Thursday, February 15, 2018

Build peace or wage war?

Of late, I have been doing a great deal of work on the importance of civil society in peacebuilding. One reality that came across my mind is that civil society has a tremendous role in the destruction of peace so it should have an equal role in the building of peace. As the world works, an example of just such a situation comes to the front of attention in the form of the school shooting in the RUSA, Florida.

The school shootings can be an anology of what is taking place in Syria. Although the scale of destruction is different, the sparks that ignite violence can be seen as similar in each circumstance. We can see the personal path of groups like Daesh as similar to that of the person who opens fire on a school. We see the isolation of the other, the internal conversation that festers within the closed group or mind, the need to lash out, the need to get revenge, the need to feel some control and the “insanity of their words and actions”.

Then we have the outside group or civil society. These are the people who see the destructive behaviour taking place. Often the destruction takes place slowly and society can brush it off, even though it is the destruction of society we are witness to. Such situations are not comfortable for many of us. This is true for every single person in society. Since there are a great many factors swirling around in this situation, the scope of the equation can be overwhelming.

What is meant by the scope of the equation is this:

A personal problem manifests itself and that person gives warning signs. When or if those signs are noticed something must be done. What needs to be done, do you have the capacity to do anything and of course there is the decision - are you willing to get involved? Each and everyone of us faces these situations everyday. We see people struggle with life everyday and we make snap decisions.

As we deal with these situations we must take into consideration the reality that we may never really know the impact we make when acting in a peaceful manner. It is easy to look back as ask why something was not done. The only reasonable answers is that no one really thought their actions would make much difference and that nothing bad was going to happen by ignoring the warning signs. Those thoughts are the most basic issue of why peace efforts are such a difficult reality for many to grasp onto.

We know the impact of a bullet, a bomb or a missle. It is difficult to truly know the impact of giving your time to help another. It is even more difficult to help those that are already understood as worthless, troublesome, weird or out of touch with reality. However these are the links in the chain of peace that will break if left alone.

Peace is a continous task filled with moments of struggles to help eachother. Also, we must keep in mind that we have to take care of our own internal peace. Each of us must seek out healthy methods to vent frustrations as well. As we go about such tasks we find that it takes greater courage to be a peaceful person that it does to be a violent, destructive and harmful person.

As we go about our day, each of us carries a responsibility to ensure civil society either builds peace or wages war.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Negotiated Governance

In 1998 I worked for Angus Brohwmeir Consulting and provided these thoughts on the subject of Peace Negotiations.I referred to a process I called a "Negotiated Governance". This phrase describes the move through a transition from armed conflict to peace.
The process of negotiated governance provides the opportunity to work through the ups and downs of peace building while making progress. Negotiated governance defines a process that is put in place where all parties involved build a solid agreeable framework.  This framework will result in an outcome negotiated to the satisfaction of all involved to govern present and future interactions.  To draw a comparison, the end result of a successful negotiated governance process will look like a constitution.
The process of negotiated governance begins when the need arises due to societal collapse.  It is quite clear that the first step is a cease fire in order to separate those involved.  This will involve military action.  This paper advises that all necessary force be used to impose the cease fire as quickly as possible.  At this point it must be understood that we are dealing with no small matter.  Speed and force must be shown to quell any thoughts of the importance or determination on the part of those that intervene to end the conflict.  The quicker the violence is suppressed and the sides separated the better, with all due consideration for civilians.  The most important portion here is the determination factor or political will.  Without the will to solve a problem, the problem continues. Peace is a process not a race.  The strength of a society is built on the lasting wisdom of the rules of governance and those rules have to be negotiated.

It has been evident for some time that a more effective approach to building peaceful societies after armed conflict is needed. To move through a transition from armed conflict to peace, there must be consideration of some plan before, during and after a conflict. The United Nations and other world bodies have had difficulty with the transition period from conflict to peace. To this end it seems there has been very little successful experience in the art of negotiated governance. This paper will discuss the idea of negotiated governance by defining what each stage involves, how each stage will be recognized and the manner in which to deal with possible flare-ups.

The need for a peace process will never disappear. Life will always present its challenges and we must rise to the occasion. While conflict will always be with us, our manner in which we deal with conflict can be altered. Quick fixes and short shortsightedness will only breed more unrest. What is needed is the will to do the best possible job with the greatest amount of lasting impact. Having time limits on creating a peaceful society is almost insane. We can not even predict the next three days let alone predict the future of a nation that has just gone through certain hell. In fact the one element that should be a benefit is time. "There is a problem when Israel and the Arab nations negotiate. the Arabs have all the time in the world and the Israelis need a solution now"1. The only time there is a need to rush is to get a peace process started.

The process of negotiated governance provides the opportunity to work through the ups and downs while making progress, "we have to recognize that it's not an event. It's not just an election, but a long-term process...the challenge is building real working solutions capable of responding to the needs of their citizens..."2. Negotiated governance defines a process that is put in place where all parties involved build a solid agreeable framework. This framework will result in an outcome negotiated to the satisfaction of all involved to govern present and future interactions. To draw a comparison, the end result of a successful negotiated governance process will look like a constitution.

The process begins when the need arises and the Security Council agrees to act. It is quite clear that the first step is a cease fire in order to separate those involved. This will involve military action. This paper advises that all necessary force be used to impose the cease fire as quickly as possible. At this point it must be understood that we are dealing with no small matter. Speed and force must be shown to quell any thoughts of the importance or determination on the part of those that intervene to end the conflict. The quicker the violence is suppressed and the sides separated the better, with all due consideration for civilians. The most important portion here is the determination factor or political will. Without the will to solve a problem, the problem continues.

To make an example, we can look at the role of the United Nations in Cyprus, "The situation in Cyprus did not resolve the underlying problem, ensure a lasting peace or have an exit strategy"3 All of this is true to an extent. First of all an exit strategy is good to have. The fact is, it is almost impossible to say when a conflict will end. The only real determination of the end is when military forces are no longer needed and the society is stable without them. Peace is a process not a race. The strength of a society is built on the lasting wisdom of the rules of governance and those rules have to be negotiated.

Once all the weapons have been accounted for, the cease fire can be seen as a building block for future goodwill. This next part of the cease fire is a very contentious issue. This paper advises that the intervening military (United Nations Peacekeepers) be divided up and put under the guidance of each recognized leader. For example, in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict each side would agree to have their own military stand down and replaced by UN Peacekeepers.

The rules for Peacekeepers remains the same, as do the reporting system and the supreme command of the Security Council is still in effect. What will be different is that the leaders of each side will have a force at their disposal to ensure peace and order are followed in the areas they need. By taking this action we remove the threat of recurring violence almost in its entirety through the military personnel.

Now we have a force that is the only armed force, has instant credibility and is accountable for any action taken. The civilians gain a sense of trust because the person carrying the guns are not to be feared. The negotiation process gains a sense of ease that order will be maintained and in a manner that each leader intends. As well as maintaining peace and order the military personnel can document evidence concerning human rights abuses, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

As the cease fire is being enforced there always exists the possibility of a return to violence. This threat will continue to be a concern for ever yet the will to enforce agreed rules must be the focus. Not only are the lives of the civilians at stake but so is the credibility of the leaders and the soldiers of the United Nations forces at risk. The only way that a negotiated governance will last is by acknowledging the rule of law. Having to question any participants will to resolve the conflict can only prolong the cease fire atmosphere and the heavy military presence.

If the ceasefire is broken decisions will have to be made about the removal of some military personnel from the region entirely. The processing of suspect military personnel for deportation will begin so as to further enhance the chances of success. These soldiers are to be taken out of the area for processing, training and slowly reintegrated over time. Having to make this decision is an extreme measure. Only when the cease fire has been broken and the process of negotiations is in jeopardy will this step have to be taken against leaders into consideration.

The conditions set out by the negotiated governance process during step one involve total disarmament, UN Peacekeeping Forces acting as the state military and the removal of the former military personnel for retraining are non-negotiable. A peaceful existence for the citizens takes precedents over any desire for power or control. It must be stated that the situation was in utter disarray and order will be put back in place at any cost.

"Military strength comes to be seen as to preserve rights and secure society".4 Again the will and determination to end the violence is vital. At this stage there needs to be a separation of law makers and law enforcers. The priority of the military remains to hold or keep the peace yet the side effects are evident. A part of the side effects are a sense that a secure society has returned.

This phase of the cease fire involves reaffirming the authority of political leaders/representatives of each group so that negotiations can take place. The same people that were in contact for the initial implementation of the cease fire may not be suitable for the negotiations. The reasons for suitability may lay in the number of cease fire breeches, clear evidence of distributing misinformation, criminal activity, or any number of issues that indicates poor accountability, trust or legitimacy as a representative of the people.

The person chosen to be recognized as the representative must have the credibility to agree to the terms being discussed. "Peacemaking is impossible without a strong, integrated political leadership"5 The first agreement on which trust is being built is the peaceful co-existence of all people. We are in the early stages of the negotiated governance process and violence maybe a social normality that crept into the minds of some civilians over the course of the conflict.

How these breeches of the peace are dealt with will greatly enhance or hinder the legitimacy of the United Nations Peacekeeping forces. We can look to the events of 1967 and see how the failure to quell hostilities undermined the process and resulted in the Six Days War. "That the Six-day War occurred, demonstrated that the underlying dispute was not solved. The 1967 Arab-Israeli war only made the disputes more intractable"6

The cease fire stage will continue as long as the acts of aggression take place. "Factors that impede progress are historical memory, regional hostilities, and a reluctance to change the status quo".7 If the leaders of a particular group can not fulfill its obligation then it falls upon the United Nations to be that leadership until a new credible leader is chosen.

The next step of the negotiated governance is the implementation. The process of a negotiated governance is a living thing. As the process unfolds the ideas that are agreed upon are implemented immediately as best as they can. This allows the negotiations to see where the next problems may take root and deal with them at the time when change is all around. Such event as elections, infrastructure building and, getting to the underlying support for the downward spiral are all steps to be taken.

Focus now is shifted away from the military to the civilian actors. The people involved in the negotiation may even change dramatically from a less military presence (because security was the main issue) to a greater presence of civilian political, government and non-governmental organizations. Also the environment of the process changes. The authority of the military needs to be appreciated and allowed to provide the security.

The focus on refugee camps, food distribution, water, health, education, and government are all part of this step in the process of negotiated governance. Infrastructure needs to be put back in place such as schools, hospitals and, judicial system. Other institutions may need to be introduced as well at this stage such as Truth and Reconciliation Commissions and the furthering work for any crimes against humanity that need to be investigated. Along with these initiatives the importance of focus on the eventual elections for public office must be kept in perspective.

At this step the leaders will also have to work more closely in order to provide a sound foundation for future dealings in case a breakdown in the peace takes hold. As much as the cease fire helps in building the peace the hardest job is the mental shift for the citizens that have lived through the conflict. "There can be no genuine peace in human affairs unless individuals and groups are treated with respect and righteousness".8

At this stage of negotiated governance, treating people with respect and righteousness takes its roots. Human dignity and self-esteem are slowly built up in the same fashion as the schools, hospitals, judicial system and governments. This stage can be said that it begins to deal with the hearts and minds of the people, "Identity, security and, similarly powerful collective needs and, the fears and concerns about survival associated with them, are often important causal factors in conflict".9

What does this all mean for the person living everyday before, during and, after the conflict. How will that person notice the change from conflict to peace when a flare-up is likely to take place? As the conflict is being resolved for some it is not quick enough. There are still feelings of mistrust such as the Hamas had after Israel pulled out of the Gaza Strip, "Armed resistance, not negotiations, have forced Israel out, We are going to keep our weapons because the battle with the enemy is a long one"10. The affects of violence must be dealt with on a constant basis through correct information and education.

At this stage the building of a nation becomes more evident. Not only are the national frameworks being put together but the local levels must also be put back together. Local community groups are needed to form ad hoc schools, hospitals, information centres for economic growth. Those tasks are large enough yet the influx of returning refugees must be accounted for, even if that may not be a reality for sometime.

Non-governmental organizations are best suited to assist with this transition. Focusing on the local areas and then building national policy based on the commonalities of all. "Moving from the actual defense system to the stance of politics and peace with the understanding that governments are derived from the will of the people".11 How long it will be before this ideology takes hold is not known. Even in Canada people have a belief that government is separate from the people. After a violent conflict it is difficult to understand that the citizens of the nations allowed the type of environment they just went through to exist.

As the local communities are being put together the focus on the national levels are about elections. The very style of government that will be used is a major topic for discussion. Democracy is the most preferred and has been spreading. This may not be the style that the people will choose to have though. To that end, the people involved in the negotiation process must be flexible to allow such ideas to be worked through fully.

There must be some way for the public to go through healing other than the negotiation process, which is more about policy and guidelines than healing. The decision to be made is whether or not to form a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, "These commissions provide a chance for citizens to learn that other members of the community are able to rediscover each other as human beings."12 As a society goes through a violent conflict the people realize how fragile civilization is. The other side of conflict demonstrates the resilience of people to survive through the most horrendous conditions.

The process of negotiated governance respects the struggles of a society and allows the flexibility of thought and action to transform reality in the individual and the collective.

"We need a conversion that changes the individuals and society of nations. Though the difficulties of such a conversion are staggering, we must not conclude they are insurmountable."13 Having the local groups begin their own transformation through conflict with guidance's from NGO's and state government allows for an inclusive work to take root at the national level.

As the negotiated governance process continues the two most far reaching and noticeable events may be the cease fire and the building of a truth and reconciliation commission. The next visible and far reaching step is to initiate elections of some form. This was mentioned earlier, concerning democracy as a choice of government. What ever the style chosen the people are the ones that must be consulted. The root of the entire process of negotiated governance boils down to the fact that for humanity sake you must always provide options. This sentiment relates to your own personal life and in the dealings with others.

For the average person involved in the ordeal, they would have seen the actions of a cease fire put in place. Through that cease fire there may have been a number of uprisings that needed to be suppressed. News of discussion concerning the peace talks would flourish. As those talks continue and the peacekeeping forces become a regular part of life, societies begin to work together on community projects such as schools, hospitals, and other avenues for healing, such as truth and reconciliation endeavours.

The reintegration of refugees will take place at such a rate that there will be no overt strain on society. Even though the process is going well the integration of refugees can add untold stress if undertaken poorly resulting in renewed conflict.

A thorough look at the reasons for the re-escalation will need to be investigated and the possible involvement of external factors such as other states or organizations. It may even be possible that the people at the table had inadvertently caused the situation. What ever the reason it must be fully investigated and faith in the process reaffirmed. "Society must remain optimistic that even the most contentious or complex issue can be handled through cooperative efforts and collaborative arrangements."14

Currently we can look at the situations in Sudan, Afghanistan, Iraq and, Haiti as examples of how the international community is dealing with interstate conflict and the efforts to negotiate peaceful solutions. Each situation has its own set of difficulties and will require specific agreements for each one. However they may differ the one thing that remains the same is the overall desire for a long lasting solution.

In Sudan we can see the effects Canada has made through the implementation of the 3D approach. This approach melds development, diplomacy and, defence together in focused plan. Canada works with the leaders of the nation,other NGO's and it own aid agency Canadian International Development Agency to develop the strategy for the 3D approach. Searching for new ways of assisting those areas that are caught in the cycle of violence is fraught with risk.

In Sudan, Canada would assist with the development of schools, hospitals, and infrastructure to assist with internally displaced people. At the same time as defence operations are taking place. The defence portion assists with holding a working cease fire plan so that the leaders in Sudan can work on negotiating a peace agreement. As part of the diplomacy section of the 3 D approach, Canada also has experts in nation building and policy reform at the table.

In Afghanistan Canada is assisting with the defence of the nation. The government in Afghanistan is quite fragile and is working on stabilizing a government that will be respected throughout the entire nation. In essence there is no cease fire in effect. Yet elections are being held and infrastructure is building up.

The situation in Afghanistan has been a unique one in that the leaders of the warring parties are not able to sit down and negotiate a governance. This posses its own set of problems. One being how can you be inclusive if one side of the equation is missing? This is why there exist no cease fire protocol and may never even have one. The approach in Afghanistan is to reach out to the various tribal leaders and seek concessions that will foster relations to support the central government. It is a patchwork set of circumstances held together loosely. Another element that needs to be taken into consideration is the geography of the country. A vast array of mountains and sparsely populated. Reaching out to all the people for elections can be a daunting task and even when you do reach them, how can their safety be ensured if there is no support, military or otherwise?

Afghanistan is a prime example of how time must be given to accomplish the end goal. The military action was successful in ousting the former government yet the vast geography made the victory somewhat passive. "The short war began on October 7, and ended in December followed soon after with the inauguration of Hamid Karzai as interim Prime Minister"15 The quick progression of events left the world wondering how all this could come about. "If anyone is to replace the leaders in Afghanistan, it will have to be the people of Afghanistan themselves. Any doubters should ask the British and the Russians"16 The example of the will of the people to govern themselves is evident, even if the system of government is seen as " its natural state of ethnic and factional squabbling."17.

The process of negotiated governance is a working living thing. It will adapt too any situation that the people wish it to and that can create tension. The attempts to bring peace in Democratic Republic of Congo, Cyprus, Israel, Palestine and, Haiti are good example of how frustrated people can get if the situation seems to be stalling. The measure here is whether or not the situation is spiraling downward, and it is not. Are there situations that have taken place to question the process, absolutely. It must be understood that the process may be slow yet it is working on a very difficult task.

In Haiti, we can see the effects of ending the operations too soon. As eluded to earlier, the notion of a failed state is represented with Haiti. "Haiti is a truly failed state that has gone through invasion, extermination, degradation and disintegration since 1492".18 The recent Haitian problem began with President Aristides being overthrown in 1992.

Throughout the 1990's a series of United Nations missions and resolution went into action ending in 1997. "The total monetary commitment in the 1990's equals $401 million Cnd"19 The resolve to secure lasting peace must be present for any action lest there is a desire to go through the entire process more than once, as the situation in Haiti displayed.

Today Canada is back in Haiti. This time there is the process of the 3D approach, mentioned above. "Far too often we have seen the tragic consequences that result from failure to act on principles which form the very basis of intervention"20. The process of negotiated governance allows for setbacks. The important factor is the courage that needs to be displayed when faced with adversity.

Canada has taken some knocks over its involvement in Haiti yet the responsibility must also lay at the feet of the Haitians themselves. The international community has been chastised over such failures and the United Nations is usually the face that is present. "The performance of peacekeeping operations is considerably less impressive than its mixed record on limiting armed conflict."21

The development of nation building and peacekeeping are quite new to the world. It must be understood that these are experiments. The success of one process can add knowledge to another. Just as the failure of one mission can add wisdom to the overall process. Quick fixes are good for the media and short term political goals. Yet for effective solutions the people of the international community and more so the people that live in the conflict area must be prepared for the cycle of violence that can erupt for any number of reasons. A calm resolve to work through the process is needed. Strong leadership of the situation and a clear message goes along way in sustaining the drive to accomplish a peaceful society.

We live in a world that is solution based. When those solution do not meet deadlines quickly enough the situation is seen as hopeless and blame is spread thick. "Do not fight the problem".22 Sound advice considering a great deal of resources are spent to know what the problem is so that it can be fought.

Once the steps of a cease fire, community building, nation building and a healing process have been put into action and elections have been held another step in the process can be taken. "Society needs to work together towards unearthing the unhealthy patterns of conflict and start building organizations that work to create community-based dialogue that is inclusive and responsible"23

When the process of negotiated governance is undertaken, the difficulties lay with the impression that nothing is being done. Action is wanted and violence is the action most likely to be used. In the past we have seen where the transition from chaos to order is ill conceived and poorly executed at all stages when violence erupts, "...should such threats emerge, we must be better prepared to respond"24. The reason for the such failures can be related to the lack of focus or cohesive efforts of all the actors involved. Until recently there had been no set objective for all the actors to adhere to other than the broad scope of peace in the region.

The question of how the negotiations will progress is a difficult one. Truthfully it must be stated that no one can predict the future or knows how the process will unfold. However, having all the actors organized and working together is a start. The most recent move towards supporting such a process is the creation of the Peacebuilding Commission put forth in the World Summit 2005 document, "The main purpose of the Peacebuilding Commission is to bring together all relevant actors to marshal resources and to advise on and propose integrated strategies for post-conflict Peacebuilding recovery"25. The World Summit document advises that the Peacebuilding Commission be in operation by December 31 2005.

When peace agreements fail the blame is placed on the United Nations. Striving for peace has its inherent pitfalls. The nations of the world must share the blame yet world leaders stop short and allow the failure to rest on the institution that is only allowed to do what its members are willing to let it do, or not do.

"Emphasizing the need for a coordinated, coherent and integrated approach to post-conflict peacebuilding with a view to achieve sustainable peace"26 The idea to have such a capacity will allow for a clear sense of what to expect when a conflict arises. In the past the efforts of the world have been unfocused and patch worked.

The final stage of negotiated governance is the formation of a peaceful nation. The goal is to live peacefully aside others. Identity of groups will always seek similarities and those that do not fit will be tolerated less. This is life. This is the reason we need processes such as negotiated governance, peacbuilding commissions and the 3D concept.

The reintegration of both refugees and others that were for whatever reason on the other side of the conflict, challenges a person. When your ideas are challenged conflict can arise, the same for politics. Political ideas are challenge on the manner in how to run the nation. As we have seen these conflicts turn into violence. "Fortunately, it is possible for horizons of understanding to be broadened by experience."27 It is the experiences that will prove most useful as the process of negotiations is further developed.

The example of Yugoslavia is important. The Olympic games were held in Sarajevo and the city celebrated its ethnic diversity. The world watched the games and the nation stood proud that such a multicultural world could be so grand. Within a few short years that same city held memorials for 22 people shot dead while they stood in line for a loaf of bread in the city square by a sniper. The bridge in Mostar, a symbol of the rich history that has graced the country destroyed. The events were shocking and the fragile peace that makes up society became more evident.

Today the country is no more. It has split up yet the process of peace allows the violence to be dealt with. The healing process takes a while. As mentioned above there are process of truth and reconciliation, criminal courts and a multitude of NGO's that work to heal the damage done by violent conflicts. All these initiatives are part of a process to attain the societies we choose to live in. The same process that leads to the downward spiral can lead to peaceful societies.

Having cultures integrate and live together is the root cause of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict. Without a respected and clear process to allow the two societies to live beside eachother the situation will have dire consequences. There needs to be tolerance and understanding that the process of living together will enrich eachothers lives not hinder it.

In Israel the political situation has gone through some very interesting times. The President of Israel, Ariel Sharon has lead his country through many confidence votes and attempts to have him thrown out of office. All for the reason that he is trying to make the two states of Israel and Palestine live in a cohesive environment. Peace is not easy and sometimes it even looks as though it is unpopular. The efforts of Ariel Sharon have also put up walls between the two people. The entire situation runs from extremes to the other extreme and in the middle are people that would like nothing more than to live in peace.

The building of the wall in Israel was quite an event. Then the images of Israel forcing its own people out of homes, so that the Palestinians can have the land they claim as theirs made the conflict even deeper. This process brought to light a different conflict that was

not seen before. Israelis were burning down the homes and destroying business all in an attempt to express the hatred felt between the two. This is a clear indication of people fighting the problem.

If for instance the world stood up and put the political will behind the peace effort the problem of Israel and Palestine could have been solved quite some time ago. Briefly lets take the Israeli/Palestine conflict through a negotiated governance.

First step would be to enforce a cease fire. A large force of military troops take up residence. Both sides are put through a disarmament process to ensure that peace will be maintained. In order to sustain the peace both leaders will have a say in where the troops are deployed and for what purpose. As this process is unfolding the military collects information on the situation and reports back to the Security Council and the leaders of both states.

The soldiers that made up the military of both states go through a reorientation process for the purpose of reintegration at a later date. The citizens meanwhile are working on building the infrastructure of the communities and begin the first steps towards a healing process. At the negotiation table election dates are agreed upon, boundaries discussed, and the formulation for dealing with any unforeseen acts of aggression that may take place.

As the process unfolds the peacekeepers are working with local residence to build systems that will will allow them to live peacefully. NGO's are present to assist with the healing process and education. The further on the process moves the possibility for election nears.

The formulation of constitutions and legal agreements that spell out the process for future interaction when violence does occur are released. Given the reaction to these set of developments will indicate the need for a removal of military forces. These forces will be replaced with the former soldiers that have succeeded in the reorientation process.

The final stage will be the complete and total removal of all foreign troops and the signing of formalized relations to live productively side by side with the understanding that if such a situation ever presents itself that threatens the peace the process to deal is spelled out in the document signed.

Good luck!


Cooper, Andrew F. Tests of Global Governance. United Nations University Press, Tokyo. 2004

Diehl, Paul F. International Peacekeeping. John Hopkins University Press. 1993.

Dunlop, Brendan. A Psychogeographic Map of Halifax. Free Coffee, Halifax. 2005.

Galtung, Johan. Peace by Peaceful Means. Sage Publications, London. 1996.

Gumbleton, Thomas J. The role of the Peacemaker: War or Peace. Editied by Thomas A. Shannon. Orbis Books, New York. 1982.

Haring, Bernard. The Healing Power of Peace and Nonviolence. Paulist Press, New York. 1986.

Kelman, Herbert. Social-Psycological Dimensions of International Conflict: Peacemaking in International Conflicts. Edited by I. William Zartman and J. Lewis Rasmussen. United States Institute for Peace Press. 1997

Lansing, Robert. The Peace Negotiations. Kennikat Press, Port Washington. 1921.

Long, Edward Leroy Jr. Peace Thinking in a Warring World. The Westminster Press, Philadelphia. 1983.

Macnamara, Don W. Haiti - an Opportunity for Canada to Apply the 3D Concept, Policy Options. Feb 2005, vol. 26 no, 02, pg, 63.

Morrison, Alex, Dale Anderson. Peacekeeping and the Coming Anarchy. Canadian Peacekeeping Press, Cornwallis. 1996

1Dan Meridor. Middle East Focus. Summer/Fall 1992, vol 14, no 3, pg., 16.

2Mark Malloch Brown, UNDP Administrator,

3Paul F. Diehl. International Peacekeeping. John Hopkins University Press, 1993 pg., 3.

4Edward Leroy Long , Jr. Peace Thinking in a Warring World. The Westminster Press, 1983 pg., 14.

5David Markovsk. Foreign Affairs, May/June 2005, vol. 84, no. 3, pg. 45.

6Paul F. Diehl. International Peacekeeping. John Hopkins University Press, 1993, pg., 47.

7Benjamin J. Broome. Journal of Peace Research, March 2004, vol. 41, no. 2, pg. 191.

8Edward Leroy Long, Jr. Peace thinking in a Warring World. The Westminster Press. 1983, pg. 30.

9Herbert C. Kelman. Social-Psycological Dimensions, Peacemaking in International Conflict. United States Institute of Peace Press. 1997, pg. 195.

10Editorial in the Chicago Tribune, Breaking down barriers, How Gaza can Boom. Touch Base Volume 7 Issue 8, Camelot Trading Enterprises, September 2005.

11Bernard Haring. The Healing Power of Peace and Nonviolence. Paulist Press, 1986, pg. 118.

12Cynthia Sampson. Religion and PeaceBuilding, Peacemaking in International Conflict. United States Institute of Peace Press. 1997, pg., 289.

13Edward Leroy Long, Jr. Peace Thinking in a Warring World. The Westminster Press, 1983, pg., 90.

14Andrew F. Cooper. Tests of Global Governance. United Nations University Press. 2004, pg.,153.

15Michael E. O'Hanlon. A Flawed Masterpiece, Foreign Affairs. May/June 2002, vol. 81, no., 3, pg., 50.

16Milton Bearden. Afghanistan, Graveyard of Empires., Foreign Affairs. Nov/Dec 2001, vol. 80, no., 6, pg., 30.

17Ibid, pg., 18.

18W. Don Macnamara. Haiti - an Opportunity for Canada to Apply the 3D Concept, Policy Options. Feb 2005, vol. 26 no, 02, pg, 63.

19Ibid., pg 64

20Ibid, pg 65.

21Paul F. Diehl. International Peacekeeping. John Hopkins University Press, 1993, pg., 92.

22Alex Morrison, World Contemporary Issues. 2005 class lecture.

23Brendan Dunlop. A Psychogeographic Map of Halifax. Free Coffee. 2005, pg., 20.

24United Nations, Item 55 Follow-up to the outcome of the Millennium Summit. 2 December 2004.

25United Nations, Items 48 and 121 of the provisional agenda A/60/150, 2005 World Summit Outcome. 15 September 2005.

26Ibid, item 97.

27Edward Leroy Long, Jr. Peace Thinking in a Warring World. The Westminster Press. 1983, pg 73.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Connundrum of life

For those that keep watch of the world, it is understood that every war carries through to the next war. No war ever really ends it just transform and takes on a different look. Today we still have the volatility of the Middle East – that has been a reality for centuries. Due to that history, many connections can be drawn as to what comprises the causes of war in Syria and Yemen.

Ten years ago if you asked what would happen if a major war broke out in the Middle East, what would your thougths be? Most likely, many of us would have thought the world would be engulfed in full out war. Reality is a full scale world war has not taken place. That is a testiment to our collective experience in which we learned not to reach that level of insanity. However, we are being impacted by a different level of world concern.

For argument sake the start of the war in Libya, Syria and Yemen was sparked with the Jasmine Revolution/Arab Spring/Occupy Movement. Depending on where you lived in the world the name of the movements changed. Labelling aside, the constants in each movement rest in the fact that people were tired of corruption. Along with that was the call for improved governance, fair distribution of wealth and essentially, peace of mind that the future was going to be better than it is today.

It is that last part which is of vital concern – peace of mind that tomorrow will be better than today. This vital component is every individuals duty to care for. If you are not at peace within your own mind take care of that first. This is the connundrum of life where being selfish and taking care of others collide. We must take the sticks out of our own eyes before we can do so for others. Self worth must be acknowledged to have the strength to help others. This ideology is just as valuable to the individual as it is to every single country in the world.

  To bring peace to the countries of Libya, Syria and Yemen we must listen to those who live in the rubble of war, the displaced people of refugee camps, the vendors in the markets, the youth and those that are seeking better lives in other countries. The information gained from the people helps others around the world to understand options and solutions for long term peace.  IT is imperative that a time frame is not imposed on peace as well. A longterm plan is not five years but 100 years. As peace settles a major international force must be deployed to enforce all laws of the nation plus a complete weapons ban.

Such efforts are not easily accomplished yet the truth of that path is known and trusted. What has been lacking is the complete will of the world to engage in such a seriousness. It is the same with each of us. We all know what needs to be done to have a peaceful life yet very few of us actually act upon the wisdom of their own knowledge.
Each decision and action carries through to the next. We can not escape history even though we do our best to hide, confuse, alter and sometimes flat out deny decisions and actions taken. If we cannot be honest with our own self how can we be trusted by others? Again, this is the connundrum of life where being selfish and taking care of others collide.

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.