Mahboob A. Khawaja, PhD.
Towards Understanding the Political Problems
And here is the dilemma we face as a civilization. We march collectively toward self-annihilation. Corporate capitalism, if left unchecked, will kill us. Yet we refuse, because we cannot think and no longer listen to those who do think, to see what is about to happen to us. We have created entertaining mechanisms to obscure and silence the harsh truths, from climate change to the collapse of globalization to our enslavement to corporate power that will mean our self-destruction. If we can do nothing else we must, even as individuals nurture the private dialogue and the solitude that make thought possible. It is better to be an outcast, a stranger in one’s own country, than an outcast from one’s self. It is better to see what is about to befall us and to resist than to retreat into the fantasies embraced by a nation of the blind.
(Chris Hedges - Author of Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle (“How to Think”, Common Dreams).
Are there any global leaders to extend moral and intellectual security to the beleaguered mankind? Global political affairs are fast becoming a theater of absurdity. In a rational spectrum, leaders are not leading; large segments of the global mankind are enduring unthinkable moral and intellectual sickness as political problems are pilling up to crush the human soul and body. All wars affect people. The global community wonders where to look for change and peacemaking that is nowhere visible on the political horizon. Man-made conflicts have disoriented and dehumanized the entire Arab region lacking optimism for sustainable future. More unthinkable conflicts originating from the Arab world are becoming thinkable menace to peaceful future-making. Those democratically chosen and self-styled leaders talking of global peace and harmony but in reality are selling weapons of mass destruction and continue to terrorize the global humanity. None seem to have any imagination for human unity and peacemaking. All man-made problems are resolvable by people of knowledge, proactive vision, integrity and discipline. The Arab leaders are engaged in tribal warfare enflamed by the US and Europeans to market their obsolete weapons. None of the Arab conflicts make any sense when Islam sought Unity of Faith. Those fuelling the sectarian warfare represent naïve and embittered sadistic egoism. The outcomes signal collective disasters for the whole of the Arab region. Daily sectarian blasts are killing more civilians than the actual warfare. Millions of displaced Arab refugees ask when would they go back to their ancestral homes. The perpetuated sectarian political divide appears unstoppable. There is no value to human life and protection as the madness continues to enlarge the scope of authoritarian warfare to end their own existence. Arab people are the net victims everywhere, be it in Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Palestine, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Libya, North Africa or elsewhere. What is the workable remedy? One view could be that global politics of the few needs urgent change at the top hierarchical level to harmonize its aims and implementation at human level rather than governance of the theoretical states managing the global affairs. This could be seen as problematic as global politics and working institutions are aligned to the doctrine of states as the ultimate functionary agent. But often change is hard to grasp at its initial stage unless people are properly educated and briefed of the meaning of change and its short and long terms positive outcomes to the public interest. The phenomenon of political change should be explained and understood as the urgent need of the whole world. Masses in various democratic nations should elect leaders and representatives who could share new vision and commitment to pursue global political change. The UNO is the foremost international agency in desperate need of change in all of its constructs and operations. At times, its UN Secretary General is no more than a mouthpiece of few Western- led governance and their policy goals. The Chief global peacemaker must be a position of leadership enriched with new thoughts, creative initiatives and unending resolve to explore all possible avenues for conflict-management and peacemaking. Not so, Ban K. Moon is deficient in public communication and asserting his professional presence in situation of conflicts warranting powerful and impressive leadership. In One World, unwanted wars and sectarian bloodbaths are raging consuming precious time and resources without an end insight. This picture is purely inhuman as if there were no civilized human beings populating the splendid Earth.
Emerging Global Consciousness of World Affairs
“There are the times that try men’s soul”, noted Thomas Paine in his famous “Common Sense”, the lifeline to American independence. In situations of adversity and crises, leaders represent optimism and hope for change, not egoistic agenda and confusion. The US and some European leaders are engaged in fuelling the Arab world crises with the sole aim of further militarization of the region and selling more weapons. There are no practical movements or new initiatives of any kind to address the real issues and come to terms with strategies for conflict management and conflict resolution. The central issue in the Middle East is the problem of the freedom of Palestine and restoration of normal relations between the State of Israel and the Arab countries. The Arab political thinking is fast becoming nuisance as distraction from the real issues fade away without focused mind. After failure of more than half of a century of negotiations, Palestinians and Israelis must explore creative and workable avenues of social, moral and intellectual communications to bridge the human ignorance. Could the animosity lost for ever? Imagine this week, how the US and Cuba restored diplomatic relations what could have been done more than fifty years ago.
Ever age of human civilizations, encompasses people of new ideas and innovative thinking for the future. Progressively evolving is a new information-age complementing plausible global culture of thinking of One Humanity and a new proactive civilization of strong bonds and affinity of people to people cultural communications – citizenry participation in social, economic and political thinking and globalization - man in one part of the world feels, thinks and acts-reacts to what happens to any man in another remote corners of the globe. Mankind is neither blind, nor inept, it defines its own purpose, meaning and identity for peace and harmony that the established institutions of governance - be it in America or Europe or elsewhere miserably failed to recognize or value their importance in global political affairs. Given the inherent systematic deficiencies and moral and intellectual corruption in the US - European – worldwide political governance and policy formulation toward the international community, the global community is cutely aware and actively organized and morally and intellectually powerful to challenge all the belligerent nightmares planned and orchestrated for the making of Third World War.
Remaking of Global Politics via Dialogue
If there were genuinely intelligent leaders equipped with transformational leadership qualities, the world could have been a safer place for the whole of mankind. Future must be anew, not the repetition of the past. Future making does not lie with the aggressors nor with the failed international institutions, it is with the will and resolve of conscientious and well informed global community to oppose the warlords and to articulate anew and a more people-oriented feasible future for the mankind to co-exist in peace and harmony. While the planned wars and military aggressions have failed to achieve any strategic goals except causing large scale deaths and environmental destruction of the human habitats, political thinkers and intellectuals and experts in conflict resolution should envision new strategies to avert the futuristic wars. One of such rational approach would be to organize interactive rational dialogues between the Muslim scholars and the American-European intellectuals to assess and to know where we are and what wrongs and cruelties have been done to the mankind, and how best we could come out of the prevalent man-made foolishness and drudgery and deception?
Ukraine can be discussed peacefully if America and West European leaders were to realize that Russia is located in Europe too and so are its strategic interests and that President Putin should be treated equally and that sitting face to face on one table can help to resolve the unthinkable issues. The Arab leaders should realize that sectarian warfare will annihilate their culture and existence and they must rethink their strategies and peace can be worked out without the involvement of America and West Europe. ISIL can be defeated by Arab leadership’s unity of purpose, intellectual and moral integrity which is missing all along. More Arab refugees will undermine the image and human decency of the Arab culture and its continuity in global human affairs. Every beginning has its end. It is just that most transgressors do not know about it when they cross over the limits of the Laws of God. The USSR was defeated, the day it raided the destitute people of Afghanistan. The American and British surrendered the day international community learned about the Guantanomo Bay prisoners and photos of the Abu Ghraib Prison in Iraq. Since March 2003, what to speak of raging sectarian hatred and bloodbath between the Shias-Sunnis planned by the aggressors, an estimated three million civilians have been killed by the American-British war in Iraq. The US media reports indicate that approximately 19 - 25 American war veterans commit suicide every day at home and on the war fronts. Why?
How Could the Arab Leaders Learn from Global Developments?
Unusual emergencies and crises provide opportunities for rethinking and learning to all those having sense of responsibility and public accountability. It is unclear how much of it is currently available across the highly antagonistic Arab political environment. Most Arab leaders are not well educated, often lacking rational qualities of contemporary leadership traits and missing public accountability. Most European imperial powers had arranged tribal agents who were faithful to their agendas for continued domination of the Arab-Muslim people. The Arab authoritarianism is the crux of Arab political sickness. Western leaders and nations prefer dictators and former neo-colonial loyal tribal agents – now princes and kings to run the governance. The discovery of oil was another factor in moral and intellectual decadence and leaving all essential works to foreigners. The Western industrialized cultures are outcome of centuries of struggles by the people across many continents. How strange that Arab cultures offer shadowy glimpse of hardly any people-oriented struggle for the symbolic economic prosperity derived from the oil revenues. The picture is fuzzy and irrelevant when facts of life are confronted in the making of the modern Arab development. To the Arab leaders, the moral and intellectual capacity-building should assume top priority for change. Peace cannot be bought or ordered from any Western national warehouses or the leaders. The major issues of the Arab world consume precious time and resources for political problems. Yet, there are no public institutions for education and development of human resources in problem solving, conflict analysis and peacemaking. If the Arab leaders had the moral, intellectual and spiritual capacity to make navigational change and set the public stage for dialogue (listening and learning without agreeing or disagreeing), they could have articulated peaceful change, and consequently the evolving crises in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Libya, Egypt and Saudi Arabia could have been managed intelligently and effectively. The whole of the Arab world appears to be on a path of self-engineered disintegration and ultimate destruction by pursuing the war strategy. A century earlier C.E.M. Joad (Guide to Modern Wickedness), captioned the human intransigence and sadistic egoism in these words:
“….Human nature is at least in part wicked and in part foolish, how can human beings be prevented from suffering from the results of their wickedness and folly? ….Men simply do not see that war is foolish and useless and wicked. They think on occasion that it is necessary and wise and honourable, for war is not the work of bad men knowing themselves to be wrong, but of good men passionately convinced that they are right.”
(Dr. Mahboob A. Khawaja specializes in global security, peace and conflict resolution with keen interests in Islamic-Western comparative cultures and civilizations, and author of several publications including the latest: Global Peace and Conflict Management: Man and Humanity in Search of New Thinking. Lambert Academic Publishing Germany, May 2012)