THIS is with reference to the article “UN’s new agenda for peace” (July 31) which summarised the overall world scenario with reference to the United Nations secretary-general’s agenda for peace to be discussed with world leaders at a UN summit next year.
There is nothing wrong with said agenda, which has 12 specific proposals in five priority areas. The big question begging answer relates to how and why the world actually reached its current level of vulnerability.
Medical science puts emphasis on the correct diagnosis because only then can one go about disease management and treatment phases appropriately. In this spirit, one would like to point out that the fall of socialism has been among the major causes of the current bad health of the world order.
There is growing realisation that most of the crises that the world is facing today owe their origins to the single cause; unbridled, unfettered capitalism which only knows the principle of profit maximisation at any cost. There is no denying that humanity has benefited in many fields from the advancement made by capitalism, but it is also a fact of life that the overuse, misuse and abuse of the best of things end up in negativity.
The Bolshevik revolution not only changed the lives of the people of the erstwhile Soviet Union, but infused an unparalleled inspiration in the hearts and minds of the downtrodden of the whole world to strive for the change.
As a counter strategy, the capitalist countries, under the leadership of the United States, set their eyes on the destruction of the Soviet Union, making it their primary goal. Toppling democ-ratic governments through military coups, nurturing dictators, making clandestine invasions, assassinating popular leaders, and naked aggression against sovereign countries were all part of the US-led strategy during what they loved to call the Cold War.
The wave of militancy and extremism of today has its roots in that very strategy.
At the fall of the Soviet Union, there were huge celebrations and the world at large was lectured round the clock about how the humanity was supposedly going to enjoy an unprecedented era of peace, progress and prosperity. The last 33 years since such lectures can hardly stand any comparison with the 45 years of the bipolar dispensation that the world experienced at the end of World War II.
The war did not remain ‘cold’ for long. It actually became ‘hot’ and has only got ‘hotter’ with time. Fundamentalism, extremism and militancy have been acknowledged as existential threats to civilized society. There is no more a counterforce to the negativity of capitalism.
The US, which is the flag-bearer of capitalism, and the self-styled ‘sole superpower’ of a unipolar world has only gone about rather unashamedly ravaging whole countries for the sake of capturing commodities and stamping geopolitical dominance. It has been like a madly wild beast trampling the fields.
Even the much celebrated welfare states in the capitalist world have not been spared by the unchecked juggernaut. The very concept of welfare states was based on the strategy to discourage poor people from crossing over to socialism.
As soon as that threat disappeared, the subsidies given have been slowly withdrawn in the name of austerity, resulting in the rise of far-right forces in the West.
The UN secretary-general’s agenda for peace itself bears testimony to the failure of the world order that the US had rolled out with much fanfare.
Abdul Khalique Junejo
Published in Dawn, September 18th, 2023