Guidelines for a Better World
Laws are like sausages — it is best not to see them being made. Perhaps I should re-phrase this as:
The Rules of Law and International Diplomacy are like sausages — it is best not to see them being made
It’s a strange world out there. Two recent political events have brought two previously unlinked ideas to my mind. The events are:
- the Wikileaks exposures of Diplomatic communications between US embassies – the US Embassy Cables.
- the use of mercenary forces to suppress local populations in Bahrain and then Libya – see The Bahraini Authorities Recruit of Mercenaries from Makran Town, Pakistan and Bahrain: a different wind of change and Tuaregs ‘join Gaddafi’s mercenaries’
For the Wikileaks disclosures, I see them as a highly embarrassing thing for those involved, but an empowering thing for us mere mortals who are divorced from the diplomatic process. Normally, all the guts of the process are hidden.
In the case of the cover-up of the turkey shoot of unarmed civilians by US helicopter crews, it is something of which we should all be aware, no matter how discomforting for us.
In truth, we need better leaders in the West, people of real morals and guts so that we do not have to see the guts of innocents sprayed on the streets ever again to realise how crap the current bunch are.
Mercenary forces I see as a fact of current and historical life, the old colonial powers especially – indeed, the UK has its own dirty hand in this. For nigh-on 200 years the UK has even had its own full-time mercenaries, the Gurkhas, typically used in near-suicidal conflict situations. Also, currently, from the standpoint of an Afghan tribesman, the British Army in Afghanistan could be seen as little more than mercenaries in the employ of a puppet king, Hamid Karzai. For the tribesman, little has changed – there’s money about but he sees none of it whosoever is in charge.
In the meantime, we have diplomacy. For the West, this is a world of essentially astute well educated folk, usually adept in law not technology, that seek to make deals with not-so-nice folk for our own country’s benefit.
Because these deals are done at the guttural level, like sausage-making, it’s an unpleasant process to stumble upon – which is exactly what we’ve seen with the Wikileaks Diplomatic Cable exposures. Naturally we are aghast that such things go on in our name. For me, it seems to be a wholly unpleasant process in our current world and something I’d wish to eliminate.
Taking the current crisis in Libya; for the previous three years the Blair/Brown Labour Government has made overtures with Libya, sold arms and even SAS training, but all with the aim of ensuring Libya kept it’s hands off the nuclear button. Seems good-ish. Laudable aims, jaw-jaw nor war-war and all that.
This process, now revealed, is ugly – but no more so than our current Prime Minister Cameron sucking up to some Gulf Arabs who, like Libya, run a similar kind of oligarchic, autocratic, nepotistic state, full of outlandish greed and luxury with no voice for the inhabitants! Seems pretty bad. ……… It is bad. Really bad. It’s the same process as before, and we only do it because we need their oil. Forget about Grand Prix cars and World Cup Football – it’s all about the O. I. L. – OIL.
So What to Do?
Use Oil? Sell Bullets.
Most of the recent interventions of the West’s (let’s call them wars should we – after all, thousands have died?), have been into countries that maintain a nice, steady flow of oil to us rich, lazy, westerners. We think nothing of flying the globe or motoring to the shop for a cheap item that has most probably already crossed the globe once on its way from China, so yes, it’s important we can do this, right?…
On the other hand, our presence in places like Sudan, Rwanda or Congo has been notable by our absence. Millions have brutally died. (a.k.a. we don’t care as you’ve no oil.)
Not Use Oil? Don’t Sell Bullets.
Consider our own little part of the world. It’s a place that many people in the world aspire to live because we are essentially free and most material things in our lives can be satisfied.
- Consider how bright and technologically advanced we consider ourselves to be.
Now consider a world where we eliminated our dependency on chicken dictatorships – a world where we used our technological prowess to eliminate the consumption of oil and our addiction to the making and selling of arms, mostly to these self-same oil rich oligarchies. It’d be a world where we, the citizenry, didn’t have to look on aghast as all our tax money was spent on bribing simple crooks to talk to us nicely.
Surely, like Egypt & Tunisia, those sort of oligarchies would collapse if we stopped buying their oil and stopped selling them our finest weaponry?
And if they didn’t, so what? There’d be no need for us as a nation to be thrown into hypocritical situations and taking ghastly actions for which we’d later be thoroughly ashamed. Those areas of the world could take their own destinies into their own hands.
And Diplomacy? For us, we should see more not less of the words and processes done in our name. We are not children and sooner or later, if the diplomats have fucked it up, we’re going to find out anyway, much as we did after WW1, WW2 and anywhere else our sons and brothers get killed in someone else’s war.
- We need a proper, ethical, foreign policy.
- We need diplomats of guile and courage, just like now, to promote it.
- And really, we really, really, need to be self-sufficient for all our needs and not rely on corrupt tin-pot states that have not left the Middle Ages in outlook. This single thing is the most important thing for us and the peaceful futures of our immediate descendants.
- We need a bit of courage to do this – to wean ourselves off this drug-like dependency on crooks of no substance who happen to sit on stuff we just happen to need, now. Lets use our technological nous and make the current now a thing of the past – like stone axes and bronze swords, historical curiosities.
- Mercenaries have courage – after all, if caught they’re usually the first one’s strung up. See Dead Mercenary Taken to Tripoli Morgue, Libia Protests 2011. But if the mercenaries have a proper home – what then? There’d just be the few psychos like there’s always been, because you know, most people, even young hotheads, don’t want to wind up in an early grave.