As members of the international community continue to attack the government of Sri Lanka for its eradication of terrorism, the inherent hypocrisy is clearly and succinctly elucidated in the following editorial, which appeared in Sri Lanka’s Daily News on September 26th:
When the UN system was brought into being in 1945, it was primarily designed to prevent war and conflict in the world. That was the aftermath of the Second World War which claimed lives in the tens of millions and perpetrated unprecedented devastation over the face of the earth. Mankind, at that time, was more than eager to bid goodbye to the dreadful institution of war. The UN Charter was seen as the ideal blueprint for a world where conflicts and rifts among humans would be resolved by peaceful means, such as, dialogue and a meeting of minds.
It is decades since this new world order was conceived and given concrete shape to a degree, but war has continued to dog mankind at his heels and is still being ravenously resorted to by particularly the more powerful members of the international community, thus rubbishing the vision of a peaceful world underlying the UN system and its Charter. All of this, however, in no way invalidates the UN system and its principal vision and policy trajectory. A world free of conflict and war must be striven for on the part of all who have won membership of the UN.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s address to the UN General Assembly last Friday, was of profound relevance because it drew the attention of the world and of its leaders to some of these founding principles of the UN. Sovereign equality among the states of the UN, for instance, is a cardinal founding ideal of the UN system. Under this order of things, there could be no question of one state or states, coercing any other state or states into doing their bidding. Since, peace is the motivating ideal of the UN, conflicts among states need to be resolved through the use of peaceful methods, such as, dialogue and rational persuasion. This was, very correctly, underscored by the Sri Lankan President.
But such golden rules of interaction among the world’s states have been observed more in the breach, particularly on the part of those states which have emerged as the predominant military and political powers of the world, and the post Second World War new world order is shown up as having nothing particularly new to offer. Nevertheless, we believe that the UN and its principles should be abided by in this highly imperfect world of ours because international anarchy could only result in the states of the world doing each other mortal, irreparable harm.
By saying this we do not intend to imply that the UN system has proved ineffective. Far from implying so, we wish to place on record that the UN specialized agencies in particular, have done yeoman service for the powerless of the world over the decades and are continuing very courageously to do so. For these reasons, the UN continues to earn the gratitude and admiration of the poor and powerless.
But there is no ignoring the need for UN reform and we believe that it is up to the powerful members of the UN system to address these needs. By reform we do not only have in mind fundamental reforms, such as, the sufficient enlargement of the UN Security Council to enable it to reflect the current global military and economic balance, but also what President Rajapaksa in his UNSG address referred to as ‘inconsistent standards and discriminating approaches that can unintentionally give a fresh lease of life to the forces of terror.’
Since the collapse of the Cold War and the emergence of what is called a ‘multi-polar’ world, self interest has been increasingly driving the states of the world in an unprecedented way. Self-interest has always been a motivating factor in the behaviour of states, but this trend could be expected to accelerate after the collapse of the relatively rigorous structures which held the world together in the Cold War days.
This is not in any way an endorsement of the Cold War world order, but an emphatic reminder that the world needs to conduct its relations on the basis of impartiality, justice and equality if the world political order is to be prevented from descending into greater anarchy and disorder.
In the case of Sri Lanka , there is no doubt that she is being unfairly treated over the Darusman Report and the resultant issues. Sri Lanka has exercised its inalienable sovereign right to defend its territorial integrity by defeating the LTTE and the powerful of the world would be only giving the LTTE and its supporters a new lease of life by unjustifiably faulting Sri Lanka . In other words, terror is being given a fillip. This is a warm invitation to greater international disorder.