Old News #5, Monday, June 8th 2015: Ill Alliances
Many of us have been educated to believe that international alliances are established for the greater good. I would agree that good things have come out of all of these alliances. But most certainly, there have been bad things as well.
NATO soldiers are guilty of abuse and sexual assault. The G8 hypocritically kicks Russia out and becomes the G7. The EU at best does not treat its member states equally. The “United” States of America leads us into unjust wars and slaughters its own people. One needs only to look at how these industrialized nations treat their citizens, their neighbors and their allies, and it becomes clear that the backward motives of profit and self-interest confound the proposed goals of international alliances, rendering them almost laughable.
I have said before that I do not believe in nations. All nations are separatists by nature. They surround themselves with borders, armies, treaties and sanctions. So it’s funny to me when these individualistic entities gather together to shake hands, call each other friend, pat each other on the back and claim that they are “in this together.”
Recently the G7 met in Germany, a nation that has always been a mix of cultures despite the prevailing idea that it is not. So the media is buzzing with details about the relationship between President Obama and Chancellor Merkel. It’s interesting that Obama and Merkel are supposedly very close, almost to the point of being confidants, but do not entirely trust each other. As the leaders of two of the strongest nations in the world, both of which are part of several alliances together, they are officially unified, but occasionally butt heads, like when Edward Snowden exposed the NSA’s spying on Merkel’s cell phone.
It is easy to get caught up in the drama between Obama and Merkel. They both have interesting personalities. Merkel apparently does a really good impersonation of President Putin, and Obama is not afraid of making jokes at his own expense–even about lederhosen. But when either one of them talks about the moral need for sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine while promoting unfair trade deals and wars of invasion, I can’t help but laugh.
The irony of alliances is that they are self-serving. Weak nations ally themselves with stronger ones to get stronger. Strong nations ally themselves with rivals or weaker nations to gain access to resources. Every little thing they do is based on the motive of self-interest, so once it is no longer worth it, alliances end, as we can see with the sanctions on Russia. Of course, Russia is not an enemy to the so-called West, but it is a cipher and therefore, a threat. The sanctions are obviously hypocritical, and the behavior of the national leaders involved is cliquish, making them seem more like teenagers than adults.
I believe that the root cause of the problem of international alliances is their internal organization. They are made up of nations, “in it” for themselves. Any alliance based on self-interest is set up to fail. The only solution to their problems is to reject the archaic idea of nationality and organize based on what they claim to support in the first place–the greater good.
It might sound naive or like an over-simplification, but often the best solutions are simple ones. No matter how much a nation or group of nations claims to support the greater good, organizing people based on borders and trade agreements will always divide rather than unite. The language we use to refer to these “others” may sound positive–partners, allies, even friends–but they belie the inherent “us versus them” principle of nations.
So, while I think that it is admirable on paper that we have trade agreements, treaties and alliances, those unions are weak, self-serving and unbalanced at best. If an alliance claims to support the greater good, but only supports the greater good for some of us, then that alliance is doomed to be parasitic rather than symbiotic. And that’s just wrong.