Home Nonmilitary action False vanity and false friends

False vanity and false friends

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When 12 members of Charlie Hebdo were gunned down for their alleged blasphemous depiction of the Prophet Muhammad, the freedom-loving masses around the world, especially in the West, were quick to identify with the French satirical magazine. An attack on the Hebdo has been presented as an attack on freedom of expression, even if the magazine has been stigmatized even in France for its “resolutely provocative” insistence on the right to controversy, despite the risk of stirring up racial tensions. We have not seen such a rush to defend freedom of expression when Al Jazeera correspondent Shireen Abu Akleh was killed while covering the actions of the Israeli military in the occupied West Bank, or when its bearers were attacked, causing the death of the coffin containing the slain journalist. fell at his funeral. The contrast can be interpreted as a lesson in realpolitik, that the rules are different for the strong and the powerful. It is also a lesson in hypocrisy which he does not lack.

At the India Today conclave, Indian Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar exposed the hypocrisy of the West saying, “You are using the dichotomy of democracy and autocracy…You want the truthful answer, c is hypocrisy. Because you have a set of self-proclaimed guardians of the world, who find it very difficult to accept that someone in India is not seeking their approval. Recently ousted Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan tried unsuccessfully to echo a similar sentiment, but unfortunately for Khan, his country lacked the democratic infrastructure and authoritative voice of his cousin on the other side. from the border to assert themselves. His miscalculated trip to Moscow threw his story on the wrong side of history. Sri Lanka made a similar mistake by aligning itself too much with the Chinese bloc – it must now return to the IMF for a bailout.

Will Durant, the American philosopher who wrote The Story of Civilization, aptly puts it: “History records that men who can manage men manage men who can only manage things, and men who can manage things. money manages everything.” Let me give an example of managing men with money, which is relevant to this article on hypocrisy.

The British government recently signed a controversial £120million pact with Rwanda to send asylum seekers 4,000 miles from their country. Rwandan President Paul Kagame, who has a history of silencing political opponents and violating human rights, reportedly accepted the offer to present himself as an ally of the West. Bangladesh also received a similar offer. A World Bank report has earmarked a $2 billion fund to integrate Rohingya refugees into their host countries. Bangladesh said no to the suggestion to “extend (to) the Rohingya the right to own land, property, businesses, election and mobility rights and equal employment rights such as ‘exerted by Bangladeshi citizens within the framework of the integration process’, according to our foreign policy. Minister (Anadolu Agency). Earlier, we heard of Saudi Arabia pressuring Bangladesh to issue passports to 54,000 stateless Rohingya refugees living in the kingdom.

Again, Bangladesh said no.

Any act of defiance is not taken lightly by the “guardians” of the world order. A determined attacker may see a flurry of keys thrown at their development work. In extreme cases, there may be military actions. But generally, there is a mix of hard diplomacy and soft power that characterizes non-military acts of coercion. The capillarity of power means that some of these acts are enacted by their regional or local actors. The influx of Rohingya refugees, for example, has been used to manufacture China’s connectivity to the Bay of Bengal via Myanmar. The idea of ​​religious intolerance was used to cause a butterfly effect across the border to argue for pushback. History is rewritten to justify the settlement and resettlement of migrants. The dominant discourse in the West Bank finds its strange echo in Assam or Arakan.

As the Russian-Ukrainian war forces a realignment of the West and its allies in world politics, we are witnessing an orchestrated rupture between democracy and development. Sanctions are imposed on Western-created machines that were created to curb radical terrorism. One of our security forces has been sanctioned by the West for its abuse of power in limiting human rights. I am not condoning their actions, but merely sharing my observations of the consequences. Trained cats caught mice for their masters; now there is a new rule for big cats because there is a new demand from dogs. Apparently, as part of the sanction, their overseas assets will be frozen and their travel restricted. Fair enough. But where were you when the money was laundered? Why offer lucrative visa programs or second home options to entice the corrupt mass into singing to your tunes?

The West needed the influx of cash from the developing world to help its economy – Russian oligarchs, corrupt businessmen, politicians and civil and military bureaucrats from the developing world to siphon off the money to their “quick” accounts. So faced with an internal crisis, they will not waste a moment to throw these imported fortune hunters under the bus.

The West will sing your praises as long as you serve its purpose. There is little comfort in the cues that are presented to us daily to give us a false sense of comfort. The proverbial cunning fox will praise the crow’s singing prowess to entice it to drop its cheese from its beak. Only in our case, the cheese is our natural resources such as gas, access to our port or our maritime and road routes for regional connectivity, or our generosity to welcome a displaced population. And slingshots aimed at the crow, in case cajoling doesn’t work, can include a food ban, currency manipulation, document leaks, immigrant workers or export items.

With Pakistan and Sri Lanka providing examples of the consequences of a “determined aggressor”, we need national unity more than ever. We need to know who our friends are. A true friend will praise to encourage, while a false friend will flatter to deceive. We must learn to present ourselves to protect ourselves against false flattery. We must equip ourselves with the language to offer a true and multidimensional view of Bangladesh. This is something that has been done by the two main regional players: India and China. If we aspire to join the next league, we need strategic investments in international communication that will go through realpolitik.

Doctor Shamsad Mortuza is the Pro-Vice-Chancellor of University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh (ULAB).