We learn from doing yet sometimes we ignore what we learn. Other times we are too cautious to implement the procedures we know have to be taken. The one area in which I am taking note of is the push to have elections.
Cases in point are Egypt, Iraq, Afghanistan, Haiti and Libya. Each of these countries made great strides to implement election and each have made matters no better. The main issue for such a situation is that elections are divisive by nature. Of course there is a strong need to have a government in place. What we are left with is a dance of political grace and not every song you dance to is the same.
Part of the dance is to ensure legitimate government with a transparent decision making process. This dance is very difficult because transparency is neither easy nor an efficient method of decision making. During a transition period efficiency of decision can bring down a government if it is seen as being too slow to provide change. Each of the countries named have fallen into this trap.
How do you get past that trap?
Oddly enough that trap is circumvented by stalling elections. Local councils need to be built and given time to grow in strength, reputation, respect and acceptance. Local efforts need to be focused upon with greater effort such as schools, water, markets, hospitals, energy grids and the list never stops. Through the building of these, the people will experience the progression of peaceful governance. As the local needs are met, the regional needs can be eased into through political elections. All the while the peace efforts on the national stage engage in communications with locals seeking to build constitutions, national frameworks and vision of what the country is to be.
It is not very often that all communities share every value equally in which a country stands for. This is where tensions begin at the national level. The dance to ensure peace is kept starts with how the local people experience their lives. If the local people feel there is no trust the entire system can break.
One topic that is often put down is the use of foreign soldiers as police. The bottom line of reality is that a soldier is exactly that, a policy enforcer. The main job is to secure peace and enforce some level of law. This has to be the focus of any force entering into a mission if they are to assist with building a society. Local forces that walk the streets and villages constantly build trust.
Lastly, there is no time frame. Setting deadlines is an effort that will only end up being the cause of more chaos if not met. Usually such deadlines are often missed. As long as the people know what is going on, they are regularly given the chance to participate and experience the progression of peace, peace will be the outcome.
Of course it is easy to write about such ideas, accomplishing them is difficult. If you do not have peace within yourself, it will difficult to see it outside.