A place like
At the dawn of this new century, there were apparently familiar outpourings of heightened expectations and great hopes for a consistent display of progress and peace. Unfortunately, the first decade of the 21st century has yet indicated either. Hope is certainly insuppressible and surfaces persistently, but it is also a luxury item very often getting denied, rebuffed and dashed. In a retro view of past decades, high hopes came to be unceremoniously replaced by wanton breaches of rights and growing uncertainty of sound human behaviours.
Taking into account of cold realities of this young century, it would be more sensible to view the paths and modes
It goes without saying that the most powerful of a certain time is more likely to show the way ahead. In this case, the
Let downs have the most to do with the behaviours and actions of the
On the vital issue of peace, the opening of the 21st century has resembled in numerous aspects that of the early 20th century. The coming century was widely expected to be more enlightened, fairer, a perfect world order in excellent shape, eliminating all violence and atrocities. There are countless international organisations where people are able to talk the talk, share their thoughts and converse in different languages. A concept of global village was tirelessly advocated and promoted by people in privileged positions. Instead, brute force in the hands of fanatics and ideologues arbitrarily determined the matters of the world, with explosive consequences and untold casualties beyond imagination. Dreams have been shattered, hopes vanished, and expectations dimmed. A peaceful environment turned out to remain mere projections at best than a reality.
One crushing disappointment of this century is undoubtedly the frightening realisation that the
A single illuminating sign of this tendency is the pre-emptive strategy prominent in the
so-called Bush doctrine. This strategy is in principle an uninspiring and meaningless one, as any one nation can propose a strategy of pre-emptive strike if feeling like it. Imperial Japan was one of the leading practitioners of this strategy, first for gaining a position of relative strength to bargain with powers and then making a big splash in the Pacific Ocean against the US forces, seen as a potential threat to Japan’s survival and blatant aggressions in the Asia Pacific.
What is unique of the
Being a democracy does not exonerate the heavy responsibility involved in reapplying this war-mongering strategy. Wars have been waged by democracies on numerous occasions. This was unavoidable when early industrialised countries (democracies) fanned out to grab colonies and places of vital resources in new types of international trade. The infamous Opium Wars (twice) were initiated by the then greatest parliamentary democracy of all times,
If those are distant, boring past and are not clearly convincing, then the war in
When economic and strategic self interests are involved, there seems no certainty that a democracy would behave any better and not resort to war or any available types of brute force. It is doubly likely that politicians under a democracy know well of utilising or even mobilising public opinions for a path to war and in turn skilfully display the will of the people as a trump card and defence for their provocative actions taken. Headstrong politicians in a democracy simply whip up sentiments of patriotism, scream facing a clear and present danger, and then ride high on favourable waves of public opinions to go to war. There seems no enforceable and workable checks and balances to this extreme pattern of behaviours. Democracy, after all, is respecting the will of your own people and acting against other peoples’. Don’t mess with my men; better thresh other blokes who are not my voters.
The sense of unmatched overall power at the disposal of US governments has understandably been heightened in recent years. A country with this wide range of power tends to demand uniformity and assimilation from other forms of culture or society, since the building of the most powerful country in the history of human race ought to provide adequate proof of a common path to success. There is supposed to be just one single truth among all the mainstream trends. With this strong belief of force and destiny, a “WW Factor” emerged in the
This propensity of belittling others’ status is vividly displayed in often heard proclamations of “bomb you back to the Stone Age”, a senseless military threat to any force challenging or eroding the
A new phenomenon in recent wars is the ubiquitous presence of western mass media, which preach, advocate and cheerlead the causes of the all powerful in millions of seemingly persuasive ways. This is also one of the means those politicians use to the full effect for advocating their causes. The media is “mass” in the sense of reaching massive numbers of audience and endless coverage bombardment bordering on brainwashing. It is not that “mass” because it is also the tools in the hands of an exclusive club that channels desired messages out. No wonder many headlines say what the most powerful intends to say simultaneously and have people to believe. The opposite norm these days is that murmurs from the weak are shout down or silenced. What a small Arabic TV station can do in facing giant globalised networks and big name anchors? Marketing and advertising practices would suggest that the former simply stands no chance. This information asymmetry was not an occurrence in the past, since the defense of the weak and the violated existed even during the most atrocious wars and social upheavals. The overwhelming blanket coverage by one voice from the source of war has become so stifling, that there seems no place to find recourse or just judiciary. The hawks’ urge to undertake sabre rattling and military campaigns at will are then reinforced by the media’s obedience and assistance in leading public opinions and justifying overseas adventures.
The tendency towards a military option and wrecking signifies a dramatic policy turn in the
Let downs occur also in the political arena, where the
It is now apparent that the