IG’s Peace Blog

Peace and its many aspects

“…and then there was….what was there?”*

Just me noting a few things I have found interesting.

First, as I suspected the whole Euro issue would push the EU toward more governance.  Of course, many countries don’t like this; but personally, I think the Euro is here to stay and more centralized fiscal control is an inevitability.  Today Europe…tomorrow (well not exactly tomorrow, but anyway…) the world!

Second,  it is amazing how information diffuses these days, and also amazing that people who nobody thought were really interested in democracy, seem to be interested after all.  Who knew?  In fact, though, it is probably not democracy in any specific form that they want (you can fill in the names for the “they” here–just pick up a newspaper).  They want to have some say over what happens to them, they want to have a sense of identity that is not constantly being called into question by events…and they want to live in a society with meaningful relationships that confirm their identity and help them to participate in what shapes their lives.  We all want this.  You can call this human rights, or essential freedoms, or whatever.  It is what humans (as John Burton pointed out quite a few years ago now) need to be fully human.  Also, and this is the part we are seeing today:  it can’t be taken away forever; or, for that matter negotiated away.  People will, sooner or later, rise up to take it back.

Politics is a dependent variable.  Huh?  Well, while we go on and on about who is governing whom and who might get the chance to replace them in what election, we lose sight of the bigger picture, which I suspect has to do with the fact that our values and our culture pretty much determine what happens in our politics.  So, if you want to change politics (heck, what right-thinking person doesn’t?) you have to change those values and, by implication, the culture in which they are embedded….which explains, to some extent at least, why I am a teacher and not a politician.  True, I teach about politics, but I don’t practice what most would consider politics…but believe me, I see myself very much involved in the process of global change (even if in a small way).

We really need to unite, at least to a basic workable level, our planet.  Heck we are finding more and more  possibly inhabitable worlds.  Sooner, rather than later, the Star Trek scenario will be upon us (ie when we start to move at light speed through space).  Heaven (literally) only knows what will happen at that point.  Personally, I think we need all hands on deck on spaceship earth for what will be a probably never ending series of challenges without precedent.  No more time for squabbles, or neglecting suffering, or stupid prejudices…Everybody is “us”…no more”them”.  If you don’t get that, take a really hard look at the stars some night…a real hard, real long look.  Let that good old cosmic insignificance sink deep into you.  If you do this, you just might, as I did at one point, realize that that very feeling (as uncomfortable as it can be) is a creative force.  We really are all in this planetary life thing together.  There really is, as Sartre said, “no exit”.  Or, as Stuart Brand, creater of the Whole Earth Catalogue used to say “we are as gods, so we might as well get good at it”.

IGbarb says:  “Gods are as gods do…be as godly as you can!”

* I think this is from Frank Zappa, but I’m not sure (Karl Weaver are you out there?)


December 29, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Follow the money!

You have probably heard about this.  Here’s a little teaser:

“Sarkozy told reporters that he and Merkel want a “true European economic government” that would consist of the heads of state and government of all eurozone nations.

The new body would meet twice a year — and more in times of crisis — and be led initially by EU President Herman Van Rompuy for a 2 1/2-year term. After that, Sarkozy suggested, it could be opened up to other heads of states and government.”

This is very interesting, and it confirms what I have always suspected:  the “Eurozone” would need to also be a “Eurogovernance zone” if it was to survive.  Some years ago Flannery O’Connor wrote a compilation of short stories entitled “All that rises much converge” (and I highly recommend you read the story of the same title), and I have always thought that phrase nicely summarized much of what is happening in our era.  Here, for instance, while nobody is in a hurry to create a European (or global, for that matter) “superstate”, still there are many benefits in having a common currency and one economy.  This worked fine as long as there was smooth sailing, but when the turbulence of global finance started to seriously rock the boat the “governance deficit” in the European economic system became more and more obvious (I won’t go into the details).  So, even if most might not yet be ready to follow Nico and Angie, it is very significant that these two prominent leaders of major European powers should even suggest such a thing.

Again, it seems to me that Europe is a very good case study and model for what the whole world is experiencing…ie the problems of integration and how to go about solving them.  Remember, that whatever you might think about the EU, it has, for all practical purposes eliminated war among its members, and that is no mean achievement.  Economic integration is probably the main engine behind this.  And here we see that there is definitely some “spillover” from the economic toward the political.

IGbarb says:  “Onward, upward and closer together!”

August 17, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Toward more/better early warning

This is a very important topic.  The “smart money” in conflict resolution has to be on “early warning” since the best approach to conflict is to stop it before it starts.  Why?  Well, because the cost of a serious violent conflict  ( ie lives and material) is just too high…and it takes forever to “get over” one.  The E.U. has been ahead of others by trying to do something in regard to EW…but more (probably much more) remains to be done to make the system work.



Early warning and conflict prevention

New publication on early warning and conflict prevention:

Walk the Talk
The EU needs an effective early warning system to match its ambitio…

Authors: Lucia Montanaro and Julia Schünemann

This paper argues that given the EU’s global ambitions in conflict prevention and peacebuilding, a number of changes are necessary to improve the EU early warning and response system. The reforms of the Lisbon Treaty and the establishment of the EEAS do not go far enough: The scattered strands of the EU early warning system need to be woven together so that the EU can be cost effective and maximise its potential impact. The current system suffers from weaknesses in the production, communication, warning receptivity and disconnects between its early warning and early action. This paper identifies the key constraints to an effective system and suggests ways to overcome them.


May 4, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment


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