Beyond Security and Order

Beyond Security and Order

UN chief Antonio Guterres has said he is engaged in bringing about a dialogue between India and Pakistan to resolve the Kashmir issue through his meetings with the prime ministers of the two countries. Guterres, addressing reporters at his first press conference at the world body’s headquarters since assuming office in January, was asked about the escalating tensions between India and Pakistan along the Line of Control and the ceasefire violations since he assumed office. On the face of it, Guterres’ statement might be seen as indicative of activism on the conflict/dispute over Kashmir and might be welcomed in many quarters. But this putative activism and the optimism thereof might be given short shrift by the nature of world politics and the United Nation’s shrinking role in it. All this assumes poignancy given the fact that the United States- still the world’s hegemon despite Trump’s rather isolationist instincts- is kind of disengaging from the United Nations. The nature of world politics and international relations is driven more by power politics than idealistic instincts and activism thereof- the premise of the United Nations and the UN system. In the power political schema, “ order” matters more than principles and ideals. Related to the idea of order is security. The United Nations , despite its loft principles suffers from deficit of power and the power asymmetries embedded in the UN system- a legacy of the post second Great War world order- preclude the world body to act in ways that goes against the interests(howsoever defined) of states. This structural lacuna impedes the UN from becoming a “global policeman”. Moreover, the shield that sovereignty accords states is another factor that impeded the United Nations. So Guterres’ statements are more in the nature of “suggestions” and “ admonitions”. In the final analysis, the conflict in and over Kashmir and its resolution thereof goes beyond “ order” and “security”- as important as these are in their own right. The issue , in essence, pertains to justice- a thematic idea that power political oriented international politics does not accord primacy. The day when “ order” gets symbiotically related to justice in world and regional politics and international relations, the dawn for resolution of conflicts like the Kashmir one might descend. But, as long as disputes and conflicts are merely viewed through the prism of “order” and “ security” , the conflicts like the conflict in and over Kashmir will remain frozen. This is the sad but prosaic reality of world politics and international relations.

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