Divide & Conquer
Order out of chaos
Europe before World War I
The Treaty of Versailles amputated a number of regions from Germany, and Eastern Prussia was isolated from the rest of the German territory. Meanwhile, the Treaties of Saint-Germain-en-Laye and of Trianon put an end to the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Many regions were lost and Austria and Hungary, their territory substantially reduced, became two separate nations. ... Recognizing the right to 'national self-determination', as stated in the "Fourteen Points" outlined by President Wilson of the United States, the treaties created independent states for minority populations previously part of the fallen empires. In northern Europe were created Finland and the Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Poland, which had disappeared at the end of the 18th century, was reconstituted. Then two new multi-national states were created: Czechoslovakia for the Northern Slavs (Czechs and Slovaks); and Yugoslavia for the Southern Slavs (Slovenians, Croats and Serbs).
Europe after World War I
Plans for far-reaching changes in the character of international society are an intellectual by-product of all great wars.
Churchill and Stalin were more intent on dividing Europe into zones of political influence than in addressing military considerations. Germany would be divided into four zones of occupation administered by the three major powers and France and was to be thoroughly demilitarized and its war criminals brought to trial. The Soviets were to administer those European countries they liberated but promised to hold free elections. The British and Americans would oversee the transition to democracy in countries such as Italy, Austria, and Greece.
Europe in 1950
The dismemberment and mutilation of Yugoslavia was part of a concerted policy initiated by the United States and the other Western powers in 1989. Yugoslavia was the one country in Eastern Europe that would not voluntarily overthrow what remained of its socialist system and install a free-market economic order. In fact, Yugoslavs were proud of their postwar economic development and of their independence from both the Warsaw Pact and NATO. The U.S. goal has been to transform the Yugoslav nation into a Third-World region...
The stark truth is that the U.S. really has no intentions of helping to build strong states in the Middle East or elsewhere. Rather, as we see time and again — e.g., in Yugoslavia, Sudan, Libya, Yemen, Syria, Somalia, Ukraine — the goal of U.S. foreign policy, whether stated or not, is increasingly and more aggressively the destruction and balkanization of independent states.
In the late 1990s NATO dropped bombs and supported armed insurgencies in Yugoslavia while insisting that its motives were purely humanitarian and that its only goal was peace. However, George Szamuely argues that NATO interventions actually prolonged conflicts, heightened enmity, increased casualties, and fueled demands for more interventions.
The Middle East around 1900
Over a period of decades, and especially in recent years, Britain and the U.S. have consciously manipulated tensions in the region and have masterfully set into motion sequences of events leading to the Iraqi invasions. The purpose of these manipulations was to increase power and control over middle eastern governments and their oil resources by elite U.S. and British interests.
Sykes and Picot were quintessential "empire men". Both were aristocrats, seasoned in colonial administration, and crucially believers in the notion that the people of the region would be better off under the European empires. Both men also had intimate knowledge of the Middle East. The key tenets of the agreement they had negotiated in relative haste amidst the turmoil of the World War One continue to influence the region to this day.
The Middle East in 1990
Following the absorption of the Ottoman Empire after World War I, the British set about shoring up their rule by the tried and true strategy of pitting ethnic group against ethnic group, tribe against tribe, and religion against religion. When British Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour issued his famous 1917 Declaration guaranteeing a "homeland" for the Jewish people in Palestine, he was less concerned with righting a two thousand year old wrong than creating divisions that would serve growing British interests in the Middle East. ... Sir Ronald Storrs, the first Governor of Jerusalem, certainly had no illusions about what a " Jewish homeland" in Palestine meant for the British Empire: "It will form for England," he said, "a little loyal Jewish Ulster in a sea of potentially hostile Arabism."
United States puts up with defiance from Israel that it wouldn't tolerate from other client states, but we should remember that U.S. policymakers don't make decisions based on humanitarian grounds. They want to extend and deepen, or at least maintain U.S. power, and those policymakers believe Israel is useful in that regard.