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Becoming the world’s policeman

Does the world need a policeman?

Anyone tuned in to world events over the last few years will acknowledge that the political climate around the world has become rather dismal.

Almost every day news reports seem to get more and more troubling. We hear about ISIS executing anyone who does not adhere to their beliefs, Iran testing long range missiles and threatening countries with annihilation, Russia taking over Crimea and parts of Ukraine, North Korea testing nuclear bombs, China creating islands in international waters with military bases.

There are frequent terrorist attacks around the world killing innocent civilians everywhere. There are two wars being fought in Syria, one war in Iraq, and one in Yemen; add to these the unresolved Israel/Palestinian situation. In addition, countries are attacking each other with cybertechnology to steal information, either for commercial reasons or in preparation for expected future conflicts, or just to disrupt operations. Unfortunately, we do not have a very promising outlook. It is so disturbing that some believe that we are heading toward World War III.

One can try to analyze how things became so bad, but it is hard to find the reasons. One thing that we do know is that the United States has far less influence around the world than it did just a few years ago. Possessing overwhelming military power and our strong belief in equal human rights for all, we did have the respect of many countries, but this definitely has changed. Having recently conveyed to the world that we wish to be less involved in various areas has left a void for the bad guys to take over.

One could say that it is the job of the United Nations to be the world’s policeman and keep order. Unfortunately, this organization has some major flaws. Its Security Council can act only if the five permanent members agree on an issue and even then it has no enforcement capability. Its General Assembly is badly biased in all its decisions, so those decisions are practically meaningless.

In the absence of a policeman, when countries find behavior to be unacceptable they have to form coalitions in order to deal with it. This is usually a very difficult task, and for a coalition to succeed in practice it needs a very strong leader who handles most of the load.

The major problem with being the world’s policeman is that it could lead to fatalities and injuries to the precious military young men and women fighting in distant, remote places. Unfortunately, with the advancement of technology remotely located conflicts do not remain remote for long. History also has shown that if low-level conflicts are not dealt with decisively, then later they become major conflicts that require far greater sacrifices.

Considering all of the above, I am beginning to think that the world needs a policeman. It is not an attractive or desirable role, but to keep peace around the world it may be required.

Gabe Schlisser
Tenafly

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