War in August?

News & Views
Mohammad Jamil

Tuesday, July 24, 2012 - Man is a rational and social animal. And it is because of his intellect and creativity that human being is more ferocious than beasts. Recorded history reveals about the wars between the Greek and Roman nation states 2500 years ago. There was 100 years’ war between England and France though its duration was 116 years i.e. from 1337 to 1453. France and Germany had three centuries of hostile relations, and had at least one thirty-year war. However, it was only after the Second World War in 1945 that relations became the key to the unity between the European countries. Many a civilization has emerged and waned.

“Birth, growth, breakdown and disintegration is the cycle of all civilizations”, said Toynbee. Such was the course of events that once sun did not set in the Great Britain but today it is only ‘Britain’ and sun hardly rises in this kingdom. The First and Second World Wars had started in August 1914 and 1st September 1939 respectively, and according to a report in Los Angeles Times said that there is a possibility of war in August, which may turn into a 3rd World War. Having seen enormous death and destruction, European countries led by the US wish to see Asia as the next theatre of war.

America and its allies are hell bent on regime change in Syria, but their efforts have been frustrated when Russia and China vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution on Thursday that threatened Syrian authorities with sanctions if they did not halt violence against an uprising. It was the third time that Russia, a key ally of the Syrian government and China have used their veto power to block resolutions designed to pressure Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to halt the 16-month conflict. With the mandate for a U.N. observer mission in Syria was to expire at midnight Friday (0400 GMT Saturday), Western states that pushed the resolution to renew the operation under a threat of sanctions against Damascus reacted angrily to the vetoes. “The effect of their actions is to protect a brutal regime. They have chosen to put their national interests ahead of the lives of millions of Syrians,” Britain’s U.N. ambassador, Mark Lyall Grant, told the 15-member Security Council after the vote. The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, called the Russian and Chinese moves “dangerous and deplorable” and said the Security Council had “failed utterly.”

Meanwhile, the US Navy has reportedly dispatched a fourth aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf, along with a fleet of underwater drones in what is being considered just the latest move in a series of escalations leading towards a potential war with Iran. The United States has already sent three massive aircraft carriers to the waterways outside of Iran, including the USS Enterprise, the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower and the USS Abraham Lincoln, and will now add the USS John C. Stennis to that fleet in August. Harmer adds to the paper that although Iran has the capabilities of coming through with its threats of closing the strait, the latest addition to the United States Navy would make sure a blockade wouldn’t last long. “If they wanted to close the Strait of Hormuz, they could do it, but they would only be able to do it one time,” he said. When the United States increased its presence in Persian Gulf earlier this year, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told reporters, “We want them to know that we are fully prepared to deal with any contingency and it’s better for them to deal with us through diplomacy.”

It is an irrefragable fact that former President George W. Bush had brought America on the verge of economic collapse by overstretching US army and invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq. People had hoped that with the change of guard in America, there would be reversal of the US policies. But that was not to be. During the course of his election campaign, Barack Obama had emphasized the need for a regional approach to resolve the Afghanistan problem and signaled his resolve to forge a closer American cooperation with Pakistan with a view to dealing with the problem of violent extremism and terrorism. He had observed that to be successful in war on terror, Kashmir issue needs to be resolved. Anyhow, one should not expect a major shift in the US policy, and if at all there is one, the difference of nuances only. Obama has withdrawn forces from Iraq, and given the timeframe to withdraw from Afghanistan in 2014. But there are many a slips betwixt the cup and the lips, and if outgoing US ambassador in Pakistan is to be believed, the US will not withdraw its forces from Afghanistan till 2024.

America has indeed a great past; its traditions of freedom, democracy, human rights and human values date back to American founding fathers when they fought war of independence. It is, however, unfortunate that most successors negated the principles upheld by them. In the past, the US had resorted to unilateral use of force ostensibly to promote democracy in Haiti, Nicaragua and in Latin America. It had intervened forcibly to change regimes, restore order and preach democracy. However, on becoming President in 1933, Franklin D Roosevelt abandoned the policy pursued by his predecessor President Woodrow Wilson. He treated his neighbors with respect, acknowledged past American blunders, and saw that constitutions alone did not guarantee a democratic outcome.

It is true that President Barack Obama has to look after the global interests of the super power but it was expected that he would not be as ruthless as his predecessor was. It has yet to be seen whether he can steer the crisis by changing the course in his fag end of his tenure or he will also go down in the history as a war president. It has to be mentioned that in the presence of at least a dozen nuclear states with delivery systems, America will not be safe in the next world war.

—The writer is Lahore-based senior journalist.

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