The heinous blood-soaked weekend that coincides with Palm Sunday, from Syria, to Sweden, to Egypt, reconfirms how difficult it is to unravel the garbled situation of international relations. It has become evident that the narration and the interests of financial-driven globalization, from one bubble to the next and of liberalistic nature, show signs of weakness, produce uncertainty, and fail to prevent armed conflicts, which in fact are escalating. They are the so-called forgotten – yet viciously heinous – conflicts such as the one in Congo, international Jihadi terrorism – which has wormed its way through many international domains – along with proxy wars, such as the one in Syria.
Intertwined conflicts, while politics recover nationalist claims, amidst ongoing global uncertainties.
The moves of Trump’s administration, which is yet to develop and settle in, testify to that very multi-faceted uncertainty: while unpredictable and determined, extremely aware of the communication factor, it seems to lack a clear frame of reference, consistently with the announced US presidency’s program.
This global precariousness and tension, against the backdrop of persisting financial instability, prompts two reflections, on two different planes.
The first involves the national dimension. In a situation of uncertainty national interest is viewed as the primary, most immediate frame of reference. What is clear for the United States, China, Russia, takes on a different value according to each other Countries’ dimension, only a few dozen of which – those with a GDP higher than the profits of large multinationals – can afford, such as Italy. In fact, Italy’s scope is big enough to start addressing the issue of its national interest, but not enough to pursue it on its own. What is true for Italy is also true for all EU member countries (old and new ones alike). The latter appear lost, caught between a clearly-rooted past and the vision of an indistinct future, sparked off by the so-called Arab spring. But they need to change pace and start pre emptive action.
Thus emerges the second question, which, notwithstanding the great superpowers’ interlacing moves, is the core of the problem, whereby the global magnitude of the problems faced by an international system requires a global dialogue of development and civilization. Pope Francis has been tirelessly calling for it, devoting all his efforts, even in eschatological terms – namely guarding us against what attains to the last things – reiterating the foundations of the common good and condemning all forms of injustice and all forms of rhetoric. “May the Lord convert the heart of all those who sow terror, violence and death, and also the heart of those that produce and traffic arms”, he said in an impromptu speech on Palm Sunday. The real interlocutors are the problem, beyond tributes and homage.
Nonetheless he goes on with determination. In a few weeks he will be visiting Egypt, a key area.
We shouldn’t delude ourselves into believing that there are shortcuts to honesty, patience, open-mindedness and open hearts, nor to mutual understanding: there is no alternative to investing in spiritual and cultural values, the lack of which, as we have seen, will get us nowhere.