African Conflict & Sustainable Development

 

The following is taken from Center for Strategic & International Studies
Document
A Report of the CSIS Program on
Crisis, Conflict, and Cooperation
October 2014

Africa is the continent with the highest concentration of countries that are affected by violence and conflict and that appear regularly on lists of fragile states. CSIS senior fellow Robert D. Lamb sat down with Africa Program deputy director Richard Downie to talk about the conflicts and crises Africa is likely to face in the future and how the United States has positioned itself to deal with those challenges.

In Angola, the United States played an unhelpful role in prolonging the civil war through its continued support for U.N.I.T.A. [the National Union for the Total  Independence of Angola]. But elsewhere, it’s played a constructive diplomatic role, helping negotiate an end to conflicts in South Africa, Namibia, and Mozambique. This region—Zimbabwe aside—has for the past two decades been by far the most stable region of Africa.

China’s influence in Africa has been a net positive, actually, providing Africans with much-needed infrastructure and increased opportunities for trade and investment. At the same time, China’s avowed policy of noninterference in domestic politics has meant it’s been willing to do business with some of the continent’s most corrupt, authoritarian regimes, such as those in Sudan, Angola, and Zimbabwe. This has been a boon for incumbent autocrats. But it’s hard to make the case that China has directly fueled conflict and extremism in Africa. It shares with the United States an interest in peace and stability, and conflict threatens its business interests, in places like South Sudan, for instance. As its ties in Africa get deeper, China’s doctrine of noninterference is going to come under more strain.

China does limit U.S. influence in Africa although not to the extent commonly portrayed in the media mainly by offering itself as an alternative suitor to African governments who have no interest in heeding U.S. advice on promoting democracy and good governance.

There are two big, intractable problems that have implications for security in the region. The first is poor governance, which continues to blight a number of [African] countries. Indeed, that number has increased in recent years, reversing some of the positive progress made in the 1990s and early 2000s. One particular manifestation of this problem is leaders who remove constitutional term limits. By altering, or threatening to alter, constitutions in order to stay in office, leaders like Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and Blaise Compaoré of Burkina Faso undermine their nations’ institutions and run the risk that opposition to their incumbency will take on increasingly desperate, even violent, forms.

The second big problem is the lack of viable African security institutions to respond to conflict in a timely, professional manner. The continent currently lacks political leaders with the skill and vision to take ownership of the issue and produce models for a homegrown and financially sustainable African security architecture.

In July 2014, former UK foreign secretary William Hague described a turbulent global landscape as one not simply experiencing a series of regular disruptions; instead, he suggested that the world was suffering from “systemic disorder.” In a similar vein, former U.S. national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski characterized the environment as “historically unprecedented in the sense that simultaneously, huge swaths of global territory are dominated by populist unrest, anger, loss of state control.

Indeed, every day seems to bring news of emerging crises and deeper chaos, with few signs the world’s troubles are abating. China’s assertive posture in Asia has the neighbors scrambling to bolster their armed forces, reinforce territorial claims, and buttress relations with the United States. Russia’s confrontation with Ukraine and NATO holds the prospects of conflict in Europe. A worsening in one or both of these regions could herald a new economic downturn worldwide.Beginning in North Africa in late 2010, the Arab Spring offered the promise of economic opportunity, justice, and self rule. But four years later, the region has more often witnessed despair, economic paralysis, and violence. The players include countless militias, insurgents, terrorists, government security services, and political factions all contesting control of territory, populations, and resources. The integrity of Libya, Syria, and Iraq are in serious jeopardy at the same time insurgent groups like ISIS are surging in influence and capability and in some places governing as a state.

At the heart of this turmoil are two distinct but related phenomena. States are less able or willing to exercise power and authority over their people, territory, and (shrinking) resources, while actors at the sub state level are simultaneously wielding greater capabilities than ever before. This is not a new state of affairs, but the trend has worsened sharply over the past year. Incompetent or corrupt regimes are failing to provide basic services and opportunity to their populations. Filling that void are ethnic- or sectarian based groups and sophisticated criminal gangs that are not only supplanting traditional government roles but challenging states on the battle field. The ongoing confrontation between ISIS and several powerful nations bears witness to this reality.

Caught in the middle are millions of citizens with scant economic opportunities, security, and little control over their own lives. With their own governments often at fault, many people look to alternative sources of authority and service provision. Violent extremist groups offer a respite for those seeking relief, along with a promise of empowerment and even revenge very appealing choices for many individuals in this environment, given their lack of other options.

Despite the strong desire by many to avoid these cofounding problems, there is little doubt that the United States will remain deeply engaged in finding solutions. The prospects for continued violence, radicalization, and global “systemic disorder” appear to be very strong, and the United States and its partners must prepare themselves for a rough ride ahead.

At the end of the Cold War, humanitarian assistance by civilian aid workers to alleviate suffering evolved into “humanitarian intervention.” This dramatic shift in conflict from interstate wars, which declined during the last decade of the twentieth century, to intrastate conflicts arising from weak and fragile states tested the capacity of both civilian and military agencies to find appropriate responses to the dual crises of human suffering and bad governance.

Urban growth was rapid over the course of the twentieth century, and it will continue to advance quickly over the next 20 years. The overall world population reached 7.3 billion people in 2014 and is projected to exceed 8.3 billion by 2030. Notwithstanding its scale, this rate of population growth will not match the projected scale of urban growth over the same period: urban populations will grow from 3.8 billion in 2014 to more than 5 billion in 2030. Most of this growth will occur in Asia and Africa.

Every year, millions of men, women, and children relocate to periurban spaces. The newly urbanized commonly find themselves forced to live in the most insecure spaces, such as along the edges of ravines, on flood prone streambeds, on unstable slopes, or in slums and shantytowns so densely populated that they become marked with ignominious titles such as Lagos’s “Face Me, I Face You” complexes. The speed and nonuniformity of this migration overwhelms existing urban infrastructure and service provision capacities, generating interrelated negative social, health, and economic externalities. The severity of this insecurity is nowhere more apparent than for the 930 million inhabitants in developing countries, specifically in sub-Saharan Africa, who live in a slum.

Organized crime and the potential for violence from terrorist or insurgent networks pose a further challenge to human security in quickly urbanizing environments. Problems found in mega cities economic disparity and high unemployment make them a prime breeding ground for violent non state actors. Many fear the sheer size of these cities will allow criminal groups to flourish undetected by local government or legal authorities. The absence of rule of law and basic services has the potential to provide safe haven to organized criminals, insurgents, and other violent non state actors.

Transnational criminal organizations corrupt and intimidate governments and facilitate illicit trafficking, which makes them one of the more pernicious non state actors. UNODC emphasizes in its 2013 West African Threat Assessment that underserved communities particularly those in border areas can profit from the flow of contraband, “leading them further and further from the reach of the state.”

Livelihoods that benefit from governance vacuums are unsustainable but usually preferable to poverty. Those involved in illicit trade are willing to defend themselves violently when their livelihoods are threatened whether by the state or by rivals. To make matters worse, wealth accrued through illicit trafficking is often sufficient to buy cooperation from high levels of government, meaning corruption is both enabled by and an enabler of organized crime.

Many countries in sub-Saharan Africa are still experiencing a new kind of threat as stateless armies of criminal actors threaten the peace and security of many countries. In 2014, we still face the problem of accepting how long it takes to build strong institutions, grow civil society, and restore economic growth. Foreign assistance budgets are developed in five year bundles, yet reality tells us that state building is a 20 year task at a minimum. A generation is usually needed to see the results of stabilization and institution building, yet the high level of demand for the immediate resolution of conflict, often characterized by impatience and quick fixes, checking a box on a “to-do” list, fails to create a genuine understanding of how any short-term development interventions support a path to national development and a return to stable governance.

The rapid changes and instability emergent today require a comprehensive and effective response that brings people together to resolve differences peacefully and strengthens their ability to better overcome future potential conflict or strife.

I would like to focus here in conclusion, on two sub- Saharan African countries  that have overcome some  challenges and made some progress towards a modern democratic civil society. South Africa & Zimbabwe have enormous natural resources some of which contribute to their GDP and also a revenue stream for the government which can be further strengthened with bilateral trade agreements with their trading partners. Both countries share a common history in that they have had precolonization and colonization and are now in the third stage of their history which is post colonization.

The countries share a border and there is a certain amount of commonality with the challenges that they face moving into the Twenty First Century. South Africa & Zimbabwe are both part of the South African Development Community and the African Union. Ideally for progress to happen and for them to reach their full potential, truth, trust and transparency in government are paramount. Sustainable development that is part of a transformative state requires a collaborative and consultative approach with all of the stakeholders. There are many real challenges ahead, some of which were addressed in the Millennium Development Goals. The Sustainable Development Goals have continued the MDGs and also focus on future remaining challenges.

Governments can to be proactive regarding matters such as health, education, employment, infrastructure, gender equality, food security, population growth, structural reforms(whether they are regulatory, or institutional, or political, or fiscal, or social) and climate change, which will benefit the current citizens and future generations. It also is the duty and responsibility of foreign governments to work with these two countries to establish mutually beneficial relationships that benefit the citizens.

The proactive approach that government needs to address with structural reform is highlighted by a 2012 report by KPMG (http://www.kpmg.com/Africa/en/IssuesAndInsights/Articles-Publications/Press-Releases/Documents/Africa%20Fraud%20Barometer%20June%202012.pdf ) where it claims ” Nigeria, Kenya, Zimbabwe and South Africa make up 74 percent of all fraud cases reported in Africa. While fewer cases are reported in South Africa, the overall value of these cases is far greater in Nigeria”.

The writer welcomes and feedback and or ideas regarding the subject and appreciates the work that C.S.I.S. carries out and the contribution that is makes globally.

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China & TheTwenty First Century

China 2015 White Paper Beijing issued its first white paper on military strategy, ushering in greater military transparency by giving details of the direction of its military buildup to other nations. The document of about 9,000 Chinese characters revealed a list of new expressions that have never before appeared in Chinese white papers.

In the preface it reaffirmed China’s adherence to peaceful development and its “active defense” military strategy. It interpreted the policy as “We will not attack unless we are attacked, but we will surely counterattack if attacked”. “China will never seek hegemony or expansion,” it added.

On China’s security environment, it mentioned increasing security challenges brought by certain countries, citing the growing US military presence in Asia and Japan’s major adjustment in its security policies.

For the first time, the paper noted that “some offshore neighbors take provocative actions and reinforce their military presence on China’s reefs and islands that they have illegally occupied”. “It is thus a long-standing task for China to safeguard its maritime rights and interests.”

Vietnam and the Philippines have kept building on some of China’s islands in the South China Sea. Accordingly, the paper said the navy of the People’s Liberation Army will “gradually shift its focus from ‘offshore waters defense’ to a combination of ‘offshore waters defense’ and ‘open seas protection'”.

China Military

China’s air force will soon commission the J-10B fighter jet, the most advanced military aircraft the country has ever developed on its own.

[Photo provided to China Daily]

It also mentioned an adjustment in preparations for military struggle. Following the guideline set in 2004 in order to win “informationized local wars”, the new expression highlighted maritime military struggle.

Regarding outer space, the paper reaffirmed China’s opposition to the weaponization of outer space and its disapproval of an arms race in outer space.

As for cyber space, it said “China will expedite the development of a cyber force” and enhance its capabilities in cyber situation awareness and cyber defense.

The paper also noted that as Chinese national interests stretch further abroad, it will “strengthen international security cooperation in areas crucially related to China’s overseas interests”.

It said the PLA will engage in extensive regional and international security affairs, and promote the establishment of the mechanisms of emergency notification, military risk precaution, crisis management and conflict control.

The paper highlighted future cooperation with Russian armed forces, saying the PLA will foster a comprehensive, diverse and sustainable framework to promote military relations.

On cooperation with the US, China intends to build a “new model of military relationships” that conforms to the two nations’ new model of major-country relations.

It will strengthen defense dialogues, exchanges and cooperation with the US military, and improve the mechanism for the notification of major military activities as well as the rule of behavior for safety of air and maritime encounters.

Zhao Weibin, a researcher on China-US military relations with the PLA Academy of Military Sciences, said though the paper named the US, Japan and some neighbors which pose security challenges, it is not written to counter them.

“In this chapter on the security environment, we just objectively assessed China’s situation.”

Wen Bing, a researcher on defense policies with the academy, said China has become one of the few countries that have published white papers to clarify military strategy. According to him, the US, Russia and Britain have issued similar reports.

“That is indeed a big step in China’s military transparency.”

Wen suggested the readers of the report examine every word of it, as “there are so many new expressions and ideas, through which you can better understand today’s PLA.”

Further to this white paper, The General Political Department of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has compiled Chinese President Xi Jinping’s speeches and writings on national defense for release in the military system.

The book, compiled and released under the approval of the Central Military Commission, includes major strategic thinkings, theories and policies reflected in 36 key articles by Xi between Dec. 2012 and March 2015.

The PLA General Political Department urged soldiers and officers to study the book to improve the army, with guided sessions to explain key theories and deepen the reader’s understanding.

China said on Wednesday that it was deeply shocked and dissatisfied with the Philippine president’s remarks likening China to Nazi Germany, warning Manila to stop provoking Beijing on the South China Sea issue.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said that the Philippines has tried to occupy Chinese islands for decades and has kept “colluding with countries outside the region to stir up trouble and sling mud at China”.

“I once more seriously warn certain people in the Philippines to cast aside their illusions and repent, stop provocations and instigations, and return to the correct path of using bilateral channels to talk and resolve this dispute,” she said.

During a speech in Japan on Wednesday, Philippine President Benigno Aquino compared China’s actions to Nazi Germany’s territorial expansion before the outbreak of World War II.

Tensions have risen recently as the Philippines, as well as the United States and Japan — two nations that are not directly involved in the issue — repeatedly criticize China over its construction on some of its islands in the South China Sea.

China has said its projects mainly aim to provide a civilian service that will benefit other countries.

US President Barack Obama conceded on Monday that “it may be that some of their (China’s) claims are legitimate”, but he urged China to stop construction on the islands. The US has sent reconnaissance planes over Chinese islands with reporters on board.

Chinese Ambassador to the US Cui Tiankai told The Wall Street Journal it was “very surprising to us that the US has overreacted to the situation and is escalating the situation.”

He said China is more concerned than anybody about the safety and freedom of navigation in the region, given China’s huge trade volume going through the South China Sea.

“If somebody wants to see escalation of tension, then that could be used as an excuse for advancing their military deployment, for setting up Cold War-type alliances and for setting up new missile defense systems,” he said.

During Aquino’s visit, Tokyo and Manila are likely to agree to start talks on a framework for the transfer of defense equipment and technology. Japan last year eased restrictions on arms exports set after World War II.

“As a major victim of Japan during the war, it is really cynical for the Philippines to unite with Japan and link China to Nazi Germany,” said Chen Qinghong, a Southeast Asian studies researcher at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations.

“Manila wants Tokyo to help press Beijing on the South China Sea issue. And Japan — which is under great international pressure for its attitude on history as the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II approaches in August — seeks to transfer the regional focus.”

In previous posts I have written about understanding China and the rise of the Red Dragon in this “The Asian Century”. I wonder how may of us in the West truly independently understand the complexities of this state and the global challenges we will face during the 21st Century as our global power structure transitions.

The Asian Century (Part Two)

Red Dragon Rising

  China 1 China 3

Prior to trying to formulate an informed opinion on China’s role in the first half of the 21st Century, a brief review of the make up of the current leadership of the P.R.C. related to global strategic defence, specifically the South China Seas region would assist the reader. The P.R.C. President and Premier are Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang. Their roles are head of state and head of government and the leadership is commonly referred to as the Xi Li team. The Minister for Defence is Chang Wanquan. These three men will be responsible for the continued global positioning of the P.R.C. during Q1 of the 21st Century.

China B

Xi Jinping is one of the three wise men (Mao & Deng are the other two) and he is focused upon positioning China for Q2 of the 21st Century with domestic and international foundations that have been constructed or are being constructed by China. With his quasi-Maoist values he is changing China. He has gained more power than his predecessors with a strong power base in the P.L.A. He is the key figure of the Fifth-Generation leadership in this renaissance period or golden age of the P.R.C.

Xi is changing the growth mode and improving quality and efficiency at the center, the economy will be driven by consumption, investment and exports instead of only by investment and exports. China will shift from relying on secondary industries alone to reliance on the primary, secondary and tertiary industries, turning away from resource consumption and toward technological progress through innovation. With the 13th five year plan (2016 – 2020) Xi is driving the industrialisation, informatisation, urbanisation and agricultural modernisation. The weakest link is agriculture which Xi is transforming agricultural development with agricultural technology innovation.

China C

Li Keqiang is the driving force behind China’s positive efforts to promote political reforms such as decentralization of government and the positioning of government to be efficient and streamlined to meet the needs during this transitional phase stage two of China’s global dominance, stage one being the one that Deng Xiaoping implemented. China’s economic development is now in the transitional period from export driven to domestic demand and makes up the other component of the Li leadership, and that is of development.

China D

Chang Wanquan was born 1949 in Nanyang City, Henan Province,
home of ancient strategist, Zhuge Liang. Rise to power possible from President Hu Jintao (2003-2013) and anit-terrorism background. Writings and speeches demonstrate support for President Hu’s “scientific development” effort, Confucian in nature, and a heavy emphasis on training. Partly due to his leadership background in military technology, including the manned space program, Chang has been a strong advocate of rapid modernization in PLA military equipment and of the integration of a combined operations supreme command, with an emphasis on better operational coordination among the army, navy, land forces, and missile forces in warfare.

Chang has had direct influence in the continued pursuit of China’s space programe via the Second Artillery Corps which is the strategic ballistic missile force of the PLA, and it maintains China’s nuclear arsenal. The ultimate end goal is to move away from the S.A.C. control of the space progame, have an independent organization that will still have a collaborative role with the military. Hainan Island (space programe and a Deep Blue for the Navy and physical location of GhostNet) is a critical geographical location for both military and space operations.

Whilst a single decision-maker does not decide upon military strategies, policies, and weapons development, Chang is part of the apex in the decision making process. Chang is diverse in his roles and is involved in various military and space related activities. He was the commander of the manned space mission named Shenzhou VII. Chang advocates certain strategies such as the importance of Shih in Chinese military strategy. “Instead of using military force to subjugate another society or to defeat an enemy’s army, Shih operates to convince an opponent to yield without battle.

Whilst Chang is Minister for defence and the P.R.C. military strength is increasing along with a space programe, Chinese preference for psychological warfare over weaponry and firepower, victory without fighting, nonviolent stratagems, and deception still exists in the 21st Century. China’s ancient and modern history has demonstrations of great violence; however, Chinese rhetoric today promotes peace in the world and a defensive posture. Chang has made statements that whilst pursuing peace the P.R.C. will defend it’s assets with force.
Chang’s birthplace Henan Province is historically significant because it is the “cradle” of Chinese civilization due to its proximity to the Yellow River.However, maybe more importantly, many in Nanyang City consider it the home to the greatest military strategist and public official during the Three Kingdoms Period, Zhuge Liang (181-234 AD). Zhuge Liang often quoted Confucius and reflected an undercurrent of Taoist thought in his attitudes toward life and work, and stressed the importance of military preparedness, training, and the need for strong allies as consultants.

Chang joined the P.L.A. in 1968 and has risen through the ranks with various roles such as and not limited to: Chief-of-Staff of the 140th Division, 47th Field Army, Division Commander of the 61st Division of the 21st Group Army, Director of the General Armament Department, Director of the Campaign Teaching and Research Office at the National Defense University. Chang’s credentials are not technical; instead, he is a trainer. His role is likely not the technical management of the latest weapon systems in the PLA arsenal, but instead, is to make the P.L.A. qualified to operate in an “informationalized” environment with high-technology equipment.

Chang’s rhetoric often is close to that of Zhuge. In his published article “Ancient Thought of Military Management in China and Its Inspiration” is said to be a work designed to revitalize Confucian teachings and thinking. Chang understands why the P.R.C. has used force against its neighbors at least 12 times since 1949 and why in 1950, Mao committed his people to fight the United States, not because of any threat to China’s survival but to resist U.S. expansion on China’s periphery. China’s culture developed its own world order and attitudes toward warfare over nearly three millennia and through its history of survival, evolution, domestic conflicts, and defenses against foreign aggressions, China’s distinctive culture has shaped and limited strategic choices and profoundly influenced China’s interactions with other states.

Chang may not fully understand the complex nature of China’s strategic rival, the U.S.A. but he has much to draw upon to drive the military and space programes, and protect the P.R.C. through the 21st Century. He is a vital part of the P.R.C. triangle, Xi – Li – Chang.

China’s long history has seen evidence of both a defensive and offensive culture. Additionally, the writings of Sun Tzu and others offer a method of statecraft that is secretive and deceptive.
Many analysts do not understand the motivations, priorities, and perspectives of Chinese decision-makers, especially regarding China’s space programe. The programe has a duality – it is for defence as much as it is for economics.

China’s strategic culture has converged around Tao three additional
important ideas that emerged from prehistoric Confucian thought and belief:
Shih, Hsing, and Li. Any analysis of China’s strategic culture and uses of force must begin with an understanding of these four faces of Chinese
Shih-strategy. The defining theme in Sun Tzu’s The Art of Warfare, the essence of Shih was the dynamic power that emerged in the combination of men’s hearts, military weapons, and natural conditions.

Shih-strategy, which converged Shih along three broad dimensions of warfare: the people, the context, and the enemy. Shih-strategy concentrated the power of the people in the soldiers and their weapons. The power of context appeared in opportunity, timing, and logistics. The enemy’s power lay in the relative skill, competence, and will of the opposing force.

Hsing as a military term is described as the deployment and employment of forces. Hsing is explicitly the tangible, visible, and determinate shape of physical strength and Hsing is static.

Li refers to self-interest or material gain and carries a definite priority for the present. arising from materialistic thought and theory, Li-strategy does not recognize intangible human factors as important elements of power. Instead it focuses on visible, material assets and enemy forces

Sun Tzu’s famous metaphor is a strategic message that the method of draining the water was more important than the amount of water behind the dam.

The Asian Century ( Part One)

th 1

The Asian Century

EXORDIA

The most prudent way of looking at the future of the human race is to look back at our history. The fiscal year is divided by quarters and this is how the last century will be divided for historical purposes and for this brief review of where we have been, where we are at and where we are going as a global village in the 21st Century. The 20th Century began with some issues that were left over from the previous century and had influence upon the political tensions within Europe. The world population was approximately 1.6 billion in 1900 and would almost double in sixty years (just over three billion in 1960) and would double again in fifty years (over six billion in 2010).

Over thousands of years the human race has been involved in conflict and it is but human nature to create or to destroy. One of the most appropriate people to quote here is Thomas Hobbes who states – The condition of man… is a condition of war of everyone against everyone. And so one must understand the human condition being one that is best explained as the welfare of man is in a state of eternal conflict. It would be advisable for the reader to give serious consideration to reading the following works.
The Social Contract – (Du contrat social ou Principes du droit politique; 1762) written by Jean Jacques Rousseau and Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan (1651) to obtain insight into this century.

The reader will be influenced by specific data that is external to this information. To endeavour to formulate an independent unbiased and informed opinion on the 21st Century, merely look at the facts that have been presented.

20th Century Conflict

The last century had four quarters of conflict and is known as one hundred years of war. The First World War was in Q1 and the Second World War in Q2. The third quarter (Q3) was the Korean War and then the Vietnam War and finally in Q4 the world experienced The Gulf War. Below is a more detailed account of our human history and war in the 20th Century.
1898-1901 Boxer Rebellion
1899-1902 Boer War
1904-1905 Russo-Japanese War
1910-1920 Mexican Revolution
1912-1913 First and Second Balkan Wars
1914-1918 World War I
1915-1918 Armenian Genocide
1917 Russian Revolution
1918-1921 Russian Civil War
1919-1921 Irish War of Independence
1927-1937 Chinese Civil War
1933-1945 Holocaust
1935-1936 Second Italo-Abyssinian War (also known as the Second Italo-Ethiopian War or the Abyssinian War)
1936-1939 Spanish Civil War
1939-1945 World War II
1945-1990 Cold War
1946-1949 Chinese Civil War resumes
1946-1954 First Indochina War (also known as the French Indochina War)
1948 Israel War of Independence (also known as the Arab-Israeli War)
1950-1953 Korean War
1954-1962 French-Algerian War
1955-1972 First Sudanese Civil War
1956 Suez Crisis
1959 Cuban Revolution
1959-1973 Vietnam War
1967 Six-Day War
1979-1989 Soviet-Afghan War
1980-1988 Iran-Iraq War
1990-1991 Persian Gulf War
1991-1995 Third Balkan War
1994 Rwandan Genocide

21st Century

The current world population is just over 7.3 billion and there are various implications that are associated with this figure. The world population has never doubled in such a short period – (1960 – 3 billion to 2010 – 6.75 billion) and there are environmental, social, economic and political consequences from the increasing global population. There are two ways that an individual will react to threat, fight or flight and humans embrace gradual change with comfort and immediate change with discomfort. The current world dynamics are very complex and complicated with no easy quick fix solution to the challenges that we face during this century. It would be naive for the reader to assume that the human race will find peace and love this century.

There are three sources of global tension which are economic, political and religious. The economic tensions could be as simple as internal sovereign debt related issues, unemployment, lack of natural resources or as complex as climate change or the percentage of debt to gross domestic product and the servicing of that debt. The political tension could be due to lack of resources, climate change or one of various other economic related issues. The religious tension between groups such as Jews, Muslims, Christians or Muslims and even Muslims amongst themselves
(Sunni, Shia or Alawite Muslims) creates challenges that effect both regional and global stability.

Global conflict is surrounded by certain factors such as and no limited to extreme weather events; failure of national governance; state collapse or crisis; unemployment or underemployment; natural catastrophes; failure of climate change adaptation; water crises; data fraud or theft; and cyber-attacks. Other factors to consider when evaluating possible conflict are the following – water crises; the spread of infectious diseases; weapons of mass destruction; interstate conflict; failure of climate-change adaptation; energy price shocks; a breakdown in critical information infrastructure; fiscal crises; unemployment or underemployment; and biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse.
Along with foreign policy mistakes the USA has made other mistakes since the end of the Cold War such as underestimating China.
There are several reasons why the East China and South China Seas are of concern to the West and the East. The ongoing tensions between China, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, United States and Vietnam has political and economic challenges that requires a solution.
China has been drilling for oil and gas for several years in an area of sea with known reserves (the newly discovered gas field, dubbed Lingshui 17-2, is located 150 kilometers south of Hainan Island).
China’s rapidly growing interest in deepwater drilling represents a convergence of two of China’s major strategic interests: protecting its claims to much of the South China Sea and reducing China’s growing reliance on imported energy.

Another interesting aspect to the tension in the South China Seas is the progress that China has made with its space program on what is referred to as China’s Hawaii (Hainan Island). The space launch centre is completed and the fourth of such facilities. The island also has military capability with naval resources. China has stated that they expect to have a man on the moon by 2017 and Mars by 2021 both of which are possible achievements. China has been on the moon since 2013 (China’s Chang’e 3 moon lander and its Yutu rover touched down on the moon Saturday (Dec. 14) at about 8:11 a.m. EST (1311 GMT). It is the first soft-landing on the moon by any spacecraft in 37 years.

Currently the Helium 3 (3He) reserves on the moon are estimated to be 2469000 tons – http://www.lpi.usra.edu/meetings/lpsc2007/pdf/2175.pdf .
The current estimate is that one ton has a potential worth of 3 billion dollars. Approximately 25tons could power the USA for one year. Helium 3 could be used in future fusion power plants (currently we use fission power plants).

http://www.explainingthefuture.com/helium3.html

The current trajectory that the human race is on is one that has challenges that we have not experienced before, and whilst that can be argued regarding our history and that we have had great challenges before, these future challenges are most serious in complexity and in the outcome. This fist quarter of the twenty first century is merely one where the foundations are being laid in the transition between the West and the East. China could well be mining Helium 3 in the early part of Q2 of the 21st Century and positioning itself to be the dominant political and economic leader for the second half of the century.
The USA is most concerned about REE – Rare Earth Elements or rare earth metals and alloys that contain them are used in many devices that people use every day such as computer memory, DVDs, rechargeable batteries, cell phones, catalytic converters, magnets, fluorescent lighting and much more. During the past twenty years, there has been an explosion in demand for many items that require rare earth metals. Twenty years ago there were very few cell phones in use, but the number has risen to over 7 billion in use today. The use of rare earth elements in computers has grown almost as fast as cell phones.

Rare earth elements play an essential role in our national defense. The military uses night-vision goggles, precision-guided weapons, communications equipment, GPS equipment, batteries and other defense electronics. These give the United States military an enormous advantage. Rare earth metals are key ingredients for making the very hard alloys used in armored vehicles and projectiles that shatter upon impact. Substitutes can be used for rare earth elements in some defense applications; however, those substitutes are usually not as effective and that diminishes military superiority.

China began producing notable amounts of rare earth oxides in the early 1980s and became the world’s leading producer in the early 1990s. Through the 1990s and early 2000s, China steadily strengthened its hold on the world’s rare earth oxide market. They were selling rare earths at such low prices that the Mountain Pass Mine and many others throughout the world were unable to compete and stopped operation.

Chinese companies have been purchasing rare earth resources in other countries. In 2009 China Non-Ferrous Metal Mining Company bought a majority stake in Lynas Corporation, an Australian company that has one of the highest outputs of rare earth elements outside of China. They also purchased the Baluba Mine in Zambia. Mines in Australia began producing rare earth oxides in 2011. In 2012 and 2013 they were supplying about 2% to 3% of world production. In 2012, the Mountain Pass Mine came back into production and the United States produced about 4% of the world’s rare earth elements in 2013. India has been producing about 3% of the world’s supply for the past decade. Indonesia, Russia, Nigeria, North Korea, Malaysia, and Vietnam are minor producers.
If a single country controls almost all of the production and makes a firm decision not to export, then the entire supply of a commodity can be quickly cut off. That is a dangerous situation when new sources of supply take so long to develop. The demand for REE will remain as the middle class require consumer products that contain these elements. The global demand for automobiles, consumer electronics, energy-efficient lighting, and catalysts is expected to rise rapidly over the next decade. Rare earth magnet demand is expected to increase, as is the demand for rechargeable batteries. New developments in medical technology are expected to increase the use of surgical lasers, magnetic resonance imaging, and positron emission tomography scintillation detectors.

From the information presented regarding REE the reader can make the assumption that there will be economic pressure placed upon certain countries that could exacerbate tensions between the West & the East. Never before has the human race experienced the challenges that we are facing today that will remain throughout the rest of the 21st Century. China has had three men of great significance and we shall call them the three wise men. They are 1) Mao Zedong 2) Deng Xiaoping 3) Xi Jinping – and these three men are why China is what it is today. Mao set about creating foundations which Deng then built upon and where Xi is transforming China today and preparing it for tomorrow.
There are other men that have had an influence on China such as and not limited to the following – Qin Shi Huang (221-210 B.C.) – Kublai Khan (1279-1294) – Sun Yat-sen (1912) and two great tacticians and strategists – Zhuge Liang (181–234) and Sun Tzu (544–496 BC). The Republic of China began on January 1, 1912 and in 1949 Mao proclaimed the People’s Republic of China.

The reader can make their own conclusions about the future from this information.

Human History Horribilis

THE REVENGE OF GEOGRAPHY

WHAT THE MAP TELLS US ABOUT COMING CONFLICTS AND THE BATTLE AGAINST FATE

 

To quote Robert D. Kaplan “In order to understand today’s current events—religious conflict, war, and political instability—one need look no further than a map.”  Cartography is an interesting and most fascinating subject, especially if one wants to study history and can we understand more about our present world by studying maps. There are many different and diverse subjects that are related to maps such as, and not limited to the following: Toponymy, Hydronymy, Demonym, Ethnonym (polito-ethnonym and topo-ethnonym), Diaspora, Exonym, Endonym, Onomastics, Critical Cartography, Geoinformatics, Historical and Thematic Maps.

Here are several maps worth considering when looking at the current geopolitical tension and conflict in the Middle East.

UN_Palestine_Partition_Versions_1947

Mandate_for_Palestine_(legal_instrument).svg

640px-MPK1-426_Sykes_Picot_Agreement_Map_signed_8_May_1916

If one looks at the maps (ancient and modern) and this post will only briefly look at 2oth Century maps, one can obtain a clearer understanding of where we are at today regarding some of the conflict in the Middle East. The Chester Concession approved by the congress of the newly founded Republic of Turkey on April 10, 1923, allowed United States development of oil and railways. It was an award of the significant importance and marked the introduction of U.S. capital for the first time on a large scale into the Near East. The same type of agreement (Baghdad Railway) was a major cause of the anxiety which led the Ottoman Empire to World War IGermany had obtained concessions from Ottoman Empire which allowed German companies to construct railways. (Wikipedia)

OttomanEmpireIn1683

The Ottoman Empire at its greatest extent, in 1683

Some view the Twentieth Century as ‘One Hundred Years of War’ and the first quarter of that century was riddled with conflict that saw changes and a shift in the balance of power. One poses the question here are there any parallels here between the first quarter of last century and the Twenty First Century. Whatever the answer to the question may just be found in our history and if history can teach us anything, may it be the wisdom to not make the same mistakes again this century.

The last Caliphate was The Ottoman Caliphate which ended with the abolition when the National Assembly that had been newly created and declared Turkey as a republic 1923 circa. After almost seven hundred years the empire ceased to exist and with this new government a sweeping set of changes occurred under Atatürk and one such reform was that the National Assembly abolished the Caliphate on March 3, 1924. The caliphate was the core leader concept of Sunni Islam, by the consensus of the Muslim majority in the early centuries.

There have been calls by groups such as the Mujahideen, al Qaeda, Muslim Brotherhood, Jemaah Islamiyah and now the newest call by what was ISIS and now has been altered in name to Islamic State, for a new Caliphate. To understand better this current situation in the Middle East, one has to have a better understanding of the differences between the current Shia-led Iraqi Government  ( eighteen provinces in Iraq) and the religious groups within the country and the sectarian violence between Iraq’s religious groups.

The Shia majority in Iraq have some groups that support the Assad regime in Syria, which many Sunni factions stand against and now there has been an galvanizing effect between the two countries with this newest stand by the Islamic State aka ISIS. The map below shows the June military situation with who controls what geographically.

Green-Syrian Opposition  Pink light-Syrian Government Pink dark - Iraqi Government Grey - ISIS Yellow dark - Syrian Kurds Yellow light - Iraqi Kurds

Green-Syrian Opposition
Pink light-Syrian Government
Pink dark – Iraqi Government
Grey – ISIS
Yellow dark – Syrian Kurds
Yellow light – Iraqi Kurds

 

The Hadith, or the translation and or reporting of the deeds and sayings of Muhammad is most controversial and includes Sharia Law. Sunni and Shia hadith collections differ because scholars from the two traditions differ as to the reliability of the narrators and transmitters. Narrators who took the side of Abu Bakr and Umar rather than Ali, in the disputes over leadership that followed the death of Muhammad, are seen as unreliable by the Shia; narrations sourced to Ali and the family of Muhammad, and to their supporters, are preferred. Sunni scholars put trust in narrators, such as Aisha, whom Shia reject. Differences in hadith collections have contributed to differences in worship practices and shari’a law and have hardened the dividing line between the two traditions. (Wikipedia)

So what we have is a most highly complex religion that has become polarised. Shia and Sunni beg to differ on religion. Now one can see where some of the conflict begins as one side claims that their belief is more in line with the Muslim faith. Okay so how did we get to where we are today in the Middle East where brother fights brother and state fights state. The Hadith – Muhammad al Bukhari (810-870 AD) travelled for eighteen years through various Islamic lands and then returned home to Bukhara where he wrote a consequential text (Sahih al-Bukhari) the central collection of Hadith, or “narratives” taken from the life and words of Muhammad.

Other Hadith have been written, but al-Bukhari’s is considered by Sunnis to be second in authority only to the Qur’an (Koran) and gives a guideline covering thousands of activities from birth to death. In the Qur’an (Koran)  the following is of concern regarding tensions in the Middle East because of the relationship between the Jewish State of Israel and the Muslim world. The Qur’an (Koran) is a 114-chapter recitation that Muslims believe God spoke through the Prophet.

In Chapter Five  of the  Qur’an (Koran) (Surah 5 – Al-Ma idah) Section Eight: Relations of Muslims with Their Enemies 51- O you who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians for your friends and protectors:* they are but friends and protectors to each other. And he amongst you that turns to them (for friendship) is of them. Verily God guides not a people unjust. The * note here states the following footnote: That is, look not to them for help and comfort. They are more likely to combine against you than to help you. And this happened more than once in the lifetime of the Prophet, and in after-ages again and again. He who associates with them and shares their counsels must be counted as of them. The trimmer loses whichever way the wheel of fortune turns.

There is much angst and multi-generational hatred and mistrust that still lingers between various sectarian groups. Between Sunni & Shia there is a complex battle which we are witnessing today in the Middle East. Now, if we are to also add to this the complexity of adding the state of Israel into the situation, it becomes even more complex. Without a doctorate in theology one is left a tad perplexed by the complexities of the various religious groups in the Middle East…Judaism, Alawite, Sunni, Shia for example. So what happened in the middle of last century at the end of the second World War, and did the action have a reaction creating the messy situation today?

At the end of WWII the Middle East was divided into specific sovereign territories. At the end of the Second World War, the region’s states finally obtained independence. But the creation of the State of Israel and the failure of attempts to create Arab unity left the Middle East deeply divided.

The borders were drawn without regard for the wishes of the people living there, or along ethnic, geographic, or religious boundaries – they were truly arbitrary. It is important to note that even today, political borders in the Middle East do not indicate different groups of people. The differences between Iraqis, Syrians, Jordanians, etc. were entirely created by the European colonizers as a method of dividing the Arabs against each other.

http://www.globalissues.org/article/119/the-middle-east-conflict-a-brief-background

The trajectory that was set for the last century had roots back to the conflict that was left over from the previous century…and so it goes without saying that the trajectory that we have set for ourselves as a species, was done so in the latter half of last century. As the United States of America is about to celebrate on the 4th of July, maybe every American can make a change by giving some serious thought to making their government responsible and changing foreign policy.

In the 21st century, U.S. influence remains strong but, in relative terms, is declining in terms of economic output compared to rising nations such as China, India, Russia, Brazil, and the newly consolidated European Union. Substantial problems remain, such as climate changenuclear proliferation, and the specter of nuclear terrorism. Foreign policy analysts Hachigian and Sutphen in their book The Next American Century suggest all six powers have similar vested interests in stability and terrorism prevention and trade; if they can find common ground, then the next decades may be marked by peaceful growth and prosperity. (Wikipedia)

If anything is certain regarding the future of the Middle East it is that human history will record more unnecessary conflict and war that is a mixture of economics, politics and religion that the writer terms “Horribilis”.

     

Brave Budget Behest

Lip Service

or

Action

Prevention is better than cure…

heck we all know that

and prevention in the short-term may be the more expensive option.

But over the lifetime of something it may be the cheaper alternative.

http://www.economywatch.com/features/world-economy-2014-recovery-strengthening.29-01.html

Who said that there was going to be a bubble burst in America in 2017 ?

http://www.economywatch.com/features/post-financial-crisis-lack-of-reforms.22-11.html

If there are systemic flaws in America will they blame the Obama era or will they leave him alone, not because he was the first African-American President but more so that he tried to make it matter and in two terms tried to make a difference.

The mid terms are coming up in America and one questions who is there to replace the current president and to take on the responsibility of leading the country through challenging turbulent seas. There is not one strong leader who can lead in America, not because there aren’t any dynamic leaders of vision and strength, but because there are other influences in America and the president is merely one person at the apex.

Budget requests & demands from a myriad of sources for all worthwhile programs from health & education to defence and cyber-security. I have no bias towards America but what I do have is a keen interest in where they are headed and how they are hopefully going to be proactive rather than reactive during the remainder of the Obama era.

What will political science academics and foreign policy analysts anticipate will be the word from the State Department & the White House during 2014 & the end of the second term ? Will it be not what is said but what is not said that will be of importance. One questions what the Middle East will look like in 2017 and will  the American people be involuntarily dragged into another global conflict.

          images (4) 


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hed1nP9X7pI&feature=share

Whilst the words well delivered as they may have been by Barack Obama have a positive spin, that spin one questions.

Let us hope & pray that a dead cat bounce does not happen.

111912_skydiving_cats_t

Revolution Going Round

Revolution

without

Evolution

Has the human species gained any knowledge & wisdom from thousands of years of conflict ?

This Day in EconHistory: 2011 – Arab Spring: The Yemeni Revolution begins as over 16,000 protestors demonstrate in Sana’a.evolution-pa_1498395c

I feel cold as the Spring has been and gone & the Winter is here.

There now appears to be a contagion in Africa & the Middle East.

” Everyone must realize that the biggest problem and the primary battle involves rebuilding the Egyptian citizen himself, before anything else. The thing that the Mubarak regime corrupted the most and persisted in its destruction were the citizens themselves. Our primary battle is to build an alternative to the regime and not to topple the regime, for the regime will not fall unless we have created an alternative.”

Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/01/egypt-missing-middle-class-politics.html?utm_source=Al-Monitor+Newsletter+%5BEnglish%5D&utm_campaign=7c657f269a-January_9_20141_8_2014&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_28264b27a0-7c657f269a-93116025#ixzz2rqDlrmAy

 Trust 

In a social context, trust has several connotations. Definitions of trust typically refer to a situation characterised by the following aspects: One party (trustor) is willing to rely on the actions of another party (trustee); the situation is directed to the future. In addition, the trustor (voluntarily or forcedly) abandons control over the actions performed by the trustee. As a consequence, the trustor is uncertain about the outcome of the other’s actions; they can only develop and evaluate expectations. The uncertainty involves the risk of failure or harm to the trustor if the trustee will not behave as desired.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trust_(social_sciences)

Democratisation at what cost ?

Now what will happen in 2014 ?

South Sudan

Syria

Zimbabwe

May we all find truth for it will set us free and once we have our new freedom, may we be united as one world so that we can find the solutions to the global challenges ahead.

Actions speak louder than words.

Faith & Hope & Trust

We need to find the evolution part to the revolution…otherwise we’re all just going around & around with a lot of pain and noise.

Conflict Cocktail Compositions

Conflict

Image

Click here – http://youtu.be/Lk7BWjMEMHw – to listen and read

The history of the human species reveals that we are only ever two things and these are constructive and destructive.

There are many references to these two sides of human nature that are found throughout literature and the Bible has many examples of these. There are many opposites…sun & moon, positive & negative, war & peace, black & white, red & green, up and down and many others inclusive of life & death. We’re born & we die, it is as simple as that…in between of course there is cabaret.

Conflict has existed since the beginning or our time here on Earth and will continue till that day when it finally ends.

To briefly look at where we are today and where we humans possible will be at the end of this first quarter of the Twenty First Century the writer recommends the reader to look at modern history in two writers from France & England. There are other writers, and more modern and ancient history that one can review, in an attempt to understand where we are at today and how we got to this point in our timeline.

Click here –  http://youtu.be/GRxofEmo3HA  – to listen & read

 

Image

The condition of man… is a condition of war of everyone against everyone. 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Hobbes

We are born weak, we need strength; helpless, we need aid; foolish, we need reason. All that we lack at birth, all that we need when we come to man’s estate, is the gift of education. 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean-Jacques_Rousseau

 ‘ One Hundred Years of War ‘ – http://www4.samford.edu/belltower/031313/boyatt.php  

One questions the past century and the trajectory that we are currently on which was set in the latter half circa 1950-2000.

 

Image

The slow evolution of the human species and have we moved forward towards a better tomorrow ?

2000-2025

In his book Strategic Vision – America and the Crisis of Global Power ‘ Zbigniew Brzenzinski argues that America can and should be actively engaged in navigating this period of crisis. The book seeks to outline the needed strategic vision, looking beyond 2025. There are other matters that both Brzezinski and the writer of this post have not explored in detail. These other matters are of concern and are not limited to these three – Population Growth, Climate Change, Sustainable Development

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ym8JjY4fy-M&feature=share&list=PLnQH3w6MZnkhbFd9irW9UsGQm0pJocZsJ&index=2

 

The World After America : By 2025, Not Chinese but Chaotic

Unlike the failed twentieth-century aspirants to world power, China’s international posture is at this stage neither revolutionary nor messianic nor Manichean. China thus seems to understand–and its investments in America’s well-being speak louder than words because they are based on self-interest–that a rapid decline of America’s global primacy would produce a global crisis that could devastate China’s own well-being and damage its long-range prospects. Prudence and patience are part of China’s imperial DNA.

Deng Xiaoping’s famous maxim “Observe calmly; secure our position; cope with affairs calmly; hide our capabilities and bide our time; be good at maintaining a low profile, and never claim leadership.”

Sun Tzu – the wisest posture in combat is to lay back, let one’s opponent make fatal mistakes, and only then capitalise on them. 

 

Deng Xiaoping took China from Mao to Today.  

Brzezinski does conclude that ” since America is not yet Rome and China is not yet its Byzantium, a stable global order ultimately depends on America’s ability to renew itself and to act wisely as the promoter and conciliator of a rising new East. 

Image

China has cemented itself in Africa with such dexterity that the foundations have cured for a strong and continued ‘mutually beneficial’ relationship based upon infrastructure for resources. There is a trade off here because this relationship between China & Africa is based upon this business model that is not ‘apples for apples’, but it has worked thus far. Whoever runs Africa this decade rules the world in the next…this statement may not be historically accurate, but the idea is understood.

The change that is required to sail through the difficult uncharted waters in tomorrow was required yesterday.The uncharted waters are not a reference to 2050, this is a reference to the next five years specifically and the remainder of Q1 of the 21st Century. Sustainable development is vital if we are to survive into the next centuries. Sustainability of our species is not possible on the current trajectory and there are major global challenges ahead.

How do we fight poverty ? Okay that is not easily answered because as we assist those who live in poverty to move into the middle class, they then contribute to a larger carbon footprint as consumers. America has tried to slow the growth of China by saying that the Chinese must reform and address the MDGs without contributing to global pollution – e.g. not to use fossil fuels for the generation of electricity etc.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/6309792/God-creation-science-religion-the-conflicts.html

Image

Which Course of Course

Old habits die hard as they say and one wonders if we can in fact change our course. At present the world is sailing with a lee shore (lee shores are dangerous to water craft because, if left to drift, they will be pushed into shore by the wind, possibly running aground) and that if we do not or can not change the consequences are catastrophic.

But which course to take ? A responsible government has a thinking society…that would be a very good place to start. 

Over the past fifty years the communication age taught consumers what to consume, how and why to consume. 

What symphony can the world write to sooth our troubles. This conflict cocktail composition that we’re intoxicated from is merely because the welfare of man is in an eternal state of conflict. 

May we all drink clean cool water from now on…I’m thirsty and is there any left ?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Transformative Tyranny (Tyrannosaurus rex ) Terror

Transformative

Tyranny (Tyrannosaurus rex ) Terror

schleich-trex

To change in form, appearance, or structure; metamorphose.

The government or rule of a tyrant or absolute ruler.

Any period of frightful violence or bloodshed

likened to the Reign of Terror in France.

Tyrannosaurus Rex  –  A large, carnivorous dinosaur that walked on two legs. 

Its name is from the Greek words meaning “tyrant” and “lizard”and the Latin word for “king.”

1f38037f85d8a7e8cc29f477b7708b8e-d2y0dei

The African Union has member states which comprise Saharan and Sub Saharan countries – http://www.au.int/en/member_states/countryprofiles

( no guarantee accuracy of information )

The history of African countries can be divided into three periods.

Pre Colonisation – Colonisation – Decolonisation.

32

During the Scramble for Africa in the late nineteenth century, Western European powers divided Africa and its resources into political partitions at the Berlin Conference of 1884-85. By 1905, control of almost all African soil was claimed by Western European governments, with the only exceptions being Liberia (which had been settled by African-American former slaves) and Ethiopia (which had successfully resisted colonization by Italy). Britain and France had the largest holdings, but GermanySpainItalyBelgium, andPortugal also had colonies. As a result of colonialism and imperialism, Africa lost not only its sovereignty, but also control of its natural resources like gold and rubber. Europeans often justified this using the concept of the White Man’s Burden, an obligation to “civilize” the people of Africa.[citation needed]

Critics say that the process of African decolonization from the 1950s to the 1970s turned what were relatively well-ordered and peaceful territories administered by the efficient bureaucracies and legal traditions of the Western European empires into violent, inefficient and corrupt socialist dictatorships or right-wing family dictatorships with little regard for international rule of law and human rights and riddled with civilturf wars, barbaric political purges, mass refugee crises, famines and ethnic conflict.[2] –

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decolonization_of_Africa

map

Decolonisation and a brief look at Zimbabwe (Rhodesia) post Mugabe 2014. It must be noted here that this is not a diatribe regarding either the country or the current leader of Zimbabwe.

It is a brief look at the future and there are several possible scenarios for Zimbabwe, from peaceful to armed conflict.

His Excellency Robert Gabriel Mugabe the President of Zimbabwe is the only president of Zimbabwe, since it gained independence from Britain in 1980.

Right now, two broad factions are thought to be jockeying for position. The moderates, led by vice-president Joyce Mujuru, dominate key positions within the party leadership and seem to have significant grassroots support. The hardliners, under the direction of perennial eminence grise Emmerson Mnangagwa (now the justice minister), have the advantage of ruthlessness and a tight grip on the all-important security services.

In July 2013 Zimbabwe held an election that saw the current ZANU-PF (Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front) government retain power under the leadership of Mugabe. The opposition party MDC (Movement for Democratic Change) no longer has the possibility of being an effective opposition party, relegated to spending time lost in the political wilderness. There currently is no opposition party to the current government.  http://www.zanupf.org.zw/

H.E. R.G. Mugabe is about to turn 90 years of age in one month and whilst there are those who believe that he is mightier than Jesus Christ because we are still waiting for Christ’s return, Mugabe has died and been resurrected many times. We are mortal and there will come a time when the news will report the passing of ‘Cde Bob’. It is this period that is of concern to political analysts because of the ineffectiveness in Zimbabwe of the African Union & S.A.D.C.

The Republic of South Africa under the current Zuma government is facing an election this year and it is probable that the current government will not be retained. There are external influences that will not be discussed here because they are classified and not for general broadcast. These vested external influencing factors are far greater than the African Union and involve China, Russia & Brasil along with some other countries.

Currently there are far bigger global strategic defence issues that take a priority such as these examples – South China Seas, Syria, South Sudan, Egypt, Iraq and others not mentioned.

This year is the year to build bridges. The Western media portrays Zimbabwe in a certain way and we therefore have a preconceived notion of what the country is like. What do you know about Zimbabwe and have you ever visited the country ?

One questions why the Australian & American governments do not do more to reach out to Zimbabwe and to work in a collaborative and consultative approach to assist in the transition that will take place at some stage.

The are three ‘T’ words in the heading of this post which were used to gain attention and there are also three ‘T’ words that could have been selected…Truth, Trust & Transparency.

History will be the only way of knowing the future of Zimbabwe and H.E. R.G. Mugabe will be recorded as the freedom fighter who lead the country out of the colonial repression that existed under the Ian Smith government.

 

Water Security The Last Drop in Africa

The Last Drop In Security

When we are thirsty 

we go and turn on a tap usually to get ‘a glass of water’.

Back in the 1970’s outside of Europe it was glass bottles of Italian or French water that were available, usually only from an upmarket restaurant. Names like Perrier or Pellegrino come to mind and then through the 1980s other names appeared as Coca Cola, Pepsi and other companies released products into the marketplace.

 

Hikers, joggers, cyclists and children along with others

were seen through the 1990s with a plastic container close at hand.

Primary aquifers were drilled into and utilised for agriculture.

As these primary sources began to deplete, countries such as China and America drilled down into the secondary aquifers.

By the end of the 20th Century we began to hear more about climate change and water. 

With the current conflict in South Sudan, 

it would be worth the question. 

Has water got anything to do with this crisis ? 

It may not be as silly as it sounds. 

An old map only used to look at

general geographical information of the Nile

Egyptian and Sudanese plans to build an airstrip for bombing a dam in the Blue Nile River Gorge in Ethiopia.

The Egyptian and Sudanese governments denied the reports. 

Who Owns the Nile? Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia’s History-Changing Dam

Water is part of sustainable development. Water is also part of survival and for most urban dwellers in western society, clean safe water is just a tap or a plastic bottle away.

 In Africa however, water may not be that accessible and even if it is available

it may be a walk of some hours to obtain it and even then it may not be clean safe drinking water. 

Water security has become, not is going to be, a major concern.

Fresh Water Access & The Business of African Water

When land acquisition is for development the main categories are 

mining, agriculture or housing.

By 2013, international large-scale land transactions amounting to

46 million hectares had been successfully transacted worldwide.

Africa is the main target of these transactions: transactions accounting

for 50 percent* of the verified land deals have been reported in Africa. 

( 23 million hectares* )

 

If we consider the current estimated world population is 7,100,000,000* and that the estimated world population at the end of this decade is 7,717,000,000*

*figures sourced from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_population

My estimates differ from the above prediction for 2020 as the exponential factors when applied have the figure of 7,777,777,777 in 2017 but for this blog I will go with what wiki provides.

The actual number is not the issue here, it is that there is an increase that is the important point.

 Water Shortages Threaten Global Security

This global population increase will be mainly from China, India and Africa. 

This blog has only included Africa here regarding water security. 

It also must be noted that this is a thin coverage of the topic and only makes an attempt to highlight water security for you the reader.