Saturday,23 February, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1365, (19 - 25 October 2017)
Saturday,23 February, 2019
Issue 1365, (19 - 25 October 2017)

Ahram Weekly

In-Focus: A failed world order

The international order is at an unprecedentedly low ebb, to which Arab states can only respond by setting their own conditions in international relations, writes Galal Nassar

اقرأ باللغة العربية

The world order is in a state of degenerative morals and values, along with its organisations that were established after World War II when the world community realised it needs customs, charters, laws, bodies and organisations to stop the carnage that had spread across the globe, destroying peoples, armies and countries, pushing humanity back to prehistoric times when the law of the jungle and survival of the fittest prevailed. 

Although politics is amoral and a dirty game, the world order has fallen to unprecedented levels, and the price is always paid by people, countries and regions. 

Russia holds all the evidence that the US is involved in supporting the Islamic State (IS), and even assisting in its creation, armament and protection. Russia also has evidence that the Western war on the group is a charade, but Moscow does nothing more than hint that it knows about Washington and its allies. The West and Russia know and have evidence that Turkey and Erdogan are involved in all the crimes committed by IS in Syria and Iraq since the instant IS emerged, recruited combatants and received logistical support. They also know the role of Qatar in this unsavoury game that abuses Syria and Iraq, but they defend Doha and protect its ruler who has sinned against his neighbours, people and the Arab nation. 

They are all hostile towards Iran in public but forge alliances and deals with it in the dark to maintain its needed functional role in igniting wars and strife in the Shia crescent region, and in 

Yemen which has been destroyed in the Iranian game of fighting the Sunni alliance led by Saudi Arabia. 

All of them remain silent despite knowing and holding evidence that Qatar contributed to supporting all movements and groups that target people, institutions and displaced millions of refugees. Also, how it utilised its wealth and resources to corrupt international systems and organisations, including buying FIFA votes to be chosen as host of the 2022 World Cup, and other times when it applied for exclusive broadcast right of sports championships on the continent or the world. 

The world order and global organisations also allow Qatar and its ilk to use their platforms to preach to the world and nominate itself to head these organisations, after publicly prostituting itself politically and making promises that turn a blind eye to violations and established rights of people and nations. 

This world order needs to correct its path and return to the rules of international law and humanitarian international law in order to be more just, equitable and effective. Membership should be linked to specific commitments, including rights and duties according to one’s role and size in this order, and the realisation that membership is an honour and key to interacting and impacting this order. Also, that its financial contribution is relevant to its wealth and capabilities according to UN reports. For example, what the US contributes to the UN, UNESCO or the International Red Cross is linked to direct benefits for it as a member and influence within the organisation, and the veto power it has in the Security Council and such benefits and interests. 

Accordingly, the US cannot freeze its financial contribution to any international organisation whenever it pleases without penalty such as expulsion from the organisation and freezing its privileges, or at minimum suspending its membership and benefits. Neither it nor anyone else should have the right to join or withdraw from an organisation or neglect its duties as a member because it disagrees with a decision or directive that does not comply with its whims or interests or those of an ally. The US withdrawal from UNESCO last week because the latter issued decisions against Israel is insulting to the organisation, its charter and members. Israel’s threat that it would follow in Washington’s footsteps and withdraw is also insulting and demonstrates the sunken state of the system of international relations and institutions. 

This deterioration began years ago when rules of international law and the prestige of its organisations were undermined over and over again and through extrajudicial action outside such institutions. The invasion of Iraq is an example, so is military interference in many countries outside the law and Chapter VII of the UN Charter. They are clear evidence that this order is being systematically destroyed, especially by the US — by both Republicans or Democrats in power. Israel also violates all UN resolutions and snubs all international and humanitarian laws. 

Until the day comes when we see a world order that is more consistent with international law and protects the interests of all its members, applying all the rules equally to everyone, moderate Arab states — with Egypt at the forefront — must lay down their own rules of interaction apart from this system. They need to place their higher interests above all else and their 

conditions to ensure reciprocity, respect for sovereignty, non-interference in domestic affairs, taking into account vital circles of higher interests and the boundaries of these interests. They should also practise that nothing is given for free, but on the basis of mutual or reciprocal interest, with a focus on regional cooperation with geographic neighbours. 

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