Thursday, May 30, 2013

Use of power

A number of years ago the term Smart Power, Middle Power or Soft Power were used to describe the use of diplomacy to stave off violent conflict. This term has been seldom used in the past ten years as well as the practice. The countries that used this method are the most peaceful, least corrupt, best governed, have stable economies and most content population  as listed by numerous reports (Human Development Report, Corruption Index, Failed States Index, Happiness Index, etc…).
More often these countries ranked in the middle of military power, not one was ever a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council nor are they the biggest economic countries. As we study this reality it appears that the best countries are those that are not military or economic powerhouses. In short, money and might is not what makes a society peaceful or great.
Taking that reality, why then do we often fall back upon those that do carry the military and economic top placements? Looking at Syria, the main obstacle for peace talks is the support the UN Security Council permanent five (France, UK, Russia, China and RUSA) have divided upon. The recent announcement that European countries are allowing more weapons into the hands of the rebels as is the RUSA will only improve the death toll. Russia and China are standing firm that no preconditions be set upon peace talks.
Now I can understand the idea of no preconditions for peace talks but the supplying of weapons?  I can not see that as being a move to improve peace.  At this point the Middle East region is sitting on a volcano ready to explode. The Syrian war has already spread into Turkey, Lebanon, Israel and Iraq. There needs to be no more talk of an internal/civil war.  This is now an international war and has been for many months.
The leaders need to step back and support the old method of Smart Power. Revive that network and allow those countries to work on mitigating the use of violence, weapons, peace talks, and the political transitional methods of elections.
 We must look at what has taken place in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya as to what can happen to governments that are transitional. There will be flare ups of protests, possible violence and of course the chance of falling back into massive chaos. There is enough evidence to prove that the Permanent Five Members of the United Nations Security Council are failing at bringing peace to Syria.
The five members must endorse another group to carry the responsibility of peace negotiations.  This new group needs to be comprised of those that are well noted as the most peaceful, best governed, least corrupt and have strong economic foundations. Why not give that a shot, nothing else is working. Perhaps the fear is that such a plan will work and cast even more question on why the permanent five are not all booted out.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Building our future

To achieve the goal of peace each of us has to take a leap of faith. First that leap is made on a personal level and then expanded. Taking the issue of Syria to heart the first leap of faith is to stop killing each other. To do this we must recall that each act of violence is the catalyst for others to act violently and the spiral of violence begins. Syria is just one more example of this reality. The entire situation we have today was sparked by a single shot and no one knows for sure who fired that first shot.
We must now understand that Syria has been an international breakdown of peace for a long time. Foreign countries have been supplying weapons. Iraq, Turkey and Israel have allowed troops to move across borders. There has been ample evidence that Israel and Turkey have crossed borders to engage Syria in combat. At some point there has to be an iron fist of international control put upon this entire region. Enough blood has been spilled with little success of peace being achieved. Lost in all of the excuses given as to why such escalation is necessary is that each excuse only provides more fuel of hatred against those that make excuses.
The world leaders are doing more damage as they allow the violence in Syria to continue and escalate. We (and I share the blame as well) have failed the people of Syria. Now the task of rebuilding is growing ever more difficult as we must reverse the damage being done to the minds and spirits of the children. Children are being taught to hate, to fear, to be violent and to be negative in mind. Some of these children may never be able to live peaceful lives. Due to that we are looking at another Palestine/Israel situation.
We already have Iraq ripped apart, Afghanistan is also heading back to chaos and now we have the chaos building in Syria. Why has this reality come to us in the past fifteen years? The truth is that we have we have put more efforts into killing each other than being peaceful.
I know that many will condemn the words I write saying that I live in a world of dreams. Well I do not, I live in a world of violence and death created by those that use my dreams as a foundation for acting violently. To end the chaos we must work to rebuild peace by recalling how people in Syria lived just four years ago, how they are living today and then project how they want to be living five years from now.
Taking the understanding of how life will be in a peaceful world, we can only achieve that if we start acting in that manner today. However, there is very little courage or desire to live in that manner by leaders in the Middle East.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Iran to chair UN Disarmament conference

Selection of Iran as the Chair of the United Nations Disarmament conference has been met with some strong opposition. What is laughable is the opposition voiced by the Republic of the United States. Here is a country that has illegally invaded countries, illegally transported, detained and prosecuted untold numbers of people, is currently supplying terrorist organization in Syria and has turned Iraq into a complete mess. With all of that I have to wonder, how in all that is sane do they feel justified in condemning anyone?
This is the type of hypocrisy that must end if we are to live in a peaceful world. The amount of frustration that is felt across the world in the face of such ignorance is understandable. Let us not forget the acts of George W. Bush as he tore up the Non-proliferation contract. How can anyone believe a vision of a just world when this is the type of leadership being provided?
We must also take note that the Republic of the United States is one of the strongest oppositions to the control of small arms and light weapons. The reason for such opposition is due the understanding that they are not subject to international law. Although they fully believe every other country should be.
Going another step further, there is little belief that the constitution for the Republic of the United States is a solid framework for international peace. If that belief were there then the right to defend would allow Iran to have nuclear weapons. After all Iran has been given notice that they will be attacked on many occasions.
As far as I can understand Iran is not a model country however, the Republic of the United States is no model for disarmament either. Even children in a school yard show more peaceful intelligence than what we receive from the leaders of the world.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Complexity should not halt peace

Syria is a complex situation that has thousands of years of hostility woven into it. Ultimately the complexity comes down to simple human inflexibility. The inflexibility of our minds to see other options is worsened by seeking revenge.  This inflexibility provides that we kill others rather than work with others to stop the spread of violence within our society.
Building a peaceful world has very simple ideology to follow. Each of us wants to live in a world that is secure from the pain of violence, hatred and suffering. This ideology is the foundation of every society, religion, country and friendship that we all strive to obtain.  
As each of us moves through life we understand that at some point we are going to get hurt. Broken promises, failed relationships and selfish acts all take part in day to day life. Most of us have gone through these events which feel as though your heart has been torn apart. To live in a peaceful world we work as hard as we can to limit such events.
Here we are, with all the ability to be peaceful, yet we allow situations such as Syria to take place, why? First we get caught up in the complexity of the solution and that halts most efforts for peace. Complexity is only word that describes how tangled life is, which will never end. Complexity describes how a group of people can rationalize killing people in order to achieve a peaceful world. Complexity rationalizes human trafficking, child soldiers, suicide bombers, slave labour, weapons of mass destruction and terrorism. Where the major problem rests is when we use complexity as an excuse to engage further in such acts.  
As the violence in conflict expands, the need for an end becomes so great that there is nothing more we can do but stop it. Obviously we have not met that point in Syria. There is a great deal more violence the world can tolerate. What is lost in that understanding is that the solution will be no easier implemented today or tomorrow than it would have been two years ago. Two years ago we were given all the reasons why we could not stop the violence in Syria and those realities still exist. Of course some of those reasons, such as sovereignty have been broken.
The entire situation is one major frustration because the solution will remain the same today as it was two years ago and will be so ten years from now.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

No trust in any side of Syrian war.

The recent reports of the Syrian war reaching into Turkey, the use of chemical weapons and Israel ignoring international law are examples of the garbage leadership we have in the world today. Also, not one bit of the intelligence reports can be trusted because those that are providing the reports have supported the rebels.
The average person is who I feel for. Those in the government of the surrounding countries I have difficulty to feel sympathetic because they are the ones that allowed weapons, equipment and people to pour into Syria. How these governments can ask the world to step up and end this idiocy is one giant hypocritical moment. The reality of this situation is that Syria was a great deal more peacefully three years ago than it is today.
With that honest reality it is difficult to believe the reports submitted by the opposition and the rebels. Their entire purpose is to take down the current government any way it can. Lies are just one more weapon. Planting bombs, using chemical weapons and blaming Assad is another tactic. As such information comes to the world, we must understand the source and the purpose of such reports.
Here we are, watching Syria slowly being destroyed. There are a few ways this war end and one of them is for the international community to stop supporting the rebels. Another is one that I would rather see, which is a total ban on all weapons going into Syria. Moreover, I would love to see a regional ban on all weapons enforced by the largest United Nations Peace force ever assembled.
Of course none of those are likely to happen. What will happen though is the violence in Syria will rage on for another five years at least. More condemnation will be heaped upon the Syrian government. The rebels will be sprinkled with a few warnings but largely given a free hand to act with impunity. Basically we are going to get more of the same as we have gotten in the past year or so.
This reality is the most frustrating part of a peace workers reality. The solutions to end this garbage in Syria are there, the knowledge and expertise are there, the only thing missing is the political will to act. This is why we get the calls for the Republic of the United States because we all know that nothing will be done. Just look at the situation between Israel and Palestine, nothing but further violence has been accomplished since 1945.
The solution is easy, implementing the solution is difficult and unending. The irony is that part of the solution was put to the people on 26 Feb 2012. That referendum was not able to be implemented because the rebels quickly increased violence (killing people). Assad is known to be a violent person as are those around him and the governments of the countries surrounding Syria. In such a situation a total weapons ban needs to be implemented for the safety of all people.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Syrian war escalated

The recent bombings by Israel on targets inside Syria are a clear violation of international law. Syria is within its right to fight back but there is very little that can be done. In fact, fighting back would only worsen the situation for Syria.
Israel may have acted so because it would not face any reprisals. Further to that I wonder why everyone thinks that the Republic of the United States of America (RUSA)can solve the Syrian war?  There has been little evidence of success for peace talks in any region of the world lead by RUSA. RUSA has been leading the talks between Israel and Palestine for how long and it has only worsened. With that reality, why does anyone think Syria will be any different?
There is also the issue of the chemical weapons. Who used these is a guess at best. The rebels can not be trusted, the current government can not be trusted, the neighbouring countries can not be trusted. The media is too easily manipulated other than to understand that such weapons have been used. Supporting the rebels has been a total waste of life, time, money and has only increased the violence.
The support Russia has given Syria is exactly what RUSA is doing in Bahrain so why is there such hostility in this situation? This is the hypocrisy that needs to end.
 The best solution is to uphold a complete ban on all weapons in the region. That should be carried out and enforced by the United Nations. Of course that is too much sense and it would work. It is better to slowly kill everyone as we are doing now.
What we are witnessing here is the need for each of us to demand better leaders. Our leaders are a reflection of us. This is why the Occupy movement took place. We are on the cusp of bringing a peaceful future to the world. Do we have the courage to do so?
Syria is an example of how easily we turn to violence to solve problems. Even in the face of unending violence we carry on using and escalating violence. The irony here is that we turn to violence to achieve peace. When peaceful options are presented such avenues are pushed aside as weak and unrealistic. Further irony is shown when religion is part of the violent struggle.
The world is clearly insane yet each of us are caring, rational, peaceful people. It seems as though the sane majority is being lead by the irrational minority. This balance is our struggle. How do we tip the scales so that another Syria does not happen?