Can we prevent third world war
The human kind has experienced catastrophic events like World War 1 and World War 2 that resulted in huge collateral damage. The causes of them were unconstructively common i.e. militarism, absence of neutral international body, secrete and counter alliances, economic imperialism , rise of dictatorship in certain states etc. The questions arise: is there any likelihood of third world war? What are the factors that may lead to ww3? How can we prevent this? What is the remedy to it if it is imminent? Looking at the current scenario it can be said that unfortunately we are committing the same mistakes that led to world wars in the past. The ignored international law, weakening of UNO like the League of nations ,discriminatory nature of NPT, and US unilateralism are certain factors that is pushing us on the verge of ww3.The lesson must be learnt from the past mistakes and necessary steps must be taken to ensure justice ,parity, mutual harmony and respect, otherwise we can not prevent ww3.
Appraisal of the past world wars
In order to understand fully the current scenario as well as threats to the world peace, a brief review of the causative factors of the past world wars is essential:
Causes of the past world wars
Following were the main factors that led to the world wars of the past:
1 .secret alliances
Before 1914, Europe was divided into two armed camps namely (a) triple alliance and (b) triple entente. There was not only jealousy but also enmity between the two camps. It was mutual hatred created by the system of secret alliances which ultimately brought about the world war of 1914.
Another cause of the past world wars was increase in the armament and in their defense budget. This created suspicion and led other countries to arm themselves to a greater extent.
3. Economic imperialism
Economic imperialism led the international rivalry. Every country tried to capture market in every nook and corner of the world. This resulted in the bad blood among nations.
4. Rise of dictatorship in Europe
Before the inception of ww2, Dictatorship in Germany under Hitler and in Italy under Mussolini led their respective foreign policies to aggression. Such a change of the policies in the said countries precipitated ww2.
5. No effective international organization
When hostility was growing between the two camps, there was no effective international organization which could bring the leaders of the two camps on a common platform and bring about reconciliation between the two.
The League of Nations was practically dead. It ceased to exist as an effective force after her failure on the question of Manchuria and Abyssinia. It is unfortunate that the very people who could have worked for the success of the League of Nation were not honest and sincere in their action. They all tried to use the League of Nations to serve their personal ends.
Present scenario and the factors that can invite ww3
Past has passed. How about present age and scenario? The history of the past is a lesson and can not be shrugged aside easily. Comparison of the past with present reveals that the current international political scenario is no better than that of the past in which world wars took place. Unfortunately, same mistakes are being made consciously and unconsciously that can trigger third world war. For the proper understanding of the present scenario, negative factors of the present era are discussed in the following under the separate headings:
1. Weakening of the UNO
The first important factor is the weakening of the UNO. During the ww2 the major powers had agreed to evolve such an organization that should prove to be panacea for all inter- states issues and conflicting matters. Consequently, UNO came into being. However in the little span of time, the weak posture of UNO began to reveal itself. In the current scenario the role of UNO has been confined to reconstruction and development in the socio-economic sectors. The security paradigm of it was never good. It has begun to meet the same fate as the League of Nations.
Aside from its weak performance, another inherent flaw in it is unjust distribution of powers. Five powers that were just militarily powerful were given veto power and all weak nations were to depend on the powerful states for equity. This move on the part of major powers first led to imbalance in the international politics and now is seriously disturbing the world peace. Same had been done with the League of Nations in the 1930s which paved the way for the ww2.The weakening of UNO in the present time is not a good omen.
2. Pathetic international law.
Another negative factor in the politics among nations is the weak international law. Since the very inception, it has not properly been implemented. But more precarious is the incomplete form of it. Although, it has legislative and adjudicative bodies but the executive body of it is not at work. Moreover, the UNO has peacekeeping force whilst no standing army. But, where does NATO stand? NATO is not a UNO force; it is not a neutral organization too. Even if NATO is regarded a UNO decision- implementing force yet who then would take action against NATO if it violates international law. A question arises: how can the war be stopped when its force is not much powerful and rival parties of particular war is more powerful? For instance, when America decided to invade Iraq in March 2003 just on the presumption that the latter had nukes, a resolution was passed to stop America but to no effect since there was no powerful force (army) to stop USA. Resultantly, war on the pretext as well as without UN mandate was started just to occupy oil reserves of the Iraq. Pretext when disproved was changed to freedom of Iraqi people from the dictatorship of the Sadam.
What a shame, how easily the international law as well as security council was ignored. Such are the factors that mar the international laws and regulations.
3. Us unilateralism
The US unilateralism is the third factor in line that is a setback to international peace. The basis of this unilateralist approach lies in the number of decisions, which the US has taken in the bid to project itself as the sole superpower in the world, capable of restructuring the international system unchallenged. The most fundamental change which has crystallized in the Bush era after September 11 is the fact of new world order, to be based on US supremacy, enforceable by the US military power, unipolar world in which the US unfettered imposes the rules ,but in itself ,is not necessarily bound by any.
On December 13 / 2001, the US announced its intent to withdraw from the ABM treaty within six months by June 2002.while the Russian president Putin called it a mistake; he also declared that it would not affect the future of the US- Russia relations. This US decision was followed by other declaration outlining the future US nuclear policy and approach on the evolving national security concepts, rather than by any international norm.
There are many other examples of us unilateralism as one was discussed above in which US ignored UNO resolution and attacked Iraq in March 2003. Similarly, the US has adopted unilateralist approach on the issue of global warming. In the Bali conference held in 2007, it showed a unilateralist policy and resultantly the conference could not achieved what it was expected to achieve.
Such unilateralism of the USA is going to spoil international norms which of course are not in the interest of the global village altogether.
4 Neo-imperialism of the present era
Another factor that destabilizes the situation at international arena is the neo-imperialism. Gone are the days when military imperialism was at work and direct occupation was to be had. Now the powers are the same however the form of imperialism is different. Same countries are playing the same game with different and sophisticated rules. Instead of taking direct military control, weak states are exploited economically and culturally. In economic exploitation tools are WTO, IMF, world bank etc. while in cultural exploitation media is the tool of the major powers. Imperialism whether old or new can not resolve our issues. It will rather make them more intricate.
5 The discriminatory nature of the NPT
Most important, the structure of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT) is not free of the flaws. Founded on the discriminatory basis, it allowed five powers to retain weapons of mass destruction while denied the same right to all other states. This discriminatory nature of the treaty is very precarious. It may be added here that one of the aims of the NPT is global disarmament but we see that instead of disarmament, the nuclear powers have followed the policy of increasing the nuclear and conventional arms.
Additionally, under the umbrella of NPT the non-nuclear states are legally allowed to build the civil (non military) nuclear technology capability. However we note that non-nuclear states are threatened to be attacked while nuclear deals are made with certain other states with whom any such deal is not a legitimate move. For example, Iran is threatened to be attacked by USA and Israel while deal with India is hatched. Why such a double standard policy? Why so? The threats by such states compel the non-nuclear states to go nuclear. Is the nuclearization of the world a good option? Answer is in negative. Such policies and moves are pushing us on the brink of the ww3. Here the statement of ex-Indian president, Abdul Kalam, is worthy of a mention. He said: “on our planet only nukes possessing states are respected”.
How can we prevent ww3 if the leading factors are present?
After analyzing the past history and the present factors that can pave the way for third world war, it is essential to discuss the policies and the steps that can improve the international situation and avert the likelihood of ww3. Following are the steps:
1. Restructuring of the UNO and NPT
How can the UNO be improved? How can it be productively restructured? The UNO must not meet the same fate as the League of Nations. It must be restructured. The present distribution of the veto power among the selected states needs to be disbanded and instead veto powers must be granted continental vise to the states that represent their respective continents. No African country has any veto at present. But if the veto is granted to the certain major states of the particular continent, the balance of power will be restored and intra-continent issues could be resolved by the members of respective continent without any influence of the states that belong to other continents.
After revamping of the UNO, NPT must also be revamped. The task assigned to the NPT is more serious and needs immediate attention since the ignorance of this treaty is parallel to the invitation of the disaster. As already mentioned that the very nature of the treaty is based on discriminatory grounds, it must therefore be revamped productively. Complete disarmament be executed and right to peaceful use of the technology must also be acknowledged. But unfortunately the complete disarmament is not possible now as the genie of the nukes is out of the bottle. No country will ever agree to dispose of its nukes as this move will directly pose threats to their security. This clearly shows that we are at the threshold of the disaster. Hence, the future of the NPT seems bleak.
Some scholars say if the other states are allowed to manufacture nukes then the chances of the war is deterred. They argue that during cold war many times the war was about to be waged but since nukes were the power of the each rival therefore nuclear war never took place.
However, this view is not favored since allowing all states is akin to deliberate invitation to ww3. More serious, such a policy can facilitate the terrorist groups through black market and even if terrorists don’t get the technology yet the security states and the erroneous theories like one the clash of civilizations will trigger possibility of the war.
The recognized nuclear states must disarm themselves completely and should not be given the license to either posses or proliferate the nuclear weapons.
2. Respect for international law and the creation of an executive force. International law was intentionally evolved for the proper inter stats conduct. However, it was ignored from the very inception and it was all due chiefly to the absence of its executive body. Compared with the municipal law, the international law sounds very weak law. In the municipal law three components are there: legislation (parliament), adjudications (courts) and executive (police). But in the case of international law two components are present but the third namely executive is missing. How about UNO-force? Interestingly UN has no standing armed forces and it is entirely dependent upon member states to donate troops and other personnel to fulfill peace operation mandates. Currently the authorized operation in the Darfur is experiencing difficulties in raising the number of the troops authorized by the Security Council. The fact of the matter is that the UN has very limited pool of countries that have specialized armies and troops and who are willing to send their contingents to help the UN to wrap up its peacekeeping operations in a satisfactory manner. A new UNO force must be made on the same grounds as NATO in which every country especially the developed ones should contribute their soldiers as well as technology. In the case of war this force must be used. No country alone should provide force. Apart from troops-contribution problem, the logistical and financial problems of the peacekeeping force of the UN must be overcome. The peace keeping force must then, according to the supposed plan, be converted into UN standing force.
Apart from this, sanctions must be imposed on the violator states and trade must be halted with that state. In this age of globalization such a punishment would be a great punishment and can damage the economy of the violator.
3. Promotion of democracy instead of dictatorship
Dictatorship of whatever ilk is a bad political formation. Unfortunately the west supports such dictators which pander to their whims--example of certain dictators can be found in Asia-- whilst they take action against those who don’t obey them--example of Sadaam Hussein is axiomatic here. It is high time that fair democratization must be promoted in the world. Otherwise, we must not forget that Hitler was also a dictator who not only massacred six million Jews but also played the leading role in the causation of the ww2.
4. Promotion of interfaith harmony instead of clash.
In this age of globalization, we must be careful in the projection of any idea. But unfortunately deliberately clash theories are promoted oblivious of the fact that we need a friendly global village instead of a clashing one. Theories like “The end of history”, “clash of civilizations” etc. are not in the interest of this global village.
We need to promote interfaith harmony and love via neutral media.
Barriers to the peace must be removed howsoever in order to ward off the forthcoming catastrophe.
Certain Uniting factors in the contemporary scenario
Albeit the situation is quite dejecting, but there are certain uniting factors that can bring the warring ideologies as well as leaders on a common platform .In the following, these factors are discussed:
1. Global war on terror
Owing to globalization of terrorism, the war on terror is considered to be the war of all against terrorist organizations irrespective of the fact that whether these organizations target them or not. This issue is widespread and is global in nature. For the apt dealing with the issue, collective efforts are to be made for this move can unite the warring countries since the enemy is common.
The example of this factor can be found from that fact that Russia which had been the rival of the USA in the cold war offered to the States full support and co-operation. This global terrorism can unite the nations and the mutual hatred can be warded off and thus the possibility of the ww3- which is in the offing. It must, however, be clarified that in the garb of the war on terror no secrete diplomacy be proceeded for any national interest. Once real war on the terror is started, it would unite every one.
2. Global warming
The issue of global warming is such a problem that is the concern of all. Since the very existence of the humans is threatened, irrespective of their nationality, race and religion; therefore it is bound to bring all global factions on a common platform. Concerned about this issue, states would divert their heed from the conflict approaches and would work seriously for the common cause. Albeit, some deny this fact and call it a fiction yet it would, for years, compel the majore powers to evolve a joint strategy to deal with this threat.
Such and certain other concerns are the great drive for the unity of the world community. It may however be added here that options to avoid the forthcoming nuclear war are many but there is need to be practically active.
The world on the whole is facing perilous challenges which can be counter-productive for the global interest and compel us to experience such catastrophes that we never wish to face. The voyage of the UNO on the same route as the League of Nations, global nuclearization and unilateralist policies can push us on the brink of world war 3. We can prevent ww3 if we prefer global interest to our respective national interests and understand fully the dynamics of globalization and the new world order. This is high time that we learn lessons from our past mistakes and ensure global peace and equity otherwise we should not forget that the WW 3 will be a nuclear war and the very existence of the humans on this planet can be jeopardized.