Sunday, December 3, 2023

Disincentivize war

While all of us talk peace and glorify movements and persons associated with the idea of peaceful human existence, war remains a fact of our collective life. With the Russian troops entering Ukraine on February 24 the world is seeing a military clash that can unleash devastating effects on people, not just at the spot of actual confrontation, but around the globe. The United Nations refugee agency UNHCR has reported that nearly 2.7 million people had fled Ukraine as of last Saturday, nearly 1.7 million of them heading to Poland. More than 2,500 residents of the Black Sea port city of Mariupol have been killed since Russian invaded Ukraine, said Ukraine presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych. We all know that the effects of war in these times never remain confined to the battle ground. It is not just the two countries that go to war; the ill effects of this war are going to be global. And apart from the Russia-Ukraine war, as things are shaping up around the world, the contest for global leadership is taking some ugly turn. The heat underneath is building up and any moment it can cause another explosion. The way global super power, the US, and the emerging powers for the top slot, Russia and China, are coming face to face; it is not wise to rule out more military confrontation elsewhere. The way things are shaping up around South China Sea, and Taiwan, none can predict precisely where it can go. But one thing is sure, the tensions are mounting. Some years back we also saw how the crisis precipitated around Crimea. Similarly there are indications that all is not well with Mid East. The recent violent incident tells a very grim tale. All this points towards a very dark side of the global politics. The urge to dominate, and the urge to control the entire world, is once again pushing this world towards some huge catastrophe. We have already seen, in recent past, how this struggle for supremacy ruined many countries. How people in millions died, and how human dwellings were razed to ground over night. We all know what a military confrontation means in this age and day. With the kind of technology that is available right now with the great powers, one shudders to think of any more military clash. Now add to this that the pandemic has already brought misery to a vast population. The condition of many economies is so bad that if the situation is not immediately handled and handled efficiently, many countries can witness an economic collapse. In this situation, one can only imagine the level of economic destruction. In such a situation one can only wish, and expect, that right thinking prevails, and the world sails through these crises safely. And this also should not be forgotten, that the humans who are consumed by the flames of war are finally a part of global family. The humanitarian crisis that follows a war is not limited to the immediate sufferers, but as one global family we all are hurt. If this perspective is applied to the war at any place, it becomes evident that all the peoples, living anywhere in the world, should strive hard to douse the flames of war. Though the realists might accuse this mindset of being idealist and even romantic, the fact remains that unless there is pressure from bottom, the powerful leaders and militarized organizations cannot be leashed, and their desire to go for war cannot be contained. The present war that is going on in Ukraine has many more lessons for this global state system, and also for the universal civil society. At the systemic level it speaks of the faults in the institutions that could have stopped this war from happening. Since the global powers always look at the things from the prism of self-interest, it paves way for escalation. There should have been a concerted effort from the transnational institutions to change this atmosphere of mistrust, and also influence the military minded leaderships, to look at the things from a bigger, and a universal prism. At the level of the global society there is a need to disincentivize war, as some peace movements’ underline.