Back to square one!

March 28, 2016 OPINION/NEWS


Shakeel Haider

It’s no more a unipolar world but a world with a total breach of peace and harmony. History either repeats itself or not but the world situation looks like very much like the decade of the 1980s.

Military alignments, proxy wars, civil and social unrest, financial crises, mass migrations, intercontinental refugee influx and ideological skirmishes. Above all, the genie of religious extremism, which has become a challenge for the whole world and its rulers, is keeping apart peace and prosperity in the Middle East and Europe.

The Second World War ended in another long but unconventional war known as the Cold War. The defeat of Germany exposed an ideological division of Europe which took sides on capitalist and socialist lines respectively. The Cold War had its own positive and negative impacts. The fall of the Berlin Wall was considered a weakening of Socialist regimes across Eastern Europe and it ended in disintegration of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) into 15 independent states.

Who is to blame for initiating the Cold War is a long debate as the capitalist world accuses Russia solely, while on the ground the reality seems different. It’s a historical fact that the formation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) by America and Europe and their refusal to USSR to enter, started the antagonism. As a result of these refusal tactics, USSR established the Warsaw Pact with the help of seven satellite states of USSR in Central and Eastern Europe. Hence, the world divided into two blocks, the Capitalist Bloc led by the US and the Socialist bloc by USSR.

With the end of Socialist regimes in Eastern Europe and the division of USSR, NATO was considered an extra organization which had no importance at the end of the Cold War. But NATO transformed its military role to territorial defence, peacekeeping and, in the case of the Kosovo war, towards robust peace making. The end of the Cold War was termed differently by different experts but “End of History” got more attention.

But that wasn’t the “End of History” as American-led allies or NATO fought the first Gulf War against Iraq in 1990, the Serbian War in 1999, and war in Afghanistan, the second Gulf war in 2003, the Libyan Civil War in 2011 and since 2014 in Syria against ISIS. It’s not hard to assess the propaganda which in the time of the Cold War blew the horror of impending war in Europe. Now the regional issues and turmoil are strong, similar to the pre 1989 era, when there was a war of ideologies. Islamic extremism replaced it as the Taliban in Afghanistan, with the help of Al Qaeda, destabilized peace and harmony across the world with terrorist and sabotage activities and, for a number of years now, ISIS taking the flag of horror mongering from the weakened Al Qaeda.

The Syrian crisis has placed all previous contenders against each other once again. Russia took control of Crimea to stop European involvement in Ukraine and started active support of the Bashar regime in Syria against ISIS and combined opposition. Russian proactive involvement in Crimea and Syria is been seriously checked by America and its allies in Europe. Russian President Vladimir Putin is being blamed for shattering the European Union. The exchange of vocal war has already begun between Russia and NATO countries.

Interestingly US secretary of state John Kerry termed Russian involvement in Syria as illegitimate, whereas Russia are vocal against all these developments and questioned America and its allies’ initiatives in Syria, Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan. Historical Russo-Europe antagonism is back in full spirit but in a new form and with new venues. China sides with Russia apparently and is not supporting any anti-Russian move by America and NATO members.

The world is divided and warring as it was in Cold War times. Unrest started from Afghanistan, after 9/11 still awaits ways for peace. Pakistan is hosting 3 million Afghan refugees and bearing the direct brunt of terrorist onslaught. Iraq is literally divided into hostile regions after the war of 2003. Turkey is facing terrorism, refugee influx and extremism. The so-called Arab Spring appeared devastating rather than constructive as civil unrest and the collapse of political order is evident in Yemen, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and Syria. Iraq, Libya and Syria became a hub of extremism, bloodshed and anarchy and have generated millions of displaced people who are searching for peace and shelter.

Africa is no exception as some African Islamic countries faced turmoil and crisis in the Arab Spring tide. Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Ethiopia and Somalia are volcanoes of civil strife and political instability, Sudan ravaged, devastated and fragmented. Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi are fighting with hunger and poverty. Chad, Nigeria, Central African Republic and Mali are new destinations of Islamic extremists and terrorists from all over the world.

Religious extremists and terrorists are winning the war against either political bloc in the world. Mass migration, Refugee and displaced persons have upset budgetary and fiscal planning across the globe. Depopulation in the Middle East and Africa, economic depression across continents, antagonism between America & its allies and Russia and a pandemic of religious zealotry hints towards the revival of the Second Cold War but begs for politics of pragmatism and realism from world powers and power brokers.








Shakeel Haider

Shakeel is a Freelance Writer, originally from Pakistan, with a keen interest in Politics, Culture, Social issues, Environment , Human Rights and Television Broadcasting.


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