About 40 years ago I managed to change, with my near and dear, our habitat in Russia for life in the United States, one of the countries we considered free.
What has happened in this century to improve the relations among the countries of our globe? I am sorry to say that the answer is essentially nothing.
Germany, world-known for its music, started and lost the First World War. Between 1940 and 1944, Germany occupied France; it invaded Russia, but was routed, and the commander in chief of Germany committed suicide.
It has been sufficient for modern China, which Mao, its creator, named the People’s Republic of China, to acquire some military might in order to become a demander of territories and producer of new, unique weapons.
The world situation has been getting worse and will become still worse with the growth of production of weapons and everything else necessary for war.
What should we do? I may be asked. Don’t we have the United Nations, the purpose of which is to maintain international peace and security?
Chapter 1 of the charter of this high body proclaims, in part: “The purposes of the United Nations are to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace, and to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of peace.”
Does this high body, a bureaucracy so expensive and flamboyant, live up to the principles of its charter?
In the past several decades, the People’s Republic of China has emitted numerous aggressive threats. According to The Associated Press, “China is developing a game-changing weapon: unprecedented carrier-killing missile called the Dong Feng 21D, which could be launched from land with enough accuracy to penetrate the defenses of even the most advanced moving aircraft carrier at a distance of more than 1,500 kilometers (900 miles).”
The weapon could revolutionize China’s role in the Pacific balance of power, seriously weakening the U.S. ability to intervene in any potential conflict over Taiwan or North Korea.
More than that: China claims the South China Sea. It lays claims to its “indisputable sovereignty” over waterways that carry half of the world's freight shipping.
However, much of the sea is a long way from China, close to Vietnam and the Philippines. China could deny U.S. ships safe access to international waters near China’s coastline. What is new is that China has chosen to press the issue by calling these waters a “core interest,” like Taiwan, and is conducting live-fire naval and air exercises.
The United States and Europe have been extremely nonchalant about supplies of rare minerals crucial to developing technologies, from hybrid engines to mobile phones, superconductors, and radio and smart bombs.
Lack of strategic planning by the West has allowed China to acquire a world monopoly on rare metals (such as terbium, dysprosium, thulium, and lutetium) so crucial to these industries. Countries that cannot obtain those rare minerals at any price will not play much part in the technology revolution.
The situation is clearly intolerable. The People’s Republic of China plays the globalization game. It is taking full advantage of World Trade Organization access to Western markets without opening its own to the same degree, and all the while holding down its currency for its mercantilist gain.
Has the United Nations done anything about that?
Nothing is being done to prevent the looming danger to the world peace. What we need to keep our world safe is deeds not words: a global assembly of those countries and groups that are determined to keep an eye on any signs of potential threat to any country, to move the world away from its crimes called aggressive wars, expressed or implied. And this is exactly what the United Nations has failed to do so far.
While mentioning defects of the earth, it is impossible to overlook its unprecedented achievements in healthcare, in education, technological achievements, and in many aspects of life today. Is that all destined to be destroyed by nuclear bombs and other advanced weapons?
Today’s inhabitant of the earth is often quite anxious to preserve his or her private values first and foremost. But without cooperation of mankind, all those values as well as their possessors may be turned to dust and ashes.
I believe that as soon as the intention to save the human beings and treasures of the Earth becomes a priority, this process will take on and develop, for after all it is a matter of pride for those who will survive.
Lev Navrozov can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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