Peace with Taliban; Bad News for Real Pacifists?
Western states’ attempts to start negotiations with Taliban - including officially hosting them in Sweden, EU’s recommendations to Afghanistan’s government to reach peace, and Trump’s willingness to talk with them – have been framed as steps towards peace. The international community seems to believe peace with the Taliban is good and necessary for sustainable development of Afghanistan. Is it so though?
To respond, we need to take heed on the fact that peace with Taliban is a part of a recently dominated discourse of pacifism within Western powers and the UN: the easiest and most reliable way to solve regional disputes is to support the more powerful side of the dispute. This is the opposite of the older paradigm of helping the right and the good side of a dispute.
In fact, the proponents of the new paradigm have a simpler task to accomplish. Instead of dealing with the hard and complicated judgment of the good and the bad between parties of a dispute, they consider which side is more capable militarily and more probable to win. They are sitting with the Taliban simply because they endured the war in Afghanistan and proved they have the higher hand in Afghanistan-Pakistan conflict. This pragmatist approach can have unfortunate consequences. Let’s review some of them:
- Such a paradigm is an open global invitation to Militarism. It recognizes militarism and gives legitimacy to it.
- This paradigm isolates peace-seekers from the political scene and installs militarists in charge. If global praise comes from bombs and tanks and not a serious endeavor for peace and justice, then what is the use of intellectuals and peace-seekers in the political arena?
- This paradigm is polluting Western politics too: pacifists are turning to market agents for weapon manufacturers. War-mongers will seek weapons everywhere to gain more power and put pressure on international organizations and Western powers to reach peace with them.
- This paradigm could undermine humanity’s years of work to spread global human values such as democracy, freedom, and human rights. It was always believed that the global community must support the proponents of these values around the world. So, if it is only the military capabilities that matter these days, why ethical politicians must adhere to the greater good anymore? The Iranian regime is criticized for inflicting a big price to their dried-out land by investing so much on military and nuclear programs. The fact of the matter is that Iran’s leadership realized that what prevents Western powers from threatening the regime is a battle formation and not democratization of the country.
- Finally, the said paradigm is contrary to sustainability from an ecological point of view. The sustainable outlook is a balance of involved elements and not one side’s overcoming the others. It does not mean tigers eat all deer or all deer win over tigers. Sustainability means there is a logical balance between the number of deer and tigers.
This paradigm is letting tigers loose to eliminate all deer. This will lead to unsustainability and only war and destruction. Peace is not necessarily the absence of war. Our world needs rethinking the concepts of ‘war’ and ‘peace’.