What does one call a style of doing politics that only allows a state to interact with, engage in diplomacy with and have normal business relations with states which exhibit beliefs, lifestyle and cultural norms that are the same as yours, even when this has no impact on the daily business of commerce and cooperation?
The answer is: SECTARIAN POLITICS.
The world is sadly rife with sectarian politics, but the place where this is most rife is a region that tends to speak loudly against sectarianism. I am of course talking about the political west, the most sectarian political environment in the world.
The west has always condescended towards those with different cultures, religions, traditions and mannerisms, but it is only in recent decades where a trend has emerged wherein the west sees it fit to limit or cut off normal relations with countries that have different cultural and spiritual traditions. Today’s ultra-liberal sectarianism is in many ways, an outgrowth, some would say a mutation of similar practices exercised during the Cold War.
The west has clearly settled on a narrative wherein formerly home-grown Christianity is jettisoned in favour of a combination of culturally-Marxist secularism that tolerates Salafism at the expense of all other religions and elevates some ideologies whether it be political Salafism or Zionism to the level of religion even though Islam and Judaism are religions which are distinct from Salafist and Zionist political ideologies.
The west has also made it so that free speech has become a closely monitored privilege rather than a broadly absolute right.
The west has further settled on using the arm of the long arm state to promote statistically sexually deviant fetishes at the expense of the traditional Christian or Muslim family.
And guess what, that is the west’s right. If the people in the west are upset with their governments, it is their duty to change it, it is no one else’s duty and certainly no one else’s right. China, Russia, Syria, Iran, Venezuela, Philippines and India do not particularly care what the west does to itself. These countries base relations on foreign policy, not internal policies.
But can the same be said of the west? The answer is no.
The west has unilaterally decided to base its foreign policy on how much non-western countries have adopted western ‘values’.
Countries which fit the western ideology are called ‘good, peaceful members of the international community’ and those which do not are called ‘dangerous, rogue states, police states, mafia states, failed states and corrupt regimes’ even when few of these epithets actually apply.
Just take some recent examples.
Syria is sanctioned for its determination to maintain a secular Ba’athist society rather than a pro-American Islamist regime on the Gulfi model.
Philippines is excoriated by western NGOs, the EU and the US State Department for taking a tough law and order approach to the kinds of drugs used by millions in the west with total impunity.
Russia is hounded, sanctioned and lied about because it does not believe that obscene images should be exposed to the young, because it seeks to recognise the rights of its people to unite politically and because it refuses to surrender its Orthodox heritage. One could easily apply many of these things to the west’s ill treatment of Serbia.
Iran is accused of sponsoring terrorism simply because the Iranian Revolution overthrew a US puppet and installed a political system based on the teachings of Shi’a Islam.
By contrast, Iran doesn’t hate Israel because of what Israel is but because of what Israel does to Iran’s ally, Palestine.
Russia does not hate Ukraine because it is fascist but because the current Ukrainian regime seeks to impose racist/fascist rule over Russian people.
Syria hates countries only for invading and occupying Syria. Syria’s leaders do not care to change the regimes or style of regimes in the US, UK, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar or France.
But the west is intent on practising sectarianism on the international stage, something which makes the west increasingly difficult to work with for more modern and sensible countries.
As Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte recently said, the west offers nothing in a straight forward way, there are always conditions when working with the west. The conditions typically involve conforming to the rigid sectarian ideology that has blanketed the west.
The trouble with the west is that they see their sectarianism as universal which is why the west’s sectarian approach is uniquely fanatical. Even countries which are regionally sectarian like Saudi Arabia and Israel do not expect Nigeria to be part of Greater Israel nor for Argentina to become a Wahhabist state, respectively.
For western leaders though, the entire world ought to conform to its ideology. The countries rich enough and needy enough to bribe the west into turning the other way are few and far between and to that end, they are mostly the states of the Gulf.
Yet the west is deeply ill at east with its own internal sectarianism. Whether the EU lambasting Poland’s right-wing Catholic-democratic Law and Justice party, the EU’s economic colonialism over Greece and Cyprus or Europe fomenting a war in its own backyard, the Balkans; not all is peaceful.
Recently, the United Kingdom has been once again shown to be a hotbed of internal sectarianism in spite of presenting itself as a model of western post-modern liberalism.
The disputed territory of Northern Ireland is home to heavily armed terrorist organisations founded on a religious basis. Because of political instability in London, the fragile peace process is now threatened.
Because of internal political instability, the current leader of the UK has formed a pact with radical Protestant extremists in order to maintain power after voters moderately rebelled, supporting the left wing Labour party and the Scottish National Party.
Of course, the western media would never describe the situation in Britain this way, such nomenclature is only reserved for countries outside of the western club of nations.
The west’s approach to geo-politics is sectarian, backward and tribal. By contrast, the countries of the multi-polar east are the opposite. The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation whose largest members are the secular, primarily Orthodox Russian Federation and Communist China have just welcomed Sunni Muslim Pakistan and majority Hindu India into their ranks and have done so with joy and enthusiasm. Shi’a Iran may soon follow.
The west talk a lot about tolerance and co-existence, but they have no clue how it is practised. They could learn, but it would mean taking lessons from the parts of the world the west hates.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.