Tag Archives: Afghanistan

Hillary and Trump Debate, caution for Hillary, By Gabriel C Banda

Hillary and Trump Debate, Caution for Hillary

By Gabriel C Banda

AS the USA 2016 Presidential elections first debate is about to take place Monday September 26, 2016, there are some points to watch out for. There are some issues to prepare for.

For Hillary Clinton, it would be important to think about how Trump rattles people’s minds and their focus.  By words and other behaviour, Trump sometimes makes his opponents lose their balance. Sometimes he has said things that are false but said as if they are true.

He has distorted issues and facts. He has attacked the record of some. He has attacked the personality of others. He shouts down those speaking other points. He has also insulted others. He has demeaned the humanity of others. He shows a wild side of America.

For Hillary Rodham Clinton, she must review her interaction with Donald Trump. One aspect she must adjust is how sometimes she has made responses driven by what Trump has said or done. She seems to feel she must attack or respond to whatever Trump says or does. To do that all the time is unsafe for Hillary Clinton. Sometimes it is better to be silent instead of going on to try to defend something that was not right.

An example is when Trump talks about how things were not well for the USA government’s 2003 invasion of Iraq. From Hillary’s side, a quick response was that Saddam Hussein had been a bad, evil, person. Of course, Mama Hillary had supported the war on Iraq. But it was not necessary to have said, just in order to react to her opponent Trump, that it was right to have invaded Iraq or killed Saddam.

The George Bush II invasion of Iraq, supported by Britain’s Tony Blair, was not right. It has led to the deaths and suffering of many in the region and the whole world. It was done on untrue or false basis.

Similarly, with the USA and other governments not learning, the military intervention in Libya, an intervention led by France warlord and destroyer Nicolas Sarkozy, led to the murder of President Muamar Qaddafi, ethnic cleansing against Black Libyans and Black Africans, and the instability in Libya and neighbouring countries.  The African Union had warned against armed intervention and called for some political settlement but where insulted by persons like US’s Susan Rice.

US President Barack Obama was reluctant to join Sarkozy’s destructive scheme, which also abused the United Nations resolutions system, but nevertheless Obama still went along, driven by the warlord Sarkozy and, in USA officialdom and circles, persons like Susan Rice, who on Libya was another warlord.

The Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya external interventions have contributed to problems of the growth of militants like ISIS, who are now troubling the world. The US and UK support for the armed Syria rebels fighting the Assad administration in another largely sectarian war, led to huge pressure on the Assad government and the growth of ISIS.

ISIS is now attacking the western countries whose governments even supported rebels against Assad. The weapon you use against others may turn against you.

What also helped US, UK, and the world, was the failure, in the UK parliament, of the motion, as a further attempt to legalise intervention, for the US and UK to invade Syria on account of charges of use of chemical weapons.

Had Assad’s government fallen by the force of the belligerent Western and Arab governments’ supported rebels, the ones that might now have been in control in Syria may have been the determined ISIS.

Things could have been worse had Assad been removed from office.  The current problems of militants and attacks in the Middle East and the western countries could have been small size compared with if the Assad administration had been removed by force.

Hillary’s past positions on Iraq, Libya, and even Syria were shaky and should not be justified by saying something that supports the war machine.

For Hillary Clinton, the main lesson about debating with Donald Trump is that she should not be driven by him. She has to focus on truth. She has to avoid being drawn into instinctive responses just because Trump has spoken.

Hillary Clinton has to avoid responding as defence of her position in the past. She must learn to sometimes be silent. She must let some things pass without emotionally feeling she must response. She must let go when necessary.

Otherwise, Donald Trump’s words, character, and behaviour may create snares, traps, for Hillary Clinton. Trump is at home with rough talk. One who fights a rough person must not try to be rough but will win if they rise above the rough one. They must fight with dignity. Dignity rises above the rough.

When someone is fighting a crocodile, it will be unsafe to follow the crocodile’s invitation to join it in a fight in the waters.  That is the crocodile’s environment, where it may be strong while someone not used to water will not easily fight and defend them self. Hillary Clinton must find herself, ground herself, rather than be driven by Donald Trump’s character, words, and actions.

ginfinite@yahoo.com

GCB, September 2016, LUSAKA.

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Gabriel Banda Peace Notes, 11: Syria, Why Involve Assad

Why Involve Assad

(or “Why Assad Must Be Involved”)

By

Gabriel C Banda

WHETHER one likes him or not, the roles, with actions and reactions, of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad have great effect on present and future situations of Syria, the Middle East region, and the whole world.

I believe that the Syria war is such that neither the Assad administration nor the rebels, in their various formations, should expect to have a military victory and rule stably over the whole society. Defeat of other forces will not lead to acceptance of the conqueror as ruler.

Not all conquest is victory. Those opposed to the victor will not necessarily accept the rule of that victor. For no military victory can ensure acceptance and long support for the rule of the victor. No conqueror can rule for long without consent of others.

While key issues are unsettled, situations of parties may change and armed conflict may again rise, even in another generation.

The Assad and rebel forces both have significant local and external influence and support. The conflict is more than just about Bashar al-Assad and rebel commanders, but includes the various entities supporting the various parties to the conflict. Some influential supporters are offshore.

Whether they like each other or not, for long term stable agreement, the Geneva talks for Syria’s peace require the active involvement or presence of all key local and external parties in the conflict.

Key issue has been what role President Assad should play in a future Syria. Rebels and backers like governments of USA, Britain, and France have insisted that Bashar al-Assad should not be part of the next governance. The insistence of non-involvement of Assad creates seeds of later difficulties in concluding the talks and can complicate actual post- agreement governance and stability.

Assad’s current presidential term is scheduled to expire in 2014. I believe there are many reasons why Assad and his team should be allowed, if they wish, to participate in governance systems, processes, and practices that may come out of Geneva agreements. The population must be allowed to choose who they want to represent them.

A governance system must involve all members and representatives of a society. It must be inclusive and should not exclude and relegate to the margins some members of society.

Worldwide, issues like colour, religion and sect, language, ethnicity and cultures, location, origin, being male or female, health and disease, living with disability, and other factors are used to exclude or include some. But the excluded eventually want to assert their universal right to life and participation.

The talks on Syria’s future must not be about defeat and surrender but the building of paths and walks to peace. The great Truth and Reconciliation process of South Africa still allowed some who had been associated with the apartheid regime free to stand for elections.

Worldwide, members of societies must freely choose representatives. The constitution, governance systems, processes, and practices must be designed to lead to good and fair governance. Rulers must be committed and accountable to a just society that respects the humanity of all individuals arising from various backgrounds.

Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and even Egypt provide us with active examples of the effects of political exclusion of those coming from groups considered subdued by force.

A constant mistake in these conflict theatres was the exclusion of rulers and leaders who had significant support, local and external. This placed heavy weaknesses and gaps in transitions.

Vanquished or killed, there were no rulers and representatives available to negotiate agreement and future constitutions, systems, processes, and practices. A key weaknesses has been the belief and practice of hitting the shepherd and hoping the sheep will scatter.

Actually, killing rulers and symbols of groups has worsened situations. Supporters may be more resolved to fight when the leader they respect is humiliated or killed. Killing or excluding leaders also creates deep gaps.

In Iraq and Libya, the killing of Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi in armed regime changes meant there was no ruler or leader available to negotiate with opponents and urge their own supporters to lay down weapons.

After Iraq’s regime change by invasion and occupation, the organised exclusion of Baath Party members from involvement in politics and governance contributed to the violence and war that continues over ten years after Saddam Hussein’s rule.

In Egypt, Mubarak had offered not to participate in elections scheduled September 2011 but be involved in transition processes. But the regime changers insisted on pushing him aside and on his non-involvement in the transition process. There had been a window of a few months, as time was approaching for Mubarak’s term to end, to have had government and opposition work out governance issues.

Egypt’s result was that although Mubarak was removed, there was no smooth transition. The Constitution, systems, processes, and governance practices were not agreed upon as Mubarak was pushed aside. Some results of Egypt’s poor transition are the current political difficulties in Egypt.

In Syria, even if it means offering to talk to very tough militants, including members of the determined al-Nusra group feared by some, parties involved in conflict must still offer discussion. The Syria government and rebels should not make conditions that exclude significant opponents they do not like.

All in Syria’s conflict, from President Assad to the rebels in various formations, must be involved in designing the way ahead.

The United Nations can rise above the tensions of the local and external warriors and help the parties to design some stable path towards ceasefire and peace. To work, Syria’s new governance must be actively inclusive of all members of society.

Without practices of deep prejudice, hatred, and exclusion, it is possible to talk and make advances benefitting all.

Geneva can be great opportunity. The United Nations and others supporting Good Will and Peace can help Syria’s government and opposition to put into place a governance system that enables inclusion, participation, and enjoyment of rights of all sections of the society.

                      –                       ginfinite@yahoo.com

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                                   Based in Lusaka, Zambia, the author is involved in writing and the arts, social development, and peace issues. He holds an MA in Peace Studies, University of Bradford.