D-DAY remembrance. What have we learned and where do we go from here?

International Institute for Middle East and Balkan Studies (IFIMES)[1] from Ljubljana, Slovenia, regularly analyses developments in the Middle East, the Balkans and around the world. Dr J Scott Younger is a President Commissioner at Glendale Partners and member of IFIMES Advisory Board. His text entitled “D-DAY remembrance. What have we learned and where do we go from here?“, it is an overview in which it is outlined the several critical actions that will take place before the end of the year not just from the results of many elections taking place in Europe, UK and, most important, the US in October.

 Dr J Scott Younger, International Chancellor of the President University in Indonesia, Honorary Senior Research Fellow of the Glasgow University and member of IFIMES Advisory Board


D-DAY remembrance. What have we learned and where do we go from here?


On the 8 June 2024 we marked the 80th anniversary of D-Day, the day allied forces carried out their complex amphibious landing in Normandy against stiff Nazi opposition, a first step towards winning WWII. The UK TV gave almost non-stop coverage to the event. President Joseph Biden addressed attendees about the unsettled nature of the world and the clear message for the free democratic nations to pull together.

There are a number of limited war events taking place around the world, which only receive modest reporting at best – Sudan, Myanmar, for example – the Gaza conflict and Russia’s incursion of Ukraine taking up most of the headlines. 

Biden, a few days ago, presented his latest 3-stage plan for ending the war in Gaza bringing about peace, returning the hostages, and looking to a future rebuild of Gaza, but not mentioning the two-state solution. The plan has met with approval by all parties in the conflict, including Hamas, except the Israeli leadership or, to be more exact, Benjamin Netanyahu and the far-right members. Their disapproval has been shown by ignoring the proposal and continuing the IDF’s bombing of selected buildings, two belonging to the UN, and killing several more women and children ostensibly in a place regarded as safe, although the IDF aim was Hamas terrorists.

Netanyahu is showing again his true colours. No peace until Hamas is wiped out, his hatred of all Arab peoples showing clearly. Two other matters that are of concern. The west bank push by right-wing settlers, which is strictly illegal. Secondly, the positions that the Israelis are surreptitiously making inside Gaza after the cessation of hostilities, which means that they would have a measure of control over Gaza, in turn in line with their having control over the whole of Palestine – apartheid! It is more than time that the US and the western nations- and one is pleased to see a few recognising Palestine as a country, separate from Israel - take a more forceful stance and pull Netanyahu and his belligerent members of cabinet into line. 

Most Israelis are genuine people, like most of the people elsewhere in the world, and must be worried that the latest peace plan has been ignored by the cabinet. In the elections due in just a few months, not soon enough, they can get rid of the current leadership and get one that is harmonious to all around and embrace the two- state solution, albeit 76 years late. Little did the British think in 1948 when they ended their mandate over Palestinian territories, which brought Israel into being, that the first Israelis would be so aggressive. The mandate, or a suitable replacement, was needed, in hindsight, for say 10 years, 1948- 58, to make sure that the terms under which Israel was expected to develop their country were honoured. Some have treated the Palestinian peoples who had cared for the land for many generations under the Ottomans, so poorly that the spirit of Lord Balfour’s 1917 declaration, signed by Lord Rothschild representing the Jewish community, in which the rights of the indigenous people had to be respected, have been largely ignored. In addition, Hamas must be wound up or completely change their ways.

People in the western world are concerned at the political situation in the US, with neither candidate, both quite old, Biden over 80 yrs and Trump approaching 80 yrs and carrying convictions for fraud with multiple pending convictions. It is not an ideal situation for deciding the next spokesman of the free world. The question is asked why cannot the US find a new choice to stand for President, particularly the Democrat Party. There are one or two waiting in the wings of the right age. Like others, I remain puzzled as to why the Democrats do not make President Biden stand aside and, with a new strong candidate, they must be favoured to win. Donald Trump has shown himself to be a maverick, liar and cheat and just may be given some prison time. It is also puzzling that the US, to whom many people look up, permits this to happen. If Trump is elected then the world may have a few very uncomfortable years ahead.

Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin is not particularly stressed from the western alliance at the moment. He is not under economic difficulties since he has found other markets for his oil, of which Russia is well provided, selling to China and India, two of Russia’s BRICS fellow members. He is meddling in Georgia. How will it all play out over the next 5 months and provide him the opportunity to complete the takeover of Ukraine? Will the west finally waken to the threat that Putin offers to more than Ukraine, neighbouring countries, warning that he might be forced to use nuclear weapons? We have to stiffen our resolve to the defence of Ukraine and show him that we are not weak. Pusillanimous responses do not work; we have plenty of examples, a good one being to Adolf Hitler in 1938.

The other area of concern is the Western Pacific, where China tends to dominate, Taiwan being the prime target. It tries to surreptitiously extend their control of seas crossing paths with ASEAN countries, Philippines, Malaysia Indonesia, and Vietnam, fishing in waters that clearly belong to them, and claiming some small islands of which ownership is in dispute. They practice the dictum that ‘possession is nine – tenths of the law’!

Earlier this year the three countries, Australia, the UK and the US signed a pact, known as the AUKUS agreement in which they would jointly watch China’s expansionist aims in Oceania and resist if necessary. Recently, Japan has joined the pact. 

Nauru, a country of 44 million people 1,300 km from the Solomon Islands in Oceania signed up to full diplomatic relations with China, in the course of which they broke off relationships with Taiwan.

There is growing rapprochement between China and Russia on the one hand, and countries, many of them former colonies at one time, of sub-Saharan Africa, on the other hand. This can provide deeper and more lasting relationships on trade, culture and the economy widely to flourish, particularly for the African countries. African countries are welcoming, since strains from colonialism are not in the way of discussions, but it offers a real challenge to western advances. They are realising that soft power has a more lasting effect

In this overview it is intended to outline the several critical actions that will take place before the end of the year, not just from the results of many elections taking place in Europe, UK and, most important, the US in October. They could well give a surprise. Whatever, the rest of the decade is likely to show some differences.

About the author: 

Dr J Scott Younger, OBE, is a professional civil engineer; he spent 42 years in the Far East undertaking assignments in 10 countries for WB, ADB, UNDP.  He published many papers; he was a columnist for Forbes Indonesia and Globe Asia. He served on British & European Chamber boards and was a Vice Chair of Int’l Business Chamber for 17 years. His expertise is infrastructure and sustainable development and he takes an interest in international affairs. He is an International Chancellor of the President University, Indonesia and Honorary Senior Research Fellow of the Glasgow University. He is a member of IFIMES Advisory Board. Lived and worked in Thailand from 1978 to 1983 and visited Burma, Bangladesh and Nepal for projects.


The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect IFIMES official position.

Ljubljana/Glasgow, 11 June 2024

[1] IFIMES – International Institute for Middle East and Balkan Studies, based in Ljubljana, Slovenia, has Special Consultative status at ECOSOC/UN since 2018 and is the publisher of the international scientific journal “European Perspectives”.