In this Op-Ed, Mohammad S. Moussalli analyses the detrimental aftereffects of indecisiveness and inaction of the international community and world leaders on the world. He argues for change in the criterion through which people select their leaderships
We often hear many senior citizens, parents and grandparents talk nostalgically about the good old days of their time. They always reminisce about the serenity of social life, the sufficiency of economic opportunities and the good leaders they had seen. They praise foregone world leaders, like Abraham Lincoln, F. D. Roosevelt, Mahatma Gandhi, Charles de Gaulle, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Mahathir Mohamad and the likes, for their rectitude and leadership skills.
While, in contrast, they blame contemporary heads of state, policymakers and political leaders for the ongoing degeneration in the socioeconomic and sociopolitical conditions of the world. Thereon, our inquiring minds try to discern what our oldsters had then and we do not have nowadays.
It is typical to acknowledge that technological advancements and digital innovations have provided the means and systems through which people can communicate, transact and socialize in a more interconnected world. Nonetheless, the fact remains that older people have relished more quality life compared to the present robotic life settings. As comparative as it could be, they had calmer peace of mind, higher moral standards, finer socioeconomic standing and, certainly, headier dignified leaders than most of our present-day leaderships.
Given this reality, the unavoidable question revolves about the side that is fully responsible for this prolonged degenerative state of affairs. Is it the national leaders, politicians, political parties, governing bodies, ideologists, business magnates, religious establishments, or what? Is it the world leaders, international community and world organizations (UN, SC, WB, IMF, etc…)?
Actually, on the national front, all are responsible one-way or another. Yet, on the international arena, the primary responsibility falls on the international community, especially on world leaders of the P-5, G-something. Since they have failed, individually and collectively, to combat poverty, circumvent tyranny and stop bloodshed, let alone preserve world peace.
Researchers that seek to bare this unfortunate reality have no other way but to unearth why and how armed conflicts, sectarian hate, terrorism and regional wars were geared up, fuelled and set to burst out afterward. To find the truth, they also have to contemplate who are benefiting from those warlike conflicts and economic crises. To give a hint, they are the same benefiters.
In any attempt to analyze and spot what is in common among those fiery havocs, hostilities, armed conflicts and atrocities. We will find that tyranny, poverty, human underdevelopment, poor education, social injustice and exploitation of the working classes are embedded in the fundaments of most world troubles. However, the hard ones to trace are the aftereffects of indecisive policies of the so-called world leaders and inaction of the international community on world affairs, which have transformed these solvable ill-beings into ticking bombs.
The first of many cases of indecisiveness and dormancy is the deliberate six-decade-long of inaction of the international community and world leading countries to the evils of autocratic regimes and radicalized states.
The second is the chronic failure of P5 and UN Security Council to handle the Iranian Nuke Issue. They neither forced the Iranian regime to abide by international law and thus terminate its nuclear program on its start, nor shut it down by themselves. Instead, they imposed a series of gradual mild sanctions, which led to long years of talks and fly-by-night agreement. While, in return, they dimmed the lights on the malicious meddling of Iranian mullahs in Arab countries—let alone turning a blind eye to the spread out of Iranian militancy and pro-Iranian Shiite militants in the Middle East.
This imprudent concessional politics, however, have reinvigorated antagonism between Sunnis and Shia in most of the Muslim world, sparked off Arab-Iran confrontations and proxy wars, and reignited radical fundamentalist movements, which led to the destabilization of the entire region and thus the spread of terror here and there.
The third is the nonexistence of credible world power that have the will and stamina to stop aggression, arbitrate and enforce durable solutions to the long-drawn-out armed conflicts and territorial disputes in most of the world.
The fourth is the abandonment of the western world of their democratic values in favor of profit-maximizing and economic interests for which they brushed off infringements of civil liberties and human rights of many third world governments, not to speak of child labor and labor law violations.
In addition to all that, one cannot repudiate that the first base for this political decline is the low caliber of leaders of weighty countries, such as the U.S., UK, China, Russia, France and other lesser weight countries, whose moralities and leadership skills would not have enabled them to win or hold office without the concessional disposition of their citizenry.
Since the mid 60s of the twentieth century onward, trustworthy leaders became in short supply on the national and international political spectrum alike. Honesty, fairness, transparency and similar moralistic merits became text of speeches and dialogue of interviews, not binding words to observe in the decision-making process and political practices of most leaders.
This reality, however, has set off a number of political thinkers to analyze the perspective of political leadership and compare the traits of modern leaders with historic leaderships. Unsurprisingly, all analyses showed a strong preference of many preceding leaders over modern-day ones.
Typically, nearly all political scientists and intellectuals emphasize the importance of consultation and power sharing as the best correct method to lead and achieve goals. However, when it comes to Middle East politics, we find some one-sided politicians and political analysts still heedlessly hypothesize the advantages of authoritative leadership in non-western countries. Since, in their uneven calculus, it has provided general order, political stability and security in the recent past. Disregarding that in so advocating, they devoid all those self-proclaimed values of the western world: democracy, civil liberties and human rights—let alone brushing aside that authoritative leaders always turn into bloody tyrants and mass murders.
Seemingly, the reason behind such hypocritical surmise is to wash hands from the responsibility to stand firm against tyranny and radical militants. Ignoring, knowingly than not, that most of those militants were not to be born and armed without being harbored by autocratic regimes, like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Syria, Libya, Sudan, for instance, and without the concealed facilitation of some western powers. Along with that demagoguery, they dismiss noting the fact that the vast majority of more than 1.6 billion Muslims rebuff all radical religious militants as much as they demonize bloodthirsty dictators, if not much more.
Evidently, nearly all Middle East troubles stem from the protracted rule of brutal autocracies and absolute monarchies, lack of human development and absence of real secularization, all of which have paved the way for rigid religious establishments and radical organizations to mislead the uninformed, the poor and repressed people.
By all odds, the world needs change. To carry out real change, people have to tune up two crucial factors before all else, the criterion through which they evaluate the qualities of leadership and the level of their public participation.
In advanced democracies, malcontented citizens have to recalibrate their preference of political candidates in which they select, free from party nomination, trustworthy and morally qualified leaderships to lead not only their nation , but this global village as well, toward peace and prosperity—taking into account that their choices could have crucial implications on the whole world.
Yet, in semi-democratic countries, citizens have to step-up their direct political engagement, energize their reform movements, dynamize their human and women’s rights organizations and support civil advocate groups so that they have enough momentum to stand against immoral policies of heads of state and policymakers. To all intents and purposes, active citizens need to set up nonpartisan activist groups to reflect the voice of the silent majority away from party politics, clerics’ falsification, profiteering interest groups and hired double-tongued politicos.
In autocratic countries, where people are suppressed and have no soft landing options, like in Syria, Iran and N. Korea, for instance; Alas, they either rise up against tyranny and face their destiny or continue to live in imprisonment.
A great political leader and historic liberator once said:
“The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world’s problems”
Mohammad S. Moussalli is a renowned Lebanese writer. He has a reputable journalistic record with well-known regional English newspapers, magazines and web-based gazettes. He holds a long list of esteemed published Op-Eds and online articles, mostly centered on civil liberties, human rights, socioeconomic and sociopolitical issues.
Mr. Moussalli is a corporate consultant and former managing director with years of top executive experience in the Middle East and Gulf region. He devises reorganization plans and restructuring schemes, provides advice on business planning, administration, operations, pay and benefit scales, and other business issues.