- French President Emmanuel Macron Has Proposed a Worldwide Truce that Could Lead to a Cessation of All Conflict Around the World
by Air Vice Marshal Arjun Subramaniam (rtd), Military historian, https://www.tribuneindia.com/, 21 April 2020
Worldwide no-war pact easier said than done
Should Putin see value in Macron’s proposition and not look at the situation opportunistically, the two could ensure that Europe stays afloat. Asia, Africa and South America will be tough to handle because of reasons such as intractable historical disputes and animosities, embedded radical ideologies, and a proliferation of proxies and ongoing hybrid wars that allow for continuation of conflict under an umbrella of deniability.
IN a laudable initiative that reflects his altruistic vision of a post-Covid-19 world, French President Emmanuel Macron has proposed a worldwide truce that could lead to a cessation of all conflict around the world. This, he argues, will allow the world to concentrate on tackling the debilitating impact of the pandemic on almost all aspects of human existence. Macron claims he has the support of all global leaders including Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping. To be fair, though, the first call for such an initiative was made by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres earlier this month. Considering the flak that the WHO has received for its skewed handling of the pandemic, no one really gave much credence to the call from Guterres. Rather, several global strategists predicted the gradual demise of the UN as a credible global voice in an already fragmented and polarised world that is bound to grope for a new normal in a post-pandemic era. Macron’s clarion call has offered a new lease of life to the UN which has already commenced negotiations with protagonists in various conflict zones across the globe, ranging for Syria and Yemen to Iraq and Afghanistan.
It is all too apparent that the pandemic could be a result of human overreach and indiscretion. At one level, it seems to mock mankind’s unbridled ambitions and at another, revelations that the virus could be a complex combination of multiple viruses seem to directly challenge the power of science and technology, globalisation and other such man-made networks. Consequently, it has done enough to plant a seed of doubt even among those like Macron that it is maybe time to reflect on the uncalibrated accumulation of power, nationalism and realism in what is bound to be a world that will be searching for answers and a new equilibrium in the years ahead, something like a Plan B. Let’s look at the big picture and see whether these personal reflections mirror those of the “movers, shakers, tall leaders and more.” Altruism, it seems, is not dead and there is certainly hope for the world if more leaders join the clarion call for global peace.
So far so good. However, it is when one thinks of the processes, methodologies and resources that would be required to gather global consensus and then enforce a global ceasefire in multiple conflict zones, that one wonders where the manpower and the money will come from, particularly when the UN and other global institutions are bleeding from lack of funding. Instead, major regional players would have to take the lead. Upfront, it may appear that convincing nations and states that are in some form of conflict or tension with one another will be the easiest to achieve. However, it will not be a one-size-fits-all kind of a situation. Europe will be the easiest to handle with Russia holding all the cards, whether it is in terms of assuring the frontline NATO states that they need not fear Russian resurgence, or burying the hatchet with Ukraine and its other neighbours with whom it has ethnic or territorial disputes. Should Putin see value in Macron’s proposition and not look at the situation opportunistically, the two could ensure that Europe stays afloat.