Do miracles exist in international relations?

Published 23.10.2019 15:32
Updated 20.12.2019 01:11

While nobody thought it was still possible, a last-minute deal has been concocted between the U.K. and the EU. Against all odds, Boris Johnson has secured a more accommodating deal for the “hard frontier” in Ireland, which could have saved the day. That was the miracle.

Westminster rejected it, plainly... First by voting against a "no-deal" Brexit, then through his flamboyant speaker, not allowing for the umpteenth time voting on the same deal which had already been rejected a number of times. That was the reality of the miraculous developments.

It is hard to believe, but the United Kingdom has become a battlefield between the proponents of direct democracy (the Brexiteers) and the supporters of representative democracy (Westminster). The EU 27, whose patience is running thin, is observing the developments in the U.K. We shall probably soon see an ultimate extension of the Brexit deadline. In the meantime, a cohort of Brexit Party members of Parliaments insulted the European Parliament by calling the EU a “new Third Reich.” Further delaying Brexit will not decrease reciprocal enmity and growing hatred.

Turkey has started a large-scale military operation in northern Syria, to establish a safe zone for displaced Syrian civilians. The basic idea was to create a safe haven for those who would wish to return to their homeland. With the U.S. administration helping the PKK-affiliated People's Protection Units (YPG), the PKK thought that a “Kurdish Autonomous Region” would be viable.

The trouble is nobody wanted such an exclusive zone, except the Democratic Union Party (PYD) itself. In a sudden volte-face, U.S. President Donald Trump agreed on Turkish troops to “clean” this zone, abandoned by the regime to the separatist movement a few years ago.

The YPG/PYD (or whatever continuously changing acronyms the PKK uses) did not have any chance of taking on the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) on the open field, without air cover.

At this point, after a few days of advancing into Syrian territory, the TSK was told to pause. The U.S. managed to get, from the Turkish presidency, a limited period of time of 120 hours to allow YPG combatants to retreat voluntarily.

The PKK high command located in the Qandil mountains in northern Iraq asked the combatants to keep their positions and resist (and ultimately be killed, so they can use their “martyrdom” for political purposes). It did not really work, as nobody wants to die for a lost cause and the U.S. mediation created an almost miraculous exit for the YPG.

At the time this article was written, the pause in the operation was still on. Let us hope that a miracle will continue and no further casualties will be caused. But already, the zombie regime of Bashar Assad, without a proper army, without tangible popular support, despite having committed atrocities after atrocities, is poised to remain in place with whatever political solution will be found.

Both Russia and Iran will dominate the future Syria, at least in the medium term. There is no miracle to be expected from this side. Turkey will be perhaps better understood in the end, but for the time being, having shown our military might and having won the war in northern Syria does not mean that our tarnished image has gotten any better.

Lebanon was a peculiar democratic country, made up of different religious communities whose coexistence had been possible since the civil war, which started in 1974. Since then, the history of this beautiful, tiny but important country has been a succession of armed conflicts, invasions, divisions, terror, failed governments and state structures.

For the first time, a miraculous uprising has occurred in Beirut and other big cities of Lebanon. People of all faiths and origins have come together, descended onto the streets and protested as responsible citizens against the corruption and ineptitude of the governing elite. It looks very much like the French May 1968 revolts, with the blunt rejection of government shenanigans.

The same popular uprisings are happening in Hong Kong, whose young generation has only just come to understand how life would be under the authority of the People’s Republic of China, and who are showing their despair and rejection of it.

Similarly, there are uprisings in Chile against the economic and financial mismanagement of the government. There is a miraculous protest wave steadily emerging all over the world against the neoliberal order, against authoritarianism, against the absence of democracy.

People protest peacefully at first but it often turns into violent clashes with security forces. We shall see what would be the translation of such miraculous reactions into reality. One thing is for certain, our paradigms have to change and fast.

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