War and Geo-Political Status 20th Century

October 7, 2010

By Padmini Arhant

The global economy is still far from recovery and most nations are dealing with austerity, Europe in particular much against their population will.

Meanwhile, among them an overwhelming majority have disproportionate defense budget that is not targeted in the spending cuts. United States has an exceptionally higher defense expenditure that is invariably passed with bipartisan approval regardless of the political party in power.

Whereas, the other life threatening issues concerning jobs, health care, social security, housing…are usually subjective to filibuster and marginalization at the worst resulting in a meaningless final product.

The contemporary society is currently confronted with the so-called war on terror. Although terrorism took birth in the twentieth century predominantly through Middle East conflicts, it escalated in the twenty first century with 9/11 becoming the premise for relentless warfare fomenting terrorism seeing no end in sight.

After two world wars to contain imperialism, fascism and ‘Great Depression,’ the expectation among the international community was long lasting peaceful environment with the governments focused on alleviating poverty, hunger and disease contributing to a healthy habitat for all living beings.

Subsequently the United Nations Charter was created with the U.N. Security Council formation comprising the five nations – United States, United Kingdom, Russia, China and France maintaining the status quo until now, despite the titanic shift in the economic realm over the latter part of the twentieth century leading till date.

The authorities then in power with the responsibility to establish peace and harness diplomatic relations, instead steered in the opposite direction with communism rising in the former Soviet Union, Germany in the West and the entire Eastern Europe as well as China influencing South East Asia.

It’s noteworthy that the arms race proliferated rather than being terminated at the end of world wars with the United States and the then Soviet union followed by the remaining Security Council members successfully conducting their nuclear test that empowered them as the largest nuclear arsenal holders and continue to remain so.

Further, the U.N. Security Council members’ illegal invasions and occupations in the aftermath of the world wars proceeded throughout the twentieth and now into the twenty first century with certain occupied territories annexed as the regional state again at the prevailing horrendous humanitarian plight such as Tibet, Palestinian territories and the disputed regions in the Middle East and elsewhere.

The cold war between the two major powers – the United States and the Soviet Union vying for ‘Super Power’ status caused the ‘United Nations’ to split with the two contenders choosing partners conciliatory to their respective political positions at that time.

In the sixties, it is also well known that the cold war brought the two major powers on the brink of nuclear confrontation with the Cuban Missile crisis.

Notwithstanding the Korean War notably the significant armed Cold War conflict with the reunification negotiations eventually evolved into a proxy war sponsored by the three U.N. Security Council members – the U.S., Soviet Union and China.

The infamous Vietnam War spreading to the neighboring Cambodia and Laos certainly aroused the anti-war sentiments in the United States and around the world at its peak but it did not necessarily deter the wars in Africa, Latin America, Central Asia and the Middle East with the United States and the other permanent U.N. Security Council members involved in almost all of them either directly or indirectly as the arms supplier including the combat forces viz. Afghanistan on the ground.

Increased military aid to Indonesia in 1977 at the height of the East Timorese massacre produced more than one-third i.e. around 200,000 East Timor population deaths in war related starvation, disease and atrocities.

Likewise in 1978 the military aid to Central America against the Sandinistas in Nicaragua and similar assistance to El Salvador compounded the regional turmoil with incredible loss of lives from brutal killings.

In 1979, the U.S. tax payers’ approximately $40 billion dollars investment to train Mujahedeen in Afghanistan generated Osama Bin Laden.

Arguably, the United States footprints in Latin America and Middle East are comparatively prominent with the other members concentrating in their region, Central Asia and Africa.

However, the genocide from the civil wars in Africa through the permanent U.N. Security Council members’ arms trade and distribution was entirely ignored since 1991 and up until now – such as the Democratic Republic of Congo referred to as ‘African World War,’ Burundi, Rwanda earlier on, and Darfur, Sudan.

It’s imperative to mention Haiti during the Democratic and Republican administrations’ at the White House going back to 1977 when agreements were made to decline Haitian refugees asylum claims and between 1990 and up until now – the Democratically elected popular leader Jean Bertrand Aristide indefinitely exiled in South Africa.

The combined powerful U.S.and NATO forces delayed intervention in Bosnia, Herzegovina or for that matter regrettable deliberation on Rwanda rescue operation could be regarded worthwhile, leaving other missions a territorial conquest and/or an economic interest.

It’s obvious that the military industrial complex war strategy is the same with the players alternated between the two major political parties in the United States and the trend replicated in other western democracies as the permanent U.N. Security council members.

Twentieth century wars fought in the regions desperately seeking economic and social development were categorically denied the opportunities to merge with the rest of the world converting those nations into a fertile ground for terror recruitment.

Therefore, the cyclical violence is a revenue source for the conventional and the nuclear weapons industry at the horrendous loss of lives and economic cost.

That raises many questions surrounding the wars and the global community priority in the tough economic times. They are evaded with no logical explanation often confirming the doubts in the public mind.

The war architects owe the domestic and international citizenry evidence based legitimate reason for the decade old conflicts severely affecting the weak and the vulnerable in the so-called war on terror.

Thank you.

Padmini Arhant

Honduran Crisis

June 29, 2009

By Padmini Arhant

The military coup’s pre-emptive action in the overthrow of the democratically elected President
Manuel Zelaya allegedly tampering with the state constitution in an effort to extend his government rule attracted worldwide condemnation demanding the reinstatement of the ousted President to restore peace and order in the nation.

It appears from the news reports that democracy jeopardized by the military coup as well as the ousted President Manuel Zelaya and subsequently Congress in a swift reaction with their appointee, Roberto Micheletti as the interim President until January 27, 2010.  Honduras crisis has emerged in the wake of the impending 2009 democratic election.

Central America has been subject to military coups in the past that has debilitated the economy in that region and the functional democracies in the recent decades promoted stability much required for the economic and political progress in the American states.

President Barack Obama has effectively conveyed the message by rejecting the status quo in Honduras – “a terrible precedent for military coups as a means of political transition rather than democratic elections.”

The appropriate action for the Congress would be to reinstate the ousted President Manuel Zelaya currently exiled in Costa Rica. It’s important for democracy to prevail in the nation due for a democratic election in November 2009.  Any desirable changes must occur through democratic process accompanied by a political mandate in accordance with the state constitution.

Meanwhile, the Presidential appointee Roberto Micheletti expected to oblige democracy by gracefully inviting the incumbent President Manuel Zelaya to resume power until the new President assumes office through scheduled democratic elections in November 2009.

Further, it’s imperative for the current President Manuel Zelaya to respect the constitutional rule of law and the nation’s highest judiciary power, the Supreme Court by refraining from any amendments to the constitutional clause barring extension or excessive use of Presidential power through referendums or any other means.

The people of Honduras and the nations in the Western Hemisphere deserve peace and order after prolonged political instability brought upon through internal and external military coups until the dawn of the twenty first century.

If the latest attempts by all parties sharing equal responsibility in the existing political chaos was to defend the state constitution, then a serious constitutional breach committed with the Congress approval of the aggressive military coup enabling the democratic disruption in progress.

Undemocratic measures do not serve the intended purpose to protect the constitution limiting the democratically elected President to one-term governance. In fact, democracy challenged when the nation’s armed forces intervene in the political process. The defense force is traditionally and exclusively responsible to defend the nation against potential threats and attacks from any sources, not an auxiliary for political transformation.

According to news releases thus far, there is no evidence of President Manuel Zelaya using violent practices for the purported referendum to extend his rule beyond the constitutional limit.

Although, such initiative best averted through democratic protocol laid in the constitution for peaceful resolution of similar situations i.e. Congress representing the people in a democracy overwhelmingly ruling against the ‘apparently’ undesirable ballot measure.

Central and Latin America cannot afford any political turmoil in the region and therefore the people of Honduras deserve a non-violent and amicable solution to the present political problem with the Congress repeal of the militarily deposed President Manuel Zelaya and establish law and order in the nation.

Honduran Congress’ inaction in this respect could exacerbate the brewing tension with the neighbors and international community at large as a result of the self-imposed political crisis.

On that note, I wish the people of Honduras and the entire Central, Latin and South American nations long overdue peace, progress and prosperity.

Thank you.

Padmini Arhant