Skip to main content

Return of arms control? China, India among 'top spenders' amidst Covid-19 crisis

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*
Horrors of deaths, destitution and common vulnerabilities due to the pestilence of Covid-19 has brought back the ideals of universal unity, peace and solidarity into the center stage of a fragile world. These ideals are historically proved shelter during every crisis created by colonial, imperialist and reactionary nationalist adventures during 19th century, and productivist plunders of capitalism during 20th and 21st century.
The coronavirus pandemic has intensified the planetary dimensions of capitalist crisis never experienced before in the world history. The crisis that the world is facing today is not a product of Covid-19. It has only helped to deepen the existing structural crisis within capitalist system, which engineered to benefit the few at the cost of humanity.
It is not an unavoidable destiny designed by the god. It is designed by few people and their concerted effort to control the productive and creative power of labour and natural resources across the world. There is massive growth of military infrastructure to pursue the objective of controlling human being by brute force.
The Bastille fortress prison was reduced to a rubble in Paris during the forward march of French revolution with the ideals of equality and liberty that established unity among people. The solidarity of European workers with the people fighting against European colonialism had led to the deepening of democracy, freedom and equality.
It has also confirmed that the ideals of transnational unity based on international solidarity is possible among the majority of people. The ruthless dictators, fascists and authoritarian leaders did not find a safe place to survive. The radical democratic movements have ended the enormous power of the kings and queens. All empires from Ottomans, Romans to British empire collapsed in history and all dictators were defeated by people in search of peace.
The 21st century world is experiencing new wave of authoritarian regimes seeking to enforce their reactionary visions on society, diminishing individual liberty and fraternity. It also promotes narrow religious, political and cultural cults that dismantles unity among people. 
The threat to humanity and universal peace continues to grow as the authoritarian regimes increase their military expenditure and reduced expenditure on health, education and other human welfare programmes. According to a report published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), the total global military expenditure was $1917 billion in 2019.
It shows 3.6% rise of military expenditure from 2018 which was largest growth in a decade. The report published on April 27, 2020 revealed further that the total global military spending constitutes of 2.2% of Global Gross Domestic Product (GGDP) in 2019. 
It is approximately $249 (Rs18,590.84) per person. Countries like USA, China, India, Russia and Saudi Arabia are five largest spenders and account for 62% of global expenditure. China and India are among top three military spenders in the middle of the Covid-19 crisis.
International disarmament treaties are falling apart. International mechanisms to control arms trade is collapsing. States and governments are increasing their defence budget. The world is facing global arms race in the middle of a disastrous pandemic. The growing military expenditure is an instrument of authoritarian regimes to impose order to be in power.
But bombs and bullets did not help the society to progress. It is peace that established societies, states, families and individual lives. It is within this context, the struggle for peace is a weapon to end wars and military expenditures by which the states and societies can invest in the dignity of lives and prosperity of human health and education.
The world is confronting many annihilating challenges accelerated by the Covid-19 crisis. It is clear that the business as usual approach within existing political, economic and social structures cannot face the challenges. 
Total global military expenditure was $1917 billion in 2019, a 3.6% rise of military expenditure from 2018, largest in a decade
The states and governments irrespective of their political ideology work under a capitalist framework, that uses authoritarian strategies of terror, fear and repression directed towards the working-class population in different parts of the world. The national and global institutional architectures have failed to provide any form of alternatives to capitalism, which reproduces inequalities and exploits both labour and nature.
The pandemic-led lockdown revealed the dialectical relationship between capitalism, patriarchy, reactionary religious fundamentalist forces and market domination on society. It is an alliance that plunders the world and puts humanity in danger. 
The regional, local and national march towards emancipation from such a regime is impossible. Therefore, it is time to think again in universal terms for all the people irrespective of their race, sexuality, gender, class, caste, religious and regional differences.
In order to overcome the challenges of differences, it is important to build unity between different sections of society based on common experiences, vulnerabilities and dreams. The potential for unity among masses dependent on collective consciousness and commitment to stand in solidarity with marginalised population and their struggles around the world.
However, the world has experienced and recovered from ruinous fragilities in history due to human commitment to the values of unity, solidarity and peace. It is time to sketch out the plans to reinforce these ideals to fortify the future and survive the present. The universal reconstitution of society, economy and politics is unavoidable necessity to face the contemporary challenges beyond pandemic.
It is important to understand and acknowledge unfairly structured social, political and economic systems, that grossly distort the word in which majority of people suffer for the pleasure of few. There are different economic, political and economic hierarchies based on different layers of privileges. The people who are the beneficiaries of such a system of privileges perpetuate inequality, discrimination and exploitation.
The untangling of entitlement culture based on gender, race, sexuality, caste and class is important. Because this uncanny culture of entitlement has the capacity to survive within all ideological formations of state and governance. It produces privileged ‘homo economicus’, who serves to uphold the capitalist system that endangers equality and liberty. There will be no unity, solidarity and peace without equality and liberty.
The world is prosperous enough to end poverty, hunger and homelessness but wealth is concentrated in the hands of few. The democratisation and community management of resources is the first step towards a sustainable future. The ecological justice and egalitarian distribution of wealth with universal values can ensure the progress for all, and establish unity, solidarity and peace.
There is no other way but perish together if the fragilities of world continue to grow. The peaceful coexistence is the only alternative. Therefore, the future of world depends on struggle for peace based on unity and solidarity.
---
*Coventry University, UK

Comments

TRENDING

Vaccine nationalism? Covaxin isn't safe either, perhaps it's worse: Experts

By Rajiv Shah  I was a little awestruck: The news had already spread that Astrazeneca – whose Indian variant Covishield was delivered to nearly 80% of Indian vaccine recipients during the Covid-19 era – has been withdrawn by the manufacturers following the admission by its UK pharma giant that its Covid-19 vector-based vaccine in “rare” instances cause TTS, or “thrombocytopenia thrombosis syndrome”, which lead to the blood to clump and form clots. The vaccine reportedly led to at least 81 deaths in the UK.

'Scientifically flawed': 22 examples of the failure of vaccine passports

By Vratesh Srivastava*   Vaccine passports were introduced in late 2021 in a number of places across the world, with the primary objective of curtailing community spread and inducing "vaccine hesitant" people to get vaccinated, ostensibly to ensure herd immunity. The case for vaccine passports was scientifically flawed and ethically questionable.

'Misleading' ads: Are our celebrities and public figures acting responsibly?

By Deepika* It is imperative for celebrities and public figures to act responsibly while endorsing a consumer product, the Supreme Court said as it recently clamped down on misleading advertisements.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Magnetic, stunning, Protima Bedi 'exposed' malice of sexual repression in society

By Harsh Thakor*  Protima Bedi was born to a baniya businessman and a Bengali mother as Protima Gupta in Delhi in 1949. Her father was a small-time trader, who was thrown out of his family for marrying a dark Bengali women. The theme of her early life was to rebel against traditional bondage. It was extraordinary how Protima underwent a metamorphosis from a conventional convent-educated girl into a freak. On October 12th was her 75th birthday; earlier this year, on August 18th it was her 25th death anniversary.

Mired in controversy, India's polio jab programme 'led to suffering, misery'

By Vratesh Srivastava*  Following the 1988 World Health Assembly declaration to eradicate polio by the year 2000, to which India was a signatory, India ran intensive pulse polio immunization campaigns since 1995. After 19 years, in 2014, polio was declared officially eradicated in India. India was formally acknowledged by WHO as being free of polio.

In defence of Sam Pitroda: Is calling someone look like African, black racist?

By Rajiv Shah  Sam Pitroda, known as the father of Indian telecom revolution, has been in the midst of a major controversy for a remark on how Indians across the regions look different. While one can understand Prime Minister Narendra Modi taking it up for his electoral gain, suggesting it showed the racist Congress mindset, what was unpalatable to me was Congress leaders – particularly Jairam Ramesh, known for his deep intellectual understand – distancing themselves from what Pitroda had said.

Palm oil industry 'deceptively using' geenwashing to market products

By Athena*  Corporate hypocrisy is a masterclass in manipulation that mostly remains undetected by consumers and citizens. Companies often boast about their environmental and social responsibilities. Yet their actions betray these promises, creating a chasm between their public image and the grim on-the-ground reality. This duplicity and severely erodes public trust and undermines the strong foundations of our society.

'Fake encounter': 12 Adivasis killed being dubbed Maoists, says FACAM

Counterview Desk   The civil rights network* Forum Against Corporatization and Militarization (FACAM), even as condemn what it has called "fake encounter" of 12 Adivasi villagers in Gangaloor, has taken strong exception to they being presented by the authorities as Maoists.

No compensation to family, reluctance to file FIR: Manual scavengers' death

By Arun Khote, Sanjeev Kumar*  Recently, there have been four instances of horrifying deaths of sewer/septic tank workers in Uttar Pradesh. On 2 May, 2024, Shobran Yadav, 56, and his son Sushil Yadav, 28, died from suffocation while cleaning a sewer line in Lucknow’s Wazirganj area. In another incident on 3 May 2024, two workers Nooni Mandal, 36 and Kokan Mandal aka Tapan Mandal, 40 were killed while cleaning the septic tank in a house in Noida, Sector 26. The two workers were residents of Malda district of West Bengal and lived in the slum area of Noida Sector 9.