Tuesday, June 22, 2010

"He may be a conciliator, but he is no moderate."

Neat article I stumbled on, courtesy of Istanbul Calling, about how Hamas is doing business. While the dude who writes it is a bit Doo Rah Gaza! for my tastes (I'm not sure how one describes Gaza City as "...a bustling and cosmopolitan downtown.") it's an interesting look into how a not-quite-country does business. They smuggle, they work with NGOs. They hide stuff in John Kerry's briefcase and hold up pictures of Erdogan. If they won't be treated as a real country, then there's no reason to go about your standard diplomacy. May as well get creative with it.

Gaza is probably a bad example, what with the loaded philosophical and essentialist questions of the place. But I just stumbled into some "Turkic Friendship Festival" thingy yesterday, and Bashkortostan was pimping the hell out of themselves. I considered myself a stan-expert, and I had no clue where that was...it turns out its a Republic within the Russian Federation...a minor thing they left entirely out of their materials at the festival. But they can keep on telling people that they're a real country until it actually comes true. Putting the Nation Branding before the Nation, as it were. Get Christopher Hitchens to write 800 words on your oppression or something.

On the same line, I love how the tunnels and insurance payments are brushed off as no big deal. Corruption is business. It's more than just "one hand washes the other," the entire system is built off of paying some dude because taxes aren't taken seriously. How can you fight corruption when corruption is the system? Yeah, sure, put some dudes behind bars. See how that solves anything. It seems to me that it makes no sense to punish the individuals at a state-system scale. It makes more sense to adjust the definition of corruption to fit local standards.

I'm hardly a libertarian, I don't think. But I like the creativity it affords. No sea trade? Build tunnels. No diplomats? Go guerrilla. No borders? Get expansive. And no matter what you do, get hooked up with the IHH.

We're living in a time where "International Standards" are just fences that self-appellated Legitimate Folks hide behind. They complain about the rules without even understanding what the rules are. As mentioned previously, I firmly hope that creativity and guile can win the day. Lets hope for Bashkordostan that they can.


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