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.
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.