Posted tagged ‘conflict resolution’

FOOD WARS ARE COMING, PREPARE!

May 4, 2008

Bro. Erle Frayne D. Argonza

[Writ 04 May 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila]

Food wars are coming, prepare for the contingencies! This is now a visible possibility, so all those enthused development stakeholders and peace-builders better insert an extra agendum on their ‘key result areas’.

Given the so many sources of conflict that are natural resources related, the latest ones being the ‘water wars’, it is no longer a remote possibility that food wars will erupt in some ‘hot soup spots’ in the world. Such hot spots are not those ones the world knows today (e.g. Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Korean Peninsula, Taiwan-China strait) that can be potential starting points for great wars. But somehow, the areas and the food wars coming can ‘cross-cut’ the issues involving conflicts in the hot spots we know.

The scenario would be as follows:

·         A convergence of volatilities in the global market would, at one conjuncture, lead to simultaneous price increases in food, oil/energy, metals, utilities. Hoarding then takes place at alarmingly uncontrollable levels. Shockingly, the old ‘policy tools’ to control prices and hoarding won’t work.

 

·         Massive urban riots and upheavals in the affected rural areas take place. New militia groups will rise almost overnight, challenging both national armies and established warlord and rebel groups where these are found.

 

·         Noticing that their own food, energy, base metal stocks are near or pass the critical points, affected states will then turn blind eye to the militias. Tying up with underworld for arms and information, the militias would then conduct quick eco-scan of neighboring countries that are relatively porous for food ransack operations. Key areas would be mapped out as professionally as possible.

 

·         Noticing their own relative porosity, the panic response of affected food supplier states would be to plug their borders as quickly as they can before hothead militias come. They may do panic last-level talks with the state leaders of neighboring countries, who in turn will simply claim that they do not control warlord/militia groups at all. They may send token protection groups at the border.

 

·         Anticipating such moves, the militias, forming cross-country alliances, will mount a coordinated surprise attack. Invasive entries will be done from around 5-6 country origins, using both dawn and dusk attacks. Simultaneous attacks via air, sea, land, rivers & lakes will be mounted on all fronts.

 

·         Effectively unable to prevent the coordinated invasion, the national army/police of the affected state will watch in horror as the rapid moving invaders coalesce with internal players (‘dog of wars’ supplied by local mafia or related groups) to open and ransack warehouses.

 

·         The invaders will then retreat back to their base origins as quick as they’ve entered the porous state. Hot pursuit is simply nil, save for a few sporadic gunfights with retreating forces.

 

·         The affected state will then demand for indemnification or equivalent payment from the militias’ respective states, none of which may come at all. Given the already burgeoning subsidies by states to shore up domestic supplies and prevent further civil unrest due to the crisis, the states will simply have no resource for indemnification. To print more money for indemnification would be to risk hyper-inflation on top of an already inflationary environment.

 

·         With hardly any sincere face-saving moves by the militias’ states, the affected state may then be provoked into a ‘call to arms’ and do some punitive attacks on some quick neighbors. It can also unleash the firepower of rebel groups from the ransacking countries that are based in its territory, arm these groups and make them lead punitive attacks.

 

·         Unless cooler heads prevail in the region, a regional conflagration could ensue, hence widening the latitudes of the conflict. The original ‘hot soup’ for the stomach then turns to a ‘hot caldron’ of total war. Multilateral efforts may fail for a time, as the conflicts happen in at least three (3) world regions.

 

Partners in development and peace, this scenario can no longer be ignored today. Let us all prepare for the eventuality. If it can be stopped by cutting off the bud before it blooms, whatever that may take, then let’s better do it as soon as we can. Time is now against us, I believe, as events are moving so fast they happen as soon as we forecast them, like the formation of the food cartels.

If there would still be time to constitute strategic studies teams that can eco-scan the planet and identify possible ‘hot soup spots’, this would be a welcome move. Failing to recognize the evolving contingency, let’s not get shocked at all when the paramilitary ‘dogs of war’ will be at the gates of the bereaved states. They deserve some ‘hot soup’ after all, we may surmise.

BUILD STRONG NATIONS AMID GLOBALIZATION

April 28, 2008

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

 

[Writ 22 March 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila]

 

In my meaty article on New Nationalism, I advanced fourteen (14) contentions in substantiation of what neo-nationalism is.

 

The first basic contention is that the nation-state can thrive and grow amid globalization. In other words, globalization shouldn’t lead to the destruction of nation-states. The trend since the start of massive implementation of liberal reforms leading to global integration of markets has been, in fact, the destruction of nation-states. This trend has to be stopped now.

 

There is really no reason to destroy the nations just so that our global community can be integrated. In the Philippine experience, nationalism has been a positive, progressive force that had united close to 100 ethno-linguistic communities. The Philippine nation had just lately crystallized, with a national identity now in shape though in moderate level, a phenomenon that took over 200 years to build.

 

There is no way that we can allow the massive destruction of nations today just in order to whet the appetites of the global oligarchy and their transnational corporations or TNCs for control over the world’s resources and labor. The conservation of nations must be a pre-requisite to building the ‘peace condition’ nationally and globally, guided by the principle of ‘dialogue of civilizations’.

 

On the other hand, amid the failings of globalization, we simply cannot go back to the past and destroy the integration efforts altogether. We can still move on towards a more progressive globalization that serves the interests of nations rather than the global oligarchy. Nations can derive benefits from integrated markets, we can’t overstress the risk-side of globalization at the expense of the benefit-side.

 

Somewhere along the line, the striving for stronger nations must cohere with the collective efforts for integrated markets. Later on, nations would compose an integrated political entity, the global state with its own global institutions.

 

Below is the excerpt from the New Nationalism article regarding the nation-state.

 

Strong nation can thrive & grow amid globalization.

 

The nation can continue to exist, even become strengthened, while it sails deep into the middle of the ocean of globalization. The two are not necessarily contradictory. Nationhood can continuously be pursued, patriotism can move ahead while paddling astride the powerful waves of globalization. For as earlier stated, globalization holds the promise of growth through the vast opportunities it has opened. Nations must strive to concur cooperation with other nations to extend the scope and limits of the opportunities, while at the same time build internal opportunities to further optimize inducements for investments.

 

Just recently, our entrepreneurs and professionals made waves through the international awards they respectively received, such as Tan Caktiong (top entrepreneur) and F. Palafox (the only ASEAN architect to make it to the world’s Top 200 architects), signifying the high level of competitiveness our compatriots are capable of achieving. Such sterling achievements surely inspire us to continue to strengthen nationhood and to forge new areas of cooperation and growth-inducing endeavors. While forces exist that work to tear the nation asunder, forces are likewise growing that lead to the nation’s strengthening. We should all work hard to make sure that the latter forces prevail, while neutralizing and diminishing the potencies of those forces that destroy nationhood.