By Dr. Sawraj Singh
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the bipolar world became a unipolar world. America became the only superpower in the world. The present world order, in reality, is dominated by American hegemony. However, the rapidly-changing world situation is making it clear that this is a transitory period, and the world is actually moving toward a multipolar world order. There will not be one or two centers of power; there will be many such centers.
America will not be able to retain its only-superpower-of-the-world status for much longer. It is facing an economic challenge from China and a military challenge from Russia. France and Germany are trying to unite Europe to become an independent center of power. When their Presidents went to Moscow to meet President Putin and discuss the Ukraine situation, against American advice, then their strategy became clear.
England, the most important American partner in Europe, has been completely marginalized there. England is so much frustrated with its present status in the European Union that Prime Minister Cameron is asking for a referendum to know if the people want to stay in the European Union or want to come out. In Ukraine, the government forces, which are supported by America, lost to the rebels—supported by Russia. When Putin sent troops to occupy Crimea, he gave orders to launch a nuclear attack if the NATO interfered in any way militarily. 158 nuclear bombs were ready to strike England in such a scenario. This would have meant almost complete destruction of England. Russia has the largest stockpile of nuclear weapons in the world. Russia has the capability to destroy the earth ten times over with its nuclear weapons.
The Middle East situation is also pointing to the fact that the American grip on this region is loosening. In Yemen, the American and Saudi-supported government has lost to the Houthi rebels, who are supported by Iran and (indirectly) by Russia and China. The government belonged to the Sunni Muslims whereas the rebels are Shias. President Hadi is hiding in Saudi Arabia. Even Pakistan has refused to join the Saudi-led attack against the rebels. The six world powers: USA, Russia, China, France, Germany, and England have signed a nuclear treaty with Iran, in spite of opposition by Israel. There were massive celebrations in Iran because this is considered a victory for Iran. In Syria, America has so far been unable to dislodge Assad. In Iraq and Libya, even after getting rid of Saddam and Gaddafi, this has not helped America to consolidate its hold on those countries, and the Islamic fundamentalists are challenging it in a big way.
I think there are two main objectives of American strategy: First, to maintain its hegemony somehow. Second, to take pressure off of its allies such as England and Saudi Arabia. To achieve these objectives, America wants to shift nuclear confrontation from Europe to South Asia. In a recent article in the New York Times, such a scenario has been raised. Henry Kissinger has predicted a nuclear war between India and Pakistan in the twenty-first century. The question is: are these predictions or wishful thinking? Such a confrontation can help America because its adversaries and potential adversaries can get entangled and weaken each other. The European countries will also like to shift the site of confrontation from Europe to South Asia. Therefore, it can help to keep the present Trans-Atlantic alliance intact.
Such a confrontation can prove very destructive and harmful for South Asia. In the seventies, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan destabilized this area and Afghanistan became a hotbed of terrorism. The Taliban were a product of this invasion. America used them against the Soviet Union. However, they turned against America. After America pulls out of Afghanistan, the Taliban may target India. The Taliban have already considerably destabilized Pakistan. Saudi Arabia is also inciting its brand of dogmatic Islam in Pakistan, which in turn incites Hindu fundamentalism in India. The whole region can be pushed toward more confrontation and instability.
All of the countries of the region should sit together and ponder, without any outside interference, on how to make this region more peaceful and prosperous. I feel the best solution to the problems and challenges of the region is to evolve into a South Asian Economic Alliance on the pattern of the European Union. If we compare South Asia to Europe, then it becomes clear that there are more bonds which unite the people in the South Asian region than in Europe. Geographically, historically, economically, culturally, and politically, this region has much more in common than Europe has.
If we can evolve an economic infrastructure which guarantees freedom to different nations, cultural entities, and different religions, then that can be an ideal situation for the people of the region. They can enjoy benefits of the economic union while enjoying freedom to practice their religions, way of life, and political systems. In such a scenario, the region can become peaceful and prosperous. After all, the concept of a multipolar world is based upon the teachings of Guru Nanak, the founder of the Sikh religion. Guru Nanak preached accepting and tolerating diversity, and promoted the principle of unity in diversity. He also promoted the principles of pluralism, dialogue and peaceful coexistence. These principles have laid the foundation of a multipolar world. Therefore, the concept of a multipolar world emerged in this region.
Dr. Sawraj Singh, MD F.I.C.S. is the Chairman of the Washington State Network for Human Rights and Chairman of the Central Washington Coalition for Social Justice. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.