While the Australian media is almost exclusively obsessed with the deaths of our own (notably broken down into 28 citizens and 8 permanent residents) and the adequacy of our government’s responses on the world stage, turning a global event into a navel-gazing exercise that serves to boost our knee-jerk xenophobia and parochialism and contributing nothing of substance that can enable us to contextualise the downing of MH17, other writers from around the globe are striving to provide in-depth analyses of the situation on the ground in the Ukraine. One article that provides some insight into the situation is journalist Wayne Madsen’s piece in Libya 360.
Madsen suggests that one possible if not likely suspect in the downing of MH17 is Ukrainian oligarch Ihol Kolomoisky. Of course evidence cannot be conflated with contextualisation and it is the latter that forms the substance of the piece. However, in-so-doing, Madsen alerts me to a matter of far greater concern than the whodunnit drama surrounding this latest atrocity. As Mary Kaldor so persuasively argues in New and Old Wars, contemporary warfare is no longer fought between nation states. What has emerged in the last few decades are wars fought within borders, wars that echo the civil wars of old where a group of separatists rose up in Che Guevara fashion to oust a government. Yet in a new war scenario, as seen too in Iraq and Syria, there is likely to be not one, but several if not many separatist factions (funded by overseas government and private interests), fighting amongst themselves as much as against the perceived state enemy. As Kaldor explains, these factions are comprised of regular military personnel, private militias, foreign mercenaries and local criminals and thugs. Each faction primarily concerned with seizing control of a city or town, terrorising its people, killing undesirables (intellectuals and humanitarian types) and engaging in ethnic cleansing.
Of course war has always been big business. Financiers of war (banks) make huge profits. But it used to be that banks loaned their funds to governments of nation states. These days another scenario exists in which banks finance corporations who then fund the private militias –themselves corporatised, and as this link shows, there is an alarming number of service providers. For example, Ukrainian oligarch Kolomoisky raised his own mercenary army, an army whose primary purpose is to serve the interests of Ukrainian gas and oil company Burisma Holdings. This example points to the emergence of a chillingly feudal scenario, echoing the age of pirates and privateers, as if time itself were in retrograde, catapulting humanity back about 400 years, on a trajectory that will surely down not just an international flight but democracy itself.
Which is why I get annoyed with Australian media, so annoyed that I have set aside the time it has taken me to write this blog piece.