LAHORE: This is one of the most unsettled periods in history with two cold wars, confrontation between the United States and China and threats to multilateralism. The world is likely to see more restriction of people and capital. Global cooperation and international solidarity are most needed at this time. It is absent.
These views were expressed by Dr Maliha Lodhi while speaking at Lahore Literary Festival (LLF) in a debate on the ‘State of Global Power Politics: Where is the world headed?’ The persons in discussion were Professor of International History at LSE, Marc David Baer, who was here in person and former editor, diplomat and writer Maliha Lodhi, who was online. The moderator was journalist and presenter Sky News Saima Mohsin. Lodhi, former ambassador to the US, said, “There is heightened competition in technology. There are China-led technological trends and there are US-led technological trends that are structuring the international landscape. The tension between US and China has its fall out on the world. US policy to contain China is no good. China’s rise is continuing and China has huge admiration in Pakistan. Largest trading partner is China, not US. US should see how it can have good relations with China. ” Professor Baer said, “This is time for multilateralism because the world has faced unprecedented floods and fires. If Pakistan doesn’t receive much rain, it should find sustainable solution to the future. “
Talking about Ukraine, he said, “A dictator has invaded a democracy. The effort is that Ukraine doesn’t exist again, ”he said. Dr Lodhi said, “If the US and its allies would have been responsive, Russia could have been forced into not going to war. A country that invades another country does so in violation of UN Law, ”she said. Dr Bayer said, “Nato should have been disbanded at the time of Germany’s unification in 1991-92.”
Talking about history where there was disregard for people’s will, he recalled that in 2014, people of Crimea did not want to become part of Russia. He asserted that there is no genocide in Eastern Ukraine. After Ukraine, the speakers opened discussion on Afghanistan. Maliha Lodhi said, “Afghanistan faces huge challenges. Taliban have not been formally recognized by anyone. The country has changed hugely. The key question is going to be ‘will the Taliban stabilise their country?’
“In the last several months, there has been resurgence of violence by TTP in Pakistan – a very very complex situation that poses many challenges. It has global ramifications, ”she said. Prof Baer said, “Afghanistan crisis has not been imposed by the West.”
Dr Lodhi said, “We rely on outsiders to bail us out. This should be a moment of deep reflection. We need to focus more on education and reducing the population which has the highest growth rate in South Asia. “
The moderator said, “we are very much still in the pandemic” to which Maliha Lodhi said we have seen vaccine nationalism, vaccine inequity but Pakistan has done particularly well here. Of the 27 sessions held Saturday, there were nine book launches. There were sessions on ‘Exploring innovations in Urdu poetry’, on ‘Urdu Prose Poem’, on ‘Dastaan Goi’ and ‘Poetry across borders’. There were sessions on art and artists and on travel writing and much more.