Updated: September 17, 2022
I really became aware of Uzbekistan and Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Astana, Kazakhstan, when I was invited in June 2018 as a speaker (and presented a Letter from then-U.S. House Foreign Affairs Chairman Hon. Eliot L. Engel) to the 20th anniversary of “Astana, City of Peace” celebration, by a dear and wise friend, then-Kazakh Foreign Minister Kairat Abdrakhmanov, and over one of the most intimate and enjoyable ministerial dinners I met then-SCO Secretary-General, the charming Dr. Vladimir Norov, a then-former Uzbek foreign minister.
I was deeply touched upon learning that dear SG Norov’s father, a Muslim, who fought in WW II and lost his best friend fighting right next to him during that war, named his son “Vladimir” to honor his friend. I also learned that SCO’s important menu of duties includes counter-terrorism, a matter very close to my heart since 9/11, as that day and event is worse than December 7, 1941, a day that still lives in infamy as the Arizona still leaks oil in Pearl Harbor.
On September 11, 2022, we warmly received an Op-Ed penned by H. E. Shavkat Mirziyoyev, duly elected, twice, as President of the Republic of Uzbekistan since 2016 after the untimely death of the first President, H. E. Islam Karimov, and respectfully published same.
While even trade (gas and oil) can be weaponized, we thank President Mirziyoyev for his efforts to de-weaponize war itself during the Samarkand SCO Summit this week with his insightful and warm diplomacy with Presidents Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping, aided by P.M. Narendra Modi of India, who later this year, while a core member of the Quad, takes on the chairmanship of SCO and hosts the G20 as proof by deed that: “now is not an era of war.”
The challenge of our interconnected world, like never before, is that war is truly disruptive and the “innocents” who are hurt or hungry the world over are now heard and seen, like never before, thanks to social media. This causes a domestic political tsunami of discontent in every nation, as continuing proof of our lovable Speaker Tip O’Neill’s wisdom: “all politics is local.” This, then, requires that peace be assertively waged, as nations wage war.
Fairness and equity are the hallmarks of justice, and the lessons of the Weimar Republic instruct that to avoid any Third Reich from being born, is not to get excessive reparations even from the vanquished. The unjust proxy war started by Russia against us for its perceived Reverse Cuban Missile Crisis, but fought on Ukrainian soil, is Russia’s “Vietnam” on steroids, and more damaging. I wish for President Putin to take a page from our history and our genuine befriending of Vietnam decades later, exemplified by the late great Senator John McCain warmly embracing a happy joint future in Hanoi. Then, he would know that a free and fairly negotiated peace with Ukraine (and with our-led NATO) is better than an unending war by Russia in brave Ukraine, or worse, if that 2-nation war become a 2nd Chernobyl or serve as an already lit fuse of WW III – each, super disruptive – causing every nation to then compete with Sri Lanka’s recent unrest, collaterally caused by the “special military operation,” that is neither special nor military-grade, worthy of Russia.
I applaud President Xi Jinping of China for his “concerns and questions” relative to this war, as it serves to stabilize not only in Samarkand, but every day in Beijing, and invite him to join us in promoting freedom of navigation in the South China Sea and beyond, and generate a genuine desire to join the Quad as our team-mate, for without us in 1971 opening up the world for CCP’s brilliant PRC Chairman Mao, there would be no China enjoying her rejuvenation. We made China great and a P5 member.
Finally, as a reality check, we are facing an existential threat from Mother Nature, and rising sea levels won’t give a damn for our sovereignty, borders and flags. We need to come together and actually personify – each and every nation – the Ideals enshrined in the United Nations’ Charter and wage peace with undying passion! The well deserved elegant funeral, with full pageantry, for Queen Elizabeth II is on Monday September 19th – a perfect send off of more than the unflappable steely-spined monarch, worthy of the British Empire’s centurieslong steadfastness. The next day, is the High Level UN General Assembly in New York where global leaders, led by our President Joe Biden, will seek to harness our hopes and dreams to banish war and mollify Mother Nature.
We need to wage peace like never before, with H.E. Csaba Korosi presiding as PGA77 – a true believer of “solutions through Solidarity, Sustainability and Science” – and hence, welcome destiny seeking a new and better outcome for us all.