‘Might is right’: Get on with the programme

I’ve been watching Russia’s attack on Georgian troops in South Ossetia and Abkhazia in utter shock and wonderment.

I’ve been watching Russia’s attack on Georgian troops in South Ossetia and Abkhazia in utter shock and wonderment.

I really didn’t think that in this day and age, I’d watch these kind of events happening.

Certainly, I watched the Americans bomb Saddam Hussein to damnation with equal fascination; but at least the Americans gave the world public an excuse…however lame it was.

But this time, the Russians have me scratching my head in confusion.

The logic of it all beats my small brain. How does some random neighbor punish you for trying to impose a constitutional order in your own country? It’s never been done.

Who do the Russians think they are? South Ossetia and Abkhazia are a part of Georgia, and despite the protestations of the people in these areas, that’s the status quo.

I’m not going to get into the complexities of the conflict because I know it’s not that cut out and dried.

However, everything in my being tells me that what the Russians are doing is unfair and uncalled for. You can’t bomb people just because you can.

There are certain rules of diplomatic engagement that must be followed because, if not, there would be anarchy.

The international order is under attack and, sadly, it’s moral fabric is threatened by the founding countries who first agitated for an international way of doing things.

It was the WWI and WWII allies Russia, and the United States that agitated for the defunct League of Nations, leading to the establishment of the present United Nations Organization.

This effort to establish some kind of international order was to avert the kind of environment that led to the two world wars i.e. the lack of a mechanism that could ward off international conflict. 

It’s sad that the very mechanism that was supposed to avert conflict is tooth-less. The United States totally ignored it in its ill conceived Iraq war adventures.

The Russians have even gone further; they’ve not even bothered to account for their actions to the UN.

Notwithstanding that Russia is a key member of the UN Security Council. It’s a sad day. The worst thing is that both these powers have opened a Pandora’s Box that they won’t be able to shut.

The Americans gave us the moniker ‘pre-emptive-strike’ while the Russians have given us the “because I can-strike”.

What kind of message are these guys giving the rest of the world? The message I am getting is; ‘if I can do something and get away with it, then I go right ahead’. But of course, the tricky part is getting away with it.

That’s where a quiet point is made by these powers. You’ll only get away with it if you have the might to…in other words, if you have the arms you can impose your own rules. 

So, here is my take on this whole thing. Rwanda is a tiny country…if we don’t throw our weight about someone will think that we are a pushover.

It will be useless to work hard and develop our nation and then watch, in utter impotence, as some bigger entity bombs us back to the Stone Age. Lets get armed to the teeth…give the Defense Ministry a nice slice of our National Budget.

It hurts me to even think like this but it seems that my previous belief in the international system is based on a falsity and idealistic real-politik dictates that you’ve got to have a serious enough deterrent to ward of pirates masquerading as states. 

In fact, while we are on the subject, we in Rwanda, have every justification to invoke the precedence set by the two nuclear powers.

First of all pre-emptive strikes- we have people close to our borders who are seeking to take us back to the dark days of 1994; wouldn’t it be within our rights to do something about the threat they pose?

Secondly, the Russians say that they are simply protecting their people from the Georgian Army…are you reminded of a similar situation quite close to our borders? I am.

But the trick is to always remember that if you want to copy any of these powers, then remember to do something about your armed forces…get them armed to the teeth and they’ll be able to poke a finger in the eye of the international system; it’s a sad day for the dying system.

Rest in Peace.

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