Tag Archives: Negotiation

Why No Trump Nobel Prize, by Gabriel C Banda

 

Why No Trump Nobel Prize

by

Gabriel C Banda

IT is presently unlikely that Donald Trump will get a Nobel Prize for Peace. Even if, from the coming Singapore talks, some advances were to be made on settling some Korea issues, it will not be easy to give Donald Trump a Nobel Prize.

The reasons why Donald J Trump is unlikely to be offered a Nobel Peace prize are many and easy to understand. The Nobel Prize for peace is meant to honour a determined and deeply humane quality that acts to build peace where there is extreme disharmony.

There are many factors around Trump and a Nobel Prize. The award of a Nobel Prize is not just about opposing parties reaching some settlement. The method and process of reaching some settlement are very important.

Method Important 

Depth of Spirit and Method are what are rewarded for being examples of action towards high human achievement and dignity. The spirit and method must be in combination.

The method must show some peaceful approaches. The Nobel Peace prize suggests Non-Violence and Non-Aggression as its base. Important are the spirit and method through which a conflict is settled. It is about action that very positively transforms the family of humanity.

Some persons turn round from rough individual and group methods and practices to embody more non-aggressive, respectful, and harmonious attitudes and actions. They accept and embody the essential humanity and dignity of others.

The Donald Trump spirit’s approaches, in word and deed, will likely exclude him from honour of the Nobel magnitude.

Fire and Fury 

Installed president in January 2017, Trump has made himself an emperor, complete with ruling princes and princesses, that has decreed some policies and actions that have hurt humanity and the integrity of Creation.

Trump has some issues that are “disqualifying,” to borrow a term our Big Man Senator John McCain has said about other issues.

Donald Trump’s methods counter the spirit of the Nobel Prize for Peace. In local and international relations, he believes in, and practises, Fire and Fury, to quote his own words.  He bullies and pushes others around, issuing threats and strong-arm tactics to get others to yield to his position of advantage against them.

He insults others. He disrespects the humanity of others. He tries to bully citizens and rulers of other dominions. He is proud, boastful, of the aggressive style.

Trump has been consistent in his harsh attacks on others. His performance makes many uncomfortable. In his presidential election campaign, he displayed sparks of inner violence towards others.

In the Korea issue, Trump and Team have made “fire and fury” threats against North Korea’s Kim Jong-un. As incitement to stop North Korea’s nuclear weaponisation, Trump has offered economic benefits or else economic sanctions and even force.

Trump is seeking some surrender of Kim rather than an amicable settlement over differences involving North Korea, South Korea, and the United States. He was rushing for immediate “denuclearisation” instead of, as we suggested before, working towards first understanding Kim Jong-un and building some relationship and friendship that will help the parties reach amicable settlement of contentious issues.

“Denuclearisation” has become a term for some disarming of North Korea while the USA keeps its weapons arsenal and presence in the area.

There was some taunting of the other just like some boxers have done before matches. Some poor Trump and team remarks and approaches towards his Korean counterpart threatened the planned June 2018 Singapore meeting with Kim Jong-un from taking place. But Kim has not been scared by Trump and team.

Recently, in the same breath of denying such intention, Trump has openly asserted that the “Libya Model” or scheme of force as said by his National Security Advisor John Bolton can be visited upon Kim Jong-un if the North Korea ruler does not comply with Trump’s demands.

The Nobel Prize is not just some matter about reaching a settlement. The method you use is important. Otherwise persons would have been honoured for using force to make others surrender and thus stop a war.

Carrot and stick diplomacy does not seem consistent with the Nobel approach. The Fire and Fury doctrine or practice counters the spirit of Nobel peace. The method of threat prevents Trump from being honoured with the Nobel Prize.

Enemy of the Earth

Besides approaches in international negotiations, the Trump spirit has continued to act against the integrity and togetherness of humanity and creation itself.

He has put into place policies and laws that act against persons of some religions – Islam. Trump is still planning to put up physical walls to divide persons in their human variation.

The anti-immigration policies, with Mexicans as the immediate face of that deep prejudice, are creating disharmony in humanity. Trump has also created problems for families of migrants through his policies that divide parents and young ones.

And, also, Trump has pulled the USA out of the international agreement on Iran and nuclear technology.

And through effort to withdraw the USA government from the Paris Climate Accord, Donald Trump has acted against humanity’s collective efforts towards healing the earth and maintaining a sustainable environment in the present and future.

At home, the Trump spirit has worked against the earth and communities by encouraging industries and businesses to disturb the environment.

Trump has taken a position as an Enemy of the Earth. Meanwhile, the Nobel Committee has honoured those, like our Big Sister and Aunt Wangari Maathai in 2004, that worked strongly towards wide environmental health.

Besides actions against the health of our common environment, for the earth and environment are one and wholesome, Trump has disturbed world trading relations through imposing or threatening selfish economic tariffs and sanctions that will have negative effect upon many in the world, including Americans.

And Donald Trump, carrying along with him Britain’s Teresa May, and France’s Macron, in April 2018 attacked Syria even before the planned international investigation team on accusations of use of chemical weapons had done its work.  In some pattern, there had been another US attack in April 2017.

This was like George W Bush Jr, in Iraq, before him, and the fake Weapons of Mass Destruction charge against Saddam Hussein. George W Bush, Jr, had carried along Britain’s prime minister Tony Blair as accomplice. There has been no learning from the self-evident misdeeds of his predecessors.

Locally, in the USA, Donald Trump has put into place measures that will reverse Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act and lead to reduction of access to medical services by millions of Americans, as was before Obama.

Obama Legacy

It seems Donald Trump’s obsession and hatred around the legacy of the Barack Obama presidency prevent him from making his own achievements in some things.

Perhaps Trump’s hostility towards Obama is driven by envy of the younger President’s achievements. Where Trump has sought to build walls, Obama built bridges.

Barack Obama was in 2009 honoured by the Nobel Committee for his thoughts and actions towards making the world a more peaceful place. The award was for “efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.”

On becoming USA president, Barack Obama had reached out to those previously demonised and considered pariahs in an “axis of evil.” They included North Korea and Iran. Obama began to work towards denuclearisation. His was not about disarming others while USA kept their nuclear weapons, which their opponents felt threatened by.

Locally, Obama, through the Affordable Care Act, worked on improving the situation of millions not having access to medical services.

Obama, through the 2012 DACA policy, showed compassion towards children and families found in illegal migration. Obama supported the worldwide effort towards a Climate Accord that leads to a healthier environment.

Obama Effects

Of course, Barack Obama’s rule had its negative effects upon the world. One Obama sin was to reluctantly, but inexcusably, joining France’s warlord Nicolas Sarkozy in raiding Libya, after misusing the United Nations sanctions system, an invasion that led to great suffering and disorder in humanity.

The world still has to recover from that Libya invasion. The effects of disorder have reached far, including the western world and nations that sponsored the evil action in Libya.

Another Obama sin was the committing of resources and other support to a rebellion to remove Syria’s Assad administration. Obama’s weakness has been to reluctantly go along with bullies even when aware of a destructive path he was enjoining himself to.

But things could even have been worse had he not declined to use force, as John McCain and others urged, on accusations of chemical weapons use by Assad’s forces. Another US president might have been more forceful and disruptive over Libya and Korea.

The burdens to Obama belonging to the Nobel peace team came up for his actions that happened after he was already honoured for actions making a positive difference in human relations. I do not think Barack Obama would have got a Nobel prize after the events of Libya and Syria.

Rulers and Laureates

As in Obama’s case, the combination of being government ruler and Nobel Peace Prize winner is delicate.

In South Africa, Frederik de Klerk, just before he became president, worked with Nelson Mandela, Zambia’s Kenneth Kaunda, and some in the worldwide anti-apartheid team to dismantle the evil racist system of Apartheid. In 1993, De Klerk and Nelson Mandela were awarded the Nobel for Peace.

Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos was in 2016 awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his great work and sincerity in working for resolution of a long FARC armed insurgency. He has continued to show sincerity in his belief and effort. It is not known how far the reconciliation process with reach.

Elsewhere, my Big Sister Aung San Suu Kyi got the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991, after consistently, in a non-violent way, working for social and political change in some difficult situation found in Myanmar/Burma.  She showed deep humanity in the midst of harsh adversity.

Of course, after she took on state office after the social change in a complex situation of military and political authorities, there have been uncomfortable situations involving the sad situation of persons of some ethnic and religious groupings. But she got the Nobel Prize before she became a government official.

Trump’s Burdens

Now, with Donald Trump, his disqualifying burdens are current, before he has been listed for a Nobel prize. I believe that Trump’s burdens against peaceful human relations and creation itself will make it difficult for him to be a worthy recipient of the Nobel Peace prize.

In fighting Obama’s legacy, Trump has been fighting the very honourable actions for which the Nobel Committee honoured Obama. Trump should not hope to win a prize while doing things that work against the Nobel team’s appreciation of another candidate.

Trump sometimes unleashes things he cannot control, things that become problems for the world.

Nobel Peace holders in general have some deep dignity in their demeanour and actions. They show respect for other human beings and they are supposed to respect the earth and creation. They have shown determined action, following non-violent methods, towards peace or the integrity of creation.

Calming Fire and Fury

Nobel Peace Prize persons show that they are deep friends of humanity and creation, not enemies of the earth. Nobel Peace prizes are for those who calm and tame fire and fury in themselves and others.

Of course, over the decades, there are those persons that have been Nobel honoured and others doubt their efforts were sufficiently worthy. Of course, there are some, like the great pacifist Mahatma Gandhi himself, whose non-inclusion has continued to surprise many.

Sins of Rule

The sins of rule that Donald J Trump has committed prevent him from such high honour as the Nobel Peace prize. It is difficult to be honoured for settling tensions and problems you have willingly created or contributed to. By error or belief, Trump practises principles of threat and intimidation, from which “fire and fury” arises, adverse to Nobel Peace principles.

Trump and North Korea’s Kim, with his nuclear weapon tests that disturb the earth, are unlikely to get Nobel awards. But more likely suitable candidate can be the South Korea ruler, Moon Jae-in. Moon has shown good humanity and commitment.

Even before he became president, Moon Jae-in was already for peaceful co-existence with the North and good relations between North Korea and USA. He has been a facilitator able to reach both Kim and Trump, build a bridge, and move towards dialogue.

Thorough

I have no authority over the final awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize. But I know that the awarding Committee is thorough in its consideration of candidates in relation to the purpose and basic principles of the Peace Award.

I knew a member of the Nobel Peace Committee. Cheerful Professor Ole Danbolt Mjos, of Norway, was a very thorough person with deep medical, academic, and public service credentials.  When we met in Norway and Zambia, he was always systematic and thorough in his discussions over various issues. Sadly, Ole Mjos passed away in 2013.

I believe other Peace Committee members that have carried on where he left are very objective and thorough. My comments on the suitability of Trump will not affect their views should someone offer Trump as a Nobel candidate.

I have merely tried to show that Trump’s methods and practices have been at variance with the spirit of the Nobel Peace Prize. His methods of negotiation have not been peaceful.

Using the antagonistic doctrine and practice of Fire and Fury will prevent Trump from being highly honoured.

He is using his presidency to implement policies and practises that are bringing disharmony to humanity and creation. The Trump spirit has heavy disqualifying issues.

 

ginfinite@yahoo.com

 

GCB,  LUSAKA, May/June, 2018.

 

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Based at Lusaka, Zambia, the author is involved in writing and the arts, social development, and observation of conflict and peace issues. Attended the MA Peace Studies programme at University of Bradford.

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Korea, the Danger of Trump Talk, by Gabriel C Banda

 

Korea, the Danger of Trump Talk

by

Gabriel  C  Banda

TRUMP Talk or Trump Speak is threat to discussions and settlements on Korea. Trump Speak and Trump style are potential threats to parties getting to reach settlement over conflict in Korea.

Trump Talk, coming from Donald Trump and team members, affects the possibility of direct dialogue taking place. And if dialogue does happen, they also can affect the content of the discussion. Trump Talk affects outcomes.

The April 27, 2018 historic meeting of Korea’s North and South rulers Kim Jong-un and  Moon Jae-in, was pleasing to many in the world. Taking place at Panmunjom, on the South Korea side, here was chance for North and South to improve relations of this area, which arises from one people divided in 1945 by the actions of external forces.  They are ethnically, historically, and geographically one people.

One People

Many of us in various parts of the world observed there was friendliness and goodwill between the two parties. Truly North and South were one divided people and they could still be one people, border or no border between them.  Moon Jae-in had recently, in 2017, won elections with an attitude of reaching out to North Korea. Now, they pledged to work together on Korea’s issues and move towards peace.

As demonstrated recently at the Panmunjom meeting, left to themselves, the Korean rulers, North and South, are able to come to some settlement. The presence of external forces are big shapers of Korean relations.

The result of the Panmunjom meeting was also a chance for North Korea and USA, which is allied to South Korea or is in some ways the South’s godparent, to deal with their tensions.

Perhaps through facilitation by Moon Jae-in, a historic meeting was  scheduled for USA and North Korea rulers, Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un. Moon Jae-in has been a good facilitator. We do not know if Moon Jae-in has been influenced by the social teaching and anti-war stances of his Catholic faith following.

Knowing the Other

Our hope was that the planned Trump-Kim  meeting would first be about knowing each other at a personal level, actions which help to de-stigmatise the other parties. Such Know Your Opponent meeting need not immediately involve strong demands on the other. Such meeting, or series of meetings, should instead help build a relationship and confidence in each other.

The planned first Trump-Kim meeting that was welcomed by many in the world is now threatened by Trump Speak.  For many days now, one has been concerned that the Trump spirit may lead to disruption of process and progress over Korea.

One is concerned that some approaches that have had negative effects on others, even American citizens, may be used in delicate situations like that of Korea. We are concerned about Trump and team’s speeches and comments.

Trump Talk will affect the result and achievement of the attempt to meet parties in conflict over Korea. Trump Talk can affect the direction of relationships of parties involved over Korea.

Some aggressive, rude, insulting, intimidating, demeaning, insensitive, or harsh remarks by Trump and team members may evoke responses that will throw away the window that recently opened through the direct talks of North Korea and South Korea’s rulers.

Rough or tough talk that has come from the spirit of Trump, in Tweet or other platforms, will here be counter-productive. Trump has been belligerent in both tone of delivery and word content. Trump Speak vexes many at home and abroad, Americans and non-Americans.

Unleashed

Some remarks of his have been insensitive to others, under-rating others. He has taken actions whose effects on others, and him self, seem not to have been considered.

He seems not to realise or consider or care that some speeches, comments, and actions may have negative and profound effects on others and himself. He has unleashed things he cannot control. Yet these things unleashed, released, may destabilise the world and the integrity of life.

Through his speech and actions, Donald Trump has invoked actions that have unleashed negative results that are difficult to control and undo.

Trump sends messages that Force and Threat are currents to use. He may think about rough strategic moves rather than opening up to work with someone he must respect.

Broadcasting

Over Korea, a key problem is that Trump and supporters are broadcasting that his method of toughness and threats have led to North Korea’s Kim accepting to go to the negotiating table.

That position, perhaps welcome to his fans, actually poses problems for potential talks. In fact, the reality may not have been that Trump’s tough or rough approach compelled Kim, but that Kim’s standing up to Trump through unrepentant missile and nuke tests, tests that damage our world, may have, using the law of the jungle, made Trump be careful about Kim and North Korea.

So, the reverse may have played a part, not that Kim feared Trump, but that Trump was influenced to negotiation by the challenge Kim made through nuclear technology development and missile tests.

In the jungle, the bully pushes around others it considers weak but yields to and leaves alone those who stand up to the bully.

Force and Violence

The use of threats and force creates many problems. Believing that they work, those who use them begin to make it a habit to do so. And those who are threatened begin to either yield to threats or instead build their capacities for force so that they reach a strong point where the bullies do not threaten them. As in the story of David and Goliath in scriptures, a bully cannot forever intimidate other human beings.

Often, aggression, force, and violence beget violence. Some persons respond well when the other party is polite and respecting and not bullying or disrespectful. Some persons may comply with being pushed around but will later, when strong, squarely face the bully. There is often reversed effect in the method of strong and aggressive approaches.

Some parties do not want to appear to have been forced into agreement. They want to get into dialogue and settlement of a situation through their own choice and commitment, not because they had been threatened.

Boasts, Threats

The more Trump and team give the impression that they are pushing Kim about the more it will be difficult to have the talks happen or, when they take place, reach a good result.

The boasts and threats of Trump and team may make others think that they should use threats and force to get others into agreement.

The method of threat and sanctions may not have worked on Kim. From evidence, Kim does not have fear of Donald Trump. While Trump may bully other rulers, and even fellow American citizens, Kim stands up to Trump.

As we have noted before, USA regimes’ actions for regime change over Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria have led to distrust of USA positions towards some rulers and administrations.

On Korea, there is also the painful experience of the killing, by American forces, of huge numbers of people during the Korea war of the early 1950s.

No Super Power

Now, the United Nations Organisation and international community, pledged to settling conflict, building peace, and avoiding war, have promoted dialogue based on respect and Goodwill towards fellow human beings, even when in conflict with them. It is inappropriate to treat some as lesser than others. Due to the nature of  life, there can not exist an eternal super-power in the world.

Perhaps Trump feels uneasy when things are about to harmonise, so he gets some compulsion to say or do something to disturb the emerging potential peace. Perhaps the Trump spirit finds mission in rough speak that disturbs the path towards settlement and peace. The spirit of Trump Speak can be threat to settling Korea.

It seems some habit of Donald Trump, and sometimes some members of his team,  to openly disrespect some persons.  Trump Speak often vexes other. His words can be demeaning and insulting to other persons and groups. Some people feel Trump is trampling on them.

With some local storms coming at him from many fronts and shaking his presidency, Donald Trump may turn and divert the attention towards external events like Korea.

Cultures

There are cultural issues to be learnt. There are issues of the culture of negotiation itself. And the cultural backgrounds of parties involved may affect their attitudes and practices during negotiation and discussion. In some cultures, the one who shows tolerance, patience, and maturity comes out a respected person.

Like violence and force beget violence, threat begets tough responses. People respond well to those who respect them. In some cultures, many persons will do good business with those who show respect and politeness.

In some cultures, the one who threatens others gets declined credibility. One who appears not to be in control of them self is considered not well prepared. One who keeps cool is considered in control, respectable, and admirable.  You are respected for being very humane, not being bully.

In some cultures, threatening other parties is considered disrespectful. For good outcomes, there is need to understand the cultures of other parties and be very sensitive to them. There is need to understand the basic humanness that seeks, across all cultures, respect and dignity.

Fire and Fury disturb

Interstate relations should be influenced by what is fair and truth for all, not how big the weapon one has acquired and trailed on others.  Boasting about how big and destructive your weapon is is not honour. In some cultures and situations, fire and fury disturb dialogue. Fire and fury can burn many.

Some talk and actions may lead to instability that negatively affects all of us, members of the human family and the earth, all over the world, including the United States.

Although we belong to various states and jurisdictions, the essential fact that is paramount is that we are human beings belonging to a common life whose cooperation is beyond human-made borders. Trump is a member of the world and is not the judge and executioner of the world.

In talks, threat, toughness, and roughness may have reversed effect and disturb possible success. For progress, one must show respect to others before talks, during the talks, and after talks. It is possible for Trump and team to train themselves not to threaten others through the Trump kind of talk or tweet.

So, yes Folks, there are threats, there are potential dangers Folks, in the Trump spirit’s words and tweets.  Yes, Folks, Donald Trump’s talk can disturb the reaching of settlements and peace in conflicts like that in Korea.

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The Author has been on the MA Peace Studies programme, University of Bradford.

  • GCB,  April/May 2018, LUSAKA.

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**This piece was a general concern done many days before North Korea’s officials cancelled a planned session with the South Korea administration and before threats by US officials about a Libya Model.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Greece Debt Measures and Us, A View from Africa, By Gabriel C Banda

Greece Debt Measures and Us,

A View from Africa

Gabriel C Banda

By

Gabriel C Banda

THE recent situation of Greece and the referendum on further austerity measures for further lending by IMF and Europe governments is a major development in economic relations and, generally, human relations in the world.

Greece’s government and many in the population felt that the measures imposed by Greece’s lenders and anchored by the International Monetary Fund, IMF, were too strong and brought about great hardship.

In the five years of austerity measures imposed by lenders, unemployment increased, incomes were reduced, access to basics was reduced, and, for many persons, hardship set in. The young, the pensioners, whose incomes were reduced, and others in society have been greatly hit.

The IMF and European lenders insisted on harsh measures before Greece can get more loans to help overcome the harsh economic situation, much of the situation brought about by the loan conditions imposed by the lenders.

The government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, with his passionate finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, put to a national referendum the question of going through further harsh economic measures. The result has been a big “No.” Most people in Greece do not want the harsh measures.

Now, some officials from the lenders are upset with the Tsipras administration while some officials reluctantly say they recognise that the No had expressed democratic voice but it may not be easy to work on different measures. What has followed is Greece’s government and lenders sizing each other to have their way.

Greece is saying they will only agree to some reforms that are socially fair, healthy, and sustainable. They do not want the destructive economic policies that have greatly impacted their society and other people.

However, many officials from the lenders have continued saying there is no alternative to the harsh measures. Some even bring out their personal stereotype negative attitudes towards Greek persons. They consider Greece a burden that may need to be dropped.

In the negotiations that cannot be avoided, both sides will bring out various tactics and dynamics. Both Tsipras and lenders will be sizing up, reacting, and playing to each others’ positions while also considering the positions and attitudes of their populations.

                                                        Greece and Unlikely Exit

However, it will involve a lot of adjustments if Greece ends up leaving the Eurozone, and possibly the European Union. The lenders should not be in denial and cheat themselves into believing that a Greece exit will have minor effect on the Eurozone and the European Union. They should also think about NATO. Economies and people in the region and beyond will be greatly affected.

Actually, I believe it is not in the interest of the lenders to have Greece exit its common monetary bonds with other Europeans. Many things unknown will come into play, affecting the other Eurozone and European Union members. Already, the position amongst the creditors’ bloc is not unanimous. Some are concerned about Greece possibly falling away, something they would not like, and are prepared to come to some settlement with Alexis Tsipras and team.

                                                                       IMF Consistent

But the current standoff involving IMF, lenders, and borrowers is not new. At various stages of their debt relationship, from the time of negotiation for first lending to implementation and review for further loans, IMF and lenders have applied pressure on needy borrowing governments.

What IMF and lenders are doing over Greece is consistent with their bullying actions on governments in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and other places. What is significant is Greece standing up to IMF and creditors and refusing to bow to pressure for further destructive conditions.

This Greece position of courage and bravery is significant not because others before them have unwillingly followed IMF, but because the sanctions and consequences imposed on dissenting governments by the consortium of IMF, World Bank, and lenders have been harsh and meant to make governments yield even when it is known the imposed measures have been very destructive.

                                                           IMF and Zambia

Another case of standing up to IMF, World Bank, and lenders happened in Zambia in May 1987. President Kenneth Kaunda announced that the IMF and World Bank “Structural Adjustment Programme,” SAP, measures had brought deep suffering to the population. He said Zambia was breaking off from the programme while retaining membership of the IMF organisation. He said Zambia would still service its debt, but in a manageable way that did not bring great social hardship.

From imposition of the austerity measures, suffering of Zambia’s people had even increased. The society was unstable. Zambia had reduced gains made from independence in 1964 in fields like health, education, and access to basic needs. Life expectancy fell. Infant mortality increased. Maternal mortality increased. Malnutrition increased. Deaths increased. Zambia’s capacity in many fields was declining. Structural Adjustment was a killer. In fact, in 1986, there had been riots over food when IMF and World Bank economic measures, imposed to service debt and reduce budget deficit, reduced people’s quality of life and access to basic needs.

Back to that time in May 1987, Dr Kaunda said Zambia would cut off from the IMF programme and implement its own that would lead to growth. Local economists, advisors, and persons from various sectors got involved in making the home-grown programme. When it was implemented, Zambia recorded some growth.

But the IMF and World Bank took on some position of ensuring that Zambia would be put under great economic pressure and get back to an IMF programme. IMF and World Bank acted with other governments to put economic sanctions against Zambia. Even governments that were friends to Dr Kaunda and Zambia abandoned the African government and fell in line with the IMF sanctions position. Even respected Gro Harlem Bruntland’s Norway administration acted with IMF and World Bank against Zambia’s position of abandoning harsh Structural Adjustment measures.

Kenneth Kaunda’s government was isolated. Many rulers of governments, sympathetic to fellow governments undergoing harsh economic measures, are silent. They fear receiving collateral economic pressure on them, with that pressure leading to unrest and removal of their governments from office.

In this inter-dependent world, no government or society can live without the support and collaboration of others in the world.Eventually, without practical support from friends who may have been sympathetic but fearing to oppose IMF and World Bank, in order to survive, Zambia was forced to get back to some IMF and World Bank programme. In June 1990, under continued economic austerity, further riots took place, leading to an unsuccessful coup attempt.

                                                                 Integrity of Life

In many places, SAP and austerity conditions have acted against peace and stability. The austerity conditions fight the integrity of humanity and life itself. The programmes to be followed were harsh. The debt service interests, ratios, amounts, and other conditions were unfair. Many people have suffered and died from IMF programmes. The austerity programmes lay seeds of discord and violence.

People have reacted through protests and violence. Protests and unrest have happened in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and even Europe. Many in Zambia, Africa, and elsewhere have died from protests against governments and harsh economic conditions.

When things do not work out or have created further problems, IMF says the medicine is still on its way to working, that there was light at the end of the hardship tunnel, or that instructions have not been well followed by the government. They turn around and make the governments take the blame.

Due to the harsh austerity conditions, some governments are voted out by their citizens. The new government, often by those who were critical of the conditions brought about by harsh measures, ends up also following the IMF and creditor conditions. Complaints continue while IMF watches in the background, shielded from their contribution to the situation of hardship.
Referendum has Worked

Thus, Greece’s current situation is interesting for the whole world. It is a landmark for debt and financial relations involving governments and lenders, multilateral or individual governments. Greece getting a fair deal, that allows a programme to be done with minimal impact on members of the public, especially the vulnerable ones, will encourage others to also be courageous and decline or renegotiate IMF and creditors’ conditions.

In many ways, Greece has won some renegotiation. The referendum of 2015 has worked. Of course, IMF and the creditors will try to show that the lenders are in control of the situation and are continuing to push Greece to debt service and restructuring. But the reality is that Alexis Tsipras, Yanis Varoufakis, their team, and the people of Greece have won the advance towards renegotiation of the loan and debt conditions.

Used to bullying and twisting others, IMF and creditors had not expected the referendum tool to come up. When it did, they were wishing, against reality, that Alexis Tsipras would be shown to be unreasonable. Media said there was a tie between Yes and No support while the truth was that an overwhelming number of persons was against the measures.

The referendum tactic worked well. Alexis Tsipras and Yanis Varoufakis showed that they had significant numbers of their fellow citizens behind them. They show that even when abandoned by IMF and the Eurozone system, Greece will for some time receive the support of its public in other alternative programmes that may be embarked upon. Public support is important for any political or economic decision.

Most people in Greece had experienced so much hardship that they were prepared to endure the consequences of creditors’ sanctions than continue suffering. It is better to suffer and assert your human dignity than to continue being enslaved.

In other countries facing harsh IMF conditions, there has been no referendum on whether to follow or continue with IMF programmes. The programmes to be followed were harsh.

                                                        Greece Turning Point

The Greece experience of 2015 should mark some turning point in IMF, World Bank, lenders, and borrowing governments. The experience shows that it is possible, as Dr Kaunda did in 1987, to stand up to the bullying and thug behaviour of IMF and World Bank. Further, it is possible to get citizens openly participate in the decision about the way forward. With people’s voices openly registered and measured, the IMF and World Bank will fail the moral test.

                                                                                Shylock

The IMF and World Bank have been like Shakespeare’s Shylock. Shylock wanted to cut a pound of flesh, as agreed, from his defaulting debtor. But the problem was that cutting the pound of flesh was going to make the debtor lose blood. Blood had not been written into the loan and debt service contract. It was thus difficult to implement the pay back of flesh. But the history of IMF, World Bank, and some lenders has been that of cutting flesh with the blood in it. Societies have suffered.

Many societies of Africa are still handicapped by the forced IMF and World Bank measures of the 1980s and 1990s. The societies would have been stronger had they not been shaken down by the economic measures.

The frustration and even annoyance with which some creditor officials have in recent days responded to Greece people’s majority choice for “No” about continuation of austerities is example, though mild one, of how IMF and lenders have responded to Africa’s governments.

                                                                Stick

There are similar tactics of using a stick to try to bring governments back in line to the harsh policies and conditions the lenders, falsely or by error, say have no alternatives. IMF and creditors impose harsh measures. Then they insist on continuation of harsh programmes even when there is decline in quality of life.

They continue to say the harsh medicine is path to recovery. They punish governments refusing to further punish their people, punish them by refusing further funding.

The IMF and creditors will also make lenders and non-lenders not to do businesses with the dissenting borrower. IMF and lenders act as consortium and cartel imposing sanctions on some dissenting government.

SAP works through dictatorship. SAP is dictatorship. SAP has been imposed through the dictatorship of the IMF and World Bank against unwilling governments and peoples. IMF officials impose harsh measures against fellow human beings who are considered objects. One is not sure the IMF officials themselves can comfortably live under the conditions they subject their fellow brothers and sisters in many parts of the world.

                                                               Alternatives

Actually, there ARE alternatives to IMF programmes. Saying “there is no alternative” is narrowness and blocking creativity in self and others. It acts against the possibilities and progress of humanity. Currently, in Britain, the Conservative government, with a huge budget deficit, a deficit bigger than Greece and other European governments added on, is thinking of budget cuts for some items but, wisely, will not touch health and education.

Governments of Africa and other places were forced to cut spending on essentials, including food, education, health, and other basics. This contributed to capacity difficulties whose effects are still with us now and societies are still to recover from.

The Greece referendum of 2015 reminds us that economic austerity measures mainly work through imposition and dictatorship. In many countries, put to some vote, the measures would have been rejected. IMF and World Bank would have been forced to support more sustainable alternatives.

The Greece debt situation also reminds us that governments can be strong. Factors at hand will move towards some settlement between Greece and creditors. That will be healthy for all parties involved.

From the Greece experience of 2015, IMF and Company will now fear that other governments will follow Greece and now start invoking referenda. Should this not be some fair direction in democracy and governance by consent and participation? For instance, if it seems very contentious, shouldn’t people in other European societies have the right to vote on whether there should be landmark cuts on social welfare?

The IMF and creditors should also remember that now there are other significant governments and organisations that provide grants and loans at fair conditions. The current Greece debt situation shows us that the IMF, World Bank, and other creditors can no longer continue to intimidate and coerce governments and societies of the world. Shylock does not always win.

Contact email: ginfinite@yahoo.com

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.

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GCB, June/July 08th, 2015

Abducted Nigeria Girls and the America Brand, (Gabriel Banda Peace Notes, 12)

Gabriel Banda Peace Notes, 12:

Abducted Nigeria Girls and the America Brand

by

Gabriel C Banda

THE recent abduction of hundreds of schoolgirls at Nigeria’s Chibok Girls Secondary School has deeply stirred worldwide concern, including demonstrations and high social media postings.

The abduction and other violent attacks, sabotage, massacres, and destruction before and after April 15, 2014 are of concern not just in Nigeria and Africa but the whole world. Captured girls are from backgrounds of Christianity and Islam.

The Chibok incident is touching our common humanity. Those who condemn the abduction and other violence by militants include Muslims.

It is important that responses to the abduction lead to the safety and freedom of the hostages. With relevant approaches and even some types of external support, it is possible for Nigeria’s authorities to swiftly make recovery of the captives.

Responses and approaches should minimise harm to the girls, their families, communities, and society. While there is a wider anti-terrorism and anti-banditry context, approaches used should not endanger the safety of the held school girls and other persons in other parts of Nigeria and beyond.

Some of us were worried when, with innocence, Nigeria president Goodluck Jonathan said his government had made approaches to the United States to help in dealing with the hostage situation. Later, United State’s President Obama and John Kerry and Britain’s David Cameron said they would be involved in supporting Nigeria deal with the abduction.

And France was reported to be ready to get involved. It has also been reported that Israel’s government offered to help Nigeria in this Chibok issue. In the Middle East, the Israeli, Palestinian, and anti-Israel forces are some of world’s most skilled and efficient forces when it comes to fighting in non-regular warfare. Yet open involvement or suspected involvement of Israel and others may lead to negative effects.

Officials from governments of Nigeria, USA, Britain and others should have been careful about talking about the involvement of forces of external governments in the Chibok hostages mission. External interest may be well meaning but can contribute to deepened hostilities.

Already some officials from external governments have been quoted as discussing Nigeria officials and government’s unannounced and closed door responses and positions.

But openly asking for external military assistance in rescuing the hostages and combating bandits has many implications. Who comes in to assist will also affect direction of the rescue and the whole conflict.

Officials of Nigeria and external governments should avoid making pronouncements that can lead to negative effects on the held girls. They should also consider the effects of the announcements on relationships in the Nigerian society and the neighbours.

There may be some fear that external forces may take over control of the anti-insurgency work and people then begin giving the activities some American or other external branding. Branding may go together with marketing the brand through activities of “visibility.”

The entry of external forces may or may not be worrying to the captors. Captors might feel they have made some achievements by bringing into the conflict offshore troops from western governments. They may feel their status raised. Some bandits may welcome the USA and external involvement, seeing this as a new stage to proudly go to and take the conflict to another level.

Actions to free the Chibok girls and also protect the public from acts of sabotage need wide support. But open involvement of external forces may make persons who don’t support terrorism but are still critical of, or opposed to, the USA and other governments not to be supportive of the mission against the Chibok captors.

Currently, the primary task is to get the release of the school girl hostages. One has to be careful about not getting this to be overridden by other actions, attitudes, and policies towards terrorism. The general action against terrorism and banditry is important. Yet some policies and stances may affect recovery of the hostages.

For instance, Americans and others have official policy, generally inflexible, about not bargaining and negotiating with terrorists, captors, and hostage takers. Yet there may actually be instances where negotiation with bandits is a useful step to safety, conflict resolution, and deeper understanding. A hope is that policies and positions should not endanger the Chibok school girls.

With governments collaborating, it is easier to quickly deal with abductions and the conflicts behind them. But how they get involved is important. For some governments, some presence in the Chibok crisis is useful for the external governments’ own continuous training and preparedness.

It is possible for governments of the United States and others to be so involved in Chibok as part of their worldwide anti-terror programme that they may put their brand on the Nigeria situation. This may create difficulties for the held hostages. Anti-American feelings may rise when US and other forces openly get involved. Existing hostilities and conflict may escalate.

A risk is that the Chibok abductions may be considered by external forces to be part of their own worldwide fight against anti-western banditry and violence. They may view Chibok with their past and current lenses and incorporate it into “the fight against terror.”

Some governments have fairly advanced equipment and technology, but you need more than machines to solve human conflict. Some methods Americans and others have used in some parts of the world have worked well while some have led to responses of more violence and terrorism. Negotiators and those intervening must be sensitive to local knowledge and processes, otherwise they may create problems.

External involvement has potential of aggravating hostile attitudes and actions by bandits involved in abduction. Some people are already hostile to forces and peoples of the United States, Israel, and allies. External involvement may provide branding that may create further problems for the situation.

Some military presence, approach, and rescue attempts do not ensure success but may create big problems. Crucial is understanding of local environment, local social issues, and local negotiation dynamics. Insensitive external input may endanger our young sisters.

While banditry and terror occur in many parts of the world, there must be close focus on local conditions, approaches, and issues. Working on relationships and human approaches is what finally settles issues. External supporters must study local ways of doing things, settling conflict, and reaching agreements. Roots of grievances should be considered.

You need to involve those with some influence on abductors and government. This may include the use of elders, persons of religious and spiritual influence, and other persons in reaching the abductors and moving towards release, safety, and freedom of the young women.

In many parts of the world, there is abduction, enslavement, and abuse of women, boys, and other innocent civilians by militant combatants. There is use of non combatants as hostages and even human shields against attacks. The innocent are used for bargaining in grievances.

Militants seem to feel the result justifies the means. They believe the extremity in the use of the Chibok girls as bargaining factors against government forces will bring them desired results. In the captors’ view, the Chibok girls, attracting worldwide concern, are some huge bargaining chip.

Although assistance may be required from all angles as the Chibok event is a concern for the whole of humanity, there must be caution on how external support gets involved.
Priority of government, families, and many in the world should be to have the girls released, even if it means going against policies of external governments.

The key expectation of the families of the Chibok school girls and the wider society worldwide is safety and freedom from violence for the captives and other communities.

The announcements of external interests and involvement may delay or endanger the safe return of our young sisters. External support, even with goodwill and sincere intentions by providers, must be handled very carefully.

The Chibok event can provide chance to do something about abductions, enslavement, and human trafficking worldwide. It can be time for Nigeria to find effective solutions to insurgency.

While external support can be useful and some forms of it should be allowed, in this situation, to succeed effectively and sustainably, the Chibok girls rescue process must be locally rooted and not externally branded.

                                ginfinite@yahoo.com

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.

 

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GCB, May 2014, LUSAKA.

 

 

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.