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World’s Flashpoints

World's Flashpoints

The Hawks again Stalk the Doves

While making his New Year’s resolution for 2018, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, came up with a message to the world: “When I took office one year ago, I appealed for 2017 to be a year for peace. Unfortunately – in fundamental ways, the world has gone in reverse. On New Year’s Day 2018, I am not issuing an appeal. I am issuing an alert — a red alert for our world. Conflicts have deepened and new dangers have emerged. Global anxieties about nuclear weapons are the highest since the Cold War….” Though the world has not felt the heat radiated by various boiling cauldrons around the world, the recent developments bear out the fact that the heightened tensions are unprecedented and may burn the world peace to ashes any time.

The conflicts in the entrails of the world are consuming it from within. They include the issues in the Middle East, Afghanistan, Congo, Somalia, South Sudan, Nigeria and North Korea, plus the growing populism. Their culmination into an absolute chaos cannot be ruled out.

Is the threat of Third World War looming large? The answer, in my opinion, is a ‘yes’. The world learnt the lesson of peace after the two deadly World Wars – by the time the damage was done — and it finally resorted to peaceful coexistence, forming the United Nations Organization (UNO). Now after more than a half century has elapsed, many rue that the world on the whole has turned a blind eye to the Charter of the United Nations – the document that seeks to promote the agenda of peace across the globe – for many countries are making a mockery of it.

The topsy-turvy situation of the world order does not augur well. The simmering cauldrons of the world might explode any time. In a speech delivered on November 02, 2017, in Italy, Pope Francis warned that “the world once more is at war and is preparing to go even more forcefully into war”. Pope’s concerns do not end here. His recurring caveats indicate inadequacies in the maintenance of peace. On January 15, 2018, he cautioned the world yet another time about the looming World War and the devastation it would carry. His concern is glimpsed in his words: “I think we are at the very limit. I am really afraid of this. One accident is enough to precipitate things.”

What if Secretary General of the UN has warned the world about the fragile world peace? For, he is certainly supposed to do so. What if Pope Francis has spoken on the deteriorating situation of peace? For, he is rightly expected to promote peace around the world.

No! There is more to the story. The Chinese President Xi Jinping, speaking at the ninth BRICS summit in September 2017, was quoted as saying: “[I]ncessant conflicts in some parts of the world and hotspot issues are posing challenges to world peace.” Hence, such an evaluation by China – a strong candidate of becoming a world power – speaks volumes about the gravity of the situation.

As the upcoming events start casting their shadows earlier, there are many issues that paint a ghastly picture of chaos in the foreseeable future. The Middle East theatre of war warrants a special mention in this regard. The war-ravaged region is mired in conflicts and it has now become a boiling cauldron. Wars in Syria, Yemen and Iraq have cost millions of lives, besides rendering numerous people homeless. On the one hand, the people in these countries are at the mercy of the ISIS while the region has become a battleground of proxy wars, on the other. The United States and its allies vis-à-vis the Russian camp fight for getting the hold of the region, multiplying the plights and miseries of the populace; meaning thereby that the region may face an intense, bloody war.

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