Is the World Coming Apart at the Seams?
Star Rating Loader Please wait...
Issue Vol. 34.4 Oct-Dec 2019 | Date : 08 Dec , 2019

“The darker and bigger the cloud, the more brilliant is the silver lining.” — Hope is not lost.

The recent proceedings at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) where the Pakistani Prime Minister’s visceral diatribe against India and call for Jihad by Pakistanis in support of the Indian Kashmiri’s was a shocking and blatant interference in the internal affairs of India. He then went on to appraise the gathering of the heads of states of the nations of the world that Pakistan would not be responsible for the consequence of the course of events that may unfold which may lead to a nuclear holocaust impacting the whole world!!

The honourable gentleman ranted and raved against India for fifty-five minutes far beyond the fifteen he was allotted. His banshee like gesticulations, surprisingly, did not scare the bejabbers out of some. In fact, there were three nations which went on to support him completely disregarding the factual details pertaining to the issue.

This “blood-and-soil” nativism has an ominous feral tendency.

The Pakistani Prime Minister’s call for Jihad will encourage the ultranationalists to transform the common rural tribal citizen of Pakistan into “soldier peasants”.

Richard Walther Darré an influential member of the Nazi Party and a noted race theorist had assisted the Nazi Party greatly in gaining support among common Germans. “Blood and soil” was a key slogan of National Socialist (Nazi) ideology. The Pakistani Prime Minister’s call for Jihad will encourage the ultranationalists to transform the common rural tribal citizen of Pakistan into “soldier peasants”. Such a move will have serious repercussions for the region??!! Mr Imran Khan Prime Minister of Pakistan seems to have taken on the mantle of the Nazi’s!!! North American white supremacists, white nationalists, Neo-Nazis and members of the alt-right (Alternative Right – groups which have been identified as alt-right also espouse white supremacism, white separatism, severe immigration restrictions, and anti-Semitism) have also adopted the same slogan. One would dare say that Mr Khan and his Pakistani ilk are in ‘august company’!

Most unfortunately, there was not a whimper from anywhere in the world when 300,000-600,000 original natives of the Kashmir Valley were terrorised into leaving their ancestral lands and seek refuge in the rest of India. Even the number of Tibetans who sought refuge in India when China terrorised them in their homeland in 1959 was lesser in number. The number of Kashmiri Hindus who were displaced were a little less than the Bangladeshis’ who took temporary refuge in India to escape the brutality of the Pakistani Army in 1971 from the then East Pakistan. The abhorrent inaction on the plight of the Kashmiri Hindus of the Indian government that was then in power is a shameful blot on the country.

Under the umbrella of ‘National Interest’ nations are taking refuge for many of their actions. Mr Imran Khan, thus, has proclaimed that Pakistan is prepared to unleash a nuclear war in support of the Kashmiri Muslims. It does not matter who die or how many die in the process, but this overt display of Muslim solidarity is paramount.

By the global community’s silence, following the injudicious statements of Mr Khan, it is difficult to gauge whether the world is bemused, wryly amused or aghast at his unstatesmanlike immaturity in conduct of international relations.

In my attempt to list out the ongoing areas of internal strife or external conflicts around the world it was intriguing to note that there is hardly any country, from North Korea across Asia, Africa, Americas way across to Colombia, which has not been affected in some way or the other. Europe is now mired in one of the deepest crises in its history – faced with complex economic problems, the refugee crisis, the ever looming terrorist threat and that one of its most influential members – the United Kingdom (erstwhile?) – leaving the European Union. A recent report of second generation Muslims immigrants’, now full-fledged citizen of Switzerland, demanded the removal of the symbolic cross in the Country’s flag as it was against Islam and hurt the religious sentiments of the community. Intolerance is a growing phenomenon in Europe.

There is a cataclysmic reconfiguration of the world order going on. The rise of hard core Right parties in Europe, Trump’s neo-isolationism, Turkey and Russia reasserting themselves in their old spheres of influence, cursory dismissal of the Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince’s involvement in the suspected murder of a journalist and the many “quarrels between people of whom we know nothing” (Neville Chamberlain) are leading the world into a meltdown.

With the explosion of the 24/7 news cycles and proliferation of social media has added a new dynamic to elevate any situation into a crises. Each day brings more revelations about the pervasive crime and corruption at the highest echelons of government, corporate and Non-Government Organisations around the globe that these happenings seem to have a design to suit The Powers That Be. It is followed up by manufactured illusions and cover-ups. That innocent quip by Chamberlain regarding “quarrels between people of whom we know nothing” are now being covered in prime-time television slots. Internet and satellite communication has enabled information to be spread at the speed of light. The fallout of needing to fill every hour with new stories has compelled these information outlets to grab whatever is available from anywhere in the world just to avoid rehashing the same story all day and night. Like national governments have “interests”, these information outlets, owed by barons with huge clout, too have an “agenda”. A new term was added to the lexicon of media communications by Trump – alternate truth. By doing so, truth has become a casualty. Truth for one may not be the truth for the other – so evident in the case of Kashmir. Where India’s truth is ignored and Pakistan’s lie is peddled as an alternate truth. The current period is probably the post-Truth era!!

A recent report of second generation Muslims immigrants’, now full-fledged citizen of Switzerland, demanded the removal of the symbolic cross in the Country’s flag as it was against Islam and hurt the religious sentiments of the community. Intolerance is a growing phenomenon in Europe.

Today with the availability of such ‘authentic’ fake news and Artificial Intelligence (AI) assisted video manipulation on social media; it has become so simple to influence any segment of the population to violently and aggressively rise against another segment of society or population. Cyber security faces an emerging threat known as “deepfakes”, the most powerful cyber-weapon in history. Deepfakes are AI-generated synthetic media, typically forged video footage. This kind of “Fakery” was once limited to the film industry and intelligence agencies. Now AI advances have democratized it. Ordinary users can download deepfake software and create convincing videos smearing politicians, celebrities, company executives, rival groups and target religious sentiments. The cyber security industry has only a short time to get ahead before the collapse of public trust in any media. There is a clear need to focus on creating solid detection algorithms. This has been Pakistan’s modus operandi in India’s Jammu and Kashmir. Using every means of communication, Pakistan has been targeting the youth in Kashmir with radical ideology. Mr Khan’s claim of a whole population being under siege and of a heavy handed clamp down in Kashmir was out of frustration of not being able to instigate the people of Kashmir against India. Pakistan’s agenda is no different from that of Al Qaida or ISIS. But the world chooses to turn a blind eye to these apocalyptic developments. Every country has its secret dirty tricks department. They stage manage coups, create fake intelligence reports to invade another country, manipulate public perception, and even destroy their own facilities and accuse an enemy state for the act. No government can be trusted for what it says. Pakistan has always misled its public.

As the world globalised at a fast pace there was a churning of the population. A desire for a better life caught the fancy of the people. Individuals and establishments were all driven by a profit motive. When a recession set in, nationalism and individual religious identities came to the fore. Individuals began to feel insecure. For security, groups coalesced based on religion and ethnicity. There seems to be so much pessimism, ugliness and hostility in the world today. The profusion of round the clock television channels devoted solely to religious preaching and sermons along with the political class have together deeply divided society into water-tight silos based on religion, caste, region, language, social status and political leanings. The system of governance in place suits the government officials and corporate leadership. They have much more fear of the “Deep State” handlers who control them than the people they are meant to serve. It is so important now for “WE THE PEOPLE” to take back their power and declare personal sovereignty.

There is no doubt that a nation’s economic health is the single most important factor for the development of a country. In the Eastern spiritual traditions, as well as according to Oriental philosophy, it’s considered the most important duty of a man to protect his family. The whole Eastern civilisation (and its many cultures) sits on the foundation of this sacred and immutable principle of “dharma”, which is defined as both “duty” and “righteousness”. Throughout Western civilisation, profit has been decisively placed above protection. Unfortunately this selfish value system is now being aggressively perpetuated globally at the peril of the human race. This planet has enough for man’s needs but succumbs when man is driven by greed. The pace at which the exploitation of the resources of the planet to satisfy the greed of humankind is taking place depletes it of these resources in just eight months of the year. The ability of the planet to recuperate and generate resources keeps reducing and it is no surprise that there a starving masses due to famine, drought and the humongous wastage by the western consumerist societies.

…nationalism and national interest does not necessarily mean the same thing to everyone and will therefore not lead to the same consequences. This is fuelling a sense of global geopolitical ambiguity.

One cannot but wonder whether the world can continue to hold on to its seams or is it really coming apart?

America had long been a policeman of the world. But now with its inward looking policies and its desire to isolate itself from the rest of the world, each nation is on its own and has to choose some like-minded friends. Mr S Jaishanker, India’s External Affairs Minister, says that developed countries are exhibiting an “insecure” nationalism. On the contrary, one may argue, that developing countries are bracing an aggressive and often assertive nationalism. Consequently, nationalism and national interest does not necessarily mean the same thing to everyone and will therefore not lead to the same consequences. This is fuelling a sense of global geopolitical ambiguity.

It is a fact that the current world order was dictated by the victorious nations of the WW II. These nations had been colonial powers for the nearly three centuries. They had usurped the wealth and resources of the colonised nations leaving them in a destitute state to fend for themselves. The existing world order was created to suit these colonial powers. Seventy-four years down the time-line that world order does not suit the newly emerging nations. And they have every right to demand a change. For example, what right does UK have to continue cling on to the seat in the UNSC or for that matter France considering that both these countries have a declining global influence. With the European Union (post the Maastricht Treaty of 1993) which has now been in existence for 26 years there should be one single seat for this block of 28 member states. Additional emerging regional and global players need to be included in the UNSC. Ironically, these very countries continue to stall any process of reform of the UNSC. It is the same for the Eurocentric Westphalian institutes and structures of international relations. Westphalian narrative perpetuates a Eurocentric bias in international relations creating a dualism in which non-European states were not allowed to join till their achievement of the “standards of civilisation”!! How can such an order remain in the changed global power situation?

Recently the American President was awed and astonished at the display of China’s military might on the occasion of its 70th National Day parade in Beijing. China sent a carefully rehearsed message to the world that it has emerged as a global military power. Could there be a serious threat of America becoming fearful of a rising China and being caught in the Thucydides Trap? Knowing the inner functioning of the Communist Party the display may be more a swagger than substance. The “Three Years of Great Famine” (1959-61) occurred when the people starved at the doors of the grain warehouses. ‘As they died, they shouted, “Communist Party, Chairman Mao, save us”. If the granaries of Henan and Hebei had been opened, no one need have died. As people were dying in large numbers around them, officials did not think to save them. Their only concern was how to fulfil the delivery of grain.’ The awesome and immaculate display of robotic precision and pomposity of the massive parade at Tiananmen Square camouflages many weaknesses. A robotic soldiery may not be suited to modern wars of mission command type, they best fit into the mould for detailed command. Military might alone is not the only criteria for global leadership. The role of a superpower in providing global public goods cannot be underplayed. China has been a reluctant contributor to global goods – without strings attached. So it may be a while before China builds a capacity to take on this added responsibility as the world has a shortage of global goods leading to “The Kindleberger Trap” well before the Thucydides Trap.

Every Constitution, written or unwritten, is adopted in service of “WE THE PEOPLE”. The governments are not the nation. They are there because “WE THE PEOPLE” are there.

Coming back to Mr Imran Khan’s blackmail of the international community by his threat to unleash a nuclear holocaust in the region, that bombast should have had all sane people in the world sit up and act. Putting a revolver to its head and threatening to shoot itself if the world does not intervene is Pakistan’s oft used blackmail tactic. Nuclear weapons and their deterrent value has been demolished by Pakistan’s threat to use it first whatever its perception of redlines it has drawn for itself. Unfortunately the precedent of ‘First Use’ had been set by the United States and was later followed by all other Western powers including the erstwhile Soviet Union and now Russia. Does ‘No First Use’ (NFU) diminish the deterrence quotient of nuclear weapons? Why have these countries not adopted a policy of NFU? The specious argument often put forth is that the other nuclear power will use a nuclear weapon first. With each of these powers having more than adequate second strike capability built up and a nuclear triad in place there is no reason for these nations to stick to the policy of ‘First Use’ even if it is for the sake of ambiguity. If the Western countries adopt the NFU policy then Russia will be morally on the back foot. Countries like Pakistan will be compelled to review its irrational ‘First Use’ policy.

Governments of countries with nuclear weapons have built shelters deep in some remote mountains and have special aircraft for the decision makers to be herded into or to be whisked away in the special aircraft like E-4B Nightwatch from the devastation back on earth in case of a nuclear war with the sole purpose to enable them to continue the war from those safe havens. And when they emerge from those safe havens they will inspect the devastation all around. The people they were serving all dead and gone. How brazenly ironical! It is time that the UN and citizen groups in every nation possessing nuclear weapons stand up and question their governments on their compulsion of adopting a ‘First Use’ nuclear weapons policy. This tomfoolery must end.

Every Constitution, written or unwritten, is adopted in service of “WE THE PEOPLE”. The governments are not the nation. They are there because “WE THE PEOPLE” are there. Governments have, for too long, served themselves and the Political Parties they represent. The “Deep State” in every country has had a strangle hold on them for too long. Greta Thunberg, all of just 16 years, has thrown down the gauntlet and accused this generation of being selfish, cheats and liars (or words to that effect) at the UN Climate Change Action Summit 2019. “You are failing us. But the young people are starting to understand your betrayal. The eyes of all future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us, I say: We will never forgive you. We will not let you get away with this. Right here, right now is where we draw the line. The world is waking up. And change is coming, whether you like it or not.”

Click to Buy: IDR Oct-Dec 2019

The moot point is that will nations pay heed to her concerns or dismiss it with a smirk and dub her as a cheeky upstart!!

The lyrics of a song, “We Are The World”, written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie in 1985, sum up the fundamental need of the world at this juncture and these are as follows:-

“There comes a time when we heed a certain call when the world must come together as one there are people dying and it’s time to lend a hand to life the greatest gift of all we can’t go on pretending day by day That someone, somehow will soon make a change…..”

The world can’t afford to ignore the complex growing hatreds. If it does, the not too distant history of devastation, death and destruction could repeat itself and then the World will fall apart at the seams.

Rate this Article
Star Rating Loader Please wait...
The views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of the Indian Defence Review.

About the Author

Lt Gen (Dr) JS Bajwa

is Editor Indian Defence Review and former Chief of Staff, Eastern Command and Director General Infantry.  He has authored two books Modernisation of the People's Liberation Army and  Modernisation of the Chinese PLA

More by the same author

Post your Comment

2000characters left