Thursday, 22 February 2024

E Editorial

The “Heaven on Earth” bubble has burst

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Following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the emergence of a new, unipolar world order led by the United States, there was widespread anticipation of a transformative miracle. Many believed that this shift would bring about lasting changes in the global landscape and the nature of international relations. Optimism abounded for the establishment of economic and social systems, as well as states grounded in the principles of human rights, freedoms, and the rule of law. The aspiration was to foster secure and inviolable borders while respecting the right of peoples to self-determination. Moreover, there was a prevailing belief that international legal courts would play a pivotal role in furnishing reliable tools for resolving interstate disputes.

The advent of the new world order introduced fresh ideas and ignited new optimism in the minds and hearts of people. Consequently, there was an expectation that atrocities such as genocides, forced deportations, ethnic cleansing, terrorism, and diverse forms of violence would be relegated to the bygone, barbaric era. The prevailing belief was that these would be supplanted by the principles enshrined in international conventions on human rights and fundamental freedoms. In essence, a period had dawned, akin to the utopian dreams of many, with the European Union positioned as the focal point of this "Heaven on Earth," eagerly sought after by all aspiring to become its members.

A handful of soberer observers cautioned that it was a mere deception. Regrettably, no miraculous turn of events occurred - the realists proved correct. Presently, it is challenging to identify an international organization whose authority remains unwavering. The seeds for a disconcerting new era marked by human rights violations, ethnic cleansing, and diverse forms of violence were sown in Artsakh and Gaza. More realistic analysts argue that this is only the initial phase, with sensible forecasts indicating the world teetering on the brink of World War III.

Up until that point, the occurrences in Yugoslavia during the 1990s, marked by ethnic cleansing and pogroms, were perceived as an anomaly, an incident unlikely to be replicated. Yet, over time, it transformed into a recurring pattern, signaling the onset of similar situations in the foreseeable future. Unlike the aftermath of the Yugoslav events, which saw notable trials in the Hague where those responsible for pogroms and ethnic cleansing were held accountable, there is currently a notable absence of such legal recourse.

The echoes of the events in Artsakh resonate in Gaza today. Similar to Artsakh, the population here is besieged, facing shortages of electricity, gas, fuel, and essential provisions, culminating in violent actions ostensibly targeting armed groups but effectively impacting civilian residents, aiming to clear the area of their presence. In Artsakh, the so-called international community remained silent for eight months, while in Gaza, the United States and European Union countries openly lend support to Israel.

What term should be assigned to this situation? The unambiguous conclusion drawn from all of this is that the world order established after the Second World War is in a state of disarray; the proclaimed principles are ineffective, human rights and freedoms no longer serve as guiding principles, and justifications for ethnic cleansing can be presented. International institutions are discredited and ineffectual, and even the Hague Court, though perhaps symbolically, is incapacitated.

Consequently, there is a lack of a coherent world order, devoid of principles, rules, and authoritative bodies to enforce them. World domination is also absent, prompting people to yearn for a bipolar world where a semblance of certainty and established rules govern the global stage. In this context, the recent discussions about the rights of people, nations, and states—upon which some individuals attempt to build policies—are particularly surprising.

The Armenian Center for National and International Studies

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Yerevan, Armenia

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