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What Next?

Coen Van Wyk

Posted on March 11, 2022 08:58

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Attempts at international peace, and at avoiding war have been a constant recurring feature in Europe, and since World War 2 a global movement. This history is one of stops and starts, of lofty ideals that get overtaken by events, become outdated and ossified. 'Clever' statesmen find ways around rules while proxy wars, police actions, and military operations resume. And the people suffer and die.

As the pandemic fades, social contracts worldwide begin to crumble. People, desperate for leadership, seek strong men to lead them. Fascism proliferates and with it oligarchic controls of economies. The Ukrainian war is but the latest episode of a growing series of wars that are now beginning to threaten the basis of the global social contract. 

The Thirty Years War and the Eighty Years War in Europe, product of the disruptions of the Black Death, ended in 1648 with the Treaties of Westphali, between the then powers of Europe. Hailed as a first step towards universal peace, these laid down the principles of modern international relations. Westphalian sovereignty guaranteed to states, then almost all monarchies, territorial integrity, and religious freedom. It relied on independent states refraining from interference in each other's domestic affairs and trusted in a balance of power to limit ambitions and military adventures.

Wars were, however, not abolished. The French Revolution brought new democratic ideals to fruition with the Napoleonic wars, which overrode previous political systems and structures. Ambassadors for the powers of Europe met in Vienna from 1814 to 1815 to provide a long-term peace plan, settle problems, and restore the balance of power. Secret treaties between many participants led to proxy wars fought by rebel groups funded and fomented by powers hampered in their desire to wage open warfare. 

Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany in 1914 openly defied the established order, claiming historic rights to 'a place in the sun for Germanic peoples' and triggered the First World War. In the aftermath, the League of Nations was formed in an attempt to rein in Germany and other powers that might aspire to world domination, but this system failed to prevent racist, nationalist ideals from triggering the Second World War, bringing the world to the brink of a nuclear holocaust. 

In 1945 representatives of 'we, the peoples of these United Nations' drafted a Charter in San Francisco aimed at preventing wars. It was soon tested, and since then, many loopholes have been found around ossified bureaucracies, vested interests, inconvenient rules.

Today war threatens anew, raising, once again, the specter of nuclear destruction. Once again, ideological justifications of racial history emerge to whitewash Russian, Israeli, Chinese, and other oppressive regimes. Environmental crises increase. Economic influences distort political structures and subvert democracy. 

We have a unique opportunity to set the agenda for the next Peace Conference. My proposals: An end to economic politics and an enforceable standard of elections. Debts incurred by leaders without internationally accepted democratic mandates should be declared odious. Any personal designation based on any concept other than humanity should be without value - male, female, LBGTXYZ, race, religion. Any people feeling oppressed should have the right to a referendum on political affiliation. International legal access to aggrieved people should be accessible. Environmental uses should take precedence over ideology.

Young people lie flat these days instead of building the new world instead of preventing genocide, holocaust, holodomor, or environmental catastrophe. Speak up!

Coen Van Wyk

Posted on March 11, 2022 08:58

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Source: HuffPost
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The latest bombings possibly indicate a new direction in the war.

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