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Neutrality between cowardice and blindness

Posted April. 25, 2023 07:57,   

Updated April. 25, 2023 07:57


Machiavelli said that a monarch should have the heart of a lion and the brain of a fox. He was referring to the monarch as a representative of the state, not as an individual, making his statement an action guide for states.

Indeed, we are not living in Machiavelli’s era. People’s level of consciousness has increased, laws and institutions have been democratized, and a strong sense of justice upholds human rights and morality in international relations and even in war. However, it is still ideal as the international community still remains a jungle. The conflicts and terrorism around the world as well as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, have unmasked the beliefs and intellect of the 21st century.

The prolonged war has made our fears a reality. The West, Russia, and China are coercing the world to choose their side. Some countries react as if it were their desired outcome due to geopolitical reasons, but it’s not the case for Korea. The Korean Peninsula is the meeting point of Russia, China, the U.S., and Japan, and it was divided into two regimes with different ideologies.

This is where the term “neutrality” comes into play. Some might say it’s practical, which sounds quite reasonable. But what does neutrality actually mean? Let’s say two individuals are playing Go and quarreling. It’s wise to leave them alone and see what happens, rather than make a big deal out of it. However, if one of them falls into the water while fighting, you cannot save both at once. By reaching out to one, you may make enemies with the other. So, why don’t you just stay neutral this time and watch? You may end up becoming bitter enemies for both.

Neutrality in the international community is not just a matter of will. It also does not guarantee practicality. Neutrality requires courage, and pragmatic behavior is not just about avoiding losses, but about choosing wise gains over losses.

Neutrality should be a courageous choice, not an alternative to escapism or cowardice. Prudence should not be the behavior of taking profits without effort, pain, or loss.