Thursday, August 14, 2008

Involve The Separatists

A Union of Disputed Territories Of The World. That's what we need.

A week ago Russia crossed its border-line and invaded the country of Georgia, a small neighbor to the south that was once a member of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

They did so, they said, to prevent further violence by the Georgian government against Russian separatist minorities in Georgia's province of South Ossetia, which sits on the Georgia-Russia border. Video from South Ossetia confirming this has not yet appeared. However, the Georgian President has been a frequent visitor to American television news this week, as has an occasional Russian representative, explaining it all. The world awaits video from South Ossetia.

Tibet suffered loss of independence in a similar boundary dispute in the Nixon years.

The Georgian government appears to have gone overboard in the suppression of minority dissent. It appears to have hired a consultant who is also chief foreign policy advisor in the McCain campaign. Thinking it had gained traction, it then misinterpreted assertive barking from the Bush Administration as a promise to go to war with Russia if they crossed the line. Russia crossed the line. The US didn't go to war.

Another border region of Georgia, Abkhazia, also contains dissidents wanting independence from Georgia. Whether life under Putin's Russia is truly preferable for them may depend on how oppressive the government in faraway Tblisi becomes.

How far Russia wants to go in re-constructing the Soviet behemoth may concern the owners of the networks of pipelines that now traverse southern Georgia, bringing more than 500,000 barrels of oil a day from new Caspian oilfields to the Black Sea ports and Europe. There are many stakeholders in this system, and they may want to secure their perimeters.

Georgia's is scarcely the least stable boundary region in the world. Basque separatists in the Pyrenees, Uighur Separatists on the Chinese border, Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka, the Kashmir independence movement, and on and on. Political footballs. Border regions are in play.

Separatists are everywhere. Unrepresented in their own countries. Funded by the neighbors.

Why not bring them into the fold? Why do they want to be separatists? Why is it economic for them to be separatists? What could be changed that could make them want to be a part of their nation?

Where there is majority rule without the protection of minorities, even Democracy produces separatists. The strategy of majority rule must fit within an over-riding principle of equal protection.

Then everyone owns their government.

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