By Philippe Raffi Kalfayan
Special to the Mirror-Spectator
On December 10, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights will turn 70 but it has a mixed history. We are witnessing an unprecedented setback in the protection of human rights; a truly collective retreat against dictators, autocrats, and populist or nationalist leaders of all stripes. The recent G20 meeting in Argentina has presented the world with a cynical image of the richest countries’ club and heads of states hobnobbing with the Saudi butcher, a pariah whose presence speaks volumes. Conducting ongoing diplomatic relations is not the issue here, rather the manifestation that economic and financial interests take precedence over humanity, by denying the principles and values that founded the post-WWII era of international relations. The great nations’ turning their back on humanity and peace principles is the “new Munich” of international relations.
The historic Munich deal was a Franco-British agreement with Nazi Germany and the fascist Italy of Mussolini. France and England preferred to capitulate to Hitler’s expansionist territorial demands in Czechoslovakia, thinking they could buy peace in Europe. It was a dramatic and costly mistake.
The planet is back on the edge of an abyss. The threats of widespread conflict in different regions are real and the lessons of the 20th century and its two world wars, and the “never again” slogan are already forgotten.
Two differences are worth being noted with last world war. The first is that many countries hold nuclear weapons, and some of these countries do not have a democratic and shared decision-making systems. The second is the fact that economic and social disparities have reached such a level all over the world that tensions are extreme within states themselves. Popular uprisings may go off at any time and destabilize the system of government and representation. Social networks facilitate such processes. France has experienced this phenomenon recently; Armenia knew it last April-May.