image caption: Gurmukh Singh OBE

Unwinnable Wars in Ukraine and Gaza in 2024

ਬਾਬਾ ਦੇਖੇ ਧਿਆਨ ਧਰਿ, ਜਲਤੀ  ਸਭਿ ਪ੍ਰਿਥਵੀ ਦਿਸਿ ਆਈ।

In His meditation, Baba, []]Guru Nanak], saw the whole world burning.

(Vaaran Bai Gurdas)

As we enter the New Year, Global diplomacy seems to be failing and the superpowers continue to rely on military solutions to disputes. As someone said, human instincts and emotions are still primitive the institutions are medieval while the human beings are armed with, modern technology boosted by Artificial Intelligence of 21 century. This toxic combination can destroy life on earth.

Many nations have nuclear weapons. The temptation to use them as weapons of last resort will always be there or, at least, they can be used for blackmail. For example, Israel can warn US that, if overwhelmed and not supported by US through almost daily arms supplies, it would have no option but to use nukes against the larger Middle-Eastern countries supporting Palestine. That would start a global nuclear war. Israel has no political solution except to completely dominate a people or worse.

In the meantime, world trade and environmental issues, so vital for prosperity and survival have been pushed to lower priorities despite continual international conferences and the powerful Green lobby. Yet, the global spending on armies is well over 2 trillion dollars. These are astronomical sums on defence spending, and the ordinary person cannot even begin to understand them. All this while much of the world is starving. Even the richer countries are feeling the pinch of cost-of-living. Just imagine if such amounts had been allocated to global environmental and welfare issues.

However, there is a ray of hope in the emerging unity at the United Nations calling for a ceasefire. The global forum is watching the Gaza killing of civilians including thousands of children. The position of the US backing Israel and vetoing all moves for immediate cease-fire, cannot be justified. The simple logic is that terror cannot be eliminated by retaliating with overwhelming indiscriminate force. Israel cannot win the strategic war against terrorism by inflicting many times more terror on civilians.

There is unity amongst some top experts and strategists like John Mearsheimer and Jeffrey Sachs, that wars will not solve anything. Ultimately, the waring factions like Ukraine and Israel, egged on by the misguided policies of their backers, will have to come around a negotiating table.

The problem is that most governments do not tell the truth and politicians do not like any advice which disagrees with their narrative. The story of the Ukraine war is, in fact, the story of NATO expansion. Assurances given to Mikhael Gorbachev, the leader of Russia at the time, that NATO will not expand to include Ukraine have not been honoured. Ukraine has a large Russian ethnic population and shares nearly 2,000 miles border with Russia. Eventual NATO domination in the Black Sea and the Baltic Sea is an important defence factor for Russia. The Russian approach to war with Ukraine was wrong. However, around a negotiating table Russia would have a strong case for keeping Ukraine neutral.

Guru Nanak Sahib saw a burning world in His vision for which His response was to lay down the foundation of Halemi Raj complete with the necessary Sikhi theo-temporal institutions. That topic is highly relevant today.

It is a matter of satisfaction that this is a central theme at the Sikh Youth Australia Family Camp to be run from 24 January 2024.

Gurmukh Singh OBE

Principal Civil Servant retd (UK