has appeared stern and is very upset at this appalling act as if that is an interesting position to take. Cameron has blamed Russia indirectly for destabilising Ukraine which according to the causal nature of the universe seems appropriate. The EU will surely deliver some more inept sanctions. Germany and France are too connected, quite literally in terms of energy, and trade that they would be shooting themselves in the foot.

Globalisation has led to benefits too numerous to mention, albeit with quite large caveats attached. Yes the Western world can benefit from Russia’s vast energy reserves at very reasonable prices but in doing so they have to put up with their emotional baggage, which in Putin’s case is seemingly pretty large. The global reliance on oil means that random parts of the world happen to get very rich. The majority of Russian Oligarchs got rich through the privatisation of the energy companies following the fall of the USSR. What was supposed to be an even distribution ended up baring more resemblance to a ponzi scheme. To the detriment of ordinary Russian people they swan around the world buying yachts and football clubs only because oil and gas are worth money. Until major powers have either the will or a monetary alternative the Putin facade will be around for a while longer.

The situation in Israel is a similar example of elites acting in vested interests. America continues to prop up Israel with $3bn of subsidised killing machines every year. A combination of Zionist zeal and the geopolitical importance of having a strong ally in the Middle East leads to the freakish support of a nation who repeatedly uses state-authorised terrorism. Israel acts out of self-interest and attempting to build settlements affords them greater potential revenue in the future.

Recent fighting was started by the murder of three Israelis that was blamed on Palestinians with little evidence. The inevitable rockets from Gaza were fired, the constant barrage is blocked by the most sophisticated missile defence shield in the world. The Israeli military, 4th largest in the world, subsequently unleashed a savage attack on Gaza with thousands killed. Hamas is a shameful organisation that has negotiated poorly giving Israel an excuse for the repeated barrage – it has much blood on its hands. Still, not nearly as much as Israel, America and the rest of the world that fails to act after each crisis.

Continued obsession with national patriotism in the form of supporting the football team, opera singers or army will only lead to more problems. Economic and land led self-interest will never cease to cause problems. The international community should step in and remove the options from the Israeli national government and Hamas. It could be a superb example of when the EU and UN could be at their most effective. Going forward the less power that nation states have is surely in the interests of both peace and prosperity.

Until the significance of nations is removed, with larger more responsible bodies given more powers and devolved to regions the same problems will occur. It’s catch 22. Rich elites will continue to dictate wars along meaningless lines and ordinary citizens will pay the price. 

Please note that all blog posts do not represent the views of Catch21 but only of the individual writers. We also aim to be factually accurate and balanced across all content taken as a whole.

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About the Author

Graduated from the University of Leeds with a degree in Politics. Topics of interest include income inequality, drug law reform, domestic politics and US politics. @bilburt

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