By Owei Lakemfa
HUMANITY today, has far better communication system than it did 73 years ago when the United Nations, UN, was founded to enhance dialogue and peace, yet it is today, more fractured. In reflecting this tragedy, the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres told the world this Tuesday, that it is suffering from “trust deficit disorder”. He explained that democratic principles are threatened and the world, disjointed: “The world is more connected, yet societies are becoming more fragmented. Challenges are growing outward, while many people are turning inward.”
But the leader of the United States, the world’s most powerful country, does not see anything wrong with the world, rather he said, he was: “ before the United Nations General Assembly to share the extraordinary progress we’ve made.” Then he quickly threw in a joke: “In less than two years, my administration has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country.” Of course, the Assembly picked the joke and laughed. The big Boy of the US, sang self-adulatory songs like “America’s economy is booming like never before.” “We have secured record funding for our military — $700 billion this year, and $716 billion next year. Our military will soon be more powerful than it has ever been before. In other words, the United States is stronger, safer, and a richer country than it was when I assumed office less than two years ago.” He added the sick joke that the greater militarisation of the world, is the: “great news for our citizens and for peace-loving people everywhere”.
As the speeches flowed, it was clear that the world leaders are not interested in the bloodbath in Yemen where all that constitute crimes against humanity and much more, are being perpetuated. This obviously is not to anger Saudi Arabia, the country leading the genocide in the tragic massacres in which even children, schools, hospitals, markets and social ceremonies are seen as legitimate targets.
One of the few countries that stood up to Saudi Arabia, was Germany which accused it of: “political adventurism” in the Middle East. But at the Assembly this week, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas in patching up the relations, said: “Our relations have witnessed misunderstandings which stands in sharp contrast to our otherwise strong and strategic ties with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. We sincerely regret this.” Responding, the Saudi Foreign Minister, Adel al-Jubeir announced he was inviting his German counterpart to visit as soon as possible to begin a new phase of close cooperation. With that, one of the countries with some conscience on the Yemeni genocide, and against Saudi Arabia’s illegal blockage of sovereign Qatar, has learnt how to keep its mouth shut and go to dinner with the Saudis with a short spoon like the Americans.
Even when Trump referred to the genocide as “Yemen’s horrible, horrific civil war, ” he made it clear that the US will not intervene. Rather, he said, the perpetuators of the crimes will determine the future of that region. However, in the case of Venezuela with a legitimately elected government and with no massacres like is the case of Yemen, he swore that all options are on the table, and did not rule out military intervention.
He turned to what has become his favourable pet subject; Iran. Without backing his outlandish claims, The Trump of America, claimed that: “Iran’s leaders sow chaos, death, and destruction. They do not respect their neighbours or borders, or the sovereign rights of nations. Instead, Iran’s leaders plunder the nations resources to enrich themselves and to spread mayhem across the Middle East and far beyond.” Of course, he has rejected the multilateral peace deal the world had with Iran over its nuclear project.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in response said: “Confronting multilateralism is not a sign of strength. Rather, it is a symptom of the weakness of the intellect. It betrays an inability in understanding a complex and interconnected world.” He said Trump is one of the world rulers: “who think they can secure their interest better…by fomenting extremist, nationalism and through xenophobic tendencies resembling Nazi disposition.”
By the time Trump tweeted that there would be no meeting with the Iranian leaders, Rouhani had declared: “Naturally, if someone is keen on having a meeting and holding dialogue and creating progress in relationships, that person would not use the tool of sanctions and threats [and bring] to bear all of its power against another government and nation.”
French President Emmanuel Macron also rejected Trump’s position on Iran. He told the Assembly:
“What will bring a real solution to the situation in Iran and what has already stabilised it? The law of the strongest? Pressure from only one side? No!
“We know that Iran was on a nuclear military path but what stopped it? The 2015 Vienna accord.”
Another burning issue is Syria. The speeches will do little or nothing to restore peace in that country that has become the world’s major theatre of war with many countries involved, and of course, a large army of certified terrorists, desperate to gain a foothold on the world’s soil. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned on the Syrian issue: “Those who equip terrorists with tens of thousands of trucks and cargo planes, load of arms for sake of tactical interests will most definitely feel sorrow in the future.”
Ecuadorean President Lenin Moreno who is on wheelchair after being shot in a 1998 robbery, introduced a human dimension to the speeches. He told his fellow world leaders at the United Nations that using a wheelchair puts him in a different position to see the world and :“discover other realities, other worlds” beyond physical barriers, xenophobia, racism, inequality and other social conditions. He urged his colleagues not to let “misery and injustice remain a part of our everyday landscape.”
One of the main issues raised in the speeches is the continued massacre of Palestinians by its neigbour, Israel, their denial of a home state, and allowing Palestinian refugees, return to their ancestral home.
Jordan’s King Abdullah challenged his fellow world leaders to reopen the Israeli-Palestinian peace process arguing that: “ “The only path to a comprehensive, lasting peace in the region is a two-state solution.” President Macron added: “What can resolve the crisis between Israel and Palestine? Not unilateral initiatives, nor trampling on the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people to legitimate peace. There is no credible alternative to the two-state solution.”
President Muhammadu Buhari also weighed in on the Palestinian side. His speech reminds one of his 2017 Speech at the Assembly. It was however, another occasion to glean Nigeria’s Foreign Policy which has not been helped by an underfunded and little appreciated Foreign Ministry.