Thursday, December 29, 2011

Informed yet still ignorant

While the world of peace and conflict has many avenues, the past two years have showed that an equal concern circles around greed– money.
Neither a bullet nor a dollar can harm you, alone or in tandem.  Both have to be passed through the hands of a person.  In reality the person is the focus for the creation of destruction.  In the past two years we have seen more destruction caused by the financial system than most current wars combined.  Just as the world was sent into a whirlwind of chaos during the 1929 stock market crash caused by greed in the RUSA, the current financial storm is a sibling born of the same mother.
The EU is dealing with a major crisis that in any normal situation would have been laid at the feet of the one that caused it.  The RUSA is responsible for the financial crisis and the world has let them off again.  What is worse is that the crime is still taking place and the criminals are running free.  All this tells me is that if you are going to commit a crime make it the largest crime the world has ever witnessed.

The sub-prime mortgage scandal hit Iceland so hard that it defaulted on loans.  Greece was next and the house of cards began to fall.  Oddly enough though the criminals were hardly even questioned about the massive ponzi scheme. Someday the world will watch a movie about how the RUSA stole more than a trillion dollars.  I am sure if you dig deep enough you will find other blogs that research this area.  My area is more bullets than money.  Although the two are often mates. 

I do know that the mainstream news sources are about the worst places to get such information.  It is a tight race for who sells out quicker, the media or the audience.  One lesson I have recently recalled is that you never try to change one persons mind, it is easier to change a million.  You see people are easily lead when in groups.  Alone they are free of mind, persuasion and influence.  How else could you explain why the world allowed the RUSA to steal such a large sum of money at the same time they illegally invade Iraq?

We let them off for an illegal invasion of Iraq, countless human rights violations/assassinations and we are letting them of on the largest fraud in history.  This is the largest news story of the decade and most of us are too busy staring at phones and ipods to see what is going on around them.
I wrote in an earlier posting about the courage of the Russian people to see their own death and face it.  They changed twenty years ago.  I wish the world had half that courage to see what is going on and face it.
Occupy whatever space you want, revolt however you choose but for the love of all that is peaceful, please do not tell me you care and then plug in an ipod, scan your text messages, watch whatever reality series is popular and sip energy drinks.  I have been tired of such bullshit before cellphones were popular.  What is worse is that the pile of shit has only grown.
The world has been bending these past few years under the weight of financial chaos and the war on terror.  Both of these have been started by the same country.  There will be a point where the world breaks and everything falls apart or it will spring back, throwing everything into the air.  Either way we are in for some really interesting times.
The world needs to change.  We have lived with the status quo and it is beginning to fall apart.  I do not know what the next few years will bring.  I do know that if we venture with the same ideology as we have these past 60 years it will be turbulent to say the least.  However, with enough courage and resolve we can make serious improvements to how the world operates.  We need to decentralize the power of the United Nations Security Council, International Monetary Fund, World Bank and impose a global system of minimum economic wage.
For now, there are just enough good things to keep the world in hopes.  Despite the image there are occurrences such as the Jasmine Revolution and the Occupy movements.  More so, there are the personal moments of love which are the best and the strongest.  Those personal moments are worth all the shit we slog through.  Someday you hope that after all the effort something or someone will make it all worth it.  At least I hope that day will come. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Transitional chaos in Libya

The people of Libya have completed another phase of revolution.  The violent overthrow of the past government is complete.  Now the new government is in the dire situation of producing results demanded by the people.  The first demand is to bring law, security and predictable government more quickly.
In the pursuit of those demands the new government of Libya has asked the international community to release the financial sanctions put upon Libya.  What is surprising is that the financial sanctions are still enforce while the weapons sanctions have been lifted.  Think about that piece of idiocy for a moment.  A country that is well stocked with weapons to the point where stock piles are found daily is allowed to bring in more weapons.  Yet the money to run government, police, hospitals, schools, transit and a host of other infrastructure is still on hold.  Who makes the decision to lift the sanctions – UN Security Council.
It is even more absurd when you hear the list of priorities for the return to peace.  Number one is the locating and documenting existing weapons in Libya.  Second is the reintegration of the 75 000 fighters into society.  Third priority is to quell the rise in gang violence.   
There were enough more guns and ammunition to oust the last leader yet they need more to secure the peace?   In addition, you will not have any money to pay the police, military, doctors, teachers or government agencies to run these operations.  To be fair, there are funds made available.  It is just frustrating to see that weapon sanctions get lifted before financial sanctions. 
As the Libyan government deals with the transition, the public needs to be engaged as well.  The people need an outlet to express their experiences.  There needs to be a reintegration program on a mass scale that the entire society can go through.  In the past these have been called Truth and Reconciliation Commissions.  No matter what the name is, such programs are needed. 
The biggest test is going to be the elections, which are supposed to take place next June.  Already people are becoming agitated with the slow progress of transition.  This is to be expected as a violent revolution is a very highly intense atmosphere and peace is not.  People want change now and that is impossible.  What needs to be done is to engage with the people.  There needs to be mass discussions on the vision of Libya.
These discussions will allow the people to vent off the anger of what appears to be slow progress.  Having a person in place for the people to scream at, take that energy and produce positive feedback.  This is the realm of community development.  It may be the smallest of items that will bring the anger to a level that is acceptable.  Perhaps the local market has been destroyed or the schools or mosque or even a popular community area.  Whichever it is, a discussion with the community will provide answers. 
One thing they certainly do not need is more weapons.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Peaceful leadership

On the surface of peaceful leadership there are a few indicators that should be adhered to.  One such indicator is the will of the people to die in large numbers for change in leadership.  On a more peaceful level, the will of the people to protest in very large numbers for weeks is also an indicator that leaders need to take great awareness of.
We have to ask why the leaders strive to rewrite constitutions and understand the answer provided in as peaceful a way possible.  However, it is true that such efforts to retain power can be power grabs and nothing more.  The person doing the grabbing is blinded by their own self-importance.  On occasion that power grab is solidified when opposition becomes violent.  The violence only strengthens the case for stability in government leadership to remain in power.
Of all the peaceful protests that have resulted in a change of government, peaceful demonstrations have been the greatest weapon.  No leader can violently put down a peaceful demonstration and come out looking as though they did the right thing.  The element of citizen restraint to remain peaceful can be difficult.  Even more so when government incites the violence itself by planting forces in the crowds just to start the violence.
Peace is a difficult route.  Yet when you take examples from the most uncomplicated situations peace seems so easy.  Carolyn Handschin-Moser wrote in an article titled Dignity: Cornerstone of the Culture of Peace a perfect example.
Two women were out with their children one day.  Somehow the two boys started throwing rocks at each other in anger.  What would you think if both parents advised their kids to throw bigger rocks to solve the problem?  Shock and awe was the term used by some.  As simple as that example is, that is the exact manner in which most countries act.
With the above example, the world is witnessing some major political changes.  North Korea shares the top of that list with Russia.  How will the people and the government deal with the coming months?  In other places such as Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, Syria and Yemen the transformation continues as well.
Right now in the DRC, the political leaders should begin their campaign for succession.  The current leaders should start to educate and prepare for the next election.  The preparation could involve open debates, strengthening the independent arms of government such as the electoral commission and depoliticize the court/law system and education system.  If the people are not educated and prepared we will see similar events during the next election as we witness now.
I know how simple my ideas seem to be.  However I have experienced the brutal difficulty in applying these simple ideas.  Peace, it takes a courageous heart to stand up and practice when faces with the largest rocks.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Russian Transformation

25 December 1991
 Twenty years ago Russia took a very courageous step.  That step ended the Soviet Union and began Russia.  Also it was courageous because the leaders knew they would have to deal the image of losing the cold war, even though the cold war had only a small part to do with it, the cold war was just collateral damage.As we near the date of 25 Dec 2011, we will hear a great deal of garbage about how the RUSA won the cold war.  Those that believe Russia lost the cold war are lazy in thought, poor students of history and easily swayed by propaganda.The history of Russian reform had very little to do with the cold war.  The reform of Russian politics and economics lay squarely at the feet of corruption and a very large gap between the people of Russia and the politicians that lead Russia.  The largest enemy to the Soviet Union was itself, no other entity.
The Soviet leaders of 1980-1990 knew the internal enemy was real and they could see the corruption of Soviet politics killing Russia.  Something had to be done so they came up with perestroika and glasnost.  These two programs were intended to end the corruption and lessen the gap between the people and the political leaders.  This step was courageous in every way as it promised to end a luxurious life style for political leaders and build a stronger middle class. 
The transformation is still taking place in Russia.  The Russian people are wonderful people that have been loyal to their country and the politics of communism.  They had lived the realities of corruption and in the late 1970’s, 80’s and 90’s their desire for an equal opportunity to achieve dreams took priority over status quo.  Thus the leaders of the day embarked on change unlike the world had seen in centuries. 
It is no small fact that very few countries could ever go through such a dramatic shift in economics, politics and society as peacefully as Russia has.  They have endured the stigma of losing the cold war and bending to the ideology of the RUSA.  These two stigmas are false stigmas.  The world would be better to see the history for what it is, not what one side proclaims it to be.
I truly admire the Russian people for their courage and peaceful ideology.  Their rival enemy RUSA would crumble under such a courageous step and that fact is what makes the stigma of losing all the more bogus.  However I am sure that many people will object to my view.  That is a point where I will always side with the peaceful issue of Russian transformation.  Perception and opinion be dammed, reality is that Russia had a greater enemy within than from outside
I wish the Russian people all the success as they continue on from their historically courageous step.
Na Zdorovie

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Peaceful game theory

Last night I got into a discussion on what game theory is.  Now I have been a student of theories my entire life, as I see it.  All that information got snarled up before I could say a word, so it was not easy to define game theory in a flash. However I did realize that we were playing a card game so I used that as my analogy.
Game theory is the study of strategy used to get results.  It is a plan to win a chess game, to win a hockey game, an election, war or even to get a job.  The strategy you employ (whether you know your strategy or not) is the game theory you use to obtain your goal.   Everyone uses game theory.  One of the most popular theories is fight or flight.  That has been changed to fight, freeze or flight due to the fact that some people get so nervous that they can do nothing but collapse/freeze.
When we have events such as the Jasmine Revolution, we can look to see what the theory was and map it out.  Did Mohamed Bouazizi know that his actions would spark the Jasmine Revolution, would cause a number of other events in Libya, Egypt, Syria, Yemen and the Occupy movement all over the world?  You would have to believe that he did not.  However his own personal actions had been rooted in the theory that if he set himself on fire the government would take notice and make changes to the current system.  That was his game theory and he was right.
Now this is a very simple example of game theory.  There are much more complex psychological strategies which have been studied.  Yet the currents and streams of thought on the subject all deal with plans that a person or group uses to achieve a goal.
Game theory is often studied along with the art of decision making and information gathering.  These three elements are all part of strategy.  You need the right information to make the best decision so that the correct strategy is used.
For example we can ask why a government would rather shoot its people than allow protesting.  The initial reason is to gain control of the populous.  Governments feel threatened by large mobs of protesters so that mob has to be put down.  That is one level.  The other level is the personal one where the person in charge, Prime Minister, President or General also feels that their life is in danger or their job.  This personal level hinges on dignity, power and self-image.  The leader feels that the people should be grateful for the life provided and a large protest is a slap in the face.  Also the leader sees a possibility that they will be ousted from power so that has to be fought.  Next there is the image that no one else has the right to hold the position that the leader now holds, it is theirs and the mob is trying to steal it.
How leaders deal with these perceptions is where game theory comes in.  They must ask themselves, what is the best method to end the protest, to retain power and to regain the admiration of the people.  Shooting them is a popular choice because it does work, for a time.  Shooting and killing is the theory employed in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, Burma, Columbia, Libya, DRC and the list goes on.
For peaceful examples we have Poland Solidarity Movement 1980, Czechoslovakia Velvet Revolution 1989 which lead to the peaceful 1993 seperation of the Czech Rebublic and Slovakia, and the Ukraine Orange Revolution 2004.  Each has taken place in the last few decades.  We can go further back for examples of peaceful revolutions yet these are perfect enough.  As you can see the use of peace as a strategy is a successful game theory and it often results in a stronger country.  Of the peaceful examples Ukraine had a number of setbacks, yet the initial game theory of peaceful demonstration worked. 
That is a quick summation of game theory.  My theory in the game of understanding is that by using such broad examples it is easily understood. 

Just as I was writing this I have learned that Vaclav Havel has died this morning.  He was the person put up as the leader for the Velvet Revolution. Rest in peace my friend you did a great job, we need more like you. 

Egypt, peace was taken away

Complete breakdown in peaceful transformation.  At some point there had to be an equal group of citizens and government forces that caused enough damage for the situation to deteriorate into the use violence.  At the moment we are in the status of blame.  Who did what to cause the other to use violence?
We all have a desire to find the people or person responsible for the chaos that cripples relationships.  When the relationship involves a people and those that lead, the chaos is deadly.  At some point there was a breakdown in the vision that linked the hopes of the people and the hopes of the leaders.  The massive rallies this past summer were truly inspirational.  The people had peacefully taken the leader out.  The military stood down and would not fire upon them because they knew as individuals that peace is much easier when physical violence is not a threat.  However that understanding of peace broke down.
There are a number of elements that breakdown.  The Egyptian riots have broken down due to the death of trust, the desire for power, the loss of dignity and too many visions of how Egypt should progress.   
We know that someone in a position of great responsibility/power gave orders to shoot.  Someone that provided enough push to the right people so that the military would fire upon the people.  It is odd that the military did obey the orders this time when they had stood down before.  This is the exact leadership that Egypt will have for the coming months or perhaps years. 
Wisdom tells us that all decisions ultimately come down to one person.  Someone has to make the decision to act.  Now that is the birth of conspiracy and truth finding.  In reality it may have played out that the one person was a foot soldier who panicked and fired a shot.  That first shot can quickly get lost in cacophony of the ripple effect.   I am not saying that is what happened in Egypt but it has happened.
Looking back to Yugoslavia just after Tito died; we have a map to how a country that was ruled by a dictator slowly breaks down.  In 1984 the world was invited to Sarajevo for the Winter Olympics.  Within a few short years those same stadiums were used as shelters from war.  At the time no one could tell who was working behind the stage.  Right now we know who is in charge in Egypt, but are there others working underneath as well to ensure chaos reigns for the time being?
When such a game is played the end is only a prediction.  Death brings new twists of fate.  In chaos fate swirls around picking at random.  Right now Egypt is within the grasp of chaos, much like Syria.  The beginning provided so much hope for peace.  Now we are living on the edge of complete failure for Egypt.  Why is it so difficult to not shoot, kill, destroy each other?  Why do people so easily give up on peaceful relations?  Egypt had peace within its sights and now we are further away than we were one year ago. 
Well, all we can do is work even more than we have in the past to ensure that the threat of violence is not part of the children’s day.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Iraq and Afghanistan

These two countries are in a similar state today yet in 1999 that was not the case.
Ten years ago Iraq was on its way to becoming a peaceful country.  The president was predictable and co-operative enough to provide for stability.  There was a great hope in the region that the world was comfortable with the balance of power and progression of peace.  Then along came the RUSA and bombed the hell out of that entire security net.  The world should never let this fact be idle chatter. 
Afghanistan is different than Iraq.  Ten years ago the people of Afghanistan lived under constant instability for decades.  Today the situation is the same.  The people live with daily threats of violence, political instability and the chaos of an unknown future.
These two wars are still being fought yet the main combatant is leaving because they can no longer handle the cost – mentally, physically or economically.  In short they lost all will and capacity.  In this act of leaving now the impact will not be fully felt for years.  The violence in both Iraq and Afghanistan will increase as the power vacuum take shape.
This is the reality we must prepare for.  Iraq and Afghanistan will be lawless, violent and brutal places to live.  Ten years ago we had peace within our sights in Iraq.  A stable Iraq is a dream right now as much as a stable Afghanistan is.
Where do we go from here?
That question is very difficult to answer.  I do know that we will be living with the stagnation of chaos for some time, years for sure, decades possibly.  Peace in both countries will now be in the care of a very fragile national government with the assistance of patch work NGOS.  Peace will be fought for using a chaos of organizations with no singular clear vision or plan.  The people will be torn in a great many directions as they seek certainty.  All the while the United Nations will be seized with the issues in both countries and that is where stagnation of chaos will supplant itself for years to come.
If the five members of the Security Council actually had a collective mind, one that was built on co-operation and peaceful discourse of civilian life, we would have a vastly different world.  I do think there would still be wars but not on the scale of what we have today.
Looking back in history we can equate the two situations to Vietnam 1975, Cambodia 1975, Burma 1960 and even Afghanistan in 1989.  If peace were the ultimate goal in either of those countries the world would be a vastly different place.  We can always wonder what life would be like if the policies of Soviet Russia(1978) met with the policies of the RUSA in 2002?  Both wanted the Taliban out, both wanted a peaceful national governing system, both wanted an independent Afghanistan and both wanted enough to send its own soldiers.  Peace is not always the ultimate goal, revenge and dominance usually is.

Iraq and Afghanistan are areas that produce more violence.  Soviet Russia had sought peace in Afghanistan during the 1980's only to provide a venue for a RUSA proxy war.  The result is what we have today.  The same situation in Iraq/Iran in the 1970's played out as proxy wars.  Today we should have great concern for what both Iraq and Afghanistan will progress into.  Mostly this concern is due to a very weak resolve of world leadership. 

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been won by the people that are there now and will be there next year.  Sadly I must say that even my home country of Canada has lost its first war in Afghanistan due to politcal mismangement and political cowardice.


Monday, December 12, 2011

Fear, Security, Power, Rights and Dreams

When a government uses fear to control, uses threats of violence to persuade and speaks to the need for the use of physical force to defend freedom, we are all in for chaos and hell.
There is no greater threat to peace than physical violence.  There is not greater threat than an insane person with the capacity to use violence.  Right now all I can see are the ones that have the capacity to use violence are the ones that are insane.
As individuals we are all very much alike.  As we begin to form groups we lose a little bit of our commonalities.  These groups we gravitate to become insulated and the fear of the other starts.  Russia is now in the midst of such a battle, Libya has gone through such a battle and may have a further war developing due to the desires of group power struggle.  Europe is going through a very difficult time and the causes are so complex that a solution is lost due to the search for blame. 
In these situations, the words that divide us have become so vague that mistrust builds exponentially.  We are experiencing a nuclear explosion of mistrust around the world.  It is difficult to find a government that is trusted by its people.  This mistrust builds fear, which is met with a need for security, which is secured through a show of power, which is justified through our right to protect, which was developed from a dream that we should live peacefully. 
We are caught in a prisoner’s dilemma.
That is why I wrote about game theory a few days ago.  We are involved in a game of Russian roulette.  There is only one strategy in that game, be in or out.  To phrase it another way as it was once stated, with us or against us.  Such a game is pure chaos.  To be part of such a game acknowledges that you have no hope for the future; it is an all or nothing end game.  The problem we face is that the leaders are at the table playing roulette yet they are pointing the gun at the citizens.  In turn the citizens know that the gun only has a limited number of bullets so fire away.  This is the enduring spirit of the dream that peace will prevail.
We have seen peaceful demonstrations all over the world, many that were countered with bullets and all with some degree of public disdain –such as the occupy protests in Canada.  The part in which the peaceful protesters play in this game is very dangerous.  The protesters know they can be killed but they also know that a just society is possible.
In Egypt and Tunisia, ultimately the soldiers would not fire upon people.  We had seen this same peaceful resolve during the Russian August coup in 1991 and I believe that we have witnessed the same resolve in Russia during the past weeks.  Libya was not so lucky, neither is Syria, Yemen or the DRC.
We are indeed living through an interesting time period.  The political games that are now taking place have deep connections to history.  Political lines are being redrawn, new identities being forged, flawed ideology are being brought to light and discarded, hopefully the result will provide for ideology and strategy for peace.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Respect Electoral Process

Where I live we are going through a debate about governance.  How much is too much, is the current system working as well as it should, what are the options for change and do we have the right people in place to manage any change?
These questions are exactly the same questions being asked of politicians in Russia, DRC, Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Syria and every other country to be honest.  There is another factor to consider though, which is the trust we have for debate to be handled with great skill.  Do we have people that will say damaging remarks, even if it the remarks are true?  Then, after the damage is done still feels justified in their actions?  A person that acts in such a manner has no real understanding of peace. 
Peace is about respect for the other.  Knowing how your actions will impact and managing the information you want to get across.  In the case of Syria, the government is actively killing its people.  What is the message there?   The opposition party in DRC made note that violence was going to happen no matter what the result were.  In Russia, there are demonstrations about fraudulent voting procedures.  What is the message there?
In each case we have failures of various degrees in governance.  A strong leader will understand the coming issues of violence and relate the message of peace through words and actions.  A strong peaceful leader will allow opposition to their policies in an open format.  A strong peaceful leader will see and understand the need for rivals to exist.  A strong peaceful leader will have a plan in place to hand over leadership and that plan should be made known.
A strong peaceful leader will have respect for the process of governance.  They will have the ability to communicate with wide spread impact, with trust and with courage to face the threats of defeat peacefully.  These elements are missing in many of our leaders today.  There is a lack of trust that those in power can manage peacefully.  There is trust that the current leaders will act violently and they rule by fear not agreement and support.
There comes a time when leaders have to be given weak support with the knowledge that there is no next time.  Russia and Putin may have that situation in place now?  The people want to see life improve and this has not happened since Putin came into the Kremlin.  He may get his wish and be President again due to possible election fraud but he must understand that this should be his last term.  This should be his last chance to make improvements.  He should not run again.  Doing so is a slap in the face to the people of Russia and the process of governance.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

DRC & Russian elections

Elections are great to observe.  Right now both Russia and the Democratic Republic of Congo are in the process of elections.  Both have their issues with demonstrations and opposition parties.  One main difference though is the level of violence.
Russia will have a peaceful election compared to the DRC election.  Public opinion in both countries wavers yet at the base of this is the need for peaceful demonstration.  Even though both countries are mentioned the circumstances in each are vastly different.
Russia is going through a process of economic change.  During the 90’s the economic environment swung wildly too far too fast.  This swing created a gangster economy that undermined the dreams of the leaders that began the economic change.  Today Putin must manage the history of Russia with the reality of today’s Russia.  This management is the largest issue that faces Russia today.
In the DRC the largest issue is violence.  Political leaders are actively inciting violence, people are dying in demonstrations.  The electoral process in both countries are being called into question.  For what it is worth I cannot think of any election that has not been called into question, even in Canada there are some that believe the electoral process is unfair and needs to be changed.
Both of these countries will be fun to watch as the election process continues.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Political Game Theory

Anatol Rapoport was a Russian scientist that lived in the RUSA and then in Canada where he died.  His mind crossed many subjects of science, those being biology, psychology and mathematics.  While he lived in Canada he became heavily involved in peace studies.  In his time he developed strategy for what is known in political studies as game theory.  He is a wonderful human that is not very well known.

I mention this man because today the people of Russia are in the process of voting for a new government.  Now I have always enjoyed reading about Russia and the people.  To me the governments that have controlled Russia are no better or worse than any other government in the world.  What I feel is that the people of Russia have gone through some really terrible leadership, which brings us to the current people seeking power.

One method of measure for a great leader is how they develop others to take over.  Succession planning has not been a strong point for the political leaders of Russia.  It is difficult to trust the entire political system when the leader holds onto power so tightly.  Do the vast majority of citizens in Russia trust the government?  To be fair, I would say that a strong portion of Canadians do not trust our government either.

Plus we have to think of the opposition parties as well.  They may be as untrusting because they are seeking to oust the current party.  With that we have a situation where the trust in political debates is very low.  Add to that the need to make the other party seem useless is a function of the entire election campaign.  I think about all of the things that I know are going on and trust is a major component which is taking a beating.  The level of intent to get the next shot in and cause pain is increasing.  It is like implementing a cease fire agreement but yet the two sides still continue to fire away knowing that it is doing more harm.  That is a situation in which my own mind and heart are truly confused as to the reason for causing more harm.

What does it do - really?  Why cause more harm?  Is it the lack of causational thought where the person that fires the shot, only sees the shot fired as being the death blow to everything?  I guess that is it.  There is no thought process beyond the shot being fired.  There is no thought of impact or future return fire.  The game of tracking "who has the most hits wins" is a bullshit game but I must agree that it is the most popular game played in politics.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Syria?

The United Nations sees Syria as a civil war.  By making such a statement as that will keep the Security Council out of the responsibility target.  I guess Libya was more than a civil war? 
To be honest and truthful, I know that the United Nations Peacekeeping offices cannot be the answer to every situation that comes to be.  However, why do we have to have such dichotomous political statements?
Why is it so hard for the world to say that what is going on in Syria is a crime against its own people?  There are 4 000 killed already.  The number of killed will grow with the knowledge that the UN will not allow intervention.
The larger danger is that the situation is quickly becoming too chaotic in Syria.  In such a state there are vast opportunities for both legal and illegal trading of weapons and stockpiling.  The opportunity for terrorists in the region to collect weapons is now improving daily.  Not that there already exists such opportunities but the doors are even more open now. 
What we are witnessing is a perfect storm of hatred being stirred up.  Syria has always been a country living within the mix of chaos.  Yet at the moment we have a situation where a complete collapse may occur.  If Syria becomes a failed state the world will have to do something then.  That situation can be entirely stopped if the world would have the courage to stop such idiocy.
The question will arise about when to intervene, well I think 4 000 dead is about as good an indicator as you can get.  In addition, we have to take into account the region is volatile at the best of times.  Syrian politics has an impact on every other country in the region. 
To me, it is a sad reality that the permanent five members of the Security Council can rarely act as a cohesive team.  These five are a disgrace to the entire UN system.  Each one will step on any small nation, provide weapons to any rebel group, look the other way as each other carries out illegal operations and support those actions by abstaining votes. 
All the while soldiers and civilians are killed as they follow rules and try to make their own lives meaningful.  Well, as I said before, not every situation can be dealt with.  I just wish the world showed more resolve than what is being shown.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Life and conspiracy

For whatever reason, I have been reading a great deal of conspiracy information.  Of course the date 11 September is a big one.  That day has held the Munich Games Massacre in 1972, President Allende of Chile was assassinated on that day in 1973 and the multiple bombings in the RUSA were on that day in 2001.
Now I enjoy a good conspiracy and the above three certainly fit the mould.  The ultimate battle of conspiracy theories is to bring truth to light.  Conspiracy also brings an impact that breeds distrust, and for good reason.  To conspire is to deceive, hide, lie and cheat.  To me such activities are terrible for the purpose of building solid and peaceful societies.  Unfortunately there are those that believe otherwise.  If there were no such people that delved in deceptive acts, we would not have so many problems as we do today, alas we do.
For me the best information that a conspiracy theory holds is the impression it foists upon a certain group.  For example the last item on the list took place in 2001.  Now if we are to believe the conspiracy theory, we would have to believe in the fact that the government is an evil, uncaring, sadistic, war mongering entity.  Furthermore, even if you do not believe, you have to acknowledge the fact that a great many do.  Now, because a great many do believe in the conspiracy, that image is a reality and therefore true – for that sector of the population.
With that we have a sector of the population that is untrusting of government.  It is a healthy part of thinking that must question everything, otherwise you can never learn.  However what is being destroyed is the trust even when the absolute truth is being told.  When that situation occurs there are grave circumstances about to unfold.  This is where the corruption of minds and society take root and the first steps to violent war takes place.  This is where the spiral of deceit into the chaos of war and hell first plunge.
Wars are usually fought for reasons of past injuries.  When the war takes a physical form and blood is shed the entire world suffers.  The solution is difficult because most people will seek to kill the other.  What they are forgetting is that you cannot kill thought, which started the entire war to begin with.  On and on it goes, where it stops no one knows.
As we think about the past and mourn the losses incurred, we must think of how our actions will either fuel more hatred or build more trust.  From all the wars I have been involved in I can tell you that killing has rarely made a situation improve.  Killing another human is not something that I would want the youth to learn, witness or have a need to engage in.  As I think about that, I feel the same need that youth should feel a freedom to ask questions because they are curious.  In return, the answer they receive should be one that is truthful.  Lastly I would love to believe that no government is so evil as to have a desire to kill its own people for any reason, but I have seen such actions and I know the evil that exists in the world.
All I can say is that I wish every nation was able to be trusted and not feared.  Too bad we have to live with such insanity as to not be able to trust each other for fear of deceit and death.  Really, which countries do we trust?

Friday, November 25, 2011

Why we need governments.

Many times have I said that the people do in fact rule the world.  I have also stated many times that half the world is insane and at least, a quarter of the world is filled by uncaring, selfish, paranoid, power hungry individuals. With this combination we need to provide a system that can offer some sort of organizing factor.  Basically we need government to deal with all the assholes in society.  These people will do everything they can to be at the top of whatever ladder they feel a need to be atop.  In order to help control the assholes, society must build some sort of system. 
If you wanted a simple explanation of why governments are needed that is it.  Then the reality of that explanation comes into play.  The asshole that will do anything to get to the top will seek the top and give government a bad image.  As we sit here today that image is well polished as many a self - serving asshole has killed, robbed and spread fear to gain power, then retained it.
No matter what situation we look at the above statement can be applied – Syria, Egypt, DRC, Italy, Columbia, Canada, Russia, RUSA etc.  You may wonder why Canada is there; well the current government has shut down parliament twice in the past five years.  Not all that crazy compared to Egypt, Libya, DRC or Columbia but Canada is a slippery slope example.  However, other situations are more violent and the need for a more peaceful government is far greater than what Canada’s needs are.
From one atrocity to another, that has been the way life moves along in the Democratic Republic of Congo and we may see it rise again during the next elections.
At the beginning of November, opposition party rallies were violently broken up.  Vote buying is rampant, as the election draws near, 28 Nov 2011.  In the Eastern provinces of Kivu where much of the current violence take place, a known war criminal stands for election.   
Elections are a perfect time for cover ups due to the frenzy of excitement.  Even though communication around the world increases every day, the media is easily distracted and can be played like chess pieces.  Even more important is that the population of the world is tired of such reports, especially when Syria is on the verge of all out civil war.
The DRC is an important link to peace on the African continent.  The people can only dream of a day where peace was the normal way of life.  Even though most of us are not citizens of the DRC, the people there have endured a hellish world and we need to help them regain their country through peace.  Someday a child in the DRC will live without the chaos of violence.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

NO MORE WEAPONS

"Violence breeds violence. Now, unfortunately, Syria has come to a point of no return," as stated by Turkish President Abdullah Gul.  Certainly Syria is in a mess due to poor conflict management skills of both the government and the people.  The way forward will not go without many more deaths and for how long is unknown as well. 
In such circumstances the main goal is to end the chaos as soon as possible.  Shooting people and shouting threats will solve nothing here.  One side will have to do the unthinkable - be wise.  On another front of the Syrian situation we have the global response to deal with.
There is no shortage of leaders uttering statements about how to end the violence in Syria.  In an effort to help, governments discuss sanctions being levelled against Syria.  Putting sanctions on a country has a debateable impact and is often seen as being harmful to the average citizen more so than the governing party.  In theory sanctions are there to harm a country and they do yet why would a leader that is shooting civilians care if they starve?  That is the debate on sanctions.
Going further into the unrest in Syria, there is a regional concern.  This area where Syria lives has been a volatile environment for decades.  There are so many unknowns, such as Palestine, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Yemen, Israel and Egypt.  Then of course just to add a nice flair of turmoil the two Mediterranean countries of Italy and Greece are not to stable as they sit on an edge as well. 
Out of all this chaos there needs to be a voice of unity, peace, hope and common understanding.  Right now there is no one and that is disturbing, in fact there has been no such person for decades.  The people of this region have lived through enough chaos but the leaders have not.  Of course the leaders do not have to live in the chaos of poverty, bullets, tear gas, starvation and to be voiceless. 
As I write this I know what it will take to solve these issues but I also know that the leaders of the world do not have the courage, nor the stamina to ensure peace for the people of this region.  The leaders themselves are stuck in rhetoric, revenge, pride and violence.  These are dangerous elements in which civilians pay heavily for. 
We need a mantra to go around the world “NO MORE WEAPONS"

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Impact of corruption on USSR

We are living the impact of what corruption brings.  The European Union is at the verge of collapse, China owns the Republic of the United States of America (RUSA), people are in the process of governmental purging – all due to corruption, waste, mismanagement and poor leadership in Syria, Yemen, Libya, Tunisia and Egypt.  The Occupy movement is making a stand but needs to regroup.  Perhaps the Occupy movement should pool their entire resources and purchase a multinational corporation.  Aside from that the complete picture of corruption around the world is showing its face.
The current situation makes me think of the USSR during the 1980’s.  The level of corruption and mismanagement was so bad that the politicians at the time felt it necessary to close the doors on the USSR and open up as Russia, thus came Glasnost and Perestroika. 
During the 1990’s I paid a great deal of time and focus in Russian history.  Mostly because I felt that the people of Russia and Canada formed a bold and daring relationship, starting in 1972.  Also the friendship was enriched through diplomatic avenues.  Furthermore, I was impressed with the courage that the Russian people exuded to embrace realities they saw during the 1980’s.
Now the issue of the cold war will always be linked to glasnost as it should because the Russian leaders knew that the world was dead if things continued without change.  Knowing that there was going to be no honest co-operation from the RUSA, acting unilaterally, Russia set out to build a more peaceful world.  They began by telling the world that the cold war pursuits were insane.  Then they looked internally to the realities within their country. 
Politicians were blinded by realities of infighting and personal goals within the USSR.  These two components ripped the fabric of any cause for unity within the governing system of the USSR.  A whole sale change was needed to end the corruption and so it began.  A courageous step into the unknown, which is still being worked out.  A greater act of peace is difficult to find.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

99% rant

There comes a time when you just have enough bullshit.  Now the average person would just throw more bullshit back, mainly due to the fact that they have no clue as to how such actions only worsen a situation – thus the spiral of chaos into war.
The 99% has supported the 1%.  It is the 99% that buys all the garbage and demands all the services.  If the occupy movement gives in now the 1% have won.  I admit that at the outset I did not feel the Occupy movement was going to amount to much.  My reason is mostly because the physical occupation of parks and squares is not an easy task, when the temperature swing is -25 to -40 C for weeks on end.  That alone will be the 1% advantage.  However I understand the cause and do support the need for a rethink.  In context, the 99% fight was the cause of the French revolution and assisted in a Republic of the United States to be born. 
Taking the historical context and fast forward to today, the 99% are again fighting to stop the elite from plundering/hoarding the riches.  As I study this reoccurrence I have a realization that it is not the system at fault, it is the people that operate the system.  A benevolent dictator would never be overthrown.
Just to throw some shit around, here is some wild accusations/arguments to ponder:
The Occupy movement is being dismantled in many cities due to a number of reasons.  In most media those that call for an end to the Occupy movement state that the point was made now go home.  To follow the same line of argument but to an extreme (almost insane) we have made the point that murder is not acceptable yet we continue to fight that.  To an even greater degree of insanity the Occupy movement is in agreement with the ideology concerning capitalism as Osama Bin Laden.  Now those are connections and statements that could get a person fired and alienated. 
As an expert in peace, knowing many possible consequences is vital.  What really starts to piss me off is that for all the wisdom people throw around about communication, the application of such wisdom is rare. 
“You made your point now go home.”
That statement alone indicates the point was not even close to being heard.  In fact that statement will only entrench a faction of the occupation and what will be the consequences?  Such a statement may be the spark to ignite a single person such as Osama Bin Laden.  That is what an expert in peace operations must contend with.  Does the US share any responsibility for assisting Bin Laden?
Ultimately this divide between people is created by us.  At the outset the ideology behind such actions were hoped to provide a peaceful end.  That is the hope of any system we put in place.  The system fails when we get lazy, greedy and distant.  As we alienate each other we build false realities which will crumble and then we start to blame, hate, judge and demand adherence of everyone else but ourselves.  That is the bullshit I am tired of.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Isreal and Palestine, what a mess

“When the United Nations General Assembly voted on November 29, 1947, to partition British Mandatory Palestine into two states — a Jewish and an Arab state — joint American and Soviet support for this policy represented an extraordinary case of Great Power concordance.”, writes Shlomo Avineri, Professor of Political Science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, in a publication for the 2010 Halifax Forum.
That decision to separate a state without the support of that state to be separated is authoritarian rule at its finest.  There is no limit to how stupid we can act at times and this first mistake made by the United Nations is proof, here is the vote break down:
In favour: 33
Australia, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Byelorussian S.S.R., Canada, Costa Rica, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, France, Guatemala, Haiti, Iceland, Liberia, Luxemburg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Sweden, Ukrainian S.S.R., Union of South Africa, U.S.A., U.S.S.R., Uruguay, Venezuela.
Against: 13
Afghanistan, Cuba, Egypt, Greece, India, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, Yemen.
Abstained: 10
Argentina, Chile, China, Colombia, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Honduras, Mexico, United Kingdom, Yugoslavia.
You will notice that the majority of those against are in the region and they knew it was a bad idea.  Too late to go back now.  With each passing day I am slowly seeing that a two state solution is no longer viable.  There has to be a new image of the future, perhaps a one state solution.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A nations identity

My understanding of identity hinges on a reality in that no other nation or group is a threat.  I also understand that a good portion of life is insane which needs to be tempered.  Furthermore, the sane are capable to lapse the other way at times.  This is the puzzle of life that we all try to balance personally and as nations.  How that balance is performed will be judged by others and as I judge myself as well. 
Russia sees the situation in Syria as a civil war.  As must the political leaders in my home Canada, agree with Russia.   By stating Syria is experiencing civil war, the legal scales point to no intervention. 
Had Russia said they feel the situation is an international situation it would set the basis for legal obligation to involve the Security Council (even more that it is) and then doing something.  Ultimately the decision about such a situation is; having moral acceptance then knowing when to step in with.  The world is not ready to step in.

What do such actions say about the  character of the nations?  There are a great many areas of conflict and to stop all of them is a goal, rarely achieved.  On a judgement issue, the moment when it is necessary to kill another human is a very disgusting moment with no other option.  At that moment you have stepped into a world of insanity.

When that insanity is over, all we can hope is that the balancing act is performed perfectly.  Which ,will be indicated by no one seeing your reasons for taking such actions as cause for fear.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Immigration policy

As an expert for alternative dispute resolution, I am emboldened to promote a society that can evolve through the use of discussion, education and understanding.  Such experts or professional are there to allow for differences of opinion to exist.  Even though these differences have the impact which can divide, we must work to ensure that these differences are strengths not weaknesses.

Canada is seen around the world as a society where differences are seen as a strength.  Multiculturalism has taken a large hit in the past few years with both Germany and the UK declaring their efforts as failing.  Here in Canada we have also sounded the same alarm yet not as loudly.  The statements that call multiculturalism a failure ignore the reality that the world is multicultural.  What has failed is our capacity to resolve our differences and allow tensions to boil over to uncontrollable levels.  What can we do to ensure that we do not fail to emulate the reality of the world?

One step is to evolve the current education we provide.  Within the past twenty years we have made great strides to deliver communication skills in schools.  Through programs such as peer mediation, anti-bully and cultural awareness the tools of understanding are being offered.  Although these programs are available we can do a better job.  There is also another front which is just as important to ensure peace is sustained in our society.  That front is the process in which new Canadians go through to obtain citizenship. 

Often the popular speak of how our society changes deals with the fact that others come into Canada and carry their issues with them.  This sentiment goes back a very long way.  It was at its height with the Air India bombing.  In that terrorist attack, which is still the largest terrorist act on Canadian soil, people from India carried their war to Canada.  Still to this day we wrestle with how and why conflicts far away can be fought on our streets.  To think that we will stop every incident is beyond na├»ve.  However, as stated in the opening paragraph, we professionals of dispute resolution must educate others on how to peacefully coexist.

As professionals we should be lobbying government to introduce conflict resolution programs to those seeking citizenship.  We are currently changing the immigration program in Canada and now is a time to try a few different things.  By offering such a program we will be instituting the three tenets of our society, peace, order and good government.  We will be offering new Canadians a skill that is needed, wanted and if so desired taken back to assist in peacebuilding.  We can teach others how and why it is needed for as many cultures to exist as possible.

Anyway, I can dream.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Corruption of mind

Every second is a step into the future.  Each step you make, hopefully, is a secure step.  We all seek security and security of soul, mind and body are challenged daily.  In one scope, each child we have is a step into the future.  What are we doing globally.

 “Today youth constitutes not only a sizable population but also a very high percentage of the literate and educated group in most of the developing countries”[1]  Corruption has many elements and the mental element must take place before any other.  In terms of psychology the rational we encounter is one where, “People perpetuating corrupt acts engage in “rationalizing tactics”—describing their actions in such a way that they do not appear to be unethical at all.”[2]  This rationalization allows people to comprehend their actions as normal.  Furthermore, unethical behaviour can be understood as cultural relativism.

Cultural relativism explains certain actions that are okay for some but not for others.  For example female genital cutting is practiced, in some societies human sacrifices were also performed and were accepted.  Each of those examples can be defended as cultural actions based on beliefs.  Within that belief is a mental understanding and acceptance that is learned.  As we progress further into the realm of corruption we can equate cultural relativism to the decision of those that get involved in corruption.  Linking that understanding to corruption, “People who have engaged in corrupt acts excuse their actions to themselves, by viewing their crimes as non-criminal, justified, or part of a situation which they do not control.”[3]

To frame the act of corruption is to say that people engage in it because they are doing what they feel is deserved to themselves.  In some mental calculation the corrupt acts are thought of a justifiable and in fact necessary to achieve a desired outcome that will eventually benefit the whole of society.  This is the same mental process that went through the minds of people who engaged in human sacrifices.

Today the issue of corruption has come to the very top of world news.  People that live in countries where political leaders are being ousted have labeled corruption as a main point of concern.  Tunisia and Egypt have already replaced their leaders and other countries are trying to do the same.  At the core of these revolutions rests the hope for a just society where the youth can foresee a positive future.  There are a number of issues that work in tandem for which the people are rallying against, corruption is one such issue.  
As we have looked at both economic and political corruption there are two methods to combat corruption and that is with education and strong governance.  “Without transparency, accountability and the rule of law, corruption flourishes.”[4]    As we see the many countries around the world fall due to corruption it must be noted that education and governance do not flourish overnight. 
“Post-conflict development needs to reduce corruption, facilitate effective governance and promote environmentally sound, socially equitable, economically robust sustainable development that requires re-evaluation of the appropriateness of the existing policies, strategies, legal and regulatory frameworks and institutional arrangements, and adjust accordingly.”[5]

“In Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Algeria and Yemen, the violent demonstrations are largely driven by the stifled generation of the Arab baby boom: 100 million young people 15 to 29 years old who make up 30 per cent of the Middle East's population.  Their hopes and ambitions have been frustrated by corruption, high unemployment, lack of political freedom, soaring costs of living and growing income inequality – and their leaders have been unable and unwilling to invest in solutions to these problems.”[6]

From the above quotes we learn that the people have lost hope of a better future if things do not change.  “Education is the key component to reconstruction in post-ethnic conflict settings. It is a country’s “single most important social, economic and political resource. Schools educate youth for future employment, socialize children to ensure integration and active involvement in their communities, prepare them for productive participation as a citizen in their country and transmit those values and beliefs deemed to be important by their society”[7]
In order to have societies where violence is rare we need to support youth empowerment “inclusion in development by expanding the capacities of and opportunities for youth groups to initiate and participate in community and local development initiatives.”[8]


[1] Gale, Faye and Stephanie Fahey (editors).  Youth In Transition.  UNESCO, Bangkok. 2005. Pg., 13
[2] Anand, Vikas, Blake E. Ashforth and Mahendra Joshi.  Business as usual: The acceptance and perpetuation of corruption in organizations.  Academy of Management Executive, 2005, Vol. 19, No. 4.  Pg., 10.
[3] Anand, Vikas, Blake E. Ashforth and Mahendra Joshi.  Business as usual: The acceptance and perpetuation of corruption in organizations.  Academy of Management Executive, 2005, Vol. 19, No. 4.  Pg., 10.
[4] Ghani, Seema.  An Accountable State with Strong Civil Society.  Development Outreach, World Bank Vol. 11 No. 2, Oct 2009.    Pg., 43.
[5] Edited by Ghimire, Safal, Bishnu Raj Upreti, Sagar Raj Sharma and kailash Nath Pyakuryal. The Remake of a State: Post-Conflict challenges and State Building in Nepal. NCCR North-South, Human and Natural Resources Studies Centre, Katmandu University. 2010. pg. 131.
[6] Ghafour, Hamida.  Enough! Why thousands of young Arabs have taken to the streets in protest.  The Globe And Mail, Jan. 28, 2011.
[7] Coles, Emily, "The Importance of Education Systems in Post-Conflict Settings: The Case of Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH)" (2011).
Honors Projects. Paper 10.
[8] Barron, Patrick.  Community Driven Development in Post-Conflict and Conflict-affected Areara.  2011 World Development Report.  March 2011.  Pg. 8.