Lahore, November 30, 2022 (PPI-OT):Recently, Dr. Rabia Akhtar (Director, Center for Security, Strategy, and Policy Research (CSSPR) spoke on ‘The New Cold War and Geopolitical Risks’ at the Politics and New Paradigms in the 21st Century Forum, in Istanbul, Turkiye. The forum was instituted by the ruling Justice and Development Party with a view to letting experts deliberate on some of the most pressing challenges facing Turkiye, the region, and the world.
The importance of the forum can be gauged from the fact that Turkiye’s President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, graced it with his presence. It must be emphasized that Dr. Akhtar was the only Pakistani invited to this forum. This, in and of itself, is a matter of great pride for the University of Lahore (UOL), not least because one of its ace faculty members got recognized at the international level yet again.
Dr. Akhtar, in her remarks, talked about the impacts of the return of great power competition, as evidenced by the ongoing conflict in Ukraine as well as the brewing Sino-U.S. rivalry. While urging not to get entangled in the verbiage and framings of the past, Dr. Akhtar contended that competitions across realms are becoming difficult to manage, adding that diplomacy is taking a backseat because the use of force is becoming all the more appealing.
She said the risks that emanate from the advent of disruptive technologies are increasing because states are willing to take them, as evidenced by their doctrines, strategies, and policies. However, she said all this is not good news, not least because threats are becoming more complicated, common, and immitigable.
Therefore, she argued that challenges like climate change can only be met through a joint commitment to taking regional and global approaches, adding that countries like Turkey and Pakistan can strengthen regional organizations like the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) with a view to combating a plethora of non-traditional threats.
Dr. Akhtar urged that responsible actors should continue championing the cause of peace. In this regard, she suggested that leaders step up and commit to transforming conflicts by utilizing the enormous capacities endowed to humans. She said political will can, let’s say, determine whether technologies like artificial intelligence will be used to coerce adversaries or to attenuate food insecurity.
She said crises like COVID-19 speak to the limits of the power and influence of one state to have things its way, and therefore cooperation is of the essence. At the end, she pitched Pakistan as a country poised to create opportunities for peace through economic connectivity.
She stressed that, in a globalized world, wars must not disrupt supply chains and, if anything, a commitment to keeping them open must defeat all spoilers of peace. She, however, admitted that so long as zero-sum games are considered advantageous, conflicts will rage in their many forms and manifestations.
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