Have you ever wondered how a new state comes into being? At what point is its existence accepted as a fait accompli? That’s actually not such a hard question. A new state is born once it has DECLARED ITSELF, and then the historical recognition follows. But it is not enough to simply make a declaration, that state must be created in actuality and its right to life defended against other states. And only when the new entity is recognized by its neighbors and the international community is the date of its creation fixed in the historical timeline, which is later celebrated as its point of origin and a national holiday.
American Independence Day is celebrated each year on July 4. Why on that date specifically? Because the final wording of the Declaration of Independence was approved by Continental Congress on July 4, 1776. Representatives of Great Britain’s 13 North American colonies renounced those colonies’ ties to the British crown. In other words, a group of individuals within the British Empire created a new state, proclaiming its creation on July 4.
From the perspective of the international law of that time, this is what the situation looked like:
– Separatists from Great Britain’s North American colonies mounted an insurrection.
– They illegally convened governing bodies known as the First and Second Continental Congresses.
– Violating both their own sworn oaths as well as other laws, they proclaimed a new state, carved out of and literally created within the borders of what was then the British Empire.
Don’t believe it? Here’s a quote from the US Declaration of independence:
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved …
The concept of terrorism had not yet been invented back then, so England’s King George III could not label the US a “terrorist organization” in the way Ukrainian politicians today refer to the Donbass. But in essence, what happened in the late 18th century in North America was really very, very similar to current events in the Donbass. Men and women who were living within the borders of a particular state rebelled in order to defend their rights. And the actions taken by the people of the Donbass look even more justified than the insurrection of the North American colonists. Why? Well, because in February 2014 there was a forcible usurpation of power through a coup d’état in Kiev, plus a gross violation of the Constitution of Ukraine (Viktor Yanukovych was removed from office without being formally impeached, Oleksandr Turchynov was appointed acting president, plus much, much more.) And as for the actions of the inhabitants of the British colonies, they mounted an insurrection against their lawful king, a king whose legitimate occupancy of the throne had never been questioned by anyone in the world. Nor had anyone ever stripped the colonists of their right to conduct their own affairs in their native English. Of course the uprising in America stemmed from purely economic causes – the colonists were unhappy that the British had forbidden them to issue their own currency.
The English king responded to the colonists’ disgruntlement by sending in soldiers to round up the most prominent agitators who were challenging royal decisions and calling for revolution. April 17, 1775 is considered the first day of the war for US independence, when an English detachment of 700 men who had been sent to capture the leaders of the “terrorist organization of the United Colonies” instead found themselves ambushed. The war in its entirety lasted until 1783, when London was forced to recognize the new status quo. In other words, the proclamation of this new state was the product of Britain’s foolish, flawed political agenda and was not the fruit of any coordinated actions taken by the colonists.
And the historical parallels between the formation of the United States and the people’s republics in southeastern Ukraine go even further. In Ukraine they like to talk about the “treachery” of those who took up arms to defend Crimea, Donetsk, and Luhansk. However, George Washington, who would one day be president of the United States, also served Great Britain early in his career, before resigning in 1758. In 1775 he became the leader of the North American “separatists” and eventually triumphed over his military alma mater. Who calls him a traitor or a perjurer today?
Interestingly enough, it was France that was poised to become the primary beneficiary of this insurrection by the North American colonists. Yet no one accuses Paris of instigating a rebellion in the British colonies, because the French did not create the situation, they merely attempted to make use of the existing state of affairs and the English monarch’s administrative failings. As a result – to use the language of the contemporary media in Ukraine – the “terrorist organization of the United States” became the recipient of significant aid in the form of weaponry, cash, and volunteers from Europe (France, Spain, Russia, etc.), who used the rebellious North Americans to attempt to weaken and contain the mightiest global power of the time. Although French efforts were soon rendered void by the French Revolution (who was behind that uprising and why must be the subject of a separate study), Russia and Spain were rewarded: in 1783 (the year of the British surrender in the American Revolution), Empress Catherine the Great added the territory of Crimea to Russia, and Spain received Florida and Minorca from the British crown…
The presented text was taken from the book by the Russian historian, writer and political activist Nikolay Starikov “Proxy Wars“, St.Petersburg, 2017. Adapted and translated by ORIENTAL REVIEW.
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