State-ism vs globalism

  • UN’s just a platform

Since its formation 73 years ago, the United Nations has been at the epicenter of international diplomacy. It is a theatre where states interact for global ethos of peace, security and development. While states continue to keep their diplomatic channels flowing under their own spheres, at the heart of continuous and smooth-functioning global order are liberalist values of the consensual need to work towards peace, security and development. The prevalent anarchy is an indication that in the same world competing ideologies exist, challenging and straining the neo-liberalist perspectives. To say that these are completely outweighing the three basic principles which sustain the precipice of the UN, would be a gross examination.

This is because the numbers that stand with this ethos are greater than those that don’t. But it isn’t about the numbers, but rather the influence these hold. The 73rd United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) session held during last week showed the ambit of states’ influence and their position in the world. For the first time in Pakistan’s history, the country’s representative, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, spoke in the native language and talked of a robust nationalist perspective. This ‘new’ dialogue was nothing short of pacifying new alliances (as has been the norm), but was also the first wave of setting new precedents.

Qureshi, perhaps, is the first man from the government to praise the commitment of the armed forces for their prominent role in rooting out terrorism, and their prominent role in UN peacekeeping operations all around the world. At a time when the people have voted in the mantra of ‘change’, the emergence of pro-nationalist voices at the international forum has been applauded by Pakistanis all around the world. And this has been primarily taken with much praise for a rather stern tone adopted in addressing grievances with India.

Choosing smart words to address this historical resentment that has persisted between the two, Pakistan and India, especially for the third – Kashmir has been a refreshing start. While an olive branch was extended by Pakistan to India, the possibility of any dialogue, especially with concerns to Kashmir was destroyed. This followed by a firm resolute for strengthening relations and finding possibilities for reengaging are perhaps movements in the right direction.

If globalisation stands erect for the US-led NATO operations in the Middle East, it stands on a weak ground now for Russian-Turkish negotiated peace in Idlib and the Astana peace process

But perhaps not, if dealt globally. If we argue for the same paradigm on which the UN has been built, we realise that global cohesion was the ultimate goal – move away from state-ism. Albeit the speech bodes well for Pakistan and has created a favourable consensus amongst the people, it isn’t in line with the ethos for which the glimmering podium of ‘national and international significance’ stands erect. Does this mean that the significance of the liberalism and what it stands for, has failed?

Iran, considered a rogue state, took to the very same podium and narrated the same tale, from its side. United States told its own side of the story. As soon as the session was over, Iran fired six medium-range ballistic missiles across Iraq and into Syria, as an answer to an earlier attack it blames the US-led coalition for. This is a strategy that lends muscle to the heated exchange between Iran and Israel over the latter’s allegations that the former has developed secret atomic warehouse.

While sentiments of state sovereignty and security run high amongst the Iranians, the very fact that it had to exert its muscle is an indication that the presence of these counter narratives, are influential enough to outweigh global goals as a corrective measure for restoring state sovereignty. But this doesn’t mean that all states are working in isolation; the emergence of smaller ideologues such as North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) or the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is perhaps evidence of super-globalisation, or better yet an argument that negates it. These smaller ideologues exhibit the states’ earnest to work for the promulgation of their own ethos; be it economically or militarily dominant. The presence of these, especially NATO have always been regarded as strong examples of globalisation, however, recent examples prove otherwise.

If globalisation stands erect for the US-led NATO operations in the Middle East, it stands on a weak ground now for Russian-Turkish negotiated peace in Idlib and the Astana peace process. With costs of war amounting and straining the states’ resources, a solution outside the realm of these Western principles is being formulated. The basic difference both instances is that first the global war on terror was being fought by some for the many, but now the some has broken down into fewer for their own good.

At a time like this, the only real significance that the UN holds is to serve as a platform for states to indicate which group they bid on, based on their prior meetings. The UN is a mere declaration by states to exhibit from which camp they question the balance of power. It is a theatre which no longer holds any real significance in the world which continuously battles between state-ism and globalism.