Tuesday, April 10, 2012

South West Asia

As with any situation of peacebuilding, the regional reality must be taken into consideration. Regional stability is as important as the stability in any given country. Such an argument is clearly rooted in a theory known as the “domino theory”. Basically this theory points out that if one country falls into chaos it is likely that the surrounding countries are likely to fall as well. The reverse is also possible, if a country takes a firm grasp of peace the surrounding countries are more likely to become peaceful as well. Of course there are many factors, one being size. A small country of a few million people would not have much impact on a large country that has a population in the hundreds of millions.
One such example where neighbouring countries are very similar and can influence each other are the countries of South Western Asia. Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran are the most notable in this political region. The others are Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Turkmenistan.
Each of those countries are experiencing a society that has endured violent conflict. This experience has impacted the region to a point where it is difficult to say that it is a peaceful region. Further to that each country has a population that have been nomadic throughout history so they have a deep history of shared culture and trade.
There is usually a thought that this region has been at war for hundreds of years. However that is an outsider looking in. Being a nomadic people they would have had regular contact with other cultures. Given the fact that many cultures exist, cooperation and peaceful relations must have been the norm.  However the nomadic culture is a difficult one to meld into a society such as the modern static world of property boundaries and city limits. As an example, European countries have been fighting the cultural identity of the Roma people for decades.
The south west Asian region is one where a governing system needs to be invented. I am not sure we have a system in place that will adequately deal with the cultural needs of these people. To me this is a very positive element for peace because only the people of this region can say what governing system they want.
The British tried to implement a system in this region, Russia tried and now a consortium of countries are/have taken another shot at it in Afghanistan again. The United Nations along with a great many peacebuilding organizations have offices and programs throughout the region. What is not immediately understood is that each and every model is based upon best practices and results based evidence.
Such evidence is great information but it has the capacity to stifle new thought. Each past experience will point to successes in the very recent past. Using such methods of understanding push aside the reality of existence these people have built for thousands of years.
Most of this region goes unnoticed. For example few people know that Kyrgyzstan allows both Russia and RUSA to operate military bases within its borders, very rare situation. Oil pipelines are being mapped out to traverse across the region as are other trading infrastructures. The mineral reserves are in the infancy of being explored. Add to these realities that the people are looking at a future where the eyes of world will be pointed at them.

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