has written a very important essay, one that tackles an issue of major importance for today's foreign policy and America's near future:
What do Libya, Somalia, Yemen, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan have in common? Although it’s true that the United States has conducted recent military interventions in all of them, the more fundamental answer is that they are all artificial countries. That is, they are each made up of feuding ethno-sectarian groups or tribes.
And perhaps the instability caused by those realities has been a beacon for the American superpower’s imperial attention. Of course, solving all of these countries’ “issues” would probably not stop the United States government from finding chaos elsewhere to police, thus continuing to squander tens of billions of its taxpayers’ dollars. However, resolving the conflicts in those nations would likely help the war-ravaged peoples who live there.
In the long-term, to deal with such quarrels–which are usually caused by ethnic, sectarian, or tribal clashes—one needs either to address the underlying causes so that the various peoples can live together or to move toward a separation of warring groups and political decentralization.
Eland is addressing American foreign policy, and he's saying that instead of backing big, centralized foreign governments, the US should encourage ethnic groups seeking self-determination - as Eland points out, it's the proven path to peace. Good fences make good neighbors.
But I think we need to consider Eland's points in view of our own domestic policies as well, specifically, immigration. As the Senate considers passing an amnesty scheme, it might be a good time to think about what such a move would do to our long-term stability.
Sociologist Robert Putnam has already researched the real-world effects of diversity on a society's political health. In a paper entitled "E Pluribus Unum: Diversity and Community in the Twenty-first Century," Putnam documented the following negative results of increased diversity
- Lower confidence in local government, local leaders and the local news media.
- Lower political efficacy – that is, confidence in one's own influence.
- Lower frequency of registering to vote, but more interest and knowledge about politics and more participation in protest marches and social reform groups.
- Higher political advocacy, but lower expectations that it will bring about a desirable result.
- Less expectation that others will cooperate to solve dilemmas of collective action (e.g., voluntary conservation to ease a water or energy shortage).
The problem is that our own out-of-control central government is not only encouraging greater diversity, but actively opposing local governments
trying to halt illegal immigration. The ONLY solution, then, is implied in Eland's article, that decentralization - that is, local self-determination - is essential to stability and peace.