West’s Double Standards

West’s Double Standards: An Unending threat for the World?

Double

 

When the Syrian regime was accused of using chemical weapons in Syria in April this year, US President Trump immediately issued a tweet describing the Syrian President Basharul Asad as “an animal” who gassed his own people.

And when anti-government demonstrations erupted in several Iranian cities earlier this year, the US ambassador to UN Nikki Haley was quick to embrace their cause. “The Iranian regime’s contempt for the rights of its people has been widely documented for many years,” she told the UN Security Council session.

However, the US, conversely, has been keeping mum over human rights violations perpetrated by its allies; Saudi Arabia, Israel and Egypt. The US, instead, supported them with money, weapons and deals despite their anti-democracy agendas and ruthless suppression of political opponents. The United States even continues to assist Saudi Arabia in its atrocity-ridden military intervention in Yemen.

As Israel’s biggest ally, the US has used its UN Security Council veto dozens of times to protect the Jewish state from resolutions condemning illegal settlements to violence against Palestinians.

Most of the big powers take pains to portray themselves as humane, lovers and protectors of rights and democracy, yet the reality is quite different. They often indulge themselves in double standards and selective morality, unmatched with their known commitments to justice and liberties.

Read more: Syrian imbroglio

The United States, particularly, has been supporting extremely repressive regimes like the Shah of Iran, Nicaragua’s Somoza family, Taiwan’s Chiang Kai-shek, and Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak and military dictators like Egypt’s Abdul Fatah Alsisi and Pakistan’s Zia-ul-haq. The discriminatory US policy on intended Indian and Pakistani membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) is another classic case of double standard.

Pakistan and India applied for NSG membership in 2016. Though the signing of Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is a prerequisite for entry and India is yet to sign it, the US is spearheading efforts to waiver the NPT- signing exemption for India. And the United States has added seven Pakistani companies to a list of foreign entities that are subject to stringent export control measures, a move that could hamper Pakistan’s bid to join NSG.

The US has also signed nuclear deal with India but Pakistan has been denied the same deal. The pact between the US and India exempts military facilities and stockpiles of nuclear fuel from scrutiny by the International Atomic Energy agency which has enabled India to sign nuclear cooperation agreements with Japan, Russia, France, Britain, South Korea, Canada, Argentina, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, and Namibia.

India rejects this line, insisting Kashmir is a bilateral dispute between the two countries.

The abuse of Veto power

The constitution of the UN Security Council is anything but justice. There is no equality of opportunity to every member state. Veto power given to big powers, therein gives undue leverage to them in getting things done as against the smaller ones. Which means that if any P-5 member or its ally is the aggressor or wrongdoer, no adverse action is possible against it as the P-5 member vetoes any such move. As Israel’s biggest ally, the US has used its UN Security Council veto dozens of times to protect the Jewish state from resolutions condemning illegal settlements to violence against Palestinians.

Read more: Germany’s Syria Strategy

While Israel is allowed to stockpile loads of nuclear arms and no hostile military action is initiated against it even if it blatantly and arrogantly rejects UN resolutions on halt of extension in settlements, Iraq is attacked and its cities turned into heaps of debris under the false pretext that it’s preparing/piling weapons of mass destruction despite report to the contrary by UN inspectors who had been deputed there.

And while there is continuous silence on blatant heinous human violations by “allies” such as Israel, there is a strong reaction to similar incidents perpetrated by “others” such as Saddam Hussain’s era Iraq.

Selective morality and double standards

And it is nothing but double standard and selective morality if Israel that openly violates/rejects international laws, UN resolutions and any serious effort for peaceful solution of its issues with Palestinians is equated with/ preferred over Palestinians whose lands have been usurped and who are being displaced and denied human rights.

Veto power given to big powers, therein gives undue leverage to them in getting things done as against the smaller ones.

Catalonia’s recent example, where Spain arrested an elected leader Carles Puidgemont for holding a separatist referendum, is ironic how the western world, across Europe, has united to extradite an elected Spanish leader, with popular mandate, yet is often seen providing asylums (and perhaps other help) to violent insurgent leaders from Baloch insurgency in Pakistan.

Read more: Wrath for separatists in Spain but sympathy for Baloch insurgents from Pakistan: Europe’s Double Standards?

Another example is their take on Pak- India relations. With both being nuclear powers, a war between the two can have dangerous repercussions for global peace. But the US and  Britain famously urge Pakistan and India to resolve their issues through mutual negotiations.

As India is not ready to talk to Pakistan, accusing Pakistan of state terrorism, Pakistan rightly urges major powers for mediation on Kashmir. India rejects this line, insisting Kashmir is a bilateral dispute between the two countries.

When the US and Britain insist India and Pakistan should resolve their dispute through mutual dialogue and refuse to mediate or condemn India for its atrocities in Kashmir, they are actually toeing Indian lines.

An extremist Hindu fundamentalist party, is voted to power with a clear majority in the 2014 Indian General Elections

It is but injustice if India which is clearly the wrongdoer being violator of several UN resolutions on Kashmir and whose leaders openly admit helping breaking up Pakistan in 1971 and vowing to drying up Pakistan against all international norms – is treated at par with Pakistan -which is trying its level best to bring India to the negotiation table for resolution of its disputes with it though unsuccessfully so far.

Read more: Russia, Turkey, Iran to hold Syria talks

One fails to understand how can Pakistan and India resolve their disputes peacefully and through mutual discussions when India is not ready to talk to Pakistan and powerful nations are silent spectators lest any offer for mediation or any criticism of perpetrated state-violence by India in Kashmir displease India – a big economic market.

The US and Britain say they are perturbed over violence in Kashmir and urge patience. It is welcome but what is objectionable is when the oppressor is not asked to refrain from using brute force against the peaceful demonstrators and the unarmed oppressed Kashmiri civilians are not openly supported in their fight for self-determination allowed and promised to them by UN resolutions in 1948, 1949 and by the Indian leadership till 1957 before Kashmir was made an integral part of Indian federation.

Stereotyping Muslim Nations

Another example of this double standard is the stereotype mindset that eyes all Muslim nation/states as extremists. Never has any extremist political or religious group obtained absolute majority in any Muslim country in any general elections. Such groups either don’t have the courage to take part and if they do, they have the lowest popular support base, often standing at less than one percent.

Iraq is attacked and its cities turned into heaps of debris under the false pretext that it’s preparing/piling weapons of mass destruction despite report to the contrary by UN inspectors who had been deputed there.

While Pakistan is considered an intolerant and extremist society, no  extremist group ever has obtained absolute majority here. For example, the Jamat-e-Islami Pakistan, an Islamic fundamentalist party, obtained only 0.4 percent of the total polled 46 million votes in the 2013 elections while Pakistan Muslim League-N, Pakistan People’s Party and Pakistan Tehreek Insaf having tolerant, democratic and anti-extremism credentials jointly polled around 30 million of the total votes.

Read more: Syrian government forces announce Yarmouk camp evacuation agreement

But India is considered one of the biggest democratic and liberal society in the world despite the fact that Prime Minister Narendara Modi’s Bharatia Janata Party, an extremist Hindu fundamentalist party, is voted to power with a clear majority in the 2014 Indian General Elections –it contested on 437 seats of the total 543 seats in the LoK Sabha and grabbed 282 seats, polling over 31 percent of the total polled votes.

The US and other states may have plausible arguments and reasons for persisting in such double standards. But they need to be candid and acknowledge that their decisions are based on cold calculations of national interest, not ethical considerations. They should at least spare us the pretense that they care about human rights and liberties.

Tahir Ali Khan is an academic with over 28 years experience and blogger. He has written over 700 articles. He blogs at http://www.tahirkatlang.wordpress.com and can be reached at tahirkatlang039@gmail.com

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Selective morality of powerful states

Selective morality by powerful states

https://dailytimes.com.pk/145407/selective-morality-powerful-states/

“Morality and justice demand that one must have the moral strength to call a spade a spade” — Plato

NOVEMBER 23, 2017

Though inter-state relations are predominantly governed by national interests, powerful states are not justified in the exhibition of selective morality and being unfair in their foreign relations.

Unfortunately, most of the global powers — like the US, Russia and Britain follow policies that aren’t consistent with their known commitments to justice and liberty. This injustice — or selective morality- is clearly visible in the constitution of the UN Security Council. Veto power in the hands of the great powers means that if any P-5 member or their allies is the aggressor or wrongdoer and the entire world unites against it in the UN, no adverse action is possible as the P-5 member vetoes any suggestion.

Another example is their take on Pak- India relations. Their relations, with both being nuclear powers, just cannot be allowed to deteriorate because if a war breaks out between the two, it can have dangerous repercussions for global peace. The US famously urges Pakistan and India to resolve their issues through mutual negotiations. Britain too urges Pakistan and India to find a lasting solution for Kashmir. But none of them is prescribing a solution or acting as a mediator.

When major world powers — The US and Britain for example, insist India and Pakistan should resolve their dispute through mutual dialogue and refuse to mediate or condemn India for its atrocities in Kashmir, they are actually toeing Indian lines.

Justice means rendering everyone their due, as famous Greek philosopher Plato reported his mentor Socrates to have said. Morality and justice demand that one must have the moral strength to call a spade a spade.

It is but injustice if India, which is clearly the wrongdoer in Kashmir, being the violator of several UN resolutions on Kashmir and whose leaders openly admit helping breaking up Pakistan in 1971 and vowing to cause a permanent drought in Pakistan against all international norms — is treated at par with Pakistan — which is trying its level best to bring India to the negotiation table for resolution of the Kashmir dispute.

As India is not ready to talk to Pakistan, accusing Pakistan of state terrorism — an accusation not substantiated as yet and for which Pakistan is ready for any international investigation — Pakistan rightly urges major powers for mediation on Kashmir. India rejects this line, insisting Kashmir is a bilateral dispute between the two countries.

One fails to understand how Pakistan and India can resolve their disputes peacefully and through mutual discussions when India is not ready to talk to Pakistan and powerful nations are silent spectators lest any offer for mediation or any criticism of perpetrated state-violence by India in Kashmir displease India -a big economic market.

The US and Britain say they are perturbed over violence in Kashmir and urge patience. It is welcome but what is objectionable is when the oppressors and oppressed are literally dealt with equally, the oppressor is not asked to refrain from using brute force against the peaceful demonstrators and the unarmed oppressed Kashmiri civilians are not openly supported in their legal fight for self-determination.

What else can continuous silence on blatant heinous human tragedies caused by brute force used by “allies” such as Israel and strong reaction to similar incidents perpetrated by “others” such as Saddam era Iraq be called if it isn’t plainly apparent double standards and selective morality?

While Israel is allowed to stockpile loads of nuclear arms with active connivance and no hostile military action is initiated against it even when it blatantly and arrogantly rejects UN resolutions on the halt of extending settlements, Iraq is attacked and its cities turned into heaps of debris and hundreds of thousands of its innocent civilians are killed under the false pretext that it is stockpiling WMD’s despite report to the contrary by UN inspectors.

It is unfair if Palestinians— whose lands have been usurped and who are being displaced and denied human rights are dealt on equal terms with Israel, which openly violates and rejects international laws, UN resolutions and any serious efforts for peaceful solution of its issues with Palestinians.

Reluctance shown by the World Bank — the designated mediator on the 1960 Indus Water Treaty (IWR) between India and Pakistan — to mediate on the issue is another case of this selective morality. While Pakistan — being the aggrieved party for India’s purported violation of IWT terms — repeatedly requested that the WB set up a court of arbitration as per the terms of IWT and asked it and the US to help resolve its IWT dispute with India, the WB remained disinterested and eventually suspended all its processes. The setting up of a court of arbitration or the appointment of a neutral expert on the issue when India asked it not to rush in to resolve the issue. As things unfolded, the State Department too said it wanted India and Pakistan to resolve all outstanding issues bilaterally (without any third party mediation) which were but only toeing the Indian line.

Equally unjust is the stereotype that all Muslim states are radical and rogue nations. Extremist political or religious groups have never obtained absolute majority in any Muslim country in any general elections. Such groups either don’t have the courage to take part in democracy and if they do, they have the lowest popular support base, often standing at less than one percent.

Strangely enough, it is the commonly known “democratic” nations like India, USA and Israel where extremists groups like Modi, Trump and Netanyahu are voted to power by the electorate while their rivals are defeated.

For example, the Jamaat-e-Islami in Pakistan envisions an ideological Islamic state and often talks of Jihad against India but it doesn’t have any worthwhile political support base that could land it in the corridors of power in Pakistan — it obtained only 0.4 percent of the total polled 46 million votes in the 2013 elections and won just 4 seats in the 342-member National Assembly.

And notwithstanding the fact that India is praised as one of the biggest democratic and liberal societies in the world and Prime Minister Narendara Modi’s Bharatia Janata Party bases its electoral campaign on narrow Hindu Nationalism and dangerous anti-Pakistan rhetoric, it has a big public following and was voted to power with a clear majority in the 2014 Indian General Elections. It contested 437 seats of the total 543 seats in the Lok Sabha and grabbed 282 seats, polling over 31 percent of the total polled votes.

Against this, most of the voters in Pakistan who are often ‘chastised’ as intolerant and extremist have been historically supporting two and recently three parties. These are the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, Pakistan People’s Party and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf. The three parties jointly polled around 30 million of the total 42 million votes in the 2013 general elections.

The writer is a Pakistan-based academic and researcher who has written extensively on social issues. He blogs at http://www.tahirkatlang.wordpress.com and can be reached at tahir_katlang@yahoo.com

Published in Daily Times, November 23rd 2017.

Talks with AfghanTaliban

Time to talk to Taliban
TAHIR ALI

Business Recorder (February 06 2010)
The new initiative by Afghan president Hamid Karzai to woo moderate Taliban insurgents and leaders, who are ready to shun militancy and are not part of al Qaeda, into the political process in return for money, jobs, protection, and amnesty may not succeed for various reasons. Karzai said that those who joined the Taliban were also children of Afghanistan.

However, US General Stanley McChrystal recently suggested that hard-line Taliban, who are part of al Qaeda or other terror groups, would not be accepted in the scheme and they would obviously be killed or captured. The US, Britain, Canada, Germany and Japan have voiced support for the plan and a negotiated peace with the Taliban.

Karzai also hopes Saudi King Abdullah will play a role in Afghanistan peace process. He asked all neighbours, particularly Pakistan, to support his peace and reconciliation endeavours. It is a replay of a similar strategy used in Iraq that produced significant results. But analysts are sceptical of any positive outcome from the new overture. No doubt it will generate debate and discussion but may produce little or no result to help restore peace to the war-torn Afghanistan.

Afghan leaders have demanded that the Taliban forswear violence and their association with al Qaeda before talks start. For their part, the Taliban have demanded that the Americans and other foreign forces leave the country first. Both are poles apart, how could negotiations succeed in this situation.

What do Taliban and other fighter groups say? Taliban have out-rightly rejected the offer for a dialogue and demanded withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan. “The new offer is aimed at extending the invasion of Afghanistan by occupying forces. It is just a waste of time,” the statement attributed to the Taliban Leadership Council said. Taliban’s spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said they could not be bought by money and bounties. The only political solution is that the foreign forces and the Afghan government surrender to them.

Gulbaddin Hekmatyar, former Afghan premier and chief of the Hezb-e-Islami, the biggest party after Taliban in Afghanistan, wants withdrawal of foreign troops without any preconditions. “All the foreign forces must leave Afghanistan unconditionally. A permanent cease-fire must be enforced. All prisoners from all sides must be freed. An interim administration must take charge for one year,” said a Hekmatyar’s spokesman.

Issues American occupation of Afghanistan is the principal cause of the problem. As long as this occupation continues, resistance to it will invariably go on. To hope for peace without the withdrawal of foreign troops from the Pushtoon belt will be an illusion and wishful thinking.

A Pak-Afghan Jirga was held in the Afghan capital Kabul from 9th to 12th August 2007. I remember when I dubbed it a futile activity in one of my articles in a local daily, I was harshly criticised by a Peshawar-based writer of being ignorant, unrealistic and unaware of the worth of that activity. But my observations were later substantiated by increase in the number of attacks and failure of the process.

The Afghans are independent by nature and they have had fought the Mughals, the Sikhs, the British, the former USSR and will never welcome the new occupiers. As long as the US forces are there, there can’t be any peace there. But the plan doesn’t address this core issue altogether. With the US not showing any signs of an imminent pull-out from the war-torn country, any hope for the success of this mechanism may only be just a wishful thinking. This process will come out to be a fruitless exercise and wastage of time.

America, its allies and the Karzai ‘government’ want to divide and weaken the Taliban-led struggle. British foreign secretary David Miliband has also publicly stated that the aim of the Western countries was to divide the Taliban and overcome their resistance. The coalition only wishes a respite in attacks against the coalition forces there. It hopes that opposition to its presence will either subside or disappear in future. It wants peace but on the basis of its own terms and desires. Will the Taliban or Hikmatyar agree to it? They, as we all know, have their preconditions to enter into a meaningful dialogue.

America always seeks to divert attention from their attack and occupation to the resultant resistance and “terrorism” but completely neglect the mother of all ills – the US occupation of Afghanistan. According to Richard Holbrook, the overwhelming majority of these people are not ideological supporters of Mullah Omar and al Qaeda.

But that majority of fighters are not ideological fighters doesn’t mean that they are supporters of Hamid Karzai and the US occupation forces. The plan is based on the premise that Taliban gives their foot-soldiers higher salaries than the Afghan government can afford to pay its forces. This is unproven and misplaced, because most Afghan Taliban fighters and their families live in miserable conditions. Most are motivated by a desire to martyrdom or independence of their land. If the plan is considered in this backdrop, then the whole premise of buying off the Taliban is unsound and doomed to fail.

The size of the Nato-led force in Afghanistan will rise to 150,000 by year-end. But the surge alone will not ensure victory for them there. A political strategy will be needed but for that the huge gap between the opposing views of Taliban and the US will have to be reconciled. It necessitates a mediator or arbiter between the two.

But an arbiter usually starts work on the mutual request or at least upon the consent of the parties concerned. Again, an arbiter should be a neutral person or body of people respected by all parties and given authority. This is called “Waak” in Pushto. Has any ‘Waak’ been given to a third party or arbiter? As far as I know, no such thing has come forward so far.

Saudi Arabia has been asked for help for its respect among the Muslims. But its foreign minister, Saud al-Faisal, says his country will take part in Afghan peace efforts only if the Taliban expel bin Laden and sever ties with militant networks. Will Taliban promise for that? They are yet to respond.

Though Karzai believes Pakistan can bring the Taliban to the negotiation table, there are indications that Pakistan has no worthwhile influence over the Taliban. Its influence over the Afghan Taliban and credibility has been on the decline ever since it joined the US war on terror. They didn’t accept Pakistan’s request to hand over Osama to the US; they rejected its persuasion to avoid the Bamiyan debacle; they didn’t deliver wanted Pakistanis hiding there and the like. Even now Pakistan will have little influence over them to motivate them to dialogue.

Chances The fact that Taliban and Hikmatyar are in no mood to support and join the process is sufficient not to associate any big hope with it. Both Taliban and Hikmatyar have made their support conditional with the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan. And we know there is no such thing on the agenda.

Though some fighters would certainly stop fighting in return for favours, the majority would continue resisting the foreign forces and the temptations. Fighting is likely to continue in Afghanistan for the time being and a purely military victory is unlikely in Afghanistan.

Analysts say the removal of the men from the list is not likely to persuade other Taliban to abandon the fight as all five were relatively low-level leaders or had already deserted the Taliban. The US would have to show restraint and avoid dangerous actions that can make negotiations impossible or halt the process if it started at all. General amnesty will have to be given.

The US and Obama are desperate to win the war. Obama want a face saving gesture. Will the Taliban and other fighter groups give him that? Obama for sure is trying to win a war that no invader from Alexander the Great to Soviet Russia could win. Afghanistan still remains a safehaven for al Qaeda recruits despite nine years of war there.

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