Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Trump and Putin

There is no doubt that the world needs to have a peaceful relationship shared amongst the most powerful countries. However, at this point in time there is a major element of distrust. This distrust is given more credibility when leaders give different answers depending on the audience. For peace purposes these mixed messages are not helpful. Neither is it helpful to use strongman tactics just to get your own way. At present this is exactly what we have taking place with Trump and Putin.

For Trump, this reality of being president is like a child in a sandbox. Everyone is waiting for the next temper tantrum via twitter. What he says has no bearing on what he believes or does. Sometimes those three things are all completely different. Trump has discreditted himself more times than anyone can actually recall. This puts people in a position where we are shaking our heads wondering what the hell is going on, other than complete idiocy.

Then there is Putin, the classic example of strongman politics. For Putin he is in charge of a country that is deeply integrated with his power structures. What is troubling here is that such power structures usually lead to a violent transition from one leader to the next. In this case though there is a safety valve in the mix with Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. With this avenue there exist a person who has already been president and has a credible resume to transition from Putin.

Both Trump and Putin have issues of trust to deal with. Both are leaders of countries which forced other countries to bend to their will. The history books are there to read the realities of such actions. However, there is little we can do about past actions. What we are left with is blunt truth.

So here we are with everyone knowing that peace is better than war, we are face to face with how to get to that peace? Had Trump and Putin met as they did and in the media session put out a statement such as this:

“The history of our two countries relationship has been a very troubled one. Even to this hour there are events that cause both of us to be concerned for our own peace. Today, at this very minute we are committed to building stronger relations. We are going to sort out the many issues we face as we build for a greater global peace reality. The era of our fight with eachother is over. Today we begin the more difficult work of actually working together for a peaceful world.”

Such a statement would have been met with great fanfare. However a different media statement was given and once again we are left with frustration, even though the above statement would have said the exact samething as what was actually said. Of course that is the difference between a statesman and Trump. Putin just had to stand there and hand Trump back his balls.

There is a great benefiit to the world if world leaders could focus on peace rather than destroying eachother. At this point in time Trump is not able to be a peaceful leader and Putin has his own personal power dynamics to weave to worry about the rest of the world. As far as he is concerned, he just won a major battle.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Peace costs more than money

Of late the world has to work with a chaotic personality in Donald Trump. We have endured personality attacks, trade threats, vague/weird messages, etc... Each of these are sent out through social media. As each message is deciphered trying to understand what is meant by these outbursts, chaos is furthered. Such a reality is most dangerous in a world of fragile peace for the simple reason that people often confuse understanding with agreement. In that light lets go down a path of one of Trumps largest issues - being treated fair.

There is no doubt that Trump is a person that believes the ends justify the methods (Machiavellian). What that means is that he agrees to use the most deplorable methods as long as his objective is met. For example, calling your friends a security threat to gain an upper hand in trade or torturing a person to death is acceptable as long as some information is gained. Although such tactics work in the short term, in the long term it creates a very unpeaceful reality because in the end there is no room for fair treatment. This is the exact reason Machiavellian ideology fails and we risk being worse off if the entire world uses similar tactics. If everyone uses such tactics, the entire world will live in a reality like Syria is right now. This crossroads is where we are in terms of Donald Trump and his style of leadership.

One method of dealing with this type of person is to call their tactics out publicly. This does two things, one you call their bluff and you give notice that you are prepared for the eventual next time such a tactic is used. The bluff is the hypocrisy of Trump asking for fairness when he is not being fair, honest or truthful himself. Now if the decision is to engage in trade wars, the question becomes, how far are you willing to go? That question is what the world is facing right now with Trump. In that line of thought you have to envision a reality where the world freezes Trump out of every meeting and negotiation. A new world of trade routes will open up, new relationships forged and a shift of major proportions will take place.

Each of us has to understand the reality of truth. The truth is that this world existed and prospered before there ever was the mere thought of the USA. Furthermore, the world can do so again. This is the reality of such tactics in which Trump is risking. Sadly he is most likely not even aware of such and outcome because to him he is at the top running the show. The irony here is that in such situations the only part that matters is the foundation, the top can be cropped off. Basically, that phrase is the essence of a democracy. Again, it is sad that the person at the top is willing to sacrifice the foundation. What else would you expect from a person who is Machiavellian? Fairness is not what he wants even though he exploits the virtues of such a platitude. For everyone else, we have to explore the lengths we will go to put an end to the chaos Trump is creating. The time for that decision to be made is today and for each of us to show leadership in your choices.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Change and risk management

Even as I work to understand the global struggles of peace the process always flows back to the inner struggles that I have in my own mind. Basically it is the axiom of “there is no world peace when a single person is without inner peace”. To further that phrase we have the ripple or buttterfly effect to consider as well. With that comes the phrase “easier said than done”. That last phrase is where change and risk management come in to play. Whether we are talking about stopping war, corruption, slave trading, environmental destruction, breaking a habit such as drinking, smoking or starting a new habit such as cycling, reading or walking, there will be a need to manage that change and to understand the risks.

There are a great many sources that point out the stages of decision making and how to approach the process of decision making. As you go through these steps there will come a point when mental work must change to physical work. This is where the “rubber hits the road”, the implementation part. All the data has been compiled as to the risks, rewards, strengths, weakness, pitfalls and scenarios of what to do when an unknown element of impact takes place. These are not easy areas to venture into if done correctly because if it is done correctly you should be into new territory. That is the essence of change.

Before many of us take that initial step, there is one element that stops many of us and that is the perception of failure. Many of us will not change because of the feeling that doing so will be viewed as failure. There is so much invested into the current mindset or methods that changing would be an acknowledgment of wasted resources, being wrong and a failure. These feelings are of such impact that it keeps countries at war, it keeps individuals on addictions and it keeps the world from being peacful. The fear of being wrong, being a failure and/or being wasteful will, has and is a major hurdle of personal and global peace. How do we change that?

Many phrases are used that many do not want used in reference to themselves such as “eating humble pie, eating crow, swallowing pride, eat your words etc... These phrases are the examples of what stops people from changing towards a more peaceful reality. In all truthfullness a peaceful person would be happy that they have found out they could be more peaceful. However we often find ourselves being angered or hurt that we are not as peaceful as we think we are. Instead of embarking on the process of changing we entrench ourselves, stand our ground and become indignant. This is where the mindset of “why am I always the one that has to bend over backwards for everyone else”, why must I always get walked on, why must I always have to be the one to back down or give in”. Attached to these phrases is the element of failure, losing and/or being weak.

As these phrases are made, each acknowlege the need for some type of change. At this point the risk management assessments are done. How much are you able to change, how much are you willing to change, what changes if any are you going to offer to make? These questions of change will guide you in the risks you know are present. Then of course there are the unknown risks which, by nature are unexpected such as the bird that just flew over and shit on you.

With all of this, the peaceful course of action would be to understand every step as a learning experience. Even though the emotions of failure are indeed unpleasant, sorrow is part of life. Those moments are there to inform us of the fragility of life and peace.

Due to the fragile nature of life, people tend to stick to what is known. This course of action delays the changes which we all know must take place. In turn, we get everyone talking about how to be change, giving advice on how to change, writing and reading self-help articles. Reality shows us that we have the information and it also shows us we stumble at the gate of action.

Having the courage to implement the change is step one. Following along with steps two, three, four, five, etc.... will take just as much courage. The diference is that you become use to the unknown and then the enitre process begins again as you see a new path that needs to be explored.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Iran Nuclear Deal

As the Republic of the United States of America (RUSA) backs out of The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) or “Iran Nuclear deal”, there are many questions being asked. The first question is, Is the plan worth keeping? Obviously some are saying no and some are saying yes. To make sense of this situation we must understand what is lost in the discussion is the context of trust.

Being absolutely honest is rare and even more so within the context of any Middle East peace talks. The issue of nuclear weapons is a “trap door” issue with Israel. They will not say if they have weapons or not. This sets out a dialogue such as this:

Iran - “Israel does have them so we must also have them to safe guard ourselves”.

Israel -“If we did have them, we would be in full legal status to use them”.

Iran - “You want us to trust you when you will not even state a clear answer on a such a critical subject. History tells us not to trust you”.

Israel - “You are the ones not to be trusted”

Iran - “It is you who is not trustworthy”

Israel - “No, you are”

Iran - “you are”

Israel - “you are”

This is the exact reality of the situation. We have a classic Joseph Heller catch 22 taking place in the Middle East. To solve this insanity a leap of faith must be taken. That is exactly what The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is. With leaps of faith, you have to make the landing at least and hopefully the next two step after the initial landing to judge success. At present we are just making that initial landing and it appears we are going to crash in a spectacular fashion.

Here we are today, mistrust is once again the hurdle we stumble on. Each side wanting the other to make the first step but neither wants to let their guard down due to the mistrust. Both sides become angry at the slightest of perceived infractions. This is quickly followed by a few bullets and/or missle strikes. Then we all climb back on the merry-go-round rhetoric of - “you started it”.

What is the world to do? Well for this person, the solution is for the world leaders to take the unprecedented step of forcing peace. This is done by enforcing a complete and total military weapons ban. Through a United Nations Resolution, the world steps in with overwhelming presence to evaluate and monitor every single shred of evidence in the entire region concerning weapons. A force of five hundred thousand peacekeeping personnel should be a minimum troop commitment.

That plan has been submitted many times already. Each time the response/reasons given for not doing it is that the world does not have the courage to implement such a drastic plan. So we continue on each day as we build more weapons, deepen the hatred, point fingers, scream, yell and actually kill eachother. All this takes place as we say we are working to bring peace. Back to the drawing board we go with another scratch upon the wall of attempts. God help us.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Personal wars

During the past two months there have been situations where Canadian soldiers have expressed their thoughts on life in conflict zones. In all seriousness, these expressions have been a constant in the lives of those that have gone to war/conflict zones. For many that do speak up, they talk about the ever present battle of trying to understand the horror of what they witnessed. They talk about the hoplessness/helplessness or the uncontrolable situations they were surrounded by. As they are slowly pulled away physically from those areas their minds, hearts and character of self remains behind. A large part of who they are is left behind in the hell of war. During the past few months there have been breakthroughs for some where the war has come to a good peaceful end. For others we can only hope the nightmare ended when they could take no more.

Peace is not easy. The reality of being left in a hopeless situation is all too often common. The mental war rages on behind the eyes of courage. That war is often supressed due to the some desire of not wanting to be a burden. This feeling of not being a burden becomes its own enemy to everyone. Thus the cycle of chaos, destruction, segragation and sorrow compounds. Being in such a situation is more worrisome when you are the person sent in to bring peace and order coupled in with a list of constraints. These constraints are so limiting that you effectively must sit on the sidelines as you watch the population being slaughtered. How does anyone remain peaceful, let alone sane in such a reality?

It is popular to say that everyone wants peace, is that really true? How far do you go to defend your values? Such questions are integral to understanding the importance and responsibility of being at peace. No matter what social structure you may live in, there are fundamental realities of being at peace. One such reality is that peace is described as perfect balance. That means there are equal forces on either side. In terms of sanity, your day must be 50% sane and 50% insane. true why would anyone test anothers resolve to the point where killing each other becomes rational? That has be the central theme of thought for the past month or so when looking at the world.

What is disheartening is that others do feel it is okay to test anothers resolve on such a level. This is the slippery slope which everyone should take great care while traversing it. Unfortunately there seems to be a plethora of risks being taken with little care of everyones lives. Such actions are pushing the entire world to the boiling point. It seems as though we are spinning out of control.

This spinning is why the question of defending your values becomes so prominent. Being at peace carries the responsibility of standing up when Do you take such a stance as firm as – to the death?

Tuesday, March 27, 2018


Whether we realize we are building society every minute or not, society is being constructed by our thoughts and actions. Of late, we have seen how vulnerable we are to half truths, coruption and apathy. These intrusions upon our society have come to a point where questions are not even asked about it. What is ironic is that many people claim to be great at critical thinking and communication. At this point we maust ask oursleves, What are we building?

Take for example the group of people who ransacked a street in Hamilton Ontario Canada a few weeks ago. A group of people marched and caused damaged together while holding a banner stating they are "ungovernable". How did they even get together as a group? Who made the sign, who decided to carry it and ultimatley what collective purpose are they banding together to popularize? Are they trying to inform the public about irony, oxymorons, idocy or perhaps their meeting was just a mystery of chaotic happenstance?

In all reality we know what an ungovernable, anarchistic society looks like and that is Syria right now. Knowing that, why would anyone want to promote such a society? To answer such a question it might be helpful to use a cliché – “the subject of a persons complaints or accusations are more about that individuals needs and wants than what is taking place outside their life”. Where does that leave us with building our societies?

For example, the axiom popularized by Winston Churchill, “Democracy is the worst form of government except all others we have tried thus far”. In that statement the questions arise, “What is the best form of government and what are we doing to implement that form”.

No matter where you live in the world there are basic rules everywhere which begin with respect for each other. Although the frameworks, systems, laws and cultures vary, each society is rooted in similar foundations of peaceful existience. Within that interplay, each person needs to have their own point of decision, to make their own experiences, to have their own sphere of understanding and ultimately live a successful life.

When a person begins to feel that society is out of control the individual seeks control. This is exactly what has taken place in Syria. This is most likely why a band of “ungovernables” went on a rampage in Hamilton as well. There is also the reality where you create chaos and then bring order just so you can be the one to be seen as the person who brought peace to chaos. Such a tactic sounds stupid but this is the reality of many peoples thought process. Then again there are those who cause havoc so they can watch the mayhem. A form of sadistic behaviour.

With these types of people rampaging across the world, we must look at how these actions provide informtation to improve society. Clearly we need more of an involved and informed citizenry. We need to strike a greater balance for peaceful discussion when difficult situations arise. We need to provide avenues for the public to release their anger in a positive manner. We need to improve education on being peaceful. We need everyone to improve their skill sets in areas of peaceful societies.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Chaos, fake news and easy living.

During the past month I have been working on a youth model government exercise. The need for such an exercise hinges on three factors.

One, there is an onslaught of harmful chaos griping the world at this time.

Two, the life of instant gratification is doing a tremendous amount of dammage.

Three, our individual responsibility towards governance is being used against us as a weapon of war.

These factors are a very real threat to peace around the world. In all truth, the threats are not new yet they do take on a different form. We have the trojan horse situation taking place within the technology sector, we have planted news stories in our social media and we have the groups inciting apathy, idiocy, ignorance and/or hatred.

Having worked at building societies which endured years of war, these tactics are easily noticed. What will always remain is the ease in which youth become influenced. That is how we get youth joining Daesh in Syria. This is where the point three comes into play. Each of us must do our part to counter the chaos, give support to the fact the road of happiness is unending – not instant and that each of us relies on the other to ensure a peaceful society.

For years we have seen the efforts put into studies that say one thing and another study which points to the exact opposite side of an argument. If you want, you can get a study done that points to the impact of Jupiters orbit on the size of eggs. Should we be concerned about such a study? Well not to any great extent but it might be good for a laugh and the math would be of great interest. The point is not so much the content but the reality of such a study being done.

Part of living in a society is that we must understand where the information we receive is coming from and for what purpose. This is the trust we have seen eroded in the sources of information. What is so alarming is that we have been through this erosion of trust many times and yet we still fall for it. At present the RUSA is dealing with the Russian media influence. Here in Canada we had to deal with the same thing when the RUSA conducted similar operations during the late 1950's and early 60's. Now it comes back and we must be prepared for the same influence from more places.

We need to sort through the chaos of information, we need to work hard to gather the best intelligent information and we must know to stop spreading harmful information. These three points are the reasons for youth to be educated on proper research, proper debate, proper conflict skills and proper community building.

We have experience what happens in Syria, Libya, Yemen, RUSA and even in our own communitites when we lose focus of the diligent hard work needed to maintain a peaceful society. How often have we asked politicians to stop the partisan mud slinging? It takes a strong dose of calm resolve to pull back. It takes each of us to act in good faith. That is our responsibility to each other and ultimately, to our own selves. Our communities do not unravel unless we actually do the unravelling.
In the end we find out that easy living is rarely satisfying nor easy. We find out that our hard work is more rewarding for us. We also find out that being peaceful is not about just getting along. Peace is about valuing each other, supporting those who falter, knowing when we falter ourselves and having the courage to face up to it.