Sometimes guys get a bit emotional and they say really macho things like, I will die for such and such a cause.
Well, most of the time you just shake your head and look away. Because after all, talk is cheap.
However, when you are a minister, you can’t just say macho things for the sake of it in the heat of the moment. Which is what our defence minister seemed to have done.
He said Malaysian armed forces were ready to go to Jerusalem!
I know that emotions are high, particularly among Muslims, about how Trump has unilaterally declared that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. Something that no other governments in the world want and something which everybody knows will just be further fuel for chaos.
Also, international law has declared that the status of Jerusalem remains on hold until there are proper negotiations and agreement. But then when has Trump or the Israeli government ever cared about international law that does not serve them?
Anyway, yes, it is a disgusting move by Trump. But to say we are ready to send soldiers to Jerusalem is an emotive response more likely to show the minister’s religious credentials and not his knowledge of the law.
If you are going to send troops to another country, it has to be clearly about your own self defence from imminent threat. Or, it can be as part of a UN sanctioned peace keeping mission. Or, it can be part of a UN Security Council sanctioned invasive force (again for specific purposes like maintaining international law).
You can’t just go somewhere with your military willie nilly.
So, does the minister think one of the above is going to happen? I doubt it and I am sure he does too.
So, what he is saying is just macho posturing.
I am totally aghast at what Trump has done and if the government is serious about opposing it, let us first identify the culprits. The US and Israel certainly. But what about the allies of the US in the Middle East? The Saudis have been real chummy with Trump. Do they have they any involvement in this foolishness?
If the government is really serious about opposing this despicable move, they best first find out who the true enemies are so that they can take whatever logical measures. This is more sincere and useful than mere macho posturing.
Azmi Sharom is a law lecturer at Universiti Malaya.