Author : John E. Charalambakis
Date : July 20, 2016
Somewhere in the middle of the Pacific last weekend over dinner with Bob Zimmerman the lyrics of his song “A Series of Dreams” echoed in my ears. The attempted coup in Turkey was falling apart in the midst of geopolitical uncertainties from Asia (and the pertinent sea-related disputes in the South China Sea), the Middle East (Syria, ISIS, and the changing dynamics of internal politics within regional nations), and from the EU (and the Brexit-related issues), to the US (and the peculiar developments related to the November election).
As those uncertainties unfold, pillars of growth and development that have uplifted the fortunes of nations, families, and individuals (such as free movement of goods, capital, human resources, funds, technology, etc.) are being threatened by conspicuous politics that promise nothing short of a return to the dark ages.
This coming Monday July 26th marks the 60th anniversary of the Suez Canal crisis that changed the balance of international powers, marginalizing Great Britain and France who saw their influence in the world being dramatically reduced while the role of the US was advanced as the new superpower. Who can forget the miscalculations made by Britain and France which conspired with Israel in late October 1956 in order to take over the nationalized Suez Canal? And who can forget the US reaction that stopped that intrusion and put a stop to that nightmare/conspiracy?
The lyrics echoed in my ears:
I was thinking of a series of dreams
Where nothing comes up to the top
Everything stays down where it’s wounded
And comes to a permanent stop
Wasn’t thinking of anything specific
Like in a dream, when someone wakes up and screams
It is no accident that the US decision not to back its allies in their illegal actions established her as the superpower that has the will and the means to establish a geopolitical order that advanced prosperity, growth, freedom, and a middle class that is the cornerstone of any democracy. That radical move made by the US permanently marginalized the roles of the other powers in the Middle East. The US decision forced the resignation of Prime Minister Eden in the UK and had significant effect in French politics too. The unfortunate thing is that such brilliance is being threatened nowadays by brainless pronunciations and thoughtless policy plans.
And the song’s lyrics kept echoing:
Thinking of a series of dreams
Where the time and the tempo fly
And there’s no exit in any direction
‘Cept the one that you can’t see with your eyes
In 2015 another unfolding took place, in which France and Great Britain were involved again. It seems that the deal they had with Turkey to establish Sunistan and a pseudo-Kurdistan fell apart, and that turned the autocratic regime in Turkey into a wild machinery declaring war against its own Kurdish citizens, while sending millions of refugees into the EU. Turkey started blackmailing France and the EU. Citizens in the EU started reacting to the millions of Turkish-motivated flows of refugees. The bombings in Paris on November 13th, 2015 inflicted fear in the heart of Europe. At that moment France and the UK tried to pass resolution 2249 at the UN Security Council in order to appease Turkey (November 20th, 2015). However, it was again the US (supported this time by Russia) that altered the language of the resolution marginalizing once again their influence in the Syrian affairs. The publishing of pictures showing petroleum stolen by the terrorists being transported via Turkey’s territories portrays an image of a NATO ally that possibly betrays sacred causes. This time the Kurdish rebels mysteriously obtain weapons. The Turkish regime becomes even wilder. The fear in the heart of the EU was exacerbated with the Brussels terrorist attacks on March 22nd of this year.
The lyrics became louder:
Wasn’t making any great connection
Wasn’t falling for any intricate scheme
Nothing that would pass inspection
Just thinking of a series of dreams
Oh how I admire the marvelous scenery portrayed by Gustav Bauemfeind in the painting titled “A Street Scene, Damascus”. The painting which is part of the Shafik Gabr Collection http://eastwestdialogue.org/about/the-paintings/the-shafik-gabr-collection/
teaches us some great lessons about peaceful co-existence that builds up individuals, societies and advances their dreams of a life seeking to fulfill its ultimate potential. Trading takes place, dialogue flourishes, mobility is alive, and opportunities are sought-after.
Are we on the verge of losing that opportunity because of misguided and opportunistic politics?