Dividing the World Then
In 1494 Spain and Portugal signed a treaty (the Treaty of Tordesillas) which divided the New World (of which very little was known) between the two nations. They had the Pope (Alexander VI) back their treaty. Reactions of the rest of Europe were muted according to historical accounts (no TV, no radio, no tweeting). Spain and Portugal dominated trade because they had the most ships. This treaty was mostly about trade. Places discovered by and claimed for Spain could only trade with Spain and vice versa. Brazil, a nation that speaks Portuguese, is a legacy of this treaty.
By the time other countries entered the age of discovery they defied the treaty and traded with Spanish land claims and Portuguese land claims indiscriminately, although often by smuggling or other clandestine approaches. In this age when Protestantism was growing, the value of a Papal Bull did not carry the same cachet it once did. Today we see it as kind of the height of imperiousness to divide the New World between two of the many nations in Europe, but these were imperial times, the days of Kings and Queens, and divine right. Cockiness was an expected characteristic of royalty.
Dividing the World Now
What if Putin and Trump, in their mysterious private conversations have been indulging in something very old and once a prerogative of royalty. What if they have been discussing an arrangement to divide the world between them, each laying claim to a sphere of influence with the other vowing to stay out unless an agreement is reached to act together. What if Trump has agreed to leave Eastern Europe, the Middle East (except Israel and Saudi Arabia), and Africa to Putin and Trump gets everything in the Western Hemisphere (with Western Europe, China, Japan, and perhaps Korea existing outside the sphere of influence agreement).
This could explain why Trump is retreating from the Eastern Hemisphere, resigning from wars, old alliances, treaties, organizations and even the United Nations which many (especially Republicans and Russians) would like to see disband. If Putin has “kompromat” on Trump, if Trump is under his thumb, Putin might convince Trump to comply with such an arrangement. Kompromat may not even be necessary as coercion. It is not actually out of line which what Trump wants with his America First policy and his ridiculous obsession with America’s victimhood at the hands of all our allies. It seems that Trump does not have a problem believing, at one and the same time, that America is both a great nation and a victim of every other nation.
Dividing the world with Putin might explain why Trump suddenly wants to pull all of our troops out of Syria and Afghanistan and put troops into South America. This might explain why he wants to leave NATO. It would make Russia quite happy if we end our alliances in Western Europe and it would leave Russia free to restore the former boundaries of the Soviet Union by gobbling up states freed by the collapse of the USSR (and perhaps add new states). It would leave Africa to Russia and China and they would have to either share the troubled continent or compete to influence/exploit African nations. Trump, who doesn’t like brown people or Muslims would be freed of dealing with “shithole” countries and people.
Now this is a totally speculative theory that I have been considering, but not totally outside the realm of possibility. In a history stack about the Spanish/Portuguese Treaty to divide the New World two responders had this to say:
In 1497 John Cabot (aka Giovanni Caboto) claimed the Grand Banks off Newfoundland for England in the name of Henry VII.
In 1524 I of France commissioned Giovanni da Verrazzano to explore the coast of North America from Florida to the St. Lawrence. Ten years later, in 1534, Francis commissioned Jacques Cartier to explore the coast of Newfoundland and the St. Lawrence River further. curiouser
@curiouser: For much of the last 1000 years European monarchies have treated the world as a giant “boys only” playground. When one or two of the bigger boys are playing at one end and claim the whole field for themselves as “private territory”, the point of the game for everyone else doesn’t have to actually be spoken – it is simply to see who can flaunt the claim most boisterously without getting beat up. – Pieter Geerkens
Perhaps there is not an explicit agreement between Putin and Trump to divide the world between them, but they talked about something that they did not want the rest of the world to know about. These behaviors we are seeing, this flirtation, may not be part of an actual agreement, but just the twisted tango of two narcissists who have different goals, although Trump seems to think their goals are the same.
If Putin wants acceptance and inclusion on the world stage then Trump seems determined to get that for him even if we choke as he tries to shove an alliance down our throats. Clearly the way that Putin runs Russia is still unacceptable to most Americans. We have no desire to live in a state that uses fear to keep citizens in line and threats to weaken the knees of target states. Putin governs like the mafia once governed neighborhoods, by bullying and requiring payment for protection to the very people who are doing the bullying. But the ultimate threat underlies it all. You could be imprisoned, or you could die.
Our survival instincts warn us away from making friends with a nation that governs its people in these ways. Why isn’t this survival instinct functioning in our President? Does he think he can keep Putin friendly by admiring him? All of these considerations explain why many Americans await the outcomes of the Mueller investigation with such a mixture of hope and fear. We have never before had a President who seemed enamored of our enemy.
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