Date: September 7, 2021
About the Speaker
Gérard Chaliand (born 1934) is a French expert in geopolitics who has published widely on irregular warfare and military strategy. Chaliand analyses of insurgencies in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East, mostly based on his field experience with insurgent forces, have appeared in more than 20 books and in numerous newspaper articles. He has worked autonomously throughout his career, unconstrained by the perspectives of national governments and policy institutes. As a result, his work provides an independent perspective on many of the major conflicts characterized the 20th and 21st centuries. He is also a published poet.
Context of the interview
With the coming back of the Taliban into power in Afghanistan after decades, there has been a state of confusion and chaos. The calling back of US Military forces from Afghan soil is expected to affect the balance of power across the globe. This uncertainty over the global power structure and inhumane policies of the Taliban is the main crux of the interview.
1) Question: You are considered as one of the celebrated writers for having works untouched by or influenced by any single nation’s policy or ideology which makes you an ideal individual for commenting upon colonialism. What are your views on the impact of colonialism upon geopolitical conditions prevalent?
Answer: Colonization is often pictured ugly from the historical perspective of colonized nations. I would like to take you back to Norman Conquest (1066) when the French acquired England. Though the then systems of empires were demolished history celebrate it as a step towards the unification of Europe. The colonization though comes with ills of economic and social oppression but Merchant-turn-Colonial Masters have initiated a uniform growth for the world as a whole.
2) Question: Having works and researches spread over the continent of Eurasia and Africa, which one was your treasured experience as a researcher?
Answer: Whenever any academician writes his work, he treats them as it’s children and no parent have ever discriminated between his children but when I was researching on the French Invasions, the war with Vietnam amaze me as the Vietnamese troops were small in number and not well equipped but fought with courage. History has always rewarded such confidence and courage. It is popularly accepted fortune favours the bold. The revolutions are the product of such courage of the masses.
3) Question: The traditional people are often seen as troublemakers to revolutions but on contrary, your work ‘REVOLUTION IN THE THIRD WORLD’ (1977) considered these values as binding forces for people and for fueling revolutions. Kindly put light on how traditional values shaped the revolutions?
Answer: Considering the traditions are blockades of growth is popularly heard but we must understand that these traditions connect us with our roots. The popular belief says Europeans have no traditions and traditions are often associated with the Asian and African continent but I believe that the uniformity of traditions and encouraging traditions which make us grow is the brainchild of any revolution. The Indian freedom struggle too was supported as Indians were bound by common traditions.
4) Question: The book ‘REVOLUTION IN THE THIRD WORLD’ has discussed the evolving third world nations, the concept of decolonization and its aftermath. The book was written in 1977 when Third world countries were considered poorer and less developed but in the 21st century, these nations are the trendsetters and even their once colonial masters do have to alter their policies appropriately. This work is considered quite futuristic and is read widely now. What are your views on the power struggles in these nations and the role of superpowers in neutralizing power struggles?
Answer: The Asian-African Sub-continent have witnessed rapid development in technology and participation in international geopolitics have increased in multifold. The countries like India, Singapore, Brazil, etc have through their growth in investment in technology and human resource have occupied an important position and say in international policy decisions. After World War II, The power was in hands of the USA and USSR but in 21st century, the earlier superpowers have to pay heed to the opinions of these evolving third world nations. These nations are important and their policy decisions, diplomatic relations and economic policies rule the world’s socio-economic and political conditions.
5) Question: The Book ‘TERRORISM: FROM POPULAR STRUGGLE TO MEDIA SPECTACLE (1985)’ have shown the impact of technology, availability of terrestrial lines and satellite televisions have increased and led to a sophisticated form of terrorism. The speculations have also indicated that the USA’s 9/11 was specifically choreographed for television. With growing technology, what will be the impact of highly equipped and weapons of mass destruction left by the US army on Afghan soil?
Answer: The US army has left the soil in hurry. There was an ongoing plan to systematically take down the army and so its equipment but the sudden coming back of the Taliban to power had made the US army, as well as state executive, call back its personnel. They valued human lives over the equipment and had to evacuate people at a rapid pace. This might have mistakenly left certain highly modified equipment and weapons of mass destruction in hands of the current Afghan regime. It will be early to say that how this might impact and time will be the only judge of this action.
6) Question: Afghanistan is now an Emirate and has religious homogeneity with Pakistan. What impact will it have on the Kashmir issue?
Answer: This is a highly sensitive issue. I agree that religious homogeneity exists between Afghanistan and Pakistan. In fact, when the Taliban were dethroned they flee to Pakistan and stayed there till date and came back to power when the situations favoured them. Afghanistan had been silently supporting India in the Kashmir issue and the investment in diplomatic relations may help India to gain the neighbour’s support for the Kashmir issue.
7) Question: Taliban has a history of gross human rights violations; suppress women and no apathy towards religions other than Islam. What are your views on the role of the UN and NGOs in maintaining basic human rights on Afghan soil?
Answer: UN has always intervened either by providing an army or by providing aid to the persons in need. There were huge donations received by Red Cross and other NGOs. The world is already facing a parallel war against Co-Vid. I have full faith in the UN that it will take appropriate steps to combat any inhumane treatment. Till the UN has not taken up any decisions, the allies may perform the duty to provide aid to people suffering.
8) Question: The Afghan citizens who have fled have raised the issue of refugees and how the nations will treat the refugee from Afghanistan. What are your suggestions towards a proper framework of Refugee management from Afghanistan so the refugees get a dignified life and livelihood there?
Answer: Although the nations have welcomed their own citizen stuck in Afghanistan and refugees back, it will be appreciated if regulation for treatment and safeguard of refuges is available at international. The nations should, by joint actions, draw a uniform legal framework for the treatment and dignified life of Afghan refugees.
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