The Financial Times, New York Times and BBC increasingly report stories about growing conflicts between Fourth World nations and powerful states like the United States, Britain and Russia. Reports that the United States military will expand its covert operations in the Pashtun tribal areas of Pakistan, NATO’s war against Pashtun forces in Afghanistan, British interventions in Kenya to tamp down conflicts between angry tribal peoples upset over a stolen government election, American military forces surreptitiously in Nigeria’s oil rich Delta Region taking on Ijawa forces while Russia’s state owned Gasprom meets in Ajuba to offer money that will give Russia control over oil in Ijawa, Igbo and Ogoni territories speak loudly about how Fourth World nations are on the front-lines of violent conflicts.
Pakistan is a classic example of a state essentially defined by the presence of Fourth World nations where military forces from the United States threaten violent confrontations. The Pashtun in the so-called tribal areas are the target. But a US intervention will cause an explosion of nations that will make Afghanistan and Iraq look small. The Pashtun, Baluchis, Sindhis and Punjabis were patched together to form Pakistan…a mistake to be sure. These peoples required totally different political options than the formation of a single state.
Russia is making a similar mistake by attempting to grab oil reserves in Nigeria’s Igbo, Ogoni and Igawa south threatening to control a major resources and contribute to destabilization in Fourth World nations. Playing a oil money game in an already highly unstable environment promises to contribute to greater violence there by inserting yet another state into the conflict between Nigeria’s government and these nations.
The United States complains about its security as a rational for intervening in Pakistan and the Pashtun territories. Russia greedily reaches for control over oil to block US, EU, Indian and Chinese oil interests…threatening further destabilization.
Confrontations between state governments and Fourth World nations isn’t new. Virtually every state with nations inside attempt to use centralized state control to manipulate Fourth World peoples…witness Kenya. What is increasingly new is the intervention of external states in direct confrontations with Fourth World nations. The United States government is in the lead of such outside interventions in Afghanistan, the Philippines, Colombia, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Iraq just to name a few. External interventions to directly confront Fourth World nations appears to be stimulating a major part of the US government military realignment suggesting that we will see more violent confrontations involving conventional military forces from the United States, Russia, China and India in Fourth World territories.
What are these violent confrontations increasingly about? Control over land and industrially precious resources like oil, diamonds, and minerals, inside Fourth World territories is the central issue. Fourth World nation’s seeking to freely determine their own political future is a secondary rational for violent attacks. The “war on terror” is transmogrifying into widening violent confrontations between states and Fourth World nations.
This is not necessary, but the military budgets of powerful states fire the fever. The biggest military in the world–the United States–is foremost among violent forces aiming to confront Fourth World nations. As I have suggested on numerous occasions before, states need a Fourth World policy aimed at peaceful relations and non-violent political transformation. Less military and more diplomacy is necessary. States need to train their diplomats to understand the Fourth World. Fourth World nations need to train their diplomats and political leaders to more effectively deal with states’ governments.
Escalation of violence is not the answer, but I fear that those with the guns will not listen.
(c) 2008 Center for World Indigenous Studies
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