“Suddenly the world seems a frightening place”. So wrote a journalist in the London Daily Mail recently. To him, the British Prime Minister “simply mouths foolish nothings” and President Obama “however intelligent he may be resembles a spineless invertebrate”. The columnist believes that the “West must show that Putin and his gang have put themselves beyond the pale by their action”. To the journalist what is needed is “leadership not dithering, posturing and waffle.”
Unfortunately, many of us who follow world affairs are conditioned by the one-sided reports and ignorant assessments of the bulk of the western media. The majority of people do not realise that by their support of unintelligent actions the leaders have put themselves into a position where they have no option but to mouth “foolish nothings” when cornered by the results of their own unwise actions.
When a good number of the people demonstrated against military action on Syria and lobbied their parliamentarians, Prime Minister David Cameron was compelled to inform President Obama that Britain could not join in a military attack on Syria. Therefore, Western assistance to Syrian dissidents was confined to supplying the rebels with military logistics and other assistance in the fight for “democracy”.
Now it is clear that the “democratic” front has been infiltrated by militants who are determined to plant their extreme brand of the Moslem faith on the entire region. The policy of the West in supporting the rebels has, therefore, been found to be unwise, and there is no alternative but to mouth “foolish nothings” to assure the people that the leaders know what they are doing.
Many were ignorant about the discipline and order which prevailed in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, and enabled Sunnis, Shias, Christians and Jewish people to live in peace. This order has been destroyed by Western interference as in Libya, which since the assassination of Gaddafi, has been turned into its former state of warring tribes.
Now that the order has been destroyed, barbarous behaviour has reared its ugly head. The world is shocked by the beheadings of innocent people, and there is a demand for the perpetrators to be punished, and appropriate measures adopted to prevent future occurrences. Western leaders want to show that they are responding appropriately, and embark on “foolish utterances” to please public opinion.
Meanwhile, a whole region has been destabilised, and more traditional intelligent measures should be employed to restore peace and stability and promote the rule of law and democracy. But western leaders complicate the issue by foraging into other areas without much thought.
A difficult situation has emerged in Ukraine to complicate matters. Russia is portrayed as the only culprit. Sanctions have been imposed on Russia and citizens have been persuaded to believe that this and more economic measures will force president Putin and the Russians to desist from “aggression.”
Preparations by NATO make the public believe that the right thing is being done. But what is NATO? It was established to halt the rise of communism or Soviet influence during the cold war. But the cold war is over. Should NATO still be maintained? NATO has meanwhile become a forum for promoting the expansion of Western influence, and has established influence over Poland and the Czech Republic, former members of the communist world, which are near Russia. Any intelligent observer of world politics will know that Russia will not be happy about this. “Annexation” of Ukraine would be intolerable to Russia. But will not Russia be then guilty of opposition to national self-determination?
The United States of America openly tried to destabilise Cuba when that country in the pursuit of self-determination adopted communism. America would not have a “hostile power” near to its territory even if that “hostile power” was across the seas. Many attempts were made to assassinate the Cuban leader Fidel Castro. Why then should Russia be expected to welcome the emergence of a potentially hostile Ukraine on its borders? Is it not provocation by the West to encourage Ukraine which shares a common border with the Soviet Union and has a substantial Russian population to join NATO?
The behaviour of parts of the Ukraine during the Second World War is known. Germany has wisely realised that its national interest will not be served by military support for Ukraine in the event of active NATO involvement in the dispute with the Soviet Union.
The intelligent Ghanaian should try to understand how present international issues evolve or erupt. He should not unintelligently swallow the news as presented by interested parties.
Communities or groups of people can be indoctrinated or brought up to adopt generally unacceptable behaviour but essentially all people are the same. They all want the good life and expect their governments to deliver. Governments, therefore, should pursue a national interest which is defined and shaped by facts and events. Ghana should do likewise, and realise that her national interest, and not personal interest, comes first.
Unintelligent reliance on foreign powers and expectations from outside will not resolve our social and economic problems. Ghana can provide good-quality life for its citizens provided it renews its self-confidence and realises that there is no substitute for robust thinking, hard work and national competence.
Failure to realise that the future depends on ourselves will make our leaders unsure of themselves and resort to mouthing “foolish nothings” as a matter of habit to get out of crisis as some leaders of the West are reported to be doing.