Social scientists frequently talk about a rapidly changing world in the 21st century. Attributed to this phenomenon is technological development across the globe, which has weaved together the international community into one global village.
Strictly speaking, argues social scientists, the compression of time and space has come to mean that at a mere click of a mouse, events in one part of the world, say Washington DC, can influence other events in villages, small towns and big cities such as London, Sydney or Moscow. That’s how much the world has become inter-connected, inter-dependent and indeed made a mockery of the traditional Westphalian borders that separate countries from one another in a physical sense.
The above scenario would draw one to easily conclude that a world order that has become one ought to exhibit a greater understanding and appreciation of its many different building blocks. But not, it seems.
The case in point is a world whose nations are constantly drifting apart as a result of unending socio-political differences.
The issue of the current tension in the Korean peninsula is a good example of how a world led by selfish men, and women, can self-destruct.
In recent times, the world has been kept on the edge by various man-made conflicts, all truly avoidable.
Take for instance the case of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), and its seemingly unstable leader, Kim Jong-un, one of the world’s youngest leaders.
The DPRK or North Korea as is popularly known, takes pleasure in the development of a ballistic missile much against the popular international opinion. In the latest show of strength – or I-don’t-care attitude, Jong-un launched the Hwasong-15 ballistic missile which triggered heightened tensions in the region and increased war rhetoric with the USA. This prompted the US president Donald Trump to refer to Jong-un as a “rocket man” and threatened, scarily, to “utterly destroy” the East Asian country.
War, I suppose, is easier to trigger than to pursue peace. For, with war one simply unleashes the bombs, probably the atomic bomb. Jong-un says his new missiles can reach anywhere in the US mainland. The response from president Trump has been more intense threats to annihilate Pyongyang. In my opinion, there is little or no difference between Trump and Jong-un in terms of their capacity to pursue peace and build a safer world with the rest of humankind.
Yet not all is lost. A very encouraging message recently came through the Russian foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, who announced that Pyongyang has requested Moscow to facilitate a possible face-to-face or direct talks with Washington. This is encouraging as it immediately de-escalates the brinkmanship.
Washington’s bilateral relations with Moscow have been very low despite initial high hopes of improvement following Trump’s election as the 45th US president over a year ago.
For the sake of the Earth, and people all who live in it irrespective of their identity, culture, tradition or creed the world leaders ought to prioritise the pursuit of peace in similar way to the how Nelson Mandela put aside his personal interests for the sake of the greater good of everyone.
It is my fervent wish that despite the intense mistrust between Washington and Moscow, the two super-powers would have learnt from the Cold War era lessons that it is better to give peace a chance and therefore work together to resolve the Korean Peninsula tension and furthermore cooperate on other peace initiatives. In the case of president Trump, some need to whisper in his ear: “A great leader never stoop low.” Instead, he or she becomes a bigger person.