Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Providence...has chosen YOU as the guardians of freedom, to preserve it for the benefit of the human race -- Andrew Jackson

Ultimately, some theorize, the root of the dysfunctions in the free (democratic) political and economic systems of today's world powers may not be along ideological, racial, or gender lines, but along divisions by economic class. Without economic independence and stability, educational goals, political and ideological freedoms, and other so-called human rights advancements are neither truly secure nor sustainable. From this perspective, the politics of the global issues emerge as a principal barrier to arriving at decisive solutions and actions to correct the endemic problems the issues represent. Skepticism and allegations that governments placed on lists of global "violators" (by nations or collections of nations through, for example, the United Nations, or through "watchdog" groups like Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Transparency International...) lack the political will and governmental capability to use resources sent in support of free economic development (and other programs) eventually leads to the denial of resources-- to a potential downward spiral into the very political dissolution said resources were planned to prevent.

But piecemeal politics, foreign policies developed with situational (value-laden) judgements about the speed or adequacy of responses to alleged human rights or global issues violations cause people and governments to react with increasing confusion, contradiction, and inefficiency to global issues and crises. National responses, national cooperation and support-- which require time, organization and long-term vision-- are the sine qua non of effective policy development and execution. Long-term goals should be defined, backed with long-term resource commitment and economic, educational, and social development compatible with the diverse cultures of the nations with which established free nations are being asked to work. Somehow, definitions of crises, of crimes, of terrorist acts, must be arrived at, and actions to prevent the occurrence of such crises must be taken. Somehow, the world's resources, human potentials and creativities, equities, freedoms and environmental stability must be, similarly, defined, and their dissolution prevented.

Competition over economic, educational, environmental and other resources, over democracy or totalitarianism, will, logically, lead to escalating conflict and depletion of those resources, freedoms, and power (if you will) for autonomy. Such competition and conflict diminishes the effectiveness and legitimacy of democratic systems of government, endangers the survivability and sustainability of security for values, institutions, and programs of (international) support and development.

In the event of such competition for power, of such conflicts over the concepts of national security, it will, apparently, be the Western, democratic societies which will suffer the greatest loss of credibility and legitimacy from the dysfunction of efforts at promoting this same democracy through such cause-driven decision-making. That is, since it is the Western philosophies which espouse the rights to make individual choices, seek individual liberties (within the bounds of civil society), and yet promise the development of a better life for all, America, and other Western nations become targets of convenience upon which to blame the economic and social problems at large -- should (western) attempts to promote (ecologically sustainable) democratic institutions and market economies fail. Established, Westernized nations can be seriously threatened by assuming too great a role as "brokers of peace" in evolving political/economic environments. In a coercive environment (even one upholding the ostensibly laudable goal of establishing and developing peace and democracy), a political climate can be created in which anti-democratic, radical elements can thrive-- denigrating and possibly destroying the paths to human rights and freedoms.

This denigration of well-intentioned efforts to promote democracy may succeed because target-conditional domestic and foreign policy making, far from increasing national or international freedom of choice, tends to impose increasing restrictions of social and economic "discipline." Rather, policy-making should be informed with the vision and realization that definitions of democracy and security within and between nations should view and enhance the well-being of these nations as a whole-- considering individuals and groups as human beings-- and each nation's systems of natural and technological resources.

From this perspective, in the situational/epochal environment of global issues and politics, it becomes apparent that problems of violence, of the abrogation of human rights and freedoms, are not culturally specific, or rooted in specific societies. As such, unilateral actions against nation-states conducting egregious violations against global issues, against human rights, may not be wholly successful, because such concerns and conflicts are transnational in nature.

Therefore, since it appears that in human society there are larger requirements for liberty, for human (and environmental) rights which have, at least, zonal (east-west; north-south, for example) central lines, and which can not be mitigated by specific, unilateral action, it would also appear that transnational (for example, a majority of nations participating in the United Nations) actions-- embargoes, peace-keeping forces, security "monitors" against the promulgation of instruments of mass destruction (be they weapons, technological incursions, or other) may be necessary. Where moral lines may not be drawn, again, due to the murkiness or sensitivity of the issues of global needs as opposed to some issues of national sovereignty, again, definitions of crises, of terrorism and related crimes, of security, stability, and sustainability of national and international autonomy and human rights must be established. To elaborate-- if short-term, systemic devices or deprivational solutions are employed as unilateral, rather than transnational (or global-majority) fail-safes to conflicts of freedom of choice, of national sovereignty, and of international crimes, then it appears that this need-based decision-making will result in international crimes; it appears that this need-based decision-making will result in a short menu of violence or apathy, or in a new type of barbarism, a war of all against all.

Without recognizing differences and agreements of principles, no lasting, viable action may be taken to offset the ravages of intra-and inter-societal violence. As the decisions to establish freedoms of choice, to establish the "rights" to safe, secure and sustainable existences outlined by the "global issues" require the participation of all levels of society-- from the policy makers, to enforcement officials, to the voting or represented public, and through any peripheral or semi-disenfranchised groups-- so, too, the establishment and maintenance of the political will to safeguard these freedoms must involve all strata of the societies upholding and benefiting from them. Working within viable infrastructures to ensure freedoms is a sine qua non of civil society. Defining those areas of disruption and violence through socially-accepted channels of policy, legislation, and enforcement requires the consideration of, and, when appropriate, the participation of all levels of that civil society. Stemming the flow of terrorism and crime (political, economic, environmental, informational, etc) must be a participatory responsibility as well.

In arriving at an introduction to an understanding of security, sustainability, and stability, of conditions for peace, then, it may be useful to consider these issues in a national, and, where possible, global context. Those who make spoken and implicit promises to establish and secure the well-being of a people and a system of governance but cannot advance the human condition of those living within those systems will generate grievances when expected standards of improvement of human rights, environmental and holistic sustainability are not met. A political will for establishing a uniform financial market-- to establish a single market (or style of market) in banking and securities, in rights to financial privacy, and in uniformity of money laundering laws, reporting and enforcement efforts (to promote the greatest degree of legitimate market freedom for the greatest number of legitimate market participants)-- is taking shape. Any political will to safeguard existing freedoms and legitimate economic growth, as well as to encourage increasing freedoms, must accompany efforts to develop a collective stewardship of democratic institutions and free, market-driven economies. Any global economic security must remain mutual, and would not be enhanced by rigid conformity to current conditions, regimes, or concepts of old hierarchical structures (economic, political, or informational).

Developing this pluralistic concept of security and of mutually beneficial relationships entails the establishment of conditions which permit orderly change, which will allow and encourage the flourishing of democratic (free, human-rights oriented) institutions and of free, human-rights oriented economies. Increasingly, it appears that concepts of a "global community" are defined not so much by governments, alliances, or ethnic divisions. Rather, emerging ideas of a global community increasingly involve, and are defined by concerns of commerce, the environment, communications, public and private sector interactions. To a great extent, impetus for this change has risen from increasing capabilities in the global mobility of people, commodities, information and ideas.

This concept of mutually-beneficial security, however, also entails a recognition of the mutual dependence and responsibility which the world's nations hold for the world's environment. If former notions of sovereignty-- over territories, over people-- are changing, so, too, are notions of control over, and of the distribution or protection of, the earth's natural resources. It appears that the whole concepts of security, and, hence, of strategic analysis and tactical support, are transforming-- undergoing a radical reformulation of the definitions of the concepts.

That is, "peace" means not just "freedom from conflict or war," but also an amelioration, and a cessation, of those conditions (economic, environmental, social) which tend to engender outbreaks of violence (civil or national/international). If this is so, then "security" should not mean only "protection from civil or military aggression." A paradim shift which would redefine peace to include life-enhancing qualities (the global issues: human rights, environmental protections, et cetera) and conditions would also require statesmen (and individuals) to recognize a redefinition of security to include protection from influences and occurrences (terrorism, physical, financial, environmental, or other criminal activities) which would jeopardize these life-enhancing qualities.

Traditional concepts of security seek to protect a nation as a sovereign state-- secure from external threats of violence or power seizure; these concepts seek to protect a nation, within its borders, from internal threats which would disrupt or destroy the "status quo" through violent, or illegal means. These concepts, traditionally, have focused less upon individuals, groups of diverse human beings, or environmental realities, than upon protecting and enhancing "the powers that be."

Psychological analysis of the causes of dissatisfaction, of disillusionment and of rebellion among rural, urban, or even national groups of individuals has led to the development of theories concerning individual/group trust in, and dependence upon, ideologies, comparative value- and rights- judgements. Also considered are the users and abusers of trust (and the abrogation of trust), of coercion, of existing and alternative organizations and purveyors/controllers of "power."

With increasing freedom of and access to information, individual and group expectations for achievement reise to the highest common denominator (in general). And with the promulgation of group/human values and global concerns come correspondent increases in expectations for the timely fulfilment of goals and values.

Thus, the expanding definition of security would postulate a refined concept of what would constitute an "external threat"-- viewing more direct threats to and opportunities for security that just military actions, causes of war, and the like. Similarly, an expanded definition of security must view internal security as more than the maintenance of an established political order (or the orderly, electorally-driven transfer of political power).

Additionally, the refined definition of security, if true to the espousal of "global" values of human rights and environmental conservation (etc), must also include the enhancement of the well-being of the nation (or global community) as a whole. Individuals and diverse groups of human beings, the nation's systems of education, commerce, and communication, and the natural resources and technological advancements of the national, international, or global, community, must be considered in promulgating regulations to protect, and definitions of threats to, the secure and stable development of the community (however large that is) and its economic and environmental well-being and sustainability.