Unfortunately, the world is currently fixating on two international crises at the expense of many, many other crises going on around the world, including many where the death toll outpaces these events by a factor of 10 or more. On the one hand, the International Community is thoroughly vested in Russia’s total disregard for Ukrainian sovereignty and destabilizing violence surrounding the Ukrainian Crisis. On the other hand, the world is once again thoroughly engrossed by the latest war between Israel and Hamas. Regrettably, the Ukrainian situation is being weakly addressed by ratcheting up pressure on the Putin government with little more to do aside from watching new tragedies unfold as we wait until the violent insurgents can be subdued. In the case of renewed violence between Israel and Hamas, it is clear leaders of both sides will do as they please until they can no longer fight. Consequently, what the rest of the world must focus on is how these conflicts affect the interests of the International Community.
Tragically, the Palestinian and Israeli Peoples are both caught between a rock and a hard place. For the Israelis, Hamas is a deadly threat while the Israeli government is the only institution capable of guaranteeing their safety, even if the vast majority of the Israeli People would disapprove of the military’s tactics. For the Palestinians, Hamas may well be an unsavory group, but it is seen as their only means of defending themselves from the Israeli government’s overbearing abuse of the Palestinian People. Both Peoples voted for these groups of People to be in charge, because they were given seemingly ineffective alternatives. What is most regrettable is that Hamas could have become more of a constructive political organization and Israel could have learned to use better tactics to address militant attacks, i.e. more intelligence-guided, strategic strikes of well-defined targets as a well-planned campaign and far less brute force used as part of a chaotic reaction.
The United States could have carpet-bombed Iraq and Afghanistan into ground in order to crush the insurgencies, but we engaged in strategic counterinsurgency and counterterrorism campaigns at the expense of American lives and American dollars in order to prevent rising numbers of civilian causalities. We did this, because the ripple effects of simply destroying our enemies, no matter the collateral damage, would have presented a far greater threat to American security, i.e. we would have encouraged terrorism and thoroughly lost the support of our allies if we were continually improving our efforts avoid civilian deaths. With all that is going on in the world, Israel is approaching a scenario where they will face even greater security threats due to their own actions, which Hamas is intentionally provoking.
Strategically speaking, Israel and the Gaza Strip are just two small pieces of land in the Middle East and Africa were civilians are being slaughtered due to militant strive. Unlike Iraq, Syria, Libya, Nigeria, and Sudan, Israel and the Palestinians have some control over how events play out. In terms of the bigger picture, Iraq and Syria are probably the greatest destabilizing threats to the broader stability of the region. This means these crises represent a greater strategic interest to most other nations, thus the world should be focused on events unfolding in Syria and Iraq while nuclear talks and efforts to normalize relations with Iraq are once again being thoroughly neglected.
In addition to viewing and addressing the Gaza Strip crisis in terms of a regional strategy, the behavior of Russia must also be understood in terms of a broader lens. During the Cold War, the world was essentially divided into two camps, even though many countries dealt with both the US and the USSR to varying degrees. In many respects, we are seeing this division return as superpowers Russia and China seek to carve out their own network of allegiances in their attempts to counterbalance US power. In China’s case, the communist nation is partnering with likeminded countries such as Venezuela, North Korea, Syria, and so on to form economic ties that reduce its dependency on the US economy. Russia, on the other hand, is engaging in a more aggressive, more coercive strategy to redevelopment circumvent the US economy.
The unfortunate reality is that this means the United States is entering an era when sanctions will do just as much, if not more, to isolate our own country and, potentially, strengthen Russia and China. At the moment, economic sanctions are a means of hurting Russia, especially when allies support US efforts and the measures taken are crippling, but sanctions cannot be relied upon to contain other rogue states over time. As such, Russia’s involvement in the Ukrainian Crisis is of interest to other nations, because its rogue behavior, which defies international norms and expectations, threatens the International Community’s ability to punish countries that violate the will of the International Community and threats the sustainability of the global efforts to address global issues.
That said, the death of those people caught in the Ukrainian Crisis, the Israeli-Hamas conflict, and all other examples of strive around the world are tragedies that demonstrate the failings of our modern International Community and remind us that we replace violence with greater efforts to address the interests of the world’s Peoples through more civil means. With all the ongoing violence and unrest seen around the world, resources are limited while those involved seem ever more determined to force their will onto others. Consequently, the sad readily is that the world must address ongoing, emerging, and reemerging crises in terms of national, regional, and international interests. If not, the world cannot hope to, eventually, put out all the fires burning around the world.
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