PART I: Identity Federalism: From “E Pluribus Unum” To “E Unum Pluribus”
The US markets itself as having an inclusive identity that’s capable of uniting its many disparate parts into a singular whole. Its unofficial motto, “E Pluribus Unum”, proudly proclaims that “out of many, one”, further signifying that this ideal functions as a cornerstone of the American ideology. In what makes for a very peculiar case of ideological doublethink, while the US insists on exporting its “democratic” model abroad, it hypocritically employs a calculated pick-and-choose approach to which countries should retain the “E Pluribus Unum” domestic identity component of its system and which should incorporate the “E Unum Pluribus” geostrategic innovation.
The latter phrase translates to “out of one, many”, and it’s the polar opposite of the way that the US internally runs its affairs. Instead of a strong and centralized governing authority (whether unitary of federal) that holds the state together, the “E Unum Pluribus” method takes internal differences to the extreme and promotes the ‘compromise solution’ of Identity Federalism, usually achieved after a Western-provoked civil war. In practice, this looks a lot like Bosnia, and it leads to an equally dysfunctional and fractured federal whole. The US selectively supports the establishment of broadly independent and loosely connected federal statelets in geostrategic countries that it has an interest in perpetually weakening, expecting that this model might even set off a “grassroots” (externally supported) domino effect in some regional spaces.
Part I of the research begins by explaining the nature of Identity Federalism and its relationship to Hybrid War, detailing what is meant by “E Unum Pluribus” and shedding insight into its nuanced interrelations. Part II then addresses a handful of case studies pertinent to the topic, including the two instances where the latest version of Identity Federalism is being applied and the four most geostrategically significant states where the US is presently pursuing it. Finally, Part III elaborates on why the US is so strongly against Identity Federalism in Spain and Ukraine, before concluding with a forecast about its practical application in the North American unipolar core and the threat that this poses to the existing US establishment.
Enhancing The Hybrid War
The concept of Identity Federalism is key to the US’ foreign policy designs in the post-1991 world order, becoming even more important in the era of the New Cold War. The US is currently engaged in waging and planning a variety of Hybrid Wars across the world, but the author’s conception of this strategy is vastly different than what the mainstream media believes it to be. His 2015 book on the topic describes Hybrid War as being the phased continuum of Color Revolution and Unconventional War destabilizations for regime change ends, and his forthcoming sequel to it is focusing on the global applications of this approach. “The Law Of Hybrid War”, the prospective title of the aforementioned research, elaborates on its namesake by explaining that:
“The grand objective behind every Hybrid War is to disrupt multipolar transnational connective infrastructure projects through externally provoked identity conflicts (ethnic, religious, regional, political, etc.) within a targeted transit state.”
The planned unrest is organized, provoked, and guided by utilizing the following six socio-political factors of identity separateness within the forthcoming victimized state:
* socio-economic disparity
* administrative boundaries
* physical geography
The objective is not necessarily to always overthrow the government, but simply to create enough of a major disturbance that the targeted multipolar transnational connective infrastructure project is no longer viable, whether this means the indefinite suspension or outright cancellation of a prospective one or the decommissioning of an erstwhile active one. More often than not, regime change is the simplest way to achieve this, hence why it’s most easily manufactured scenario – a Color Revolution – is typically the first one to be deployed. Sometimes it runs into difficulty and doesn’t succeed in its strategic goal, which is why the trend has recently been to viciously transition this failed first attempt into a more effective but less easily organized Unconventional War.
Identity Federalism’s place in Hybrid War is two-fold – (1) it provides an appealing vision around which identity-separate anti-government groups could gravitate in forming a tactical front to coordinate their regime change action; and (2) it functions as a ‘compromise solution’ just short of regime change, whereby the government ‘saves face’ by retaining power after coming to partial terms with the anti-government movement, but sacrifices administrative control over the geostrategic territory that the aggressive foreign power had lusted after. In this sense, Identity Federalism is the perfect complement to Hybrid War, as it can be used not only as a unifying recruitment tool for escalating the regime change conflict, but ironically also as a de-escalation mechanism for settling a stalemate while still preserving the interfering power’s geostrategic gains.
The Fine Line Between Identity Federalism And Conventional Federalism
If a state is forced to implement Identity Federalism, then the hitherto unitary or conventionally federalized country becomes administratively divided along one or more of the earlier cited socio-political factors of separateness, with the more overlap and incidences between them leading to an exponentially weaker entity. Belgium and Bosnia are examples of devolved Identity Federations that were created out of completely separate historical circumstances, and which also internally differ from their more conventionalized and cohesive counterparts in the US, Germany, and Russia. In both cases, however, these two countries are only federally divided into two separate regions, thus relatively mitigating the potential for Hobbesian divide-and-rule conflict within them but by no means precluding a clash between the competing parts. The US, Germany, and Russia are divided into many more units, but the identity differences between each are not as pronounced as within the earlier cited Identity Federations, although they too have the potential for their hitherto mildly separate differences to dramatically widen in the event of emergently distinctive identity agitation.
The precepts of Identity Federalism that the work is henceforth referring to are more immediately applicable for understanding the cutting-edge multilateral models that have been rolled out for testing in South Sudan and Nepal and are presently being pursued in others, whereby the entire country splits into a kaleidoscope of identity-separate federalized entities. This is unlike the situation in Russia which only has some autonomous units, and it’s also different from the largely identity-homogenous federalized states that characterize the US and Germany. Conventional federations selectively decentralize various rights and responsibilities to their constituent elements in the absence of carrying out devolution, whereas Identity Federations devolve alongside their decentralizations. Nevertheless, most of the insight contained in the subsequent research is also relevant to conventional federations, the Identity Federations of Belgium and Bosnia, and others similarly like them because their existing political structure inherently makes them vulnerable to proceeding along a similar path under various natural or manufactured circumstances. Also, presently unitary states such as Syria, the Republic of Macedonia, and Myanmar are at risk of externally supported Identity Federalism for the geostrategic reasons that were elaborated upon earlier, thereby expanding the research’s relevant functionality and making it applicable to the entire world.
Having gotten the necessary qualifiers out of the way, it’s now time to proceed with explaining the nature of Identity Federalism. The implementation of this internal framework fractures the state into quasi-independent statelets that make the entire federal structure pseudo-independent in whole, with each individual part having potentially more de-facto sovereignty in administering their fiefdom’s affairs than the central authorities do over the full territory that they’re de-jure responsible for. A previously unified state is thus torn apart into a checkerboard of territorial scraps where all the federal pieces (not just the singularly unitary or conventionally federal one like before) are theoretically in play for all Great Powers to compete over, thereby replacing bilateral state-to-state relations with direct interactions between states and statelets. This new template of engagement amounts to nothing more than implicit international acceptance of the “warlordization” of the Identity Federalized state, which remains unified in name only solely out of the manufactured internal and/or external conditions that have been imposed upon it.
In the multifaceted identity complexity that characterizes most non-Western states, the adaptation of this model would likely result in the majority of the federalized fiefdoms being unable to realistically support themselves if they ever achieved full independence. This is because the interfering power(s) is/are likely interested principally in a specific geostrategic and/or geo-economic area of the targeted state that delivers access to envisioned transit routes or labor and/or natural resource wealth. Accordingly, these envied spaces within the targeted unitary state could theoretically provide for themselves in the economic sense by capitalizing off of their privileged advantage(s), whereas the remaining less-important federal constituents would either be tied more closely to the central authority and/or become dependent on the strings-attached patronization of the same and/or separate foreign party. Another reason why the loyalty of each federal entity is so highly sought after is because they have a chance at influencing the affairs of the entire country via their position in the national legislature. Federalized units typically have representation within the governing center that their autonomous counterparts in other administrative constructions lack, thus giving their patrons a stake in pan-federative affairs and opening up the prospects that they can expand their influence beyond their current proxy holdings and into other rivals’ fiefdoms.
The Sovereignty Continuum
The federal fracturing that results from this arrangement produces unique internal and external dynamics for the central authority and the various federal statelets, especially when measured in terms of the sovereignty continuum. To elaborate, this concept holds that all states have either a unitary, autonomous, or federalized composition before experiencing secessionism, and that there is a generally unidirectional domestic progression within them that moves along the following continuum:
Unitary à Autonomous à Federalized à Secessionism
This process may not be naturally occurring, and in most cases it requires the involvement of an external interfering state that employs various instruments such as NGOs in order to provoke and/or guide selected domestic elements in agitating for certain scenarios. It’s possible, whether with or without foreign manipulation, for a unitary state to experience secessionism from a territory that has neither been granted autonomy nor federal status, just as it’s possible for the unitary state to become federalized without first experiencing various internal autonomies. Identity Federalism fits into this model by being the most extreme manifestation of federalism and representing the point right before an outright (multisided) secessionist crisis could break out, which in that case would existentially endanger the nature of the state and place it but one step away from the threat of formal dissolution.
It’s possible for a state to revert backwards along the continuum, but not only is this exceptionally rare, but it often runs the strong risk of prompting a crisis either immediately afterwards or sometime in the future. The pattern is that the central authority typically issues a unilateral announcement that’s enforced by the threat or use of superior military resources, but the historical memory of administrative separateness can later be used as the grounds for sparking a Hybrid War, as was the case in both Eritrea and the Province of Kosovo after Ethiopia and Yugoslavia (Serbia), respectively, rescinded these aforementioned territories’ privileges. As a general rule of thumb, once a state advances along the sovereignty continuum, there’s no peaceful way to go back, which is why most governments fight tooth and nail in doing whatever they can to prevent this from happening and even sometimes resorting to bloodshed like in the recent case of Ukraine (which will be discussed in Part III).
In terms of the Identity Federalized country’s internal relations, most of the geostrategic and geo-economic federal fiefdoms that were created by the interfering government(s) function as undeclared secessionist states, all but legally independent from the central governing authority. As regards the other federal units whose conception was either unplanned or of lesser importance to the external architects of the Identity Federalization project, they can either emulate their geostrategic and geo-economic counterparts by coming under the tutelage of the interfering government, its allies, and/or its rivals for whatever reason it may be, or turn out to resemble autonomous states due to their disproportionate dependence on the federal center.
Concerning the federal government, it will inevitably come under the sponsorship of one or a couple of actors that provide it with subsidies, donations, foreign aid, and general assistance in seeking to ingratiate themselves with the legally recognized pan-federative power, no matter how objectively weak its influence may be over some or all of its constituent units. These supportive actors are motivated by self-interested reasons, wanting to either gain a foothold in the fragmented state which they hadn’t earlier been able to seize amidst their rivals’ race for the scraps, or intent on helping the de-jure national government revive its control over most or the rest of the federalized fiefdoms in order to restore the pre-Identity Federalism domestic and international model that had earlier prevailed.
The Normative Paradox
Identity Federalism and secessionism in and of themselves are not necessarily negative or destabilizing developments, it’s just that they become so when they’re harnessed as strategic weapons by a foreign power (which in most instances is the US). The litmus test for deciding whether or not a given Identity Federalist or secessionist proposal is “good” or “bad” rests on the historical circumstances in which they’re made and whether or not one side or the other received external assistance prior to or at the onset of the crisis. Particularly, this is in regards to whether the Identity Federalist- or secessionist-proclaiming group was acting as a proxy on behalf of another state or if the reactionary authorities received support from abroad in cracking down on a legitimately grassroots movement. All of this is relevant only to the initial conditions at or before the conflict, since it’s a given that the resultant security dilemma and the geopolitics of the New Cold War will lead to the involvement of other foreign actors after the initial red line has been crossed by an aggressive interfering party.
Considering everything that’s been described thus far, the Normative Paradox is as follows:
When an external actor supports an Identity Federalist or secessionist movement, then most central governments meet the prerequisite of gaining normative support in justifying their militantly reactive unifying actions; likewise, when an external actor supports the militantly reactive unifying actions of a central government, then most Identity Federalist or secessionist movements meet the prerequisite of gaining normative support in justifying their political cause.
It should be emphasized once more that the Normative Paradox is entirely dependent on the conflict’s initial conditions, particularly in terms of which side the interfering foreign actor supports. Their destabilizing involvement in the domestic affairs of a sovereign state can quickly set off a chain reaction of counter-responses by their geopolitical rivals, escalating what otherwise should have been an internal issue into an international crisis. High-profile examples of this can be seen on both sides of the Paradox, whether it’s in normative support to Identity Federalists and/or secessionists or to the central governments that are cracking down on such movements.
Concerning the former, the US provided copious back-end military support to Tbilisi prior to Saakashvili’s invasion of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which thereby invalidated any normative support that the Georgian government may have claimed to have in the conflict and correspondingly granted it to the victimized nations that it attacked. Similarly, the US orchestrated the urban terrorism of EuroMaidan and the consequent coup in Kiev, afterwards egging on the hyper-nationalist ‘authorities’ to ethnically purge the country of Russians. This pushed the citizens of Crimea to hold a referendum and reunify with Russia, and it also led the people of Donbass to revolt against the Western-imposed central government. In both instances, the Identity Federalist-secessionists have complete normative legitimacy, while Kiev has none whatsoever because the US’ support for it was the whole reason why the conflict erupted in the first place.
On the other side of the Paradox, the US has supported regime change and ethno-regional separatist and/or Identity Federalizing elements in Syria, Pakistan, and Myanmar, for but a few of the examples that immediately come to mind, and in each one, the responding Great Powers have been totally justified in aiding their partners’ militantly reactive unifying actions. Russia and Iran’s multisectoral assistance to the democratically elected and legitimate government of Syria is predicated on the fact that it’s fighting against an American-organized regime change attempt, no matter if it was originally disguised as a “democratic uprising’ prior to revealing its true terrorist nature. China’s support to Pakistan and (formerly to) Myanmar is similar, except that each of them have been responding more to ethno-regional separatist and Identity Federalizing forces than to outright regime change actors, although the line between the two can often be blurred. The salient commonality that all of these cases share is that the country in question has been targeted by some form of asymmetrical American aggression, which thus makes it a victimized state and wholly legitimizes its responsive efforts and whatever supportive measures its allies choose to partake in.
The emergence of Identity Federalism in any particular state is the result of exacerbated identity tensions within it, often following a phased continuum of escalation that mirrors the pattern of Hybrid War. In order for Identity Federalism to even have a chance at being implemented, there need to be objectively recognizable on-the-ground factors that at least superficially justify it, ergo the six aforementioned indicators of ethnic, religious, historical, socio-economic, administrative, and geographic separateness. Any one of these factors or combination thereof are incorporated into the first phase of Identity Federalism, whereby an information campaign is launched to raise awareness about the specific distinctiveness of the selected identity relative to its national composite whole. This step and those that come after it can either be initiated organically or through the support of a foreign patron, which in the latter case, no matter at which planning point the external actor decides to proactively interfere (i.e. at the very beginning or right at the onset of the physical destabilization), invalidates the cause and turns it into a proxy instrument of political influence that typically provokes a justified response by its rival(s).
The information campaign that precedes the hostilities doesn’t necessarily have to agitate for Identity Federalism right away, but merely for increased domestic and international recognition of the said interest group’s separateness. This can be carried out by individual activists, “NGOs” (whether legitimate grassroots ones or foreign intelligence agency front groups), and/or alternative and conventional media, typically in accordance with the pre-Color Revolution hierarchical model that the author illustrated in an earlier analysis. The objective at this point is to socially precondition the targeted audience into accepting that the stated demographic is entitled to a different set of political-administrative standards than the rest of the country, the specifics of which vary depending on the individual case, as does the anticipated (and adaptable) timeframe for implementation.
With the example of Belgium being perhaps the only exception (and that being solely because of external pressures on it), Identity Federalism (especially its multilateral component like in South Sudan) is typically instituted after a period of heightened political and physical conflict, with one gradually phasing into the other just as Color Revolutions phase into Unconventional Wars. It’s here where the Hybrid War paradigm proves itself the most accurate model capable of describing these processes since the aforementioned escalatory pattern is completely in sync with its precepts. Additionally, it was previously stated that Identity Federalism can be strategically proffered as the ‘compromise solution’ at any given conflict phase (informational-political, Color Revolution, and Unconventional War), and it’s through this manner in which it can ultimately be applied as a ‘face saving’ technique on behalf of the beleaguered government. This accordingly confirms that Identity Federalism and regime change are two sides of the same external inference coin, with either of them being capable of phased implementation at any point that’s considered most tactically convenient, thereby demonstrating the adaptive flexibility that differentiates this ‘compromise solution’ from any other.
Depending on the region that it’s implemented in, and especially in the case of it being the result of external foreign interference in a given state’s affairs, Identity Federalism can come to represent the latest expression of Fifth Generation Warfare, or in other words the weaponization of previously non-militant actors and processes (e.g. Color Revolution “protesters” and “Weapons of Mass Migration”). Under certain conditions, it can become a type of structural virus that infects other states with a similar internal composition, much like how the US-engineered “Spring of Nations” set off a regime change chain reaction in Eastern Europe and the “Arab Spring” theater-wide Color Revolution did something similar in the Mideast. The militant devolution of previously unified and cohesive states (whether unitary, autonomous, or already federalized) forges post-modern entities that cease to function as singularly integrated units, which could predictably lead to the formation of a ‘black hole’ of governance that results in all or part of the resultant polity turning into a breeding ground for region-sweeping chaotic processes.
In many areas of the world, primarily post-colonial states marked by a rich diversity of pronounced multi-variable identity differences, the introduction of Identity Federalism is one of the most regionally disruptive events that can occur in the context of the New Cold War. As was explained earlier, it’s typically preceded by a Hybrid War, which itself is extremely destabilizing, but the post-conflict ‘compromise solution’ of Identity Federalism creates a strong institutional effect that can negatively impact on the similarly identity-diverse surrounding states. To draw an historical parallel, Identity Federalism in certain geostrategic states has the same domino potential in the New Cold War as the emergence of a pro-US or pro-Soviet government in a key region during the Old Cold War, with both instances having the possibility of catalyzing a regionally disruptive chain reaction in their given locales. Strategically speaking, this could be either favorable or unfavorable to the promotion of American foreign policy, thus leading to the creation of two categories of Identity Federalism scenarios; those that the US is encouraging, and those that it’s adamantly against.
PART II: Identity Federalism: From “E Pluribus Unum” To “E Unum Pluribus”
(Please read Part I prior to this article)
Identity Federalism can be harnessed as a geostrategic weapon of Fifth Generation Warfare, and there are a variety of applications in which it can further American foreign policy. The follow sections detail the two Identity Federalism projects that are formally in progress and the four in which it hopes to one day see this policy implemented.
Projects In Progress
There are presently two Identity Federalism projects that have officially been agreed to by their respective governments and four which the US is eagerly working towards. The two practical cases of multilateral Identity Federalism thus far are in South Sudan and Nepal, both of which are exceptionally rich in ethno-regional identities, have just emerged from a vicious Hybrid War, and are located at crucial geostrategic junctures. The structural virus that has been unleashed in both of their regions is expected to be weaponized for export against their neighbors. South Sudan’s Identity Federalism symbolically demonstrates the ‘compromise solution’ around which Sudan and Ethiopia’s plethora of ethno-regional identity rebels could unite.
Not only could this shared post-conflict vision help them temporarily put aside their differences in gathering into a more coordinated and effective fighting front, but the inherent destabilization that Identity Federalism will bring to the territory of South Sudan could create advantageous conditions in which these said rebels could find safe havens, training bases, recruits, and arms that help bolster their anti-government capabilities.
Sudan and Ethiopia are important targets for the US’ Hybrid War strategy because both of them are instrumental components of China’s African outreach policy. Sudan is a necessary transit state for South Sudanese oil and has been a Chinese ally for the past couple of decades (thus giving Beijing pivot influence in both the Mideast and North/East Africa), whereas Ethiopia is one of China’s closest strategic partners on the continent, and the soon-to-be-completed Djibouti-Addis Ababa railroad that Beijing financed is shaping up to be a “Horn of Africa Silk Road”. Destabilizing both of these countries is clearly in the interests of the US as it seeks to undermine China’s global potential in the New Cold War.
The regional strategic designs related to Nepal’s Identity Federalism are slightly different than they are for South Sudan. While the US obviously hopes to see such a system implemented in China, it knows that it’s extremely improbable that this will ever happen, let alone through a ‘demonstration effect’ from a country as tiny and easily ‘cordoned off’ as Nepal. The real target in this case is actually India, which has a much closer relationship with Nepal via a long history of civilizational, political, and economic links.
Nearly 300 million people live in the Indian states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar that are directly south of Nepal, and the porous border between them as well as the multiple transnational links that tie each of these entities and people together create a near-perfect situation in which certain types of Nepali destabilizations can more easily spread into India. The goal is for these two significant states to join together with the Northeast “Seven Sisters” in agitating for a major revision of the Indian political system, be it through the creation of individual identity-based states for each demographic (as has been progressively unfolding in the Northeast since independence) or an outright push for Identity Federalism.
Up to this point, such objectives were only pursued by Northeastern separatists (whether independent-minded secessionists or those interested in their own union territory), but if this ideological sentiment can breach the Siliguri ‘containment corridor’ and ‘infect’ the much larger, diverse, and more nationally significant states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, then it could quickly lead to a national crisis. It’s in this particular context that Nepal is useful in catalyzing such sentiment west of the Siliguri Corridor and attempting to popularize it in the identity diverse states of ‘geographically mainstream’ India, such as the areas that Sikh nationalists envision as forming “Khalistan” for example. Should this trend catch on, then it would risk unravelling the hitherto domestic political unity that India has so painstakingly sought to sustain, and New Delhi might find itself compelled to move past its occasional decentralization tactics (e.g. the creation of new states) and towards selective devolution to various ethno-regionally identifying autonomous and/or federative units.
From the American perspective, the internal pressure that this would put on India could place it in a position to more readily accede to the US’ strategic dictates vis-à-vis the New Cold War and “containing China”. It’s especially telling that many Western NGOs are active in Nepal and have been pushing for precisely the type of Identity Federalizing processes that might one day spill over the border, as has been revealed by the late investigative researcher Arun Shrivastava.
Connecting the pieces and identifying the American hand that’s behind Nepal’s Identity Federalist devolution, it’s reasonable to conclude that Washington might seek to leverage its influence over events there in exchange for striking a strategic deal with New Delhi, the latter of which might quickly come to terms with recognizing the administratively existential threat that could soon emanate from its American-influenced northern neighbor. Whereas some in the Ministry of External Affairs may have earlier thought that they could exploit Terai separatism and Identity Federalism in Nepal to their own advantage, it’s likely that they’ll come around to realizing that they unwittingly opened a Pandora’s Box of chaos that the US had planted for them, which could then make them much more susceptible to the type of geopolitical blackmail that Washington is aiming for.
The strategy that the US is pursuing in Myanmar is very closely related to the one that it’s advancing in Nepal, albeit the Southeast Asian scenario is still much further behind the one that’s being formalized in the Himalayas. Myanmar has been fighting the world’s longest-running civil war, although hostilities have largely ceased over the past couple of years, especially after the military signed a Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement with over half of the main ethno-regional rebel groups. The pro-Western Suu Kyi government that just recently won a landslide in the latest elections has been intimating that it wants to seek a ‘federal solution’ to the conflict and might likely propose Identity Federalism as a result.
The US has a strategic interest in seeing the country’s civil war divisions institutionalized through the creation of quasi-independent statelets, which would then allow it and its allies to leapfrog directly into the Kachin and Shan interior as part of their efforts to “contain China” right along its southern mainland border area. Identity-rich Yunan Province is also ripe for Hybrid War potential along a similar (albeit situationally modified) line as Tibet and Xinjiang are, and it could one day become a third front for Western interference into China’s sovereign affairs (not counting the ongoing political subterfuge in Hong Kong). The potential for this scenario drastically increases if the US and its allies are able to set up centers of influence projection in the forthcoming Identity Federalized units along the Myanmar-China border (Kachin and Shan States).
Corresponding to the regional strategic similarities between Nepal’s Identity Federalism and what looks to be its imminent imposition in Myanmar, both cases are aligned against India’s interests. While Nepal’s model targets the Indian states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, Myanmar’s could create an enticing precedent that might encourage the diverse rebels in India’s Northeast to band together in fighting for something similar in their home region. The United Liberation Front of Western South East Asia (UNLFW) already brings together 15 separate groups under its banner, but it has yet to articulate an all-inclusive political vision for what it hopes to attain after the central authorities are defeated. That could change if Myanmar adapts Identity Federalism and the UNLFW picks this up as its rallying cry for the Northeast.
Another possible factor is the Naga Self-Administered Zone in Sagiang Region might receive even more autonomy within the Identity Federalist framework, which could turn it into rear base that the UNLFW could use in training their cadre and planning attacks on Indian soil. This scenario could obstruct India’s ASEAN Highway (formally the “Trilateral Highway”) that it seeks to build through Myanmar and Thailand, thereby putting its Act East policy under the geopolitical blackmail potential of the US. In turn, Washington, using the leverage that it has over the Suu Kyi government in Myanmar and whatever intelligence contacts that it has with the country’s various rebel groups, could apply this dual track of state and non-state influence to pressure New Delhi into joining the “Chinese Containment Coalition” that it’s building in the region.
If India goes along with this geostrategic construct, then it would escalate tensions with China and lead to the unravelling of BRICS and the SCO, along with sparking an intensified Asian Cold War between New Delhi and Beijing to complement the one that already exists between Beijing and Tokyo. Undoubtedly, these are scenarios that the US hopes to actualize in the coming future, no matter which way it goes about doing so, but Hybrid War and resultant Identity Federalism in India’s Nepali and Myanmar periphery could indirectly function as the most effective ways in furthering these grand strategic objectives.
The Republic of Macedonia:
This tiny Balkan country is the vital chokepoint through which Balkan Stream and the Balkan Silk Road must pass, which is the reason why it was already been targeted for Hybrid War destabilization last year and might very well face a second renewed round of disturbances during the upcoming early elections that are tentatively scheduled for April. The author wrote extensively about the latter scenario in a recent interview with Macedonian media, but it basically boils down to the US desperately staging another Color Revolution attempt in a last-ditch effort to save its “opposition” proxy in the country. Should that fail, then there’s the very real potential that the regime change movement will quickly transition into an Unconventional War through the involvement of Albanian terrorists, just as was supposed to happen last time around before they were preemptively stopped by the state’s security services.
The threat of “Greater Albania” looms heavy over Skopje because around a quarter of the country’s population is ethnic Albanian and resides in close proximity to the international border, meaning that they’re theoretically susceptible to a “Kosovo”-like call for terroristic ethno-religious separatism. Moreover, it’s obvious that the regime change operation would be coordinated out of Tirana and the US’ Camp Bondsteel, both of which could provide numerous mercenaries to fuel their planned insurgency. If they’re successful in misleading local Albanians into joining them, and especially in the event that they coordinate their actions alongside the Color Revolution agitators, then Macedonia could immediately be thrown into a nasty Hybrid War.
Per the aforementioned conditions, Skopje would have to decisively defeat the terrorists at the start of their campaign in order to prevent them from digging into the mountainous borderland with Albania and the NATO-occupied Serbian Province of Kosovo, which in that case would give them direct and continuous access to their patrons’ material and physical support networks. It’s here where the Color Revolution aspect of the Hybrid War scenario could work in bogging down the security forces and distracting them from what otherwise would be a unified focus on targeting the terrorists. The totally separate nature of the tactical objectives that would have to be concurrently pursued in such highly fluid situational environments could make it challenging to restore order right away, thereby providing an advantageous inroad to one or another of the complementary Hybrid War actors. More than likely, however, the government could more easily contain and/or deal with the Color Revolution scenario than it could the Unconventional Warfare one, meaning that if any strategic stalemate ends up settling in, then it would likely be between the central government and the western periphery for the reasons that were just described.
Nevertheless, regardless of which Hybrid War actor succeeds in stalemating the situation or outright winning, the end result of Identity Federalism would still be the same. The US will not support formal Albanian irredentism over Macedonia, but nor does it appear to have any plans to unilaterally recognize the Albanian-populated portions as an independent country. If it did either of these two, then it wouldn’t be able to leverage its hegemonic influence over the eastern part of the country through which Russia and China’s pan-regional projects are expected to pass. Identity Federalism, however, would allow what would by then be the quasi-independent Albanian-populated portion of Macedonia to still retain a negotiated amount of influence over the rest of the country. The ethnic Macedonians might begrudgingly agree to this as part of a ‘compromise solution’ which places Skopje under their federative zone or redefines it as an area of joint administration with the Albanians. If the central government retained control over the capital during the prior hostilities, then the former scenario would be attractive in order to nominally retain national unity; however, if Albanian fighters were successful in seizing part or all of the city, then the latter scenario might be the best deal that they could hope for.
Concerning the Color Revolution movement, “opposition” leader Zoran Zaev and his political allies have previously said that they would consider ways in which the provisions of the Ohrid Agreement could be radically enhanced beyond their intended interpretation, which has been understood to be an allusion to Identity Federalism. As a background, the legislation in question brought an end to the violent US-supported Albanian insurgency that raged in parts of Macedonia during 2001, which itself was a predictable regional consequence of NATO’s 1999 War on Yugoslavia. The deal mandated that the Albanian minority be given proportional representation in parliament and that laws dealing with local political, financial, and identity affairs anywhere throughout the country cannot be passed without a majority of their politicians supporting it. As a result, this has essentially bestowed 12.5% of the legislature (half the number of ethnic Albanian representatives as enforced by the Ohrid Agreement) with de-facto veto privileges over the rest of the government on these issues. Zaev’s personal motivation in publicly flirting with the federalist topic, other than following instructions from his patrons, is that he hopes that this will encourage extreme Albanian elements (both within the country and abroad) to support his Color Revolution plans via a synchronized Unconventional War. The implicit understanding is that he would afterwards ‘reward’ them for their ‘service’ by unilaterally granting them a de-facto independent statelet, which would also satisfy the US’ strategic vision that was earlier described.
One of the other planned Identity Federalist projects that the US envisions is in the borderland between Syria and Iraq, the area that’s presently occupied by Daesh. The author and his colleague wrote an in-depth report in mid-October detailing the geostrategic interests that the US has in seeing a transnational sub-state “Sunnistan” rise in the center of the region. To concisely summarize, if a quasi-independent identity-shared entity were to be formed in eastern Syria and western Iraq, then it could allow for the facilitation of the long-cherished unipolar dream to extend a Qatari gas pipeline to Turkey and onwards to the EU. Not only that, but the Identity Federalism that would have to be in place in each of the two targeted states would also lead to the creation of similarly sovereign entities throughout the rest of their territory, for example, a Kurdish transnational federative unit and a Shia one in southern Iraq.
The centripetal forces that would be unleashed through this process would also impact on Turkey and Saudi Arabia, perhaps allowing for the eventual fulfillment of Ralph Peters’ decade-old “Blood Borders” scenario. While it may seem strange at this moment to forecast the US actively working towards the destabilization and eventual dismemberment of two of its closest allies (whether formally or via Identity Federalism), the changing geopolitical nature of the Mideast and the US’ relative decline in influence there vis-à-vis Russia’s anti-terrorist intervention might lead to some American strategists eventually finding the Blood Borders scenario quite appealing. They could ‘reasonably’ reckon that Washington’s greatest power play would be to participate in geopolitical “scorched earth” tactics that turn the region into a checkerboard of statelets that could strategically be competed over by the various powers, understanding that it’s unlikely that the US will ever return to exercising full hegemony over most of its territorial units again and wanting to deprive its rivals (Russia, China, and Iran) of filling that role for it.
Africa’s most populous country and its largest economy is also one of its chief energy exporters. It currently sells large amounts of oil but also has the tantalizing possibility of using its control over the continent’s largest natural gas reserves to become an even more crucial player in the global LNG market than it already is. Nigeria is presently divided in geopolitical allegiance between the US and China, making it the greatest prize in the New Cold War’s African battleground. The US attains to acquire predominant influence over Abuja’s affairs, but failing that, it has no qualms about practicing a Mideast-style “scorched earth” policy of shattering the country into a disconnected constellation of Identity Federalized (or outright independent) statelets. Such a scenario is the only surefire way to mitigate the benefits that China receives from its strategic partnership with the country. The newly reconstituted Nigeria (if it even remains as one formally unified state by that point) would be in a much weaker position than before and its energy exporting terminals might fall into disrepair and disuse just as Libya’s currently are if a Hobbesian conflict erupts between its disparate units.
Ever since independence, Nigeria has been progressively decentralizing its conventional federation into a plethora of identity-based states, and it now appears to be on the cusp of an all-out devolution into Identity Federalism. Boko Haram’s terrorist insurgency in the north has been extremely damaging for national unity and has destabilized the surrounding provinces in the area. Worst still, it has fostered a fear of Muslims and the people in the north in general among the Christians that largely reside in the south of the country. The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), which sprung up in the latter and looks intent to revive Biafra separatism, could dangerously return the country to civil war and plunge it into the center of a manufactured “clash of civilizations” scenario between Christians and Muslims. The concurrent threats posed by Boko Haram and MEND bode very negatively for Nigeria’s future and could create the conditions for a ‘compromise solution’ of Identity Federalism in the event that hostilities commence between these two radically identity-separate militant groups. This is even more so if they eventually lead to a multifaceted civil war in which Boko Haram, MEND, and the federal government are all fighting against one another.
The end result of Nigeria’s intense internal conflict would be that it becomes a much less dependable and unified partner for China, thus stymying its infrastructure and energy advancements in the continent’s most populous state and placing it at a relative disadvantage when compared to the US. Washington is less dependent on Nigeria in all ways when compared to Beijing, so its destabilization wouldn’t impact that negatively on its grand strategy, let alone its vision for Africa. In fact, the outbreak of Identity Federalism in Nigeria or the full secessionism of one of its defining geographic areas (Muslim north or Christian south, in this case) could actually be a long-term strategic goal that the US would want to see occur, since this self-destructive process could conceivably spread throughout the rest of the continent and adapt itself to the particularities of each state’s domestic situation.
China needs African unity now more than ever as it seeks to capitalize on its multilateral partners’ macro-economic potential in providing a destination for the type of outbound investment that the Great Power so desperately requires in order to sustain its growth rates (and tangentially ensure domestic stability). Identity Federalized states with varying levels of central authority over their disparate ethno-regional units are unreliable partners for the grand transnational connective infrastructure projects that Beijing has envisioned for the continent (especially in East Africa), so their inception would subvert China’s goals and weaken its entire global standing with time. Relatively speaking, this would obviously place the US at an advantage, especially if it’s able to embed its influence in or near a critical Identity Federalized transit state through which one of China’s projects may pass, which in that case would give Washington geopolitical blackmail potential over Beijing.
PART III: Identity Federalism: From “E Pluribus Unum” To “E Unum Pluribus”
(Please read Part I and Part II prior to this article)
Contrary to the geopolitical benefits that the US hopes to acquire from the advancement of Identity Federalism in certain states, there are also some areas of the world in which its purposeful or incidental occurrence could represent a disastrous defeat for its grand strategy. These are the two key European states of Spain and Ukraine, and the unipolar bastion of North America.
One of the cornerstones of US policy towards Eurasia is the exercise hegemonic control over a NATO-occupied Europe, promoting its ever-increasing institutional integration through the EU while simultaneously beholding it to its cross-Atlantic patron via the complementary triad components of NATO and the TTIP. All the while, Washington wants to keep Brussels in a subserviently weakened position so that it can never independently express its natural geopolitical instincts in pragmatically tightening its cooperation with the trans-Eurasian connective cores of Russia and China. In flexibly adapting to various circumstances (especially those in the present day), the US has a back-up plan to canonize a Polish-led “Intermarum” project that would act as an anti-Russian “cordon sanitaire” stretching from the Arctic Coast of Scandinavia to the Eastern Mediterranean shores of Turkey. The objective of this entity would be to prevent a possible Western European rapprochement with Russia, but which nevertheless would critically seek to retain the formal institutional (EU/NATO) unity of the larger Euro-Atlantic proxy that the US has constructed throughout the course of over the past 60 years. If the neo-colonial integrational progress that has been made throughout this time period is undermined in any substantial way, then the entire hegemonic arrangement would be a lot more difficult to coordinate and would run the risk of imploding.
It’s through this strategic context that one can better understand the overall debilitating effects that Identity Federalism in Spain and/or Ukraine would have for the entire Euro-Atlantic project as a whole. A very loose federal structure in these peripheral states would weaken the supra-national influence that the EU and NATO hold over both of them (with Ukraine essentially being an unofficial junior member of each). Additionally, it could also set an institutional precedent that other similarly positioned demographics could agitate for, such as the Scots in the UK, Corsicans in France, Northern Italians in Italy, Bavarians in Germany, Silesians in Poland, and/or the Hungarians in Romania. This is one of the reasons why Brussels and Washington are so uncompromisingly opposed to Catalonian independence, but they’re likewise just as equally against an Identity Federal solution to the Kingdom’s domestic owes on the exact same grounds. With Ukraine, the situation is very similar, although it has more New Cold War overtones to it. The US wants to maximize its influence over all of “unitary” Ukraine, and it’s not willing to ‘cede’ any square inch of influence to Russia outside of Donbass in any prospective Identity Federalized state. However, given the intricacies of Identity Federalism, it would be impossible for the US and its allies to fully control all of the other constituent federalized parts that would naturally be created under such a framework, especially around Odessa, so they don’t have any eagerness to see it implemented when they already hold sway over most of the country’s territory as it is now.
To return back to the Identity Federalization of Spain, this could weaken the country to the point where it’s institutionally powerless to defend itself and the rest of Europe from any forthcoming immigration wave that could emanate out of a post-Bouteflika Algeria, especially in the event that a successionist crisis there triggers a civil war that eventually involves Daesh. The aforementioned influx of civilizationally dissimilar immigrants might come to be the given trigger for starting the Identity Federalization process in the first place, which in that case would imply an interconnection of geopolitical fates between the Iberian Peninsula and its cross-strait North African neighbors. While the US is cynically interested in keeping Western Europe in a state of perpetual Color Revolution tension to prevent its pragmatic cooperation with Russia and China (the idea of which is explained in full during one of the author’s earlier interviews on the topic), it seems extremely unlikely at this point that it would purposefully deploy another “Weapon of Mass Migration” to do so, as this would obviously be uncontrollable (especially if activated concurrently with the one targeting the Balkan Corridor) and would probably lead to the EU’s full institutional collapse and total existential revision. So long as the entire EU’s strategic utility is still somewhat salvageable for the US (being solidly under its control at this moment and far from precarious), then it won’t risk carrying out a “scorched earth” tactic in destroying it that might also unwittingly endanger the Intermarum project. However, this is exactly what might happen if a conflict organically breaks out in Algeria or the US loses control of a Hybrid War scheme there.
North American Forecast
The US’ unofficial mantra of “E Pluribus Unum”, or what could otherwise be understood as identity unity, is selectively applied only in areas where it’s most strategically convenient to do so (i.e. Spain, Ukraine), whereas all other places have the potential of falling victim to the divide-and-rule policy of “E Unum Pluribus”, which the research has forecast will more regularly take the form of Identity Federalism in the coming years. Washington’s more popular promotion of “E Unum Pluribus” stands in stark contravention to the way that it administers its own internal affairs, hypocritically demonstrating a striking double standard whereby the militant export of its ‘democratic’ model habitually omits this key component. This calculated ruse is predicated on obvious strategic considerations, illustrating that the US has an inherent understanding of the destabilizing consequences of Identity Federalism. Being comprised of a plurality of identity groups itself, the US knows perhaps better than any other country the dangers that ‘democratically driven’ Identity Federalism could pose to the cohesive unity of diversely populated states, which explains why it imposes a “national security” (police) state over its citizens and so aggressively targets all grassroots advocates that seek to reform the federal government’s powers in any substantial capacity.
The ‘Forbidden’ Topic:
Further research into the applicable prospects of Identity Federalism within the US and its Canadian and Mexican neighbors is certainly warranted, although the conclusions reached would assuredly be rendered “politically incorrect” in these countries because of their focus on racial, religious, regional, and other variables of identity separateness. While many studies have undoubtedly been carried out about identity differences within those states, they haven’t (publicly) crossed the threshold into pairing their findings with how this impacts on the potential for reforming the respective country’s internal political administration, which is why anyone who does so runs the predictable risk of having their work labeled as “seditious” and consequently a “national security threat”. For these reasons, the study would have to be conducted by knowledgeable researchers from abroad so as to spare them of the political repercussions that would result from their work if they were based in North America, but that only confirms the unparalleled strategic importance that such a project would entail.
Just like Color Revolutions, Unconventional Wars, and Hybrid Wars, Identity Federalism is yet another strategic weapon that could eventually boomerang back against its American creator, whether directly advocated inside its borders via any of these aforementioned means or indirectly promoted through the demonstrational and situational impact that its implementation in Canada and/or Mexico would result in. The threat that the traditional US establishment feels from Identity Federalism and its pursuit through the interlinked political technologies of Color Revolutions, Unconventional Wars, and Hybrid Wars underline why it has so frantically sought to construct the “national security” (police) state since the end of the Old Cold War. The federal elites aren’t necessarily afraid of a foreign power utilizing these techniques to pursue these ends (accurately predicting that American people would resist such a push purely out of patriotic principles), but are fearful that their own citizenry, drunk on the state-sponsored ideology of “democracy” and unaware of its cynically controlling purposes, might one day feel emboldened enough to do so instead.
The Achilles’ Heel Of Unipolarity:
Objectively speaking, a grassroots movement towards Identity Federalism and “E Unum Pluribus” might actually be the Achilles’ heel in undermining the US’ hegemonic position across the world. A coordinated attempt at pursuing this, especially one which ironically incorporates US-originated publicly available information about Color Revolutions, Unconventional Wars, and Hybrid Wars, could have the potential to substantially upend the US’ hitherto taken-for-granted internal stability, whether by its success or merely its attempt. It’s already been explained how the success of Identity Federalism could achieve this, but its active promotion in the US could also do so simply by prompting a state-on-civilian crackdown. The larger, more public, and physically concentrated that the movement is at the time of the government assault, the more likely it is to result in some sort of collateral physical damage, whether through the injuring and/or death of the involved activists and/or responding state forces (be they local police, national guard, and/or federal agents).
Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter, And The Militias:
There’s always the possibility that these unpredictable encounters could rapidly lead to a cascading chain of chaotic events that escape the government’s control, hence why it’s lately tread very carefully in responding to all sorts of domestic disturbances, be they “Occupy Wall Street”, the “Black Lives Matter” riots, or the Nevada and Oregon standoffs, among others. The last resort is always a brutal military dispersal like the one carried out in 1993 Waco, but that’s exactly the type of scenario that the government is keen to avoid for as long as possible, especially in the event that it’s live-broadcasted and spread on social media. The federal authorities do not want the general public knowing about their violent suppression of the citizenry, and in the event that it’s unavoidable from their perspective, then they want to be able to control the narrative and paint their opponents as “radical, violent, extremists” in order to ‘justify’ their actions.
The Common Denominator Of Identity Federalism:
Again, it should be emphasized that the US establishment will go to any and all lengths to snuff out Identity Federalism, even in what it suspects to be its prototype manifestations of class awareness (Occupy Wall Street), racial interests (Black Lives Matter), and states’ rights (Nevada and Oregon). The commonality between these seemingly disparate cases is that they all demonstrated the capability to transform their specific type of identity separateness into a political cause, which from the paranoid vantage point of the US elite, could one day combine with one another through a grand front in seeking to reform the country’s internal administration and grant more sovereignty to their respective groups (i.e. Identity Federalism, whether it’s called by this name or not). There’s no greater threat to the existing US powerbrokers than this hodgepodge of identity formations, artificially kept divided through a multitude of crafty media-driven designs and bungling tactical errors, uniting with one another through a broad-based coalition. If brought together under one banner, they could carry out large-scale and coordinated demonstrations to peacefully advocate for an unprecedented and directly democratic change (as in circumventing Congress through a referendum or series thereof) in fundamentally altering the entire way that the US is run, and this scenario has the American elite absolutely frightened.
Identity Federalism is a cutting-edge political-strategic innovation that’s only just now being rolled out across the world. On the surface of things, it represents the ideal ‘compromise solution’ for various conflicting parties, granting a high degree of sovereignty to each prospective unit while nominally retaining the unity of the state. It also can provide the ideal ‘face saving’ measure for beleaguered leaders who find themselves victimized by a Hybrid War dilemma, granting them the possibility to remain in office so long as they devolve certain dictated competencies to the newly Identity Federalized unit(s). Analyzed from this angle, Identity Federalism could also be employed as a strategic weapon, and this is actually how it’s anticipated to be used in select battlegrounds in Africa, the Balkans, the Mideast, and South & Southeast Asia. Ironically enough, Identity Federalism might be the only pragmatic solution to retaining nominal Spanish and Ukrainian unity, although in these two cases it’s firmly opposed by the US out of concerns that it could spark a chain reaction which might eventually endanger Washington’s hegemony over Europe.
Washington’s hypocritical double standards towards “E Pluribus Unum” within the unipolar sphere and “E Unum Pluribus’ outside of it are explained by its grand strategic vision, whereby it seeks to unite the lands that it controls and divide the ones that it doesn’t. Through a series of eventual meanderings and connivances, the US aims to later ‘unite’ the fractured Identity Federalized states that it helped create by gathering them under its hegemonic umbrella via various proxy mechanisms, thereby bringing the whole strategic concept of “E Unum Pluribus” back full circle to a warped conception of “E Pluribus Unum”. The problem with weaponizing Identity Federalism, however, is that it could one day boomerang back against the US itself, especially in the event that politically motivated identity groups inside the country unite in optimizing their tactics by applying some of the precepts that they learn from the publicly available information about Color Revolutions, Unconventional Warfare, and Hybrid Wars (themselves ironically boomerang-capable weaponizations currently deployed by the US abroad). All in all, while Identity Federalism represents the latest asymmetrical weapon from the US’ Fifth Generation Warfare arsenal, it might unwittingly be the one which finally gets turned against it and offsets all of its previous unipolar gains that were achieved since the end of the Old Cold War.