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Political Frivolity (maybe)

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Friday, March 20, 2009

Tribal Conflicts vs. Nation Building

History is full of examples that should discourage any effort to build a nation in the image of western culture. Tribal warfare, to many perhaps, creates an image that only Hollywood could love. The reality is that tribal cultures have aggressively resisted outside intervention throughout history, and whether we are referring to the year 100 A.D. or 2008 A.D., the results are no different, with the exception of the U.S vs. American Indians.

For example: Delawares vs. Osage, Sioux vs. Chippewas, Shawnee vs. Iriquois, Shawnee vs. Cherokee vs. Catawbas, etc. These inter-tribal conflicts, for whatever reason, did not allow these tribes to upgrade their lifestyle for thousands of years. The ultimate fate of these tribes were decided by overwhelming force shown by the U.S. military, “Manifest Destiny”, and the only true “birth of a nation” in modern times. The United States is an historical aberration due to geographical isolation, mass immigration, historical timing, and limitless resources. Another time, another place could have yielded significantly different results.

Take a look at the Middle East and Africa: Sunnis vs. Shiites, Pashtuns vs. the Pakastanis, Hazara vs. Kuch nomads in Afghanistan, Kurds vs. Turks, you get the idea. In all of these scenarios, these tribal conflicts are ancient and unyielding. Did I mention Hutus vs. Tutsis, North African Arabs vs. East African Christians? These intertribal conflicts existed long before European colonization, which has been cited as a factor in African turmoil. Europeans would occupy, rape the country of natural resources, attempt a colonial type of government, and then get the hell out, again and again.

The point is that anywhere in the world, throughout history, tribal cultures continue to stagnate due to historical disagreements with regard to territory and/or religious differences. Outside intervention has not, and never will work. Woodrow Wilson carved up the Ottoman Empire after WWI as attempt to appease “oppressed” ethnic groups. Last time I checked, the Kurds and the Turks still hate each other.

The West has attempted to quell these conflicts through mediation, occupation, liberation, and outright warfare. You have to look no further than our current conflicts to make my point. The score today is West, “0”, Tribes, undefeated. It’s one thing to exact revenge, another to build a nation in our image that has no interest.

Did I mention The Hatfields vs. The McCoys?

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