Kaieteur News – This columnist as a trained social scientist who studied history, philosophy and international relations would reject any justification for the Russian invasion of Ukraine. An unprovoked war cannot be justified.
The Ukraine never even had a border skirmish with Russia. The war must come to an end with a Russian withdrawal. What cannot be justified also is the acceptance of Israel’s seizure of Palestinian lands and their annexation.
It is unbelievable that in the midst of an illegal invasion by Russia and Russian occupation of a sovereign country, the British Prime Minister has announced that Britain may move its embassy to Jerusalem which is illegally occupied by Israel. So why Israel is right to annex other people’s land but it is wrong for Russia to pursue the same objective?
The answer is simple. Countries act in their own interest. Countries have domestic and foreign interests which lead them to shape their foreign policies to maximize relationships in international affairs that bring security and economic benefits.
The Prime Minister of the UK will argue that it is in the interest of national security that Britain must have closer ties with Israel. There is absolutely nothing wrong with such thinking. It is normal instincts in international relations. But it has dangerous implications for the international order.
Just a quick digression before we continue with the main argument. Do you know the opposition leader in Venezuela is more aggressive in his stance of claiming more than half of Guyana than Maduro? It is Guyana’s security interest to have closer bilateral ties with Maduro. Back to the main thrust of this column.
The 1848 Treaty of Westphalia sought to impose strict obligations on European nation—states in relation to mutual acceptance of territorial sovereignty. International peace had held steady until other countries in the late 19th century and early 20th century disregarded the sacred virtue of sovereignty.
All countries have national security interests but the international order is devastated when some countries are given carte blanche to destroy other nation’s sovereignty while other nations are condemned when they do the same.
The Crimea does not belong to Russia. Jerusalem and the Golan Heights do not belong to Israel. Whereas the British Prime Minister has her reason for wanting to move the UK embassy to Jerusalem, she may play into the hands of the Russians. Annexation by any country is wrong.
Russia and Israel are two aggressors in this context. Other nations, mostly in the Third World (TW) must act in their own interests and avoid taking sides with what can easily be deemed the New Cold. It is the US and the West versus the other superpower, China.
There is nothing to be gained by the TW taking sides. When the US won the first Cold War, it barefacedly abandoned the TW with resulting poverty disasters in many TW countries. The CARICOM countries in the Eastern Caribbean was hit hard by WTO impositions, President Jagdeo was brave enough to resist in 2008 with the UK imposed CARICOM – EU Economic Partnership Agreement.
Trends in African foreign policy directions point to Africa moving towards a more even balance in its relations with the West. Africa is maintaining a healthy trade and aid arrangement with China and will resist American pressure to loosen ties with China.
Here in Guyana, oil revenues should decrease Guyana’s economic dependence on the West. In fact, it is good news for Guyana’s foreign policy when the EU announced that aid to Guyana will be decreased because of Guyana’s rising income.
As Guyana gains rapid development, it must pay careful attention to how it balances its act between the US and countries the US do not want Guyana to have close relations with. Guyana must not act as a sycophant to the US. The US has its battle with its gigantic rival, China; that should be of no concern to Guyana. If Iran, China, Venezuela, Nicaragua and the countries want to give Guyana aid and loans, Guyana must accept them and shape a non-security relation with these countries.
The CEO of one of the world’s most powerful financial institutions, JP Morgan, has offered some realpolitik advice to the current US Government. He said the US must counter China in Asia and Africa by developing soft power in the developing world.
This is euphemism by the CEO for geo-political exploitation of the TW by the US. He means US must pull the TW into its orbit. The US did that when there was the first Cold War. After it won that war, it dropped the TW mercilessly. What happens if China’s economy collapses and it is no longer a superpower? TW will be dropped mercilessly again. Beware of Greeks bearing gifts!
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.)
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