Corruptible Hearts

The true context behind the intervention in Mali still remains rather mysterious; unfortunately we have become accustomed to interventions and wars usually only taking place for resources, geopolitical domination, economic stimulation and other ‘greedy’ reasons. The idea of a war being waged on moral grounds is something very rare. The Crusades of the medieval age were supposed to be such; the Vatican used all manner of documents by scholars like Augustine to bring about an idea of ‘just war’, so that when various criteria are met a violent campaign was justified. But the hearts of men are easily corrupted and this ‘moral’ crusade led to the sacking, pillaging and destruction of villages, towns and cities. Many claim it was these initial crusades that caused backlashes which would in time cause aggressive expansion and massacres of thousands.

This is an example of cause and effect eventually leading to undesired results from nearly 1000 years ago, and yet the same mistakes are being made today. Imagine a young child whose family was taken from him by an airstrike. Lost and confused he is endorsed by the only people that will take him in: he may find a comfortable future, but he may equally be put on a path to radicalism and aggression, and so in this way we may find 20 years after a war an entire generation of more aggressive, radical militants. The weapons provided to Afghan militants to fight the Soviet Union are the same being used to kill American and British servicemen today. The weapons provided to bring down Gaddafi are now being used in Mali to fight the French. It is hard to predict where the weapons being used to bring down Assad will end up, but there is a fair chance they may be used to fight those who provided them. It is cyclic.

In the modern world where certain individuals hold immense power, personalities play a much bigger role in politics. As much as power in many nations may belong to the people, sometimes power belongs to the person, and one bad decision can have unforeseen consequences which affects humans globally. Violent catastrophes like the September 11th attacks caused laws like the Patriot Act to come about – this in turn can be used to muster support for any foreign policy move. This does not mean to say all interventions and wars in the name of security are wrong, for example if Britain had not intervened when Hitler invaded Poland the world may be a very different place today. However, we should not blindly support every act of the government if it includes the word ‘security’.

The 21st century has seen wars, sometimes necessary, against not just nations but against emotions and feelings, such as the war on terror. Though it may seem unusual to be fighting a feeling, if we can fight terror why can’t we fight a war on sadness, a war on hunger or even a war on violence. Sometimes we must think outside the cycle and, rather than seeing everything as cause and effect, we must think of different cycles altogether to try and achieve what many forgotten figures of history dreamed of: a world of morality where we aim to help the needy instead of pushing them into violence.

‘The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good people to do nothing’ – Edmund Burke

— Vahe Boghosian
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