The last years of the 20th century marked the end of the Cold War which was followed by a wave of new theories and the doctrine of new world order. The Clash of Civilization theory redirected the debate and course of action. The theory of End of History declared the liberal order the only winner.
The new world order was drafted and pursued by its proponents. It led to new battle grounds which culminated in the war on terror. Human rights was another instrument applied to expand the scope of war. Against all hope, the 21st century dawned with the war on terror and Muslims were declared terrorists. One country after another was attacked in the name of terrorism, human rights and weapons of mass destruction.
Unfortunately, all of the wars were imposed on Muslim countries including Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya. The Western world tried to give the impression that Muslims were responsible for all ills; they refused to recognize the atrocities of Israel and India.
The war on terror gave rise to multifaceted problems for the Western countries. First, the so-called wars in the name of terrorism, human rights and weapons of mass destruction soaked up the financial resources and economies of the West. The financial crisis of 2007-8 was a wakeup call and it ended with huge relief packages and support from China. It was astonishing to note that after getting help from China, the US and allies launched a malicious campaign against China. Second, US and allies refused to learn from the crisis and continued to expand the scope of wars. President Obama tried to change the face of wars and introduced his doctrine. He withdrew forces from Iraq without proper planning and any meaningful conclusion. The US withdrawal was followed by chaos and bloodshed. ISIS, the deadliest terrorist organization, emerged and created havoc in the region.
France and NATO also applied similar tactics in Libya. They attacked Libya, destroyed cities, infrastructure and left. They celebrated the destruction and killing of innocent people. While people are suffering, livelihood opportunities have vanished and terrorists are killing people. Libya has become a battleground among interest groups of different countries.
With US forces abruptly leaving Afghanistan; it was feared that this would be a repeat telecast of Iraq. ISIS is already in Afghanistan attacking the people and government. The only solution US offered in this situation was a fresh demand from Pakistan to provide air bases to them. They termed it a monitoring operation to keep an eye on militants and militancy in Afghanistan.
If US, NATO and allied forces were not able to control Taliban by staying for 20 years, how will they control the situation by having bases in Pakistan? This seems like an effort to find a scapegoat for their failures.
The impact of the hasty evacuation is now apparent in Afghanistan. The Taliban have taken over the country without any significant resistance. Government functionaries have left the country. The situation is giving birth to conspiracy theories. The enemies of Pakistan have started using this situation as a sign of Pakistan’s linkages with Taliban. They are propagating that Pakistan does not want peace in Afghanistan. They may assume that they are creating problems for Pakistan but in reality, they are undermining the dreams of peace and development of the Afghan people.
The chaos and conspiracies have already started to impact regions and it will have global implications. The worst hit area would be the agenda of “No one Left Behind” of SDGs. The world will be engaged in meaningless conflicts which will have severe implications for the world economy. Instead of learning from the past, the West is trying to create new fields of conflict and senseless competition. The West under the leadership of US has initiated a campaign against China. China has become the new punching bag.
The latest addition to this malicious campaign is the futile politics on the origin tracing of COVID-19. This will undermine the development agenda and any initiative by any country will be seen with suspicion.
The world needs to cooperate and come out of this mentality of chaos and conspiracy. It may seem difficult, but there is no option other than cooperation. Lack of cooperation will lead to mutually assured destruction. The first step will be to leave behind the arrogance. It is mother of all ills. It has led to wars in the name of values, way of life, narrowly defined democracy, human rights and self-perceived superiority of governance, economic and social systems. Second, prosperity for everyone should be the leading goal. The world needs to pool resources. There should be no politics on the economic ventures like Belt and Road Initiative, B3W etc. Countries should try to align these initiatives with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Lastly, present challenges should be turned into an opportunity. War torn countries should be selected to build a model of cooperation. For example, in Afghanistan all global powers and regional countries should come together to establish a fund with name of “Afghanistan Rehabilitation and Economic Integration Fund (AREIF)”. The management team of the fund should consist of experts and people with skills. AREIF should be given three major tasks, 1) improve business environment, 2) build human capital, 3) build efficient government machinery. Human capital should be given top priority and a special program should be devised on urgent basis under the AREIF. The end goal of the fund should be to turn around the economic status of countries. Similar initiatives can be built for Iraq and Libya. However, the world needs to avoid past practices of dictating to countries. The selected countries should be given the chance to choose the best suited model of government and economy for themselves, otherwise, there are chances of failure.
The writer is a political scientist and defense analyst.