Thursday, February 20, 2014

WWI State of Mind

Continuing from this post: EU is the result of WWII industrial destruction, its states saw the destructive power of the second wave, and conciously chose to depend on eachother, diluting the effect of eachother's bureucracies.

From this angle where do other states fit in?

Let's say.. Israel? We used to say "Israel is not a Middle Eastern country, it is a European country which happens to be in Middle East". Snappy isnt it? Well, when it comes to its people's technical knowledge, its culture, democracy, this is still true. However Israel did not take the WWII message that other European states did. The message European Jews received from WWII was: "if you do not have your own nation-state, then terrible stuff happens to you". I dont know why but this always reminds of the famous Beavis and Butthead Clinton episode; in the ep Butthead says "... but if you do have a pass, then the president of US will kiss your butt". So Israelis since WWII built a nation-state at the same time it was going out of fashion in Europe, with its own nationalism exactly along the lines described by Gellner. Israel did not dilute state power, did not try to battle with cultural delusions, in fact did just the opposite. They conquered landmass, expanded, and as a result, they do not enjoy amicable relations with their neighbors. Instead of exporting democracy, bureucratic dependency, science and technology (which its neighbors badly need) they export uncertainty, suspicion, and negative energy.

Turkey is another example that did not get the WWII message. Here is a country that took itself out of the big-war-scene right after WWI, so it (thankfully in a way) did not live through WWII's immense desctruction. TR had never properly industrialized anyway, so its rulers never witnessed first-hand how brutal second wave war-machine could be. You can see and read this about stuff, but experiencing that in-your-bones defeat? That's different.

What would such a country do?

Or, let's ask another question, what did European states do right after WWI? At this point they had still had not received the bigger message yet. The conclusion was, there was some loss, we got our clock cleaned a little but we kicked some ass. We could do better next time. Let's build bigger states, bigger machines, bigger bombs. Let's try that one more time.

Turkey is still in this state of mind. It is still stuck at a point where it is readying  itself for WWII. Its defunct state ideology, the mentality of its rulers point to this. TR defunct state thinking still tries to "unite" using handpicked historical, sometimes racial, and cultural elements exactly as Gellner describes. It writes, rewrites history thinking people are too stupid to know the reality. It tries to build bigger, stronger state and has territorial ambitions. Its rulers still have not evolved to the point where they see the state as a necessary evil, they see it something magical and sometimes deify it.

What happened to Armenians and how TR state sees it is directly related to this. Armenians, to their detriment, are a WWI loss. Holocaust, a WWII loss, could not be denied because its acceptance was part of a larger bitchslap that everyone in Europe received. It is part of that collective understanding that begged everyone to see second-wave's dark side.

Once could argue against this saying that, "but can't nations have their own path, TR or Israel will go their own path, why is EU experience unique or special or (now) better?". But there is such a thing as optimality. The present, ever-expanding, "known known" is Third Wave, you are either compatible with it, or you arent. EU is more compatible with the postmodern age. US is almost there, but as the victor of WWII, it did not properly get the message either. After all, this is a country who had a sitting President who got on TV and warned everyone about military-industrial-complex which ironically he helped build. That machine's precise reason for being was fighting WWII. And later another US President called the [big] government (that he was managing) as not [a] solution, but a problem on its own. Huh?

Russia, another WWII victor, and related problems IMHO.