Tag: <span>Diplomacy</span>

Russia-Ukraine Negotiations Appeals

Preliminaries to Russia-Ukraine Negotiations: The Key Role of China.

Featured Image: Foto de Matti Karstedt: https://www.pexels.com/es-es/foto/una-nina-protestando-contra-la-guerra-en-ucrania-11284549/.

President of France Emmanuel Macron was in China from 5-7 April 2023 and urged that China could play a major role in bringing peace to the Russia-Ukraine armed conflict. China’s 12 point plan to resolve the Ukraine conflict has indicated President Xi Jinping‘s willingness to be active in peace efforts. While the 12 point peace plan is incomplete, it does propose general principles which can serve as a useful framework. President Macron is accompanied by Ms Von der Leyen of the European Commission, a sign of the wide European concern with the positive role that the Chinese government can play.

After the positive role that Chinese mediators played in the restoration of diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran, there is increasing a world-wide recognition of the talents of Chinese mediators. China is probably the only country with an ability to influence Russian policy-makers in a peaceful direction.

Emmanuel Macron

Presidents of France Emmanuel Macron in 2022. By President.gov.ua, CC BY 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

Overview of the Normandy Proposal and its Potential Role in Future Agreements for Ukraine.

President Macron was the prime mover for action on what was called the Normany Proposal involving negotiation among Russia and Ukraine, France and Germany. The proposal was to build on the Minsk agreement concerning the two pro-Russian People’s Republics of Ukraine which would remain in Ukraine with a modified Ukrainian constitution recognizing a good deal of autonomy to the People’s Republics. The Minsk Agreement was never acted upon with no action to modify the Ukrainian constitution. Since the 2022 Russian invasion, the situation has grown more complex and difficult. However, the Normandy ideas are probably the basis of any future agreement after a first cease-fire.

Ms Ursula von der Leyen

The President of the European Commission, Ms Ursula von der Leyen and The President of the Republic of Cyprus Mr. Nicos Anastasiades make statements to the Press. University of Cyprus campus, Lefkosia, Cyprus, 8. July 2021. By Stavros Ioannides, P.I.O. Photo Department., CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

Anticipated Increase in Fighting in Ukraine and the Importance of Alternative Solutions.

Military observers predict an increase in fighting in Ukraine now that the winter is over and troops can move more easily. Thus the immediate need to present alternatives to more fighting and the start of serious negotiations. The Macron-Xi talks may have set the stage for at least the preliminaries.

President of China Xi Jinping

Chinese Communist Party (CCP) general secretary Xi Jinping addresses Chinese and foreign journalists at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Oct 23, 2022. By China News Service, CC BY 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons. 

René Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens

 

Here are other publications that may be of interest to you.

World Refugee Day.

June 20 is the United Nations (UN)-designated World Refugee Day;  marking the signing in 1951 of the Convention on Refugees. The condition of refugees and migrants has become a “hot”…

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Horace Alexander Portraits of World Citizens.

Horace Alexander: Unofficial Diplomacy and Mediation.

Featured Image: Photo by Mikael Kristenson on Unsplash.

At this time of increased tensions and armed conflits in different parts of the world; it is useful to recall the positive possibilities of unofficial diplomacy.  Unofficial diplomats recognize that the suspicions of government officials are a major hurdle to overcome; and that they must emphasize their impartiality and independence from governments.  Preparing the way for official policy changes; or for improved interstate relations is a slow-building evolutionary process.  Personal contacts across borders hold the potential for influencing the knowledge and attitudes of those involved; as well as the ability to gain information.

Horace Alexander.

Horace Alexander (1889 – 1989); the British Quaker and friend of Mahatma Gandhi is a good example of the unofficial diplomat and mediator.  Horace Alexander was born in an English Quaker family.  His father was a lawyer deeply involved in peace efforts; and in opposing the opium trade active between India and China.  Horace Alexander was a Cambridge University graduate; who went on to teach international relations at Woodbroke; an adult education center run by Quakers.  Alexander was very active in efforts to support the League of Nations.

Mahatma Gandhi.

In 1926 and 1927; there was increased agitation and repression in India; as the Indian National Congress became increasingly active.  Thus in 1928; Horace Alexander was sent to India by the British Quakers; to see if relations between the Vice Roy Lord Irwin and Mahatma Gandhi could be improved.  Alexander saw the spiritual dimension of Gandhi; but also his political impact and suggested to the British government that Gandhi be invited to the Roundtable on Indian politics; which was to be held in London in 1931.

Alexander developed close relations with Gandhi; and divided his time between India and England.  He was active in relief work during the famine in Bengal in 1943-1944; and was active with the Indian National Congress during the negotiations; which led to independence in 1947; but sensed the birth pangs of the creation of the two states of India and Paxistan and the terrible days of partition; when fighting between religious communities took a deadly toll in human life and spirit.

Mahatma Gandhi

Studio photograph of Mahatma Gandhi, London, 1931. By Elliott & Fry (see [1]), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

While he was with Gandhi in India; seeing the growing divide between Hindus and Muslims; he created the Fellowship of Friends of Truth. As he wrote:

“The basis and goal of the Fellowship of Truth will be a common striving toward fuller knowledge of the Truth that is God.  Members will commit themselves to learn with and from one another of the things that are eternal, through common acts of quiet worship and meditation and through other forms of communion with God and man.” 

Horace Alexander lived his later years in the United States and died at the age of 100.

Unofficial diplomacy rarely creats a breakthrough; as situations can be completely blocked; and even minimal proposals are unacceptable at the time.  However small steps can be useful if taken in the right direction. Unofficial Diplomacy; which is increasingly called Track II diplomacy; is growing in importance and merits support.

 

Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

 

Here are other publications that may be of interest to you.

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Louise Diamond Book Reviews

Louise Diamond. The Courage For Peace.

Featured Image: Photo by Avi Chomotovski in Pixabay 

(Berkeley, CA : Conari Press, 2000, 263pp).

Louise Diamond;  a co-founder of the Institute for Multi-Track Diplomacy in Washington, DC;  works in areas of inter-ethnic conflict to empower peacebuilders.

Our power to empower is perhaps the most important role;  we can play in the 21st century. The more individuals; who feel empowered to work in their own systems for peace and conflict transformation; the closer the world comes to that critical mass that will allow for a massive leap of consciousness; allowing new processes for peace;  that were previously unimaginable to become normative and easy.”

She stresses in her book that the Spirit of Peace is a living process;  encoded in our hearts, embodied in our words; expressed through our thoughts and empowered through our choices. Peace:

“Is the everyday practical matter of how we can live together harmoniously; dealing creatively and effectively with the inevitable differences; hurts and fears that arise in human relationships… On a larger scale; peace is a political goal of nations and peoples; on a smaller scale; inner peace is a personal goal for those of us; who are trying to live more consciously within this frenzied world.”

A New Cycle is Beginning.

The world can seem as “a new cycle is beginning; one that stems from the recognition of the fact that we are one. Favoring a relational, intuitional, opportunity-oriented way of thinking and a community, inter-connective, partnership approach to social relations; this new way of being;  is built on our emerging understanding of universal truths: matter is energy with meaning and motion. Life is not static; it is flow. We are not broken; we are whole.

If we oppress others; we oppress ourselves…Even as the old systems disintegrate and fade away; pioneers among us; are creating new ways of living and working together;  that honor the truth of our oneness. I happen to believe that peacebuilding is at the forefront of this wave; and that its pioneers are and will be among the greatest champions of a new era.”

Louise Diamond’s views will be familiar;  to those who deal with individual therapy .As she writes:

I found that whether I was working with individuals, couples, families or organizations; the work was inevitably about the issues of power and healing. In short; people were struggling to find peace and balance within themselves;  and to live and work harmoniously with each other.”

Peace can be Envisaged as Having Three Basic Aspects.

Her road map for action  is based on four principles;  based on faith and common sense;  but that are also the lessons learned for experiences – her own and that of other peacebuilders;  whose views she shares.

These lessons have to do with our basic unity and wholeness; our interdependence; the power of love for reconciliation; and our ability through conscious thought and action; to shape the world we live in.”

 

Her book is an inquiry into the practical implications of these spiritual lessons. How do we heal ancient wounds and restore justice? How do we ensure healthy communities?.

Peace can be envisaged as having three basic aspects – the water, ice, steam analogy. The most fundamental aspect – the water stage – we could call “metaphysical” and has to do with peace as order, harmony, and unity. Then there is the “serenity” aspect; often an inner peace; which is expressed as calm, tranquillity, equanimity. This calm, however; is also a source of energy, a will to action.

For me; peace is literally a powerhouse of strength. I experience peace as a specific vibration of dynamic state of being; which, like a song, radiates from my heart and soul.” 

The third aspect is that of “relationship – agreement, accord, rapport. The Spirit of Peace reminds us that these three aspects are really one.

The Spirit of Peace to Fill Our Lives.

Peace as harmony, order, tranquillity; accord is very close to the Taoist image of the Tao. As in Taoism;  there are many avenues to tap into this flow of peace: music, poetry, dance, communing with nature, making love, deep relaxation, prayer and meditation.

When we tap into that energy; we have access to vision, intuition, creativity, synergy, and the power of miracles – resources of mind, body, and spirit far beyond our day-to-day awareness. When we rest there;  we are at home; we have found peace.

The Spirit of Peace arises from this place. Our work; when confronted with our small-minded sense of separation, our lack of harmony, our experience of conflict; is to center home. (By ‘centering home’, I mean touching the Source within myself.)” 

By touching the Source; we awaken to what we need to carry us to new levels of thought and action.

Louise Diamond deals with the shifts in vision;  and attitudes necessary for the Spirit of Peace to fill our lives. There are, of course;  other aspects of building a peaceful society. There are often needs to build new political and economic institutions;  and to formulate new policies. Yet attitude change, at a deep level;  is essential. Many, I believe;  will find Louise Diamond’s book both very clear and profound.

Rene Wadlow;  President, Association of World Citizens.

 


Learning from Practice Podcast – Louise Diamond.

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world citizens UN: Growth of World Law.

Citizens of the World Diplomacy.

Picture by  Artem Beliaikin on Pexels

The crisis today in human affairs is represented not by the absence of human capacity, but by the failure to recognize that the capacity exists. What gives hope its power is the release of human energies generated by the longing for something better”.

Norman Cousins.

The Association of World Citizens.

Douglas Mattern;  was the founding  president of the Association of World Citizens;  when in 1975 he brought together individuals;  who considered themselves as Citizens of the World;  but were working within a host of other prizce organizations. He has since died;  but his efforts for world citizen diplomacy has continued and expanded.

One of the primary duties of State leaders;  is to identify and then to defend against enemies. As soon as a pair of states begins to identify one another as enemies; as the USA and the Soviet Union did in 1945 at the end of the World War;  they take steps that confirm and amplify the initial fears;  thus starting a cycle of action and reaction.

For American leaders;  the Soviet Union represented not only an expansionist state;  but was also a leader of a more vague and undefined “international communism”. For the Soviets the USA was an atomic-weapon state; but also the champion of an effort to destroy the “socialist system”.

Many citizens feel that if a government fails to be vigilant in its “threat assessment” of the present danger;  then that administration does not deserve to govern.

Cycles of Distrust and Resort to Arms.

We see after “9/11”; the same political and security mechanisms made all the more difficult; because “Islamic Fascism” is even more vague and undefined than “International Communism”; and does not have a specific “home state”; as the Soviet Union or China had for Communism.

There are basically two types of activities; which people can take to modify; such cycles of distrust and resort to arms.

The first is the role of “kibitzer” — the person; who is on the sideline in a game of cards; who says after each hand

“I would not have played the Ace of Hearts then.”

Likewise we can say :

“If I were in the place of President Bush; I would not have gone into Afghanistan, much less Iraq.”

A good deal of world citizen energy; has gone into efforts to convince governments that nuclear weapons; nuclear-weapons testing; and keeping nuclear weapons on “hair-trigger alert” is unwise.

It is likely that had there not been the anti-nuclear efforts starting in 1945; when as Albert Einstein said 

“The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking; and thus we drift toward unparalleled catastrophe”.

Governments would have continued to develop and test nuclear weapons; driven by only technical and strategic considerations.

Photograph by Orren Jack Turner, Princeton, N.J. Modified with Photoshop by PM_Poon and later by Dantadd., Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and Community-Based Moral Voices.

Much of the drive for arms control and disarmament has come from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and from community-based moral voices; such as that of Martin Luther King, Jr who said :

“I do not minimize the complexity of the problems; that need to be faced in achieving disarmament and peace. But I am convinced that we shall not have the will, the courage; and the insight to deal with such matters unless in this field; we are prepared to undergo a mental and spiritual re-evaluation; a change of focus which will enable us to see that the things that seem most real and powerful are indeed now unreal; and have come under sentence of death.

It is not enough to say ‘We must not wage war!’; It is necessary to love peace and sacrifice for it. We must concentrate not merely on the eradication of war; but on the affirmation of peace.”

Martin Luther King, picture: Colors by Emijrp, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The value of being a “kibitzer” at the United Nations through non-governmental organizations in consultative status with the UN; is that one can give advice to a host of governments. Out of the 192 UN members; some governments will be interested and take up ideas which; later may be found in resolutions.

NGO representatives cannot claim “ownership” of the ideas; but the constant repetition of basic ideas of conflict resolution, human rights, and a fairer economic system; keep these ideals in front of decision makers.

Citizen Diplomat.

Another approach is the role of “citizen diplomat”. As Douglas Mattern notes:

Citizen diplomacy is an idea whose time has come. With modern technology; individuals and organizations from diverse parts of the globe; can have instant communication through the Internet, telephones, and fax machines.

The marvel of telecommunications; along with the relative ease and speed of travel; provide the capability for joint activity among people that was not previously possible.”

Mattern tells of his experiences as a citizen diplomat in the Soviet Union; on “Citizen Diplomacy Volga Peace Cruise” — trips starting in 1983; organized by Alice and Howard Frazier of Promoting Enduring Peace.

During the eleven hundred mile trip on the Volga with stops at major cities along the way; there were workshops and exchanges of views and perceptions. Later in 1986; there was a return trip down the Mississippi; during which thousands of Americans came to greet the Russians on the Delta Queen steamboat; and to extend their own message of peace and friendship.

The multiplication of such examples of citizen diplomacy; helped to break down the walls which the Cold War had created; both physical and mental walls. Mattern sets out the basic aims of citizen diplomacy:

“ Our unyielding task is to build a world community that respects law and justice, the sharing of resources, and the creation of a new civilization based on respect for life, respect for the environment, and respect for each other.”

Rene Wadlow; President, Association of World Citizens.

Here are other publications that may be of interest to you.

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Diplomacy Appeals

Track Two Diplomacy and Beauty as a Bridge.

Photo by  Anfaenger in Pixabay 

By Rene Wadlow.

Only the bridge of Beauty will be strong enough for crossing 
from the bank of darkness to the side of light. 
Nicolas Roerich (1874 – 1947)

There is a growing interest in the role of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) at the United Nations and the U.N.’s Specialized Agencies such as UNESCO. Through time and persistent effort, NGO representatives have developed a structured role for themselves in such fields as human rights, ecology, and humanitarian relief.

The role of the NGO representative is to influence policies through participation in the entire policy-making process from the initial raising of an issue or proposal through the final voted resolution and the start of the application. What distinguishes the NGO representative’s role at the U.N. from lobbying at the national level is that one may appeal to and discuss with the representatives of many different governments. While some government representatives may be unwilling to consider the ideas of anyone other than the mandate that they receive from the Foreign Ministry, others are more open. Out of the more than 100 States usually present at most U.N. meetings, the NGO representative will find some who share a common policy outlook or who are seeking additional information on which to take a decision. These non-governmental efforts are increasingly called “Track Two diplomacy.”

Track One diplomacy is official government negotiations with their backup resources of research and intelligence agencies’ resources. Many governments also have news or information services who present the government’s views and usually analyze the foreign press and media. Many governments also have cultural bodies to present national cultures and are often in touch with cultural workers in other countries.

Track Two efforts are becoming increasingly important in world politics.

Track Two diplomacy is citizen-based efforts through research, dialogue, mediation, and collaborative relations. No non-governmental organization has the resources of a government. Thus NGOs must often work together in trans-frontier alliances. However, Track Two efforts are becoming increasingly important in world politics for two reasons. First, increasingly armed conflicts exist between a government and one or more armed movements as we see in Yemen, the Kurds in Syria or with the ethnic minorities in Myanmar. Governments are often reluctant to negotiate openly with armed groups fearing to give them legitimacy or fearing to encourage other such armed movements. Yet a peace agreement requires discussions with such groups. Talks can be carried on in unofficial ways which governments can deny later if needs be. (1)

The second area is illustrated by the UNESCO-led International Decade for the Rapprochement of Cultures (2013-2022) in which the Association of World Citizens has been active. Culture is usually broader and more diverse than that promoted by national cultural agencies such as the Confucius Institutes closely related to the Chinese government’s views on which elements of Chinese culture should be stressed. We can also recall the 1950s-McCarthy period in the U.S.A. when “subversive books” were to be taken out of the libraries of the U.S. cultural centers abroad.

Concept of Beauty.

Thus the need for a broad concept of beauty. Beauty can bring out in the individual sentiments of awe, of compassion, of the spiritual in life. One such example was the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra led by Daniel Barenboim with musicians from Israel, Egypt, Palestine, Syria and Spain – Spain in honor of the creative co-existence of Christian, Islamic and Jewish culture at one stage of Spain’s history.

Music, dance and painting are wordless and thus can touch a part of human consciousness that can be blocked by words. While the bridge of beauty does not overcome political divisions in the short run, beauty can open dimensions of the person not reached by economic gain or political calculations.

 

Note.

1) see P. Willets (Ed). The Conscience of the World. The Influence of Non-Governmental Organizations in the UN System (London: Hurst, 1996)
W.E. De Mars. NGOs and Transnational Networks (London: Pluto Press, 2005).

Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

 

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