REPORTEDLY Pope Francis speaking to students and teachers of Milan’s San Curio Institute on last Saturday blamed Europe and United States for selling weapons in the war zones, fuelling conflicts and causing deaths in Syria, Yemen and Afghanistan. Nobody in his right mind can take exception to what the Pope has said. He has hit the nail on the head by identifying the real reasons behind conflicts around the world. Unfortunately in the post World War-II era US and its western allies particularly the assault gang (US, UK and France) have been instrumental in triggering conflicts and wars in different regions of the world inflicting untold miseries on the concerned people, have intervened militarily in certain countries to ensure regime changes as well as have blocked solutions to ongoing conflicts to achieve their self-defined strategic and commercial interests. As rightly pointed out by the Pontiff the arms produced in the US and other western countries have clandestinely found their way in the war zones in Africa and other trouble spots under approving nods of the concerned regimes to create more jobs for their people. In certain cases they have provided arms to certain regimes to suppress people fighting for their independence and state-hood. They are culprits of humanity.
In the post World War-II era imperialism has assumed a humane configuration and is being practiced under different forms in the name of “humanitarian intervention” using UN as a conduit. The driving force behind this concept is that human rights are universal and every state should protect them and if a particular state fails to do so, the other states must ensure their protection. Put in simple words if a regime is guilty of abusing human rights and does not heed to the appeals of the international community or the UN in this regard, the other nations or the UN must intervene to save the population of that country from the oppressive regimes. This concept was invoked for the first time for intervention in Nigeria in 1967 to end civil war, followed by similar actions in Srebrenica in 1992, Rwanda in 1994 and Serbia in 1999. Regime change in Ivory Coast through military action and the intervention in Libya under the umbrella of the UN were ranting testimonies of imperialism through the UN. At the start of the Libyan campaign, President Obama had emphatically stated that the action was not aimed at regime change in Libya but to protect the population being persecuted by Qadaffi. But as the world witnessed it was surely a deliberate move to get rid of Qadaffi. The most perturbing aspect of these ostensibly humanitarian interventions has been that they resulted in more human casualties and blood-shed than they were meant to save and protect. Regrettably the humanitarian intervention been selectively used by the ‘Assault Gang’ to achieve their non-humanitarian objectives. Their criminal apathy and indifference to the sufferings of the people of Palestine, Kashmir and other people around globe groaning under oppression tells whole story.
The US and European powers also used the UN to attack Iraq on the pretext of taking out weapons of mass destruction which were never found. Nevertheless they succeeded in their real objective to get Saddam Hussain. The military action in Afghanistan in the wake of 9/11 with a mandate from UN was yet another ranting manifestation of the imperialist mindset of the assault gang considering the fact that some other options could have been tried to deal with the phenomenon of terrorism. Their actions in Afghanistan and tribal belt of Pakistan have caused exponential increase in the world wide terrorism instead of curbing it; the ostensible objective of their offensive in Afghanistan. It also badly affected Pakistan. The madness has led to incalculable loss of human lives and resources. They even coerced Pakistan to support their war effort in Afghanistan. It is however encouraging to note that the representative government in Pakistan is resisting the arm-twisting tactics of the US imperialists and is exhibiting unswerving determination to regain the sovereignty that was surrendered by the military dictator, though it remains committed to eliminating the curse of terrorism and religious extremism and promoting Afghan-led and Afghan owned solution to the Afghan conflict. A similar kind of approach and strategy is needed at the global level to forestall the designs of the imperialists.
The philosophy of making the world a better place through the use of military muscle, subscribed to and practiced by the American imperialists and their cronies has certainly brought more misery to the human race and is likely to trigger off more conflicts and abuse of human rights. Therefore, to make the world a better place, the new form of imperialism in the name of ‘humanitarian intervention’ will have to be checked in its tracks through collective efforts of the world community, particularly the third world countries. They must strive for reforms in the UN structure and increase in the permanent members of the Security Council that gives equal representation to different geographical regions, vested with the veto power as enjoyed by the current five permanent members. Another option could be abolishing the veto power altogether and giving effect to the Security Council resolutions on the basis of simple majority. Undoing the monopoly of the US and Western countries and their clout in securing the support of UN for their ulterior motives can greatly help in saving the world from the depravity of the new form of imperialism. Apart from UN reforms, the developing countries can also ensure their security and obviate the chances of their vulnerability to the machinations of the assault gang, through regional organizations designed to enhance regional security, economic and political cooperation among the member countries.
— The writer is freelance columnist based in Islamabad.