If there’s someone, who keeps an eye on global affairs, understands the ups and downs of international politics, upholds an opinion in the light of these happenings, and somehow while seeing all that’s been taking place as of late, believes that all this, takes the world towards peace, shall stop and rethink.
In such critical moments of human history, maintaining an opinion as such may well cause rupture in the beliefs of the believer.
The New World
The previous century showed up as a large contributor to the change in societal and governmental patterns that had remained intact since hundreds of years. It was in the 20th century that we saw two large-scale wars fought between the powers of those days. We saw the end to dynasties’ rule in China with the emergence of China as the Republic of China (1912), the establishment of communist party (1921) and the role it played in creating the People’s Republic of China (1949). It was in the same century that the Ottoman Empire fragmented, meeting a complete end by the year 1922. The same 20th century saw the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) rise after the 1917 revolution, bear a bloody civil war, rise up again to fight WWII, become a nuclear power, enter a Cold War and collapse later (1991) into 15 states. Post WWII, the USA began emerging as the next big thing in a unipolar world, which for sure was not an event but a process spread over years. And then, how can one forget the end to British rule over areas where it had been exercising control since ages? All this, and so much more, that was borne by humans, was witnessed in the last century. So, the previous century holds a valued importance in the shape upheld by today’s global chessboard – a contribution that can not be ignored.
But, the successor – The 21st century – is not too far from being an interesting period of time, speaking from the perspective of an avid onlooker. From the deadly 9/11 attacks, to the American invasion of Afghanistan under George W. Bush, from the death of an ordinary fruit vendor in Tunisia, to the Arab spring of 2011, and from the local outbreak of ailments such as Ebola & Polio virus, to the surging wave of Covid-19 that met the entire world, all this has only been in this span of 20 years’ time. In this short an episode of time, we’ve seen a lot getting changed and getting changed fast.
The Sino-US feud
In response to the Coronavirus, the ‘silent but proactive’ China has already afflicted such wounds on the US supremacy the pain felt by the latter at the hands of which doesn’t seem to cease. Watching its supremacy diminishing at the hands of the Asian giant is a constant pain in the neck for US. China seated in the Pacific trying to outnumber The US militarily and technologically is a potential incendiary to trigger a bilateral conflict. So much so that it’s very likely the two sides get to confront each other at the field of battle, fighting a conventional or a non-conventional war sooner rather than later. Noteworthy that as per the latest competitive analysis in warfare, China outmaneuvers the US in strength, only to the latter’s agony.
The Brave Iran
Another Asian state that is a never-ending “US’s bone of contention” is Iran. The occasional US-Iran rifts are hidden from none. But the risk of an all-out war between the two sides, at this juncture, are higher than ever before.
Under Donald Trump, US has already irked Iran by striking down Gen. Qassem Soleimani this January, and in response Iran has hit a key US military person while he flew over Afghanistan. Tensions in the Gulf have remained high in the recent days, too. Belittling Iran in warfare is not a sage opinion because, through its proxies in the region, Iran poses a huge threat to the US, its installations in the region and its allies. Its nuclear proliferation had been teasing the US, but despite being under harsh sanctions, Iran has survived.
As of late it has shipped 5 fuel carriers to Venezuela – the state functional under Nicholas Maduro whom the US doesn’t recognize as the legitimate ruler and who has survived despite continual attempts of sabotage by the US. This act from Iran is irksome and a response from US shall be in accordance. Peace and tranquility therefore in the region remain ruled out.
A Boiling Middle East
The Middle East is the fulcrum of the seesaw on either sides of which we see opposing stakes resting.
In less than 20 days’ time, Tel Aviv initiates its provocative plan of depriving Palestinians of their land yet again and annexing the West Bank. The entire political leadership of Israel is aboard and eagerly waiting for it to happen. The other side, i.e. Palestinians, see it as a threat to their religious identity and have been registering their protests, but to no gain. Another recent activity that is source to Palestinians’ anger is the killing of an autistic Palestinian Iyad Halak at the hands of Israeli police.
In response to the attempt of annexation of West Bank, Israel is very likely to meet resistance from Muslims of the Middle East in particular. It is very likely that the schism that was seen amongst the ‘Arab Muslim Club’ in the past gets broken and they seem to unite for the sake of preserving religious identity of Muslims in the Middle East, for the first time ever. Such a situation could help belittle the stance of Washington and Tel Aviv only. But, a conflict of interest that involves a threat to religious identity, if not resolved, won’t stop at anything less than a war. The Muslim world is expected to react and this is a situation where Iranian proxies such as the Hezbollah gain what we call importance.
Central Asia houses one of the most dangerous phenomenon in today’s world i.e. Afghanistan. Having a distant war history, Afghanistan hasn’t seen the ray of hope towards peace even till date. The peace plan initiated between US and Taliban is an acknowledgeable step. But if it is expected to bring eternal peace in the region, it must be thought of that the truce is agreed upon by two parties – The US and The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan – at a time when the former is seen losing its supremacy at the global arena and the latter serves to be a body that is not officially recognized by the former. This truce signed by the two parties is believed to be crucial in bringing peace to Afghanistan but holding the right to have an opinion, I believe that isn’t happening.
Secondly, Afghanistan is not just a matter of the Taliban and US. There are many other powers of the world present in Afghanistan that keep their stakes there and operate incognito, for example Iran’s Fatemiyoun Brigade. A strong, wide intelligence network is what these hidden powers must have already laid. A lot of hidden entities for sure are there watching for the tide to settle paving way for them to operate. Besides this, ISIS-Khorasan is a major force in Afghanistan to reckon with.
So, it’s a greater game that is imminently beginning.
Kashmir, since decades, remains to be an issue not just for Kashmiris but the entire mankind. The lava that has been tendering there, may well be erupting soon. And this is what the oppressor shall be fearing.
The recent Sino-Indian skirmish at India’s self-proclaimed Ladakh saw 60 kilometers of Indian occupied land already taken over by China and India watching the episode as a silent spectator. As for now, India, known for its ‘dirty play’ over the course of time, shall be pondering activities that create diversion from the fiasco by triggering problems for China’s key allies. But this time around, if India dares doing so, the response may well be completely different. This time around, we could see South Asia turn into a site of war, be it conventional or non-conventional. In case there’s a provocation, India shall meet something different. Let’s hope the better sense prevails.
So, Is there room for harmony?
Uncertainty hasn’t been as high as we see today. No one knows what’s happening tomorrow. But, in the light of today’s events, it is not difficult to see conflicts of interest between different parties brewing. In these times when no state is an ally, no state a friend, all that a state sees before extending its hand of friendship to another is that it has to uphold its stakes.
There are conflicts in the making that seem tiny for now but have the potency to transform into wars. In a race of technological supremacy as this where nations are ready to pounce on others, to get their interests achieved, in a world where interests clash and stakes are held paramount, peace may well be a wish, but it is a bridge too far, way too far. The 21st century keeps us all intrigued.
You Should Also Read: George Floyd, The 13th Amendment And “Black Lives Matter” Protest