Historic flooding has already displaced over 10 million people.
As the world continues to grapple with the aftermath and ongoing impact of a global pandemic, we seem to be inheriting a new world of disorder and chaos.
The economic fallout from COVID19 continues to set some of the world’s largest economies atremble. Inflation is biting consumers on three continents, the financial markets aren’t faring much better, and an energy crisis is looming over the European Union.
At a time when the world least needed a military invasion, battle, or war, Russian President Vladimir Putin thumbed his nose at our collective COVID19 recovery process and invaded the Ukraine in February.
Sanctions and embargoes have since had a limited negative impact on the Russian economy. Lacking the wherewithal for war at the moment, to say nothing of the democratic public support for more foreign wars a la Afghanistan or Iraq, responsible world leaders from the White House to Parliament to Brussels did the only thing they could do.
The purpose of sanctions and embargoes against Russian President Vladimir Putin was to inspire the Russian people to depose him. With direct military hostilities off the table, it seemed reasonable.
Now, the best media outlets can do is hope Putin is bluffing when he threatens to cut off Russian energy supplies to Germany this winter.
After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, China’s most recent amplified and ramped-up activities in and around Taiwan are giving foreign policy experts, intelligence agencies and world leaders deja vu. Reading the news, it is often difficult to discern facts, relative truth and objectivity from click-bait and hyperbole.
Newspapers, as a wise woman once pointed out, don’t exist to tell the people what they want to hear, and they don’t exist to simply impart the facts, either: They exist to sell themselves.
Journalistic principles are nice, but at the end of the day, editors still need to sell newspapers, or ad-clicks, to stay in business and the the consumer market is…funny sometimes.
Like, Beanie-baby funny. LuLuLaRoe funny. Dutch tulip craze funny. Top-ten Buzzfeed lists funny. Black swan event funny. Consumer demand, clever investors gaming the system, even a speech can cause totally unpredictable fluctuations in the marketplace.
Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has caused plenty of such fluctuations. An invasion of Taiwan by the Chinese Communist Party would likely cause far more.
U.S. and E.U. sanctions against Russia and embargoes on Russian energy products were effectively blunted by increased imports of Russian oil and gas by China and India. The Russian ruble remains a strong currency on the global marketplace.
As a result, the public outcry against Vladimir Putin Western sanctions were intended to produce in the Russian populace, thereby undermining Putin’s hold on power and forcing him to turn aside from the Ukraine, hasn’t materialized.
Employing the same ineffective strategy to deter CCP leader Xi Jinping seems unlikely to work.
Faced with the growing likelihood of the imminent CCP invasion and annexation of Taiwan; faced with the prospect, however remote, that Vladimir Putin might not stop his campaign of military aggression with the Ukraine, world leaders are understandably wearied by a cascade of COVID19 and COVID19-related problems.
After all, Putin chose the exact moment world governments were distracted and weakened by an ongoing battle against a deadly pandemic to carry out the military invasion-phase of his Ukraine attack- an attack which has been underway since at least 2014.
The world’s vulnerable post-COVID19 recovery period was Putin’s once-in-a-generation opportunity.
With so many challenges facing world leaders, it’s important to remember the natural disasters, droughts, and famines impacting communities and citizens around the globe.
Devastating floods are responsible for a swath of death, devastation and destruction in the Sindh province of Pakistan. At least 10 million people have been displaced by the deluge and 1,115 have been killed. Over 100,000 homes have been destroyed. As many as 33 million people may have already been impacted according to some reports, in what some are already calling the worst flood in Pakistan history.
The South Asia Index reported on August 27 that over 40 dams have been breached and at least 210 bridges have collapsed, with no signs yet of the waters receding.
“Monsoons bring misery to millions in Pakistan,” reported the BBC on Friday.
“The ongoing rain spell has caused devastation across the country,” tweeted Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on August 26. “The losses, though yet to be documented, are comparable to flash floods of 2010. Grateful to the international community for their sympathies, condolences & pledges of support. Together we will build back better.”
Military aid to Ukraine is important for global peace and security. Humanitarian aid for the people of Pakistan impacted by these devastating floods is desperately important as well. Some people have lost everything.
Now would be an excellent time for world leaders to prioritize humanitarian aid to Pakistan.
World aid and humanitarian organizations, even in the midst of war and pandemic terror, have not forgotten the hard work of world peace. Desperation, poverty, natural disasters, starvation, lack of education, violence and terror does not usually bring out the best in humanity, communities, or in human beings, which is why the battle against these threats is essential to a peaceful future for all of us.
Compassion, international cooperation, neighbors and nations helping each other: These things are what will ultimately produce peace for the whole world. A global population that is fed, clothed, sheltered, educated, and supported in times of terrible crisis can do much more than be at peace: It can produce, contribute, create and innovate beyond our wildest, most optimistic imaginings.
That is a future worth working towards, come what may.
(contributing writer, Brooke Bell)