Archive for the ‘Negotiations’ Category
By Jan Oberg
Jan Oberg’s comment on Chancellor Merkel’s speech at the Munich security conference where she mentioned the duty Europe has to receive refugees and also reiterated that Germany will do its best to increase its military budget to 2% of its GDP.
Apart from this one can only get very sad and pessimistic when reading the comments underneath this sequence: Boundless hate against Merkel herself, racism, anti-Islam, anti-Semitism – and not one (of the first 70+ comments) on the issue of NATO, the risk of war or on what I brought up about the need for new, less militarist policies, less interventionism and better ways of handling the refugees.
Anger and hatred just under the surface, brought out mostly anonymously. No reasoning, just smear.
We still have a long long way to go in terms of public education…
By Jonathan Power
January 24th 2017.
The great flaw in ex-president Barack Obama’s record was his policy towards Russia. Going against everything he had said and written about before he became president, one action after another antagonised the Russians – his early proclamation that he wanted Georgia and Ukraine in NATO, his de facto coalition of convenience for a crucial couple of days with the anti-democratic, anti-Russian, neo-fascist, demonstrators in Ukraine, the further expansion of NATO, despite an earlier promise not to, made by President H.W. Bush, to the Soviet president, Mikhail Gorbachev, and his inability to cooperate with the Russians and Iranians over Syria.
No wonder the Russians are reported to be delirious that Donald Trump is now president, a man who has said nice things about Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.
If the two meet sometime soon maybe there will be an end to this unnecessary hostility. The Moscow-Washington relationship is the most important political issue in the world and this may well be the last chance to get it right.
Russia and the US have never fought each other in the 200 years of their relationship. Russia aided the North during the Civil War and sent warships to prevent England and France supporting the confederacy. During the World Wars the two were close allies.
However, they came near to catastrophic war during the Cold War when Russia armed Cuba with nuclear weapons. This will never happen again. It chilled the blood down to zero on both sides. But one can imagine limited armed clashes on the Estonian-Russian border, nuclear sabre rattling, a more intimate alliance between China and Russia, an urge to sabotage, as was done during the Cold War, any diplomacy or interventions made by the other and a continuation of both countries keeping their long-range nuclear weapons on hair-trigger alert.
Under H.W. Bush post-Cold War relations got off to a good start. Nevertheless, the US treated Russia as a defeated nation that could be taken advantage of. Read the rest of this entry »
Freiburg, 1 October 2016
1. The global sky is full of dark clouds. There is reason, there must be reason, for concern. Humanity has to take time out to reflect. To-day is a good occasion to do so, especially since we have among us Haifa al Mansour and Solmaz Panahi who, together with her mother, has joined us on behalf of Jafar Panahi, her father.
The Kant Foundation is honouring two artists from the Middle East, one from Saudi Arabia, the other from Iran. They have taken Immanuel Kant’s demand of yesteryear seriously and have shown the courage to use their minds with all the consequences that this has entailed. They have been swimming against the currents, they have built bridges and they have climbed mountains that try to separate people.
2. The community of nations has created an impressive body of law which is as densely woven as the most magnificent carpets one can find in the Middle East. Life in all its facets is well protected by such law – or so it seems! The UN Charter remains the supreme road map for human life with peace. It echoes what many thinkers and humanists throughout centuries have proclaimed. Can there be any disagreement that the usefulness of a map lies in its use?
3. Emotions? Feelings? – important as they are, must be in harmony with reason! The irrational rejection of Europe by Britain would not have happened if feelings and reason had been in balance! How much more evidence do we need to accept that humanity knows no borders?
4. Let me pause here for a moment and interject… Read the rest of this entry »
June 10, 2016
Jan Oberg comments on why the US continues, soon a year later, to drag its feed. It’s lack of trust that still stands in the way.
By Gunnar Westberg
Very pleasant meeting. We all agreed on everything. We follow you, Big Brother, in all your ventures, we are so happy you like us.
Reports and family pictures have appeared in media from a dinner with 350 guests. Nice laudatory speeches, not a disturbing critical word.
There is a final document on everything that was agreed, already beforehand.
I recommend no one to read the paper, you can’t, it is such a soporific (= tending to induce drowsiness or sleep).
No journalist has so far given an overview, they fell asleep too, I guess. The section on Environment and on Energy seems good, but nothing new. The failure of the USA in energy conservation is not allowed to disturb in this Feel good report.
The section on Defence and Security is, however, very depressing. Read the rest of this entry »
By Farhang Jahanpour
On Monday 14 March, in a surprise move and without any warning to Western leaders, President Vladimir Putin ordered the withdrawal of the “main part” of Russian forces from Syria, and instructed his diplomats to speed up the push for peace. “The effective work of our military created the conditions for the start of the peace process,” he said. “I believe that the task put before the defense ministry and Russian armed forces has, on the whole, been fulfilled.”
He added that with the participation of the Russian military, Syrian armed forces “have been able to achieve a fundamental turnaround in the fight against international terrorism.”
According to Western reports, Russian forces are already being prepared for flights back to Russia and equipment is being loaded onto cargo planes.
Although President Putin’s sudden announcement has given rise to a great deal of surprise and some false assumptions in the mainstream Western media and among political pundits, his decision is a timely, bold and constructive move that may result in some positive developments in the long-running catastrophe in Syria.
One of the reasons for the negative and cynical comments about the Russian move is that in five months President Putin has achieved more in halting the advance of the terrorists in Syria than the West had achieved in five years, if indeed it had been the West’s real intention to defeat the terrorists.
The Syrian uprising started with demonstrations on 28 January 2011 in Damascus and Aleppo in the wake of the “Arab Spring” in Tunisia and Egypt. Read the rest of this entry »
By Jan Oberg
Something is rotten in the State of Denmark and the world will increasingly see it. It’s an unpleasant combination of Islamophobia, militarism and a peculiar ethical and intellectual self-destructive obedience to US/NATO all wrapped up in a pseudo-humanitarian flag.
It’s important that intellectuals criticise the policies of their native country and not only and politically correctly criticise that of others. In the case of Danish foreign and security policy it is fairly easy to do so provided you are supported neither by that country’s state nor its corporations.
Denmark to be aggressor in Syria – too
On March 4, 2016 a large majority of Danish political parties agreed to send F16s and special forces to Syria. The decision is likely to soon be confirmed by the Danish parliament.
The most important decision any government can take is the one to go to war. But that sort of thing is now routine in H.C. Andersen’s anything but idyllic rogue state. When the Danish MPs decided that Denmark should bomb in Libya an MP told me that they did so on the basis of 1,5 A4 pages memo drafted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
So here Denmark is off again, this time to Syria. It’s the 6th time – Serbia in 1999, Afghanistan 10/7 2001, Iraq occupation power 2003-2007 – under non-convicted war criminal prime minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen who was rewarded by an academic title in the U.S. and then kicked upwards to the post of NATO’s S-G and in which capacity he took responsibility (without any later regret later for that or Iraq) for the pulverisation of Libya way beyond the UN mandate; then a second time in 2014-15 in Iraq bombing against ISIS/Daesh. And now Syria.
All these wars have been exemplary political and moral fiascos – if not deliberate killing missions for strategic and naked power reasons.
In none of these conflicts has Denmark that boasts an active foreign policy taken any constructive initiatives of the type that is needed – mediation, consultation, negotiations, large-scale humanitarian aid, violence-prevention, reconciliation or presented any innovative thoughts, peace plans or similar.
In no case has it argued for a large international peace-keeping presence, e.g. UN and/or regional organisations with predominantly civilian elements. And in no case has it dared criticise U.S. foreign policy in even the mildest of words.
Denmark’s humanitarianism flies F16
Prime minister Løkke Rasmussen’s argument for aggression on Syria now Read the rest of this entry »
By Jan Oberg
Five years ago
In 2011 when it all began, an educated conflict analyst or otherwise conflict competent person would have said about the conflict in Syria that it was a very complex thing, caused by history, environment, traumas, external factors, the economic situation, etc. And that al-Assad and his government was certainly an important reason but far from the only one.
The conflict expert would have warned against at last four ways of thinking:
a) any interpretation that put all the good people on one side and all the bad people on the other – because there are no conflicts in the world with only two such parties;
b) any idea that the conflict could be solved by siding with the presumed good ones and going against the bad one(s);
c) every attempt to ‘weaponise’ the conflict and increase the level of violence, the duration of the conflict and the human suffering;
d) any and every idea that foreigners would know better than the Syrians themselves – government, opposition and citizens in civil society – what should be a solution.
Finally – the professional conflict and peace worker would have maintained that you can’t make peace by asking one person – not even brilliant ones like Kofi Annan or Staffan di Mistura – with a small team around him and some shuttle diplomacy to succeed with facilitation, consultations, brainstorming, proposal-making, mediation and, finally, some kind of negotiations leading to a peace agreement in what is undoubtedly one of the most complex and ‘hard’ conflicts on earth.
Peace-making requires a completely different approach to not just be a pawn in the wider war game – a game that according to Al-Jazeera today encompasses some 900 military groups – add to that government forces and all the political and civil groups that don’t carry weapons: 1500?
Five years later – at least 250.000 dead people, 3 million refugees and 6,5 million internally displaced people, cities, economy, cultural heritage destroyed – anyone can see that no one listened to such simple conflict rules of thumb.
Conflict and peace illiteracy
The self-appointed and completely un-educated, peace-makers of the international community – presidents, prime and foreign ministers of the US, NATO, Russia, etc. – did about everything else.
It seems to not even occur to them or to the media that Read the rest of this entry »