Subaltern Realism Mohammed Ayoob Analysis

In the end of 1980s and beginning of the 1990s; Mohammad Ayoob, a scholar of international relations, proposed and developed the subaltern realism theory. Subaltern realism is a response to the neorealism of Kenneth Waltz and other scholars. The theory provides a critical tool for the root and main causes of current conflict and state behaviors in the Third World. It emphasizes the differences between conditions of the industrialized core states and the Third World. To include the third World in the mainstream theory of IR, Ayoob proposes different concepts of security with updated and innovative variables and new set of questions. Ayoob has proposed five variables, which describes the state building process, how a developing state should sustain its economical and political relations especially with its neighboring countries and with the rest of the world. The first option he proposes is strong security through which a state can assure its economic growth, better educational system, security, healthcare and peace. Mohammad Ayoob’s subaltern realism theory with its five variables are applicable in Afghanistan considering the facts about weak or no security and corrupt state building process since the very beginning. Subaltern realism theory can lead us to some answer regarding the troubled and turbulent Afghan history.

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Since very long time Afghans have been trying to bring security in Afghanistan but none of the Afghan presidents have achieved this goal. Failure for maintaining a lasting stability in Afghanistan is and may remain a big issue for the current and every government which will rule over the country. Lasting stability requires national political compromises and reconciliations, an accountable and functioning political system along with reliable government. Spoiled by cheating, Afghanistan’s parliamentary election was a clear example of a corrupt state with coercion left as the only means to consolidate their rule. History tells us that almost every government was based on coercion. Ahmad Shah Durrani the very first person who conquered and ruled over the whole country winning his way in by sword. Following him, especially in the late twentieth century when the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, coercion was again used for consolidation of power. Even in current situations we have been noticing that president Karzai fails to convince people (Taliban) to join him and his government, which results in bringing the international community and the USA in to fight him against the corruption and help him with creating a better state. Indeed usage of political capacity as a means to build a functioning state has proved devastating for all those regimes.

Discrimination and nepotism has been one of the major issues behind security, state failure and corruption in Afghanistan since very long ago. There are various ethnic groups in Afghanistan, which most of them are not united. Such disunities between ethnicities are much dangerous for security and stability of the country. We have seen throughout the history that these ethnical discriminations have given birth to numerous domestic wars. In Afghan politics, Pashtuns are never accepted by Tajiks and vice versa. In recent parliamentary elections, many Hazaras have been elected as representative of people in parliament, of course through cheating which affects the state building process. For a bright future, stable country, absolute security and prosperity we have to adjust to national identity and eliminate the discrimination and get to know each other as Afghans.

Afghanistan and Pakistan have conflict on the Pak-Afghan border for over a century. Except Taliban, no government has had good relations with Pakistan over the Pashtunistan issue, which is now Pakistan after border demarcation by British in 1893. This demarcation has affected security and stability on both sides for decades. If situations in Pakistan (Pashtunistan) are threatened, it is clear that Afghanistan will not remain stable as well. The UN and the international community together have been working on the issue but no solution has been provided yet. Such demographic and border disputes indeed have slowed down the pace of state-building in Afghanistan.

Great power rivalries have also contributed during the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan, Afghan Civil War and on the War on Terrorism. Using Afghanistan as an ideal transit state for gaining access to rich resourced central Asian markets, Pakistan’s Pashtun population showed empathy with Pashtuns (Sunni Muslims) on the other side of Durand Line, and mean while Iran started supporting non-Pashtun population of Afghanistan (Shitte Muslims). The emerging Iran-Pakistan rivalry contributed greatly to the Taliban takeover after the Afghan civil war. North West Frontier Province, Baluchistan and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas are placed in Pak-Afghan border, which have become key sources for weapon supplies and for recruitment of anti government militant groups in Afghanistan. The Iran’s nuclear program and the United States of America’s standoff over it has introduced and created difficulties in the Afghan-Iran political and economic relations. Iran is an important and key supporter of the Hamid Karzai’s government-backed by the West; but with the continued pressure on Iran from the US has forced Iran to carry on with their mission of destabilizing Afghanistan’s domestic situations and disrupting the Washington Afghan campaign. No doubt regional power rivalry has an input in the state-building process of Afghanistan.

International norms have not been given any importance in Afghan-British wars, Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan, under the Taliban and during the War on Terrorism-Afghanistan. Killing innocent lives and civilian causalities have been completely ignored in almost every disaster mentioned above. During the Soviet Invasion, millions of Afghans were killed, millions lost their shelters, and millions were displaced. Numerous genocides have taken place in the history of Afghanistan; Khalq political party, Percham political party, ISI, CIA and US Marines all have played an important role in it. In conclusion, five variable introduced by Mohammad Ayoob has been clearly used and noted in the history of Afghanistan. Unfortunately, each time this genocide was used as an effort for stabilized, secure, prosperous, developed and peaceful nation.

Most generally the environmental security is concern with how much humans are liable to the natural resources. This theory focuses on the possible connections between scarcity of resources and conflicts. Traditionally across the 1980s, the issue of natural resources scarcity had arisen as security threat in the geopolitics and political science literature. Environmental degradation is in itself a sever threat to human security and all life on earth. Air and water pollution, deforestation, soil erosion, etc., resulting from civilian and military activities can do change our living conditions dramatically. This is why many definition of environmental security have focused on sustainable utilization and protection of the human environment. Nature is no longer the opponent of society, against which humanity must struggle to survive: it is something that we must protect from the negative consequences of our own activities.

Devastating Wars in Afghanistan has led to deforestation, water pollution, immigration, and soil infertility, wide and rapid spread of environmental diseases. Most of the forests of the country have been burnt during the war, various kinds of chemicals and heavy arms have been used on our lands. These chemicals polluted the air and water of Afghanistan at high level. However air pollution is not a major issue in Afghanistan, but reliance of air pollution on inexpensive energy surely has generated some issues. Most vehicles inside urban areas run on diesel fuel wood and coil burning which mostly relies on resources for household energy. During the winter season, most of the families burn woods in homemade heaters called “Chari”. Along with woods, they mix coil, diesel and other burning materials so the fire can warm up the room/house better. The smoke that comes out of these heaters mixes up and pollutes the air which poses health disease. Premature deaths and health problems such as malaria, diarrhea and pneumonia are the most direct environmental problems in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, infants are the victims of these diseases for the most part. What could be done to protect our environment and people from such threats? To control the air pollution, the government has brought changes in the weekly off days and even has restricted the means of transportation within the Kabul city. Government employees are advised to stay off from their works on Thursdays, so the number of cars could be reduced during the day. Very few taxis are allowed to drive on Mondays, and those who are allowed once will not be allowed until their term reaches again. The process is little complicated but I believe it is a good initiative and good step towards controlling and decreasing air pollution. As per institutional liberalism, I suggest there should be institutions which should work on educating people and should let them know about the harms of misusing the natural resources. People who should be responsible for this, must be technical and skilled, should be aware of all environmental threats. The best and intelligent ways to regain the hope of our survival through these environmental crises is to address the environmental issues to people, which is not an easy task and might take decades. To protect and safeguard the environmental security, the whole human environment is considered including the assurance for a sustainable future and the resolution of environmental problems.

States Balancing VS Bandwagon

Bandwagon is the logic most frequently used by the American neoconservatives. They, Bush’s team, believed that by threatening one sovereign state, we can simply make others around them ally with us as the only super power. This was the sole purpose for the US military intervention of IRAQ, where they wanted Iran and North Korea to extend the hand of friendship. But vice versa those countries started working even harder on their nuclear programs. State balance, a realist theory, however states that power and might should be dispersed and shared between the states. This way, the general good and international peace will be sustained. It also makes states less influenced and feared from other powerful ones, remarkably declining the possibility of armed rivalry and wars. Therefore, state balance is the more civilized and humane and therefore produces a set of policies which should be preferred.