A friend of mine rang last night to take issue with my blog on Putin’s treachery over MH17. He’s a rather shy fellow so I will summarise the argument on his behalf.
In seeking to censure Putin, we appeal to our politicians who allowed the conflict in Ukraine to continue for months, he said. It’s a fair point, we didn’t seem to care too much about the loss of life in Ukraine until it affected us directly. We didn’t give a toss that Russia was destroying the lives of thousands of people and taking Europe into a new age of imperialism. Not our problem. Just like Israel’s invasion of Gaza.
To suggest that Abbott was doing a good job over MH17, as I did, missed the point that he should have been on the job earlier, my friend said. But we are fixated with our own political issues, mostly esoteric arguments about carbon and mining taxes etc, invariably connected to our hip pocket nerve. We give Abbott too much credit for precious little in demanding that Putin front up for what he has done, my friend said. A struggling government will bounce in the polls for doing what is right, rather like being paid twice for turning up to work. It’s a reasonable argument but I’m inclined to give Abbott some benefit of the doubt. At least he didn’t call it Ukrainia.
My friend says we need a new politics, possibly without politicians, that recognises the fundamental connections between people of the world. If that were so, then conflicts like Ukraine might not get so far, and he’s not talking about a UN-style body that fosters inequality and lack of accountability. As another friend said yesterday: “Rule 1 of international relations – countries with nukes and who are permanent members of the UN security council tend to avoid action from the “international community”(love that meaningless term).”
It’s the abiding love of self-interest and expediency that has rendered the term “international community” meaningless. I hope this time things begin to change. We are globally connected like never before. We no longer rely upon politicians to speak for us. Our thoughts are no longer shaped and controlled by a few media gatekeepers. Is there a new fellowship of nations possible through direct communication of peoples, or is that hopelessly idealistic?