Thursday, April 9, 2015

Time to Revive the Domino Theory?

Or should we be talking about ‘Go’, the ancient Chinese game whose goal is to have surrounded a larger total area of the board with one's stones than one’s opponent?
However we choose to characterize the stunning advance of ISIS across Syria and Iraq, or the criss-crossing web of associated and affiliated radical Islamist fighting and terrorist groups, it’s clear that the world game board looks like nothing that has hitherto existed.
Europe risks imploding as Greece’s progressive Prime Minister meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow after being rebuffed by Brussels over its debt, and by Germany, that was let off the hook for reparations to Greece after its occupation of that country during the Second World War.  While a month ago the fear was of a Greek ‘Grexit’ from the Euro, now the fear is that Moscow, backed by China, will step in to save Greece, setting a potentially serious precedent.
Explanations for this particular domino game lie mostly in the past: like Russia, Greece is an Eastern Orthodox country that has had a strong Communist presence for decades, and doesn’t see why its debt is more valid than that of Germany, which was forgiven by the international community after the war. While Angela Merkel entertains a special relationship with Moscow on behalf of her industrialists, she has managed to revive resentment of Germany in generations that were not even alive during World War II in a Greece that links Western Europe to Bulgaria - another Orthodox country - and Romania, both Russia’s neighbors around the Black Sea, risking serious cracks in Europe’s hitherto American-dominated ‘union’.
According to France 24 this morning, rather than lift sanctions on Greece that are part of Moscow’s retaliatory sanctions on European agricultural products, Vladimir Putin invited Greece to join the Turkish gas stream project that will bypass Ukraine to bring gas to Europe, bringing in a lot more money than would tomatoes.
Meanwhile, another game of dominos/go is being played out on the African continent between China and the US, while France, a former African colonial power, fights Islamists on several fronts, and in the Middle East, where American hegemony over precious oilfields is being eroded by ancient Shia/Sunni rivalries topped off with popular aspirations for reform/revolution.
Chess, anyone?


  1. Great piece, Deena. Perhaps we should dust off our copies of the UN Declaration of Human Rights -- and start living up to the better side of our humanity. We might just see the causes for expansionist ideologies, global realignments, non-stop warfare, and more, wither on the vine.

  2. Thank you Chuck for taking the time to comment. I hope you are right, but as my articles on the arrow of time here show, it is virtually impossible to reverse it. So the question is, how to live usefully in such a world?