There is an old, an oft-repeated African saying about “when elephants fight, it is the grass that gets trampled”. At the risk of repetition, we cannot help but invoke this bit of wisdom in the light of more worrying signs on the international landscape.
We refer here to the latest manifestation of conflict between the United States of America and China over what is now being referred to in some quarters as the “balloon affair”.
The current row between these two nations is over what the USA deems as a “spying mission” over its territory, but which the Chinese say is a “weather balloon” which drifted off course. Fortunately, so far, the matter has been confined to an exchange of words, but recent experiences have demonstrated that global powers are inclined to take measures including sanctions in pursuit of what they consider their “interests”.
So “what does this have to do with us?”, we may ask. Our current and recent experiences tell us otherwise. Almost every commercial transaction we have made since 2022 involves increased prices. The explanation we are given is that it is as a result of the “War in Ukraine”. In addition, since the COVID pandemic, similar price hikes have been blamed on “disruptions in the supply chain” involving China. So, our daily woes have their origins far from our shores.
It tells us that each global conflict must be a concern of ours since they impact our daily lives. Clearly, as far as the USA is concerned, it has every right
to question any intrusion into its air space by any foreign entity. But this “spying” charge, whether from the USA, China, Russia, Britain, France or who have you, must be an international joke, they all do it.
Our concern must be that this latest row does not escalate into a situation in which measures are taken which impose further hardships on small and very vulnerable countries like ours. We have an abiding interest in world peace and civilized relations between states, especially powerful ones whose actions, intentionally or not, end up affecting us, increasing poverty and hardship.
We can only hope that common sense and regard for how the after effects of such global confrontations and disagreements can, inadvertently, impact on the lives of millions of people the world over. World peace and the avoidance of conflicts, not just armed ones, but also those which involve actions detrimental to the interests of many, not even remotely involved, are of fundamental concern to us all.