"Men and nations behave wisely once they have exhausted all the other alternatives."
I remember a story of King Arthur as a boy learning about the world from Merlin. Merlin would turn the young Arthur, who he referred to as “Wart”, into various animals. On one occasion Wart was turned into a bird. As he flew around Camelot Merlin asked him
"Wart, why do we have wars?"
"Because someone attacks," responds the young King Arthur.
"That’s right. They do it for boundaries," adds the Merlin.
"You humans just don’t understand," retorts Archimedes the Owl. He jerks his head in disgust and shakes out the irritation by vibrating his feathers. "You’re always killing off your own blood for those silly boundaries. You’re no smarter than an ant. You don’t realize that MIGHT DOESN’T ALWAYS MAKE RIGHT."
Arthur looks over at Archimedes, squinting his eyes as all children do when they’re very confused. "What are boundaries?"
"Imaginary lines on the earth," responds Archimedes. "When you’re a bird those stupid lines don’t exist. Of course we protect our home territories, but we do it in a different manner. We posture and squawk, but we don’t have gang wars against our own kind, like humans do
"Archimedes has a good point. When you see from a higher perspective, there are no boundaries, and so there’s no reason for fighting," says the Merlin.
Boundaries are very reason nations can exist but there was a time that the known world was made up of “city states. In the exhibition now at the Metropolitan museum there is a look at Mesopotamia’s ”First Cities”. The exhibit is from the heart of civilization, the land between the Tigris and the Euphrates, now called Iraq. The land now being readied for Bush’s attempt at ”nation Building. It was from these city states that the first laws were written. The Greek city states are what the west has patterned our architecture and our very form of government on.
The current “boundaries between Iraq, Iran and Turkey are now going to be looked at allot closer and the Iraq, Turkey border is going to contested either now or in the near future. The real boundaries are ethnic and religious and they sweep across the borders with little real consideration to the various ”nations”.
It may be that the ancient system of city states is more appropriate to the current situation. Look at the party in power here in the states. They take the view that states rights are equal to or more important than the nation and they have a point. Each region has its own needs and rights. Could Iraq be more unified with regions (states) of like minded people who then come together to form a nation? Where does it say that all the people in Iraq have to be one ”people”?
Even in Europe nations formed late and regions within countries are more important that the whole. Italy only became a nation 1861 (17 March 1861, Kingdom of Italy proclaimed; Italy was not finally unified until 1870)
Secular Arabs, Sunni’s and Shii need not be put into one pot and stewed together. It may be an easier solution for Bush and his “nation builders” but it is ultimately not up to them.