Spheres of Influence
Whose country is it anyway?
Russia invades Ukraine. It's war and war is horrible and devastating.
A proximate issue is that of "sphere of influence". Russia is claiming that the invasion is justified to prevent NATO/EU from moving Ukraine into its sphere of influence.
The world has many countries that claim spheres of influence.
EU/NATO is one.
The former Soviet Union is one too.
NAFTA represents another.
China's claim to the South China Sea and Taiwan is still another.
The old American Monroe Doctrine claimed all of the Americas to be an American sphere of influence.
These all are situations where one country claims dominance over other countries.
This is presented as somehow obvious.
It seems obvious to Americans that other countries should not do things in the Americas that the USA doesn't want them to do.
Canada is proud of being an independent country, but a part of the reason for that is that our interests are quite a bit aligned with those of the USA and so we don't get into conflict.
The relationship is not perfect by any means but if we tried to join a military alliance with Russia or China it probably wouldn't end well.
This is not a benign situation.
Canada is a sovereign country with a democratic government.
Supposedly we should be able to decide on our own who we want to be allied with and if one country is abusing us, why shouldn't we look for a better relationship elsewhere?
What this reveals perhaps is that our government is not as democratic as it seems.
It seems there is a layer of our society determines what a government can do that hides in plain sight
This is the layer that owns the means of production.
This is the layer that finances politicians.
This is the layer that finances the media and chooses what information to sell to the public.
This media control is very important because it sets what people think is normal.
I think the technical term for this layer is 'capitalists' but lately I've been thinking of them as oligarchs - people who think society should advance their personal interest.
In Russia we see the dictator Putin working on behalf of a network of oligarchs to maintain political and economic control. The situation is similar in many respects to our own.
I do have the impression that Russia has an extra dimension of being a mafia state. But guess where I get that information from - sigh
It seems that the Russian oligarchs think the capitalist oligarchs are pushing into their turf. A cursory look at recent history shows that this is objectively true.
The twist is that people prefer living in capitalist oligarchic society by quite a large measure.
The Ukrainian people had already booted a pro-Russian regime because of it's mafia type oppression.
So I see two influences at work here.
One is that we really are seeing a clash of oligarchs who are trying to seize territory for their own advantage and this is leading to war with all it's horror.
Horror made worse by a looming threat of nuclear war.
The other is that people really do like living in the kind of society the capitalist oligarchs create. This is an existential threat to mafia states.
And its a hint about further human progress. We have to deal with the problems that the capitalist oligarchs create.
Spheres of influence are often what gets left over when empires die. Ukraine has been part of the Russian empire going back hundreds of years Ukraine wants out.
I'd say that that's their right.
What do you think