EDITORIAL: Talk more about global politics
Mon, 10/10/2016 - 12:55am
ONE of the things that is very lacking in Barbados is that there remains no major focus on global politics and the global political situation that is unfolding in some trouble spots around the world.
This is a real disappointment for a country which follows every economic issue taking place globally, but nothing about politics, which has repercussions for what happens internationally where economics relations can be affected.
The vote for the UK to leave the European Union has happened and a week hardly passes without some discussion or someone in authority commenting on it. The world economy continues to wobble and here again it occupies our attention simply because of the implications that uncertainty has for us.
However, the global political situation is becoming complex with the struggle among big powers for influence and some seemingly wanting to displace the USA as the world leader.
Yet, no discussion on what this would mean to small countries in the event that the USA is no longer the great economic and political powerhouse it has been to present.
Case in point is the situation in Syria, where the brutal assault of the Syrian opposition by the Syrian Government and Russia are raising tensions with the USA in that region. With the United Nations –of which Barbados like every other country is a member – having added it voice to the conflict and criticised the aggressors, we continue to hear no discussions or seminars on those matters.
One day Barbados may be called upon to vote at the United Nations on that conflict in the Middle East.
Another case in point is in the South China Sea where it is alleged that China is taking a hostile stand towards other nations and where tensions too are very high among those with competing interests in that area. Furthermore, is Barbados still a member of the Non-Aligned Movement, which recently held a meeting?
These are things that as a small country we cannot ignore, because any fallouts globally will have repercussions for not only Barbados but also the Caribbean region. Currently we are benefiting from lower oil prices, the result of a number of factors including the display of global power politics.
The Caribbean has also been the victim of the end to the Cold War between the United States and the then Soviet Union. That episode ended when the Soviet Union collapsed, freeing up in the process a number of the Eastern European countries which were under the rule of the Soviet Union. One of the more significant developments at the time was the fall of the Berlin Wall, which until then had served as the great divide between the East and the West and where many citizens from the East had perished as they sought to find haven in the West. We no longer benefit from trade preferences which were premised on the rivalry between the USA and the Soviet Union. The Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI) offering duty-free access to the United States market as well as financial support was conceptualised by the Americans during the Cold War era. That is no longer priority in US foreign policy thinking.
We must have more discussions on the current global environment and they must factor in both the political and the economic realities that currently stalk the international arena.