The World Order And Its Enemies

Duly Noted

Diplomacy is a pillar of global security and peace. The Islamists act to topple it.

The Third World is a beneficiary of the system of diplomacy that has evolved through the centuries. It is a fundament of an orderly world and fanatics are now undermining it.

International relations are as problem-laden as are personal relationships. All associations produce conflict. To promise the key to a “perfect” marriage in total harmony exploits the gullible. Promises to unite mankind in a conflict-free order of love are soothing intellectual exercises. Their practical value, however, equals a biology that claims to convert kissed frogs into princes. 

Enshrined “peace studies” solve conflicts by calling them the avoidable results of misunderstandings. A warm hug uniting all of us will create a free of discord state. With that commences a peaceful, because conflict-free, world order. 

The competing view has emotional blemishes that come from its realism. Doubting the “should be” of conjectures regarding the achievable ideal world is one of them. The awareness of an imperfect reality and its presentation contrast and challenges desire-driven daydreams. Therefore, the conflict theory reminds us of foul reality. 

A degree of discord is a natural part of interpersonal relations, and so it is a component of interstate contacts. If so, not the total prevention of differences should be our sound goal: a system that facilitates the rational resolution of disputes is to be pursued. Here “diplomacy” serves as a tool. The term is not limited to elegant folks sipping champagne in palaces. Diplomacy is a system that enables the agents of national interests to gather and, regulated by rules, to negotiate. 

Centuries ago, Europeans have made a discovery. In the antecedent era, in the style of today’s Somalia (feudalism), they were incapable to govern themselves. As the region emerged from that calamity, the solidifying state-like formations realized that could not achieve what used to be regarded as essential. That was, to create homogeneity by liquidating the populations governed by disapproved creeds. (Wars of Religion.) The mutual failure to benefit of anarchy created a reluctantly achieved consensus to settle realistically for less than the whole loot. Since problems could not be solved slaughter, a system to bring the benefit of stability through tolerance and a modicum of cooperation emerged. A tool of that process is “diplomacy”. 

Diplomacy, that is an etiquette-controlled procedure that regulated interstate contact through international law, did not guarantee eternal peace. However, what it achieved benefited all. It regulated state relations, banned, even during wars, by mutual accord certain actions, and substituted force by negotiated settlements. This evolved incrementally and not by a sudden agreement. The system brought advantages that emerging states utilized. For that reason, weak non-Western entities, such as 19th century Japan, have accepted and applied it. (To its detriment, Imperial China has failed to use diplomacy to protect herself.) This made a “Western” invention into a global norm.

A central element of this procedural quasi order within a disorderly world, involved the protection of envoys. Since it became the perceived interest of all, the safety of diplomats became absolute. Accordingly, their person and their residences became inviolable. Even in wartime, all regimes, including the Communists and the Nazis, have respected that. (The American reader might appreciate this tidbit. The writer is also a beneficiary of extraterritoriality. When the war ended, the Imperial Japanese Embassy had been a guest of his family’s estate. The conquering Red Army sent a General and officers to protect the place from its notoriously looting stragglers.)

Islamists demonstrate contempt for the global order that regulates diplomacy and which is, in turn, upheld by it. Governed by their fanatical ignorance they chop away at a supporting beam of world order. Lacking a modern and realistic world-view, they disregard that its conventions separate us from the Hobbes’ anarchy of the war of all against all. If their comportment brings the fruits of the plant they nurture, then violence will cease to be a “last resort” of interstate relations. The inciters of mobs fail to grasp that they are ill equipped for the provoked free-for-all if their still passive victims retaliate. 

Due to the rip-down of the structure of international order, “war” is made to return as the only means of the protection of interests. The channels to moderate conflicts are clogging up. Force re-emerges as the only effective instrument for states to assert themselves. Tehran and its proxies stand behind numerous violations of diplomatic immunity. Iran had success by avoiding retaliation for breached contracts and for developing a lethal threat to entire categories of societies. This should convince rational leaders of the advantages of “diplomacy”, that is of orderly interstate relations. The Mullahs, however, persist to prepare the “Ausradieren” of their named targets while shielded by “diplomacy”. In their current condition, they should take to heart their stake in the current order that protects them. Instead, while beneficiaries of diplomacy, the Mullahs use the dark of its shadow to prepare the demolition of the global order.

Formally and regularly, the fundamentalists call upon Muslims to kill diplomats. An embassy is the sovereign territory of a state. Strictly speaking, attacking such a compound is an act of war. In the future, radical Muslims might again become successful in exploiting diplomats as hostages. This success implies that the limited -and admittedly imperfect - rule of law in international relations is in a phase of decline. If that is the case, diplomatically structured affairs are replaced by mob rule exercised under the influence of a delusion. 

Part of that illusion is that the punching bag does not hit back because it lacks the moral and physical capability. Ultimately, the misinterpreted experience might prove to be a bad predictor of future responses. Perennial and growing atrocities could change minds. Systematic violations practiced as a policy, could become an argument to respond to the challenge in the terms that are set by its source. The system that is being undermined still produces restraint because there is an inhibition at work, namely that a reaction could be rated as “racism”. Furthermore, since especially Islamist states are beneficiaries, it seems hard to believe that “they really mean it”. Finally, it is difficult to admit that a proven system suddenly fails to “work”. It is even more difficult to go from that admission to the conclusion that what does not work needs to be replaced.