Spell it out for people
September 11, 2001, brought a paradigm shift hundreds of thousands of Americans’ thinking — their illusion of invulnerability was shattered. Life underwent a big change, particularly for the thousands of families and friends of those who were killed when America’s symbols of power and wealth came under attack. If such a catastrophe can catch the world’s sole super power unawares, strike terror and inflict damage of such a mammoth magnitude on a country guarded by the technologically invincible missile defense systems and undoubtedly the peerless military might, world is surely not a very safe place to live in.
While the events of September 11 prompted unprecedented changes in the entire world order, at the same time, it also relegated the traditional means of statecraft and diplomacy as well as the military superiority to look seemingly obsolete – unable to secure the safety and security in (of) the world. Needless to say that the weapon systems that were touted as the ultimate saviors of the people and a guarantee for peace and security by the political elite, have been rendered to what is now seen as a “visible manifestation of political, military and corporate parasitism of the body politic.”
Although the 9/11 tragedy fundamentally altered the US thinking about the global security with “preemptive war” moving to the centre of the US security doctrine, the much trumpeted “war on terror” that followed have made not only the America but the entire world less secure and more dangerous place. George W Bush at the beginning of his ‘war on terror’ in order to justify his unilateral militarism argued: “We go forward to defend the freedom and everything that is just in the world.”
However, history stands witness that no freedom can be defended by putting curbs on other peoples’ freedoms; no good and just order can be fortified through the evil and unjust means of war. This is the hindsight today after nearly two decades of US having bombed Afghanistan to ‘stone age’ or after its biased involvement in scores of other places in the Muslim world including its brazen and unremitting support to the Israeli militarism in the occupied Palestinian territories.
Now that the US has virtually been on rampage in Afghanistan and Pakistan, in West Asia and Horn of Africa under different guises, and is still moving ahead apparently unhindered in its “neo-imperial grand strategy” this time against Iran, the entire world appears to be sitting on a powdered keg, waiting to explode. If the growing resentment against this super power hegemony furthered through what Richard Falk calls “geopolitics of exclusion” , is any indication, we are heading for an imminent disaster unless global policies and structures are rethought and reoriented toward cooperative engagement, multilateral disarmament, political and economic democracy and the strengthening of international institutions.
How to achieve an increased peace and human security in the world? While a country that is seeking super power status in the global committee of nations is in the midst of biggest electoral exercise, it was expected all the different political groupings would also talk about their policy and programmes vis-à-vis these global issues and concerns. However, as ever we see the Indian political class still busying itself with the politics of religion, caste and class and other trivial matters. Even as the available evidence and its careful deduction on the basis of sheer common sense informs that India is yet to reach a maturity wherein it would really deserve the kind of say in global matters that it is asking for, but still not a single political party misses an opportunity to talk big and loud about its otherwise non-existent stature. Instead of consuming themselves with the ‘trivial’, this is the time when India’s ‘bold and the beautiful, its political elite will have to engage with much pressing questions – what are the possible changes in personal identities and values; security policies and concepts; national and international structures and institutions and the strategies to influence international policy that could usher the world into an era of lasting and stable peace and security. And they must spell it out for the people as well, because after all, the voters deserve all the important information which may help them reach a wise decision about their vote and support.