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April 16, 2019

Needed: a democratic world order


April 16, 2019

Although many critics believe that the two terrible world wars that killed more than eight million people in the world were waged to capture markets and colonies, the West claims they were fought to protect democracy and for the sake of an international order based on respect for international law, promotion of human rights and maintenance of peace in the global village. However, that very West seems to be tearing down this international order through its reckless policies and flagrant violations of international laws.

The recent arrest of Julian Assange clearly indicates that the West has no regard for international law, democracy and freedom of expression. Assange could be prosecuted in his native country if concrete evidence is found against him regarding sexual harassment or assault but punishing him for exposing the heinous war crimes that the West committed in Iraq and Afghanistan is a travesty of justice. The democratic ruling elite of the West that was clamouring for freedom of expression and bashing the conservative kingdom of Saudi Arabia is now planning to hand over the most respected voice for this very right in the world to the henchmen of Donald Trump. For many pacifists, Assange is a hero who unearthed the obnoxious plans of Western war-mongers that have been invading country after country for their gargantuan appetite of natural resources and their voracious greed for profit.

The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have proved to be very disastrous, with catastrophic consequences for the hapless citizens of the two countries. More than 2.5 million perished in Iraq because of the illegal invasion that unleashed sectarian massacres besides spawning the rise of Isis. The never-ending war of Afghanistan has also pushed millions of people towards death and destruction. Assange, Bradley Manning, Snowden and hundreds of people like them are the conscience of the West, fighting to save its humanistic reputation that has been dented by its unscrupulous leaders and their Machiavellian policies.

They are the Kepler, Copernicus and Galileo of the modern times. They have not only exposed the death and destruction plans of the West but also startled the world by revealing the sanctimoniousness of the American ruling elite that was not only involved in bugging its enemies but spying on its allies as well – like the German chancellor and ex-French president. Through their sheer courage, these individuals helped the world understand the mysterious spying system put in place by the sole superpower to control the world. This system is far more effective than the detective network introduced by Hitler or any other ruthless dictator.

It is strange that the governments in Berlin and Paris are silent over the arrest of someone whose audacity helped others come forward and expose the plans of the American ruling elite not only against its rivals but friends as well. The Western corporate media that is quick at pointing out the freedom of expression issues in Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, Iran and elsewhere in the world seems to be celebrating Assange’s capture. No mainstream media outlet has openly condemned this act of rapaciousness of the British ruling elite. Assange was dragged out of the Ecuadorean embassy as if he were the most wanted terrorist of the world. The treatment meted out to him has shamed the modern democratic world.

Assange’s arrest flies in the face of claims made by Western democracies about freedom of expression, democracy and respect for international law. It seems the ruling elite of the West is encouraging chaos and repression everywhere. They have adopted a criminal silence over the brutal tactics employed by the butcher of Gaza called Benjamin Netanyahu against the hapless Palestinians. They dare not challenge the ideology of hate by the butcher of Gujarat who has turned Kashmir into an open prison and is threatening to disregard all international laws regarding the right of self-determination. They turn a blind eye towards Trump’s construction of the Mexico wall, his policy of incarcerating immigrants and his reckless attitude towards Iran and Venezuela.

This attitude of the West is encouraging rapacious leaders to flout international law. Netanyahu, who encouraged Jewish settlements on occupied territories with complete contempt for international law, is now planning to incorporate the captured areas into the Israeli state. The recognition of Israeli occupation of the Golan Heights clearly indicates that the US-led world does not have any respect for international law. First Washington surrendered to Tel Aviv over the issue of Jerusalem, and now it is again appeasing the ultra-right wing leader of the Zionist state.

This reckless policy of the West is emboldening far-right forces everywhere in the world who are hell-bent on putting an end to democracy and introducing majoritarianism everywhere. Such forces are violating the rights of minorities and other vulnerable groups across the globe. Indian Prime Minister Modi and other hate-mongers of the BJP are drumming up collective insanity in India that has led to mob-lynching of terrified Muslims. In the West, white supremacists are scapegoating immigrant and other communities. The National Front in France, the English Defense League and British National Party in the UK, the ruling parties in Hungary, Italy and Ukraine and Trump’s supporters in the US are euphoric over the rise of these forces. But the history of Europe and the West tells us that such an attitude culminates in the rise of fascism which does not threaten only one society but region after region can possibly be engulfed by the flames of xenophobia and hate-mongering. This virulent ideology is not only threatening a few million immigrants, it has the potential to plunge the world into a devastating conflict that could bring an even bigger disaster.

The West must avoid encouraging such forces. Democracy does not mean legitimizing the reckless policies of populist leaders. It does not mean showing complete disregard for the rights of minorities and other vulnerable groups of society. Democracy is meant to advocate a system that is based on rule of law and respect for all citizens of a country. It seems that democratic leaders all over the world are trying to appease far-right forces. In order to gain votes, they are scapegoating minorities and vulnerable groups of their societies. They are also resorting to war-hysteria to drum up support for elections. Netanyahu has done so in Israel; Modi is doing it in India. Such use of war rhetoric, which is against international law and all norms of democracy, is very lethal. It will tear down the international order that was put in place by Western democracies. It will lead to the rise of fascist forces that will not only pit one group against another in their own states but one political entity against another as well, which means first confrontation between the various groups of a society and then a contest of military muscles between the states.

The salvation of the world lies in a democratic order that is not hypocritical. Such an order should not be silent on human rights violations when they happen in Palestine or Ukraine, and clamour when such rights are suppressed in Russia, China, Iran, Venezuela and other states that are not in the good books of Western powers. Such a system should not encourage the selective use of international law, destroying Iraq for invading Kuwait but ignoring American aggression against the same country. This democratic order should not seek to punish only war criminals sitting in Sudan or parts of Rwanda; it should also hold accountable Tony Blair and George W Bush for flouting international law. The principles of this system should not prompt us to point out only Russia and China’s spying systems, it should also embolden us to demand the elimination of the spy system put in place by Western democracies to control their own citizens.

The writer is a freelance journalist.

Email: [email protected]

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