Silent fragmentation: The erosion of global unity and the rise of regional power dynamics – Solly Moeng

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In a post-World War II era, global leaders once commanded respect, fostering unity and reconciliation. Today, the world faces a disheartening shift towards fragmentation, with ideological archipelagos emerging. Fearful of reprisals, many influential figures choose silence over confronting blatant abuses. In this power split, whistleblowers find no refuge. As corporations align with profit over ethics, a future may unfold with regional powers dictating rights. Without a unified global front, citizens risk vulnerability to unchecked military and economic forces. The absence of moral leaders raises concerns about the world’s uncertain fate.

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Global Fragmentation is no Assurance for Peace 
By Solly Moeng

There was a time, since the end of the second world war, when there were men and women from different parts of the world who commanded immediate respect, admiration, and trust; men and women who could stand on a level of moral high-ground and be listened to when they spoke. They came from parts of Africa, Asia, Europe, North-America, and elsewhere in the world. Having, at least figuratively, been able to climb to the top of the hills occupied by others – adversaries and total strangers – and to view the world and appreciate it from their respective perspectives, such men and women were able to talk about humility, forgiveness, peace, and reconciliation in conflict and other volatile environments in ways no one else could. 

They even managed to convince many to put aside their weapons and to climb the steep paths towards compromise, often despite high levels of mutual mistrust and other daunting odds.

Looking at our world today, those days are gone; that time is no more. We’re, instead, confronted by a world that is seemingly unstoppable in its process of fragmentation. Where there used to be demonstration of hope, tolerance, and reconciliation of decades, even hundreds of years-long hostilities and confrontation, there now seems to be a growing number of archipelagos of all forms of ideologies; political, economic, religious, ethnic, conservative gender toxicity, etc., with an ever decreasing room for tolerance and accommodation. It’s no longer even a bi-polar or three-polar world. The “if you’re not with us; you must be with our enemies” way of thinking seems to increasingly take over our world and, scarily, the world occupied by men and women regarded as leaders, around the globe. 

Many have retreated into the most archaic and intolerant cultural, tribal, ethnic, political, religious, gender identity, and economic laagers in the name of returning to their basics and defending their “true identities”.

In many cases and fearing career damaging, life and livelihood threatening reprisals, many otherwise smart, balanced-thinking individuals in corporations, governments, and global institutions are increasingly opting for silence and mastering the art of “looking-the-other-way”, for the sake of self-preservation. They would rather remain silent or pretend not to have seen or heard anything than be seen or heard speaking out against even the most obvious abuses. They will, for instance, only comment about ongoing conflicts between Russia and Ukraine, Israel and the Palestinian people, Yemen and Saudi Arabia, and others strictly in private conversations with people they know and trust.  They have come to learn that sharing one’s views on such developments on social media platforms can be life, even livelihood, limiting.

In such a world, there is no place for whistle-blowers and others who speak to power to run to. Apart from powerless private initiatives that will honor them with all forms of bravery recognition awards, there is no authority that wields sufficient legal authority and can act from a moral high-ground to shield them and get their fundamental rights restored, including their destroyed livelihood. Those who control the money also determine what rights will be upheld and what rights will be trampled upon with impunity. It is becoming a worldwide problem. 

Big business, especially the ones that operate across national borders, are also run by CEOs or MDs who must stick strictly to their lanes of maximising value for business owners, even when they operate in conflict zones where they could play a part in reducing pain and contributing to the creation of peace and a better world. That would be seen as entering politics, an area considered to be above their pay grade and that people in their positions do not get appointed to show interest in. So they remain quiet and, if needed for protecting and maximising value for the owners of the businesses that employ them, they will even fund and collaborate with the most corrupt governments and politicians around the world, even in cases where the latter act against the fundamental human rights of their country’s citizens and of the environment.   

There are observers who consider this multi-directional moral and power split, or fragmentation, as part of a necessary process before another world realignment can happen on an entirely new set of fundamentals. This, apparently, happens every one hundred years or so. 

As things go, what will emerge on the other end will be a world in which there would be several regional powers that exercise authority, buttressed by a tandem of military and economic power and their own set of values. Such powers would determine what is right and what isn’t right, including where it comes to human, animal, and environmental rights, all based on the extent to which their own interests would be safeguarded. It is a scary world because there would be no global body that would wield sufficient moral authority, based on a globally agreed set of principles, to call those who fall short of upholding rights to order. 

If they fail to unite at a global scale and assert their own power, ordinary citizens would be on their own, vulnerable to the manipulation and whims of those who would wield military and economic power over them. 

It is scary that there isn’t a single power in the current BRICS (Brazil, Russia, China, India, and South Africa) formation or all the nations that have been announced to soon be part of it, that is known to uphold human rights. Most of them consider the international human rights charter to be a foreign concept, imposed by the West. Those who have domesticated the charter in their constitutions and Bills of Rights seem to be tempted to progressively loosen their adherence to the international charter because, some have argued, aspects of it stand in opposition to their own traditional ways of life, including where the rights of women are concerned.  

Generally, the West, led by the USA, has also not done itself many favours when it comes to consistency. It has funded and shielded heartless dictators in some parts of the world and fought against others in other parts of the world, all based, mostly, on material economic interests, particularly access to natural resources. In most cases, it did this while claiming with a collective straight face to be doing so in order to protect human rights. This inconsistency is increasingly being used by rogue governments and politicians around the world, especially in conflict zones, to defend the indefensible, claiming that if the West can do certain things, nothing should stop them from doing the same.  

In the absence of another towering global figure armed with moral integrity, emotional intelligence, empathy, and vision, citizens of the world must find ways to reaffirm and coalesce around a set of principles and rights that will help assert their role as equal partners in the direction the world must take. Leaving this task solely in the hands of politicians and capital would be careless.

Else, it is a scary world. Where will it end? 

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