Renewed tension in West Asia forebodes a troubled 2020. The US troops’ killing of the Iranian military chief General Quassem Soleimani, followed by Iran’s retaliation on the Iraqi Balad Airbase, which hosts the US troops, some say, could be the beginning of the third world war. Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has vowed ‘severe revenge’ on the killers of their army general.
Such escalation of war cries is uncalled for. Innocents get killed. About two hundred people died when a Ukrainian aircraft crashed nearby. Some reports say that the aircraft was shot-down ‘by mistake’ by the Iranians. The Iranian foreign minister, however, said that Iran did not seek ‘escalation of war’ but would ‘defend against any attack’. Iran has been attacking several Iraqi air bases which host the US forces after the death of their general. While the Iranian state television claimed that at least 80 ‘terrorist’ US soldiers were killed in the series of strikes, US President Donald Trump said that US suffered no casualties in the attack. Trump tweeted, “All is well! Missiles launched from Iran at two military bases located in Iraq. Assessment of casualties and damages taking place now, So far, so good! We have the most powerful and well equipped military anywhere in the world, by far!” The approach to the escalating war is casual, to say the least.
Observers of contemporary affairs find strange coincidences in the US behaviour in tackling West Asia. Whenever there is an internal crisis, the war cries escalate. In the past, when President Clinton was about to be impeached, the vote in the house was delayed because Clinton launched an Iraq air strike citing ‘military need to move swiftly’. The present president of the US faces an impeachment procedure. Has the country of attack now shifted from Iraq to Iran? Observers wonder.
It would be wrong not to make the world aware how the men in power strategises. What was really the provocation of attacking Iran now? Analysts speculate was it because of deflecting people’s attention from the immediate impeachment move or from the more long term crisis in the economy? Those who fear the beginning of the third world war – which would certainly be a disaster for the entire world - blame the bankers provoking the US government to go to war. There is a fear of the US dollar losing the status of the reserve currency. That can happen if the depression sets in. So the target now is Iran; earlier it was Iraq and Afghanistan. The aggression in not limited to American attack and the Iranian counter-attack, Reports are that the Russians are moving in their forces in support of Iran. The UK is now on a recruitment spree for the armed forces. Something is lurking.
Closer home, in India, too, we are in a deflection game, oblivious of what is happening round the world. The economy is certainly a greater issue than citizenship. We were on a delusion that the Indian economy was in a better position than the world economy. Slowly we are realising that it is not. There is no consolation either from the RBI or from the government about the growth rates. The only silver lining before the budget is that we saw for the first time the government condescending to interact with the
industrialists and the economists to seek their opinion and advise on how to overcome the economic crisis, Let this collective effort to overcome a crisis continue; otherwise if we persist on the ways of Donald Trump and the US government – on the deflection mode – we are in for serious trouble. A third world war cannot be ruled out.