Violence, terrorism and usurpation of human rights have become chronic maladies which afflict humanity at large. The 11th September episode was indeed a very gruesome reflection of the deranged human sensibility which has dangerous portents for every living creature on the planet. No sensible mind can endorse, the kind of tragedy that befell America in the wake of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre, where innocent lives were lost. It is not hard to visualize and empathize with the kind of shock and anger that has gripped the American psyche. But the crucial question is why is violence so rampant? Where are its roots? Going for symptoms is tantamount to chasing shadows.
US strategic thinkers, despite their grief and anger must ponder over the fact how best they can extricate the world from the menace of terrorism. Launching aggression on Afghanistan has resulted in colossal human tragedy and death of people who were totally ignorant of who were the terrorists and what prompted them to do what they did. It appears that the USA in its design to combat terrorism, is in fact, accentuating it. It is our very candid view that violence begets violence, and modalities being adopted are far different from what is needed. Wherever, freedom is usurped it must be restored.
USA is unquestionable power, the like of which has never existed in the world before. There is no country which can pose any threat or challenge to the American preponderance in the world. Providence has provided it extraordinary power to influence the world. It is imperative to determine how this power is exercised. Any temptation to remain glued to dominate the world would be fatal. It brings a very great responsibility to this nation so that the world does not slip into chaos and anarchy. The moral responsibility has to be exercised with coolness, transcending the shock and trauma it has experienced. They earned the sympathy and the global support but now with the geo-strategic pattern unfolding in which they have shown predilection to unilaterally attack any nation under the overbearing notion of ‘preemptive strike’ is causing concern and apprehension as to what America is up to. No doubt it is blessed with unilateral power but historical sagacity demands that it must also see its limitations. Absolute power is only divine and America must never get that much intoxicated with its preponderance. Many strategic thinkers are of the view that the unipolar moment, which USA is enjoying is only transitory in nature. Already the economic input has fallen from one half to one quarter of the global product over the past five decades and the world is gravitating towards inevitable multi-polarity with redistribution of economic and military might. Therefore, it is in USA’s supreme interest to facilitate the process of transition from uni–polarity to multi-polarity. Rising China and United Europe are emerging as counterweights to USA’s primacy.
History records that power transition has never been very smooth. The two world wars are reminders that if peace is not negotiated, war becomes the only way to restore balance. Promoting conflicts and confrontational strategy we think is a very myopic approach. Bipolarity did not give real peace. If the world gained anything it was cold peace, which is tasteless. We desperately need the delicious platter of warm peace, where all humanity is interwoven into one community and global village metaphor finds a real meaning.
When USA was obsessed with Communism, there was no evil greater than this and McCarthyism reflected a frame of mind in which the American citizens were made really paranoid about the “Red Peril”. Now some strategic pundits notably Bernard Lewis, Brzezinski and Samuel Huntington have directed the US attention towards Islam as the ‘Green Peril’. What is happening against the Muslim world in general is a practical application of the notorious idea planted by the troika. As George Kennon with his famous doctrine of Containment became the symbol of US aspiration to tilt power balance in its favour, in the bipolar world order, the thesis of Clash of Civilisation is mainly to maintain the primacy of America and to remain at the seat of Global power. The dread of so-called Islamic fundamentalism is contrived to hoodwink the American citizens who are very rightly proud of their progress and prosperity. Any visitor to USA cannot but be immensely impressed by the dignity and freedom an ordinary citizen enjoys. Indeed the Soft Power of USA is much too precious to be lost under the so-called dread of terrorism. More than the Trade Tower massacre is the tragedy of surrender of freedom so sacrosanct in USA’s day to day life, and regression into an authoritarian control.
After Islam now the American policy designers are propagating a vicious idea that Confucian culture also is a mighty threat to American civilization. Huntington who has gained greater prominence in the post-11th September scenario, floated a very notorious view that “economic development of China and other Asian societies and population growth of Muslim countries in and of themselves are having and will continue to have in the 21st century a highly destabilizing effect on global politics”. It is for this reason that China is being scapegoated for every economic ill in the American society. The upshot of all this is that clash of civilization thesis is making the world an arena of continuous violence and bloodshed. A paradigm is needed in which peace is achieved through global consensus, and not dictated through cannons and missiles.
The kind of order that exists today is no different from what George Orwell described in his famous book Animal Farm. The animals had seized the farm in the name of equality of all animals and the slogan they adopted was “all animals are equal”. But when pigs monopolized power they did not want to share it with the rest of the animals and a new slogan was created: “animals are equal but some are more equal than others”. This is what ‘unipolar’ world order is all about.
Contrary to the End of History thesis propounded by Francis Fukuyama, the real history seems to have begun now. In the words of Toynbee “We are in the first age since the dawn of civilization in which people have dared to think it practicable to make the benefits of civilization available to the whole human race”. Civilizational harmony is in the making. Shall we speed it up?