Unfortunately, two major conflicts with far-reaching ripple effects, along with a myriad of others, are being overshadowed by the Iraq Crisis to the point those instigating these crises are using the situation in Iraq as cover to act with impunity. Where Russia continues to feed the Ukraine Crisis by building up its military presence along the Ukraine-Russian border, China is ramping up its efforts to the test the tolerances of the International Community by growing ever more aggressive towards neighbors like Vietnam, instead of seeking balanced solutions to its issues. Clearly, these three conflicts should alone garner the attention of the International Community, while we would have struggled with each of these on their own, yet our world is facing far more serious conflicts than just the Iraq Crisis.
Although the situation in Iraq affects the International Community in terms of higher oil prices and an increased risk of globalized terrorism, the crisis is largely an internal one. Absent the economic interests of colonial powers, such a crisis would have had little bearing on the public policies of major powers a few centuries ago. So long as the Soviets were not involved, the US would have had no interest in fighting the Iraqi People’s battles during the Cold War. Today, we live in a globalized world where more and more localized crises are impacting the policies and decisions of world powers. Like the globalized world economy, the interconnectedness of our globalized society is making the fabric of International Community world ever more fragile thanks to the intensifying political and tangible impact of once “small,” local events.
From emerging crises to long festering conflicts, the International Community is facing an increasing number of issues and failing to resolve these issues. Most of these crises can be classified as major state-actor driven conflicts, minor state-actor driven conflicts, and non-state actor conflicts. Dealing with nonstate actor conflicts, such as those involving terrorist groups, criminals, corporations, etc, hinges on cooperation among nations and international policing, i.e. greater use of international investigators and special forces. When it comes to minor state-actor driven conflicts, versus major state-actor driven conflicts, the size of the nation affords world powers like the US greater leverage, especially given that threat of war is still realistic, to force the smaller country into submission. When it comes to major state-actor driven conflicts, the International Community’s goal to avoid open conflict makes military action far less likely, thus major powers are more likely to ignore the will of the International Community and act as they please.
Looking at Russia’s blatant disregard for Ukraine’s sovereignty and international law, as well as China’s growing confidence in its ability to flex its muscles to get its way, the International Community is facing major state-actor driven conflicts that have not been seen since the Cold War. Because these threaten the very fabric of the International Community, i.e. if the big guys don’t follow the rules, no one should, they are probably more serious and pressing than minor state-actor and nonstate actor conflicts. Decades ago, we would not have had to prioritize these issues as China and Russia’s bad behavior would have taken preference by default. Regrettably, the unprecedented era of, more or less, peace and stability following the Cold War was shattered by events like the September 11th terrorist attacks and the invasion of Iraq, this meant our world was recognizing the need to address nonstate actor driven conflicts while growing more aggressive toward minor state-actors.
Because few of the conflicts and crises involving nonstate actors and minor state-actors were properly resolved, we now see our attention divided by mounting global crises. The lists, of course, also involves economic crises, such as the Great Recession and the European Debt Crisis. In Iraq, America’s decision to send military advisors is probably the most effective international solution so far; whereas, Iran must be careful not to involve itself militarily in Iraq at the expense of diplomatic efforts to improve its world standing. That said, the Iran nuclear talks were put on the backburner, because of the unfolding Ukraine Crises, which involved Russia behaving as a rogue state. What is happening in Iraq is important and must be addressed, but relative to the impact of unfolding events, it is a backburner issue. Consequently, the main focus of world leaders should be toggling between the actions of Russia and China.
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