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Article in Jakarta Post – titled 'Meddling in Internal Affairs PDF Print E-mail


MAY 13, 1995

Meddling in internal affairs

In his letter printed in The Jakarta Post, on Wednesday, May 10, 1995, M. Khaliq Qureshi comes back to the war in Chechnya. He is of course entitled to his opinion and I have no intention of being dragged into religious controversies.

I maintain that Chechnya has been part of Russia since 1050, earlier than Alaska and Hawaii became part of the United States. What happens in the region is an internal affair of Russia which explains the apparent inactivity of tile United Nations However, as I do not have a copy (of the Russian Constitution, I do not know if the war is illegal or anti-constitutional. This does not mean that I am a supporter of any bestial behavior by the Russian troops.

Internal affair or not, the United Nations call never act when one of the parties involved has the right of veto. All that can be legally done is to talk (gently) to Russians try to persuade it to negotiate. There is indeed no logic for a big country to retain control over a tiny recalcitrant region, but is there any logic in international politics? Unless there is a reason we ignore.

Have the United Nations taken action about the civil war in Sri Lanka, a comparable situation? What does the world community do about Sudan? Little, because those also are internal affairs of member states.

Anyway, the United Nations seem to act under instructions of the world's Policeman. Otherwise, how could Khaliq Qureshi explain the total inactivity of the Security Council during the invasion of Iraq by Turkish troops, all international conflict. Imagine for a moment what would have happened in a reverse situation: Iraq invading Turkey with the same excuse. Mrs. Albright would have jumped in her seat and asked to impose additional sanctions on Iraq.

And why does nobody care about the cause of the Kurds who have been fighting for independence or autonomy for decades?

Why is so little done about Bosnia? American president Clinton was at one time ready to lift the embargo against the victim but, as he often does, changed his mind. The same president interfered with Britain when he received Jerry Adams but the world community and the UN did not react because it is all internal matter.

Regarding my irrelevant references to human rights, I must clarify that 26 lines of my letter were left out between ... an excellent cartoon of the policeman several days ago) and ... Meanwhile organizations like Amnesty International

This is through no fault of mine and I understand why Khaliq Qureshi is confused because the transition between two issues is missing.

Referring to meddling into the internal affairs of sovereign States, I was saying that Indonesians were much more patient than the Chinese. I also quoted speeches by Mikhail Gorbachev and the late Richard Nixon, to the effect that political changes in a country are the choice of that country (Gorbachev) and that the American system, albeit preferable, cannot be applied verbatim to other countries and should not be imposed (Nixon).

I added that it took the USA 200 years to develop its system and that three decades ago, the blacks were still second class citizens. American leaders should not force countries like Russia, Indonesia and China to change overnight.

The rest was published as I wrote it. If I mentioned the treatment of criminals it was to praise, certainly not to condemn. As for Leu Koan Yew, I never even mentioned his name. What I wrote about Malaysia and Singapore was that if every other countries were to follow their example, there would be less trafficking.

I was talking about Amnesty International and the like opposing such treatment I have nothing to do with them. Please show me where I criticized of Lee Kuan Yew.

Medan, North Sumatra

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