What international community!
If the international community, so called, isn’t willing or able to feed its own children, it’s nothing but a figment of our imagination. The European Union is disunited and in disarray over the flood of refugees pouring-in from war-torn countries and so has trashed its legal responsibility to care for refugees and treat them with dignity.
What kind of union is this when it’s every country for itself, more consumed with hurling insults at their neighbors and building fences, both literally and figuratively, than finding a collective answer!
Those people whose lives are affected call upon “The International Community” to find solutions. Sadly, they are crying to the wind because there is no such thing as a community of nations, except on paper. Let’s face it our world has rarely been this divided since World War II.
The United Nations, formed to replace the “ineffective” League of Nations, is just as useless as its predecessor when Article 1 of its Charter states its purpose is “to maintain international peace and security…” Zero marks on that count.
Four-and-a-half long years and 250,000 deaths — and what has the UN done to stop the Syrian conflict? Precisely nothing in real terms! Conferences and condemnatory statements made by its Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon are empty words and gestures lost in the ether.
Likewise, the International Criminal Court in The Hague is impotent to hold those accused of war crimes to account because, firstly, it doesn’t have its own force and, secondly, unlike Afghanistan, neither Syria nor Iraq have ratified the Rome Statute. Yet alleged perpetrators of crimes in Afghanistan have been left off the hook because that’s dangerous territory for prosecutors when so many have been committed by western coalition forces.
The ICC prefers to tread safer ground by hunting down Africans who don’t enjoy the umbrella protection of world powers.
The Arab League is another body that can hardly claim a glowing record when it comes to resolving regional crises. Indeed, until recently it was more or less written-off as a debating society although lately it has become more proactive in respect to certain issues. But on Syria there’s been no decision-making apart from demanding Assad goes and giving the regime’s Arab League seat to a splintered opposition.
In our hunt for an international community able to pluck Syria out of its misery what are we left with? The UN Security Council perhaps, notably the big five nuclear armed permanent members! But wait, what you have here is continual deadlock because these world powers are lined-up against each other — Russia and China versus the US, the UK and France. There is more hostility than a sense of community in that chamber.
China takes care of its own patch while lending diplomatic support to Russia vis-à-vis the Middle East. Britain and France mostly follow America’s lead. In other words, when you boil the “international community” down what’s left is two feuding capitals, Moscow and Washington, more interested in flexing their respective geopolitical muscles while funding and arming proxies than working to stabilize our planet.
This duo of disunity is out to serve its own respective interests and will only work in tandem when those interests happen to coincide, as we saw with the Iran deal meant to secure Barack Obama’s legacy and open the door to lucrative Russian trade and arms deals. Now it appears that there may be some overlapping of interests that may result in Russia and the US cooperating to defeat terrorist groups in Syria.
US Secretary of State John Kerry has changed his tune after witnessing that President Putin has stepped-up his country’s military involvement and the conflict’s refugee fall-out that could have devastating financial and demographic repercussions for America’s European allies — and, in the worst case scenario, could split the EU apart.
Kerry no longer demands President Bashar Assad’s immediate step-down and says the US welcomes Russia’s efforts to tackle Daesh in Syria while expressing his hope that Russia and Iran can convince the regime to negotiate a political transition. Hope at last, but what took them so long?
Had they come together years ago, there would be no refugees, no cities turned into apocalyptic movie sets, no mass decapitations and no destruction of Syria’s ancient heritage.
The international community is just a mirage. International laws, conventions and treaties are abided-to when it suits. Countries that trumpet their humanitarian values and respect for human rights use them as weapons to indict others, but when they feel threatened themselves such lofty sentiments go out the window. What’s left is only self-interest furthered on the principle of might is right.
Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Arab News' point of view