Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Dictators - the main cause of war in 2015

There has been a slight shift in the causes of current wars.

Last time I looked, in August 2015, separatism (one regional group wishing to be an autonomous state) was the cause of 50% of then-current wars. Before that, in 2008, separatism was a major cause in  30%, 

Now, July '15, separatism has slipped back to 30% again.

These figures could be disputed by experts and scholars. All wars are complex, and motivations and causal factors of all kinds are mixed into every war and conflict. Nevertheless, we can discern major factors in each situation.

Of the 13 wars  happening in 2015 that have death rates above 1,000 last year, dictators (either currently in power or recently removed) is a major cause in 8, and religion is operative in 5.

So about 60% of current wars have dictators involved in their causation in one way or another.

Here they are:

  1. Iraq (Saddam gave Bush/Blair their excuse to invade)
  2. Syria (dictator in place, resisting overthrow)
  3. Israel-Palestine (dictatorial attitudes by elected Governments)
  4. Somalia (more than 20 years after dictator was overthrown)
  5. Libya
  6. Yemen (post dictatorship)
  7. Sinai (post dictator)
  8. Central African Republic 
The thing with dictators is that they can hold a territory in a kind of unity through repression, but inevitably, after a generation or two, revolution or civil war takes place. Resentment in people who are not part of the ruling class or ruling tribe or clan builds up and finally explodes into demonstrations and then conflict. After the overthrow of the dictator and his group, there tends to be conflict from settling of scores, and conflict between groups who had been kept at peace through repressive means. 

We learn two things from this situation: first, the UN needs to put in place measures to discourage the formation of dictatorships, and second, we need ways and means of persuading dictators to make the journey back to democracy.

The Green Party - and also the Global Greens -  have adopted an instrument that will help achieve the first goal. It is called the Global Index of Human Rights.  It is fiendishly simple. The human rights performance of every state in the world is measured and the results are published annually by the UN. This creates a continuous, gentle pressure on all states to improve their record, and the very worst performing states, and those who are moving down the league table can be offered advice and help to change direction, backed by targeted sanctions if they are uncooperative.

In the case of specific established dictators who are overtly harming their populations, a tariff of measures can be used to persuade them to change. Search "Appendix 1" on the Global Index page.

So there is a non-violent way to prevent and treat dictatorships.

Some politically interested individuals are so traumatised by past foreign policy failures, for instance in the Iraq war, they simply argue that every country should be left to itself to determine its own way. This new laissez-faire attitude is not Green. We cannot sit back and allow oppression, political imprisonment, torture, killings, migration and eventually civil war to take place as if it is nothing to do with us. The world is one world. The Green way has always been to "think globally". Laissez-faire is not an option for us.

Humanity and the need for global political harmony require that we become involved in positive, non-violent ways to contain dictators in order to prevent war.

1 comment:

Bob Bater said...

Interesting food for thought, Richard. Thanks!