Historically, Diplomacy and War are the two primary means to pursue, protect and preserve interests of a state. Differing from the past, contemporary diplomacy is characterized by the smart combination of both hard and soft power. In this globalized world every state being rational, protecting its national interests seeks to maximize its own gains. International politics has witnessed formation of military, economic and political power, utilized either for state’s objectives towards existing order and system or collective interests of actors involved, depending on the mode and application of power and diplomacy. However their pragmatic steps vary from projection of power to execution of power. These difference in the projection of power and application of diplomacy brings different outcomes. Thus, either we observe ‘The Afghanistan’, ‘The Iraq’, ‘The Crimea’, ‘The Ukraine’ and ‘The ISIS’ or One Belt One Road, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and 8000 permanent Peacekeepers.
This short memorandum highlights the key difference in application of power in international system and primarily focuses on September Parade in Beijing as deterrence technique and argue power projection is better than power execution. As later leaves rags and ruins of infrastructure, human’s casualties and power vacuum that results in several mushrooming conflicts. China under the banner of “Soft Power and Public Diplomacy” showcasing its credibility on the globe as a responsible power. Having a diverse experience of development and harsh memories of recent past, nation who regained its lost status, despite it faced century of humiliation, series of massacres and atrocities, collective violence and finally disintegration. Today, it’s amazed to learn that China has successfully integrated entire mainland, Hong Kong and Macao. It has become the second largest economy of the world and ready to share and participate in international system with maximum potential.
Chinese initiatives of OBOR, AIIB and permanent peace mission at the United Nations Organization not only reflected Xi’s diplomatic moves but the projection of power on 70th anniversary of the end of WWII has also symbolized deterrence in the region. “Participation in the military parade will reveal who is true friend of China”, rightly said by the president Xi Jinping. Its indeed doubtless and credentialed truth, that Chinese Peoples Resistant war against fascist aggression and inhuman tyrant action, was just and legitimate. Contemporary world affairs and so-called universal values of freedom, justice and truth stand with the Chinese stance. However, the absence of the huge chunk of territorial landscape from Trans-Atlantic region exposed dual standards of the west. In every manner this was a right move by the participatory states to symbolize them with Chinese peace narrative.
Have a look on the list of participating states, South Korea not only engaged at head of state level but also the United Nations Secretary General joined and observed parade. It gave a strong gesture to the changing posture of regional politics, raised questions and shelved the most liberal democracy of the region with North Korea as both decided not to join the parade. Lessons from history disclose, ages are the part of transformation and the mistakes of the past can be compensated with the present actions. This true message, however was ignored by the guilt and anger of frustration of the fascist in the past and dabble-faced west.
Projection of military strength, along with announcing reduction in troops was a sophisticated way of both diplomacy and preventing the potential enemy to restrict their malicious designs against the Peoples Republic of China. This message of deterrence has been criticized by the West, despite the fact that the west does celebrate the memories of victory day, choosing not to participate in Beijing Military Parade reflects paradoxes and biased behavior. Turning blind eye from just and legitimate rights and demands by the Peoples of China would create more complication in the region.
The parade itself was not merely confided to power projection but depicted colorfulness of Chinese culture and history. It was indeed adorable and fascinating. Doves and balloons on the sky may not offer peace in real politics but ideas symbolize actions by offering motivations and inspirations. It was irrational to raise the level of expectations but not to engage in formal ceremony, thus promised reduction in troops was also met with cold response. Advocates of peace from western and liberal perspective have dual lenses to visualize the history. Ironically, they coin Chinese people’s memories of war as self-constructed and PLA’s conspiracy but they adore such feelings and memories against Germany in Europe.
Conclusively, free media, freedom of expression and difference of opinion are valuable asset of contemporary times. But surprisingly when so-called freedom of expression and free media let itself to be hijacked by the agenda settlers and gate keepers to appreciate and admire parades in the west. However with relevance to same event, for a nation that sustained huge atrocities and mass killings for their self-determination and independence, this free media went antagonistic and become a party. Truth and reality should not be compromised for short time objectives. The fact of the day is, the world is stronger and international peace is more stable with presence of strong China. Exhibiting the power and strength for peace and stability in line of history is not something to be criticized rather it offers credible deterrence that is far better than execution of power.
Shah Rukh Hashmi is the PhD (International Relations) Scholar, School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), Jilin University, China. He can be reached at [email protected]. The views expressed are his own and do not necessarily coincide with one’s of the ORIENTAL REVIEW Editorial.