Friday, November 3, 2017

Tasks of Peace

Remembrance Day is upon us. At this time we are to show our respect for those that gave everything. To live in a country such as Canada we hold an unspoken promise/obligation which is best stated in the last verse of the poem In Flanders Fields:
To you, from failing hands, we throw
The torch: be yours to hold it high
If ye break faith with us who die,
We shall not sleep.
For some of us, paying taxes is where the obligation ends. Luckily, many expand their responsibility to voting, take part in community organizations, attend meetings, volunteer and/or make donations. There are so many ways to fulfill our duty to hold the torch high that it is difficult to believe a society could ever breakdown into war. Sadly the precipice of chaos is never to far off.

You see, very few of us really count the true weight of peace. In truth, each of us is responsible for every death and injury of our soldiers, police or any person working on our behalf. Furthermore, we are responsible for every injury/death caused by those very same people. Going one step further, we are responsible for every child who falls through the cracks of society. These are often forgotten responsibilities of each person in a democracy. If not forgotten, some people will say “I pay my taxes, that is enough”. Is it?
There is another element which has been slowly eroded. That element is being noted recently as “fake news”. We have an obligation to seek facts that are correct – truth. At this point many will say “well politicians lie all the time anyway so why should we believe anything?” This line of thought is a vicious circle of blame which allows further erosion of truth. We can not stop the lies but we stop those that lie by holding them accountable. However there is also a cliché of Winston Churchill which states “A lie will travel thrice around the world before the truth even gets its pants on”. We are seeing this take place at a greater speed with social media. We must be vigilant in our duties to hold the torch high.
We have a federal election coming up in 2019 and there are forces that will plant “fake news”. This is not new to Canada but we are facing more of the same. For example, the Republic of the United States meddled in the 1962-63 election cylce. Also there was open support of organizations from Russia throughout the 1930's. In reality these efforts have never ceased, we just became numb to the onslaught.
Our task in holding the torch high of building a peaceful society is to work through the misinformation and find the truth. Such is our responsibility to carry if a peaceful society is to flourish. What is comforting though is that the responsibilities we are asked to carry are not such great burdens. We need to be diligent, accurate, peaceful and honest with each other.
We must see that the squeaky wheel should not always get the grease unless we want a nation of complainers. Also, common sense is not rare but rather it is really just bad practice for the most part. The proof is that is we throw away $31 billion dollars in edible food every year. Further evidence of common sense being bad practice is the (common) person spending five minutes circling the parking lot to get a closer spot than the one minute it would take to park in the open spot further away and walk. That same person may spend further money on a gym membership, equipment or just get a pill from the doctor. In a burst of reality it has become common sense to complain loudest, bully your way through to the quickest, cheapest and easiest way possible. This is the onslaught we are facing.
As each soldier who has fought will attest to, there is no substitute for solid planning, excellent communication, hard work and honesty with those you are dealing with. At the very bottom of all that is to take the same path when dealing with your own mind as well. We may not ever get rid of those that will seek to cause harm for no other reason but to cause harm. Yet we owe it to those who “from failing hands throw the torch” to take notice of all our responsibilities as we build a peaceful society.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Diplomacy and North Korea

The world seems to be on a slide towards chaos. With recent leaders of various countries spewing rhetoric and threats, where is the voice of calm resolve? At some point there is a line that breaks through rhetoric and reality shines bright.

That point takes place behind closed doors so that the perceptions of certain leaders save face. Most seasoned politicians understand the difference between speaking to your domestic audience, speaking to the international audience and then there is the diplomatic (face to face) meetings behind closed doors. Why does there have to be and difference in those three situations? In reality there should not be, however, sadly we live in a world where perception is more important than reality. Due to this disjointed mindset we have at least three different platforms of speak.

On the domestic front we have leaders spouting off about how strong they are. Sometimes that carries over to the international sphere as is happening now with North Korea and the Republic of the United States (RUSA). What has not changed is that the diplomatic talks. We know that North Korea has been working the back rooms of diplomacy to get a grip on what RUSA is doing. Whether these efforts are just a way for top officials in North Korea to get out and see the world or if there is true substance is questionable. However there is an effort being made to a small degree of talking things out to calm the waters.

The world has dealt with people such as Trump and Jong-un. We need to pay attention to the rhetoric because it can get out of control which is when war breaks out. In the global context the rhetoric has brought other issues into light. One such event that has taken advantage of the war of words is Taiwan and its separation from China. Due to this impact there are other consequences which may play out that no one is even aware of at the moment. This is why the diplomatic channels are so important.

To make the point of how important the backroom channels are, Pakistan has at least a hundred nuclear weapons and they have been under a leadership which equals Trump. The relations between RUSA and Pakistan were very bad for many years, still are not that good. Really all we have taking place between Trump and Jung-un is an ego clash. These clashes can be and are being tempered by the people in the diplomatic rooms. For example Sergei Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minister has stated that the war of words between Trump and Jung-un is like two children fighting.

Although peace is easy to understand, to do what is understood and necessary is where the courage fails many of us. It takes greater courage to stand your ground and be peaceful than it is to engage in the fight. We have all seen the person who has to get the last shot in, the last word, the greatest slander or other such action of one-upping the other. Such actions are in reality the cause for greater threats of violence. Everyone agrees that the actions of North Korea are unstable and have been for decades. Why swat the bees nest?

As for each of us, we need to speak and act in terms of peace with those that we are at odds with. We should be pointing out the damages being done and need to be aware of the destruction of our communities. As long as that is followed up immediately with how you are willing to work together to rebuild/improve the community and do it. Such language is taken differently if it were just a shot being taken at the expense of the other.

In closing, we should be concerned about rhetoric as it speaks to an underlying ideology. Since the rhetoric is coming from leadership, this only shows the immaturity of those particular leaders. The professionals that are in place are more than capable of quelling such behaviour in the case of Trump and Jung-un.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Repecting Evil?

Peace is a state of mind. First and foremost, each individual must come to the realization that they are at peace. This state of mind recognizes both their own state of life and the world around them. Now being at peace does not mean you agree with the situation you are in or the state of the world. The state of peace allows you to understand that you will/are doing everything you can to be peaceful in the situation you are in. One of the most difficult ideas to get across to others about peace is that there is conflict in peace. The best way to describe what is meant by conflict exists in peace is to ask a women who has given birth to a child if there was no conflict. However, it is often described that birth as the most beautiful act of human existence. With that concept of peace and conflict aside, we must look at the moment we are in today. Racial tensions have boiled up again across the world. In Canada we have our own history of horrors to reconcile with. Most of us understand that there is a deep need to work together. Being at peace with that work acknowledges we must step into the painful areas of shame, regret, injustice, ignornace and idiocy. As we work together we must understand that the people today are not the people that acted in the past. To that end we need to understand that acknowledging history is not blaming the people of today for those who acted unpeacefully in the past. In truth we are all a product of our collective history. When you can empathize with all sides of history you can see how everyone has been harmed, how everyone needs to reconcile, how everyone needs to endure the hardships of rebuilding relations, how everyone needs to have an open mind of our future together and how to let go of past pains so we can learn, heal and rebuild a stronger society. This is where we are trying to get to in Canada and the world. Being peaceful is having the courage to walk into the discussion of who we are going to be and do so with an open mind. We have always had the capacity to act in this manner. The question that came to a conversation around this topic was - How do you respect evil in a positive manner? To those who are willing to engage is such thought will see the dire need our people are in. Is it good that we are having such hate filled protests? Apparently we need to because some of us have forgotten the horror of past idiocy. As the cliché states, those that forget the past are doomed to repeat it. What this cliché indicates is showing itself with an increase of hate across the globe. Here in Canada we have our own discussion about who we have been, who we are and who we are going to be.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Intergration of us and them

Recalling a moment in life when I was twelve years of age, I had watched a family bring a new born baby from the hospital into their home. I distinctly remember looking around me and wondering why anyone would want to bring a child into this world. The world around me seemed to be a spiralling pool of hate, chaos, greed and no improvement in sight. Not sure how long I carried that thought but at some point I realized that my thought was only a perception. The balance of life equals out all things. Now, as I have worked with many people in very difficult situations, I can see the need to have a solid outlook of being calm, peaceful and patient. The reason for this need is best understood by noticing there are seven billion different ideas about how the world should work. Basically we are all involved in an experiment of integration. Whether or not you notice, acknowledge, understand the fact that we are all in a relationship with each other, we are here at this moment. We have had many experiments that sought to integrate people into systems. Some experiments had horrible outcomes while some had excellent outcomes. These experiments come in the forms of governments, social norms, laws, cultural relativism, policies, religion, political parties, corporations, schools, etc.... At this moment of time there is one of the largest forced movements of people the world has ever seen due to the war in Syria. Some countries have experienced a 25% increase in population due to people trying to get away from the hell of war. This is a major shift in the identity or social norms of any society facing such an increase. Not only does the host country face a dramatic shift, the people who are seeking shelter also face a dramtic shift of reality, culture, identity and sense of belonging. This sense of belonging is a crucial point in terms of integration. A shift of identity is going to take place but what will that be? If no one is willing to accept the new reality on an ideological platform frustration sets in. This frustration will entrench in the minds and hearts of people. After some time the frustration will give way to violence if there is no true willingness to work on building the integration peacefully. Those last four sentences are the simplistic point form frame work of most wars/social break downs we face in the world. In simplistic reality, peace is easily described. The most difficult part is actually doing the work day in and day out with everyone you meet. Being calm, peaceful and patient takes great energy yet, having faith in a peaceful world will provide the energy. As long as you continue to be that person who acts with calm, peacful patience, you will have faith. In the end, what really matters is how each of us – the individual – understands the world, lives their life and strives to be a peaceful person. Throughout my life, as I often looked back at myself when I that twelve year old, I have learned that perceptions are smoke screens to reality. How you truly are is what matters and then understanding your impact on the larger group needs to be acknowledged to some degree as well. This is no simple statement. The complexity of life will and does wrap us up like tangled ball of string. We will be frustrated, tired and need to vent. Sometimes we fail but we also succeed in many other ways.

Monday, July 31, 2017

The 50/50 rule

Sometimes governments and the people take things too far too fast. Again at such moments, we must take a deep breathe and seek to understand the individual efforts true intentions. Plus, we must keep in mind that there will always be those that seek to create chaos just because they can. This is the 50/50 rule. The 50/50 rule stipulates that in perfect balance there is equal parts of both sides. In terms of sanity, in a perfectly balanced world, half of the people are insane and the the other half are not. In this situation, half of the people who are insane are trying to understand the reasoning of the sane and the opposite is true as well. A quick discussion between two such people can bring almost anyone to fits of frustration. Even when two sane people are at odds of reason, frustration can quickly erupt into acts of violence. This is exactly why peace takes greater courage and effort than war. Forging ahead to develop a reality where the cultural components of a multicultural society is valued, respected and treated equally has eluded many individuals as well as most governments, corporations and other instutional structures. There is no shortage of examples of how we have got ourselves into trouble within this realm. We have Rwanda, Bosnia, WWII, Residential schools in Canada and of course the Daesh issues the world has been plagued with recently are examples of how poorly cultural divides have gotten. After each of these episodes of failure/conflict we usually embark on some sort of soul searching to understand how things went so wrong. In the context of post conflict reconstruction there are systems we have tried, such as truth and reconciliation commissions, restorative justice programs, war crime tribunals and the many types of reintegration programs. In other contexts, outside of traditional conflict or war, we have the cultural impacts of sexual identity and affirmative action policies. These seek to build fair opportunities, equality of hiring practices and safe space policies. All of the above efforts are steps being taken to resolve pain caused, correct wrongs, heal wounds, repair broken trust as we work to build a peaceful society. Each step is an experiment that must be tried. Some will fail and some will succeed. The most important component is that efforts are being made to improve. As we continue to embark on the experiments to improve there will be moments when society needs to vent. At the moment when a sector of society needs to vent, the other sectors must be prepared to act with all patience and peace as possible. The same peaceful respect needs to be held by those venting or protesting as well. During these protests we often forget the pendulum of society never stops. The 50/50 even divide at some point will swing to be 75.5 insanity/24.5 sanity or reversed the other way. In our pursuits to build peaceful societies we have to ensure a level of trust to have the difficult discussions - especially when emotions run high and frustration is deep. We must understand that not all experiments will turn out as we want them to. Some efforts are just not able to take hold due to the reality that the people or governments are not ready for certain things. Then there are the efforts that seem to be redundant to some while others see them as necessary. At the root of all these situations rests the complexity of the individual human rights and the responsibility those rights imply upon each of us. Each of us has a right to live without the fear of being harmed. That implies that each of us carries the responsibility to do no harm to another. Now that leads us to examine and understand what harm means to both you and the other. Plus, the 50/50 rule has to be taken into consideration and who determines that? While we forge ahead to build a peaceful society that is true to the reality of a multicultural world, we have learned that the task is one wild trip. Some have no patience for it and lash out into fits of violence. Others are just happy to stir the hornets nest and watch the chaos ensue. For the majority of people they are just trying to get through each day in the same condition they woke up in. Those same people hope to be improved. Then there are those that will improve each day as well as those that will be in worse conditions. Such is life. As each of us forge ahead in our own attempts at peace, it must be clearly understood that every conflict starts in the mind of the individual. To be peaceful is our responsibility to each other. At times we each experience the sanity side of the 50/50 rule as well as the insane side. You may trust yourself but the person that is in the discussion with you may not be in the same mind set. The skill set may have a vast distance as well. Then of course there is always the different versions of historical knowledge that each side will have. The piece to really grab onto is that most reason is only valid to those who agree with it. So, if one part of the argument is a firm believer in "outside the box thinking" that person must let go of common sense and reasoning to break down barriers or be insane. Finally, the 50/50 rule can help break your own thought patterns as everyone seeks to build a peaceful society.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Broken trust and peace

Do you recall this person – Mohammed Bouazizi? He was a 26 year old vendor that literally sparked what is known as the Arab Spring. Of course there are many theories of why he lit himself on fire. However the complete frustration, loss of hope, poverty, oppression and injustice he felt is very important for each of us to battle as well. It is imperative to understand then conquer the personal mental battle first and always act peacefully socially with everyone else. What is ironic is that a root ideology of Al Qaeda was to end oppression. That ideology morphed into groups such as Al Shabaab (youth movement) and Daesh. The level of violence and absolute disregard for any flexibility of thought has put a strangle hold on the world. Again, the irony is that those groups are acting out due to a deep frustration that something is broken. Now we are dealing with people spreading fear and panic anywhere they can to ease a personal battle of frustration. It is these acts of violence seeking to draw even in the tally of pain which set larger ripples of hate and distrust in motion. It is the ripple effect of distrust which fuels further hate, then eventually can and does lead to violence. In simplistic ideology that is the formula of understanding groups such as Daesh. As you put your head in your hands and seek some sort of sanity within all of this we have other shots to the public trust. How in the name of all that is peaceful do you keep calm when corporation sell us on trust. Then, those corporation take actions that destroy trust. These actions spread into the distrust of government and filters down to distrust of each individual. On the corporate side of understanding actions which destroy trust are explained in two words – greed and influence. With groups like Daesh, the world responds out of necessity. For many nations, military action was not a choice to drop bombs or shoot people. However, we have a responsibility to protect. With that it is understood that each person shot or area bombed we are destroying the person who fires the bullet or drops the bombs as well. This is the circle of hell we must live with when killing others is needed. It can not be put anymore clear that the small acts of kindness are the equivalent of bullets. Community gatherings of celebration are like the bombs of war. These are the acts which will ultimately defeat groups such as Daesh. Such community building initiatives are the front lines in securing peaceful societies. Apparently we need more of these acts as individuals are spreading hate such as we have seen in London England. Each of us feels the frustrations of those who act violently and those corporations that are destroying public trust. It is truly hurtful to have to act on those who willfully break the public peace. It is not a choice but a responsibility to act in order to restore peace. That begins within each of us to act peacefully with our own minds. To quell the hate in our own minds first and then branch out is the individual battle of peace. When you lash out in frustration, the war has been lost already.

Friday, May 19, 2017

France looks past the hatred.

There was a time, not long ago, when the world was speaking out against multicultural societies. The popular thought was that multiculturalism was a failed policy. Then comes the vote of the United Kingdom to exit the European Union, Donald Trump gets elected in the RUSA and France looks at voting for similar protectionist ideology. Last night France voted for a multicultural ideology. France voted for a reality that reflects the truth of the world. The world is multicultural. The world is open and free movement across the globe is a right of every individual. Of course an open society will open the world to more experiences that may not be wanted. The best method to ensure a safe society is to build and maintain strong communities. This responsibility rests with the individual to take up. Governments are a macro level entity and violence starts within the minds of the individual. That is why an open ideology needs to be supported by individuals as well as governments. For example, we can look at Daesh and their play book management of savagery (the book is easily found on the internet). It is an example of how individuals can impact global security from within communities for either good or evil. The same playbook can be used for good, the difference will be a peaceful mindset for the immediate result. As we look at the reasons for the protectionist versus the open society there are valid points for either side. In other terms we have hawks versus doves, hard power versus soft power, peace versus war and other axioms. The reason violence seems to be the more effective choice is due to the immediate impact/response and drama of tragedy. A peace strategy is very much like a person growing up, one day you are 5 years old and then almost dream like you are 34. You wonder where the years went. It all seems effortless yet we forget the daily attention that must be paid to ensure we live a peaceful life. The daily efforts that are small must be made and are unnoticed by the larger community is the path to peace. War, violence, hatred and evil on the other hand are large and can be launched in a single moment to impact many years into the future. Due to that, it is easy to understand why a protectionist attitude is prevalent. As the people of France stood up, the rest of the world needs to thank the people of France for standing up for an open society in the face of what they have endured. That is true courage and a steadfast belief in the reality of the world – multiculturalism, peace and openess.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Syrian end to violence

During the years 2010 – 2012, there was a global movement of youthful change. Many protests took place around the world. There was the Occupy Movement. Elsewhere there was the Jasmine Revolution and Arab Spring. Each had varying degrees of impact. The protest in Halifax produced one of the most ironic statements of the global movement, “We have heard your plights now go home and be quiet”. In other parts of the world extreme violence broke out and rage on to this day. Syria, Yemen and Libya are the most known. Of these, Syria has taken a greatest grasp of the global stage. As we seek solutions to ending the war in Syria there will always be counter solutions and of course history. For those who live in the towns and cities of Syria, an end to the violence can not come fast enough. It is at this point where finding blame needs to be put aside and focus on the ceasefire agreements. For those that disagree, they should truly understand that in all reality there is no one that is without blame. Right now the world needs to look at what is taking place in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya as power vacuums are prolonging violence. Sadly the current government of Syria has a leader that has done an extraordinary amount of harm to the people of Syria. It is truly disheartening to see this man remain in power. To that reality we must ask who is to lead next? Now, if you think what is taking place in Syria is terrible, The power struggle will become even more chaotic when Assad is removed. Another Iraq or Afghanistan will be created. The best way forward is to keep the current leadership structure in place until the people can peacefully vote him out. How is that done? The complexity is held within the mechanics, the building blocks, the melding of all that is or simply put – the how. Every country needs to swallow a bit of bravado and take the monumental step of actually working together to end the violence. This will need to have the children as the absolute focal point of the solution. It will need a deep and heavy commitment of ground troops to enter Syria. Tighten the borders of Syria if not completely lock them down. Assad will have no choice but to listen to such a plan. As for the legality of sovereignty, that issue is put to the side under the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) doctrine. This is the same doctrine that Canada used to bomb Libya. Next people will ask how long will our troops be engaged in the battle. Well Canada did not leave the European theatre until 1992 so another 50 years is possible. Unless you do not have the courage to actually solve the Syrian war then continue on the path that is currently being taken. In all probability, after fifty years this war will still be raging on and the same solution will be needed. There is no doubt that Assad must go. So does every leader at some point. Calling for Assad to leave now is not going to help the situation. What is more important is the world powers to actually work together and take control of this war. The capacity is there to accomplish peace fairly quickly. The missing element is the will to do what needs to be done. What is taking place in Syria is simply the combatants fighting to hold power. We have gone down the path of destruction to far to not work with Assad now. As much as it pains us to do such a thing it must be done because it is the quickest path to peace – without complete and total destruction of the population and country. As often happens in a dysfunctional and disgusting situation, we must deal with hidden agendas, back room deals, ego and power grabs. There is no lack of such elements as poor decisions are made one after the other. In the end the one who pay the ultimate price – the children.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Politics and Patronage

Throughout history, in fact ever since two people stood in front of each other there has been a need for systems of understanding. Language being one such method used to bring understanding. As humans progressed and larger groups formed, we needed more systems to bring order. Political parties are examples of systems used to bring order and structure at least, peace is a different matter. We often get people who are skilled at politics yet inept at peace. The irony is that politics is there to assist us in securing peace. For example we have Libya, Syria, Iraq, Ukraine and many other areas where politicians have done a masterful job of getting what they want. However the ability to bring peace has been left behind. Here in Canada, peace in our society is far greater than the countries noted above. Even though we do not live in an society that is waging open warfare does not mean we can be less diligent on the efforts to be peaceful. In truth, we should feel the obligation to be ever more diligent. To do this we must look beyond current thoughts and understanding of political normalcy. One area that has been abused to get lengths by every party holding power rests within the legislative branches of governance. One of the most radical out side the box ideas is to do away with party politics in the House. For example, here in Canada, the territory of Nunavut has no party politics. Doing so increases transparency, responsibility to voters and decreases political patronage, pork barrel politics and whipped votes. One of the largest barriers we have is the attachment to old school party politic method and ideology. The system of party politics is comfortable and familiar. Sadly, there are emergent realities that erode the trust of the people creeping in, these must be dealt with. As an example the next government could pledge to appoint the best person for each Ministry no matter what party they belong to. These members should not have to change parties or cross the floor which does happen on occasion. Or, how about each party leader as a Minister of Education, another party leader as Minister of Health or Minister of Finance and so on. At the very least I think that every elected member should be allowed to apply for a Minister position. The best person for the job is always mentioned and sometimes the party that holds power just does not have the best person within its ranks. I understand these are not typical concepts but that is what outside the box thinking is. Furthermore, there is no legal reason it is not done today. The only reason it is not done is due to political patronage and the fact that it is rare to have a politician with enough courage to try it.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Recruiting youth

Ending mass group violence such as gangs and even groups like Daesh has some very common connecting threads. Even more broadly, the threads of commonality that can end violence also reach into racist ideology. The common thread is very much stated in the words of a former soldier fighting for Daesh in Iraq. Below is an exert from a news article on the Reuters website: Hussein sees himself as a victim of hardship, a product of a broken home and poverty in his hometown of Mosul, where Iraqi forces have launched an offensive against Islamic State to dislodge them from their last stronghold in Iraq. "I had no money. No one to say 'This is wrong, this is right.' No jobs. I had friends but no one to give me advice" said Hussein. These impoverished people are the gardens of gang recruitment. Sadly we have understood this reality for hundreds of years. Even though the news article is about a person in Iraq, it can just as easily be a person in any town or city across the world. Yet it is completely mind boggling to me every time I hear people say there is no money to help such people or that enough is being done to help. The issue of assisting the impoverished is not simple because we make it complicated. However, there is an element that is difficult to bridge and that element is best stated with a cliché of “you can take a horse to water but you can not make it drink”. This is the proverbial person who “slips through the cracks”. Are we doing enough, are we spending enough? We are spending enough but we are spending in wrong areas. This is where we have a certain lack of will to do the toughest job, to fight where it matters most and stand up for the youth who seem to continually thumb their noses at us. If gangs can recruit these youth, others who have a greater societal peace in mind can do so as well.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Political Leadership

The cliché stating that politics and religion are not considered polite conversations topics is rooted in the fact that such topics often result in fights. Going a bit further into the reasons why discussions end up in fights is due to the mental inflexibility of the involved. Simply put, the conversations quickly end up in absolute statements or what is known in negotiation speak as ultimate hammers or more commonly my way or the highway type of language. If we are to progress in society each of us has to expand our tactics of discussions. This is the political leadership we need. For those that can remember chat rooms, message boards, and now facebook posts, the type of language being referenced is clearly exhibited in those formats. These formats are then defended with freedoms of expression laws and human rights law. What is often missed is the fact that laws are the lowest bar of common decency not the highest level of expectation. If you have to use a law to defend your actions you have already crept towards the minimum of expectations. As many political parties around the world are looking for new leadership there is and will continue to be a tremendous amount of rhetoric. This is where the communication tool called the internet is used to perfection. We have all seen the videos of a ranting Hitler, the interview of Mexican laughing, the baby making a fist and many others. Each will have captions and words dubbed in. These are wdiley used and can be transferred to point a finger at anyone. What is most disturbing about such tactics is that it is a well documented indication of racism. Next we often will hear such statements as “This is the only person who has the intelligence to lead” or “This is the only person who can understand the complexities of international trade” or “this is the only person who whatever”, fill in the blanks. Such statements are completely ignorant of fact. The truth is that every society is filled with people who have the intelligence and capacity to accomplish any task needed. Furthermore, no leader is greater than the people/staff/citizenry they are surrounded by. Building society truly rests upon each of us – the individual. Over the last thousand years we have come to understand that the best way to have peace is to be peaceful. The best economies are those that have the most peaceful societies. The best trading partners are those that seek to improve every aspect of life. The best people to deal with are those that seek to understand first and then find a common path forward. In short the best leaders are those that have a calm resolve to peacefully work with whoever they may find themselves amongst. As we hear leaders debate there are tell tale words and phrases which must be noted as characteristics of poor leadership which have been noted above. Of course there are a great deal more. Ultimately there is no replacing the leadership that each of us is responsible for when engaging with others.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Globalization and protectionist trade ideology

It is very rare that a brand new system or thought enters the world. It is like those who say that wifi is a brand new technology when in fact, wireless communication was invented in 1901. Again that date is not really the first time wireless communication was tried. There had been years of tests and failures. What does this have to do with trade relations? First off, the relation is to understand the reality of the world we live in. Understand the history of how we got to where we are. Understand why we have globalization of trade, understand that trade is part of economic growth as far back as we can recall. The Silk Road was globalization trade. The explorers that reached the shores of the Americas had expansion of economics on their minds. On the downside we must understand that global trade is somewhat a house of cards as well. Globalization is a factor in many economic problems. These are front and center in the pushes for Brexit and the recall of the Trans Pacific Partnership, North American Free Trade Agreement and others. No one really knows how these trade agreements will turn out until they are in place and allowed to work. The reason for that is called life. Things on paper will not always work when put into action. Everyone person on this planet should know and understand this primary factor of life. Thought and action are two different realities. That is why every agreement has a negotiation/dispute settlement clause in them. As life evolves, so will the wants, desires and views of the public change. Again this is life and that will create conflicts. Throughout history there has been the understanding of the connection between economics and social good – quality of life. One of the greatest concepts about this subject is known as the Tragedy of the Commons. In another great reference of the connection between economics and social good is the story written by Charles Dickens “A Christmas Carol” (1843). In this story, the lines “Mankind was my business. Their common welfare was my business” was screamed by the ghost of business man Jacob Marley as he tried to change the mind of his partner Ebeneezer Scrooge. Going back further we have stories such as the Stone Soup or Button Borscht. These are very much rooted in the ideology of communal good. These stories can also help us understand why protectionist ideology is harmful and why globalization trade is needed. Although there is a simplicity in this article, the reality is not. Trade agreements take decades to negotiate and then years to implement and of course the evolution takes place. Also we have to understand the complexity of merging economics and social welfare. At some point there will be harm done to generate economics such as pollution, human injury and other harms. Again this is life, there are costs/balances to everything. Trade/economics and social welfare have been separated in arguments because social welfare is not on the minds of those who wish to exploit. Some leaders grab on to this sentiment and run with them. They do so at their peril because we have lived in a world that has been deeply connected through global trade for centuries if not thousands of years. As always we must be on guard due to the elements within the tragedy of the commons – greed. We know that there will be those that sell out the entire world for money. As we get set for many debates about globalization and protectionist ideology, complex factors will surface about what is the goal. Many will say it is the pursuit of a good life. Well the definition of that is again different for each of us. As the debate rages on we will hear the theories about rising tides, domino effects, nash equilibrium, tit for tat game theory and many others. At the end of it all it will come down to trusting the everyone negotiates in good faith. Let the games begin and pray for those that will get stepped on by the Machiavelists.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Paper tigers are doing great harm to the world

We have lived in a world where courts and negotiation rooms have been used to the point where such environments are feared. In reality these environments were built to bring peace and fairness to the world. Over time these systems have been usurped by paper tigers. These people have completely forgotten about the reality of why these systems were built. At this very point we need the axiom of “forget the lessons and you will make past mistakes”. Over thousands of years we had grown tired of fighting, killing and destroying each other when a disagreement took place. There was an enlightening period where we had seen a larger end game at play. We needed more peaceful methods. We progressed to a point where physical wars were seen as a reality to avoid because it was just stupid. However we have to respect natural instincts and sometimes insanity takes hold, then a brawl (war) takes place. So here we are. We have many people who take peace for granted as they push others around using courts and negotiation rooms. These people have forgotten the insanity rule. The insanity rule is this: 50% of all the world is insane because that is the true balance of nature – equality – for every action there is an equal reaction. The most important part of the insanity rule is that an insane person can be dealt with rationally as long as you are willing to work peacefully with others. However you best be ready for the occasional burst of energy. We all have this component within us. Sadly there are some who have forgotten this and use the systems of our courts and negotiation rooms as if they are battle fields. We built these systems to be arenas for mutual discussion, team work, to allow facts, truth and reason to be expressed. Over time these systems have become something else and feared. The court rooms have been used as weapons of oppression. The negotiation room has become a place to drop notice of impending doom. For more clear examples of how the paper tiger attitude has eroded global peace, this is exactly what the Arab Spring was about. This is what sprung the Occupy movement. This is what brought Al-Qaida to the world. This is what small print contracts have become. Each of these indicate that the mind is the first weapon used. Next is the mouth, then the hands. With many paper tigers the intention is to bully others. Such people will bring great harm as we have already witnessed. It is the intention of the actor which is to be questioned. We built systems of peace yet those systems are now being used by certain actors to oppress many. We are told that the systems are there to protect us yet, how many of us feel that is true? This is an indication we need to be very aware of. As is always the case, it is not the system being used – it is the people using the system that is of greater importance.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Play nice with the bully

For many years we have poured great effort into the issue of bullying. Well this very morning I have just read four newspaper articles that speak to the bullying style leadership of Donald Trump. Add the disturbing fact about how the tactic relies on misinformation and threats. The more disturbing part is the reality that people are bowing under the pressure. Seriously, what does that say about all the resources, attention, effort and advice we have spent to end such behaviour? What is says is that we can be bought, we are sell outs. Personally, it is not a shock to see the image of a very tough, thick skinned, fast paced, financial industry be exposed as a group that can be easily pushed around. Same as the auto industry. These corporate giants have crawled on hands and knees to governments before and use similar bully tactics on a daily basis. This is how the tough image was born. You will be sold out at any moment. There is no integrity, there is no good will, there is no character but the image of who has the most money no matteer how you get it. The character of all the charity work to stand up to bullying, to stand up for truth, for just society and to be leaders of good faith have all been crippled. All of this work has been undone by and we have allowed the bully to rage on. This is a very disappointing situation. Furthermore, the media has been telling us to play nice with Donald Trump because he will take our lunch money if we do not. In the face of that I have to ask – what the hell did we fight World War Two for if not to end such idiocy? Where is our character, what do we stand for? Are we really going to sell out and bow down to a bully? Are we that short sighted, that weak, are we going to shame those that we have told to stand up against bullying? For years we stood up against such tactics. Yet at the pinnacle of opportunities to be an example of integrity, character, trust and strength we are failing. As this is being pointed out the only argument that is brought to counter the stance against Donald Trump is that it will cost us money. Well to that I say, if you ever wanted to know what it is like to be a prostitute you have just crossed that line. You are willing to sell the very essence of what we are for money. So play nice with the bully so you can keep your money while your integrity and character is flushed into the sewer. While you are at it, you best stop all the advertising about corporations being community friends, strong supporters of building communities that care, building communities that look after each other or building a sense of strength for those who speak truth in the face of lies, attacks, slander, threats, accusations and outright childish temper tantrums. Building a peaceful world is not easy and it cost a great deal more that all the money that will ever exist. At this time we have tough choices to make and how we act. Who you are and what you stand for is being put to the test. Having seen what has already taken place I have to say that most will sell out. Once this battle is all over it will take a massive cleanse to wash the slime off ourselves. How do we get through this with our character in tact? We stay with the facts and truth. When we are threatened with misinformation we stand firm and say – take your best shot. We might get hit hard. However the hit will never be hard enough to do any real harm. We continue on with our work as we expose weaknesses of the bully. In time we will gain greater rewards than if we had capitulated to the bully. This is the path of peace.