Why United Nations Security Council is the Part of the Problem

Source: cbc.ca

I believe this is pretty much the right time to write about the problem of the United Nations Security Council, though I am sure many such opportunities have come in the past as well. It is just when most of the people in the world are outraged at something that happened at this diplomatic forum and which offers some relief to the writer of being spared of potential accusations of being anti-American, anti-UN or anti-democracy. The criticism in the post has nothing in particular to do with either entities.

Recently, a resolution was presented in the Security Council to support an Arab League plan to facilitate a political transition in Syria, that is, to throw the dictator Bashar Al-Asssad out of power following the brutal action of his regime against civilian protesters. The Syrian government denies the charge of course. Russia and China were the only countries out of the 15 member Security Council that voted against the resolution and vetoed it.

There are perfectly plausible explanations for why Russia and China did that, primarily because of the political influence that Russians enjoy in Syria since the Cold War decades and that both the countries fear a military action on Syria in the future. The rest of the world has been largely critical of the veto. Even Pakistan and India voted in the favor of the resolution, but they usually do so anyway. Not that their opinion matters much. I have overheard on twitter that the Indian ambassador at Damascus has had some explaining to do.

The United Nations Security Council, in its permanent members, denote the truly representative conference-mode diplomacy forum of the world. All the people that matter. But if that statement were true, it would be a pity that countries such as India, Japan, Germany and Brazil are not permanent members, and yes, why leave out Saudi Arabia and Iran? OK, maybe not Saudi Arabia. But as a matter of fact, given the functional practices of the forum, it is imperative that no more members should be added to the permanent-member club. Unless, you want to lessen the political influence of a particular party or make the organization further ineffective. Reminding you that the primary function of the organization is peace-keeping around the world and dealing with security crises.

But apart from the nuts and bolts of the organization, let us reflect on a controversial article of the UN Charter. The power of veto exercised by the permanent members of the Security Council. While the United Nations and the powers of the world, and sadly even the not-so-powers of the world, are perfectly fine with the way the Security Council works, I find it a violation of the very spirit of the UN charter, such as the Article 2. While the United Nations Security Council works perfectly on the principles of politics, for you cannot complain as you were taught “Might is Right” in elementary school, but I am not sure if such provisions for a UN organization is even compatible with the United Nations Charter, which holds every nation to be sovereign equals.

Legally it would be, but does that make any sense on the basis of the principles on which the United Nations was created? Don’t get me wrong, I am 100% for the United Nations, which is precisely why I am raising this point because it is we who have to make the United Nations work. The point simply is that there should be one vote for one nation. That is equality and that is justice. If you want to make the United Nations work on the brutal principles of Machiavellian politics, then I support the veto vote all out, but if you talk about human rights, then I am not sure how that helps the cause.

But despite everything, why in the world are there permanent members of the United Nations Security Council in the first place and why are there just five of them? Why just United States, France, United Kingdom, China and Russia? I guess every nation that asks the question that it should become a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council is rightful in asking that. It is just that not every nation in asking that question. We all know why these particularly countries are permanent members and not others, but the point is why everyone else accepts that.

The United States, the greatest donor and one of the architects of the United Nations, has been critical of China and Russia and probably rightly so. Ambassador Rice expressed her disgust over the veto. While China and Russia are wrong, they are not doing anything different to what the United States has been doing in the past. Protecting their interests over human rights. Hardly any major power is an exception to this case.

May I remind the readers of this post that United States was the only country that shamelessly defended the brutal onslaught of the Israeli armed forces on the Gaza Strip in 2006, voted against the new Israeli settlements in 2011 and has vetoed several other times. Actually, I acknowledge and support the right of the United States to prevent any UN Resolutions from passing against Israel that undermine its right to defend itself, but then I would expect the United States to remain consistent and make human rights a priority everywhere, no matter who the offending party is. If they are truly upset about the Russian and Chinese veto, I hope the United States will never veto a UN Security Council Resolution ever again.

I am disgusted to hear politicians complaining about human rights violations when they make them happen everyday and support it but I would not mind if a few of them prevent a few human rights violations in selected parts of the world. Therefore, I would like to see either the United Nations Security Council abolished with its current structure or at least a reform to the way it works. At least, the veto powers should be repealed and voting on issues should be carried out in the United Nations General Assembly where every nation will have its say and every nation will have 1 vote. For those who think this will harm the instant action problem as in the League of Nations, simply take action with a majority or a two-third majority vote.

Keep the United Nations Security Council like the way it is and more people will lose faith in the United Nations everyday.

Thankfully, I will never be one of them.

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Getting Offended By Inhumane Things

A new episode in the theater of America’s global war on shadows has been the appearance of a video showing a group of US marines urinating on the corpses of Taliban militants. As often is the case with such videos, the world has expressed its shock and disgust. Afghan President Hamid Karzai called it “inhumane” and “dehumanizing” and Leon Panetta, the US Secretary of Defense, has called it utterly deplorable. Similar comments were made by the US Secretary of State and the spokesperson of the Taliban.

I agree with them. It is a bit inhumane and I have actually just learned that doing so can be considered a war crime as per the Geneva Convention. I have also noticed that the Afghan President, the US Government and Military and the Taliban have finally agreed upon calling something inhumane. This is a great event in the recent history of the world I can tell you. We have finally established that urinating on corpses is more inhumane than killing people, and that it is more inhumane than wars.

I am not really defending the troopers who urinated on the dead Taliban militants but I am surprised to see people who support wars to be disturbed by the unpleasant things that happen in them. Urinating on corpses in my view is a pretty harmless action, or a harmless “war crime”, if you will, if it is a war crime at all. That has more to do with the respect those soldiers have for the dead, but not anything more, I have to say. Quite frankly, I am not sure what politicians and generals expect soldiers to do when they send them out for a war.

I wonder why urinating on dead people is more offensive in our world than killing alive people. Why be so selective about what you find offensive.

Radio host Dana Loesch said that she would join the soldiers urinating  on the Taliban herself and that it’s a war after all.

While her decision to join the urinating company is purely her own to make, there is little doubt about the fact that it is a war, after all.

She has been criticized for voicing her honest opinion. What she said on the radio was a bit insensitive, even if that is the truth, as truth sometimes is. But I have more respect for her than the heads of state and statesmen condemning this gruesome act, which I do not approve of or endorse and, which will have no significant impact on the history of the world whatsoever.

The World Needs a New Warsaw Pact

Original File Source: Wikipedia

Contrary to popular and prevalent beliefs, it seems that it is not the terrorist groups which are the greatest threat to the World Peace, but the very powers which claim to be its guardians themselves. This notion which has always been covered with the ice of the label of being a conspiracy theory is fast being exposed as it melts with the events that unfold everyday in front of our eyes. Although it hardly needs any elaboration that the post WW-II history of the world is full of neo-Imperialistic adventures with loss of life roughly reaching, if not greater to, the numbers of deaths in the Second Great War, but still we conveniently tend to forget those lessons as Islam(ism) emerges as the new enemy, replacing the Communist Soviet Union, as Communism is not completely dead, but the Soviet Union is.

The NATO or the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was formed shortly after the Second World War partly in response to the Berlin Blockade from the Soviet Union, after which the relations between the Soviet Union and the United States only went downhill. The NATO was created in 1949 after the Treaty of Brussels in which the Western European countries such as Britain, France, Holland and Belgium saw the need to counter the rising Soviet threat to the balance of power in Europe and it led to the suggestion of a military alliance with the United States, the only power in the world that could challenge the Soviet military might. In response, the Soviets just did not sit idle. The Soviet Union concluded the Warsaw Pact in 1955 with the Eastern European countries with Soviet influence on “Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance”, which was concentrated on mutual defense against the NATO, later taking the shape of CSTO or Collective Security Treaty Organization after the disintegration of the Soviet Union.

The situation of the world politics is not the same as it was right after the Second World War. While that is a blessing but it has its disadvantages as well. Right now, we have the NATO protecting its members from any external threat but there is no substantial international military alliance to counter it, if any at all. The NATO does fight the Islamist groups across the Middle East and occasionally takes action against dictators here and there, but is there any substantial entity that can possibly challenge its authority? Now, don’t tell me that we have the United Nations Security Council to avoid the abuse of any such power. The opposite of that is precisely what we have been witnessing since the creation of the Security Council and of late the United States has been manipulating the international forum for carrying out its military and strategic ambitions.

While there is no doubt that most of the threats that the NATO is concerned about are justified and serious, such as Islamist terrorists operating from Nigeria to Yemen and from Pakistan and Afghanistan to Indonesia, we have witnessed incidents in which the authorities have admitted mistakes and errors of judgment, read misguiding fabrication, when it comes to presenting the rationale for starting new wars. The Iraq War started in 2003 has been the greatest shock for people all around the world. The US Secretary of State at the time stated at the United Nations Security Council that Iraq had possessed weapons of mass destruction that could prove dangerous for the peace of the region. After the American invasion, it was admitted that no evidence was found to support that notion and it was dismissed as an intelligence error later on.

While there is always the possibility of an intelligence error, such audacious estimates could prove really costly when it comes to the damage and loss of human lives. The actual purpose of the invasion of Iraq is another story though. Iraq War has just been declared as officially over by the US government and human rights groups are crying out for the great loss of civilian lives and incidents of abuse that took place in the eight year long period. The question is when there was such poor evidence for the basis of an invasion on Iraq, why did the major world powers like China, Russia, France and Germany allow it to happen? Many opposed the idea of an invasion as the powers unanimously agreed on continued weapon inspections but no practical steps were taken to block the military operation.

This is the willingness that the world is lacking which is encouraging the United States to go ahead with attacking almost any state that it considers a threat, or for attaining its regional security interests. This really makes the NATO and the United States the greatest threat to the World Peace. I am not implying that the NATO is not recognizing the threats correctly, but the point that I want to make here is that it is simply too free and unchecked to pursue any military campaigns around the world that it considers necessary. This has resulted into disastrous events such as the Iraq War and even the currently on-going Afghanistan War has proved to be largely inconclusive even after a decade. While the NATO itself, or at least the United States, has paid dearly for such campaigns, these wars could easily have been avoided had the powers of the world intended to do so.

If we consider the possibility of the United States and Israel putting pressure on the world powers to gather support for attacking Iran out of the fear that the Islamic Republic has developed nuclear weapons, then those world powers should be alarmed by the elimination of probably the greatest resistance to the American interests in the Middle East. It is not just that powers like Russia and even China, which enjoy considerable influence in Iran thanks to its unpopularity with the United States and the West, will be concerned about another market or strategic partner lost, but it would also mean war, further escalation of oil prices before things are stabilized again (which will be pretty unlikely for quite some time), destruction and a lot of complications if any one of other nations choose to jump into the conflict.

It would be incorrect to say that the major world powers other than the United States and the European Union have not been diplomatically active to counter the almost unilateral and uncompromising action of the NATO, but it would not be wrong to assert that those half-hearted efforts have not been good enough at all. As far as the required military alliance is concerned, some people may point out that the CSTO exists for the purpose. The problem is far beyond the reach of the CSTO and it is hardly something that comes even close to the diplomatic alliance required for a mutual defense strategy against the NATO. The SCO or the Shanghai Cooperation Organization is one organization that comes close to the required strategic alliance to curtail the American influence in Asia Pacific, but it largely deals with economic affairs instead of military and strategic ones.

What the world really needs is that the members of both the CSTO and the SCO, extended to NATO members which could develop genuine differences with the organization, such as Turkey, to form a serious military alliance to curtail the influence of the NATO. Another Warsaw Pact, if you will. The alliance could include nations from Russia and China to the willing former-Soviet Central Asian and East European Republics and from Pakistan to Iran. Even North Korea could be a part of this alliance, at least unofficially. The exact specification of the member states for such an alliance does not really matter as long as there is an agreement to block the growth of US interests in the Middle East, as the fall of Iran and Pakistan would mean the absolute domination of the United States in the region and this is going to be the front in the future.

While countries like Turkey, India, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan could at least be convinced to work for maintaining the balance of power in the region, India would not really find joining such a defensive alliance in its interests. The strategic interests of India are aligned with the United States at the moment and the last thing it would want to do is joining a defensive alliance against the NATO. Even Turkey would not enter such an alliance being a member of the NATO itself, but at least these are the countries which can prove to be valuable diplomatic assets to such a treaty and with the diplomatic and strategic alliance of such a nature, the elements in the European Union skeptical of the US foreign policy could be convinced to block the fulfilment of US ambitions through the NATO forces.

While calling for such a military alliance sounds like inviting World War III, but it would at least be a deterrent for the powers in the world which usually have no hesitation in going ahead with any military campaigns they have in mind, whatever the purpose may be. While it may not prevent violence and wars altogether, it would reduce the possibility of many wars that could otherwise result as the aftermath of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars of the first decade of the 21st century. It is up to the major powers of the world that are concerned about the growing influence of the United States in the Middle East to come out of their shells and to take solid measures of blocking any more unnecessary military conflicts that the world can do without.

At least for maintaining the balance of power, if not for peace.

The Fucked Decade

Source: Some 9/11 Conspiracy Theory Website

W I T H O U T   P R E J U D I C E

I never thought I would have to see such a time in my life, as neither would have you. Nobody told me. Maybe Nostradamus did, but even if he did, which can be highly debated, who listens to him anyway? But imagine this. It was a decade of wars and countless terrorist attacks, which cannot really be excluded from the wars, and perhaps just near or around or more than or less than a million people dying because of it and it is still going on. The best part is that most people don’t even know who they are fighting. Or what.

Of course you cannot expect just anyone to know that. Only President George W. Bush knew who and what, and he told us.

It was the decade of Terror.

Who is hiding terrorists? Afghanistan? Saudi Arabia? Yemen? Somalia? Egypt? Gaza Strip? Pakistan? Good chance, we are told that Ben Laden was killed there. Is Iran terrorist? No, they just officially threaten to bomb Israel. These guys seem to be all over the place. They were certainly not in Iraq or were they? No one really knows for sure. Ah, Iraq. They found nothing in Iraq they told us (except oil and sand) and poor Saddam was found in a manhole and was executed through the Law of Justice. There is a good chance that they are in the North Western parts of Pakistan. Actually that is one place we are sure of. But they don’t seem to die and fade away even after a decade. Actually they seem to be receiving their funds for the war quite regularly. Nobody knows how. Maybe the local mosque charity funds.

Source: xinhua.net

No one even knows for sure what the terrorists really look like but this is what we know. We are told that they are like the scary people in the Al-Qaeda videos. Heavily bearded, or not. Many 9/11 hijackers were clean shaven, but scary nevertheless. Sometimes covering their faces, as in burkas, which is precisely why the French banned it, waiting for others to follow. And some may wear that Jihadi piece of Arab headgear-cloth thing in the manner of Yasser Arafat, but that’s too obvious. They speak Arabic mostly, but may as well not, as some are the Pashtun Taliban and the Punjabi Taliban and the Chechen and the Uzbek and the Pakistani and the Indian and from many more countries, and they sometimes seem to be carrying a book with cryptic messages. They are known popularly as Islamists or Muslims who want to take over the world, so at least we get the direction.

The only problem is that it is hard to determine which Muslims want to take over the world and which don’t and it would be difficult to know if they are lying. The problem is that there are 1.57 billion of them, that we know of. It is a really difficult situation.

But here is the bottom line.

Body Count. (Civilian, I think)

9/11 (2001) – 2,977

Afghan War (2001 – ∞) – 14,000-34,000 (No one really knows for sure)

Iraq War (2003 – ∞) – 98,170-654,965? (No one really knows for sure)

Business as Usual (2001-2011) – 37,154-? (Various Countries) (No one really knows for sure)

Current Status. (Rough Estimates)

War: Still going on, indefinitely.

Goals:    Destroy Al-Qaeda – Somewhat. No one really knows for sure.

                Destroy Afghani Taliban – Not achieved, at war.

                Destroy Pakistani Terrorists – Not achieved, at war.

                Destroy Saudi Terrorists – Oh wait.

                Kill Ben Laden – Achieved (At least they are not looking for him anymore)

                Kill Al-Zawahiri – Rumors. No one really knows for sure.

                Kill Mullah Omar – Rumors. No one really knows for sure.

                Kill the New Al-Qaeda Deputy – Not achieved.

                Kill the Next Al-Qaeda Deputy – Not achieved.

Future Plans: No one really knows for sure.

I am not saying the wars were not justified. All wars are it seems.

Everything is the terrorists’ fault anyway.

All I am just saying is that it has been a fucked decade.

This is what it will go down in history. A Fucked Decade.

Just an objective fact. Not concerned with the politics.

Not saying that the earlier decades were any better.

Gulf and Balkan Wars of the 90s, Iran-Iraq and Afghan Wars of the 80s

Cold War. Vietnam War of the 60s and 70s, Korean War of the 50s

World War II, the Holocaust in the 40s.

But this has been the fucked decade because it indirectly affected almost everyone.

PATRIOT ACT. TSA. Policing. Global Recession. The rest is your imagination.

I guess an overwhelming majority will agree.

A lot of nice things happened in this decade too.

Like the iPhone and iPad were invented, and Spain won the Soccer World Cup.

The major social networking websites were launched, if that is a good thing.

But all in all, it really has  been a fucked decade.

For some countries, more than others.

You would not know if you are not living in one of those, or maybe you do.

I am just glad that I made through it in one piece.

If anyone you know who didn’t, I’m sorry.

In the end, let us just hope for our dear lives that this is not the fucked century.

I have a bad feeling in my gut that it is.

No one really knows for sure.

Any Ideas for Self-Reliance?

Nobody can deny the fact that a strong economy makes a strong country. Despite recalling Stanley Kubrick’s brutal quote that great nations have always acted like gangsters and small nations like prostitutes, I would really like to overlook all the realism, because after all the truth is that only self-reliance can help a country earn a strong place among the nations of the world.  Pakistan is quite large actually, so presuming that it could do a fairly decent job. This is why I think, like so many of the Pakistani “nationalist” parties, although I don’t share their vain fervor, that Pakistan should rely on its own resources instead of the US or other foreign aid.

Today, May 20, we received the good news that the Government of Punjab has finally taken the lead in doing so and have cancelled no less than 6 MoUs that were meant to help for health, education and solid waste management. I can’t recall myself being happier than I am right now because finally someone in Pakistan has some ideas to utilize local resources for resolving these troubling issues, which are among the greatest problem areas in Pakistan.  I appreciate that and wish the rest of the country would have such ideas as well. But is it really so?

Wait, isn’t the Government of Punjab broke? And why have they chosen the areas of health, education and solid waste management for canceling the aid agreements? Would that not have been useful instead, since they are not being able to properly offer those facilities otherwise anyway? Do the people of Punjab have good access to health services? Are the medical professionals in the province even being paid well? Why has not the Pakistani military, the defenders of the nation, ever graced the nation with cancelling the US military aid deals which we can very much do without? Even the US people would thank us for that. But why civilian aid, and why these particular areas of the economy?

Despite those troubling questions, let us be optimists instead of cynics. I really expect them to find a way out. Although they have little idea that acquiring additional loans is as disastrous to self-reliance as are the aid grants, but I still expect the Government of Punjab to mobilize local resources to arrange for funds for the needful area of health, education and solid waste management. The presentation of the federal and provincial budgets is just around the corner anyway. I hope they come up with something better than the “Sasti Roti Scheme“.

Now correct me if I am wrong, but this only looks like a political statement and nothing realistic. Don’t feel excited, Pakistani people, it is the same old story. But we can still change our minds if the Punjab Government can offer an alternative plan of financing the public service projects that the US aid was supposed to cover. Yes, we want to hear some solid financing plans and not just political slogans of “breaking the beggar’s bowl”. Well, guess what. The “beggar’s bowl” has not been broken, because the beggar is still there. Either admit that you are a nation that needs aid, especially from the United States, for building its infrastructure and providing basic necessities to its citizens, or stop with the self-reliance nonsense if you are not able to offer the people what they deserve, if you really want to offer them that, that is.

But isn’t it hopeless to expect any sense from a country which allocates only 0.7% of its GDP on health, which is only 0.26% of the budget expenditure (Rs. 7.3 b) and barely over 1% of the budget expenditure on education (Rs. 34.5 b). Check the Budget in Brief 2010-11. So does the United States Congress recommend us to compile and approve our fiscal plans? I don’t think so. We do that ourselves and these are the priorities we have for our people. That is all we can spend on their health and education. And the fact that a 12% increase is proposed in military spending this year (Rs. 495 b from Rs. 442 b, roughly 16% of the budget expenditure in 2010-11), only adds insult to injury. Don’t believe me, check this out. It may not be too accurate, but tells the story.

Also see how Pakistan ranks among the countries of the world as far as the expenses on defense, health and education are concerned. Not even in the top 100 in the education list. Maybe there is a problem with the people who are running the country, instead of with foreign aid.

Percentages never lie because they show what your priorities are, despite your volume.

OK, enough with the criticism. Let’s talk about the plans for arranging some revenue. Federal subject or provincial subject, how about taxing the rich? Even the United States, the country which supposedly violated our sovereignty is concerned about the way we collect our taxes. I mean, come on, at least they are honest, even if they violate your sovereignty every now and then. So would you tax the richest in Pakistan for generating more revenue? Do let us know if you can, because that principle is very much contrary to whatever you believe in? But there hardly is any other way of achieving sovereignty and self-reliance, is there?

The fact of the matter is that every politician or public figure should be required to present a feasible alternative financial plan whenever they are talking about self-reliance or taking steps like canceling aid agreements for civilian use, or else they should shut up or stop fooling the general public with the ideas of self-reliance and national sovereignty because their standard of living will suffer for their politics. Yes, accepting foreign aid and loans makes you vulnerable as a country, but in order to be self-reliant and independent, you need to have an income and a way to finance all your expenditure.

Alright, maybe I’m only as creative as Imran Khan in my ideals for nationalistic economic freedom, such as tax collection. Any ideas for Self-Reliance anybody? Anything concrete? Maybe it’s only good in theory.

Was our self-reliance not violated when we accepted the Chinese offer for aid and soft term loans? I’d say no to that as well, because it compromises your self-reliance. And what about those 50 JF-17 jets that we want to receive before too long? Defense, cool, but can we afford that? Pakistan faces a power shortfall of 6,000 MWs as I write these lines. Where did we get that kind of cash from?  Or is China “granting us those jets”, like aid.

Maybe we could sell those jets to buy furnace oil for our power generators, or even better to increase the health and education budget for the children of FATA, KP, Punjab, Sindh, and Balochistan.

We, the People, don’t give a shit about jets which will never be used to improve our lives.

Pakistanis: Why They Talk About Sovereignty?

Courtesy: The Nation

Every nation in the world is fed with lies in one form or another in order to control  them and to keep them united. No exceptions, I’d be glad if there was one. Some are fed with fear, some with vain pride. The lies of some countries are truer than others, while that of the others are falser. And no surprise, some lies have also been fed to the Pakistani nation.

Recently, some of the people have come to terms with the fact that their sovereignty is actually non-existent, especially after all the US drone strikes, which according to the Wikileaks are “quietly approved” by the Pakistani government itself, and now people are also offended at the United States Navy SEALs operation at Abbottabad against Osama Ben Laden, although their sovereignty was actually violated by none other than the most wanted terrorist in the world. Something that has embarrassed the Pakistani military in front of the nation (and the whole world) for a change, even if you consider local conspiracy theories. Anyway.

But still people talk about sovereignty, despite knowing there is no such thing. There are two reasons to that. Firstly, they would still not believe that their sovereignty is non-existent because of their conditioning. This is what the text books say, that Pakistan is a sovereign nation, the fortress of Islam and all that, and this is what they have been growing up believing in. What is happening right now to the beliefs and ideals of the Pakistani nation is a case of cognitive dissonance.

Secondly, because some of them, who realize that they actually have no sovereignty, aspire to attain it, which is every nation’s right I guess. They want to see their country sovereign, respected and powerful, like all the prominent nations in the world. But the question is how are you going to attain it? I am not a big fan of the nationalism crap but if they really want to do that, apart from stopping sheltering terrorists like Ben Laden, they should  start building themselves economically.

But then again, that is another story…

Remembering Richard Holbrooke: The Diplomat Who Ended a War

 

Richard Holbrooke (1941-2010) - Source: WikiCommons/USFG

One of the most prolific, multi-dimensional and influential diplomats in the recent US history, Richard Holbrooke, passed away on December 13, 2010. He was the US Ambassador for Afghanistan and Pakistan. Richard Holbrooke died after he had suffered a torn aorta. He was 69 at the time of his death, and his memorial service was held on January 14, 2011.

There can be two kinds of people who could have problems with people admiring Richard Holbrooke. The people who have problems with anyone making efforts to stop wars, and those who are blindly Anti-American.

But not everyone criticizing the US policies is Anti-American. I am a critic of US policies as well, but that does not make me Anti-American, because if that is not the case, then I am Anti-Pakistan too, because I criticize the Pakistani government and some of their policies as well.

But I admire Ambassador Richard Holbrooke.

He helped the United States intervene in the volatile and rather inhumane situation in the Balkans, when the local pressure prevented President Bill Clinton to intervene, especially militarily. It was one of the very few times in history when the United States made a correct decision of intervention, the one which could be considered responsible, if not anything else. Here, the critics could make the point that why the instrument of intervening in foreign affairs is being approved here while criticized at other instances.

It depends on the case and the motives.

Bosnians would have survived without a NATO intervention, maybe not with a separate country, although ethnically cleansed in much larger numbers than what resulted after it. But it is not about having a war, or breaking or making a country. It is about stopping an ongoing conflict, and diplomacy played a much larger role in it than any NATO air strikes. Remember, the UN peace keeping forces were deployed in the region at the time? But some could say that the US used the conflict as an excuse of increasing its influence in the region.

It was an unfortunate conflict which thankfully came to an end, preventing more lives from going to waste.

Of course, war is not something you could be proud of or approve. Richard Holbrooke was apparently not pro-war, he just wanted things to calm down there, and the events led to the conclusion of the Dayton Peace Agreement, which came as a sigh of relief for the war-torn and shattered people of Yugoslavia, particularly that of Bosnia & Herzegovina, who were the primary victims of the Bosnian War, while also not forgetting the people of the Albanian province Kosovo.

While the Serbs would not see the role played by Holbrooke as the one which favored them, but keeping nationalism aside, they should know that it would certainly be incorrect if anyone implies that the Serb people were to be blamed for the actions of the regime of Slobodan Milosevic, who had been coexisting with other Yugoslavian ethnic groups. That idea would be as horrifying as the conflict itself.

One of the signs that Richard Holbrooke was not fond of wars were his last recorded words, which have been frequently broadcasted, published and discussed ever since:

You have got to stop this war in Afghanistan.

A War which has caused thousands of civilian casualties since October 7, 2001, not even accounted for accurately, and has led to the loss of lives of no less than 1,472 American military personnel and 843 soldiers from other coalition countries, according to icasualties.org. To many, it is a war in which the allies are making little progress on the military front, with the war only consuming billions of dollars from the pocket of the American tax-payer.

Maybe it is just to prevent the Taliban from capturing power again, the very same force, which was on the forefront in fighting the USSR in Afghanistan in the conflict that lasted from 1979 to 1989. They were armed by the United States through their allies, especially their regional periphery, Pakistan. But undoubtedly, it is being carried on to protect the US interests in the region.

Many take it as a comic interchange between Holbrooke and his Pakistani surgeon who was sedating him, but I take it as a serious warning from a dying man. You never lie in your deathbed, and especially if you know as much about what is going on as Richard Holbrooke, whose health was eaten up by the pressures and tensions of the assignment of the Special Ambassador to Afghanistan and Pakistan. By the way, he disapproved the public use of the term “AfPak“.

Of course, with such a job as being a diplomat, and participating in and influencing the major decision-making in different points of time in history with leading Democratic figures in office, a person’s record for peace is always considered doubtful by skeptics and critics. But to many, that is not even a question to worry about, just something that I am imagining that some of you could ask.

But Diplomacy is not all about wars, attacking other nations and killing people, it is also about saving lives.  We have little idea how many lives diplomacy saves around the world every passing year, and as you are reading these lines. This is exactly why in this peace, I am not really focusing on the rest of the career of Richard Holbrooke, but the part which he loved to talk about the most. The Dayton Peace Agreement. His memoirs for that campaign are titled “To End a War“. Speaks volumes about how he took it.

Therefore, I find it my duty to talk about his contribution in the Dayton Peace Agreement.

It is written in the Talmud and the Koran.

Whoever saves one life saves the world entire.

Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, a great man and a great diplomat, will always be remembered for saving a human life, in fact many human lives, and therefore, the world entire.

This, I believe, is how he would have wanted to be remembered.