Thank you so much!!
Paul Alexander Wolf
Thank you so much!!
“A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life depend on the labours of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving.” – Albert Einstein
“Perseverance is more prevailing than violence; and many things which can’t be overcome when they are together, yield themselves up when taken little by little.”
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.”
– Melody Beattie
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise. – Maya Angelou
We shall overcome one day in ourselves, with gratitude to our past, our present and our future. Gratitude to those who made our life and circumstances possible. Gratitude to our friends and opponents who made us what we are now or what we have been, – who shaped our response, – those who were “our teachers” in both the right and the wrong things.
We may overcome ourselves within the things we cherish, within the positives amidst negatives, – the last being different for all of us. Different for us as individuals, different for us as a class or group as well, whether we are part of a city, state or country.
The Freedom Fighters in the US shaped the future for equal rights among black and whites. This shaping of the future was not without violence and cruelty. Non-violent struggle did overcome racial segregation, like it did overcome apartheid in South Africa with similar forces in action elsewhere many years later. Again however, not without violence and cruelty. People beaten, shot, disappearing, often at young age, – by their opponents. But they did overcome, marching up to freedom. Freedom land as a way of achieving, not the final goal, but a way. A way with violence to be avoided, – where possible. At least by not provoking this violence. What we give we tend to receive. If we answer all violence with violence it makes us all blind and there are smarter ways, – ways being less destructive and more effective to bend sweltering injustice into a strapping justice of different sorts. It is the way of violence to be avoided within all reasonable dimensions.
Julian Bond, civil rights activist
Like the US was trying to control the status quo in the 196o ties, South Africa was trying to defend the rights of minorities by compromising the rights of majorities. Many countries are still doing the same. But the non-violence movement has been neither restricted to the US nor South Africa. And still we benefit from such a movement, and the movement needs to grow as it is the only way forward to overcome man made institutional and other dangers being difficult to control. If man made dangers can’t be controlled by reason anymore, we are at risk of being controlled by defeatist perceptions regarding those dangers, with the risk those perceptions take over at a cost of man made opportunities we have. The power of a non violence movement need to be able then to show greater leverage than the power of senseless massacres or decisions to go this direction.
Where the choice is made to make peaceful revolution impossible, the alternative however of a violent uprising is inevitable.
Peaceful change with the least possible violence is the way to overcome. A movement which should grow from Syria to North Korea, from oppressive regimes in South America to similar regimes in Asian countries. But the means by which the movement for change now tries to break through is by no means the same or fitting the Gandhi/Martin Luther King or Mandela legacy, – seems to evolve more dangerous even and perhaps more deadly. Often leaders now responsible for venom being injected to paralyze it’s people in fear, and not to speak out anymore.
Bloodshed and massacres do not seem to stop and the question is what sort of good may come out of all of this and what sort of “reason” people or countries may come up with , without making situations at various places more explosive. Whilst some people may feel gratitude for both the past, the present and the future, the question as well what sort of “gratitude” people may have at places in the most difficult circumstance one can imagine, – situations like we can only recognize from war’s we have been able to leave behind. The gratitude to live for some might be replaced by the gratitude to die for others, which is the worst of all gratitude as the last gratitude we should have is the gratitude to live. And this is the preferred gratitude we should be able to share and to contribute to, if at all possible.
The last is what we may think. But people are able to take this away from other people by the venom of hate, by the brutality of their violence, by the starvation of people. Some of them will “overcome” but not all of them. Some of them may see the new day but not all of them. Some of them may feel peace but others may have lost all peace, all gratitude, and don’t feel human anymore as their humanity has been compromised and violated on the altar of merciless torture and abuse.
It is this almost complex manifestation in nature as well, that life often comes at a cost of other life, – whilst as human beings by nature we have the gift by choice. The last in general to change the dynamics of hate and destruction into the dynamics of a reasonable peace. Not an ideal peace perhaps. However, combined with more justice, at least the most desired option within the reasoning of our human options. As long as we have such a desire and imagine the implications in the best possible ways, – we may attract positive outcomes if those ripples of hope are shared at the best possible frequencies of our human dimensions. With this shared gift we can change and “overcome”.
Liberation is only possible by ordinary people doing extra ordinary things by non-violence. The power of ordinary people can keep a dream alive, can move governments if so required, is able to resolve some of the dangers of war and all-out violence. Is even able to “move” people who lost their dreams as due to even an overload of prosperity. The other way around, – so to say, as people can “sleep in” through prosperity, being blind for what is going around. However, whilst the broader movement of non-violent action resisting what persists along the lines of injustice of various kind, the question is whether the non violent approach as a starting point is always possible to be continued under all circumstances as part of the process of liberation?
If we look at history the answer is simply: No! Without violence it was not possible to remove Hitler and his followers. Without violence it was not possible e.g during WW2 to protect the Jews in various countries like e.g. the Netherlands, where resistance groups had to target Gestapo Officers responsible for the transportation of Jews to concentration camps, and likewise had to target collaborators who worked with the Gestapo. Without the perseverance of Brittain and the support of the US Hitler’s “Third Reich” would have had free play. It is just an example. And there are far more and other examples as well. However non-violent action to bring required change is the most favorable and most honorable way to add to peaceful dynamics which may last. Perseverance is more prevailing than persistent violence
Let’s be grateful that despite tears, pain, hardship and even death, – history showed the growing seeds of forces turning against evil and overcome destructive powers. Therefore, still we can say “we shall overcome” even if we are not allowed to see the promised land, – we shall overcome.
Even with our confined days on this earth we have the choice to try to reduce destruction and improve life and the circumstances of those who needless suffer as due to the choices of evil powers, the last which should not to be tolerated in our times. Powers which are due to be eliminated as due to the risks they impose on humanity.
Time is slow for those in need. Time is slower for those who are desperate and time stands still almost when people lose their loved one’s in ongoing violence. Violence eg in Sudan, Syria, Iraq, Gaza and other areas…
Protecting of self-interest when under threat as a country is one thing. However, this should be reasonable and within proportions. Being the captives of perceived national security threats and not being able to reach out to the voices of crippled people under the brutal forces of any military powers or secret police at times, – is hard to tolerate in a world which has been faced with so much pathological violence before. And whilst time may be slow, here time is of the essence to resist this, as morbid powers are not allowed to take over.
History did teach us many lessons in what works and also things which do not work, and we can be grateful for this. However the highest appreciation is not utter words only but to live by those lessons, to live the gratitude for those lessons and to pay tribute to those in history who did contribute to more justice and gratitude and peace for our times and all times, – even when there are still areas on this planet where this is not felt at all.
Our obligation is not an obligation to pay lip service only.
We live in a world with increasing injustice, the last even within institutions, – a venom if not eradicated!
Paul Alexander Wolf
“I am concerned for the security of our great Nation; not so much because of any threat from without, but because of insidious forces working from within.” – Douglas MacArthur.
“The ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all” – John F. Kennedy
The topic for today is the importance of both increased national and international security and the nature of leadership we need in a changing world. However the focus will be on the first one, with an example of things starting at home in the US. Both with proper legislation and law enforcement within the domain and control of US Congress. The US here is just an example and different examples do exist all over the world.
When times are economical challenging, foreign policy matters are rarely the topic of discussion. But in recent weeks issues on both foreign policy and security worked their way up within the public domain of attention.
During the crisis with North Korea in which China played for certain a role of influence for the better, – we had first the Boston Marathon bombings with the related questions about terrorist connections. This is relatively a new element that from areas where you don’t expect it, people find their way on US ground and evolve in personalities able to prepare bombs with the intention to kill indiscriminately. And so they did, as others may do again anywhere. Both inside the US and outside the US.
Whilst the airliner plot over the Atlantic and World Trade Centre attacks are unlikely to happen anymore in the identity as they evolved, – the prospect of terror from a different kind seems to be more of an issue in the future.
It is terror of a different kind than 9/11. But it is the terror on top of increased gun violence in the US anyway, and from both sides of the spectrum there is easy access to guns, assault weapons and other tools to inflict destruction.
It’s a warning that dynamics in society are changing and that we need to be mindful of the fact that we are simply not ready for this.
Proper legislation in line with the spirit of our time and similar law enforcement need to be in place. This being prepared in a proactive way by anticipation on the dynamics in society.
Within those recent dynamics in the US the civil war in Syria did break the news with a high index of suspicion of chemical warfare being used against the opposition in Syria. This followed by an Israeli bombing near Damascus to prevent the transport of missiles and chemical weapons close to the borders of Israel.
At the same time Congressional hearings in the US provided more detail about what happened in Libya when the US ambassador Christopher Stevens and other Americans were murdered during a terrorist attack. Lacking the total picture, some Republicans claim that the White House should be held responsible for either insufficient protection or misleading information. It would seem that the dynamics within the domain of some Republican members of US Congress go that far that they would like any effort to try to impeach President Obama on this issue, if they could. A reflection of a “House Divided” where some members of this honourable branch of Government lost touch with both reality and the priorities of this country.
It illustrates the dangerous paradox in this country, the downfall of democracy when Congress is misaligned on some major topics and obstructive elements are able to block progress against the will of the majority of voters.
This is not new and it may happen anywhere in countries with democracies. It might be considered as the play game of democracy but in some events it’s a dangerous play game setting the tone for more little fruitful dynamics in society…
Whilst not proven perhaps, there is more chance a society at peace or stable in itself at times of peace, – will sustain the disharmony at times of no peace better than the kind of society already divided in itself.
It illustrates somehow as well the sad thing that people often tend to stick together in crisis only, but go their own way when there are no dangers on the horizon.
We live however in a world where simple escalating events may lead to massive drama’s all around.
For this reason the topic to be discussed today is an interesting one as the perceptions about leadership, democracy and security are almost as different as the dimensions about security and leadership on its own. Issues about eg Israeli’s and Palestinian security have different perceptions all around the world. History shows that people can make a difference within certain positions.
Interestingly we had recently 2 US Presidential candidates with different perceptions and personalities. The person who started his US Presidency in 2009 was able to continue in 2013. The perceptions of one leader and the choices being made on behalf of international security may define the outcome of many future dynamics. Likewise within the US, US Congress may define the outcome on other dynamics.
It’s a matter of leadership and being proactive, with inclusive views.
The nature of fast growing and increasing economic and financial interdependence of countries around the world, with all sorts of growing interactions, – need a far stricter international security than ever before. It all starts in home land activities, to get grip on those things we don’t want, those things being disruptive for our well-being in the countries where we live, – the things affecting national security. An issue for all of us, wherever we may live.
Both National and International security are in ways connected.
Speaking about security at a challenging time in US history, we only need to look back some 150 years ago.
A time where US Congress and legislative issues paved the way for the dynamics leading to the US civil war in the 18th Century.
President Lincoln would not have been the person history remembers if he would not have been challenged after his Presidential election to lead his country through one of the most difficult times in US history.
He was the unexpected President exposed to the worst, which through a combination of circumstances made him the best!
Some would say that the American civil war in those day was a security and a significant emancipation issue for the US as a Union.
Emancipation still to be remembered, still to be remembered by those members of the Republican Party who are unable to see that emancipation and inclusive progresses are ongoing issues in history. Running behind the important social and political events of time will catch up with those who have to deal with the implications in the future. History learns that not being proactive comes at a cost.
Being true what he said in his inauguration, President Lincoln did not allow a minority to disintegrate the Union, – but he preserved the Union, by which he followed through with his planned declaration of Emancipation to end slavery.
He succeeded as part of the Republican movement at the time to create the next endeavour in US history, keeping the right balance on the required issues of national security in his days.
Whilst generally Southern Democrats were obstacles for Emancipation in the 1860 ties, – Northern Republicans are generally stumbling blocks for 21st Century US progress. Both with exceptions within each party in the days of President Lincoln and today. True is that the Republicans were the driving force for progress one and half century ago.
Republicans should take this on board.
The last still in a most divided America.
Congressional choices long ago by overturning the so-called Missouri compromise which intended to restrict slavery, played part in the evolving drama in the 1860ties, before it actually happened.
Today we jump a fair bit in time. To illustrate that divisions can go one way or the other but unresolved within the required legislation will lead to all sorts of processes in society hard to contain.
Also an issue subject to Congressional choice. The choice either being proactive or reactive.
It is not long ago the National Rifle Association moved to block a UN treaty on gun control. The NRF serves strongly the interest of both national and international arms deals, with a high level of influence in US Congress. Clear is that US Congress has been willing to serve the power position of the NRA by simply not approving Presidential proposals to revise gun legislation. The majority however of US voters wants a change in the current legislation on gun control as increasing gun violence disrupts a nation and may compromise eventually national security, the last because the current legislation is not aligned with changing dynamics in US society with more gun related violence and deaths, – both at the cost of children and adults.
Whilst some 700000 people died during the American civil war at the time of President Lincoln,- more even died as a result of unlawful gun use in the US over various decades.
The downfall of a democracy is that a minority may act against the will of the constitutional rights of voters. Voters to have their voice properly represented in the legislation a country deserves. It is true that the ignorance of a few voters – in the words of John F Kennedy – may impair the security of all. In some cases the security of a Republic.
Congressional ignorance on the issue of gun control may disregard national security interest where it comes to the protection of US citizens. Voters want to reduce the risk of more generalised and increasing gun violence in the US as the extremes will come together in the context of changing social dynamics. The last as part of increased globalisation. Congress is not allowing those facts to be considered within the concept of national interest and as such tolerating the death toll of existing gun violence, – eventually debilitating the US ability to keep control in own house. Getting worse when the forces of external terrorism meet existing dynamics in US society with more or less free access to unrestricted guns and assault rifles, enabling massacres at large scale.
A matter of national security.
Congressional choices may define future dynamics whilst the US President is almost powerless to change this at a time this being required.
It’s a matter of poorly understood national security of the United States of America. The dynamics of society turning into increasing and senseless massacres, – the last often caused by ill minded and mentally disrupted people from which the statistics say they are only on the increase. Meanwhile US Congress allowing to be influenced more by NRA interest, and not taking the dynamics in society or the wishes of voters on board.
Douglas MacArthur within a different context reflected once his concern for his own great Nation; “not so much because of any threat from without, but because of the insidious forces working from within”.
He was right in one sense, but today the danger comes from 2 directions, – both from threats within and without, and with the current Congressional attitude towards increased gun control as is today, – this is a potential menace to the security of the Union.
Lincoln would have turned away from this, – if he could! It is a matter of emancipation, constitutional emancipation.
Where history changed with new dilemma’s to be sorted, – the ask of true leadership is more profoundly needed all over the world.
But it all starts at home to have the required legislation and law enforcement in place.
We are faced with different dilemma’s this century.
True leadership is required today when the proper balance gets disrupted with lots of things being at stake. And often as it proved in history it falls back on people with a distinct personality and attitude, – bright in their assessment and determined in their actions.
The last applies for US Congress as well. An honest and fair assessment being required, both based on the choice of people being represented and the dynamics in society.
If we speak about the issue of security in a broader sense:
Not only increased globalization is asking for stricter national and international security, but also a new political economy with shifting influence from west to east and a population growth hardly possible to sustain, – with an increased unstable relationship between our fragile global civilisation and an increased depletion of our resources.
The last will become vital in the future.
Hence from an international perspective, international security in the Asia-Pacific region can’t be allowed to be compromised by nuclear dictators as eg in North Korea.
Similarly US security can’t be compromised by increasing gun violence inflicted by more people turning their hatred on society, with the same easy access to guns and rifles because Congressional legislation did not follow the trend in society.
Rifles and gun’s being far more advanced than when the Constitution was written. Dynamics within society and international far more different than they have ever been. The US more at edge than ever before.
The issues of both national and international security are getting more important as more things can go wrong at the same time with wider implications faster speed and greater destruction and disruption.
Without the right tools, the right brains and the best possible assessment, – we lose both momentum and direction for a more stable world.
And again it all starts at home.
If we look at the Middle East, the situation in Syria is a prime example of major dangers and the potential of an escalating conflict. Civilisation and reason totally lost.
There have been dangers and evils in the past, so will there be evils and dangers in the future and we need to recognise them at an early stage.
When Lincoln made his Emancipation declaration amidst the American Civil war, – it took still hundred years before the Civil Rights movement got its way into proper and equal legislation for each American citizen.
I hope the desired emancipation on gun control and the required restrictions on gun related violence will not take an other 50 years in the US. It would be a massive drain on society, both for victims and their families, but also for those who have to work in authority within the given restrictions of incomplete gun legislation.
People in the police force have families as well.
Fortunately there is no room for racial hatred anymore, but whilst the last belongs largely to the past new issues of friction and potential hatred arise at the spectrum of social development, – with mixture of cultures and religions, and increased travel from various countries around the world.
Being multicultural in one sense is good and has the potential to bring the goodness of different nations together. The downfall could be when people from poverty stricken area’s in today’s world travel at different countries, – with at times the narrow and restricted perception of only blind hatred. Receiving in some occasions terrorist training in their homeland of origin, with a mission to destruct and destroy.
Alqaida has eg booklets designed to help terrorists overseas to make bombs and strike and kill in various ways. The target quite often seems to be the US and its allies.
We might be horrified to know of what is possible to happen, – but most of us get horrified when it happens. Whilst we need to love our neighbour as ourselves, we have to denounce the persons and groups inflicting violence and terrorism. Similar with countries deliberately exporting this sort of people or ideology to be held accountable in line with international law, – the last subject for renewal and change at various levels to combat the dangers of our time.
But again it starts at home.
Insufficient restrictions on international nuclear control and allowing more countries to have access to nuclear weapons by lack of internal law enforcement is asking for more dictators or other countries “pulling the trigger”, – like allowing more people in the US to have access to lethal rifles and other dangerous guns, – is asking for a more unstable society, – creating a situation with potential “mass pulling of triggers” where the US army may have to act against its own citizens at times of national unrest.
It seems correct that the Bush Administration prepared for FEMA concentration camps in case of social unrest. More important is that the triggers for social unrest never escalate in the use of massive gun violence in one society, – just for the sake of civilisation and protection of citizens. The law simply needs to be adapted to prevent an almost unlimited access is some States.
Again a matter of Congressional choice, but it would not seem they see it this way with some members of this establishment even devoted to get the Obama Administration down on what happened in Benghazi, Libya. Not being able to take the long view but using the short-sighted view to debilitate proper Governance at a time this being required makes jurisdiction stagnant.
Just an illustration how members of Congress can add to a “House divided” by not getting the priorities right.
It happened in the past, with US civil war just 150 years ago. It is for some part up to Congress to prevent this ever happening again by reducing increasing gun violence in a similar divided nation on different issues by proper legislation in line with the spirit of time.
With eg the Boston bombing just recently behind, an alleged terrorist rail plot being foiled in Canada, sarin – gas being possibly used in Syria, and North Korea “one click away” from pushing the launch button of firing ballistic missiles, – it is clear that changing international patterns are evolving into more risk involving scenario’s waiting to become reality. both national and international.
This is what I mean when I say that at some stage the extremes are coming together, both from outside the country and inside the country.
At the end of the day the means to have control is largely a matter of the right legislation being in place with the proper law enforcement and the proper people right for our time. This both applies at the arena of national and international politics.
National Security starts at home and coming back on the US, Congress should act in favour of increased gun control.
A matter of civilised and effective legislation to support both national security and the safety of US citizens.
On the extremes outside – and within the context of international security and coöperation against terrorism – it is encouraging that President Putin from Russia emphasised the need for increased international intelligence coöperation, as prevention at an early stage is the better substitute.
Some nations posses the power to abolish any form of human poverty but also any form of human live. Both a matter of responsibility and choice, – a matter actually of priority to support any extended nuclear freeze proposals, and contain the current level of nuclear experience where it comes to the development of new weapons of mass destruction.
Whilst most nations appreciate the responsibilities on this and have already reduced their nuclear arsenals, new powers arise with the wish to have those weapons as well, – and with a clear intent to either use them or apply international blackmail.
Those countries are an issue of serious concern. They need to be stopped at the earliest possible stage through reason and if reason and sanctions do not help, through force if so required, – in line with international coöperation by those nations committed to stop the dangers to multiply.
The UN plays a central role.
International security on this is based on the practical choice not to allow any new country to develop those weapons, – regardless the question whether it is good or wrong that other countries do already have those weapons. It is clear that with increasing countries having access to nuclear or chemical weapons it is getting more difficult to keep the world secure.
Same applies with providing at times even more unpredictable people an almost free access to fire arms, – as such creating increasing difficulties to prevent massacres of any kind as result of gun violence, the last with a potential domino effect.
Stable we can make it through more succesful partnerships on the issues we face in the 21st century. US Congress is not much familiar with succesful partnerships on this issue of restricting gun violence.
Science is able to unleash the powers of destruction by human choice, unless we prevent humankind and powers to make this choice, – by restricting at least the powers who are able to destruct each other. Most of them who are nuclear now do realise that the choice of such destruction means self-destruction, involving all humanity.
Likewise science provides terrorists the means to unleash powers of more limited destruction, both by senseless shootings or bomb blasts at areas of their choice. However the means by which terrorists are able to apply this destruction in the future is by no means sure and increased international coöperation is required to recognise at an early stage the features of certain persons and groups committed to terror
Whether terror is provoked or inflicted by guns or bombs makes in essence not much difference when we consider the lethal outcome on both children and adults. School shootings where people die are as terrible as disrupted sport events where people are killed through the hands of terrorists using bombs. Those tools need to be be banned from the street with the restriction (if the Constitution can’t be changed as yet) of gun’s being controlled, registered and only in the hands of mindful people, – and assault rifles being excluded in any case for “civil use”.
We live in a world insufficient prepared for terrorism, – which does not mean we have to learn to live with terrorism as if this would be our fate.
Both National and International security starts at home in our own countries with the things we can control, with proper legislation and law enforcement on issues being required in the context of changes in society, changes in the way children are brought up and the way they become adults, apart from the changes related with globalization and the technology which brings people down from different countries.
Whilst it is hard to change or control the mindset to take lives for no reason, it is easier to control or limit the means by which we are able to do this.
This applies both to guns and nuclear weapons, – and it all starts at home where we are privileged to make choices on restricting the tools and dynamics of violence.
US Congress should reconsider the issue of effective gun legislation for the benefit of a more secure society where people are becoming slowly less at risk of violence as due to unlawful use of bullets, – regardless whether those bullets come from US citizens or people who travel from overseas to inflict violence for the reason of hatred against US society.
Waiting for escalating gun violence in the future, wherever it comes from, is pointless. The warnings are there, written already in the hearts of many people who lost loved ones in this repetitive cycle of non-required violence, – waiting to get worse only.
We have neither right to inflict suffering nor death on another human being unless there is an unavoidable necessity for it and any culture or country which endorses the right to bear arms amongst it citizens has blood on the law provision it provides on this and will pay at later date a price being higher than initially intended at the time those laws were made.
The clause on the right to bear arms in the US Constitution is a serious defect considering the time spirit of the 21st Century and lays the foundation of the potential destruction of it’s culture through internal destructive forces, – if not adapted.
It was a nightmare!
The Dardanelles efforts have been his idea and could have altered the course of the 2nd word war at an earlier stage on the Western Front, – but it didn’t. The enemy was waiting and the bitter harvest was that the many youngsters belonging to Australia and New Zealand died, – like many British troops among those ANZAC’s died.
The memory might be fading and whilst privileged nations may not fight again, underprivileged nations will continue to do this and today at greater risk as due to access of warfare which ended the war in Japan.
In those days with ANZAC fighting at Gallipoli the biggest fear was fear itself for the enemy, militarism in both major wars, – which was the reason those war’s were fought as militarism was in the hands of large evil powers.
Almost all who died were civilians in peace time, leaving gaps in both their families and little towns, leaving empty places in both factories and farms.
They suffered, for sure, – whilst many others suffered as well, cruelty from all sides!
Those who died would have rather lived in peace, but there was no peace.
Those commemorating ANZAC day on the shores of Gallipoli today dedicate this former slaughter field as a final resting place for those who gave their lives not knowing which fate they would endure before they arrived here. They did it willingly or unwillingly when the end was near.
We will not remember for ever what they did, but let us never forget the evils of major war, – being dedicated to prevent such thing forever to be repeated again at far larger scale.
Now In the 21st century the wheel of history has turned from independence to a greater need of interdependence. This applies in all our endeavours, but the prevention of a new major war the most, even if it would take a war to prevent the last.
War’s have been fought over various decades, influence shifted across the borders of various nations and the balance of power will be neither the domain only of super powers nor the prerogative of economic powers when we see countries arise with the potential of military and nuclear power meeting us again, – eventually by surprise perhaps. The last destroying historical efforts of civilised nations to stay above the potential of mass destruction, based on the reasoning that a large new war is not a rational alternative anymore. Often this reasoning forged in the crucible of historical hardship, being different for most of the nations on this world, – however being unique in both the shared will to survive and to prosper.
This is what we need to see on ANZAC day as well, a reminder that the past is not allowed to repeat itself in a different identity.
Today in the international arena of politics we are faced with the increasing prospect that relatively less influential nations and leaders may use their possession of nuclear warheads by narrow-minded choice, – aiming to inflict as large as possible destruction for reasons nobody understands.
Where in the past super powers were in a state of ongoing rivalry with each other, times require the same super powers working together both for reasons of economic stability, – but also to contain and prevent those leaders and nations who may opt to use their arsenal of nuclear and chemical destruction.
It is bad luck that science provided us by choice the ability to destroy each other but fact is that the abilities are there, likewise the choice to do so is there, – the last increasingly in the hands of a few who may act both as evil and irresponsible as some leaders and nations in the past.
The examples are there and we all know them.
Neither history nor future will save us from destructive and evil spirits willing to destroy what has been made and to compromise the liberties of free man in the worst possible ways, – but early mutual recognition combined with similar mutual selective action may prevent larger drama’s lying possibly ahead.
The problem as such is as important as our response to this.
Whilst banning and destroying all nuclear and chemical weapons might be the ideal situation, it is not an achievable goal within the rational of those who have acquired those potential destructive powers as a deterrent.
Most of the countries who have them will use them as a last resort, based on the knowledge that first use of those abilities may lead to self-destruction, as first action this direction will likely meet more than a double strength response.
Whilst rising intensity of slavery in history and the threatening dissolution of the US as a nation became the triggering cause for a massive civil war on US mainland in the 1860ties, – rising nuclear tensions and the lack of super powers cooperating to combat those last tensions may be not the trigger of a civil war, – but the trigger of a new global war with more losses of lives than in all war’s before, – with more destructions than in all destructions before.
This is what we need to see as well, – remembering ANZAC day today.
We are faced with an opportunity to save and improve coöperation on this issue at global level, or lose it all together, – testing us now whether we can long endure.
The principles on which our endeavours would help us to reduce the risks being more clear now, need to be agreed on by the nations with the most leverage and influence on the dynamics of this world. Those principles would involve agreements and processes under which circumstances it being right to take military action as a first and last resort to prevent greater dangers down the line.
The issues around North Korea and its dictatorship provides an opportunity to both China, the US, Russia and other countries to re-examine their attitude towards the dangers of more countries perhaps having access to nuclear weapons and the increasing risk when they are in the hands of irrational leaders, – neither willing to surrender nor to compromise.
The issue that existing weapons are non provocative, designed to deter and carefully controlled is more important than ever before, likewise the issue of being disciplined in self-restraint and committed to peace, refraining from rhetorical hostility, – all being of greater importance than ever before.
Those countries not complying with the last, subject to prove, – need to face the agreed implications at the earliest possible stage. The last neither as part of victory nor triumph, – but more for the sad necessity to relief the world of potential more devastating and evil directed conflicts than ever before, putting humanity at risk.
This requires being prepared for those who wish this, – but civilised nations need to be alert to stop it.
The last as well in an effort of building a world where the strong are just by meeting their responsibility to protect those who are weak.
Whilst the road to peace might be difficult, – a strategy of annihilation in one part of the world may affect the whole world and is inconceivable.
It’s a thing not to forget when facing ANZAC day in the eye today!
It’s a problem affecting us all and whilst present problems are the result of the way of thinking created at least in part amidst various rivalries from the past, – major improvement can only be expected when the majority of civilised nations do realise that some of the past perceptions do not work, – and can’t be solved by working harder on inflated and obsolete ideas.
That we need to captivate imagination and inspire emotion to work together in different ways and leave rivalries risking to compromise an enduring stability behind.
Whilst the founders of many nations did achieve a lot to be where we are now, the harvest of any past glory is overshadowed by the challenges we face in a world with an obligation to sustain, – and not to perish together on moral ground not being fully occupied on the proposition that all men are created equal, and that no one has the right to put the lives of many at risk on the battle fields of hatred.
Therefore the ANZAC spirit at Gallipoli can’t be forgotten, – because if we forget, the past will repeat in the future at a different time and at a different place and at a different level.
Among free men,” said Abraham Lincoln, “there can be no successful appeal from the ballot to the bullet; and those who take such appeal are sure to lose their cause and pay the costs.”
Those who get confused about the real priorities on earth and lose their cause will pay the costs
This is the reason I want to speak about the prospect of war tonight, not because I like it but the risks are more clear than ever before. The risk of people as part of humankind as a whole being confused about the real enemies and threats we are faced with.
This is the topic for tonight
Tonight people in Western Australia‘s Pilbara region are being warned that the pending Cyclone Rusty could bring 250 km/hour winds slamming into the coast and inflicting massive destruction. Major parts of the Queensland coast and New south Wales have been battered by storms, twisters and flooding at a scale of increasing force. Both the east and west coast of Australia are encountering changing in patterns subject to greater forces of violence of nature in the future.
That’s nature only.
Like one small wave or earthquake may cause a tsunami, destructive in all its power, – a minor escalating conflict may cause atomic war
Just moments before a tsunami hits can be a time of serene calm, – as calm and hidden can be the preparation of war. In some places the water actually pulls back from the coast. In some cases, harbours and bays are entirely emptied of their water. And people may be misled by those signs, whilst full destruction is pending.
The same applies when times are filled up with hope, where the absence of war does not mean there is peace. Peace though being desired as the most important revelation on earth, – peace being desired as the most important power being able to combat both war and the preparation for it. Peace being required to combat the elements of nature and not destruction ourselves by choice through science being used the wrong directions.
It will be neither Air Force One which brings this peace, nor is it the breaking of a man’s spirit which may cause war, – but the sum of all efforts in either direction of both peace or war will make the difference between our existence or our total destruction, – the difference between the worst possible menace of violence, or our ability to communicate with each other and try to solve problems, – civilised within the potential of our humanity, as civilised we need to be at the major platforms of international discussions
“Civilisation” in the international arena of politics and eliminating dangers, both about forces of nature and war, should be based by principle on communication and efforts to change perceptions and give countries a chance to stick to international acceptable standards, – knowing we do not live in an ideal world. Hence the reason to do it this way, rather than the other way round.
When the bible speaks about the Kingdom of God being pending within the given variety of historical options and debate, – regardless indeed the potential of global self-inflicted destruction, – we have to remember that still a natural law applies: that we can only bring so much of God’s domain into this world as we have access to and willing to apply.
In the past 100 years, since 1914, we have seen two “World Wars”. World War 1 was more profound in it’s destructiveness than the sum of all the wars over the last 2500 years. World War II was four times more destructive than World War I.
The nuclear annihilation of two cities in Japan was the end of it
Two small bombs.
The nuclear bombing which crippled Japan for many years, – had the most painful physical effects for many.
In no comparison with what is available now.
Any humans which survived the first blast of this explosion in eg one city only had major radiation exposure. Some 140000 people who survived this first nuclear explosion being used in war, sustained radiation exposure with many 3rd degree burns and were after the blast subject to the long term after effects of radiation poisoning. They were subject to increased risks on various cancers, the unborn being exposed, – and once born months later, far more vulnerable, with the far reaching increased risks of leukaemia and other malformations later in life.
From the first survivors only some 10% did live for a further 2 weeks as due to the wounds, the pain and the agony.
Nurses being overworked waited just for people to die as this was the last blessing to be relieved from their pains.
The long term after effects were horrendous.
The 2 nuclear bombs destroyed everything in its path. Those bombs killed about 165000 people within the first 3 months in Hiroshima and some 80000 in Nagasaki at a similar time frame
Nothing in comparison with what is available and possible now when any nuclear power would opt to use its arsenal, apart from the domino effect on other nuclear powers doing the same out of retaliation.
The Tsar Bomb eg developed by the USSR and detonated in 1961 over the Arctic island of Novaya Zemlya, had a power of 50 megatons, – about 10 times the total explosives used in WWII, including the bombs that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan. Its fireball was so huge that it reached the ground while almost reaching the altitude of the bomber plane 10 km in the sky. It was felt almost 1,000 km from ground zero, and the heat from its first flash could have caused third degree burns some 110 km away. The mushroom cloud that formed was about 65 km high and 45 km wide, and the blast could be seen and felt in Scandinavia, where windows were broken. This bomb was originally designed to be one of 100 megatons, in other words twice the power as been exploded.
The Soviets decided in the end not to go ahead with this 100 megaton bomb
Mind you, – – those nuclear explosives were developed in the early 1960ties some 15 years after the end of the second world war and now we are living in a time where small nations developing nuclear weapons which could equate the 100 megatons in about 20 years or less, as those initially being designed by the Soviets and exploded in 1961.
The potential problem for every country in the third world which wants to be a nuclear power, provides the risks they may develop the sort of weapons both the US and Russia already had in the 1950ties, – and the world for certain should not allow this regardless the fact that the United States, Britain, France, China, Russia, India and Pakistan already have nuclear bombs of various strength, -with Israel being included for almost a half century.
North Korea eg is an increasing power, -however a very unusual and unpredictable power, – last but not least as part of its almost total isolation. Despite good connections with both Russia and China in the past, the last 2 superpowers are getting concerned as well, – and the UN does not affect North Korea in any way to change positions of the regime.
There are different ideas about diplomacy and how to apply this in certain circumstances, – but so be it.
There are ideas about applying force, – so be not at this stage!
There is nothing against down to earth diplomacy, face to face at top level, – to prevent an otherwise potential worst case scenario. Only a minor shift in perception may change the risk of war. The reasoning behind this is that North Korea wants to go nuclear as part of its military deterrent in its confrontation with the United States, – which it describes as “the sworn enemy of the Korean people.”
Long range missiles are not aimed for South Korea but are on the long term for the US and its citizens and the only way is working on a shift in perception, guided by both Russia and China as the long term developments and scenario’s may hit them as hard as the US in terms of costs protecting its citizens. It will help the US to get both China and Russia on the same page of the international agenda to stop North Korea with its dangerous endeavours.
The diplomacy of the kind being applied till so far did not work, however top level face-to-face diplomacy has not been tried as yet. Top level diplomacy does not mean bending towards NK’s demands, but high level direct diplomacy should be both aimed to ease the tensions and to create a fruitful alternative, – or NK indeed to face the gradual implications which would make regret its actions.
Such meetings with NK is not rewarding them for bad behaviour but allowing them by choice, and after exploring the alternatives, to engage as the last possible option into the domain of civilisation, – besides preventing the possibility that nuclear technology might find its way to Iran, al-Qaeda and others.
The last scenario would be only the start of a more devastating process, – widespread nuclear terrorism included – –
In the long history of the world, at times there were good powers in the Middle East, – like there were repugnant powers as well, living at the cost of many others, – those who died, forgotten in the dust of history.
As history often shows, people do not learn the way they should do, as a group or as a society, – and with this knowledge in the 21st century we need to make this different to survive as a human race on this planet. The flaws in foreign policy from the past should not be the repeated flaws in the future. Nuclear war starting in the Middle East could easily annihilate the human race, with a destruction and chaos as never being met before.
Like a tsunami may hit us unexpected at the lower coast lines, – nuclear war could hit us unexpected anywhere and unprotected everywhere.
The US may play a major role to help fruitful dynamics, along with China and Russia.
The US can’t be indifferent as a broker, however this does not mean it would be dishonest, or should be dishonest with integrity by principle, – regardless the agenda of placing some safeguards for Israel. Safeguards being justified within the context of ongoing threats. Safeguards, – as the alternative of doing nothing to bend the road among the dynamics in the Middle East more positively, – means simply the clock is ticking towards more chaos and violence. Whether this is in Egypt or with the Palestinians, – Hezbollah in Lebanon or Iran, – or any other areas with conflict including Syria. The last with a promising diplomatic Russian intervention yesterday, with the current regime being ready now to talk to all parties, – despite the risk of so called lip service to dialogue in more sustained ways.
We know it’s all complex, but terrorism and war are even more complex, – and safeguards should be there for any party agreeing with the fact that broader violence is an inflated perception, leading to nothing else than a final destruction of this whole area and with this at least part of the world. Destruction of what once was build in terms of culture and difference. The Middle East being ancient and rich as once was the Roman empire, the first even older than the last.
Everything is a matter of perception and perceptions do rule the world, either in the leaders of people and governments, or in the people themselves. Whether those perceptions are right or wrong, bizarre perhaps at times – if we put up barriers feuded by prejudice, and as such preventing that we work with the most crucial different perceptions of our times, – we are taking away the opportunities of people coming together and making the impossible possible.
Impossible it seems before arriving at meetings, impossible when people are angry at times and reasoning from emotions, leaders living with ideas of going to war, – especially when those ideas do resonate at Departments of existing Foreign policy or at major military platforms. But history shows that the impossible is possible, even when we are faced with the impossible, like we are faced with the impossible of earthquakes and tsunamis when forces of nature do hit us wave by wave leaving behind bewildered people amidst destruction. But the last are situations where people despite destruction and losses of lives find each other in their willingness to help. That’s again a difference in perception, guided by what hits us.
Guided by what hits us, – whether it is a major bushfire or flooding, a tsunami or an earthquake. Those are challenges we don’t ask for but they hit us unexpected, – like a major rock from space can hit us unexpected.
And you know, – we train doctors and nurses, medical teams and fire brigades and all the others to help when required, – but the terrible contradiction comes in when major war hits the horizon.
War may hit us unexpected but the difference is that the dynamics leading to war are premeditated, dynamics who find their roots far too often within inflated perceptions not being properly discussed or taken to a level of exploring different alternatives.
This is the world as it does present us to day, whether it applies to the problems in the Middle East or in Korea, whether it applies to tensions between the US and China. And even when it seems that certain perceptions are not subject for change, those perceptions being purely based on blind hatred and prejudice, – whether it is the prejudice against the Jews or prejudice of any other kind, – still it is worth giving communication a chance, perhaps a last chance. Even when it seems against all odds. However, there should be zero tolerance for people and even countries who simply kill either on their own or in groups, – just for killing and destroying lives.
Zero tolerance for this!
leadership and I mean true leadership is not the rhetoric from behind the desk in front of a microphone, nor is it confronting people with the facts after disaster happened with the knowledge it could have been dealt with differently. Leadership as well is taking fear for granted and leave it behind in order to tackle the problems which need to be tackled. Leadership is not watching a train taking the wrong railway path and simply watching how a collision will occur and tell us thereafter that it occurred without taking action to alarm those being able to stop the train, or plane, – going into a collision course. This applies to the dynamics of potential world events as well, and we know they are closely watched with far too often too little proactive action. And if we speak then again about eg North Korea, the questions is what kind of discussions with NK do we mean? What kind of settlement do we seek? – – Not an American forced process which may escalate problems by American weapons or war. Not the security of us being a slave from a dogmatic regime running the treadmill of their own insecurities by isolation themselves of the rest of the world by their war machinery. Not only by their current war machinery, but by their nuclear potential just years down the line. We can’t afford to turn a blind eye for this.
I am really talking about a genuine process which helps both sides to reconsider an ability to take a different direction, – a direction of helping to grow one nation sidetracked from common civilisation, – anxious about the concept of liberation as it would as such destroy the current status quo.
What we know from history is that nations did arise and disappeared at times in the dust of history, a process over many and many more years. We know as well that dictators grew old and were replaced at times. We know as well that the people of some nations said that they had enough and went on the street to provoke change. Change at times so desired and needed. All this is not possible at the moment but we can’t allow one nation at this point of history potentially destroying history itself by simply not talking. Total war as a result of this, triggered by error or miscalculation makes no sense as no one will surrender without resort to those forces which could destroy us all. Believing that negotiations and fruitful discussions do not make sense means that people feel it is inevitable that NK goes it own way by further producing thermonuclear devices and more advanced missile systems in the future, – allowing as such that at some stage we will or may be subject to international blackmail. Not believing in the only possible way of discussions, to change perceptions as an act of real leadership, is a regressive defeatist belief leading to the belief we have no grip to change those forces and powers which need to be changed, – forces which need to be modified based on simply the reason at this time in history.
This time in history!
Whilst sensible words and conversations do not harm and open options for further dialogue, easing tensions, – provocative words and actions may lead to war.
This time in history!
Whilst there is no “magic formula” to make peace, man’s reason and spirit have often solved the seemingly impossible and I believe we can do it again whilst we learn from the past and walk the many miles to reach out to make the impossible possible, – like this happened eg during the Cuba crisis, like this happened eg when the Iron Curtain between East and West Berlin was abolished, like it happened eg when a first US President did visit mainland China for a new chapter in history.
This time in history again!
Facing the facts of this world we can’ deny fanatic nationalism being on the rise, with the situation worldwide being similar to the conditions that triggered both past World War’s. In 1994 Africa’s Rwanda proved how tensions suddenly can explode; church-going neighbors turned on one another with genocide. Close to 1000,000 died. Even women and children that took refuge in churches were hacked to death by machete.
Again this time!
Multinational wars in Africa claimed some 2,500,000 lives, including the hidden war in the Congo, almost completely ignored by western news media. India and Pakistan have exchanged angry threats in the past, backed by nuclear missiles.
War usually does cause famine by disrupting farming, like happened during and after the 2 World Wars. Stalin created death by starvation of millions of his own countrymen in Russia . After the second World War about a fourth of the world was starving.
Corruption and war has starved millions in both Angola, Somalia, Ethiopia and North Korea. Zimbabwe had a corrupt and brutally racist regime, using selective starvation to crush dissents. Wealthy nations do show “compassion fatigue,” Sometimes the news media just ignore situations until hundreds of thousands are already dead. In other places, the problem is not one of war but gross inequality: the rich are sumptuously stocked, while just across town the poor cannot afford even a balanced diet. All too often the poor in so-called “developing” countries have to stand with empty hands and empty stomachs whilst rich harvests are exported for hard cash which then being used to buy weapons being used by the government against its own people.
All this in our times!
The World Health Organization reflects that at least 5 million children die every year from malnutrition. At the same time in the well developed world many children are grossly obese with already early signs of both diabetes and high blood pressure.
The world is shaking both by its bankruptcy of moral values in some countries as literally by earthquakes. Besides this there have been major upheavals in societies and governments in the past century. Empires have been broken up, and divisions have split nations along ethnic and religious lines. In 2008 there was a near-collapse of the world economy due to greedy financial manipulation, with great difficulty slowly recovering but the markets both in Europe and the US still unsure, the last as due to a huge deficit. In early 2011 we observed an Islāmic Spring with still uncertain outcomes.
We can’t deny it, it happens all in our time, in past time and currents times over and over!
In many places around the world people put heavy steel bars over their windows. Often honest people being in jail whilst criminals walk the streets. Confessed rapists and murderers set free and courts finding technical excuse to do so. In some places 80% of all children are born to single mothers with not rarely the father not being known. Many semi-slave laborers as part of the human trafficking industry, often enslaved and very young within an increasing dangerous and powerful evil business overtaking in the years ahead the industry of the “drug barons”. Poisons being poured out into rivers whilst people downstream have no other choice but to drink the contaminated water. Multinational corporations hiding their trail of injustice and profits in a legal jungle of complex contracts where government officials turn a blind eye for cash. The exponential increase of our human population in the 21st Century will raise more expectations on normal living circumstances and shelter, – unsustainable as more people adopt modern lifestyles of consumption and pollution. Climate change will provide a burden for us all, – but in particular for those people with little shelter and less normal circumstances of living.
The 21st century, – all our time and may be the end of times if we don’t pull together as civilised nations and use reason as the guiding force to streamline our decisions, decisions or choices which will determine how we proceed this century.
Conflicts are increasing over essential resources, especially water and energy. Accelerating climate changes with profound changes in patterns both in Australia, the US and other parts of the world. Political and economic instability including the slowly spreading of nuclear weapons give little hope in objective terms. Church officials being exposed as pedophiles, seducing or raping little boys and girls. The Roman Catholic Church turning a blind eye for a long time to this like they turned a blind eye to Hitler Germany to continue as a Church. A reflection of the violence of institutions, indifference and inaction and slow decay. But still amidst this good people as well fighting this decay.
Many good people in our times as well! —-
Going back as not being finished yet:
Hitler, Lenin and Pol Pot who did mislead millions of people doing the most repugnant and wicked things, apart from the “smaller evils” like eg Idi Amin.
However, – still we have the last choice, if people say to kill we don’t need to kill.
If we were abused as children by parents, we don’t need to abuse our children..
For some, – religion as part of their appeal with Al-Qaeda being a prime example now.
All in this world and in our time!
And still, – we can only bring so much of the Kingdom of God into this world as we have within ourselves, – which includes our sense of piety or respect for life, – within the concept of a practical and down to earth wisdom on international relationships.
Our times are full of shame and sorrow despite the hope for a better future where forces of nature should be the enemies and not humankind divided in itself. The victims of the violence and senseless bloodshed are across all religions, black and white, rich and poor, young and old.
“Among free men,” said Abraham Lincoln, “there can be no successful appeal from the ballot to the bullet; and those who take such appeal are sure to lose their cause and pay the costs.”
Violence breeds violence, repression brings retaliation, and indifference amidst this is a different sort of violence on its own. This is the violence that afflicts the poor, the hungry and those being victims of broad-spectrum abuse, whether it is human trafficking or the abuse of elderly in homes.
I am not saying this because I have remedies for this. No not at all. It’s more that I am speechless of the complexities and dangers of this world, – our only world.
It is not about me but it is about all of us, young in heart and spirit to do what life asks us to do with the predicaments of our time. This time and for all times, just to set the records straight for future generations.
The question is when we may find in our own hearts that sort of leadership re humane purpose that will see and hear the terrible truths of our existence, to be replaced by the kind of love and commitment which helps people and nations to grow with real destination, with true distinctions in our search for meaning in life, – neither enriched by hatred nor revenge. But a meaning which frees our children from the injustice inflicted by others and allows them not to build their futures on the misfortunes of those who lost their fight for justice in the agony of life.
Let us look around towards our fellow men and women to seek the bond of common faith.
This faith which can teach us neither to be indifferent nor to have illusions, but to see the world as it is and still keep hope by working and healing wounds in hearts and spirit, – by working to be brothers and sisters with a common goal to make the impossible possible.
Whilst there is again no “magic formula” to make peace, – man’s reason and spirit have often solved the seemingly impossible.
And I do believe we may do it again by being free man and taking our bullets of self-destruction to the ballet of international coöperation, – to counteract the problems of our time, to counteract it for the future of our children and their children, – but it will come at a cost we can’t foresee as yet.
All in our time.
Tonight once again, once again the same old discussion. The discussion being heard so many times but so little effective action being taken.
North Korea, with snowy mountains in the north and rugged ranges in the east with swift rivers flowing to the sea. A country ideal for growing rice and other crops, but being harsh in winter. A country with mud coated and thatched cottages being bleak, and black pigs lolled by barns, – and the digging of soils still being carried out by the kind of spade used by land working men.
Men and women, – like us, like everywhere.
The country where fishermen converge like seabirds in tiny fishing boats to catch a share for thousands of families to sustain the living conditions in an exploited land full of stricken poverty, – and malnutrition of far too many children.
A country once invaded by the Russians and denied free elections in history, with iron curtains dividing both the south and the north.
A country once invading the south with the US and Japan coming to the rescue of the south, – with finally the south and the north controlling each their own zone… Isolated now, close to the borders of China, – not only isolated in terms of trade and other good things with the outside world, – but foremost isolated as well as a country in terms of rational international diplomacy.
North Korea in 2001 still the country remaining communist, closely spied by its Government, cut off from almost all outside contacts and over and over armed.
One new young leader now with a massive war machinery behind him, in a way fragile and not mature as a person, – but coming forth from a family tradition of maximum power and ambition. Encapsulated in various inflated views about the world of North Korea and the real world.
Encapsulated by historic traditions within the army, a powerful army, – but the last powerful as well where it comes to keep up existing doctrines, which do not work.
Neither do they work for the many people who are poor in North Korea, the families with children and malnutrition being the events of the day, nor do they work for the outside world, – as North Korea is one of those nations enduring great difficulties to face the challenge to become civilised, and responsible, – in the way they deal with matters.
It is one of those countries who perceive in their isolation threats from the outside world, – perceive their family neighbour from the south as an enemy, – perceive the US as an enemy. And in all this are preparing for conflict, – being both irrational and pointless.
The facts are now that North Korea will conduct its third nuclear test soon, – that North Korea did sent a satellite into space in December and are preparing for both long range missiles eventually having the ability to carry nuclear and/or other weapons.
Reason does not seem to work as North Korea is perhaps the worst enemy of its own ideology, but reason never reached North Korea as isolation created fear and fear created the potential for major confrontation where nobody as head of any civilised state apart from China did visit North Korea in the eye of its Parliament.
It takes courage to prevent war and create dialogue. History showed on a few occasions that the actions of men are able to this, as once illustrated in the Israelite Parliament with the visit of a seemingly almost forgotten Egyptian President, who stood up for Peace being the last rationale argument to fight for.
Different circumstances though, the last, but the examples are there of men and women, people and Presidents taking action with a bigger interest at heart, proactive in style and determined to win their case, – as a lost case being the case of war goes at a cost of millions who are innocent and did not ask for it.
In the eyes of North Korea both the US and South Korea are earth enemies for reasons never being really clarified in face to face communication. Face to face communication with both modesty and strength, to reach both out and to try to diffuse inflated perceptions. Face to face communication – like eg happened in dialogues between Reagan and Gorbachev at a crucial time of the cold war right in the face of all hard-liners, – all hard liners being surprised of the break through being created at the time.
There is a situation now not being the place for making any threats, – as words lead to provocations and provocations lead to war and war leads to an instinct of willing to combat by every means.
It’s pointless, – pointless as it proved so many times in history!
Lets face it, we are not living any more in time of guns and bullets only, but the guns have been replaced by potential missiles and the bullets have been replaced by plain potential nukes, – either dirty or clean, but in both cases devastating in its implication once used by people who lead wars from behind their computer, – blind for the destruction of human life and culture
The new US Secretary of State John Kerry liked engaging North Korea in the past at the time he was a Massachusetts Senator and this is the only way forward. Kerry, who replaced Hillary Rodham Clinton, joined with South Korea and Japan in calling on the North to end its “provocative behaviour” or face “significant consequences from the international community” in a statement Sunday, – but he did not make endeavours to visit North Korea as yet. Being only joint by Japan and South Korea, statements of this nature have no impact on North Korea at all!
Media presented threats do not help. “There’s a reluctance in the White House to have a deal with North Korea only to have it repudiated again,” said James Acton, an expert on nuclear non-proliferation at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. However, – some risk is required as the risk of war and not being able to end the process once the last is implemented is a greater risk, and again we are not simply speaking about guns. North Korea will master a delivery system for nuclear weapons, and it will join Russia and China as the only non-U.S. allies with such capabilities, – besides Iran perhaps. Kim Jong Un seems to shrug off pressure from most of the international community, including North Korea’s main ally, China, and go ahead with a third test. Bruce Bechtol, a former Pentagon intelligence analyst, said it is really not up to the United States solely to alter the North’s behaviour. He said Kerry’s instructions from Obama will likely be to work closely with the South Koreans and have them set the tone.
However the US needs to go into a straight dialogue with North Korea and Kerry needs to visit and speak to the Communist Parliament as only a minor shift in perception may change events in history, the last being of greater impact when a delegation of South Korea would visit the North. The reasoning behind this is that North Korea wants to go nuclear as part of its military deterrent in its confrontation with the United States, which it describes as “the sworn enemy of the Korean people.”
Long range missiles are not aimed for South Korea but are on the long term aimed at the US and its citizens and the only way is working on a shift in perception, – a shift of perception delivered perhaps even by the US President in North Korea.
The new US Secretary of State John Kerry would be well able to visit first, and discuss with the North Korean leadership the issues of concern. Such a visit will have a major impact and may help the required shift in perception which enables parties to reconsider existing strategies. Besides this benefit it will create some element of goodwill, – noticed by both Russia and China, as the US goes out of his way to avoid confrontation. However one should be watchful for this oppressive regime
If no change afterwards it will help the US to get both China and Russia on the same page of the international agenda to stop North Korea with its dangerous endeavours, leading simply to an avoidable war, – now.
Leadership by providing a change of perception works stronger than sanctions as sanctions proved to be the cut corner strategy not having an impact on historic based perceptions in this case, – the last neither being changed by media delivered warnings nor by measures being perceived as provocative
North Korea is able to test two devices at the same time, one with plutonium and the other with uranium, both then with more technological information and political damage being provided, – apart from the single fact that they are not far away from testing a thermonuclear device more powerful than any of their earlier devices being used, and again, – again straight on dialogue and working on a shift in perception with coöperation being the aim is a short-term goal of eminent importance, – even if this is against Pentagon advise.
Politically the new regime of Kim Jong-Un is more defiant to U.N. dictates than his predecessors, – just by still pursuing his nation’s nuclear aims. Neither stronger sanctions, nor the likely discontent of both Russia and China with his behaviour, appears to change North Korea’s young leader from its military driven aim and it is clear that only straight on discussions on both dismantling and cooperation might be helpful to change the perception that the US is not not the number one enemy, – as this is an inflated perception not based on any realistic facts, – unless the facts do change by further provocations by North Korea.
This is what the military leadership in North Korea needs to understand or facing the implications if North Korea indeed is going to face a nuclear threat for the region, with growing pressure from both China, Russia and the US.
The UN proved to be of no value to North Korea.
The aim is to get both China, Russia and the US on the same page of the strategic agenda as by not achieving this shift in perception with the North Korean leadership, this nation becomes a vey unpredictable nation at the potential cost of millions of people inside North Korea and outside its borders.
Hence steps of courage being required at the personal level to change those possible dynamics in history, as history will judge both in retrospect and relentless, on what “we” did to prevent “the North Korean problem” from evolving into a worst case scenario.
-Speaking at the Clinton Global Initiative past Tuesday, US President Barrack Obama took the remarkable step calling modern day slavery “barbaric” and “evil” as he spoke against trafficking and praised companies, organizations and people taking up the fight against the traffickers: “It ought to concern every person, because it’s a debasement of our common humanity. It ought to concern every community, because it tears at the social fabric”. “It ought to concern every business, because it distorts markets. It ought to concern every nation, because it endangers public health and fuels violence and organized crime”.”I’m talking about the injustice, the outrage, of human trafficking, which must be called by its true name – modern slavery.”
A White House news release recently mentioned: “More than 20 million men, women, and children worldwide are victims of human trafficking”. “Companies around the world are taking steps to end the potential for trafficked labour in their operations and supply chains, and President Obama is committed to protecting vulnerable people as government contractors and subcontractors perform vital services and manufacture goods procured by the United States.” “As the largest single purchaser of goods and services in the world, the U.S. Government has a responsibility to combat human trafficking at home and abroad, and to make sure American tax dollars do not contribute to this affront to human dignity.”
I guess this is the crux of President Obama’s visit to some countries in the Pacific, however the last statement not as clearly expressed as Kennedy did on June 10th 1963 during his “Peace Speech” for the American University, – where he reached beyond the cold war sentiments of his time and of the US establishment in those years
The response to either errors or provocations is a responsibility of both superpowers and the Pacific might be an area of provocation and confrontation if both superpowers are not careful in their approach.
We may understand the concerns from China about the “sudden” shift of US foreign policy and renewed interest in the Pacific. The US considers itself a key player in the Pacific as well, with a focus on productive and fruitful economic relationships, – however prepared to defend security interest of both the US and allies if provoked. The last is not new, but signifying a renewed affirmation following perceived provocations in the Chinese Sea by China, – creating a sense of discomfort at the Pentagon. However not being discussed face to face with the Chinese leadership and still pending, or only briefly discussed in the last couple of days.
Obama made clear that the military expansion is a top priority whilst tailing down US presence in Iraq and Afghanistan. “As we end today’s wars, I have directed my national security team to make our presence and missions in the Asia-Pacific a top priority,” Obama said. “As a result, reductions in U.S. defence spending will not — I repeat, will not — come at the expense of the Asia-Pacific.”
This is not particular a laid back and wait and see policy but a clear message to friends and potential opponents, a message to China as well. However balancing the world into the right direction and avoid war is still the most significant obligation of civilization. US President John F Kennedy in his “Peace Speech” for the American University on June 10th 1963, made this more clear to the world than President Obama ever did.
No reason for China to worry if their intentions are peaceful on the long-term without wish to dominate, but the Pacific area is a concern as there are more players causing potential conflict, – last but not least North Korea as well. The mixture of support treaties are quite complex and both India and the US are working towards more coöperation to counteract concerns about China. China has both close connections with North Korea and a business interest in Iran. Hence the increasing complexity of the Pacific scenario, with more military deals in the make.
“Our enduring interests in the region demand our enduring presence in this region,” Obama told the Australian Parliament. “The United States is a Pacific power, and we are here to stay.” There will be an agreement with Australia which will enhance the military coöperation between the 2 countries. While U.S. officials cited the need to respond to regional natural disasters as a reason for the agreement, concern over China’s military expansion is widely acknowledged as the driving factor. The United States has based some of its most advanced weapons in the Pacific, including squadrons of F-22 fighters and C-17 transport planes, – equipment suitable for cyber – and electronic warfare.
It can’t be denied that this new element of strategic power being implemented in the region has been received with mixed observations in China and Obama failed in his diplomacy to visit China at the same time. Nelson Mandela (most likely!) would have done this, because it is most important not to create misunderstandings in the communication with the major superpowers as it is vital to have close and constructive working relations with China.
Whilst this is perhaps not a choice by principle by the Pentagon, this should be a choice by principle of the US President after various shortcomings in US foreign policy and inflicted war’s under his predecessors.
In April 2007 Obama said about China: “China is rising and it’s not going away. They’re neither our enemy nor our friend. They’re competitor’s.” Meanwhile the Chines government owns many hundreds of billions of dollars of US Treasury bills, assisting to fund America’s budget and trade deficits. In a speech to the 12th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in September 1982, Deng Xiaoping said: “No foreign country can expect China to be its vassal, nor can it expect China to accept anything harmful to China’s interests”.
This is still the situation, even though this was said in 1982. It is for China important that there is no interference from outside with internal dynamics, for sure not in the public domain with people being opinionated out of proportions perhaps.
My suggested approach would have been different to China, and the most significant notation I missed in any of the speeches was something along the lines like this:
“To the Chinese, our overseas neighbours, I would like to say this. – Whilst being different by tradition and history, both our countries have much in common through our mutual interest and endeavours towards an enduring peace and stability in this region, the last so important for both economic growth and our people. Whilst history often shows evidence of conflict, let’s embrace the opportunity walking the road to a persistent peace, knowing that every man-made problem can be discussed, – preferably before an issue gets a problem. The Chinese have a culture rich in history and far older than ours and we respect this culture, though we have differences in the way we perceive eg human rights and fair trading… The people of China living across the borders of this at one time most advanced civilization on earth live both in fear and hope, both for the future of their country and the right balance of requiring natural recourses and increasing consumer demand. Likewise, the people of our country sustaining the agony of economic recession and various war’s do live both in fear and hope as well. The people of both China, the US and other countries have in common that they all want to earn a living -to live- and look after their families and loved ones. They have in common that they want to learn in live to create meaning for the future and we all have problems with balancing resources and consumer demand, with at this stage in the US a demand for intensified job creation and increased productivity. The people’s of both our countries and all countries are far more important than our government’s today, and for the sake of humanity let’s never give up on peace, – a concept so often ignored but at the same time so important… Knowing that our own history as well has not always been perfect perhaps, errors are made in other countries as well,- and let’s try to resolve our differences for the sake of an enduring stability in this area, – like differences at other places in the world have been resolved in a good spirit of hope. We owe this to our people, to your people, – knowing that war can’t be an answer anymore to conflict, for certain not in conflict between superpowers. It’s pointless to prepare for the last as preparing for the last is preparing for self-destruction. The more we put realistically into our efforts for mutual understanding and agreement on the major issues and challenges , caused at times by countries less responsible perhaps by seeking military adventure and domination , – the more we are able to offer to this world. If we are able to agree on this concept, we have already the blessing of the children of this generation who have to build the future after we have gone. We have the blessing of old Chinese wisdom then as well. So let us work together and live in peace; – not only for the sake of the countries in this Asia-Pacific region but for the countries who are dependent on stability at this part of the world.”
I guess such a message to the Chinese would have been well received, and would have been able to reduce both reservations and distrust. It is part of the language to be used, language being important to build bridges and avoid the seeds of conflict. It is the intention so often reflected in old Chinese wisdom, not always valued perhaps by past leaders, – like the wisdom of Lincoln or Kennedy often seemed to have been forgotten by some of the US President’s in later US history. Both cultures have imperfections, but responding to each other with wisdom and restraint will avoid situations like those e.g. happened in Vietnam, where millions of people died in conflict. A conflict later on by historian’s considered as a lack of judgement, even by participants of US Administrations at the time, – regretfully in retrospect many years later.
Within the current strategic decision-making, prepared at least for two years already within the US military establishment and pushed from a different angle as well by former Australian PM Kevin Rudd, – the US President’s visit to Australia has been well prepared and his speeches were well-timed, more as tactics of the US military establishment than a leadership acknowledgement how important it is to keep world peace.
We need to realise that in the US President’s do come and go and whilst US President Obama might be well able to make the right choices to support peace, his change of military tactic is causing serious digestion issues in China, – and the concerns reflected by Indonesia are realistic.
We don’t need a new cold war scenario, the times are too dangerous and too unpredictable in case of any miscalculation. China may have as much distrust in the US as the US has in China and Australia is following closely in the footsteps of the US, – footsteps not always been that fortunate in the past. Any new Republican (?tea party) President might change the nature and intend of an agreement as the Pentagon sees fit, based on CIA information not always being complete. The reality proves that both China and the US will avoid at all cost a war on their own soil and as proved in the past, all US war’s were fought outside their borders, – often far away.
President Obama’s Australian visit follows last weekend’s 19-nation Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, which highlighted the need for new measures supporting job growth in the US. Needless to say succesful. During the Hawaiian summit, Obama emphasised the importance of the Pacific being an area of global economic security, and he requested China to do more to help strengthen the world economy with fair trade and sticking to international rules. However he did not reach out far enough to ease tensions.
Again, – to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world (as the Greeks) wrote so long ago, requires a shift in modern thinking where traditional thinking does include the option of excessive and more brutal force than ever before, against the will and the interest of the majority of people. This type of shift in thinking and perception is simply progress in the way we see the world and change is the motivator of this progress in non violent change for the better, and looking for mutual stability in an area of potential tension. However this type of change has enemies not to be underestimated. Those enemies again are usually the extremists being extreme in their intolerance and in their accusations. It is paramount to give them no grounded base for their accusations. Those enemies can be found in both the US military force and the Chinese military force (actually in any military force), and as leaders of major super powers it would be better to learn the lessons from some predecessors. The Cold War between the US and Russia (USSR at the time) ended because of the intervention of leaders reaching out eventually, beyond the military background powers. The personal approach is vital to end and prevent conflict and Obama’s mission being applauded widely in Australia was more personal and warm here than what it could have been in China.
Inclusive leadership which breaks the ice in economic endeavours, emphasising what we have in common as a people (despite differences), is more helpful than straight on showing strength by increasing miliary capacity and creating alliances within the domain of potential force. It could have been a second step if all communication failed. The Chinese might be far more rigid in dynamics of government, but this does not take away that their culture endured over time and sustained over time and will change over time through different principles than both being familiar in the US and Australia. Mutual respect and friendship facilitates a mutual learning experience with positive outcomes for those countries realising the importance of this and refusing to repeat cold war dynamics as we had in the past.
The wisdom of Chinese leaders is perhaps not going that far that they realise it would be wise to help domestic reforms in the direction of a democracy, – however despite shortcomings in human rights their intend is both stability at home and stability within the domain of economic growth, recognising that change is inevitable as generations and values do change. The Chinese leadership however wants to be in control of this change as uncontrolled change may have undesired side effects. At the end of the day this is up to the Chinese and the dynamics of their society.
There is a rule in international diplomacy and Nelson Mandela did stick to this rule in South Africa to overcome differences. The rule is to visit your potential opponent and sort matters out before they blow out of proportions. The incidents in the Chinese Sea did give the US an excuse to increase their military presence without resolving the issue straight on with the Chinese leadership. It seems a move which could have been dealt with differently and the concerns of Indonesia about potential escalation are justified.
Let’s put it this way: communication is the cornerstone of international diplomacy at the level between the US and China, and where one party fails, the other party does not need to take a robust example of increasing (quietly) a very significant military presence which in US history often led to war far outside their borders. There is something to say at times in favour for face to face discussion and delaying a response allowing the other party to correct itself. US Generals (eg Air Force Maj.Gen. Michael Keltz) did only add to the military mission with a reflection on the nature of the most advanced weapons being around (shortly) in the Pacific.
Whilst the US budget perhaps does not come at the expense of the Asia Pacific, a military confrontation will come at the cost of the Asia Pacific. Where indeed the Chinese made apparently new claims on the Chinese Sea, the American’s traditionally different communicator’s failed to discuss this straight on face to face with the Chinese leadership and President Obama reflected a response both in line with US military strategy and the importance of increasing jobs and economic activity at home in the US. It’s a smart move before the US Presidential elections in 2012 and perhaps this move is required to help his re-election in the interest of the free world, as long as he keeps the bigger picture in mind.
Democracy is not always perfect, neither is the way for an enduring and lasting peace. However it is better to have an imperfect peace rather than a devastating war at a cost not measurable anymore in human dimensions.
For this reason “The Indian talking stick” should be right at the centre of the Asia – Pacific relations, as only this will offer creatively better scenario’s based on “win – win”, as Stephen Covey would say. It means listening talking and reasoning along the line of acceptable alternatives for all parties being involved.
This is the only way forward.
It requires a shift in strategy and thought process.
It is the only way forward as we are living on the edge of the sword of Damocles, – this century with both such a potential dangerous future and outcome, but also this century with the opportunity to make the right choices the avoid the most dangerous dynamics on earth.
Australia’s Prime Minister Ms Julia Gillard spoke at the Australia China Economic and Cooperation Trade Forum during her current trip to China and in her keynote speech she told her audience that the last 30 years the dual way trade with China has gone from 100 million dollars to 100 billion dollars. China is Australia’s largest trading partner. One quarter of Australia’s export is in China. There will be new mutual agreements on clean energy research as part of slowing down the scale of global warming. It will be however interesting to see how Australia will balance both its relationships with the US and China, with pending defence coöperation. Whilst the interests are not necessarily conflicting there could be a difficult issue if e.g South Korea would be vigorously defended by the US in case of a large-scale attack from North Korea.
China being prosperous in the region is not only good for Australia but for the rest of the world as well. Still China is in a place to use its leverage on North Korea to dismantle nuclear weapons, as due to its increasing regional influence. Australia’s PM has been clearly balancing on mutual and constructive economic ties and the human right issues, but in a tone of common sense and reason, which is effective enough.
The scope to improve human rights records in China is still much and this need is quite clear within the context of the recent largest crack downs on human rights in China since the last 2 decades.
Evidently there are tensions between Washington and Beijing. Obviously the recent crack down on dissidents in China needs to be viewed within the context of the spreading unrest within the Arab world. China however does not feel it has taken a step back on the issue of human rights and recognises the need for improvements, but has tightened up its control on activists , dissidents and religious freedom.
The US – China human rights dialogue which starts today will be focussed on the main concerning values in which China and the US disagree. Those discussions take place during and after the worst Chinese crack down in years on dissidents and human right groups with mass detention as a result. For the US applies as well that economic ties with China have been quite important since the ruling Communist Party in China opened up the doors to the market forces in the world. During the Chinese President’s State visit to the US in January, he acknowledged the global importance of human rights and reflected that “still a lot needs to be done in China”. He mentioned as well: “>to take into account the different national circumstances when it comes to the universal value in human rights<“.
Interesting the views on human rights are different in so far that China does not only view those rights as each being a personal right but in particular containing collective rights as well. For instance the right of national independence, development and the right to subsistence. Poverty reduction is e.g. high on the national agenda of China, as part of this reason. Three universities have been recently implemented in China on the area of national human rights education and for the Chines police force there is a human rights manual close to completion.
Like the US did change some aspects of its culture towards human rights not so long ago in history, with law enforcement to be followed, – similar may happen in China. If we look at the changes in the US in the 60-ties it is clear that certain dynamics need time, especially for the movement of social change amidst the protests against the Vietnam war.
Liberty and tolerance are at the base of improving records of human rights. To allow people to live in harmony in countries, liberty can’t be turned into licences of any kind encroaching on the rights of others. There is however a broader context. People are not really free when they are compromised to build up their lives with purpose. Positive freedom is the freedom as well to meet areas of personal potential. If we divine the distinction between the two aspects of freedom as both interpersonal liberty with certain restrictions and intrapersonal freedom, (being empowered to meet certain goals with value, nurtured as such within a person), – we are reaching somehow the broader context of freedom and liberty.
Liberty at State (Nation) level is neither a licence to kill in pointless war’s nor a licence to start “a war on terror” with over the years which followed inflicting mass casualties with both restricted civil liberties and gross compromises on human rights. The torture of prisoners by US military personnel at detentions centre’s in Iraq and Guantanamo in Cuba are the latest US examples of America’s conviction during the last administration that liberties best defender is irreleberality.There are most unfortunate examples how the US did work inside the borders of some foreign countries during the last decades and it is up to the US to evaluate its role in the world, which is clearly in the process of happening during the Obama administration. Whilst there is nothing against opposing a crack down on the terror of human right atrocities in Syria in the strongest possible terms, – generally spoken a degree of humility of approaching the subject of human rights by those countries who have been culprits in the area of human rights abuses itself, – seems sensible and may create a more trustworthy partnership on this issue where extensive dialogues are required.
If we look at human right abuses over the last 45 years it would seem unfair to say that China has worse records than the US itself. Where the US was involved in various war’s far outside its borders, with lots of human rights violations in numbers, it wasted most of its financial resources before even considering its own middle class and other disadvantaged groups, deserving basic healthcare, education and other rights. The budget deficit as it reached its current levels is the result of some faltering past administrations compromising as well on basic essential rights of its own citizens. being before one of the most wealthiest countries in the world.
Tolerance is a virtue of toleration, in particular an ingredient of liberty and freedom. Still members of major religions at many countries are unwilling to tolerate their opponents or their religious beliefs. There is today however more tolerance when it comes to the colour of skin, ethnic origins, sexuality and lifestyle choices. Generally the level of tolerance is proportionate to the degree of disapproval. The problem arises when tolerance is considered to be a virtue when certain practices or beliefs are morally wrong or even evil. In those cases of the paradox applies that if you can avoid certain things from happening, it is wrong not to do so.
Human diversity makes both tolerance, liberty (within its boundaries) and respect for human rights more than virtues of the fittest or the richest, – it makes it a need for all our chances of survival on this planet. Hence the required direction of better understanding and implementing human rights in all its dimensions, should be encouraged all over the world. Most countries however have entirely different historical dynamics and widespread revolutions and turmoil have provided far too much bloodshed and tears in the past, – which is the reason – besides preserving the core securities of countries – to carry out required reforms with both added value and respect for life.
Creating harmony among plenty of differences is the cornerstone of tolerance, which is the virtue that makes it possible to replace the culture and politics of war by both the politics and culture of peace. It is a responsibility which respects life, human rights, diversity, democracy and the law enforcement a real democracy insists on. When people take their rights in their own hands, more often the loser is the law, not rarely at a cost of freedom. The problem of extremists is not that they are extreme, but that they often show intolerance. It is not about their cause, but what they both have to say about their opponents and what they do with their opponents.
Increasing globalisation, swiftly evolving technology in terms of increasing worldwide mobility and communication, changing social patterns, increasing interdependence and integration are the major marks of our time. Large scale migrations and displacements are also less positive marks of our time. Tolerance for this reason is more essential than ever before and should be the point of reference of any country in the world, within certain restrictions where this tolerance goes beyond the boundaries of respect for life or provokes violence. Escalating intolerance and violence are potentially menaces in every region.
We need to keep the liberties of free men, not as a license to kill those who may think differently, but as an obligation to preserve harmony and tolerance among nations, where the principles of respect of life are not compromised. With this attitude some terror groups may put down their weapons.
In ancient Greece people were not slaves of their passions, but the plants of reason were nurtured in people. It is with this meaning of “reason” in mind to say in fairness that it will be impossible to abolish all forms of human injustice. Injustice is part of life and part of life is that we can learn from it. Reason however only, – is restricted as it only tells us what the senses do.
Neither reason nor faith are the sole entities of the divining moments in the future, they need to work together to embrace both the concept of more justice and tolerance.
In all corners of the earth still applies the command of Isaiah: to “undo the heavy burdens” (eventually) ” and to let the oppressed go free”.
Respecting human rights will make Nations better places and people more committed to give their best endeavours.
This is a concept within reason for China as well.
Aussie Prime Minister Julia Gillard did raise the subject quite well as with better mutual understanding and coöperation on various other issues, the domain of our own values and perceptions on this issue may be well taken on board.
There is only really however one way forward, – for all of us eventually:
—–>”To undo the heavy burdens and let the oppressed go free!!!”<—-
Henry Kissinger – China as a Rising Power
Autralian PM discussing human rights in China.
Obama and Hu on Human Rights in China
US- China human rights hypocrisy
America’s human right rhetorics tarnished
Hu Jintao admits China has scope for improving human right records
China military 2011
On the 25th of April each year, Australians commemorate ANZAC day, the landing of Australian and New Zealand Troops at Gallipoli in 1915. The spirit of this day – as suggested by the official war historian C.E.W Bean – both stand and stood for “reckless valour in a good cause, for enterprise, resourcefulness, fidelity, comradeship and endurance that will never own defeat”. It also encompasses the laughter, the love and pride of life which fits most Australians as well. Anzac was a terrible day in history with about 265000 casualties on Allied forces. including 7594 Australian soldiers.
It’s a day indeed not to forget and for Australians it is an important day. Like D-day and other battlefields were many people lost their lives. John Masefield wrote in his tribute about those bold, laughing soldiers, -“they seemed to be of one race, for all of them had something of the same bearing, and the same look of humorous swift action.” On an other occasion John Masefield made a tribute on the heritage of English universities, being places where ignorance has been despises and where people strive to know, “where those who perceive truth may strive to make others see. ” Unfortunately we can’t say that ignorance has been despises as the “modern” world still builds on the legacy of genocide and an increasing ignorance of human rights, – besides controlling most of the world’s oil, most of the world’s weapons, most of the world’s money, and most of the world’s media. The energies of most countries are going 10 times more to either being well prepared – and eventually going to war, – rather than eliminating the chances of war with the risk of partial or total self-destruction, as being possible in the times we live today.
Never ever nuclear powers will surrender in times of conflict without resort to those forces and this risk is growing year by year. If we look into recent history and see the level of irrationality among some of the worst tyrants, – whilst the world has made minimal efforts to stop those leaders at an early stage, – there is a real concern when any of those countries and it’s leaders have either access to nuclear power plants or nuclear weapons. I am under no illusion North Korea (with its current leadership) would be able to destroy a few nuclear power plants on the east coast of the US, if it is able to develop long-range missiles. They would have no mercy.
Even when some countries do have nuclear weapons for not using them (“deterrent”), – other countries with less rational leaders acquire those weapons with the purpose of irrational use, if they feel fit to do so. In any significant nuclear encounter where one single nuclear explosive alone is almost 12 times the explosive force applied by all the Allied airforce during the 2nd world war,- the military encounters at Gallipoli with the losses of 265000 soldiers are only trivial with the losses then being endured, and we can’t take any pride anymore by sending our “brave soldiers” to war (being slaughtered) whilst the nations in the word have failed to take drastic actions to prevent the spreading of nuclear energy.
John Masefield if still alive in such days would despise the ignorance of not having prevented those battle fields, and the failures of the UN to end tyranny and the abuses of human rights. The problem is that some member states abuse human rights themselves and are subject to gross tyranny at a cost of their own population.
If we consider the most evil leaders in the world we can be pleased that at least Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin and Pol Pot are not among the living anymore, – but they were tolerated to use their powers and have never been stopped at an earlier stage, – as such preventing the misery and deaths of millions all over the world.
Still there have been , – and still there are many other tyrants who exercise the most brutal powers and all forms of inhumanity. Many of those people have been and still are, – tolerated on the political scene, even within the context of the United Nations. Some of those people are suffering from serious psychopathology but are still able to keep up in a world of increasing themselves with more and more personal wealth, ethnic cleansing and coordinating often cruel obliteration of any political opposition. Some have, – others will get in the future excess to nuclear power plants, which will enable them to join the countries with the powers to use nuclear weapons eventually.
Needless to say what power graving inhumane leaders could provoke in the future, if the United Nations and the Global Community does not learn the lessons from the past and deal with those leaders at an early stage. This should have happened with e.g. Pol Pot and Idi Amin, the last with a killer record of about 400000 and the first with even 3 million Cambodian’s being massacred under his responsibility. Pol Pot with his Khmer Rouge “revolution” has been (per head) possibly the deadliest in Asian history, and the world watched it happening…
Terror and paranoia reigns at more places around the world, and early intervention would have prevented the ramifications of some of those brutal monsters.
To give a glimpse only and starting to speak about North Korea, – we all know the dangers associated with Kim Joni -il, – the leader of this poverty-stricken and possibly one of the most isolated countries in the world. He is most unpredictable and acquired nuclear weapons ready to be used. Actually he is known as the world worst dictator now. His problem is the combination of personal paranoia, his deadly weapons and his addiction to Hennessy cognac ( his yearly alcohol bill is over $200000,-). For many other countries apart of his own, – this is a potential lethal combination with the wrong decisions being made, despite diplomatic efforts to control the situation as long as it can be controlled. A report compiled by Frederick L . Coolidge and Daniel L Segal (with help of a South Korean psychiatrist) concluded that the current North Korean leader has similar personality disorders as Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin and Saddam Hussein (sadistic, paranoid, antisocial, narcissistic and schizoid). Although many stories about this man are perhaps somewhat exaggerated perhaps, – needless to say that he is a most dangerous commander of the “Korean People’s Army“, the 4th largest in the world. Two hundred thousand of North Korean people have been imprisoned as due to opposition. This country with this leader is able to create a nightmare scenario.
In Iran we still have Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He is the leader who declared the Holocaust to be a lie and a myth, stating that the Jewish Nation should be wiped from the map. Later he denied this, saying that he was not “passing judgement” on the Holocaust and that he “respects Jews very much.” The population in Iran has increased quite significant but has major problems in terms of unemployment and inflation. Obviously there are powers behind this President, but there is not enough clarity. The records on human rights are notorious and the nuclear ambitions are potentially most dangerous. Having said this in a 2009 interview with reporter Ann Curry on the question whether the President of Iran would rule out an Iranian nuclear bomb in the future, – he responded: >”We have no need for nuclear weapons.” <->”Without such weapons we are very much able to defend ourselves.” <……Though he may prove likely not to be consistent in his projections, at least he is not as irrational as the North Korean leader. Being however both a controversial figure in and outside Iran, – Human Rights Watch has been quite explicit about tortures and mistreating dissidents. There is no tolerance for peaceful protest and gatherings. Within the context of the Middle East dynamics he proved to support Hizbullah against Israel and in October he did visit Lebanon. It would seem he is buying time within the Middle East dynamics.
The current leader of Syria, President Bashar al-Assad has continued his family’s Ba’athist regime and rule of Syria. His secret police as part of normal routine imprisons, tortures and kills those people who disagree or speak out against his regime. In an interview with ABC news he stated that: “We don’t have such things as political prisoners.” Assad has been logistically supporting & sponsoring various militant opposing groups against Israel as he is “anti-Israel”, though appears perhaps interested in a “peace treaty” today, – but not real peace. Besides this he is “anti – West” as well and a close ally of Iran. Large protests against the regime earlier this year have been crushed. His economic policies are in the range of gross neglect of his own country. Family members are holding key government positions to secure his power base.
In Zimbabwe there is still President Robert Mugabe (the world’s 3rd nightmare dictator). Zimbabwe’s economic fall down is one of the worst being known, together with a dreadful record on human rights. Mugabe’s ruling party inflicted militias to support his campaign to hold on power during the 2008 elections. Vote counts were falsified Foreign Journalists were chased out of the country or detained. Supporters of the opposite party were either beaten or killed by Mugabe loyalists, using relentless torture methods being widespread documented. The South African President Tabu Mbeki watched in silence whilst the murder rate peaked, but brokered under international pressure a deal with the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (Morgan Tsvangirai), and the last became Prime Minister, – however under Mugabe’s rule. The process of white farmers being expelled from their properties is still ongoing. Mogabe’s regime and followers are not less than a gang of murderers and thieves, without any moral bearing and the majority who did support him should be sent to an international criminal tribunal, once there will be an M.D.C led government. Mugabe has been President since the early 1980ties and it is amazing that he still holding this position, in a country with so much bloodshed. Neither the dynamics in the Commonwealth, nor the dynamics in the United Nations or South Africa have been able to stop this man holding onto power.
In Eritrea the leader still is Isaias Afewerki. Since the date he came into power in May 1993 he has been responsible of shutting down all human rights organisations, besides removing all international development agencies from the country. Elections have been canceled and Amnesty International did report excessive human rights violations, like in other countries. A war looms with Ethiopia and the government is under suspicion of supporting terrorism, hence pending economic privation, – despite 2/3 of the populations receiving food aid. Border conflicts and a poor economy are ongoing issues, besides frequent reports on human rights abuses.
President Yahya Jammeh has ruled Gambia since 1994. Apart from being known for his herbs and banana cure for Aids, he is known to have decapitated gay’s. Not to mention the documented torture and imprisonment of dozens of journalists and political opponents who disappeared from the scene. In round up’s traditional “witches” in his country were taken from their hut’s and villages by bus to secret locations. Here they were forced to drink hallucinates causing terrible pains with provoked and mindless killings. Gambia might be the smallest country on mainland Africa but has a very large record of human right atrocities and President Jammeh counts Iran’s President being a close ally. Both countries have much military and trades ties. Hopefully there will be pending signs of a fracture in the junta leading to it collapse, and if this collapse could be supported it would only create a more favourable situation. However if Iran would export nuclear technology eventually to this country, not much imagination is required of what would happen next.
In Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov became the leader after the declared independence after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.During a peaceful protest in Andijan in 2005, Karimov’s police murdered 750 civilians. Since the 90ties he has jailed at least over 8000 Uzbeks for “Islāmic extremism”, with him having warm connections with the US when President Bush was in power. The war on terror as it would seem, allowed the West to turn a blind eye to all sorts of human rights atrocities (in which thousands have been killed) as long those countries were supportive towards anti terror policies of President Bush. Opponents of this particular regime and the democratic movement are nullified and President Karimov blames any uprise on “terrorist groups”. Karimov has been selected already as one of the world’s worst dictator’s because of his tactic’s on torture, media censorship and fake elections, which are notorious. Craig Murray, the British embassador from 2002 to 2004 in this country details in his memoirs the financial corruption and human right’s abuses, which he encountered during his term in office.
Sudan’s dictator Omar Hassan al-Bashir has been indicted by the International Criminal Court for both war crimes and crimes against humanity within the committed Darfur genocide. He came to power in 1989 when he led a group of officers in a coup that ousted the Sadiq al – Mahdi government. The atrocities were committed during the war in Sudan’s western region of Darfur, which claimed over 300000 lives since 2003 and terrible mass displacements, – apart from torture, sexual violence and rape. An international arrest warrant (10 counts of genocide & war crimes) will be issued in the dictator’s name. However the regime may retaliate now against aid workers and peacekeeping soldiers in Darfur. International relief efforts could well be compromised resulting in more suffering among ordinary Sudanese people. Providing justice could have implications for peace keeping operations. Violence still continues in Sudan and the transition to a more peaceful civil society will prove to be a complicated process. Key transitional justice issues are envisioned already by Dr Mohammed Abdallah Aisa, Physician and former Professor of Medicine at L Fasher University in Darfur. He has been much involved in the treatment of survivors of sexual violence and torture. Civil society in Darfur needs to be involved in crucial conversations about transitional justice to be well equipped to lead, once a peace agreement is in place.
The list does not stop with this. One last example:
Than Shwe ( one of the world’s most terrible dictator’s) has been the military dictator of the ruling junta in Birma, but I am led to believe that since yesterday his role has somewhat reduced, – however he is still a very influential background figure. He imprisoned, tortured and executed Buddhist monks, opponents and even journalists. Birma is one of the 10 poorest countries on earth and during the late 80ties the “Democracy Summer” has been squashed with murdering thousands of demonstrators. The Human Rights world report in 2005 describes this country as one of the most repressive countries in Asia. A country excelling in all forms of terror among its own people, besides being listed as possibly the 3rd most corrupt nation on earth. Mind you if such a nation, or any of the others would get access to nuclear power plants.
Unrest is going on now at various levels in Middle East countries and China, where there is a call for more democratic reforms and freedom. Human rights have been often compromised in those countries as well.
Countries are different and follow different patterns of processes leading eventually to more democratic reforms. On the one hand we may hope that democracy and justice will prevail in those countries were the walls of oppression are still high. On the other hand it is not sure how many massacres those countries will have to endure. However, keeping the world stable and safe it is better to start to make strategies for democratic reforms as at the end of the day they are legitimate and whatever happens they can’t be stopped. Delayed perhaps, but not stopped. Crushing the movements for reforms might be successful for some years but the resistance will grow and grow and trying to stop those movements will jeopardise the general stability and economy of each country trying to do this. Reconciliation at the end might be even more difficult as atrocities will not be easily forgotten.
Processes as they evolved eventually in South Africa with the election eventually of President Mandela in the 90ties are perhaps not everywhere applicable, but still the transition eventuated in a peaceful way where civil war would have been the alternative. Where leaders of countries like e.g. China are able to make choices for the better of their country, it might be wise to do so as in the long term it will serve the purpose of China to be a peaceful super power in the world, with much leverage with surrounding countries in the region.
The amount of unstable countries on this world with oppressive regimes and human rights abuses is quite staggering at the moment and the dangers on escalating violence are quite clear as e.g. illustrated in Libia. The UN did step in eventually in this area but the options in other areas are quite limited as veto rights will be exercised by other member states. This at the background of an increased number of nuclear powers makes the world unstable and far from safe, with the experience that some leaders have the capacity to respond in a total irrational way due to the personality structure of some leaders themselves, – holding on to power with everything it takes, – even self-destruction.
The modern Hitler’s. Stalin’s and Pol pot’s may dominate the world if united efforts from within the UN do fail to stop the most dangerous people at an early stage, with genocides worse than the killing fields in Cambodia and Vietnam. The liberation movements can’t be terminated as the currents will get stronger and stronger, so that the mightiest wall’s of oppression will fall. This is what the late Senator Robert F Kennedy once said on a tour in South Africa, – at the time this country had a most oppressive regime. The point is that he is right, but the question is at which cost if the UN does not become more proactive in dealing with those countries who are at risk.
As Elie Wiesel once commented – surviving both the Nazi Auschwitz death camp and Buchenwald: >”Have we really learned from our experiences? Are we less insensitive to the plight of victims of ethnic cleansing and other forms of injustices in places near and far?”<
Democracy is not “the prescription” for no trouble, but with proper balance of powers being constructed within the constitution, allowing constitutional freedom of press and an obligation to preserve human rights, – it is at least the form of government allowing change if so required.