It seems to me – and I am sure to many others – that the world we live in today is becoming far more dangerous than the post WWII cold war many have lived through. At every corner of the earth there seems to a conflict about to blow up and the consequences will be dire for every one. Yes we are now busy dealing with the pandemic and environmental challenges but we really need to multitask otherwise we’re also likely to be sucked into conflicts near and far that will drain our economy and undermine our security. The clips below tell the sobering tales and we all need to listen and make a judgement of how we decide to navigate through these dangerous times; from the disastrous U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, to the internal power struggle in Libya where foreign mercenaries are now involved in the conflict, to the ongoing/escalating MidEast Palestinian/Israeli conflict, to the situation in Iraq & Iran, to the continuation of the conflict in Syria, and the economic meltdown of Lebanon and finally to the conflict on the river nile between Egypt and Ethiopia that could result in imminent ramifications affecting the stability of the region. Now I am no political expert/strategist but I find it extremely difficult to comprehend how western democracies with the vast budgets they have and the expertise they can muster have failed to see all this coming and how it impacts them directly; more importantly how many of these challenges have been a direct result of flawed foreign policy (or lack of policy altogether) as well as due to lack of judgement/vision. As I mentioned in the title of this blog it would be a dream come to true for me to attend a foreign policy briefing to understand how the hell these decisions are being made and the “expertise” behind them. It is alleged that President Kennedy once said “Domestic policy can only defeat us; foreign policy can kill us”; if he did indeed say this well then I do so agree and if he didn’t well then he most certainly should have said it. So not to waste more time here let me make 2 uninformed suggestions on the way forward;
- It is no longer acceptable – and indeed it is quite dangerous – to continue the Reactionary approach where Foreign Policy & National Security policies are concerned. There needs to be a solid structure in place within the western alliance – particularly the EU/NATO – where threats are proactively assessed and policies developed & coordinated by people with relevant expertise in the area involved. There are ways this can be developed pretty effectively and relatively quickly because time is really running out. Right off the bat STOP assigning government departments involved to Foreign Policy & National Security to civil servants who have no business/expertise running such important departments – we need experts with a clear vision/philosophy/strategy NOT ones with a tendency to follow orders.
2. Though I am no military expert I personally believe that with the level/threat of terrorism and it’s expansion worldwide as well as threats of gangs involved in people smuggling there needs to be continual presence of Western forces in zones of conflict (or potential conflict). This needs to be structured in an efficient yet effective manner and with continued coordination with national ground troops on the ground. The catastrophic decision to withdraw all foreign troops from Afghanistan and wasting years of effort/resources is one that needs to be revised otherwise the cost of the conflict will skyrocket when we start dealing with ramifications closer to our borders. Regional organisations also have to be pressured into taking a lead role in these efforts both now and long term.
The Mideast has/continues to suffer from foreign power play that has done nothing but exacerbate conflicts and create new ones while using “National Security” as pretext to make trillions in arms trade over the years that end up on our debit column; we now need to fix the mess that we’ve created by putting in charge people who actually understand the dynamics/composition of the region supported by facts and history.
Anyway hope this makes sense and I do hope you take some time to view some of the clips here or directly on Youtube.