Erosion of world order and diplomacy, misused for nationalist ends.

Abandonment of restraint and soft values for nationalist ends makes the world a far more dangerous place

Daniel Gusev
Oct 13, 2019 · 3 min read

I live in a world where tremendous achievements have been allowed by international collaboration: exchange of ideas, free flow of goods and finance. It is easy to become lost in the realm of travel, fruitful talks with smart people around the world, that sometimes the same mechanisms can be misused and aid the formation of a dangerous authoritarian world. Hence this text of caution.

NYT did a tremendous investigative job (once again) breaking news of what points finger to specific targeting by Russian military of Syrian opposition hospitals. Of course, this will be discounted, ridiculed and castigated as a lopsided political attack on a country operating within the remit of international law supporting a legitimate regime against terrorists (who are not covered by warfare rules)

The Economist does a good analysis of Turkey now holding Europe hostage to the agreement the continent did to stem the flow of Syrian and other migrants fleeing from conflict — seeing how it can do what it believes it wants pushing the Kurds out of the northern parts of Syria. Turkey has already replied that it considers EU motion in the UN as a hostile act and threatened to loose control over millions of migrants who stay in Turkey while still willing to continue to seek a better life in the EEA.

Washington Post did a number of stories about how current US President Administration betrayed the relationship with the Kurds forged by previous Administration (as if in attempt to destroy everything that Obama Administration did) — and so fleecing the allies, stepping away from values of international network of alliances forged by State Department. The Trump Administration has perfected a rationale well received by Republican electorate that the US will now care about its interests and will always seek proper return on everything it does, a near-complete reverse in the decades-long soft-power approach.

UN announced the US financial dues before the international organisation now reach USD 1 billion, with other reports demonstrating uneasy truth of the executive office allowing in unspeakable terms to solicit information that might be constituted as personal political gain in internal politics. The response is the same: soft-power did not work and international institutions should be rebuild or just ignored while countries wage their own direct policies, be that trade relationships and trade wars (China), single market negotiations (Brexit).

One can talk for hours about the rocking of the boat in Xinjiang or Hong Kong where compromise, a new detente or talks are increasingly portrayed as weakness shown by increasingly authoritarian leaders.

Countries powered by nationalist rhetoric tests the limits of diplomacy, democracy and civil society. All these are built on proper communication scenarios where forceful application of will is balanced by empathy and respect or at least understanding of a counter-part position.

Now this understanding is bluntly misused with countries: toning down despicable acts of violence or injustice, covering behind formal legal acts while completely missing their real meaning. The zero-sum game leaves little room for win-win tactics that are possible if one respects the multi-faceted world represented by different points of view and the richness they produce.

Optics has become more important than the actual meaning — as if pushed by emotions sparked by social media fanning the short memory.

In the world where destructive power can be called at a push of a button — checks and balances should be public, should be respected and should be uphold. Even more so when offensive mechanics are being transitioned in the shadows: cyber-operations, hybrid-warfare, counter-espionage and merger of foreign intelligence and international business activities: they should all be part of a new grand bargain to allow for a stable world.

Daniel Gusev
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