G20 summit: Saddling the right horse

 US President Barack Obama (3rd L front) and China’s President Xi Jinping (3rd R front) gesture as they gather with German Chancellor Angela Merkel (C front), Russia’s President Vladimir Putin (R front) and Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (2nd R front) during a group photo before the opening of the G20 Summit at the International Expo Center in Hangzhou on September 4, 2016. G20 leaders confront a sluggish global economy and the winds of populism as they open annual talks, but the long war in Syria and the South China Sea territorial dispute hang over the summit. PHOTO: AFP

US President Barack Obama (3rd L front) and China’s President Xi Jinping (3rd R front) gesture as they gather with German Chancellor Angela Merkel (C front), Russia’s President Vladimir Putin (R front) and Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (2nd R front) during a group photo before the opening of the G20 Summit at the International Expo Center in Hangzhou on September 4, 2016. G20 leaders confront a sluggish global economy and the winds of populism as they open annual talks, but the long war in Syria and the South China Sea territorial dispute hang over the summit. PHOTO: AFP

After a fashion of the 2015 United Nations General Assembly’s Agenda 2030, which focuses on “leaving no one behind” through its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the just concluded G20’s Summit in the Chinese city of Hangzhou, (the ninth session since the 2008 global financial crisis) has again left the world’s most debilitating ailment wholly unattended: the post-World War II battle of supremacy between the United States of America and Russia.

This battle was the product of deep mutual suspicions, or incurable lack of trust between the two superpowers. It certainly doesn’t give any one comfort to know that two of the world’s leading “police men” have serious integrity issues; a probable reason why USA, Russia and their respective allies carry on as though nothing is amiss.

This is one of international diplomacy’s biggest lies. There is so much amiss between the world’s two most powerful nations; so much so that the human, material, and environmental costs of those enduring mutual suspicions have now assumed emergency proportions.We thus now need to begin to interrogate them. Recall that the USA and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), the precursor to Russia, had been among the Allied Nations that defeated Nazi Germany in WWII.

The two nations had been on the best of terms back then; exchanging intelligence and strategies on the most cost-effective way of containing Adolf Hitler’s perceived grand ambition to dominate the world. However, the USA had been economical with the truth; she didn’t disclose to her co-Allied Nations that she had perfected the production and delivery systems of the nuclear bomb.

USA kept that prized intelligence close to her chest until Japanese suicide pilots attacked the Pearl Habour, provoking the novel nuclear bombing of the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. WWII ended mere days after. Notwithstanding President Harry Truman’s explanation for US’s far-reaching unilateral action against Japan, the other Allied Nations, especially USSR, were never persuaded that the USA was an ally to be taken at her word. USA’s subsequent actions vindicated that suspicion.

After reviewing the unprecedented destructive powers of the nuclear bomb, the conquering nations unanimously resolved that the nuclear capability should not be proliferated; and that the USA must therefore destroy her entire stock of it. That resolution culminated in the controversy-invoking Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in July 1968. Though the USA agreed to the resolution but she secretly refused to destroy her stock of the nuclear bomb(!). USSR’s very resourceful spies not only subsequently found out USA’s breach of the resolution, but also somehow succeeded in acquiring the nuclear-bomb patent; and within 12 short months following Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Russia secretly developed the nuclear bomb and its delivery systems.

USA,in her turn,found out about Russia’s nuclear capability and fast-tracked her secret development of the hydrogen bomb. And as in the case of the nuclear bomb, the Russians again sniffed out the latest bomb and acquired the patent; and just as quickly developed the H-bomb. (This ought to serve as an object lesson to Nigeria’s armchair advocates of “Technology Transfer”) Andthus commenced the Arms-Race and its concomitants between USA and USSR since 1945. That race was so palpable in the 1960s and 1970s that it became an ideological war of a sort: Capitalism versus Communism, otherwise known as the Cold War.

Afam Consulting Engineer, writes from Abuja.
Though the Cold War theoretically ended in the 1980s with Mikhail Gorbachev’s revolutionary new policies underlined by Glasnost (openness) and Perestrioka (restructuring) – see, even the superpowers do restructure – the two superpowers’ battle of wits has inexorably continued even to this day, as borne out by recent telling exchanges between Presidents Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin over the crises in Libya; Syria; Ukraine/Crimea; Turkey; etc. But in spite of that unending battle of supremacy the worst hasn’t happen.

If after “three scores and ten” years of mutual antagonisms, USA and Russia have not found reason to deploy even a single warhead out of their millions-of-hectres of intercontinental Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) against each other, they are not as likely to ever find a reason to so deploy.Consequently, it is reasonable to infer that humanity will not witness the much-dreaded WWIII. I had made this argument in an earlier article in this newspaper, entitled “Nuclear Armageddon: Purposeful Scaremongering.”

Therefore, considering both the humungous proportions of the world’s resources that are expended to develop and sustain the superpowers’ military-cum-intelligence architectures, and the devastating environmental impact of those architectures, it is my submission that the 2016 G20’s finance ministers and central-bank governors collective resolution that “green finance” – environmentally sustainable growth – should be at the centre of global economic development strategies, going forward, completely fought shy of saddling the right horse.

Verified evidence abound in public space that the world’s superpowers have aggressively pursued environmentally destabilizing growth models for decades; such unjustifiable, but purely ego-centric pursuits, disproportionately accountfor the contemporary challenges of climate change, in addition to straining the world’s financial systems to their limits.

Dismantling those multi-trillion dollar monstrous structures would release desperately needed capital to finance socio-economic/infrastructural developments in the southern hemisphere, as a counterpoise to the ongoing global refugee crises. Kofi Annan, as UN Secretary General, once instructively remarked that “The beauty of formidable military might is in having it in order not to use it…”??? The question is:In an increasingly globalized and resource-challenged world, what is the “beauty” of locking up so much of the world’s resources in assets that will never be put to use.This is the hard question the G20 nations must confront sooner than later.

It is irresistible to end this piece without mentioning the hypocritical resolute oppositions of the superpowers to the nuclear aspirations of emerging economies; I thought what is sauce for the goose is also supposed to be sauce for the gander(!). We can now see that if absolute power corrupts absolutely, superpower corrupts superlatively, with damning effects on the senses, I dare say. Little else accounts for that unacceptabledouble standard by the superpower nations. Developing countries must now muster the courage to forcefully speak inconvenient truths to the G20 nations and the UN Supreme Council.



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