Is there an emerging geopolitical alignment?

L’affaire Snowden has become a sort of Rorschach test for nation states, as have several recent international incidents. The Russia vs. Georgia spat back in the Bush years comes to mind. It’s almost as if you could take a map of the world and color the countries based on reactions to events. Maybe I’m overfitting the data, but sometimes it seems like the patterns of “alignment” are predictable and recurring. If (God forbid) there’s such a thing as World War III, I get the feeling we already more or less know the map in terms of “allied” vs. “axis.” I suppose the relevant question is “allied to what?”

The most nationalistic and trigger-happy element of American public opinion, of course, is increasingly assertive about framing everything in almost Merovingian terms, as a clash of civilizations between ChristenDOM (which I assume is why we call some of these reactionaries DOMinionists), and that Bush-era neologism, “Islamofascism.” This is probably a fair characterization of that part of the allied-axis front that is the Ethiopia-Somalia border, or Armenia-Azerbaijan. But what about Colombia-Ecuador or Colombia-Venezuela? With Venezuela (at least before the passing of the late Hugo Chavez) making overtures to Iran, perhaps the Colombia-Venezuela border is a Merovingian battle line in some sense.

By Jascha Goltermann [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Colombia has been spiraling deeper and deeper into the vortex of client statehood due in large part to the War On (some) Drugs. For a while I thought WOsD was a major factor in the emerging pattern of global alignment. Certainly it’s a major factor in US aggressionveness in Afghanistan. But Portugal is easily the least hawkish state when it comes to WOsD, and has recently (at least according to speculation and rumor) made its “sovereign” airspace an issue concerning a certain stateless person in transit. Maybe it’s the exception that proves the rule. Maybe I really have been overfitting the data. Maybe it’s just an example of small countries not really being entitled to an opinion in our Westphalian World in which, in theory, all nations are equally sovereign.

We are living in interesting times.

About n8chz

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3 Responses to Is there an emerging geopolitical alignment?

  1. Maduro’s sheltering Snowden gives the MICFiC one more reason to back a coup against him – giving Snowden asylum is a solidarious act, but puts Venezuela at a bit more risk.

    I had hoped that Iceland would grant Snowden citizenship, but have read recently that such an act is made less likely due to fear by some that it would negatively impact their economy (by pissing off their export customers).

    It’s hard to make predictions, especially about the future.

  2. Poor Richard says:

    IMO WWIII will include civil wars, often with more than two factions, within many existing states concurrent with international conflicts. So there will be alliances and hostilities both within and across national boundaries. Both alliances and hostilities will be based on a wide variety of factors from geography to class to religion. What we see in places like Syria may ultimately spread to the whole world.

    As this goes on, perhaps for hundreds of years, there may be a global resorting of populations according to various affinities and identities–and in the end the geopolitical map may be completely redrawn.

    Hopefully the new world order won’t be a global corporatocracy, but it very well might be.

  3. Pingback: WWIII | Poor Richard's Almanack 2.0

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