Friday, February 27, 2015

Are we really committed to peacebuilding?

As the birthday of the United Nations is celebrated there are heated debates focused on its relevance, impact, success and its future. The chief reason for the United Nations is to maintain peace on a global scale. Crazy as it seems, on a global scale we are moving ever so slowly towards peace. However in contrasts, why is it that there is such a belief that war and chaos are rampant? Recently I heard an interview where the topic was that very question. One answer that I thought really made sense of the reality versus the perception was this comment: “News reports and information tells us about situations/realities that are out of the ordinary from our everyday life. The more we are made aware of war and chaos is partly due to the fact that we experience a relatively peaceful life”. That quote does have truth rooted in its point. However, there is a great deal of work still ahead for greater peace in the world. This goal of global peace, in reality is not going to arrive in the next few weeks or the next year. This is due to the collection of old minded leadership styles currently in power. There is no need for chaos to continue in places like Libya, Syria, Ukraine, Iraq or Afghanistan. The only reason that wars rage on in these areas is very much due to the lack of leadership in the world. For example, the world has a ready made solution to every war or civil collapse. This solution is peacekeeping with ceasefire agreements. Even though this solution exists the leaders of the world have failed to utilize this tool. When it does use peacekeeping strategy, implementation is so poorly executed that any mention of such tactic is quickly denounced. Furthermore the need for weapons bans are in deep need. We only have to look at the current ceasefire agreement in Ukraine to see how poorly we manage peace. Additional we can look how poorly the transition of peace in Libya has played out? Again, how much longer are we going to live with the insanity of the Palestine and Israel relationship? In each of the examples there have been all sorts of methods rooted in violence, fear, physical power dominance and revenge ideology used to bring peace. We have experienced the power vacuums created when such tactics are used as well. As these power vacuums become a reality, the next reality is a protracted war leading to a failed state. We have had enough of the failed methods used in Ukraine, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, Israel, and other conflict zones. It is time to really put the resources of a true ceasefire, peacekeeping, and negotiated governance model into action.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Ceasefire in Ukraine

“A glimmer of hope” That is how German Chancellor Angela Merkel describes the peace talks concerning Ukraine. She is very precise and honest in that observation. We all know how such cease fire agreements break down so easily. The most telling point which speaks to the hope of the ceasefire holding deals with those that sat at the table – France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine. All four of these countries have a tangled relationship in politics, economics, and social investment to see peace return. One of the questions that remains is how true is the control of the people doing the actual fighting? All it will take for the entire agreement to fall apart is one rpg round fired by a person who has sees the agreement as faulty. From experience such agreements will be broken a number of times. Another question is the resolve of these leaders to work together in such cases where a rogue person does fire off a round or three. An indication of such an answer is the fact that these four made an agreement in such a short manner. That small time frame speaks to the resolve of these leaders to find diplomatic solutions as soon as possible. The reason for the relatively quick agreement is due to the fact that all sides realized there was no good outcome for anyone if the violence escalates. Russia certainly has no desire for another Chechnya as well as the economic impact of sanctions has to be considered. The same for France and Germany, a destabilized Ukraine will only bring more instability to the region. Such instability will leach into France and Germany. Both have had enough radical violence within their own countries in recent years to deal with. Also the economic costs are too high. Finally the people of Ukraine have endured enough senseless violence. The farther we move away from the first days of this crisis the less we recall the reality of how and why it began. Furthermore, the reality is that this war is one that need not have taken place at all. However, it did and so we must deal with what we have at hand. This ceasefire agreement is a glimmer of hope. Rebuilding the communities that have been destroyed can begin as the people try to return to homes and communities. Let us all pray that the violence will end and peace will hold.