Monday, January 28, 2013

Political/System Change

It's only when you do genuine research which spans months possibly years do you understand just how big the world really is, how much progress humans have made and similarly how foolish we've been in some of our endeavours. Extremist views and terrorism impacts no longer impacts upon those whose countries where it has taken root. The globalised nature means that these perspectives now play a global role as well. While it's clear that covert operations are one option regime change (whether as a cause or side effect) can have a substantial impact as well. Things that need to be considered though:
- how often has intervention actually worked? Is it our intervention that is causing the process of fail or is the way in which we are forcing intervention?
http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/in-mali-the-domino-theory-is-real/
http://www.acus.org/?q=new_atlanticist/mali-no-way-go-war-going-nowhere
- in totalitarian regimes the distinction between reality and propoganda is not always clear or easy to uncover. Behaviour bears some similarities 'Stockholm's Syndrome'. Do people see the current regime as the best option only because they are not aware of other options?
http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2001/01/hitchens-200101

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/north-korean-cannibalism-fears-amid-claims-starving-people-eat-children-and-corpses-8468781.html
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/the-secret-lives-of-north-korea-8468421.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stockholm_syndrome 
- the structure of authoritarian governments is such that they serve two purposes. One, is to maintain security of the state from external threats. The other is to secure it against internal threats. No matter what happens in a transition there still is somewhat of a security vacuum which is made more hazardous by (sometimes corrupt) former secret police/intelligence using their 'skills' in any subsequent democracy. Vetting/background intlligence is critical in develop ment of any subsequent regime. Desire/determination of the general population is critical to determining whether or not radicalism/extremism/terrorism can survive (or be repelled) in such an environment
http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/us-paid-to-maintain-inoperable-afghan-police-vehicles-audit-finds/2013/01/17/a32d03d2-60e7-11e2-9940-6fc488f3fecd_story.html
http://www.usnews.com/news/politics/articles/2013/01/15/panetta-no-us-troops-on-the-ground-in-mali
- almost impossible to avoid non vacuum type situation in the advent of political/system change. One report that I read indicated that the most stable choice was to simply replace one autocrat to another and basically attempt gradual change (similar to the Egyption situation but I'm quite certain how that really is progressing). Even then, may not be possible though. An 'autocrat' is someone fundamentally/psychologically different from 'normal people'. How do you get them to institute genuine reform? A time limit for constitutional change via the UN with automatic sanctions?
- not sure that people really care who there leaders or the system. Believe that as long as their best interests are represented the system in question isn't particularly important
- we need to acknowledge that one system may not necessarily be the best for everyone. Imposing a system which doesn't work may potentially be just as problematic as not intervening in a crisis situation. In some countries/regions security/stability takes precedence over civil liberties. In others, people need to be behave in a certain fashion in order to succeed among their peers. We need to always keep at the back of our minds that many of the systems that we have devised have come about through people's desire for greater prosperity and better representation of the 'people's interest'. It's for this reason, I find some of our current troubles amusing. It's clear that pure capitalism doesn't work and history has clearly proven that often the pure interpretations/forms of other idelogies such as socialism, communism, and are also flawed. Even the democratic process and implementations that we have found ourselves with have resulted in often compromised, untimely decision making with representatives with backgrounds or personalities who we often find significantly flawed or questionable. I studied human resources and management as a part of my studies and while there were many theories with regards to motivation and general management, Maslow's Hierarchy of Human Needs continues to remain important in my mind. If a person has adequate housing, food, and health you'll be going a long way towards fulfilling their needs and desires
http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2013/01/23/at-davos-financial-leaders-debate-reform-and-monetary-policy/?ref=worldeconomicforum
http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2013/01/2013126125850486938.html
http://www.smh.com.au/world/czechs-lean-left-for-zeman-20130127-2des4.html
http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2013/01/201312612182907642.html
- after Balkan conflict there was some discussion regarding UN policy which would basically stop a recurrance. Where do we set the tipping point for intervention? How do we set it? What type of intervention?
- is the structure of the UN now 'outdated' and ill equiped to deal with these type of situations? Is modernisation of the UN required? A rotating head such as the EU? with a majority/set percentage a better option than the current UNSC structure?
Are the members of the current UNSC willing to cede some control back to the global community?
- regime change often comes at the price of much blood. We need to understand that existing authorities and associated stakeholders often stand to lose much more than what appears on the surface. The cynic in me thinks that some will not let go of power without a decent 'exit package'
- ruling out insanity the only way an existing regime can be certain that the will of the people is not with them is via a vote. Can you launch an election in the middle of a war zone? If much of the country is evacuated already can you run an election composed of people whose identities can be verified in refugee camps as well? Do you need to 'secure' a country before a vote/negotiations can take place? Either way, you need to be willing to make potentially strange concessions during times of conflict or else back your decisions up with 'brute force'
- dividing a country a realistic option at some point?
- less likely to fight in densely populated areas?
http://www.wnd.com/2013/01/syrias-assad-regime-flexing-muscle/
- while it's important to learn and honour our pasts it's also important to realise that people, the world, has changed and the rules need to change to fit the new model. People need to be able clearly see a benefit from a single market/union to genuinely yearn for it. A controversial theory says that scientific paradigm shifts only occur when the new theory can be proven to be significantly better and the previous paradigm falsified or the believers of the previous paradigm can be made to see that their perspective was flawed or they simply die/move out of their profession. I believe that it may be the same case with regards to political leaders as well. Broader communication may be required
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/barackobama/9828438/Democracy-is-on-the-brink-of-a-sea-change.html
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jan/27/britain-europe-in-or-out-debate
http://www.timescolonist.com/business/imf-head-lagarde-warns-governments-in-europe-and-us-to-not-relax-1.57174
http://www.breakingviews.com/hugo-dixon-uk-faces-five-years-of-limbo-land/21064511.article
http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Europe/2013/0117/Could-Britain-move-away-from-EU-and-toward-the-Commonwealth
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/25/opinion/dealing-with-two-russias.html?ref=global
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Kuhn
- is the desire really there amongst the general population for revolution?
- if so, are the structures/governing bodies in place in there for them to fend for themselves?
- do they see intervention as foreign interference or aid?
- where's the tipping point in determining the difference between dissent/unpopularity and revolution?
- if the tipping is reached, how do you even measure it? number of casualities? amount of time in trouble?
- SIGINT/COMINT is possible but many ways around this (tunnelling/encryption)? Moreover, where do we draw the line with regards to bringing potentially highly sensitive communications to light?
- experiments with social media/group think indicates that a lot of work needs to be done. Obvious problems include access and desire. Do people actually want to get involved with the decision making process. Personal experience indicates that there is a small minority cares but the rest of the population doesn't really care
- is it the place of foreign governments to intervene in other nation's affairs?
- who takes reponsibility if the intervention is not completed satisfactorialy?
- going to war is a final option. It's clear that some nations/administrations favour intervention, others clearly try to steer clear of it. Moreover, arming rebels can lead to other difficulties as seen in Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, etc... There is also some evidence to suggest terrorist groups may aide a revolution and then seek to topple the subsequent regime. Care needs to be taken with regards to arms distribution. Possibly arms that have a limited lifetime?
- more studies required with regards to succesfull counter terrorism techniques?
- sanctions obviously have an impact but they obviously have a more widespread, civilian impact as well

http://www.isis-online.org/
http://www.wilsoncenter.org/sites/default/files/IranReport_091112_FINAL.pdf

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