All the kings’ ministers and all the kings’ diplomats

  • Couldn’t bring peace again

The world has been a dangerous place; a series of conquests have been witnessed by the same lands that we’ve liberally colonised now. ‘Liberally colonised’ is a term that’s rightfully used here because we’re halfway between two counter narratives – far from either. As different nation states we’ve aimed at working together to create the same values which would then translate into international norms. However, with a continuous strife between two competing ideologies of liberalism and realism — their presence has been justified by independent states’ propagation of one, and international acclamation for the other. No balance between the two has been reached, giving leeway to those with the power to impose, coerce and negotiate.

A case in point is the largest democracy, India, violating the basic rights of people in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IoK). For decades we’ve heard of the massive human atrocities committed in Kashmir, very rarely have we heard of any seizing of diplomatic relations between the liberalised states. In a continuous series of violent acts, more than 20 people have been killed in the IoK over the last weekend alone. What this highlights is that a liberal democracy can get away with breaching international covenants and practice rogue powers, as long as somehow it fulfils its duties in the international arena.

These duties are essentially the diplomatic relations that exist between various states. India does as it wills in the IoK, without being held accountable for the same international norms it’s deemed a champion of. On the other hand the international opinion sways and remains fixated for a similar decry for atrocities committed by the Middle Eastern states against their civilians. This compromise of globally held sacred values is the result of ‘counteractive’ diplomatic relations. It is a vulgar display of power for raising the stakes at international agitation politics and has further weakened any efforts for a negotiated peace.

Relations in an international arena are intertwined by a series of interdependencies, amongst those who have an appetite to take such an undertaking

While Kashmiris were being brutally slaughtered, thousands of miles away, in another occupied territory a different people were facing the same fate. Both the people of the ‘promised land’ got together in a one-sided armed mass murder. The unarmed Palestinians who had gathered as a protest near the Palestine-Israel border were brutally massacred. Individuals, and not states, have condemned this. The liberalised institutions that have spoken of and propagated these covenants remain silent.

Here again, the rights of the people were overridden by the competitive and loaded ideologies. Amidst a global humanitarian cry over the Palestinians, Saudi Arabia’s crown price, Muhammad bin Salman, has extended an olive branch to the state of Israel by legitimising its claim over disputed land. The prince has also expressed his earnest to increase diplomatic relations between the two countries and also to bridge the historical gaps that have existed. The timing of such a statement is crucial and noteworthy.

Through a single statement, the prince has highlighted the over-arching importance of diplomatic relations between two states, the irrelevance of an ideological alliance even when religious sentiments are tied, and the ability with which the stronger states can get away without any concern for the weaker. Relations in an international arena are intertwined by a series of interdependencies, amongst those who have an appetite to take such an undertaking. For those states that can’t, the created vacuum is filled with atrocities. Perhaps it is this vacuum that India uses to flex its muscles against neighbours. Perhaps the ideological center for Muslims, Saudi Arabia, is using another vacuum in the ‘promised land’ to rise to the occasion of negotiating lasting relations.

In all of this, the rights of the people are ignored, which can’t be provided by any state or organisation. Diplomacy is served at the hands of cut-throat liberal diplomats to sway opinions and basic human rights, while the lost lives of the innocent are considered an integral part of a state flexing muscles, to better position its bargaining power. No one knows to what end more such atrocities will be committed and how this ideological equilibrium will be reached.