EDITORIAL: CARICOM needs united voice on global issues

IF it has not been done already, the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) states have to devise a strategy for the global political and economic tensions and developments which continue to characterize the world in which we live.

Important enough is the fact that whenever these happenings tend to surface, small island states are the ones to feel the brunt of the impact leaving their citizens at the mercy of the political and economic fall outs that emerge.

The crisis between the United States and Iran is one case in point where there has to be a unified CARICOM voice given the possibility of it pushing oil prices beyond the reaches of Caribbean economies accompanying a global recession from which some countries are still grappling with from 2009.

That situation between the two countries had been simmering for a long time when the USA in 2018 withdrew from the Iranian nuclear deal which European countries, Canada and the same United States (then under President Barack Obama) had put together. At the time of pulling out, the USA administration of Donald Trump imposed sanctions on Iran. The significance of the deal was to prevent Iran from moving to develop nuclear weapons. It also allowed the countries signing the pact to be able to carry out inspections to ensure that Iran was not on that course.

Meanwhile, the recent assassination of an Iranian Military Chief by the USA and Iran’s retaliation by sending missiles into Iraq where American forces are stationed have done nothing to quell the tensions between the two countries. As if this was not enough the situation became more inflamed with the shooting down of a Ukraine commercial airline killing all 176 persons on board the aircraft.

Both countries have pledged to ease tensions, however, it is unlikely to come to that since it is recognized that there are proxies out there that will want to strike at the USA in the interest of Iran.

The Middle East is a noted trouble spot and from 1973 when oil prices were jacked up on account of an Israeli-Egyptian conflict, it was demonstrated how tensions there can cause political and economic hiccups in the international arena, and which filter down to small and defenseless countries.

The region had started to see this approach in the ongoing Venezuelan crisis when some states got together and suggested that Venezuelans ought to be the ones to work out a solution to the problems they face at home. No sooner than this was done that there was an attempt at divide and rule as the great power to the North which is very hostile to the current Venezuelan administration devised a plan to deal only with those states hostile to the South American Republic.

CARICOM has to take a stand on the issues in the Middle East, since they stand to lose out once the situation there deteriorates. There has to be a coordinated foreign policy. We have to use our 15-member block to good effect and to get the integration process working. Our diplomacy has to take note of these hot spots around the world and let our collective voices be heard both in the hemisphere and globally.

Barbados Advocate

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