In 1989, there was an interesting moment for those who were in the map business. Almost overnight, it seemed almost as if the entire Eurasian continent would require a reorganization and renaming. For those at Rand McNally , the midnight lamps were burning as new countries popped up daily as free standing entities – Estonia and Moldova; Montenegro and Georgia; Slovenia and Slovakia; Armenia and Azerbaijan; Russia and the Ukraine. An enormous re-ordering of the world occurred peaceably as the two great powers, the United States and the Soviet Union stood down to allow it to happen without major bloodshed. A new world order was declared – a world in which the principles of free choice, self determination, peaceful cohesion and global interconnectiveness would overwhelm tired old tribalism and cultural malevolence.
Well, the new world order did not last long, and it may be time to get those map makers busy again.
There’s a new technique being used to subvert international order and territorial integrity and it basically requires producing a map and finding men with masks to enforce it.
Charles Kupchan, former Professor at Georgetown and current Senior White House Director of European Relations for the Obama Administration, and one of the mentors for the President’s shall we say interesting interpretation of history, has defined this new technique as ‘hybrid warfare’ :
“Because I think one of the things that we’ve learned from the situation in Ukraine is that oftentimes in this new world that we live in, NATO or individual countries may be facing not armored columns coming across their border, which you can usually see in advance, but guys coming across in masks, you don’t know who they are — what we could call hybrid warfare, or asymmetric warfare. And that requires a very different kind of military response than NATO has traditionally been focused on.”
Charles Kupchan is the author of the book “No One’s World: the West, the Rising Rest, and the Coming Global Turn” in which he sees the West – meaning the US, Europe and Japan – in a position of irreversible decline and the need to deal with a world where no one will be ‘in charge’. This administration is well on its way to making Dr. Kupchan’s vision a reality.
These men in masks seem to have a proclivity to ignore international borders, and part of their technique is to suggest the border has no validity. You do that by getting a map the reorders the border – thus the sudden existence of Novorossiya (or New Russia) – a country President Putin is referring to as spontaneously existing, and therefore the need for a map:
We seen this pattern in the recent past in another conflict: Masked Men
And a Map of the Caliphate they assume will be theirs:
So what’s with the masks? The masks are a device to allow the anonymity of not just the warriors but their nation sponsors. These so called hybrid warriors as Kupchan would have us believe spontaneously form have no desire to be recognized for what they are – shock troops for the countries that want to see maps changed in their favor. Masked men who hide their nationality and their identity allow free transition between borders and the ability for countries to provide them with sophisticated weaponry and support. These shock troops allow the Irans, Qatars, Saudi Arabias, and Russias of the world to engage in proxy war that otherwise would position them as old fashioned pariahs and might even engage an old fashioned response from the part of the world that is self absorbed in self induced decline.
The United Nations Charter of which of the above aforementioned are member states, pledges in Chapter I Article 2 of the United Nations Charter:
All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.
That charter of course doesn’t matter if you can get the map to say a new territorial reality is present, and you have masked men to enforce it.
This is a very dangerous game that countries like Russia are playing, and it is awakening people from the political spectrum one would think would be the last to respond. The President of the United States however is still formulating a strategy that will permit the progressive decline of the West without him being perceived as directly responsible for its destruction. That’s a balancing act we have not seen him showing the high wire skills necessary to pull off. Then again, the United States has a border, a southern border, that the administration is loathe to enforce territorial integrity over. It won’t be long before we see our own masked men. And they’ll probably be carrying a map: