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The off-target foreign policy of the west

International politics can be broadly segregated in terms of policy as interventionist and non-interventionist. None of these policies are pursued singly and players in general pursue a double pronged strategy combining both to achieve their foreign policy goals.

As is evident, the policy of interventionism commands more attention than the policy of non-interventionism. For instance, the interventionist attitude of the US in the political dynamics of the west and Middle East is most discussed.

However, the policy of non-interventionism, as the name indicates, commands little attention and remains a low profile strategy akin to indifference, but has significant ramifications as against the policy of interventionism.

The article is being written at a time when the world is awaiting news on whether Russia would send its troops across the Ukraine borders to oust the west leaning interim government in Kiev. Commentators are discussing the possibility of the situation giving way to World War 3, though chances are less that Ukraine would receive any direct military support from the west over and above the proposed economic sanctions against Russia.

The US has made clear that it cannot involve itself in a military campaign in the former Soviet territory, thanks to the lessons from the Iraq and Afghan war. Economic sanctions on Russia will only have limited effect and is impractical in the long run, given the energy supplier status of Russia and the neutral policy pursued by emerging economies such as China and India.

Other than for the constant support extended by the UK and the opportunistic support extended by the EU, US has little support for its interventionist political strategy internationally. But its stake in international organizations is such that some of these institutions budge to move without a ‘thumps up’ from the US.

Though the interventionist political strategy of the US and the west in general has invited much condemnation, it has played a constructive role in many instances, such as warding off terrorism and religious extremism. It is in this context that former British Prime Minister Tony Blair's Bloomberg speech becomes relevant. Mr Blair who is currently serving as the UK envoy to the Middle East urged Ukraine, Russia and the US to ameliorate political frictions related to Crimea and focus attention on addressing the threat of religious extremism on war foot basis.

Blair urged developed and developing countries to join hands to uproot domestically breeding extremist networks and to refocus attention on the Syria war. Blair's comments came days after project 'Trojan Horse' intended at Islamization of state schools in the UK by religious extremists was foiled by the intelligence.

The policy of non-interventionism is pursued as an opportunity by religious extremists to cement their growth. The fragility of global political consensus, the extraneous interventionist approach in internal disputes of other polities and an apparent indifference to matters of common political relevance such as cross border terrorism can only helps to make the enemy smarter.

It is natural to expect the west to intervene in any political issues that Russia is grappling with in Europe. This has become more of a tradition since cold war. But as many analysts opine the west is well aware that the crisis can be settled among the neighbours themselves as Russia has clearly indicated that it would not pursue an expansionist agenda foregoing its commitment to peace with international allies.

Given this situation, intervention makes sense only if there is a sinister political agenda. Whatever this agenda is, it has only worked whip-up tensions and unwarrantedly lock-up international attention in the region. The west’s global policing role is irksome as it pays little attention to adhere to the rules of the game and plays little constructive role in promoting global political stability. Its non-interventionist policy on the other hand is notoriously detectable in African states.

Nigeria continues to be terrorized by Boko Haram even today and little help is extended by the west or the UN. The Libyan civil war is reportedly assisting domestic terrorist groups such as Boko Haram to en route large weapon stock piles. Nigerian security forces are clearly incapable of quelling threat from the terror group and the recent mass abduction of over 200 school girls has proved the futility of domestic military endeavor.

The US' and the UN's non-interventionist policy in this respect is dubious. UN has repeatedly proved that it is only but a stamp head adhering to whims and fancies of the west. The non-interventionist approach pursued in this situation is notorious. ‘Sympathy’ is the strategic word used by the west in such instances. A basketful of sympathy would little help to free Nigeria from the grips of terrorism.

Even if the existence of notorious customers such as the Boko Haram aid the interest of the weapon producers, it is clear that their bargaining power is multiplying over time. It wouldn't be a surprise if Boko Haram spreads its wings beyond the Nigerian borders and the policy of non-interventionism by the west would cost dearly then.

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