The Barriers to Governments Achieving Peace

Peace is a tough goal to achieve. When the Syrian National Council lambasted the international community on the 23rd of this month for what it saw as a collective silence on the conflict in their home country the obstacles for the international community to implement it are clear. Certainly the also recently covered We Love You campaign – a movement started by Israeli designer Ronny Edry and his wife now with millions of followers in over 60 countries – indicates that individuals within countries can make human-centred and personal connections which are immensely more powerful than the might of an international security council that includes China, Russia, UK, USA and France. Ultimately though I would also like to make clear that I do realize the complexities in international relations I believe that the ability and potential shown in the We Love You campaign for peace blatantly contrasts against an international community represented by the UN that is severely failing the Syrian people.

It is possible however to put forth a convincing argument that democratic government is required internally in distinct societies to enact law and order and maintain security and equality for all it’s citizens. Where governments have the potential for a negative effect, as the Syrian crisis shows is in world affairs. Leader’s of nations have to inevitably represent an ideology that is representative on a broadly national level or pursue a geopolitical goal/agenda which contrasts with leaders of other nation’s. Inevitably this has potential to cause a degree of conflict and therefore aggression.

The Syrian crisis represents the divisions that often occur in world relations which prevent actions that could lead to peace. Russia is both backing the Assad regime and until recently provided them with military equipment while America and the UK backs the opposition movement. In December of last year it was reported that Russia had even gone to the extent of placing military advisors to operate surface to air missile systems in Syria. This move complicates the crisis further and provides potential for escalation if opposition supporters, principally the USA decide to engage militarily. Meanwhile a coalition of humanitarian organisations have also criticised the international community as a result of their failure to provide urgent support for humanitarian efforts to confront the conflicts tragic impacts on civilians. Eventually the only solution may have to be violent but such division among the international community is only lengthening the suffering of the Syrian people.

Vladimir Putin inspects Mi-24 helicopters

Also relevant within a broader context of this region is the issue of how islamic extremism originated. During the cold war different Arab nationalistic governments were supported by either the USSR or western nations as part of an agenda to exert their influence in the region. This has been cited as one of the reasons for the rise of extremism because these governments did not meet the needs of their people as this influence, to an extent, limited their ability to do so. One culmination of this was the overthrow of The Shah in the Iranian revolution, which has led to a fundamentalist islamic government in power today. Many governments toppled in the recent ‘Arab Spring’ represented the remnants of long existing regimes still supported by the Western nations such as Moubarak in Egypt. What was crucial to the revolutions in many of these countries was social media, often originally created by individual citizen’s in one country, that was used by individuals in the middle-east in their efforts to topple respective governments. This represents a similar link to the Israeli-Loves-Iran campaign and once again the power of individuals.

Another interesting case is that of the fall of the Berlin Wall. One of the key reasons for its fall has been cited by many figures as the non-violent actions of East Germans and dissidents which consequently did not allow the communist authorities to use violent repression against them and therefore leave the wall intact. Even if we look at non-peaceful, violent revolutions their roots often lie in the environment the revolutionaries find themselves in, often a corrupt regime. as in the case of Che Guevara who fought against the US backed Fulgencio Batista having previous experience fighting in his home country of Argentina.

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