An email which appears to have been spawned by the sudden surge of interest in human rights across the globe landed on my computer screen. “We were all human until Race disconnected us, Religion separated us, Politics divided us and Wealth classified us.” I don’t, as a rule, quote what appears on Facebook. But this one was just too good not to pass on. I also do not wish to exhume the history of discrimination on religious and ethnic grounds against minorities in this article. Nor do I wish to recount stories of racism based on the colour of a person’s skin in the United States, Europe, Argentina, India and Pakistan. What I do want to highlight is the fact that the motivation behind what has been happening down the centuries, behind the victories and the defeats, the temporary alliances, the treaties, the creation of empires and fiefdoms and the emergence of international bullies isn’t just fear or the lust for power. It is greed… pure undiluted greed. All countries suffer from it.
One of the ploys adopted by a superpower after 1945, emulated by allies of the same power was to start wars — so they could find a market for the export of armaments. It’s all perfectly legal. Part of the market economy system, a euphemism for capitalism. All countries that have the resources are doing it. I am not making an original statement. This is common knowledge. Everybody knows this. The tragedy is that the powers that initiate the wars do not care a fig for the bedlam they cause.
Nothing ever happens in a vacuum as events in Syria and Iraq have indicated. The physical, social and emotional dysfunction that follows is huge. But when countries that share the same values become stooges of a superpower, well, then it all becomes a filigree of indebtedness. It is one thing siding with the United States to impose sanctions against Russia. But why did Angela Merkel of Germany pretend a principle was involved when she spoke on Russian aggression against Ukraine? Had she forgotten the history of the Third Reich and how Adolf Hitler reacted when ethnic Germans on the wrong side of the Polish Corridor expressed a strong desire to reunite with the Fatherland? And was there a principle involved when Germany went on to swallow half of Europe and invaded the Soviet Union after having signed the Ribbentrop-Molotov Non-aggression Pact of 1939? Take a good hard look at how attitudes and alliances have changed in the international sphere during the last 200 years. You will undoubtedly come to the conclusion that ethics and morality have never had a place in relationships between countries.
These days, the prime example of duplicity and doublespeak is the supreme bully of the Middle East — Benjamin Netanyahu and his grim sense of gloves-off violence… What is one to make of an Israeli leader who has the audacity to snub the president of the world’s biggest superpower who is desperately trying to arrive at a workable solution to the Iran nuclear facility, and then contradicts himself when he expresses his views on Iran? One moment Netanyahu describes Iran as a country that controls four Arab capitals and is on a mission of military conquest. And the next, he describes the same country as a “very vulnerable regime on the brink of collapse”. Benji might have the support of the US Republicans. But he should have the sense to realise that if the crucial talks fail the other two superpowers will surely undermine the cohesion behind the sanctions on Iran.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 5th, 2015.
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