Thursday, 19 November 2015

WORLD-MEDIA: Is Journalism in crisis?

Journalists aren’t lying to anyone. But our industry needs to stop deceiving itself – or it’ll go under.
We don’t lie – at least we don’t lie more or less than anyone else. By saying this, journalists can go about their daily business. Or can we? No, because we are lying not to others but to ourselves.

Our industry has been in dire straits for over a decade. Every media outlet faces the same challenge: How can journalism be financially profitable in the future? Print editions are in sharp decline, the old business model is barely working, and a new one is not yet in sight. This affects, in particular, though not only, our colleagues who devote themselves to the news business. 
We are not finding a solution to the future of our industry because we are not questioning the long-term denial that has existed in print media. Our work has always had a fundamental problem: A model that depends on printing tons of paper that mostly goes directly from the kiosk shelf to the wastepaper bin is neither economically nor environmentally sustainable. It only works when papers are sold in large numbers – but the fewer that are sold, the higher the retail cost of each paper. Additionally, new print titles have to invest an enormous amount in distributing the paper so that it can be purchased at all.
The essential profits did not come from selling papers at kiosks, but through advertising. The truly relevant customers were therefore never the readers. That doesn’t mean, however, that advertising clients could just buy their way into the news or that it should be like that. It simply means that content can often only earn money in a secondary sense and not directly. This is something that we did not want to admit. The necessary, strict separation of journalism and sales was not put in place to protect journalists from getting into conflicts of interest. We were shielded from finding out that it’s not actually about us at all. The online era has slammed the cold hard truth in our faces: Models that rely on the willingness of readers to pay have so far had no resounding success.
During the past few years, we journalists have engaged ourselves in complete navel-gazing. Everywhere you go, you hear from colleagues that everything is swell. Yet behind the curtain, gossip and chit-chat about who’s profitable and who’s on the brink of bankruptcy is in full swing. If this or that cost were added, you would run into the red. If the full investment and development costs were added on, then all digital offerings in the country would resemble a real media cemetery.
We believe that even if we are no longer earning money, we are at least relevant. But let me give you an example: If five million Germans watch the weekly broadcast by the German TV host Günter Jauch, then out of the 68 million Germans over the age of 18, 63 million do not watch this talk show. Considering these figures, what is supporting the media’s claim as the fourth power in the state? The figures are much lower for print journalism. Fewer than 900,000 people buy or have a subscription to Germany’s three major daily newspapers –Frankfurter Allgemeine ZeitungSüddeutsche Zeitung, and Die Welt.
We are not lying; we are working to the best of our knowledge and belief. What most media that need to earn money to survive cannot do, however, is produce content for ordinary people. We tell the advertisers that our readership consists of well-to-do people. The _FAZ_’s main selling point to advertisers is that the paper is read by more people in Germany with salaries over €150,000 than any other. According to the Federal Statistics Office, only three percent of people working in Germany have a net salary of over €4,500 a month.
If we were to once boldly say that we, the quality media, all have the same target group (the three million people in Germany who read a national daily or weekly newspaper or political magazine per week), then it would be immediately clear why we are in crisis: There are too few buyers for our products. We are no longer competing for people’s money, but for their time. The content is now in focus, and it is almost identical to that of the established news websites. It’s obvious that nobody’s willing to pay extra for this.
Our industry will only survive by investing money in content. Lots of money. It should also be ensured that there are future journalists who are qualified for their jobs and ready, in serious cases, to defend democracy with their computers, cameras, and good ideas. This return on investment does not yet exist in any business plan.

By Guylain Gustave Moke
Investigative Journalist
Political Analyst/Writer
World Affairs Expert

Photo-Credit:-Moss Images -Political Analyst Guylain Gustave Moke-

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

FRANCE:-Paris Attacks: EU's Jihadi Generation

The events in Paris have shaken the world. Conversations have shifted from disbelief to disgust and from mourning to uncertainty.

The Islamic State, in a video on Monday, claimed responsibility of the Paris attacks. As a result, French warplanes bombed Islamic State training camps and a suspected arms depot in its Syrian stronghold, late Sunday--its biggest such strike since the U.S.-led mission launched in 2014. ''France is at war. But we are not engaged in a war of civilizations, because these assassins do not represent any. We are in a war against jihadist terrorism which is threatening the whole world'', said French President F.Hollande on Monday.

More than 129 people lost their lives and 350 injured. Investigators have identified a Belgian national, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, living in Syria as the possible mastermind of the attacks, which targeted bars, restaurants, a concert hall and soccer Stadium, with Brussels seen as the springboard.

Prosecutors said that five of the seven suicide bombers who died on Friday had now been identified. Four were French, and the fifth possibly Syrian. One of the three attackers who blew himself up at the Bataclan, where 89 people died, was identified on Monday as Samy Amimour, 28, from Paris suburb of Drancy, who was the subject of an international arrest warrant.

Another, who detonated his explosive vest outside the Stade de France stadium, was carrying a Syrian passport in the name of Ahmad Almohammad, aged 25, from Idlib. His fingerprints matched those of someone who transited the Greek island of Leros in October and made an asylum claim in Serbia. Omar Ismail Mostefai,29, from Chartres, southwest of Paris, was the first killer to be officially identified, from a severed finger found inside the Bataclan. Sources close to the investigation named two other French assailants as Bilal Hadfi and Brahim Abdeslam.

It is believed that Friday's Paris attacks were decided upon and planned in Syria, prepared and organized in Belgium and carried out on French territory, with the complicit of French Jihadis. It appears that transnational terrorist structures took shape right in the middle of Europe. If it is proven that some preparations for the Paris Attacks took place in Belgium and that they were orchestrated by strategists with the Islamic State, then it is true all of us in Europe are threatened by this terror.

The Paris attacks underscore the fact that Europe needs a new security, social, political debate. How is it possible that Paris could be attacked twice in one year by terrorist groups? What went wrong with the French security apparatus? What lessons can we draw from this--in Europe?How European countries can work together in order to provide better support to improve security? Which instruments are needed to prevent further attacks without damaging public life?

In the wake of the attack on the Paris attacks, Europe needs to take a good look at itself. It must recognize that second- and third-generation immigrants are susceptible to the blandishments of terrorist organizations because European citizenship has not translated into social and economic inclusion. If anything, growing inequality – exacerbated by years of crisis – is making the problem worse.

People need hope. They need to believe in a vision, a project that promises a better future for them and their communities. European countries once offered that sense of hope. But the crisis, and the official response to it, has replaced hope with frustration and disillusionment.

This has created fertile ground for anti-immigrant populists and Islamist terrorists alike. More than 1,200 French citizens are estimated to have joined the jihadi cause in Syria, along with 600 from the United Kingdom, 550 from Germany, and 400 from Belgium. Other European countries, including Spain, are experiencing a similar phenomenon. And some European citizens, like the Charlie Hebdo assassins, have acted at home.

Those French jihadis dreamed of a better life. As French citizens, they have the right to an education and health care. But they grew up in the ghettos that ring France’s major cities, surrounded by families like theirs, literally on the margins of society. Unable to integrate fully, they had few opportunities for economic advancement. Dream was never materialized.

This story has been repeated millions of times in the countries of Western Europe, with immigrants and their families ending up poor and excluded. In the worst-case scenario, they are recruited by extremist groups that seem to offer what they are missing: a sense of belonging, identity, and purpose. After a lifetime of marginalization, participation in a larger cause can seem worth the lies, self-destruction, and even death that inclusion demands.

While intelligence services and police forces must be engaged to prevent attacks, devising an effective strategy to counteract extremist movements requires, first and foremost, understanding what drives them. Western countries must go beyond defending freedom of speech and improving police coordination to develop lasting solutions that address adherents’ economic and social marginalization, while avoiding cultural confrontation and reliance on repression alone.

More fundamentally, such solutions require abandoning the false dichotomy of liberty and security. If security concerns trump basic rights and freedoms, fanaticism will have scored a victory; and the same thing will happen if expressions of Islamophobia and xenophobia increase. Muslim immigrants, whether first-, second-, or third-generation, must be able to integrate fully into European society, gaining the same opportunities as Europe’s other residents and citizens.

That principle should be applied at the global level as well, through the establishment of an inclusive framework that fosters development – and encourages the rejection of fanaticism – in the Islamic world. The aggressive fundamentalism and infighting that held down Christian societies for centuries has been relegated to the past, and that is where it must remain.

A religion is not only a belief system; it is also an institution, a language, and even a kind of market actor, competing for supporters. Radical terrorist groups attempt to consolidate their distorted version of “true” Islam as the only institution, imposing their language to win the entire Muslim market.

Today, groups like the Islamic State and Nigeria’s Boko Haram have joined Al Qaeda in a struggle to attract Muslims from all over the world, thereby securing their leadership in global jihad. These groups take advantage of unruly environments and weak or collapsing institutions to gain a territorial foothold.

Indeed, it was the failed transitions in Syria, Libya, and Yemen after the Arab Spring revolts that fueled the Islamic State’s emergence. Millions of young people, though disillusioned by decades of social paralysis, unemployment, and brutal dictatorships, had dared to expect better. Though Tunisians have made progress, the other affected populations, like many Muslim immigrants in Europe, have had their hopes shattered. Jihad, like any other reductionist political program, is capable of seducing a wide variety of people. The attribute they almost always share is a sense of futility or a lack of purpose.

The West must recognize that, as Afghanistan and Iraq have shown, conflict in the Arab world cannot be resolved through foreign military intervention. The only way to restore order and spur progress in the region is by empowering moderate Muslims, so that they can triumph over the forces of radicalism and violence. The West’s role is to identify them and offer them acceptance and support. This lesson should be applied both abroad and at home.

By Guylain Gustave Moke
Investigative Journalist
Political Analyst/Writer
World Affairs Expert

Photo-Credit: Le Monde-

Friday, 13 November 2015

ISRAEL-PALESTINE: Israel's Toolbox of Racism Repressive

There has been a wave of attacks by Palestinians since Oct 1, with at least 14 Israelis killed in stabbings, shootings and other attacks, including Friday's shootings. At least 75 Palestinians have been shot dead by Israeli forces, including 45 people who were carrying out or about to carry out attacks.

In Hebron, Israeli forces shot dead a Palestinian during stone-throwing violence. This had erupted during a funeral for another Palestinian who had died of wounds overnight following clashes at a funeral on Thursday. In other violence on Friday near the West Bank city of Ramallah, 15 Palestinians were shot and wounded by Israelis using live fire.

In Gaza, Israeli forces has shot and wounded 4 Palestinians east of the enclave after they threw stones near the fence with Israel. The Hebron area suffered the bulk of recent incidents during a surge in violence across Israel, Jerusalem and Israeli-occupied West Bank since Oct 1.The violence has been fuelled in part by a dispute over access to a site in Jerusalem holy site to both Muslims and Jews.

Jerusalem has remained tense now for almost a year.The recent tension is heightened on several factors. Key among them has been the issue of the religious site in Jerusalem known to Muslims as ''Al haram al Sharif'' or the Noble Sanctuary, and Jews as the Temple Mount.

A long running campaign by some fundamentalist Jews and their supporters for expanding their right to worship in the Al-Aqsa mosque compound on the Temple Mount, supported by right-wing members of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's own cabinet, has raised the suspicion,- despite repeated Israeli denials,- that Israel intends to change the precarious status quo for the site, which has been governed under the auspices of the Jordanian monarchy since 1967.

Recent Israeli forces actions at the site scandalized the Muslim world and raised tensions. That has combined with the lack of a peace process and growing frustration in Palestinian society over the incarceration of Palestinian youths by Israeli forces for stone-throwing. In response, Netanyahu and his cabinet has loosened live fire regulations over the use of .22 calibre bullets on Palestinian demonstrators.

From the death and destruction in Israel’s latest response to Palestinians attacks, there have been plenty of brutal reminders on display of the violence that underpins racial hierarchies in Israel. But amid the headlines, one could easily forget the more sustained and entrenched forms of oppression through which hierarchies of race, citizenship, nationality, and class are produced and maintained—in Israel. Among the most significant of these is mass incarceration.

The draconian conditions imposed by Israel’s siege of Gaza have often led critics to liken the embattled strip of land to an “open-air prison,” pointing to Israel’s panoptical control of Gaza’s borders, airspace, and sea coast.

But conventional brick-and-mortar prisons continue to enjoy robust use throughout Israel-Palestine. Since its inception in 1948, in fact, the state of Israel has imprisoned approximately 20 percent of the total Palestinian population, including 40 percent of the male population.

Today, Israel holds over 6,500 Palestinians in its prisons and detention centers. These include over 466 Palestinians subjected to “administrative detention” (detention without trial), 27 Palestinian members of parliament, and three former ministers.

Though media coverage has rightly focused on the atrocity of the hundreds of Palestinian children killed by Israeli forces, it is important to remember how precarious life is for Palestinian children even in “normal” times. Since 2000, more than 8,000 Palestinian children have been detained and nearly 2,000 children have been killed—with almost complete impunity for the Israeli soldiers and settlers involved.

Around 230 Palestinian children are currently imprisoned—50 of them under the age of 16. Human rights groups including Amnesty International and the Israeli organization B’Tselem, as well as the United Nations, have condemned Israel’s routine mistreatment of these children, many of whom were pulled from their homes in the middle of the night and have faced solitary confinement, torture, and denial of contact with their families.

Israel’s use of imprisonment as a political tool was on full display in the latest violence in Gaza. Following the disappearance of three Israeli settler teens who were subsequently found dead last June, Israel detained thousands of Palestinians, effectively using mass arrest and incarceration as a form of “collective punishment,” which is considered a war crime under the Fourth Geneva Convention. Of those individuals arrested, 62 had only recently been freed in the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange. Their release, along with an end to the siege of Gaza, has been among Hamas’ most strident demands during negotiations to end the conflict.

Hamas has clearly been the immediate target of Israel’s wave of arrests, in which well over 2,000 Palestinians were captured in July alone. But Israel’s broader political aim is to terrorize the entire Palestinian population and deter unity and resistance. Israel’s long-standing “emergency rule” in the occupied territories means that Palestinians are subjected to “a matrix of 1,500 military laws” that “can be changed arbitrarily, without notice, and applied retroactively, in violation of the most basic tenets” of the rule of law—this on top of at least 50 laws that discriminate against Palestinian citizens of Israel.

In Gaza, we see yet another example of the law’s injustice. At least 250 Palestinians were arrested during Israel’s ground operation in Gaza, many of whom were charged with “belonging to an illegal organization”—which, according to the Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights, generally refers to Palestinian political parties, especially but not only Hamas. Others are undergoing interrogation and have been denied access to a lawyer.

At least 15 of those arrested and later released were held under the “Unlawful Combatants Law.” Providing even less protection than administrative detention orders, this law allows the detention of Gazans for an unlimited period of time without charge or trial, in violation of international human rights norms. Enacted by the Israeli Knesset in 2002, the Unlawful Combatants Law embodies some of the many practices shared between Israel and the United States, which codified its own legal definition of “unlawful combatants” who could be indefinitely detained under the Military Commissions Act of 2006.

The death and destruction inflicted on the Palestinian people daily, is part of Israel’s policy of “incremental genocide,” is one reminder that incarceration and more overt forms of violence are not mutually exclusive.

The Israeli government also employs a variety of other tools to repress and dispossess the Palestinian population. These include forced evictions, land grabs and other forms of ethnic cleansing, the denial of the right of return of Palestinian refugees, significant monetary and military support for settlements, and apartheid policies and practices—including the “community-shattering” separation wall and the system of checkpoints and permits restricting the free movement of Palestinians.

As sociologist Lisa Hajjar argues, “One way a government can project the appearance of acting in accordance with the law is to produce interpretations that the law does not apply.”  Israel has used such legal obfuscation and evasion, as well as the elaboration and adoption of new laws, to justify inhumane treatment and oppressive rule. It is often not violations of the law, but rather the law itself that functions as a tool of power.

Mass incarceration has a devastating impact on individuals and communities. As a form of state terror, it is designed to strike fear in whole communities and prevent the establishment of sustainable bonds, based on justice and respect, between state and society. By breaking up and isolating members of movements and pressuring individuals to collaborate, dissimulate, and betray their beliefs, it causes alienation among brothers, sisters, and comrades. And with the law often functioning in service of power rather than justice, prisons serve as the handmaiden of legal oppression.

Despite the overwhelming imbalance of power, resistance is growing—in Palestine. From prisoners’ hunger strikes to various forms of protests reclaiming public space, broad-based movements driven and led by those individuals whose rights and humanity have been denied for so long, are coalescing around effective strategies for change.

Activists are increasingly focusing in on the symptoms of incarceration as a repressive governance tool, as well as on the national security state paradigm to which it is linked—which is itself connected to a much broader system of political, racial, and economic injustice.

By Guylain Gustave Moke
Investigative Journalist
Political Analyst/Writer
World Affairs Expert

Photo-Credit: Reuters- An Israeli border police officer fires a tear gasr at Palestinian protesters during clashes in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, November 13,2015

MYANMAR: Aung San Suu Kyi's electoral triumph

The party of democracy champion Aung San Suu Kyi has won a majority in Myanmar parliament, the election commission said on Friday, giving it enough seats to elect the new president.

Myanmar held nationwide parliamentary elections on November, 08th . As is often the case with countries in transition, enormous hopes are trained on the election to usher in a new era of freedom. 

The National League for Democracy (NLD) is also set to take control of regional assemblies as well as forming the central government, a triumph that will reshape the political landscape. To form Myanmar's first democratically elected government since the early 1960s, the NLD needed to win more than two-thirds of seats that were contested. According the election commission NLD is well above the 221 needed to control the chamber. 

Suu Kyi's triumph will sweep out an old guard of former generals that has run Myanmar, since Thein Sein ushered in sweeping democratic and economic reforms four years ago.  It also sets the stage for cooperation between democratic activists and the army, which had fought them during half a century of iron-fisted rule before a handover to a semi-civilian government in 2011. 

U.S. President Barack Obama called Myanmar President Thein Sein on Thursday to congratulate him on successfully staging a historic general election in which democracy champion Aung San Suu Kyi trounced the ruling camp. Obama also called Suu Kyi and her opposition National League for Democracy (NLD), which has won more than 80 percent of the seats declared so far in the lower house, to commend them for their success, which puts her on course to form the new cabinet. NLD is also well ahead in the upper house and regional assemblies.  

Thein Sein and the powerful army chief Min Aung Hlaing have already endorsed Suu Kyi's victory, congratulating her Wednesday on winning a majority of the seats in the first free election in 25 years.

The two reiterated their commitment to respect the result and agreed to Suu Kyi's request to hold reconciliation talks soon, although the parties are still to agree on the details. Such unambiguous endorsements of Suu Kyi's victory could smooth the lengthy post-election transition, ahead of the first session of parliament, which reconvenes on Monday.
The election was the culmination of a reform process begun by the ruling party in 2010. Suu Kyi was released from house arrest, to which she'd been confined for the better part of 20 years. The Following year, General Thein Sein Sein put on civilian clothes and began to run the country as president. Press censorship was lifted and many political prisoners were released. 

Many imagined Thein Sein to be transformative leader who recognized his country needed relief from Western sanctions. In this view, he was motivated in part by the need to offset the influence of neighboring China. the Obama's administration lifted most sanctions. President Obama visited Myanmar and welcome Thein Sein to the White House. 

Still, a period of uncertainty may be looming for former Burma because it is not clear if Suu Kyi and the generals will be able to share power easily. Whatever happens, however, Myanmar's struggle for democracy will not be over. A litany of problems awaits the new leader. One of the biggest sources of tension between Suu Kyi and the military is  the constitution.

Under the constitution drawn up by Myanmar's former junta, Suu Kyi is barred from taking the presidency because her children are foreign nationals, a clause few doubt was inserted specifically to rule her out and the constitution also guaranteed the military a quarter of the seats in Parliament and preserves its power over civilian rule. Over the summer, the ruling party purged a member of its ranks who's shown a willingness to collaborate with Suu Kyi. 

Suu Kyi has become increasingly defiant on that presidential clause as the scale of her victory has become apparent, making it clear she intends to run the country regardless of whom the NLD elects as president.

Suu Kyi is aware that Myanmar is now on the path not to democracy but ''disciplined democracy'', democracy as seen by military authoritarian leaders. Rather than the apotheosis of Myanmar's democratization, the November 8th election will begin another, more complicated phase of Myanmar's democracy movement. 

As strong showing by Suu Kyi's NLD, and a greatly expanded contingent in Parliament, may create the illusion of democracy, while the military retains ultimate control. The West will have to revise its approach with a more sober understanding of what has been happening in Myanmar.

By Guylain Gustave Moke
Investigative Journalist
Political Analyst/Writer
World Affairs Expert

Photo-Credit: AFP- Aung San Suu Kyi in campaign trails in Yangon

Thursday, 12 November 2015

AFRICA-U.N.: Poverty & Security

Last month, the board of governors of the World Bank gathered released new data demonstrating that for the first time, the percentage of the global population living in extreme poverty-that is, on on less $1.25 a day- has dropped below 10 percent. The international community has much to celebrate with its achievement, but the work is not done.

In fact, the remaining zones of abject poverty around the world are the toughest cases yet. there are often located in zones of habitual conflict where, repeatedly, the World Bank, the United Nations and other international institutions and global powers have struggled to implement durable solutions that balance security imperatives with development objectives.

In 1999, extreme poverty levels globally were upwards of 30 percent. The next year, the international community committed, through the U.N. Millennium Development Goals, to cut extreme poverty in half by 2015. Critical investments were made in education, health and social safety nets, which worked together to lift the extreme poor out of poverty around the world, while building a sustainable foundation upon which to keep them there. Far and away these efforts were shining stars of the Millennium Development Goals, cutting extreme poverty down to an estimated 9.6 percent of the global population today.

But despite that progress, extreme poverty is till a daily reality for a large proportions of certain countries, especially in Africa. Take Niger, which is facing increased security concerns on its borders from various external threats, including insecurity in Libya, spillover from the unrest in Mali and violent extremism in north-eastern Nigeria.

Niger's government is forced to divert already limited resources for economic development to combat these security concerns, with clear economic consequences. Even in 2011, 41 percent of Niger's population still lived in extreme poverty.

The government of Central African Republic (CAR), meanwhile, still lacks full control over swaths of the country, where pockets of lawlessness persist. The militant group Lord' Resistance Army continues to destabilize south-eastern CAR, and several rebel groups joined together in early December 2012 to launch a series of attacks  that gave them control of numerous towns in the northern and central parts of the country. Recent and ongoing violence in Bangui, CAR's capital, has driven more than 27,000 people from their homes, helping to reverse economic gains painstakingly made over the past decade.

Following the violent rule and deposition of former President Charles Taylor in Liberia, democratic elections in 2005 brought President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to power, to much acclaim. Yet, Sirleaf's efforts to rebuild Liberia's economy, particularly following the 2014-2015 Ebola epidemic, and to reconcile a nation still recovering from 14 years of fighting have been shaken.

In September 2012 the U.N. Security Council passed resolution 2066, which calls for halving the number of U.N. troops in Liberia by 2015-reducing the troop level to fewer than 4,000-and forcing Liberia's security sector to fill in the gaps.

The common theme in each of these cases is underdevelopment catalyzed in large measure by insecurity. Poverty is all too often synonymous with insecurity, which helps to create a vicious cycle of violence and horror.

Unfortunately, the World Bank is ill-equipped to single-handedly address the transnational security challenges that undercut its global developments efforts. The World Bank and like-minded institutions can help promote access schools, health care, electricity, safe water and other critical services, but without innovative partnership with the security sector, they are unable to protect against the near immediate erosion of these services by armed gangs, organized criminals, terrorists or insurgents.

More than ever, the World Bank must build a bridge across the development security divide to meet its goal of eliminating global poverty. The United Nations has found religion on this issue: Meetings on the U.N.'s new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which were just recently passed at the end of September, included key security objectives to mutually reinforce a revised set of development targets.

One of these goals, for example, focuses on establishing safe cities and settlements, and includes a target of providing safe transportation systems. Another SDG aims to significantly reduce all forms of violence and related death rates everywhere, while another targets reducing illicit arms and financial flows while countering organized crime.

If the Sustainable Development Goals are to continue in the the path of Millennium Development Goals and eliminate extreme poverty, the U.N. and its partners will need to develop the tools and bring in the relevant experts to help combat the insecurity sustaining it. Goal setting is not enough. it is time for the international security and development communities to break down the stovepipes that have plagued more effective coordination in the past.

This does not mean that global development institutions should become global security players, but at the same time, they do need to think more broadly and act less insularly in their engagements with the security sector. The new SDG are logical starting point.

The U.N. and the World Bank should immediately launch a new global initiative designed to better coordinate global development and security assistance targeted at the remaining 9 percent of the world's population living in grinding poverty. This initiative should set common priorities in key countries and identify tangible efforts where security assistance could promote an environment suitable for sustainable development.

As importantly, the effort should be designed to force an attitudinal shift across both communities-namely, the recognition that both are seeking common objectives and yield better solutions when we work together. Economic growth, after all, comes slow when it is under the shadow of violence.

By Guylain Gustave Moke
Investigative Journalist
World Affairs Expert

Photo-Credit: The U.N. Millennium Development Goals-photo

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

WORLD: Democracy v Dictatorship

The argument that a stable, autocratic state is better than a failed one has become increasingly fashionable. But it misses the fact that autocracies are ultimately the source of that chaos. The fall of dictators is not always a cause for joy. If the citizens of a country were to have the option of choosing between a functional dictatorship and the chaos of a failing or failed state, the dictatorship would often be the "lesser evil'' because it promises continued stability.

It's a seductive thesis that has gained renewed traction since the outbreak of civil war in Syria. The Arab Spring unleased exaggerated hope for Middle East democratization -- and now that idealists have been disappointed almost everywhere, the proponents of so-called realpolitik are once again arguing that, although their message of stability may sound unsympathetic and maybe even cynical, it's realistic. But is it really?

Some citizens or members of the international community may understandably want to reminisce about the intermittently prevailing sense of order that existed under a toppled dictator, as gruesome as the leader might have been. But it is also an optical illusion. The mistake lies in even describing a dictatorship as stable: If the dictatorships of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, Moammar Gadhafi in Libya or Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali in Tunisia had been stable, they wouldn't have collapsed.

Despite what some may think, the trajectory of the Arab uprisings does not support the argument that dictatorship is a better alternative to chaos. It tells the story of authoritarian regimes that were in part propped up by the West for decades -- using exactly this argument -- and then ultimately fell apart surprisingly quickly. Their foundations had been eaten away by youth unemployment, economic problems or state-instituted degradations.

These regimes had long been rotten at their core. They came to an end because of their inner contradictions and inability to satisfy the basic needs of their citizens. Those needs weren't necessarily freedom of expression and democracy, which are often secondary, but work, food and a dignified existence.

The question is not whether democracy is fundamentally, morally preferable to dictatorship -- nobody is seriously questioning that. But even from the perspective of realpolitik, it is erroneous to argue that dictatorships and stability go hand in hand. Functioning democracies are, in the long term, usually more stable than dictatorships. Dictatorships only appear stable if they are highly repressive or able to provide prosperity to a broad swath of their population.

But dictatorial rule is fundamentally precarious, which is why it must be upheld by force. They usually create the conditions leading to their own collapse, ultimately falling apart as a result of their dearth of social legitimacy. That's another reason why the belief that a "functional dictatorship" is "more tolerable" than chaos, is misleading. The states where chaos emerged and state structures dissolved didn't have a "functional dictatorship," whatever that may mean, in the first place.

Dictatorship often merely creates the conditions for later chaos. How absurd is it to wish for the return of a system that was responsible for the instability in the first place? The only response dictatorships tend to have for popular discontent, social tension or ethnic conflict is repression. The rigidity of these systems of rule makes them unable to smooth out conflicts within society, which means that, although social or political conflicts can be repressed for lengthy periods of times, these problems have the capacity to destabilize the entire state in the long term.

There is no such thing as a benevolent dictator. In authoritarian systems, the regime, military and economy usually combine to form a power-clique that, in turn, fosters cronyism and corruption. If nothing else, these Mafia-like conditions among the leadership are what lead many citizens to revolt.

Once the regime comes to an end, chaos usually follows. That, though, has nothing to do with democracy as such, it is merely a statement of logic. Stability is clearly and fundamentally better than instability, but the crucial question is how that stability can be created.

It can't be created by the West bombing dictatorships out of existence, as we've learned since the disastrous 2003 Iraq War -- an attempt to impose democracy from the outside. Nor can, as the Arab Spring showed, stability be fostered by supporting dictatorial regimes. The Arab Spring also demonstrated that the decisions about the fate of a country aren't made by the West, but within the countries themselves.

In this discussion, it's important to make the distinction between "regime change" from the inside and from the outside. It is now by-and-large undisputed that the United States' decision to topple Saddam Hussein was a mistake. But there is no comparison here to the Arab uprisings, in which the regimes were destabilized from the inside and toppled by their own people.

The West weren't the ones that deposed Ben Ali and Mubarak. Nor was it responsible for the revolts in Libya and Syria. In Tunisia and Egypt the United States and France even tried to prop up the dictators at first. The West only intervened in Libya when Gadhafi threated to commit mass murder in Benghazi. And while the West has pushed for Assad to step down in Syria, it hasn't yet tried to overthrow him. Interestingly, the world's current instability tends to stem from countries that were ruled by authoritarian regimes for decades or are still governed by them today.

The Islamist terrorism that has become the world's current source of concern also emerged because of repression carried out in Western-supported Arab dictatorships. Many of the perpetrators of the September 11 attacks came from Saudi Arabia. The Assad regime's repression also spurred the emergence of jihadist fighters in the early 2000s. Many of the donations that built Syria's Jihadist militias into their current positions of prominence came from citizens of authoritarian states like Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

The current crises in the Arab world are not the consequence of naive Western interventionism. On the contrary: Following the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, the West appears to have learned its lesson. The US under President Barack Obama has been particularly reluctant to engage in military interventions in recent years. When it does, it is usually to comply with the UN's "Responsibility to Protect" dictum -- and in Syria, it didn't even do that until recently. It is possible to accuse Western governments of inaction in the face of Assad's atrocities. Accusing them of the opposite is absurd.

The people who stormed the Bastille in 1789 and the revolutionaries who ultimately beheaded King Louis XVI certainly didn't entertain such considerations at the time. The French Revolution was also followed by terrible years of terror, then a dictatorship. Six decades would pass before a French democracy would emerge. Would the French, then, have been better advised to skip the revolt?

Revolutions can seldom be controlled externally because their causes are internal. In 18th century France, they were set off by an economic crisis and social tension between the estates. Had there been think tanks producing geopolitical analyses at the time, they likely would have frowned upon the revolution and the beheading of the king and fretted about its consequences for European stability. And it is doubtful that the people of France would have cared.

One country where the toppling of a dictator led to months of chaos, and then another dictatorship is Egypt. For those who favor stability at any price, it may be a desirable outcome. But the case of Egypt is really only effective as a counterexample. Although many Egyptians, in their disappointment with democracy, welcomed the re-establishment of a military dictatorship by General Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi. All of the economic and social problems that led to the end of Mubarak's reign persist and could soon lead to renewed protests and violence. And the idea that a military putsch against Assad in Syria would pave the way for stability's return, is erroneous -- conflicts that have already erupted cannot be solved by replacing one authoritarian structure with another.

When war broke out in former Yugoslavia in the 1990s, some became nostalgic for the former dictator, Tito, in the belief that he had managed to hold together the multi-ethnic state. But they were just as wrong as those who now say that the confessional conflicts between the Alawis and Shiites on the one side and the Sunnis on the other were defused under Assad. A dictatorship can seemingly freeze these kinds of conflicts for decades, even as they worsen beneath the surface. What was the case in Yugoslavia is now the case in Syria: Like a pressure cooker, when the seal breaks, the steam explodes.

The idea that dictatorships foster stability is a fairy tale; chaos is often the product of the autocratic systems it follows. People themselves make the decision whether to rise up against dictatorships. The only question for the West is when it should intervene in such a rebellion -- and that cannot be answered in the abstract with pleas in favor of, or in opposition to, dictatorships. It can only be decided on a case-by-case basis.

One nation in particular should know that it takes time to create a functioning democracy -- that it is a learning process, but that even people who have a history of authoritarianism can create democratic stability: The Germans. A country that created history's most appalling dictatorship is now an exemplary democracy. It is hard to find a better rebuttal to the theory that there are cultures ill-suited for democracy.

By Guylain Gustave Moke
Investigative Journalist
Political Analyst/World Affairs Expert

Photo-Credit: Political Analyst--Guylain Gustave Moke

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

EUROPE: Populism & Nationalism

Today’s modern political climate is rife with violence rooted in nationalist agendas and exploitation rooted in internationalist ones. People’s sense of belonging in many corners of the world has begun to detach itself from the political bodies that govern them, and instead they have gravitated towards ethnic, cultural, or regional identities. Will people reject global integration in favor of tribalism? How can political states survive in a climate of border-bursting trade blocs and simultaneous nationalist movements to draw new borders?

According to Hobbesian theory, human interest in self-preservation inevitably causes some type of government to form. We reject anarchy because we want to be safe from the actions of others. We also form governing institutions around people whom we think we can trust. The fact that Iraqis currently are more inclined to fight under historic banners of sectarianism than to embrace the political state that they live in is a testament to that. 
IS, for example, an ultra-zealous contingent of radicalized Sunni Muslims with an ideology shaped more by PTSD than Muslim doctrine, has recruited Sunni fighters from as nearby as Syria and as far away as Australia in their battle for Iraq. For all its strength, however, IS has so far failed to expand into territories where the majority of the population is not Sunni, but Shia. The fact that most of Iraq is still under the control of the government has little to do with the Iraqi army or coalition bombings, but instead with the fact that the majority of Iraq is Shia. The very strength of the Sunni identity that allows IS to recruit abroad is also what stops it dead in its tracks somewhere northwest of Baghdad.
Shia militias, some formed organically, others backed by Iran, a country almost exclusively following Shiite practices, have been triggered by IS to grow in both numbers and in sophistication. In the north, Kurdish fighters fight IS as well, and have militias that share the goal of an autonomous Kurdish state in northern Iraq. Though a world caliphate still seems distant for the likes of IS, what’s more likely is that their structuring of military forces and political borders around a certain religious sect of Islam has provoked others to do the same on an unprecedented scale.
You also don’t have to travel to the Middle East to see the formation of mini-nations in full swing. It’s no surprise that the American inner cities suffering the most gang violence have also been the places where public institutions such as schools or the police were not helping the population. If your high school is so poorly funded that you can’t move on to college or even acquire a basic job, and the police in your neighborhood are just as likely to kill you as they are to protect you, joining a gang and selling drugs doesn’t look like such an absurd option; rather, it’s a survival tactic. People become nation-oriented, or simply tribally structured, for many reasons. But sustained instances of it are most frequently a response to the failure of civic institutions to take care of the population.
For many Europeans, this has led to distrust of EU institutions, followed by a nationalist resurgence built off of a growing distrust of internationalism and immigration. Nationalists from UKIP to Golden Dawn claim that their country’s sovereignty and very culture is under attack by the likes of foreign companies and cultures.
Immigration, particularly to Europe, also becomes contested due to the generous welfare packages that are offered to whoever is granted citizenship. The question of who deserves benefits is a tricky one. The concept of nationhood within nation states can lead to overt racist demonstrations, as well as more covert political innuendo such as the term “welfare tourism.”
More important still, by playing up the issue of immigration in the media, working-class populations are misled into believing their worst problems stem from the immigrants on their block instead of the social inequities perpetuated by the disfigured institutions within the very states in which they live. The independent film ''This is England'' illustrates this point beautifully by highlighting how English nationalist movements used the skinhead subculture as a tool to recruit working-class Brits to their cause in the 80s.
State sovereignty is and remains the fundamental pillar of making and enforcing all laws, especially human rights. Historically, populist movements around the globe (communities mobilizing based on a political as opposed to a cultural identity) have been the best remedy to institutional failure. The populist movement in Iceland is what allowed it to overthrow its banking elite and choose as a sovereign state not to indebt itself to foreign lenders. Populism is what fostered anti-corruption measures under Teddy Roosevelt in the United States. Populism is what has elected a Greek government that seeks more autonomy over its decisions, regardless of whether it remains in the EU or not.
We may revel in our own personal sense of regionalism, tribalism, or concept of nationhood. But the reality remains that our best hope for proper civic engagement that can enrich our communities rather than divide them is unequivocally the tool of state sovereignty. That, for all of its grandiose claims, does not hinge on the economy, the integrity of politicians, or global culture. It depends on whether human beings perceive the concept of state-belongingness as a means of strengthening society or cutting it up.

By Guylain Gustave Moke
Investigative Journalist
Political Analyst/Writer
World Affairs Expert

Photo-Credit: Political Analyst: Guylain Gustave Moke

Monday, 9 November 2015

BURUNDI: The aftermath of a fraught Presidential Election

Last Monday, President Pierre Nkurunziza warned that Burundian must give any illegal firearms by Saturday, or risk being ''dealt with as enemies of the nation'', Burundi has already descended into crisis in April, following the announcement on Nkurunziza's controversial bid for third term. 

On Friday, the U.N, condemned public statements in Burundi aimed at inciting hatred and violence, while voicing alarm at recent discoveries of corpses of civilians and  the U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said "inflammatory rhetoric is reprehensible and dangerous (and) will only serve to aggravate the situation in the country." "The secretary-general underlines the responsibility of the Burundian authorities to protect the civilian population, regardless of political affiliation, and to ensure that the widespread impunity for these heinous acts is brought to an immediate end''.

The months after Burundi held its third elections since the end its long civil war, violence has only deepened in the country. July's fraught presidential vote took place in an environment tainted by government crackdowns and fear, and there has been an alarming upsurge in arrests, detentions and killings, with bodies found almost daily in the streets of Bujumbura, the capital. 

Since then, targeted killings of key opposition figures have multiplied. In May opposition leader Zedi Feruzi, who headed the opposition Union for Peace Development Party and was an outspoken critic of Nkurunziza's third term, was killed in Bukumbura. In September, the Party' spokesman, Patrice Gahungu, was shot dead on his way home in Bujumbura. In October, the body of Charlotte Umugwaneza, an activist for the opposition Movement for Solidarity and Democracy  (MSD), was found in the Gikoma River. Human rights activist Pierre Claver Mbonimpa, survived assassination attempt in August. 

Opposition figures, however, are not the only victims. Attacks on journalists have grown in the past few months. Now, as results, the majority of the opposition is outside of the country and journalists are fleeing, leaving an information vacuum that social media has tried to fill. 

In a political scene dominated by oppression, the military has also seen its share of desertions, targeted killings and rumors of rebellions. Two high-ranked officers-the deputy commander of an elite infant unit, Maj Emmanuel Ndayikeza and Lt. Col. Edouard Nshimirimana-were reported missing earlier this month, along with material, including 100 army radios, strengthening rumors of rebellion. 

Gen, Adolphe Nshimirimana, Nkurunziza's long-time ally and deputy, was killed in August, allegedly by other soldiers. Only two weeks later, the former Chief of staff of the army, Col. Jean Bikomagu, a Tutsi who led the government forces, known as the Armed Forces of Burundi (FAB), during the civil war, was executed in front of his house. In September, the army's chief of staff and another former FAB leader, Gen, Prime Niyongabo, narrowly escaped an assassination attempt in Bujumbura. 

As violence has spiked in Burundi, international actors and the government's aid lifelines-the European Union, the African Union and the United States-have continued to push for consultations and dialogue. Simultaneously, they have issued sanctions, now with the twist of a possible first deployment of the East African Standby Force (EASF) to Burundi.

The EU first issued targeted sanctions against four individuals: three connected to the government and one who participated on the failed coup in May, making sure not to only target Nkurinziza's camp. Aid suspension and broader economic sanctions could follow if EU-brokered dialogue does not resolve the crisis. The EU invited Burundi's government to talks in Brussels late last month to imitate the 150-day consultation process under Article 96 in the Cotonou Agreement. 

If the talks fail, sanctions are likely to have severe effects on an already struggling population, since the EU is one of the main funders of Burundi's budget. The AU has joined forces with the EU and is compiling a list of individuals for targeted sanctions, while pushing for political dialogue through the East African Community's designated mediator, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni. 

The AU has also decided to increase the number of human rights observers in Burundi. Most consequentially, the AU's latest Peace and  Security Council communiqué raised the possibility of deploying the EASF to prevent further violence. A potential EASF deployment, which has already endorsed by a team of international envoys, would have several implications. 

For one, it would be the first deployment of one of the five regional African Standby Forces (ASF), and as such, would be an important test for the AU's African Peace and Security Architecture. The AU currently is undertaking its first filed exercise on a continental level, known as AMANI Africa, to test the operational readiness of the ASF, with more than 5,000 troops in South Africa. 

An EASF deployment would be a complete example of the AU's normative shift from non-intervention to a doctrine of non-indifference, meaning that the AU has the responsibility to protect a state's population from human rights violations. 

Yet an EASF deployment would also complicate the picture of the AU's peace-support operations in Africa. Burundi remains a contributor of troops to the African Union Mission in Somalia, so it could become both a peace-keeper and a country where the AU is trying to keep the peace. The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has already experienced that designation: In 2013, the Congolese army sent a battalion to the U.N. mission in the Central African Republic, while the U.N.'s peacekeeping mission in the DRC, known as MONUSCO-the largest peace operation in the world-was on the ground in Congo. 

However, the situation in Burundi is different for many reasons. One is the challenge to the Burundi military's new identity as peacekeeping army, should it be subject to an external intervention in its own state. Another is the fact that Burundi is itself part of the EASF, and is therefore a member of the same force that is supposed to intervene and solve its internal conflict. Third are the increasingly tense relations between Rwanda and Burundi, which undoubtedly will be stretched to the limit if Rwanda takes part in an intervening force. Finally, the question of consent is problematic, as it seems highly unlikely that Burundi's government would agree to the deployment of a military force on its territory, given its strong defense of the country's sovereignty. 

The result of EU talks to resolve Burundi's unrest will most likely determine whether the EASF is deployed or not. But the government's continuous attempts to isolate itself from international observers, recently by asking for the withdrawal of Belgium's ambassador, are not promising for conducive talks. 

Nkurinziza's own new national commission for dialogue has already been deemed a sham by opponents and is most likely going to be boycotted, so internal solutions appear far-fetched. 

In a region that faces several elections with president keen to stay in power in the coming years, the fate of Burundi serves as an important test. International pressure to solve the ongoing crisis is therefore crucial to avoid similar in neighboring countries. Yet it will be an uphill battle as many of Burundi's leaders appear willing to risk everything to maintain the status quo.

By Guylain Gustave Moke
Investigative Journalist
Political Analyst/Writer
African Affairs Expert

Photo-Credit: AFP- Burundi's President Pierre Nkurunziza

Climate Change: ''COP21''-The Paris Summit

When it comes to climate change, the world has reached a point of no return. that may sound ominous, but it is precisely where we need to be: unable to continue retreading old ground, we must resolutely set our future path. An important first step is taking shape at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris, where world leaders are on the verge of  agreeing on the most important international agreement on climate governance in more than 20 years.

The new UN agreement in Paris climate conference 2015 will take the form of a protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force, and will be applicable to all parties. It is being negotiated through a process known as the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP). In Warsaw (2013) and Lima (2014) agreed that all countries are to put forward their proposed emissions reduction targets for the 2015 agreement as ''intended nationally determined contributions'' well in advance on the Paris Conference. The contributions prepared at national level by each Party and submitted to the UNFCCC. The UNFCCC published these contributions and prepared, by November 2015, a synthesis report to assess whether they put us on track to keep global warming below 2*Celsius. A negotiating text for the 2015 agreement was agreed in Geneva in February 2015.

Yet important decisions remain to be made in charting a course toward a new and dynamic low-carbon economy, one capable of supporting a fast-growing and increasingly prosperous global population in the long-term. With citizens, business, and governments worldwide finally recognizing the universal nature of climate change, the outlook for this year's conference is substantially more positive than it was prior to the last attempt to reach a comprehensive global agreement, at the 2009 Copenhagen Summit (COP15). To be sure, the challenge ahead is as broad as it is complex; but it is becoming increasingly clear that making the transition to a low-carbon economy will bring considerable economic benefits.

Consider urbanization: In the next 15 years, the world's cities are set to grow dramatically, becoming home to 60% of the world's 8.5 billion people. How those cities are designed will matter for the environment and the economy. The difference between Atlanta and Barcelona is case in point. The two cities have a similar number of residents, but Atlanta's transport-related carbon-dioxide emissions exceed Barcelona's by a factor of six. A key reason for this urban sprawl: with a built-up area nearly 12 times larger than Barcelona, Atlanta implicitly encourages widespread private-vehicle use, boosting emissions, congestion, and air pollution.

Well-connected cities that feature efficient public transportation systems-cities like Barcelona-are healthier and more sustainable. Moreover, the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate estimates that such cities could reduce capital requirements for urban infrastructure by more than $3 trillion over the next 15 years.

Cutting-edge technological developments-in renewable energy and hybrid or electric vehicles, for example- will be indispensable in building these cities. Although much research remains to be done, such technologies are increasingly accessible. In bringing about change, however, vested interests are formidable sparring partner. Upending the status quo will be no easy feat.

Fortunately, public awareness of the effects of fossil-fuel consumption is growing:
On a macro-level, the World Health Organization recently revised its estimate of the number of premature deaths due to air pollution to seven million annually.
On a micro level, the masks commonly worn in heavily polluted cities, such as China, are visible sign of the need for change. Another challenge stems from the global nature of climate change. it is classic public-goods problem: in principle, it is an individual countries' self interest not to take action, while the rest of the world does.

Compounding the challenge further is the fact that benefits of actions taken today accrue in the distant future. Here, too, changing perceptions of climate change offer renewed hope for progress. Spurred by increased public awareness and mounting evidence that national economies can reap net benefits from policies to mitigate climate change, governments worldwide are pledging to do so-and taking to multilateral forums to display those commitments.

So far, 155 countries-including large emitters-have submitted to the UN plans describing their ''intend nationally determined contributions'' (INDCs) to the fight against climate change.

India, the world's third largest emitter, has pledged to reduce emissions intensively by 33-35% from 2005 levels, and generate 40% of its power from non-fossil-fuel sources, by 2030. Brazil promises that its greenhouse-gas emissions in 2025 will be 37% lower than 2005, and 43% lower by 2030. And the European Union has committed to a minimum emissions reduction of 40% from 1990 levels.

Perhaps most important, the United States and China-the world's top two emitters, which together account for more than one-third of global greenhouse-gas emissions-have finally stepped up, announcing concrete climate commitments in a joint statement last year. This injected significant momentum into global climate efforts.

Last month, Chinese President Xi Jinping went a step further, pledging to establish by 2017 a national market to set prices for CO2 emissions. The document (to be) signed in Paris will be the first treaty of a new era. Its hybrid governance structure-which combines top-down elements ( primarily in monitoring and verification) with bottom up commitments (the voluntary INDCs)-is revolutionary, as it enables us to avoid the deadlock that often characterizes large scale multilateral governance processes. Already, this new model has helped to encourage national participation and enhance transparency, with national policies being published openly on the UNFCCC website.

But one critical question remains unresolved. How can we ensure that these voluntary individual pledges add up to a collective solution to a global problem? Current calculations indicate that if the submitted INDCs, covering nearly 90% of global emissions, are implemented, global warning will probably still exceed 2* Celsius (3.6* Fahrenheit)-the threshold beyond which climate change's most disastrous consequences would be triggered.

It is therefore vital that negotiators in Paris work together to determine how to boost policy ambition. At this point of no return, countries need to link national plans to global-and thereby ensure that the world moves in the right direction.

By Guylain Gustave Moke
Investigative Journalist
World Affairs Expert

Photo-Credit: AFP

Friday, 6 November 2015

U.K.: The Political-Economy of Cameron's EU policy

Prime Minister David Cameron has promised to renegotiate Britain's EU ties and then hold a referendum by the end of 2017 on whether to remain a member. Cameron's European policy is grounded in fantasy that will never play out. Instead, the UK may be headed for collapse. 

Proponents of leaving the European Union argue that the grouping, far from stimulating Britain's trade, restrains it. An exit (brexit) would allow Britain to trade more easily with the rest of the world while maintaining European links through an association agreement with the EU. The experts warn that Britain's exit from European Union would see less foreign investment in Britain and a showdown in consumption. 

Of course, British people have to debate the UK’s place in the European Union but they must also understand the risks the UK prime minister is taking with his ill-considered referendum promise, his neglect of what a European referendum would mean for Scotland’s place in the UK, and his breathtaking indifference to the effect of a destabilising referendum campaign on investment and GDP growth. 

Cameron, pushed from pillar to post by backbench Tory MPs, has had to promise a referendum on UK membership no later than 2017. He says he would stride from Berlin to Paris to Rome securing agreement to fundamental revision of the EU’s core treaties.

Cameron’s position is fantastical. Neither his suppositions about the reception he would get in EU capitals nor his timetable accords with reality. Angela Merkel and François Holland have not the remotest intention of opening up the treaties – nor would the leaders of those countries, such as Finland and the Netherlands, which traditionally have been more sympathetic to the UK position. Even if they assented, treaty change is lengthy and distracting, forcing such countries as the Republic of Ireland into referendums.
The Scottish National Party's gains in this year election will serve as a springboard for the Scottish parliamentary elections due in May 2016. The platform will be predictable: Scotland will not be led out of the EU by a Tory government. So victory for Cameron in the EU referendum would trigger another referendum on Scotland’s place in the UK. On present evidence, the advocates of independence would win it.
It’s a dismaying syllogism. If the UK leaves the EU, the UK ceases to exist, crumbling into a Tory-dominated England, an independent Scotland and hugely disaffected Wales and Northern Ireland.
So there is one good (domestic) reason the UK must remain part of the EU. A rushed exit, engineered by a partisan prime minister, would further destabilise the UK, potentially leaving a rump “little England”. Many people look at Cameron’s bland face and his presentational skills and think: Surely he is too practical a political leader to allow this scenario to unfold. 

But they fail to see that he is both a strongly ideological and a hugely divisive figure. Under Cameron, class, region, and community have been pitted against one another. It was only late in the referendum campaign that he woke up to the possibility of Scotland seceding and grudgingly linked with Labour in arguing for the union. Over Europe, he has vacillated and wavered.
The future of the UK in Europe has, in other words, become intimately bound up with right-left politics within this country. There is, if you like, a negative reason for opposing exit. A rush for the door could cement the political strength of the reactionary right, the Daily Mail and the Murdoch media that support it. 
Positive reasons for staying in are many and various. The economic case is self-evident. It takes a great effort to reject the data and evidence that says a precondition of sustainable GDP growth is maintaining the single market. The UK’s 21st-century division of labour is keyed to trade across Europe. Markets for energy, financial services, and software are of course not confined to the EU, but commerce within the union provides a platform and “home market” for world trade.
The security case is equally self-evident. Unannounced flights by Russian bombers across the North Sea cannot be separated from instability in the east of Europe. In austerity, the case for defence cooperation grows stronger by the day. Nigel Farage and some Tories spin fantasies about NATO somehow functioning separately from the EU; their recipe would lead to the collapse of Europe into edgy competition and, at worst, the revival of the conflict that scarred Europe for centuries.
Of course, the EU is not a social democratic paradise. Dramatic reform is needed, for example, on the tax front. But this club has never, despite Franco-German rhetoric, been based on a single model or path. There always has been and there remains a UK “take” on institutions and programmes, which may align with the view of other member states, or may not – that is the stuff of diplomacy and negotiation, skills that under David Cameron have been rotting away.
Cameron's EU policy threatens UK participation in the EU with dire jeopardy, huge geopolitical, economic, and security consequences – for the rest of the EU, certainly, but principally for the civility, prosperity, and social liberalism of Britain.

By Guylain Gustave Moke
Investigative Journalist
World Affairs Expert

Photo-Credit: AFP- UK Prime Minister: David Cameron