Geopolitical Challenges & Dynamics

Contents:

  • Online Resources.
  • Articles & Talks.
  • Blogs – [Scroll down to find].

‘Predictions in 2023 coming true in 2024.’

‘Will the geopolitical wind change direction in Gaza? – A major shift for U.S. policy in the Middle East away from a U.S.-led security-heavy model toward a more balanced approach that carries less of a risk of escalation or overstretch and that allows regional powers to take the lead.’

–  ‘Have Biden Sunak & Starmer collectively made a geopolitical mistake in not calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza?’ 

– ‘Centre for Geopolitics at Cambridge University Panel Event about the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).’ [04.08.2023].

– ‘Mediating Cultural Heritage Disputes – Do State Institutions owe a wider duty under international law to strive to be better “collaborative custodians” of world heritage?’

– ‘What is the economic impact of Brexit on the cost of living crisis?’

– ‘Political realignment in the West.’

– ‘Requiem for world order.’

– ‘Can might ensure right?’

– ‘The more institutions there are the more stable society is.’

– ‘Holberg Debate 2023.’

– ‘Two Lessons of Diplomacy’.

– ‘Is adoption of the Euro a way of both: (i) preserving the unity of the Union; and (ii) re-joining the EU?’

– ‘Annexation of territory in Ukraine – Russification is not new. It is a deeply embedded geopolitical strategy of the Russian state.’

– ‘Was China Betting on Russian Defeat All Along?’

– Fiduciary Principles of International Relations.’

– ‘US shifts goals on war in Ukraine amid concerns over Russia’s nuclear capabilities.’

– ‘Together we stand – divided we fall?’

– ‘Is the pen mightier than the sword?’

– ‘Is pressure mounting for UN Security Council reform?’

– ‘Cultural Heritage Safe Zones.’

– ‘No Fly Zones.’

– ‘Diplomacy and defence are not substitutes for one another – 1961 Address at  University of Washington by John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 25th President of the United States of America.

– ‘Cultural Heritage Funds – Can an ESG Fund be a Charitable Trust?’

– ‘Afghanistan – Transforming a geo-political fiasco into a diplomatic opportunity.’

– ‘Universality of values: Cultural dimension of geopolitical competition –  Conference Talks 14.1.2022 organised by the European External Action Service.’

– ‘Cultural Heritage Diplomacy & Humanitarian Mediation – The Paradox of Machiavelli’s Principle of Survival.’

Online Resources

Articles and talks

Please note that links to Foreign Affairs articles are only available to view on my PC and are not accessible to visitors to the webiste. They are assembled here for my future research and writing.

The Age of Amorality: Can America Save the Liberal Order Through Illiberal Means? (foreignaffairs.com)

Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski: US Attributes Its Worst Sins to Others (youtube.com)

Scott Ritter: Explaining Ukraine’s Military Failures (youtube.com)

Matt Hoh: Aaron Bushnell (youtube.com)

Outrage As Gaza Ceasefire Debate Shut Down By Speaker – w/. SNP’s Stephen Flynn (youtube.com)

Think Tories are Islamophobic? You don’t know the half of it – we have the figures (msn.com)

Piers Morgan vs John Mearsheimer | On Putin, Israel-Hamas And More (youtube.com)

Kissinger and the True Meaning of Détente: Reinventing a Cold War Strategy for the Contest With China (foreignaffairs.com)

India’s Feet of Clay: How Modi’s Supremacy Will Hinder His Country’s Rise (foreignaffairs.com)

The Real Challenge of Trump 2.0 | Foreign Affairs

The Two-State Mirage: How to Break the Cycle of Violence in a One-State Reality (foreignaffairs.com)

https://mearsheimer.substack.com/p/talking-with-lt-col-danny-davis-about

American Illusions and Post-Cold War Geopolitics Collide in Ukraine | Foreign Affairs

Prof. John Mearsheimer: US and the Unipolar Moment (youtube.com)

A War Putin Still Can’t Win: To Thwart Russia, America Needs a Long-Term Strategy—and Ukraine Needs Long-Range Weapons (foreignaffairs.com)

Gaza and the End of the Rules-Based Order | Foreign Affairs

The Strange Resurrection of the Two-State Solution | Foreign Affairs

Politics Can’t Stop at the Water’s Edge | Foreign Affairs

War and International Politics | John Mearsheimer | NDISC Seminar Series (youtube.com)

Experts analyze state of Ukraine war 2 years into Russia’s invasion | PBS NewsHour

Why America Can’t Have It All | Foreign Affairs

Russia’s Dangerous New Friends: How Moscow Is Partnering With the Axis of Resistance (foreignaffairs.com)

After Free Trade: Trump’s Legacy and the Future of the Global Economy (foreignaffairs.com)

John Mearsheimer: “The Israel lobby is as powerful as ever” – New Statesman

Domestic Drivers of China’s Foreign Policy in MENA – Atlantic Council

How Gaza Reunited the Middle East | Foreign Affairs

How the Israel-Hamas War in Gaza Is Changing Arab Views | Foreign Affairs

How to End America’s Hypocrisy on Gaza | Foreign Affairs

https://omny.fm/shows/the-munk-debates-podcast/munk-dialogue-with-john-mearsheimer-why-ukraine-ne

Munk Debate on Russia ukraine – Google Search

REVEALED: Why Israel Gets Politicians’ Uncritical Support – w/. Chris Doyle (youtube.com)

Interview with Major-General Charles Herbert – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yPyo0hBhkXA

Israel’s Self-Destruction | Foreign Affairs

Russia’s Adaptation Advantage: Early in the War, Moscow Struggled to Shift Gears—but Now It’s Outlearning Kyiv (foreignaffairs.com)

Bill Burns: Spycraft and Statecraft (foreignaffairs.com)

Absence of US Strategy, Middle East & Ukraine – John Mearsheimer, Alexander Mercouris & Glenn Diesen (youtube.com)

Why the War in Gaza Makes a Nuclear Iran More Likely | Foreign Affairs

Prof. John Mearsheimer : Can Israel Win in Gaza? (youtube.com)

Trump-Proofing Europe | Foreign Affairs

China doesn’t have as much leverage in the Middle East as one thinks—at least when it comes to Iran – Atlantic Council

Only the Middle East Can Fix the Middle East | Foreign Affairs

The death of ideology | John Mearsheimer [Full Interview] (youtube.com)

john mearsheimer / Theory & practice of security conference (youtube.com)

Col Lawrence Wilkerson : War Powers Act (youtube.com)

Order of Oppression: Africa’s Quest for a New International System (foreignaffairs.com)

The Next Global War: How Today’s Regional Conflicts Resemble the Ones That Produced World War II (foreignaffairs.com)

The Myths That Warp How America Sees Russia—and Vice Versa | Foreign Affairs

The Greater Goal in Gaza | Foreign Affairs

Peace Between Israelis and Palestinians Remains Possible | Foreign Affairs

Palestinians face bleak prospects of ethnic cleansing or apartheid, warns US political scientist (youtube.com)

EU pushes for Palestinian statehood, rejecting Israeli leader’s insistence it’s off the table (msn.com)

John Mearsheimer on the Battle Between Liberalism vs Nationalism (youtube.com)

Prof. John Mearsheimer: Can Ukraine Win by Playing Defense in 2024 (youtube.com)

How Wars Don’t End: Ukraine, Russia, and the Lessons of World War I (foreignaffairs.com)

Iran foreign minister in Davos: Attacks on Israel will end if Gaza war stops (msn.com)

How the War in Gaza Revived the Axis of Resistance | Foreign Affairs

Are the Houthi Red Sea interceptions going to bring about a regional war? | Israel War on Gaza News | Al Jazeera

https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/houthis-vow-keep-up-red-sea-attacks-after-us-led-strikes-2024-01-15/

‘Yemen attacks unconstitutional’: Democrats say Biden acted without approval – India Today

US Strikes on Yemen are Reckless and Unconstitutional | Common Dreams

Houthis vow revenge after UK and US launch air strikes on Yemen | The Independent

Middle East crisis: Labour’s Wes Streeting says South Africa’s genocide case against Israel is a ‘distraction’ | News UK Video News | Sky News

The Greater Goal in Gaza | Foreign Affairs

Iran: US can’t call for restraint while backing Israel’s war in Gaza | Reuters

It’s not only Israel on trial. South Africa is testing the west’s claim to moral superiority | Nesrine Malik | The Guardian

This past week, we all became South Africans | Israel War on Gaza | Al Jazeera

South Africa’s genocide case against Israel is imperfect but persuasive. It may win | Kenneth Roth | The Guardian

UK and US strikes on Houthi sites in Yemen are self-defence, says Rishi Sunak – BBC News

Experts react: What to know about US and UK strikes on the Houthis in Yemen – Atlantic Council

Hundreds of thousands protest in Yemen after US and UK strike Houthi targets (france24.com)

World reacts to US, UK attacks on Houthi targets in Yemen | Israel War on Gaza News | Al Jazeera

Houthis Fume After U.S., UK Attack Yemen; Saudi Urges For Self-restraint | ‘Bad Mistake’ (youtube.com)

US Military Strikes On Houthis Leave NATO Allies Angry? Why France, Italy, Spain Snubbed Biden (youtube.com)

By bombing Yemen, the west risks repeating its own mistakes | Mohamad Bazzi | The Guardian

Why isolating the Houthis was a strategic mistake | Chatham House – International Affairs Think Tank

The War in Ukraine Is Not a Stalemate | Foreign Affairs

The Ukraine-Taiwan Tradeoff | Foreign Affairs

Stakes high as South Africa brings claim of genocidal intent against Israel (msn.com)

We all see the horrific videos of suffering in Gaza. We must not look away (msn.com)

South Africa’s genocide case against Israel sets up a high-stakes legal battle at the UN’s top court (msn.com)

Gaza war extends into Beirut with killing of Hamas leader (msn.com)

Why Gaza Matters | Foreign Affairs

How Israel Could Lose America | Foreign Affairs

What War Games Really Reveal | Foreign Affairs

Don’t Give Up on a Better Russia | Foreign Affairs

Europe Must Ramp Up Its Support for Ukraine | Foreign Affairs

Disunited Kingdom: Will Nationalism Break Britain? | Foreign Affairs

How to Thwart China’s Bid to Lead the Global South | Foreign Affairs

In Dealing With the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, America Has No Easy Way Out | Foreign Affairs

 Israel’s Muddled Strategy in Gaza | Foreign Affairs

The Real Russian Nuclear Threat | Foreign Affairs

How the Israel-Hamas War Is Reshaping the Middle East | Foreign Affairs

A Palestinian Revival: How to Build a New Political Order After Israel’s Assault on Gaza (foreignaffairs.com)

Israel’s Unfinished Democracy: How the War in Gaza Could Lead to a New Constitutional Order (foreignaffairs.com)

The Atrophy of American Statecraft | Foreign Affairs

Biden in a bind as Netanhayu ready to flout any US attempt to rein in Israel | Israel-Gaza war | The Guardian

The Big One: Preparing for a Long War With China (foreignaffairs.com)

Fareed Zakaria: The Self-Doubting Superpower (foreignaffairs.com)

Protecting the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty: New ELN policy briefs (mailchi.mp)

Taiwan and the True Sources of Deterrence | Foreign Affairs

Judging Henry Kissinger: Did the Ends Justify the Means? (foreignaffairs.com)

Henry Kissinger’s Contradictions: How Strategic Insight and Moral Myopia Shaped America’s Greatest Statesman (foreignaffairs.com)

What Might Man-Induced Climate Change Mean? | Foreign Affairs

Israel’s Failed Bombing Campaign in Gaza: Collective Punishment Won’t Defeat Hamas (foreignaffairs.com)

Who will shine a light on the atrocities in Gaza if all the journalists are wiped out? (msn.com)

Biden made mistake in ‘refusing to call for ceasefire’ in Gaza, expert says – Perspective (france24.com)

Erdogan tells UN chief Israel must be tried in international courts for Gaza crimes (msn.com)

Why Israel Won’t Change: The War in Gaza Will Likely Reinforce the Country’s Rightward Tilt (foreignaffairs.com)

A Containment Strategy for Ukraine | Foreign Affairs

Gaza: Biden’s Blind Support for Israel Deepens Erosion of US Global Standing (moroccoworldnews.com)

Extend the Cease-Fire in Gaza—but Don’t Stop There | Foreign Affairs

Washington’s Looming Middle Eastern Quagmire | Foreign Affairs

Global at birth: a relational sociology of disciplinary knowledge in IR and the case of India | International Theory | Cambridge Core

john mearsheimet israel gaza youtube cis – Search Videos (bing.com)

America and China Are Not Yet in a Cold War | Foreign Affairs

Episode 40: Taking Difficult Decisions – YouTube

Hamas’s Asymmetric Advantage: What Does It Mean to Defeat a Terrorist Group? (foreignaffairs.com)

A Paradigm Shift in America’s Asia Policy | Foreign Affairs

The War That Remade the Middle East | Foreign Affairs

No end in sight: Israel’s search for a Gaza strategy (ft.com)

Tens of thousands of religious party supporters rally in Pakistan against Israel’s bombing in Gaza (msn.com)

Will the Israel-Hamas War Spread? | Crisis Group

Beyond the Fighting in Gaza: A Regional (and Global) Powder Keg | Wilson Center

It looks inevitable that the war in Gaza will spread. Is it? | Anatol Lieven | The Guardian

Can the U.S. Handle China While Supporting Israel and Ukraine Wars? – The New York Times (nytimes.com)

https://www.cis.org.au/commentary/video/israel-hamas-ukraine-russia-and-china-john-mearsheimer-on-why-the-us-is-in-serious-trouble/

Israel-Hamas, Ukraine-Russia and China: John Mearsheimer on why the US is in serious trouble! – The Centre for Independent Studies (cis.org.au)

In Depth Q&A: Mearsheimer and Varghese disagree on US Grand Strategy, Ukraine, Russia and China. – The Centre for Independent Studies (cis.org.au)

John Mearsheimer on Hamas-Israel war | Lex Fridman Podcast Clips – YouTube

John Mearsheimer: Israel-Palestine, Russia-Ukraine, China, NATO, and WW3 | Lex Fridman Podcast #401 – YouTube

Origins of Hamas/Israeli War w/ John J. Mearsheimer – YouTube

John Mearsheimer on the State of the Israel Lobby | Institute for Palestine Studies (palestine-studies.org)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYdPSAlhLQA

Redefining Success in Ukraine | Foreign Affairs

US foreign policy in a critical year ahead – YouTube

The Virtues of Restraint | Foreign Affairs

UN experts point to evidence of ‘genocidal incitement’ against Palestinians (msn.com)

ISRAEL – PALESTINE The other side of Gaza: a thousand Palestinians displaced in settlers’ ‘war’ in the West Bank (asianews.it)

‘A new Nakba’: settler violence forces Palestinians out of West Bank villages | Palestinian territories | The Guardian

Israel says its main aim is to ‘destroy’ Hamas. But what happens to Gaza after the war? (msn.com)

Israel-Hamas war live: UN investigating ways to evacuate al-Shifa hospital, says WHO; IDF says it has hit Hamas leader’s house (msn.com)

ISRAEL – PALESTINE The other side of Gaza: a thousand Palestinians displaced in settlers’ ‘war’ in the West Bank (asianews.it)

War between Israel and Gaza triggers expulsions of Palestinians in the West Bank: Israeli settlers take advantage of Hamas war to push out Palestinians in the West Bank | International | EL PAÍS English (elpais.com)

Iran’s ‘Axis of Resistance’ against Israel faces trial by fire | Reuters

The Ghosts of Lebanon | Foreign Affairs

Iran President Raisi says action, not words, needed on Gaza (msn.com)

10 Years On: China’s Belt & Road Initiative and its Future in the Middle East – Atlantic Council

Gulf states and the Indo-Pacific: agents or objects of geopolitical competition? (tandfonline.com)

How the World Lost Faith in the UN | Foreign Affairs

The Right Way to Deter China From Attacking Taiwan | Foreign Affairs

G7’s political relevance at stake over Israel-Gaza response (msn.com)

Pro-Palestine rallies aren’t ‘hate marches’ – they’re an expression of solidarity, helplessness and frustration (msn.com)

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2023/nov/03/failed-to-be-a-critical-friend-uk-accused-of-taking-eye-off-israel-palestine-crisis

UN experts demand ceasefire, warn Gaza is ‘running out of time’ | Israel-Palestine conflict News | Al Jazeera

Protesters in Israel call for ceasefire as pressure mounts over fate of hostages (france24.com)

Immediate ceasefire needed to end civilian suffering in Israel/OPT (amnesty.org)

UN expert warns of new instance of mass ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, calls for immediate ceasefire | OHCHR

Chinese FM calls for deescalation, ceasefire in Gaza-Xinhua (news.cn)

Arab states to press Blinken for Gaza ceasefire | Reuters

Will the Israel-Hamas war upend China’s Middle East ambitions? | Israel-Palestine conflict | Al Jazeera

China will focus on Israel-Hamas ceasefire as UN Security Council president, its ambassador says | South China Morning Post (scmp.com)

Fueling Middle East Conflicts—or Dousing the Flames – Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

MENA countries should lead the way de-escalating the Israel–Hamas war | Chatham House – International Affairs Think Tank

Can world powers urge Israel to stop its attacks in the occupied West Bank? | TV Shows | Al Jazeera

Salam Fayyad: A Plan for Peace in Gaza (foreignaffairs.com)

The End of Israel’s Gaza Illusions | Foreign Affairs

‘Failed to be a critical friend’: UK accused of taking eye off Israel-Palestine crisis | Foreign policy | The Guardian

Irish premier says Israel actions ‘more approaching revenge than self-defence’ (msn.com)

https://www.dundalkdemocrat.ie/news/national-news/1338794/irish-president-calls-for-verification-of-facts-in-israel-hamas-conflict.html

Why Netanyahu Must Go | Foreign Affairs

China vows closer Iran ties on multilateral forums in first meeting since latest Israel-Gaza war | South China Morning Post (scmp.com)

General Says Middle East is a Theater for Strategic Competition > U.S. Department of Defense > Defense Department News

Pope calls for Israel-Hamas ceasefire, hostage release | Reuters

Labour frontbenchers in revolt over Gaza stance as Starmer warned he could lose seats | The Independent

Israel is reassessing diplomatic relations with Turkey due to leader’s ‘increasingly harsh’ remarks (msn.com)

How the Gaza conflict is dividing Europe’s left (msn.com)

Does Biden’s unwavering support for Israel risk his chance for re-election? (msn.com)

War in the Middle East has turned world order upside down, but there are signs all is not lost | Adam Boulton (msn.com)

Damning evidence of war crimes as Israeli attacks wipe out entire families in Gaza – Amnesty International

UN expert warns of new instance of mass ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, calls for immediate ceasefire | OHCHR

Caabu Press Release:  Imposing a total siege on Gaza is a war crime. No politician should condone this. | Council for Arab-British Understanding

Salam Fayyad: A Plan for Peace in Gaza (foreignaffairs.com)

Israel’s Laws of War | Foreign Affairs

Irish premier says EU position on Israel-Palestine conflict is evolving (msn.com)

Itamar Ben-Gvir, Israel’s Minister of Chaos | The New Yorker

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/8/27/who-is-israels-far-right-pro-settler-security-minister-ben-gvir

‘How can I vote for Biden?’ Arab Americans in Michigan ‘betrayed’ by Israel support (msn.com)

Joe Biden’s peace mission to Israel exposed the limits of US global influence | Martin Kettle | The Guardian

What Palestinians Really Think of Hamas | Foreign Affairs

The new global arms race will lead to catastrophe. The west can pursue it – or choose peace (msn.com)

Labour could tear itself in two over Israel and Palestine (telegraph.co.uk)

Keir Starmer warned he risks ‘plunging party into crisis’ amid backlash over Labour’s stance on Israel in Gaza | The Independent

Europe and the Gaza conflict | Centre for European Reform (cer.eu)

The Gaza war will be the final straw for Netanyahu’s long political career – Atlantic Council

High noon in the Commons on Israel and Gaza – POLITICO

Huge majority of Brits support Israel/Hamas ceasefire – poll | The National

UK politicians have got it wrong on the Israel-Hamas war. We must hold them to account | Owen Jones | The Guardian

Huge majority oppose UK Government policy and support Israel/Hamas ceasefire – poll (yahoo.com)

Justin Welby accused of ‘relegating’ plight of Palestinian Christians (msn.com)

Israel ‘breaking international law’ in Gaza – Sarwar (msn.com)

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/10/16/opinion/israel-gaza-war.html

The Return of Nuclear Escalation | Foreign Affairs

Plato and the Idea of Political Office | Gresham College

Plato (gresham.ac.uk)

Britain has tilted its attention away from the Middle East – has Rishi Sunak neglected it at his peril? | World News | Sky News

Queen Rania of Jordan attacks the West over ‘double standard’ response to Israel Gaza war (msn.com)

Israel vows to ‘teach UN a lesson’ by banning staff after comments Hamas attack ‘did not happen in a vacuum’ (msn.com)

Jake Sullivan: The Sources of American Power (foreignaffairs.com)

Shock, rage, increasing unease: UK’s Jewish community wrestles with response to war | Israel-Hamas war | The Guardian

Leading Jewish lawyers including Lord Neuberger call for Israel to abide by laws of war in Palestine conflict | Law Gazette

Never in Oxfam’s history have we seen a humanitarian crisis like the one in Gaza | Dhananjayan Sriskandarajah | The Guardian

Israel’s endgame is to push Palestinians into Egypt – and the west is cheering them on (msn.com)

Will the War in Gaza Ignite the Middle East? | Foreign Affairs

US official resigns over Biden’s ‘destructive, unjust’ arms to Israel | US foreign policy | The Guardian

Biden’s Israel trip reflects a deeply flawed and hypocritical foreign policy (msn.com)

Questions and Answers: October 2023 Hostilities between Israel and Palestinian Armed Groups | Human Rights Watch (hrw.org)

https://www.ohchr.org/en/press-releases/2023/10/commission-inquiry-collecting-evidence-war-crimes-committed-all-sides-israel

The New Economic Security State | Foreign Affairs

What Comes After Hamas? A Plan to Return the Gaza Strip to Palestinians and Keep Israel Safe (foreignaffairs.com)

The Long Unipolar Moment? | Foreign Affairs

The Age of Great-Power Distraction | Foreign Affairs

Suzanne Maloney: The End of America’s Exit Strategy in the Middle East: Hamas’s Assault—and Iran’s Role in It—Lays Bare Washington’s Illusions (foreignaffairs.com)

A Second Front in Hamas’s War? How to Stop Hezbollah From Exploiting Israel’s Turmoil (foreignaffairs.com)

What Israel Must Do: Disarming Hamas Will Be Costly but Essential for Peace (foreignaffairs.com)

The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) – YouTube

[My Q. was: ‘What are the geopolitical implications & potential consequences of the UK withdrawing from the CPTPP in order to rejoin the EU as a full member?’
To listen to the answers provided by the panel of expert speakers fast forward to 38.15].

How States Think: The Rationality of Foreign Policy | Cato Institute

Labour foreign policy is a lot like Conservative foreign policy. The Israel–Hamas war is no exception | Chatham House – International Affairs Think Tank

Debate Excerpts: Rory Stewart vs David Winnick (parallelparliament.co.uk)

2023 Annual Survey of UK Public Opinion on Foreign Policy and Global Britain – British Foreign Policy Group (bfpg.co.uk)

Growing Asian Ties to the Gulf and Potential for Strategic Cooperation – The Jerusalem Strategic Tribune (jstribune.com)

Afghanistan – LSE Press

John Mearsheimer: Ukraine war is a long-term danger – YouTube

The Korea Model: Why an Armistice Offers the Best Hope for Peace in Ukraine (foreignaffairs.com)

America’s Israel Conundrum | Foreign Affairs

Unravelling Turkish involvement in the Sahel | Clingendael

The Upside of U.S.-Chinese Competition | Foreign Affairs

https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/southeast-asia/2022-05-11/threading-needle-southeast-asia

The Trouble With Trans-Pacific Trade | Foreign Affairs

Biden’s Foreign Policy Is a Mess | Foreign Affairs

LIVE | Congress holds UFO hearing – YouTube

Glowing Auras and ‘Black Money’: The Pentagon’s Mysterious U.F.O. Program – The New York Times (nytimes.com)

No Longer in Shadows, Pentagon’s U.F.O. Unit Will Make Some Findings Public – The New York Times (nytimes.com)

Why ‘The New York Times,’ ‘The Washington Post,’ and Politico Didn’t Publish a Seemingly Bombshell Report About UFOs | Vanity Fair

Retired Navy pilot remembers encounter with ‘Tic Tac’ UFO – YouTube

China’s Rise in the Global South: The Middle East, Africa, and Beijing’s Alternative World Order – YouTube

China’s Rise in the Global South: The Middle East, Africa, and Beijing’s Alternative World Order – YouTube

Israel’s Dangerous Shadow War With Iran: Why the Risk of Escalation Is Growing (foreignaffairs.com)

The Middle East in the US-India-China Strategic Triangle – YouTube

Chinese Multilateralism in the Middle East – YouTube

Is Russia Losing Its Grip on Central Asia? | Foreign Affairs

The Beginning of the End for Putin? Prigozhin’s Rebellion Ended Quickly, but It Spells Trouble for the Kremlin (foreignaffairs.com)

There’s No Such Thing as a Great Power | Foreign Affairs

Rethinking European energy relations in times of crisis | Clingendael

At least a million Ukrainians need to return for reconstruction | Clingendael

The Treacherous Path to a Better Russia: Ukraine’s Future and Putin’s Fate (foreignaffairs.com)

The Beginning of the End for Putin? | Foreign Affairs

Prigozhin’s Rebellion, Putin’s Fate, and Russia’s Future (foreignaffairs.com)

Don’t Count the Dictators Out | Foreign Affairs

From revolutions to rapprochement: The end of the ‘2011 era’ in the Middle East? | Middle East Eye

The geopolitics of China’s Belt & Road Initiative and Westward focus – YouTube

The geopolitical challenges of China’s growing influence in the Gulf, with Jonathan Fulton – YouTube

Ukraine’s Trump problem & immigration climbs higher – The Week in 60 Minutes | SpectatorTV – YouTube

Ep 1 | Susan Shirk on Overreach: How China Derailed Its Peaceful Rise – YouTube

Overreach: How China Derailed its Peaceful Rise | Susan Shirk – YouTube

Tony Blair meets with the Good Friday Agreement Generation – YouTube

Ukraine, Russia, and the Future of the Liberal Order – Hagel lecture series – YouTube

Kevin Rudd: The World According to Xi Jinping | Foreign Affairs

How to Stop Chinese Coercion: The Case for Collective Resilience (foreignaffairs.com)

The EU and Geopolitics in the Mediterranean | IAI Istituto Affari Internazionali

What Is In It For Us? China’s BRI and the Middle East – YouTube

18 June 2020 – Dr Jonathan Fulton – China between Iran and the Gulf Monarchies – YouTube

China’s Vision for a New World Order – YouTube

Chinese Soft Power Projection in MENA – YouTube

Chinese Community Building in the Middle East: Chinese in Dubai – YouTube

Group Statement: Protecting nuclear arms control is a global imperative

The BRI and Its Rivals: The Building and Rebuilding of Eurasia in the 21st Century > National Defense University Press > News Article View (ndu.edu)

Twists and Turns: The Pragmatism Behind Turkey’s Foreign-Policy Pivots (institute.global)

How China’s Echo Chamber Threatens Taiwan | Foreign Affairs

China Inside Out – YouTube

China is trying to create a wedge between the US and Gulf allies. Washington should take note. – Atlantic Council

The Story Behind China’s Role in the Iran-Saudi Deal • Stimson Center

US, Israel, and GCC perspectives on China-MENA relations – Atlantic Council

China is happy about the Abraham Accords and the GCC crisis coming to an end – Atlantic Council

https://thediplomat.com/2021/08/how-the-abraham-accords-disrupted-china-israel-relations/

The Prince: Searching for Xi Jinping | The Economist

Full article: Dialectics and World Politics (tandfonline.com)

https://www.acaps.org/country/sudan/crisis/complex-crisis

On Geopolitics Episode 28: Knowing your enemy (Part 2 of 2) | Centre for Geopolitics (cam.ac.uk)

https://www.cfg.polis.cam.ac.uk/commentary/geopolitics-episode-27-knowing-your-enemy

The World Beyond Ukraine | Foreign Affairs

The 25th Anniversary of the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Full text of Pope Francis’ Urbi et Orbi blessing for Easter 2023 | Catholic News Agency

A New Change For Britain? Blog by Gina Miller (trueandfairparty.uk)

Blundering on the Brink | Foreign Affairs

Network reflections: Xi’s visit to Moscow | European Leadership Network

Centre for Geopolitics | Providing historically-grounded approaches to enduring geopolitical problems. (cam.ac.uk)

Analysis: China’s Xi takes ‘diplomatic dance’ to Russia | Reuters

Top economist Mohamed El-Erian blames Fed for policy mistakes that can trigger a recession | Fortune

Kevin Rudd on ABC 730 – YouTube

The hopes that failed: the war in Ukraine one year on | Centre for Geopolitics (cam.ac.uk)

Russia-Ukraine War: Insights and Analysis | Harvard Kennedy School

Munich Security Conference | Centre for Geopolitics (cam.ac.uk)

Remarks by Vice President Harris at the Munich Security Conference | The White House

Exclusive interview with Prof. John J. Mearsheimer on Ukraine crisis – YouTube

The Holberg Debate | Holbergprisen (holbergprize.org)

Rory Stewart OBE: “Failed States – and How Not to Fix Them” – YouTube

Aid, Trade, Diplomacy and Defence with Rory Stewart and Mary Harper – YouTube

“Totally mad”: Rory Stewart on the UK’s withdrawal from Afghanistan | Red Box – YouTube

John Mearsheimer | The liberal international order – YouTube

“World on the Edge”: the crisis of the Western liberal order | LSE Online Event – YouTube

John J. Mearsheimer, “The False Promise of Liberal Hegemony” – YouTube

“The Future of the Liberal International Order” with John Ikenberry and John Mearsheimer – YouTube

Dr. Francis Fukuyama – Political Order and Political Decay – YouTube

Political order, electoral chaos — with Francis Fukuyama | BRADLEY LECTURES – YouTube

Blogs

‘Predictions in 2023 coming true in 2024’
‘Trump will be re-elected’, see: New poll: Biden gets low marks on Israel, particularly from young voters | CNN Politics

https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/biden-approval-rating/ [38.8% approval rating 05.02.2024].

‘Labour will lose a ley constituency in its base’, see: : British Muslim support for Labour plummets, shock poll finds (msn.com)

‘US will become militarily overstretched because of endless conflict in Ukraine & Gaza’.

There is now a widely held view amongst expert commentators that the war in Gaza is almost certain to escalate into a major regional conflict: ‘Absence of US Strategy, Middle East & Ukraine – John Mearsheimer, Alexander Mercouris & Glenn Diesen 

In my blog, on the ‘International Humanitarian Law’ page of the website – ‘Have Biden Sunak & Starmer collectively made a geopolitical mistake in not calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza?’, I observed,
‘As Graham Allison wrote in “Destined For War – Can America And China Escape Thucydides Trap?” (2017) [p.152] – China will expect America to eventually pivot back to ongoing wars in the Middle East, or Russian threats to Europe, or its problems at home. It is also safe to assume that the Chinese government will be ruthlessly realistic in assessing the military correlation of forces between China and the US, and thus in forecasting the outcome of any potential military encounter.’ This begs a question, have President Biden, Prime Minister Sunak & Sir Keir Starmer, each made a geopolitical mistake in not calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, because if the conflict spreads within MENA, this will result in further US involvement, thereby depleting resources available to contain China by pivoting to SE Asia. In other words, have they each made an error of political calculation and judgment, which in the long-term will harm the national security interests of both the United States and the United Kingdom?’

So if Trump beats Biden, then what will his geopolitical options and priorities be? Will he do a deal with Russia and China over Ukraine and Taiwan in order to preserve US hegemony in MENA [‘USHM’]? If he does that will not fix the underlying problem in Gaza & as Professor Mearsheimer predicts, there will be endless trouble, i.e. armed conflict. There is another way by engaging in ‘geopolitical mediation’, see my blog – ‘Is the potential for “convergence” in MENA a geopolitical “pivot” upon which war can be avoided in the South China seas?’ on the ‘Geopolitical Mediation’ page. This would involve convergence of geopolitical interests resulting in: stabilisation of the region; preservation of USHM; and survival of autocratic Gulf states. If there is a regional war, then like post WW1 Europe, the region will be transformed. Saudi Arabia has joined BRIC’s. Could this become a geopolitical fault line in what is now a bifurcated ‘multipolar’ world split between the ‘Global North’ & the ‘Global South’?

While Rishi Sunak promised Israel ‘unqualified support’, Keir Starmer has according to some political commentators started to ‘wobble’ over calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. In it’s ruling on provisional measures the ICJ in effect reversed the burden of proof at trial. In three weeks time Israel must report to the ICJ. South Africa in reply, may present submissions. See the note I added 28.01.2024, to my blog ‘South Africa’s case is legally watertight’ below ‘… if Israel maintains the intensity of its military operations in Gaza it will lose at trial, i.e. Israel is on track to be found guilty of the core international crime of genocide.’

See also the blogs about complicity and arms sales. An issue that will arise again after SA has made further submissions is whether the UK is continuing to supply arms to Israel. While a ceasfire is unlikely to be ordered by the ICJ, if further provisional measures are ordered, that may result in pressure on Keir Starmer to call for an immediate ceasefire by whatever term he uses to describe ‘an immediate cessation of all hostilities’. If he does that, then he may regain lost ground with a core constituency in the Labour Party.

See also – How well is Keir Starmer doing as Labour leader? (yougov.co.uk)

29.012.2024:

‘Badly’ = 47%.

‘Well’ = 35%.

‘Don’t know’ = 18%.

cf Rishi Sunak see – https://yougov.co.uk/topics/politics/trackers/rishi-sunak-prime-minister-approval 29.01.2024:

‘Badly’ = 64%.
‘Well’ = 25%.
‘Don’t know’ = 10%.

So I will provide another prediction – Richard Tice, Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson & his right wing parliamentary supporters, are looking at the existence of a widening gap in the political spectrum, i.e. a political ‘void’, and are thinking that if Keir Starmer loses a no confidence vote during his term as PM, or the election after the one in 2024, that a new right wing coalition/party can emerge to fill the political void between: (i) the Tories under Sunak; and (2) Labour under Starmer. In other words, the political behaviour of Sunak & Starmer over Gaza is fuelling the rise of right wing ‘nationalsim’ in the UK. If Trump is elected he will be delighted. If the void widens, then the potential also exists for the return of ‘Corbynism.’ In which case the centre would lose out to both sides. Judging by the BREXIT vote the winner would be on the right. So, the rise of ‘nationalism’ resulting in ‘isolationism’ would be the outcome.

Note added at 2pm – At 1.30 today [06.02.2024], it was reported, ‘Liz Truss [launched] a new movement that aims to push the ruling Conservatives rightwards. … The movement has the support of former Tory vice-chairman Lee Anderson and arch-Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg, among other so-called free marketeers.’

So, my prediction is starting to come true!

See  – Undeterred ex-PM Truss launches new UK Tory grouping (yahoo.com)

‘This lunchtime Liz Truss herself appeared at the Emmanuel Centre in Westminster to launch her new outfit, PopCon, a grassroots group to generate new Tory policies.  … [she said] ‘I believe the fundamental issue is that … Conservatives have not taken on the left-wing extremists.’

See – Truss takes aim at left-wing extremists | The Spectator

See also: ‘Conservatives are facing extinction event and I’m aiming to replace them, says Farage (msn.com).’
‘Mr Farage was speaking to Sky News political editor Beth Rigby at the launch of the Popular Conservatism (PopCon) group in Westminster. Asked which party he wants to be in, Mr Farage said: “Oh Reform, no question about it.” Speaking in a room full of Conservative MPs and activists, he added: “I think at some point in time a lot of the people here today will draw the same conclusion.
“And… I know it’s only once every hundred years these things happen, but I do think we face the possibility that this could be the end of the road for the Conservative Party.” He added: “They’ve been around since 1834. They’re now facing a possible extinction event, and they know it. “I think PopCon makes six families now of backbench Conservative MPs – they are bitterly divided. “I don’t know what the outcome of all of this is going to be, but we do, for the first time ever, think it’s possible to replace them.” He later added: “I want the Conservative Party replaced.”

Note added 07.02.2024 – ‘Nigel Farage has suggested there will be a “reuniting of the British right” in UK politics after the general election if the Tories are defeated. Speaking at the launch of the Popular Conservatism group – known as PopCon – in Westminster, the president of Reform UK said the ideas being put forward by its leading figure former prime minister Liz Truss would be “very popular” among voters. “I have a sense that a lot of what’s going to be said today by Liz Truss and others will be very popular amongst Conservative activists, Conservative voters, and the broader country as well,” he said. He told GB News that, while he was not joining the group, he was “interested in the ideas” it was proposing and hinting at a closer alliance between various right-wing groups and parties in the UK after the election. “I think after the Conservatives get thrashed at the next election, which by the way, they thoroughly, thoroughly deserve, then I think, maybe, finally, we’ll get a reuniting of the right in British politics,” he said.’

See; UK right will ‘reunite’ after election, Reform’s Nigel Farage says at PopCon (msn.com)

‘Will the geopolitical wind change direction in Gaza? – A major shift for U.S. policy in the Middle East away from a U.S.-led security-heavy model toward a more balanced approach that carries less of a risk of escalation or overstretch and that allows regional powers to take the lead.’

Today in an article by Jennifer Kavanagh (Senior Fellow in the American Statecraft Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and Frederic Wehrey (Senior Fellow in the Middle East Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace) published in Foreign Affairs – ‘Washington’s Looming Middle Eastern Quagmire – The War in Gaza, American Overstretch, and the Case for Retrenchment’, the authors warned:
‘It is not clear that U.S. policymakers have thought through the second- and third-order effects of amplifying the United States’ security role in the region and how it will be perceived by adversaries and allies alike. .[There] are three risks that the Biden administration must acknowledge and address: escalation, backlash, and overstretch. … [It] seems equally likely the surge in U.S. forces could end up triggering an escalatory spiral rather than preventing one. [While Iran & Hezbollah do not desire escalation as both would stand to lose if a regional war broke out] this calculus could change [if] Palestinian casualties continue to mount or should Israel choose to occupy Gaza for an extended period of time. In a situation where each side’s redlines are unclear, an increased U.S. military presence in the region raises the risk for miscalculation and provocation. … It could also undermine relationships with key American allies and partners such as Egypt, Jordan, the UAE, and others. … Looking beyond the region, the more Washington is compelled to deploy forces and transfer arms and hardware to the Middle East the more it runs the risk of becoming overstretched … especially in the Indo-Pacific, where the [US] faces an increasingly assertive China. Many of the weapons systems in highest demand by Washington’s Middle Eastern partners—such as Harpoon missiles and Patriot air defense systems—are also ones that Taiwan desperately needs to bolster its defenses against Chinese aggression. Similarly, many of the U.S. naval and air assets now deployed in the Middle East would likely be needed for a conflict in the Indo-Pacific. Over time, extended deployments in the Middle East may wear down these systems, leaving them unavailable—and the United States under-resourced—if a crisis in Asia were to occur. … The current crisis illustrates that as long as Washington retains tens of thousands of soldiers in the Middle East, the chances remain high that the United States could be dragged into an extended, costly regional conflict, even when it has few interests at stake. To avoid this outcome, the United States needs to reduce and realign its military presence in the region. These changes would amount to a major shift for U.S. policy in the Middle East away from a U.S.-led security-heavy model toward a more balanced approach that carries less of a risk of escalation or overstretch and that allows regional powers to take the lead. This new approach would not be a guarantee against future regional security crises, but it would protect Washington’s military and diplomatic flexibility, reduce the odds Washington ends up embroiled in another Middle East war, and preserve greater military capacity for other national security priorities. If Washington fails to alter its course, though, it could end up going down an all-too-familiar road.’ See the link to recent talks given by Professor John Mearsheimer which you will find under ‘Articles & Talks’ above. What these experts are all saying is that the US must make a reset in order to regain its focus. See also my blog below – ‘Have Biden Sunak & Starmer collectively made a geopolitical mistake in not calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza?’ 

‘Have Biden Sunak & Starmer collectively made a geopolitical mistake in not calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza?’

‘Have President Biden, Prime Minister Sunak & Sir Keir Starmer, each made a geopolitical mistake, in not calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza?’ –
As Graham Allison wrote in ‘Destined For War – Can America And China Escape Thucydides Trap?’ (2017) [p.152] – China will expect America ‘to eventually pivot back to ongoing wars in the Middle East, or Russian threats to Europe, or its problems at home. It is also safe to assume that the Chinese government will be ruthlessly realistic in assessing the military correlation of forces between China and the US, and thus in forecasting the outcome of any potential military encounter.’ This begs a question, have President Biden, Prime Minister Sunak & Sir Keir Starmer, each made a geopolitical mistake in not calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, because if the conflict spreads within MENA, this will result in further US involvement, thereby depleting resources available to contain China by pivoting to SE Asia. In other words, have they each made an error of political calculation and judgment, which in the long-term will harm the national security interests of both the United States and the United Kingdom? History will be their judge. See:

Can the U.S. Handle China While Supporting Israel and Ukraine Wars? – The New York Times (nytimes.com)

https://www.cis.org.au/commentary/video/israel-hamas-ukraine-russia-and-china-john-mearsheimer-on-why-the-us-is-in-serious-trouble/

Centre for Geopolitics at Cambridge University Panel Event about the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP)’
My Q. was:
What are the geopolitical implications & potential consequences of the UK withdrawing from the CPTPP in order to rejoin the EU as a full member?’

To listen to the answers provided by the panel of expert speakers fast forward to 38.15.

What I picked up listening to the panel discussion and answers to my Q are:
·     CPTPP will add £1.8bn/year to the UK economy after 10 years = less than 1% of UK GDP (around 0.8%).
·       It is unlikely that the UK will rejoin the EU for at least another 10 years [i.e. because of: domestic issues; ‘they do not want us back’; & conditional on acceptance of the Euro].
·       China & Taiwan are unlikely to join the CPTPP.
·       There is an opportunity for China to silence its critics by allowing the Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong to join as the world is economically de-coupling from HK & this would rejuvenate HK’s economy. This is not likely to happen.
·       There appears to be an Achilles heel in the CPTPP – Cyber-Security & Data Regulation. This is an obstacle to certain states being allowed to join. If rules were relaxed the UK might have to withdraw.
·       There is no obvious security dimension/benefit of the UK being a member of CPTPP.
·       Labour have no appetite to take the UK out of the CPTPP & to protect the image of ‘Global Britain’ as a totem are likely to maintain the Pacific tilt.
·       A geopolitical consequence of withdrawing is that in Asia the UK would appear to be ‘going back to its European home’ i.e. being in geopolitical retreat.
·       The world has changed.
·       The conventional orthodoxy of the past about a rules-based global order eventually dominating & regulating international trade & competition between nation states no longer reflects reality.
·       Perhaps there is an opportunity to design a new world order for international trade but that remains to be seen.
·       Perhaps the CPTPP has a role to play in shaping that order?
·       Meanwhile Britain & a future Labour Government who will want to get as close as they can to Europe, will have to make the most of what we have got, i.e. the situation we are in post-BREXIT.
As soon as the video of the talk is available, I will post it on the ‘Geopolitical Challenges’ page at www.diplomaticlawguide.com & you can draw your own conclusions. My overall and abiding impression is that in relation to political rhetoric, theory and ideology about achieving economic growth through international trade, the reality is that the UK is drifting on the high seas almost entirely at the mercy of competing ‘geopolitical’ trade winds over which we have little or no control and influence, and that steering economic growth will be a very slow and gradual process. Who knows what lies ahead? As a nation, we must decide who we are & what our values are in the post-BREXIT world of international trade. Otherwise, we have no political compass.

· It is unlikely that the UK will rejoin the EU for at least another 10 years [i.e. because of: domestic issues; ‘they do not want us back’; & conditional on acceptance of the Euro].
·       China & Taiwan are unlikely to join the CITPP.
·       There is an opportunity for China to silence its critics by allowing the Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong to join as the world is economically de-coupling from HK & this would rejuvenate HK’s economy. This is not likely to happen.
·       There appears to be an Achilles heel in the CPTPP – Cyber-Security & Data Regulation. This is an obstacle to certain states being allowed to join. If rules were relaxed the UK might have to withdraw.
·       There is no obvious security dimension/benefit of the UK being a member of CPTPP.
·       Labour have no appetite to take the UK out of the CPTPP & to protect the image of ‘Global Britain’ as a totem are likely to maintain the Pacific tilt.
·       A geopolitical consequence of withdrawing is that in Asia the UK would appear to be ‘going back to its European home’ i.e. being in geopolitical retreat.
·       The world has changed.
·       The conventional orthodoxy of the past about a rules-based global order eventually dominating & regulating international trade & competition between nation states no longer reflects reality.
·       Perhaps there is an opportunity to design a new world order for international trade but that remains to be seen.
·       Perhaps the CPTPP has a role to play in shaping that order?
·       Meanwhile Britain & a future Labour Government who will want to get as close as they can to Europe, will have to make the most of what we have got, i.e. the situation we are in post-BREXIT.
As soon as the video of the talk is available, I will post it on the ‘Geopolitical Challenges’ page at www.diplomaticlawguide.com & you can draw your own conclusions. My overall and abiding impression is that in relation to political rhetoric, theory and ideology about achieving economic growth through international trade, the reality is that the UK is drifting on the high seas almost entirely at the mercy of competing ‘geopolitical’ trade winds over which we have little or no control and influence, and that steering economic growth will be a very slow and gradual process. Who knows what lies ahead? As a nation, we must decide who we are & what our values are in the post-BREXIT world of international trade. Otherwise, we have no political compass.

‘Concerted diplomacy is necessary to bring peace to Sudan’

In my blog ‘If a proxy war requires a proxy solution, then a proxy solution may also avoid a proxy war’, posted last week on the ‘Humanitarian Mediation‘ page of this website,  I wrote, ‘it appears that the US and China do have common strategic interests in MENA, which could be explored in a constructive dialogue e.g. about how to resurrect the JPOA and open the door to infrastructure investment in Iran.’ It appears that another opportunity for ‘convergence’ is the ongoing conflict in Sudan. Today in their article published in Foreign Affairs – ‘Sudan and the New Age of Conflict How Regional Power Politics are Fuelling Deadly Wars’, the authors, Comfort Ero and Richard Attwod argue: ‘There is, perhaps, a sliver of hope in the geopolitics of Sudan’s crisis. The mood in Arab capitals is more measured than it was a few years ago. Riyadh, in particular, has recalibrated, turning the page on its 2017 spat with Qatar and even seeking to re-establish diplomatic relations with Iran, including through a deal brokered by China in March. Moreover, the regional powers most involved in Sudan—Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Egypt—belong to what has traditionally been the same bloc. The Saudis, whose development plans hinge on stability around the Red Sea, have especially strong motives to halt the fighting. Riyadh’s influence with both Burhan and Hemedti and its close ties to the UAE and Egypt probably give it the best shot of reining in the warring parties, particularly with U.S. support. … The array of actors with influence and competing interests makes coordination among Arab, African, and Western actors crucial. Critically, as efforts to stop the fighting continue, more concerted diplomacy, including from the United States, is necessary to avert a proxy free-for-all among outside powers that would stifle all hope of a settlement anytime soon. No one should underestimate how disastrous a slide toward a protracted, all-out conflict in Sudan would be—primarily for the Sudanese but also more broadly. At a time when other crises are stretching the world’s humanitarian system to the breaking point and many capitals are consumed by the conflict in Ukraine or its knock-on effects, the world can ill afford another catastrophic war.’

See also: Can China Broker Peace in Sudan? – The Diplomat

Despite the above reservations, China retains clear strategic advantages and wherewithal in Sudan. It possesses strong political capital to work cohesively with the African Union, which has been fundamentally more responsive to Beijing than Washington over the past decade. When fully employed, Beijing’s long-term engagement, and active on-the-ground presence in Sudan can make a significant difference to the country’s desperate search for stability and transitional justice. The ball is now in China’s court to deliver upon its oft-touted vision of peace-making diplomacy.’

‘Mediating Cultural Heritage Disputes – Do State Institutions owe a wider duty under international law to strive to be better “collaborative custodians” of world heritage?’

In my essay, ‘The case for repatriating the Parthenon Marbles using a trust structure as under International Law National Museums have a broad “fiduciary” duty to strive to be better collaborative custodians of world heritage’ (the outline of which is available to read on the ‘Mediation of Art & Cultural Heritage Disputes’ page at www.carlislam.co.uk), I ague that the logical corollary of the proposition that a National Museum, e.g. the British Museum and Louvre, owes a duty to preserve art and cultural heritage treasures for the ‘benefit of all mankind’, is that such institutions also owe a wider duty to strive to be better ‘collaborative custodians’ of world heritage. Therefore, does a ‘fiduciary’ duty to share knowledge by loaning works of art and cultural heritage to other institutions, exist as a norm under international law?

Respect for diverse religious, spiritual and cultural beliefs and attitudes to cultural property – i.e., tolerance and respect, demonstrates humility and modesty regarding one’s own opinions, and shows respect for individuals, cultures, groups and communities. This principle requires decision-makers to give consideration to the cultural and historical backgrounds, beliefs and values relevant to all parties concerned. For example, it would require a museum to recognize and respect that a community may place a particular cultural value on cultural property that is not shared by others. This may include an ancient ‘spiritual’/’mystical’ belief that a physical object, e.g. a stone, is imbued with energy and power, for which there is no scientific evidence.

‘What is the economic impact of Brexit on the cost of living crisis?’

‘The overwhelming opportunity for Brexit is over the next 50 years.’ (Interview with Channel 4 News – ‘Jacob Rees-Mogg Says It Could Take 50 Years To Reap The Benefits Of Brexit’).

In the Tacitus Lecture 2017‘The World is Our Oyster? Britain’s Future Trade Relationships’, Sir Simon Fraser argued that the Government had made a political decision to, ‘prioritise other goals over our economic relations with the EU. … This is fine, provided either people are prepared to pay the price in more expensive goods, less inward investment and lower growth, or we can quite rapidly find compensating alternative markets.’

The Peterson Institute for International Economics who analysed how long it took the US to agree 20 bilateral trade deals concluded: (i) one and a half years, on average, and (ii) more than three and a half years to get to the implementation stage. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/07/how-long-do-trade-deals-take-after-brexit/ 5 years.

In 2016, in a post on LinnkedIn, ‘The economic dangers of political wishful thinking?’ (which I have since deleted), I pointed out that, ‘In theory 124 trade agreements x 5 years each = 620 years. Hypothetically, all 124 could be negotiated within 5 years (if negotiated in parallel). How many trade negotiators does the UK need to resource this? The EU typically sends 20 commission negotiators to any round of trade talks, backed up by between 25 and 40 technical experts.’ The UK at the time had 40 trade negotiators, compared with the 550-strong trade department in Brussels.

In 2022 the New Statesman featured an article by Will Dunn – ‘Why the housing market is about to crash.’ In a post on LinkedIn (which I have since deleted) I  commented,
‘Inflation hit 10.1% in July (a 40 year high). It is predicted to reach over 13% in December. If Liz Truss become Prime Minister, cuts taxes and borrows, inflation is likely to rise. If inflation goes up then interest rates may have to be increased. That is likely to impact the mortgage market. As the author of the article states, ‘Everyone considering buying a house will be thinking about this. “This is the most predicted recession ever,” Dorling said. “And as soon as you get hunkering down, and the feeling of ‘wait and don’t buy now’, that’s it. It’s all it takes.” ‘ If Prime Minister Liz Truss (as she has pledged), also passes laws banning members of certain unions from going on strike, there are likely to be a series of general strikes. For inflation, we have already gone back to 1982. Economically are we heading back to 1974 (when Edward Heath was Prime Minister)? While inflation is linked to energy prices, the cost of imports is linked to the cost of doing business, i.e tariffs and administrative costs/logistical delays. The unmentionable ‘Elephant in the room’ is therefore Brexit. What economic impact report has the Government ordered (or Labour demanded) to assess the economic impact of Brexit on the cost of living crisis?’
Therefore, unless ‘people are prepared to pay the price’ or we ‘rapidly find compensating alternative markets’, we will all have to live with the economic impact of Brexit on the cost of living for at least 50 years or more. How can we afford not to recognise the elephant in the room?

We currently have: (i) inflation at a 40 year high (which may rise to 13-15% by January); (ii) a cost of living crisis; (iii) strikes and the risk of general strikes if laws are passed banning members of certain unions from going on strike; (iv) a shortage of NHS staff; (v) a shortage of workers in the hospitality industry (linked to: (a) rising wage demands (b) the cost of living; & (c) inflation); (vi) VAT at 20%; (vii) Corporation Tax set to rise to 25% in 2023 (1st increase in CT in 50 years); (viii) Brexit costs linked to rising inflation – see the links at the end of this post at ‘Carl’s Wealth Planning blog’); (ix) the risk of a property crash if rational buyers decide not to purchase until the rate of inflation has peaked and stabilised, i.e. because if interest rates rise to a point where they cannot make mortgage payments, and their property is sold in a falling market at auction below the original purchase price, they will end up: (a) without a roof over their heads; (b) in negative equity; and (c) with a legal liability to discharge the unpaid balance of the mortgage; & (x) UK general government gross debt in excess of £2,365.4 billion (Quarter 1 – Jan to Mar 2022), equivalent to 99.6% of gross domestic product (GDP).

Therefore, we should also be asking – ‘What impact has Brexit had on inward investment?’

See also my blog on ‘Carl’s Wealth Planning blog’ (and use the search box at the top to find) ‘What is the European Single Market’ and:

Is Brexit to blame for the UK’s rising inflation? – New Statesman

UK inflation could reach 15% by start of 2023, experts say | Inflation | The Guardian

At least 250,000 UK small businesses set to fold without further help, new study warns | FSB, The Federation of Small Businesses

Tacitus Lecture 2017 – World Traders (world-traders.org)

‘Political relalignment in the West’

In his new book, ‘Values, Voice and Virtue – The New British Politics’ (2023), Professor Matthew Goodwin argues that,

‘The word “realignment” refers to a decisive shift in the balance of power – a moment or period of time when a particular political party or a set of ideas become dominant over others, and end up reshaping their respective country in profound ways. Rather than being rooted in the here and now, these historic turning points take place when much longer running demographic or electoral currents gradually push millions of people to switch sides at the ballot box, handing one party a new coalition of support which can last for years, if not decades, while making it difficult for other parties to recover. This is what has been happening in British politics over the last decade. Many people, for entirely coherent and rational reasons, had been trying to realign the country’s politics and pushback against a status quo that has governed Britain for much of the last half-century. While it is still too early to know whether this alignment will continue in the years ahead, whether Rishi Sunak will manage to reconnect with it or whether Keir Starmer will be able to address its drivers, and swing the pendulum back toward Labour, what is clear is that it is already underway and has already had profound effects on politics in the country. … The realignment that has been gradually unfolding over the last decade – finding its expression through national populism, Brexit and a very different brand of post Brexit conservatism – is different from what has gone before. … It is rooted in a new set of drivers which have been pushing many voters to abandon their old allegiances and search for a new politics. It is also more global than national, mirrored in similar trends which are sweeping through not just Brexit Britain but many other Western democracies: from the rise of the Trumpian Republicans … to the breakthrough of national populists across Europe. [This] is being driven forward by millions of people who want to push back against the rise of a new dominant class-a new elite-and the political revolution they have been imposing on the rest of the country … Increasingly, over the last 50 years, many of the people who have assumed power in Britain have simply lost touch with much of the rest of the country in three key areas of national life: [values], [voice], and [virtue].  … Over the last decade, many of the people who run Britain were confronted with the realization they do not know a large part of the country at all. Repeatedly, leading politicians, journalists, commentators and intellectuals were stunned by a succession of revolts they failed to see coming. … Rather than treat all groups with the same degree of dignity, respect and moral worth, and bring the country together around unifying narratives, the new elite are increasingly embracing a worldview that is hard-wired to push different groups apart, rather than pull them together. They are reshaping institutions and the national conversation around a divisive new ideology of radical “woke” progressivism that awards highly educated liberals and racial, sexual, and gender minorities a much greater sense of social status, honour, and respect than other groups. This has left many voters feeling that their values and voice [have] been cast aside [and] that they and their wider group are shamed and stigmatised as a morally Inferior underclass’.

The electoral challenge, which is also an opportunity, is to reach the parts that your competitors are not reaching, i.e. because of self-imposed: ideological; party political and leadership constraints; electoral fears; and strategy devised by political advisors who are blind the the political reality that is already present as Professor Goodwin has confirmed. The biggest political mistake a party could make at the next election is to ignore the ears of voters who feel that they have lost their voice.

‘For a war crimes suspect nowhere is safe’

For a war crimes suspect nowhere is safe, because all war crimes are crimes for which there is universal jurisdiction. Therefore, any State can prosecute them, i.e. they can be prosecuted anywhere and everywhere.

Once the ICC has issued an arrest warrant against a person [‘P‘] suspected of war crimes, the rhetorical question that those who belong to the same political elite or who associate with P need to ask themselves is – ‘Will I be next?’

States retain the primary responsibility in the prosecution of international crimes. Under the Geneva Conventions and Additional Protocol I of 1977, States must prosecute people accused of war crimes before their own national courts or extradite them for trial elsewhere.

The International Criminal Court (‘ICC’), headquartered in the Hague, exercises a complementary jurisdiction in respect of international crimes, and may take up a case when either:

  1. a State is unable or unwilling to prosecute the suspects, which include former and serving:
    1. heads of state;
    2. government ministers;
    3. public officials;
    4. military, intelligence, and police personnel of any rank;
    5. members of a paramilitary group; and
    6. civilians; or
  2. the Court is requested to initiate proceedings by the UN Security Council, acting under Chapter VII of the UN Charter.

The ICC is an independent international organisation, and is not part of the United Nations system. To download the ICC guide, ‘Understanding the International Criminal Court’ please click on this link.

The jurisdiction of the ICC is limited to the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole, including war crimes.

The ICC also has jurisdiction over crimes against humanity, which include a range of acts committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population.

Together, this includes most of the serious violations of international human rights law covered by the 1949 Geneva Conventions and the 1977 Additional Protocols, whether committed during an international or non-international armed conflict.

The ‘crime of aggression’, also mentioned in the Statute, was not defined during the establishment of the Court, but will come within the ICC’s jurisdiction once it is.

Contrary to other international courts, the ICC may take action against individuals but not States.

However, nothing in the ICC Statute releases States from their obligations under existing international humanitarian law or customary international law.

War Crimes

‘All war crimes are crimes for which there is universal jurisdiction, so that any State can prosecute them. The most authoritative and convenient, list of war crimes, committed in international or internal armed conflicts, is now to be found in the ICC statute. The defence that an accused was acting under the order of a superior is available only in very limited circumstances.’ Handbook of International Law, by Anthony Aust (formerly legal advisor to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office).

Article 8 (‘War Crimes’) of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court states,

  1. The Court shall have jurisdiction in respect of war crimes in particular when committed as part of a plan or policy or as part of a large-scale commission of such crimes. 2.         For the purpose of this Statute, “war crimes” means:

(a)     Grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, namely, any of the following acts against persons or property protected under the provisions of the relevant Geneva Convention:

(i)     Wilful killing;

(ii)     …inhuman treatment…;

(iii)     Wilfully causing great suffering, or serious injury to body or health;

(iv)     Extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly;

(vi)     Wilfully depriving a prisoner of war or other protected person of the rights of fair and regular trial;

(vii)     …unlawful confinement;

(viii)     Taking of hostages.

(b)     Other serious violations of the laws and customs applicable in international armed conflict, within the established framework of international law, namely, any of the following acts:

(i)     Intentionally directing attacks against the civilian population as such or against individual civilians not taking direct part in hostilities;

(ii)     Intentionally directing attacks against civilian objects, that is, objects which are not military objectives;

(iii)     Intentionally directing attacks against personnel, installations, material, units or vehicles involved in a humanitarian assistance or peacekeeping mission in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, as long as they are entitled to the protection given to civilians or civilian objects under the international law of armed conflict;

(iv)     Intentionally launching an attack in the knowledge that such attack will cause incidental loss of life or injury to civilians or damage to civilian objects or widespread, long-term and severe damage to the natural environment which would be clearly excessive in relation to the concrete and direct overall military advantage anticipated;

(v)     Attacking or bombarding, by whatever means, towns, villages, dwellings or buildings which are undefended and which are not military objectives;

(vi)     Killing or wounding a combatant who, having laid down his arms or having no longer means of defence, has surrendered at discretion;

 (ix)     Intentionally directing attacks against buildings dedicated to religion, education, art, science or charitable purposes, historic monuments, hospitals and places where the sick and wounded are collected, provided they are not military objectives;

 (xii)     Declaring that no quarter will be given;

(xiii)     Destroying or seizing the enemy’s property unless such destruction or seizure be imperatively demanded by the necessities of war;

(xvi)     Pillaging a town or place, even when taken by assault;

(xvii)     Employing poison or poisoned weapons;

(xviii)     Employing asphyxiating, poisonous or other gases, and all analogous liquids, materials or devices;

(xix)     Employing bullets which expand or flatten easily in the human body, such as bullets with a hard envelope which does not entirely cover the core or is pierced with incisions;

(xx)     Employing weapons, projectiles and material and methods of warfare which are of a nature to cause superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering or which are inherently indiscriminate in violation of the international law of armed conflict, provided that such weapons, projectiles and material and methods of warfare are the subject of a comprehensive prohibition and are included in an annex to this Statute, by an amendment in accordance with the relevant provisions set forth in articles 121 and 123;

(xxi)     Committing outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment;

 (xxiv)     Intentionally directing attacks against buildings, material, medical units and transport, and personnel using the distinctive emblems of the Geneva Conventions in conformity with international law;

(xxv)     Intentionally using starvation of civilians as a method of warfare by depriving them of objects indispensable to their survival, including wilfully impeding relief supplies as provided for under the Geneva Conventions;

 (c)     In the case of an armed conflict not of an international character, serious violations of article 3 common to the four Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, namely, any of the following acts committed against persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention or any other cause:  

(i)     Violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture;

(ii)     Committing outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment;

(iii)     Taking of hostages;

(iv)     The passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgement pronounced by a regularly constituted court, affording all judicial guarantees which are generally recognized as indispensable.  

(e)     Other serious violations of the laws and customs applicable in armed conflicts not of an international character, within the established framework of international law, namely, any of the following acts:  

(i)     Intentionally directing attacks against the civilian population as such or against individual civilians not taking direct part in hostilities;

(ii)     Intentionally directing attacks against buildings, material, medical units and transport, and personnel using the distinctive emblems of the Geneva Conventions in conformity with international law;

(iii)     Intentionally directing attacks against personnel, installations, material, units or vehicles involved in a humanitarian assistance or peacekeeping mission in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, as long as they are entitled to the protection given to civilians or civilian objects under the international law of armed conflict;

(iv)     Intentionally directing attacks against buildings dedicated to religion, education, art, science or charitable purposes, historic monuments, hospitals and places where the sick and wounded are collected, provided they are not military objectives;

(v)     Pillaging a town or place, even when taken by assault;

 (x)     Declaring that no quarter will be given;

 (xii)     Destroying or seizing the property of an adversary unless such destruction or seizure be imperatively demanded by the necessities of the conflict;

  1. Nothing in paragraph 2 (c) and (e) shall affect the responsibility of a Government to maintain or re-establish law and order in the State or to defend the unity and territorial integrity of the State, by all legitimate means.

See also:

Head of State Immunity is Too Important for the International Court of Justice – Just Security

Heads of State Immunities, International Crimes and President Bashir’s Visit to South Africa in: International Criminal Law Review Volume 18 Issue 4 (2018) (brill.com)

SUN7%B1:9129BK–01I:0001-K (ejil.org)

Situation in Ukraine: ICC judges issue arrest warrants against Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin and Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova | International Criminal Court (icc-cpi.int)

Putin Wanted by International Criminal Court Over Alleged War Crimes in Ukraine (foreignpolicy.com)

What does the ICC arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin mean in reality? | Vladimir Putin | The Guardian

House of Lords – In Re Pinochet (parliament.uk)

‘Requiem for world order’

If as ‘realists’ hold, the world is in fact anarchic, axiomaically, there is no ‘world order.’ However, if politics is ‘local’, and human nature dictates hierarchy, then  whether democratically elected, an autocrat, or both – every community/society/government/state [‘S‘] naturally has a leader. In democracies and dictatorships, leaders sit at the head of a tribe/political elite/political party. Therefore, the survival of the leader depends upon the survival of the tribe. So the loyalty of the leader is divided by a conflict of interest, because when deciding what is the right thing to do, unless the leader [‘L‘] is politically suicidal, he/she will always place the interests of their ‘tribe’/core base [‘T‘]above those of society as a whole. In a democracy this structural constraint is balanced by the electorate having the right to vote the leader and his/her tribe out of power.

In realist theory, in order to survive, hegemons/aspiring hegemons [‘H‘] compete for power. This results in the creation and maintenance of spheres of influence [‘SI‘]. SI used to mean territory. Today, it includes the oceans, outer space, and cyberspace. While rights and behaviour within each of these spaces/spheres can be regulated by international treaties, norms and customs, there is no police force to enforce the rules. Therefore, the rule of international law has no teeth. However, where in a multi-polar world the L of each H recognises the existence of mutual interests e.g. trade, opportunities and existential’ threats e.g. climate change and pollution – the stage is set for rising above tribalism and local politics by engaging in multi-lateral diplomacy, which may eventually lead to co-operation instead of conflict.

That begs a question – ‘What institutional architecture and tools need to be developed in order to create and maintain a practical and sustainable working relationship between the L‘s of each H, so that they can engage, and between them, construct a new world order in which each H cannot co-exist, survive, and prosper in peaceful competition with every other H on our planet and in space?’ 

The clock is ticking toward midnight! Whatever ‘tribe’ each L belongs to, and whatever ‘god’ their tribe may worship, I believe that as a matter of ‘survival’, it is rational to conclude that humanity needs an answer, before life as we know it is extinguished by a man-made and thus avoidable global catastrophe. Of course you may not agree. However, if you do, I would argue that this will require the displacement of ‘power politics’ by a collective recognition and universal implementation of a new geopolitical paradigm of ‘fiduciary global governance,’ so that emerging and emergent existential threats to all S‘s and their peoples, can be effectively prevented/managed, including irreversible climate change. This will of course be opposed by some and perhaps many disparate vested interests. Therefore, in order to overcome resistance, the political will must exist amongst the L‘s and their political elites/electorates, to create amongst them a shared vision of the future. Could this eventually be achieved through a process of mediation followed by multi-lateral diplomacy?

Can might ensure right?’

Applying practical ethics to geopolitics does might ensure right?

A counter-thesis to the ‘realist’ tenet that ‘might is right’ is the maxim, ‘Stronger together – weaker apart.’

In a multi-polar world bifurcated between a block of: (i) authoritarian states [‘A’]; and (ii) democracies [‘D’], survival is dependent upon relative strength. So, for democracies, the maxim translates into ‘might ensures right.’

Therefore, democracies need to stick together and to work together, in order to maintain dominance over A within each sphere of influence controlled by D.

Assuming that the strategic aim of A is to create division within D in order to rule, what strategy needs to be developed by D (i.e. collectively as the ‘West’), in order to thwart the strategic objectives of A in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, the Far East and South America?

‘The more institutions there are the more stable society is’

When I was a teenage political science undergraduate at University, I was taught that ‘the more institutions there are the more stable society is’. In order for fascism to displace democracy, institutions must first crumble – which is a slow and gradual process. Mussolini compared accumulating power to ‘plucking a chicken one feather at a time, go slowly and no one notices’. As the late Madeleine Albright, former US Secretary of State, argues in ‘Fascism: A Warning’ (2019), fascism in pre-World War II Europe did not happen all of a sudden. It was incremental. Step-by-step democracy was undermined by eroding liberty. There was no overt overthrow. It can begin with the dehumanising of vulnerable people. In their book, ‘How Democracies Die – What History Reveals About Our Future’ (2018), Professors of Government at Harvard University, Stephens Levitsky & David Ziblatt argue, ‘Democracies may die at the hands not of generals but of elected leaders – presidents or prime ministers who subvert the very process that brought them to power … More often … Democracies erode slowly, in barely visible steps. … Many government efforts to subvert democracy are legal, in the sense that they are approved by the legislature or accepted by the courts. They may even be portrayed as efforts to improve democracy – making the judiciary more efficient, combating corruption, or cleaning up the electoral process. … People do not immediately realise what is happening. Many continue to believe they are living under a democracy. … Because there is no single moment- no coup, declaration of martial law, or suspension of the constitution -in which the regime obviously crosses the line into dictatorship, nothing may set off society’s alarm bells. Those who denounce government abuse may be dismissed as exaggerating or crying wolf. Democracy’s erosion is, for many, almost imperceptible. … The tragic paradox of the electoral route to authoritarianism is that democracy’s assassins use the very institutions of democracy – gradually, subtly, and even legally – to kill it.’ The professors developed a set of 4 behavioural warning signs which can help us to recognise an authoritarian when we see one – ‘we should worry when a politician (1) rejects in words or actions, the democratic rules of the game, (2) denies the legitimacy of opponents, (3) tolerates or encourages violence, or (4) indicates a willingness to curtail the civil liberties of opponents. … A politician who meets even one of these criteria is cause for concern.’ So one day, and without realising what has been happening over a period of years, you may wake up and find that you are living in an autocracy. That is why speaking out is critical to the resilience of democracy and safeguarding the rule of law so that politicians who are not above the law are held to account for their rhetoric and actions which are destructive of the institutions that bind society together in a democracy.

‘Holberg Debate 2023’

‘The Holberg Debate is an annual event organised by the Holberg Prize. The debate is inspired by Ludvig Holberg’s Enlightenment ideas and aims to explore pressing issues of our time.’

Link to the 2023 Holberg Debate: https://holbergprize.org/en/2022-holberg-debate-will-fear-keep-us-safe

The link also contains a transcript of the debate.

For information about the Holberg Prize, see: About the Holberg Prize | Holbergprisen

The 2022 Holberg Debate: “Will Fear Keep Us Safe?”

‘How will the war in Ukraine and other geopolitical crises impact the global security order, and what do they mean for the power of deterrence?’

Panel: John J. Mearsheimer and Carl Bildt
Moderator: Cecilie Hellestveit
Organizer: The Holberg Prize

John J. Mearsheimer is the R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago, where he has taught since 1982. He graduated from West Point (1970), has a PhD in political science from Cornell University (1981), and has written extensively about security issues and international politics. Among Mearsheimer’s six books, The Tragedy of Great Power Politics (2001, 2014) won the Joseph Lepgold Book Prize; and The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy (with Stephen M. Walt, 2007), made the New York Times bestseller list and has been translated into twenty-five languages. His latest book is The Great Delusion: Liberal Ideals and International Realities (2018), which won the 2019 Best Book of the Year Award from the Valdai Discussion Conference, Moscow. In addition, Mearsheimer has a forthcoming book (with Sebastian Rosato), Homo Theoreticus: Rationality in International Politics. He has also written numerous articles and op-eds that have appeared in International Security, London Review of Books, Foreign Affairs, The Financial Times, and The New York Times. In 2003, Mearsheimer was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and in 2020, he won the James Madison Award, which is given once every three years by the American Political Science Association to “an American political scientist who has made a distinguished scholarly contribution to political science.”

Carl Bildt is Co-Chair of the European Council on Foreign Relations and contributing columnist to The Washington Post, as well as columnist for Project Syndicate. He serves as Senior Advisor to the Wallenberg Foundations in Sweden and is on the Board of Trustees of the RAND Corporation in the US. Bildt has served as both Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden. In March 2021, Bildt was appointed WHO Special Envoy for the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-Accelerator). Subsequently he served in international functions with the EU and UN, primarily related to the conflicts in the Balkans. Bildt was Co-Chairman of the Dayton peace talks on Bosnia and become the first High Representative in the country. Later, he was the Special Envoy of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to the region.

Cecilie Hellestveit (moderator) is a lawyer and social scientist with a PhD in international humanitarian law (IHL) from the University of Oslo. She has been associated with a number of research institutes in Norway and abroad. Hellestveit researches and teaches in the field of international law, use of force, and armed conflicts.

See also:

Two Lessons of Diplomacy’

When I was a precocious 8 year old, there was a board game we played at boarding school in front of a roaring log fire in a room surrounded by ancient armour, swords, shields, and with the mounted heads of long gone deer with antlers on the walls, on cold winter evenings called – ‘Diplomacy’. I recommend it to all young megalomaniacs who want to take over the world.

The room in which we played in my preparatory school – Nevill Holt (which is now owned by one of the founders of the Carphone Warehouse with whom I was at school at Uppingham), is where one of the Knights who murdered Archbishop Thomas Beckett in 1170 had stood, before riding out to Canterbury.

The floor was made up of grey and heavily worn down paving stones covered by a Persian rug on which me and my friends sat to play board games whilst being schooled in the art of ‘strategic Ambiguity’! with history and dark Jacobean furniture all around us. In a corner near the ceiling was the orginal Minstrel’s or Fool’s Gallery – looking down on us. We felt its presence!

The ‘deal making’ skills players develop in this game is also excellent training for budding Mediation Advocates in Contentious Probate Disputes (think of your ‘Empire’ as being an ‘Estate’!).

Of course I usually won, and naturally became the only Mediation Advocate in my year. Sadly I do not rule the world!

As a young ‘strategist’, the game taught me that the international order is ‘anarchic’ because there is no ‘higher authority’ i.e. ‘parent’ who can step in to save the players from themselves.

Human nature dictated that each player in pursuit of their own selfish i.e. ‘national’ interest, competed for power. This was measured by territory, which depended upon access to the sea (as the game was set in pre-World War 1 Imperial Europe).

‘Survival’ depended upon being bigger, more cunning, and more ruthless than your opponents – which is the psychology of ‘hegemons’ in a ‘realist’ paradigm of international relations.

One of the strategic principles which guided my tactics was ‘divide and rule’. I trusted no one and sought the trust of strategic allies who would both weaken my opponents and themselves in the process. The weaker my allies were, the more they needed me. I therefore disguised competition as co-operation.

Today, I am still a ‘Realist’ but as a ‘Mediator’, I recognise that while there is no ‘parent’ in the international order, there are higher ‘fiduciary’ principles of international relations which are existential. Therefore, ‘existential fiduciary principles of international relations’ are part of an antithesis to ‘realism’, because participants in dispute can avoid/settle their disputes by finding ‘common ground’ instead of going to war on the ‘battleground’.

As a writer I am formulating, ‘Principles of Humanitarian Mediation’, see the ‘Humanitatian Mediation’ page of this website. However, as a ‘realist’ I believe that the insecurity of nation states and their political elites will continue to drive armed conflict, just as in the game ‘Diplomacy’. However, the difference between the game and the world today, is that we live in a ‘missile’ age. Therefore, the risk of sleep-walking into war by accident is existential – as indeed WW1 proved to be to most of the Crown Heads of Europe.

‘Is adoption of the Euro a way of both: (i) preserving the unity of the Union; and (ii) re-joining the EU?’

The Centre for Geopolitics at Cambridge University is hosting a Zoom seminar on Monday – ‘Keir Starmer: Irish unity’s nemesis? with Sam McBride’
My question in advance notified earlier today (21.10.2022) is  –  ‘Depending upon how reunification on the island of Ireland affects the value of sterling, could there be an economic benefit of the Union (including Scotland) adopting the Euro in order to re-join the EU? If the answer is yes, is that an economic reason for Northern Ireland remaining in the Union?’
About the seminar – ‘For more than a decade, the Union has been under intense pressure in Scotland as well as, more recently, in Northern Ireland. The apparent fallout from Brexit and perceived errors by the DUP have invigorated what had been a moribund campaign for Irish unity. Many Irish nationalists believe that the reunification of Ireland is inevitable, while many unionists fear that they might be right. But how much of that thinking is tied to immediate circumstances that the entry of Keir Starmer to Downing Street could reverse?’
Speaker – Sam McBride is the Northern Ireland Editor of the Belfast Telegraph and the Sunday Independent. He also writes about Northern Ireland for The Economist and was previously Political Editor of the Belfast News Letter. His 2019 book Burned: The Inside Story of the Cash-for-Ash Scandal and Northern Ireland’s Secretive New Elite became a Sunday Times and Irish Times bestseller and was nominated for the Christopher Ewart-Biggs Memorial Prize. He is a regular presence on radio and television, giving analysis of events that impact Northern Irish politics.
Discussant: Professor Michael Kenny, Director of the Bennett Institute for Public Policy, Cambridge.’ (Google ‘The Centre for Geopolitics’).

‘Annexation of territory in Ukraine – Russification is not new. It is a deeply embedded geopolitical strategy of the Russian state.’

During a Zoom webinar hosted by the Centre for Geopolitics on 20 September (which is available to watch on YouTube), the third speaker, Sir Stuart Peach, former Chief of the Defence Staff and Chairman of the Military Committee of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) observed the ‘Russification’ is not a new issue. He argued that:

  • This is not a new issue.
  • This year we have seen in the raw behaviour of Russia many continuities with the Russian Empire, Russian time and beyond.
  • These continuities apply equally to Russian attitudes Georgia to the Caucasus to the Black Sea to Russia East or their ongoing disputes with Japan.
  • So, in other words there are many continuities in Russian policy which stands both the test of time and indeed the change in regime.
  • That continuity is going to be stretched in the next few days as we saw the last few minutes the announcement of referenda in occupied territories in Ukraine.
  • That sets some new challenges because one of the other things that is common to both the period of the Russian Empire and more recent events under resident Putin’s this concept of Russification, where places and peoples are made Russian to suit the geopolitical strategic purpose of the Russian state, empire, Soviet Union, in its various guises, and Kaliningrad was exactly that.
  • Events in 1944/5 struck a chord – ‘where the chess pieces were moving rapidly and some of the maneuvers were more thought through than others.’
  • Sir Stuart was struck by how many consequences there were of both world wars and the wholesale movement of peoples, which left minorities of various types stranded, and that the leaves future opportunities for either Russian meddling or bad behavior.
  • ‘Russia is a peaceful country surrounded by ceasefires. … This sense of creating a periphery with options for future development with options possibly for technology, possibly maritime adventures [adding]…. in this strategic context, noting that the Centre is about Geopolitics, a very similar approach to Russian basing in Syria .. the Czars would have been entirely comfortable with Putin’s attempt to create a naval base and an air base in Syria for medium and long term thereby gaining access to warm water. … And yet, despite the history, despite the Russification and continuity in Russian behavior, I would argue that Russia is failing to meet its strategic objectives, that it set itself.’
  • ‘Many of us for many years have wondered and worried perhaps about the true competence and consequence of the Russian military machine. … [Quoting the military historian John Keegan], “an army without discipline is a crowd”. I think morale factors and unit level morale issues and tactical issues in the Russian army are now a significant issue…. So there is not much new in Russian threats and style, but we are entering into a dangerous time and phase.’
  • ‘One of the great strengths of NATO is its convening authority to bring countries together and for their armed forces to interoperate. … We need to go further. … Most missiles can be counted or deterred. Therefore one thing we should be doing now in the strategic setting of NATO and beyond is thinking about deterrence in a wider way. … Missiles need to be understood, so we need good intelligence, then you need to develop counters so you need good technology and those counters may not be the obvious ones because many embraced tactics and techniques that are not just as obvious as shooting them down. So this is a very important time for military is to use the innovative strategy NATO adopted at the summit this year and to develop new capabilities quickly to reflect the missile age we are in so that we can counter both through deterrence and if necessary defend ourselves.’
  • ‘There needs [also] to be more focus on the maritime dimension.’ (This comment was added in reply to the reply to a question I had put about containment).

The geopolitics of Kaliningrad – YouTube

Was China Betting on Russian Defeat All Along?

‘The key geopolitical factor in Sino-Russian relations above all is Siberia. [A]chieving safe access to Siberia’s natural resources is a core geopolitical interest for China. [It] can achieve this [i] via [an] alliance with Russia [or], [ii] [a land] grab [of] Siberia or parts of it by force. In the case of an alliance the weaker Russia is the better for China. Regarding [ii] Siberia is strategically vulnerable to China to a great degree in many ways. Knowing the history of Sino-Russian relations, a Russian victory doesn’t seem to be in China’s interest. What is in China’s interest is a prolonged war of attrition, draining Russia’s resources as much as possible, weakening it as much as possible, meanwhile isolating it from the West as much as possible, and with a Russian defeat at the end. Given the fact that China seems to have been aware of the Russian plans to invade Ukraine from the very beginning, and encouraged Russia to do so, only to roll back its support once the war started, this all suggests that China may have been betting on a Russian defeat all along.  A Russian victory would definitely not be in the interest of China. By raising the population of the Eurasian Union, Russia’s broader sphere of influence, from 185 million to 226 million through the incorporation of Ukraine, and enhancing Russia’s strategic positions against the NATO and EU by eliminating a buffer country of 41 million inhabitants, Russia would become significantly stronger than it was before the war, and such a change would be close in geopolitical terms to a kind of re-establishment of the Soviet Union. Significantly stronger, which means less willing to cooperate with China, more willing to pursue its own great power agenda, to pursue it to a degree where it may even harm Chinese interests, aiming to position itself as a third player between the US and China equal to both, rather than the ally of China. … However, a Russian defeat, which still seems to be possible, especially if it comes at the end of a prolonged war of attrition, significantly weakening Russia and isolating it from the West at the same time, would put it in a position where it would hardly have any other choice but to become a junior partner in a Sino-Russian alliance, if not a mere satellite of China. Russia’s military might, that which made it so far appear as China’s equal, has not only shown through this war to be way less formidable than the world thought, but has also suffered heavy losses, and will continue to suffer heavy losses as long as the war goes on. Such a weakened Russia, isolated from the West, would have little choice but to ally itself with China on whatever terms the latter demands. This would provide China with a committed and docile strategic ally, and with access to the natural resources of Siberia. The only major danger for China in case of a Russian defeat is the possibility of a pro-Western regime change. … Regarding the probability of Russia weakening as a result of the war, such a change will certainly happen if it ends with anything sort of an outright Russian victory. Moreover, Russia will likely end up not only weakened but weakened in a way that it will most likely never again achieve the position it had among the great powers of the world before the war. Russia’s demographic and economic resources are in fact so weak, that what is surprising is not the weakness its military shows in Ukraine, but more how it managed to remain so strong so long after the fall of the Soviet Union.’ [Further extract form the geopolitical Monitor Situation Report].

‘Situation Report in the Geopolitical Monitor – April 25, 2022 by Csaba Barnabas Horvath.’ (Truncated). Was China Betting on Russian Defeat All Along? | Geopolitical Monitor

‘While Chinese military planners are not forecasting war, the war for which they are preparing pits China against the US at sea. Chinese military strategists  … are preparing  for maritime conflict with a forward defense strategy based on controlling the seas near China within the first island chain, which runs from Japan, through Taiwan, to the Philippines and the South China Sea. … The US has signaled, that in case of war, its carriers would remain behind the first island chain. From that distance, carrier-based aircraft would be unable to reach targets on the Chinese mainland. Thus, the US navy has been struggling to find a way these aircraft carriers and their planes can remain relevant. [The 2015 RAND study] “The US-China Military Scorecard” … concludes that over the next five to fifteen years “Asia will witness a progressively receding frontier of US dominance.” This will pose for the US the prospect of a conventional conflict it could actually lose. … While the US may at times be fixated by events in the South China Sea or East China Sea, Chinese will expect Americans to eventually pivot back to ongoing wars in the Middle East, or Russian threats to Europe, or its problems at home. [Beijing] will be cautious and prudent about any lethal use of force against the US. Instead, by gradually changing facts on the ground and in the waters throughout the South China Sea and adopting to resistance encounters, as in the game of weiqi, the Chinese will win by the accumulation of overwhelming advantages. Furthermore, China will be strategic with Chinese characteristics, treating military force as a subordinate instrument in the orchestration of its foreign policy, which seeks not victory in battle that the achievement of national objectives. It will bolster diplomatic and economic connections with its neighbors, deepening their dependency on China, and use economic leveraged to encourage (or coerce) cooperation on other issues. In doing so, it hopes to increase influence on its periphery while also undermining the relationships between its neighbors and the United States. It may attempt to use “Barbarians” against “Barbarians” to prevent a balancing coalition from forming against China – for instance, by playing Japan against South Korea, or Russia against the US. In time, Beijing will achieve such preponderance of power that others in the region will simply accept its dominance not just as inevitable, but also as irresistible.’ Extract from ‘’Destined for War – Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap’ by Graham Allison (2017).

‘Russia’s military doctrine encompasses a broad range of potential national security threats, including local, or small-scale wars, regional, or large-scale wars, internal and foreign military threats, the Russian military’s budget, and a host of military-related technical, political, social, and economic issues. Additionally, the doctrine defines the circumstances under which nuclear weapons are to be used by the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in response to a threat to Russia’s national security. The current edition of the Russian military doctrine—when compared to the national security strategy and military doctrine published in 1993—significantly lowers the threshold under which the use of nuclear weapons is permitted. While the 1993 doctrine allowed the first use of nuclear weapons only when the “existence of the Russian Federation” is threatened, the versions published since 2000 explicitly state that Russia “reserves the right to use nuclear weapons to respond to all weapons of mass destruction attacks” on Russia and its allies.’ [‘Escalate To De-Escalate: Russia’s Nuclear Deterrence Strategy by Joshua Bell published in Global Security Review 07.03.2022]: Escalate to De-Escalate: Russia’s Nuclear Deterrence Strategy (globalsecurityreview.com)

‘Fiduciary Principles of International Relations’

[The following is an extract form my essay a ‘Fiduciary Theory of Art’ on the ‘Mediation of Art & Cultural Heritage Disputes’ page at www.carlislam.co.uk

‘Viewing future conflicts through the hard geo-political lens of the international relations doctrine of Offensive Realism’, the rules of war under International Law (in particular under International Humanitarian Law [‘IHL’] are not an effective deterrent to the destruction of Cultural Heritage, because if an invading sovereign state is a hegemon/an aspiring hegemon [‘H‘], and the political logic underlying invasion is survival (i.e. because the political psychology of H is that it must dominate to survive), then achieving its political objectives requires the deliberate destruction of Cultural Heritage. This is based upon what the author calls, ‘Machiavelli’s Principle of Survival’ [‘MPS’] – see above.

Furthermore, the Achilles Heel of IHL is that to prosecute a violation you must be able to prove that the destruction of e.g. a monument, church or library was deliberately targeted. Even if you could prove this intent, there is no international police force to deter the destruction of Cultural Heritage before it happens, i.e. IHL has no political, diplomatic or military teeth.

Because of the strategic significance and value of Cultural Heritage (which in the opinion of the author is often completely misunderstood by politicians, policy makers, diplomats and the military), is there a better way of deterring the destruction of Cultural Heritage in war?

The author argues that there is, and that as part of this vision:

(i) The protection of Cultural Heritage needs to be integrated into a grand strategy in confronting and defeating an enemy during war – not least because of the paradox that when the enemy destroys part of a shared Cultural Heritage, it is destabilising its own society, because it is destroying part of: (i) its own identity; and (ii) a historical legacy owned by its own people. Therefore, its own people will inevitably ask – ‘who and what are we fighting for – the survival of a political elite (‘them’) or ourselves (‘us’).’

(ii) There is an urgent need to explore innovative and practical mechanisms that will allow non-state actors (NSA’s), to ensure the sustainable protection of Cultural Heritage. This is linked to the use of ‘Cultural Heritage Diplomacy’ as an instrument in the mediation of a peace process and agreement.

The author concludes that:

(i) Universally recognised fiduciary principles for the protection and preservation of Cultural Heritage exist under IHL.

(ii) These fiduciary principles can cohere as an ethical foundation for:

(a) the development of an integrated strategic framework for the protection of Cultural Heritage in a conflict zone; and

(b) its implementation, though a process of humanitarian’ mediation.

The author further argues, that as a matter of practical application, (i) and (ii) above are strategically linked to:

(iii) Principles for the peaceful resolution through a process of multilateral ‘Cultural Heritage Diplomacy of the apparently irreconcilable conflict between:

(a) the ethical duty of a state and its government to behave as a ‘fiduciary of humanity’; and

(b) the political instincts and ambitions of H in an ‘offensive realism’ paradigm – i.e. their impulse to destroy cultural heritage and its symbols in order to suppress and indoctrinate by erasing the cultural memory of the people H is oppressing.

(iv) The development of a unified and coherent international relations doctrine of ‘Fiduciary Principled Behaviour’ – i.e. the political idea that states and governments can maximise their survival and gains through collaboration, instead of competition, because ‘competition’ leads to ‘confrontation’ which can result in war.

(v) The mediation of a process and protocol for the preservation and protection of Cultural Heritage in a conflict zone by a politically non-aligned non-state actor (‘NSA‘), as a foundation stone in the negotiation of a sustainable and enduring peace process and agreement, based upon recognition of shared values, interests, realpolitik, and practical ethics.

Are fiduciary principles and norms underlying  IHL a tool in the negotiation of a peace process and agreement?

If fiduciary principles are a cornerstone of IHL, are they a potential negotiation tool in the mediation of a peace process and agreement?

As the author observed above, there is a tension between the:
(a)      common ground [‘CG’] represented by a shared cultural heritage (including a set of ethical, philosophical and religious values/beliefs); and
(b)      political ambitions and objectives [‘PA’] that drive military strategy in war.

A logical corollary of MPS, is that where CG exists between an invading state and an invaded state, that the invader must destroy part of itself in order to achieve its political objective(s). Analysing the psychology of an invasion through the lens of an ‘Offensive Realism’ paradigm (see Mearsheimer, John J. (2014) The Tragedy Of Great Power Politics), if an invading sovereign state is a hegemon/an aspiring hegemon), i.e. H, and the political logic underlying invasion is survival, i.e. because a hegemon must dominate, then there is a paradox because PA requires the destruction of CG. In other words, to achieve its political objectives, H must destroy part of itself.

Therefore, invasion may be a political mistake. The miscalculation is that instead of H becoming stronger it will actually weaken itself, because by invading a state with a shared cultural heritage, H will to an extent destroy its own cultural identity. If that happens then over time, institutionally H may become unstable and ungovernable, resulting ultimately in the political break-up of H. In other words, institutionally, the destruction of CG by H is an act of political self-destruction.

The existential question for H then becomes, how do they end the war without ending up being in a worse position than they were in before it, in order to:

(i) preserve the status quo within H itself; and

(ii) restore the balance of power (i.e. the status quo ante) between H and other hegemons and aspiring hegemons in the region/world, including H‘s political allies –  who may pursue their own self interest at the expense of H, if H becomes politically unstable, i.e. by annexing territory that H can no longer politically control, i.e. because its military capability and economy have been weakened.

If the author is right, then the calculus of risk by H is a dynamic that can influence a decision by H to end a war by positively engaging in mediation.

In other words, the fiduciary principles and norms that underly IHL are a tool in the negotiation of a peace process and agreement. Arguably, these principles are powerful tool, because violation, i.e. the impact of war on CG, may adversely affect public opinion within H and weaken support for the war.

When the political strategy of H is to create a failed state [‘FS‘], where it has failed in its primary objective to turn the invaded state into a client state, then the preservation and protection of cultural heritage in the invaded state, is arguably elevated to the level of being a threat to the national security of any other state in the region [S], because there is a risk of a failed state emerging within S‘s geo-political sphere of influence. If the destruction of CG has the potential to politically destabilise H, then it follows that S also has a national security interest in the survival of H.  Therein, and counter-intuitively, lies the seed of a principle that can result in the mediation of terms of peace which ensure the survival of both H and the sovereign state invaded by H. If this geo-political interest is recognised by all parties to the conflict and their supporters, then this can open up a dialogue which includes the use of cultural heritage as a language of diplomacy, to negotiate a ceasefire and peace agreement. This is where a politically non-aligned NSA can play an instrumental diplomatic and mediation role.’

‘US shifts goals on war in Ukraine amid concerns over Russia’s nuclear capabilities’

‘US shifts goals on war in Ukraine amid concerns over Russia’s nuclear capabilities’ – PBS Newshour 5 May. A link to the full transcript appears below.

[During the past few months the Biden administration’s rhetoric about its ultimate goals for Ukraine appears to have shifted, with more talk about winning the war against Russia. Evelyn Farkas, executive director of the McCain Institute at Arizona State University, and John Mearsheimer, political science professor at the University of Chicago, join Judy Woodruff to discuss].

John Mearsheimer, political science professor at the University of Chicago.

‘I think … this policy that the Biden administration is following is remarkably dangerous and foolish.

We know that the one circumstance in which a great power is likely to use nuclear weapons is when its survival is threatened, when it thinks a decisive defeat is being inflicted on it.

And what the Biden administration is bent on doing is inflicting a decisive defeat on Russia. We are threatening its survival. We are presenting the Russians with an existential threat. And this, again, is the one circumstance where they might use nuclear weapons.

And I think we should be going to enormous lengths to make sure that we don’t put them into a position where they even countenance using nuclear weapons, much less use them.

I think it’s very important to understand that, if  [Putin] were to use nuclear weapons, he would use them, in all likelihood, in Western Ukraine.

And there are no NATO or American forces in Western Ukraine. So he would not be attacking us. He would be using those weapons in Ukraine. And the question is, what do we do then? And I’m not sure what we would do then. Would we use nuclear weapons? Would we then get dragged into the war?

When Professor Farkas talks about the consequences of this for the world order, I’m more worried about the consequences if we ended up getting hit with nuclear weapons. I mean, we want to remember what President Kennedy did during the Cuban Missile Crisis. He was in a similar situation. What he did was, he tried to dampen the conflict. He tried to work out some sort of deal with Khrushchev, so we could both avoid getting vaporized.

What the Biden administration is doing is exactly the opposite. It’s upping the ante. It’s putting Putin in a position where he might very well use nuclear weapons. Again, I think this is remarkably foolish.’

Evelyn Farkas, executive director of the McCain Institute at Arizona State University.

‘I think [Putin is] most likely to use [tactical nuclear weapons], if he feels that there will be no consequences for him, if he thinks that we will not counter with a nuclear use — I know it’s a horrible thing to contemplate, but that is how deterrence works — or if he thinks that we will not enter the war directly.

And, actually, I think that I’m not sure whether our government would actually use nuclear force in response, though we have to say that because that’s part of deterrence. But what I do think is that, if there’s a nuclear use, if the nuclear taboo comes off, if nuclear weapons are used for the first time since World War II — and Vladimir Putin may well do that if he thinks we won’t respond — I think President Biden will then enter the war directly.

That doesn’t mean troops on the ground, but it means that Russia will lose.

So, I think that Vladimir Putin is likely smart enough to understand the danger for himself. He’s not going to reach for a nuclear weapon right now. He is already proceeding, I think, a little bit more cautiously, from what we can see. Of course, it remains to be seen how this all ends, but he’s not interested in taking on the United States and NATO.’

Full transcript of the discussion: U.S. shifts goals on war in Ukraine amid concerns over Russia’s nuclear capabilities | PBS NewsHour

‘Together we stand – divided we fall?’ 

Because fiduciary principles are a cornerstone of International Humanitarian Law [‘IHL’], then in theory, could a strategy to confront and defeat an invading state (‘S‘) be strengthened by integrating Cultural Heritage as an indirect tool of psychological influence and diplomacy?

This might have four aims:

(a) To drive a wedge between (i) S and (ii) it is own people, i.e. young conscripts [‘P‘], provided public opinion matters to S. The underlying rationale being that P will inevitably ask ‘why are we destroying our shared cultural heritage, i.e. who and what are we fighting for? – the survival of a ‘political elite’ in power in S (‘them‘) or P (‘us‘). That is linked to political stability within S, and is therefore a risk that must be weighed by S in a mediation about peace, just as a ‘litigation risk’ must be weighed by the parties in a mediation about a civil dispute.

(b) To drive a wedge between (i) S and (ii) it allies, e.g. by linking the award of re-construction contracts (to rebuild critical infrastructure destroyed by S in the invaded state) to the withdrawal of political support for S in the UN, as there is a universal fiduciary duty under international law to protect and preserve Cultural Heritage.

(c) Mediation of a peace process of agreement to end the war.

(d) To re-design and reform the institutional architecture of International Humanitarian Law (‘IHL’), because the strength and influence of IHL as a pillar of global ‘fiduciary’ governance is relevant to National Security, i.e. because ‘together we stand and divided we fall.’

There is a tension between the:
(a)      common ground [‘CG’] represented by a shared cultural heritage (including a set of ethical, philosophical and religious values/beliefs); and
(b)      political ambitions and objectives [‘PA’] that drive military strategy in war.

A logical corollary of Machiavelli’s Principle of Survival (as I have defined it above) [‘MPS‘], is that where CG exists between an invading state and an invaded state, that the invader must destroy part of itself in order to achieve its political objective(s). Analysing the psychology of an invasion through the lens of an ‘Offensive Realism’ paradigm  (see Mearsheimer, John J. (2014) The Tragedy Of Great Power Politics (Updated Edition), Norton in the Research Bibliography and: Offensive realism – Wikipedia if an invading sovereign state is a hegemon (or an aspiring hegemon) [‘H’] and the political logic underlying invasion is survival, i.e. because a hegemon must dominate, then there is a paradox because PA requires the destruction of CG. In other words, to achieve its political objectives, H must destroy part of itself.

Therefore, invasion may be a political mistake. The miscalculation is that instead of H becoming stronger it will actually weaken itself, because by invading a state with a shared cultural heritage, H will to an extent destroy its own cultural identity. If that happens then over time, institutionally H may become unstable and ungovernable, resulting ultimately in the political break-up of H. The existential question for H then becomes, how do they end the war without ending up being in a worse position than they were in before it, in order to:

(i) preserve the status quo within H itself; and

(ii) restore the balance of power (i.e. the status quo ante) between H and other hegemons and aspiring hegemons in the region/world.

If I am right, then the calculus of risk by H is a dynamic that can influence a decision by H to end a war in Mediation. In other words, the fiduciary principles and norms which underly IHL are a tool in the negotiation of a peace process and agreement. It is a powerful tool, because the impact of war on CG, may influence public opinion within H and weaken support for the war.

When the political strategy of H is to create a failed state [‘FS‘], after it has failed in its primary objective to turn the invaded state into a client state, then the preservation and protection of cultural heritage in the invaded state, is arguably elevated to the level of being a threat to UK national security, becuase there is a risk of a failed state emerging within the UK’s neighbouring geo-political sphere of influence, i.e. in the heart of Europe. If the destruction of CH has the potential to politically destabilise H, then it follows that the UK also has a national security interest in the survival of H.  Therein, and counter-intuitively, lies the seed of a principle that can result in the mediation of terms of peace which ensure the survival of both H and the sovereign state invaded by H. If this geo-political interest is recognised by all parties to the conflict and their supporters, then this can open up a dialogue which includes the use of cultural heritage as a language of diplomacy, to negotiate a ceasefire and peace agreement. This is where a politically non-aligned non-state actor (‘NSA’) can play an instrumental diplomatic and mediation role.

‘Is the pen mightier than the sword?’

Positioning for peace by restoring balance through multi-lateral diplomacy, coalition building, treaties and a reformed institutional framework – is the pen mightier than the sword?

In ‘The Tragedy of Great Power Politics’ (2014), published by Norton, John J. Mearsheimer (R. Wendell Distinguished service Professor of Political Science and Co-Director of the Program on International Security Policy at the University of Chicago), explains that while security competition is endemic to daily life in the international system, war is not. Therefore, security competition rarely gives way to war. So what does? ‘The main causes of war are located in the architecture of the international system. What matters most is the number of great powers and how much power each controls. The system can be either bipolar or multipolar. The power ratios among all the great powers affect the prospects for stability, but the key ratio is that between the two most formidable states in the system. If there is a lopsided power gap, the number one state is a potential hegemon. A system that contains an aspiring hegemon is said to be unbalanced. A system without such a dominant state is said to be balanced. The basic requirement for balance is that there not be a marked difference in power between the two leading states. If there is, the system is unbalanced. Unbalanced multipolar systems are dominated by three or more great powers, one of which is a potential hegemon. Unbalanced multipolar systems feature the most dangerous distribution of power, mainly because the potential hegemon is likely to get into wars with all of the other great powers in the system. These wars inevitably turn out to be long and enormously costly. A [problem] with multipolarity lies in its tendency to foster miscalculation. Multipolarity lead states to underestimate the resolve of rival states and the strength of the opposing coalitions. States then mistakenly conclude that they have the military capability to coerce an opponent, or if that fails, to defeat it in battle. War is more likely when a state underestimates the willingness of an opposing state to stand firm on issues of difference. It then may push the other state too far, expecting the other to concede when in fact it will choose to fight. Such miscalculation is more likely under multipolarity because the shape of the international order tends to remain fluid, due to the tendency of coalitions to shift. As a result, the nature of the agreed international rules of the road – norms of state behaviour, and agreed divisions of territorial rights and other privileges – tend to change constantly. Under the circumstances, one state may unwittingly push another too far, because ambiguities as to national rights and obligations leave a wider range of issues on which each state may misjudge the other’s resolve. War is also more likely when states underestimate the relative power of an opposing coalition, either because they underestimate the number of states who will oppose them, or because they exaggerate the number of allies who will fight on their own side. Such errors are more likely in a system of many states, since states then must accurately predict the behaviour of many other states in order to calculate the balance of power between coalitions. Even assuming that the state knows who is going to fight with and against it, measuring the military strength of multistate coalitions is considerably more difficult than assessing the power of a single rival.’

See also:

‘Is pressure mounting for UN Security Council reform?’

‘Member States must now take sides and choose between peace and aggression’ (see below) – 18.03.2022 Reuters News announced ‘Top Ex-Kremlin Official Quits Post After Condemning Ukraine War.’ The official was a former Russian deputy prime minister.

The problem with Ukraine is that there is no one who today can effectively provide an observance of the International Humanitarian Law Rules. No international peacekeeping mission is possible because Russia is blocking Security Council action.

At the diplomatic level, is pressure mounting for UN Security Council reform? Russia is being investigated for War Crimes, and the pressure for urgent reform mounts with every war crime committed against the people of Ukraine. See:  ‘As Russian Federation’s Invasion of Ukraine Creates New Global Era, Member States Must Take Sides, Choose between Peace, Aggression, General Assembly Hears – Delegates Urge All Parties to Respect Principles of United Nations Charter, Speakers Representing Small, Developing States Decry ‘Might Makes Right’ Concept – At the dawn of a new era forced upon the world by the Russian Federation’s war in Ukraine, Member States must now take sides and choose between peace and aggression, delegates said today as the General Assembly moved into the second day of its emergency special session. [The emergency special session — the eleventh called since the founding of the United Nations — opened on 28 February, meeting less than 24 hours after being mandated to do so by a vote in the Security Council, following its failure to adopt a resolution condemning the Russian Federation’s recent actions in Ukraine.’  Press Releases SC/14808 and SC/14809 for details.][01.03.2022]: As Russian Federation’s Invasion of Ukraine Creates New Global Era, Member States Must Take Sides, Choose between Peace, Aggression, General Assembly Hears | Meetings Coverage and Press Releases (un.org)

See also:

‘Cultural Heritage Safe Zones’

Cultural Heritage Safe Zones as an instrument of Humanitarian Mediation’ – This is the proposed title of one of my three essays for the Diploma in Art Law Course at the Institute of Art & Law in London. For the current draft introduction to the essay, please visit the ‘Mediation of Art Disputes’ page at www.ihtbar.com. The thesis of the essay is ‘Could Cultural Heritage diplomacy be a neutral method of mediating a ceasefire to create a network of humanitarian corridors, i.e. by designating certain areas as “Cultural Heritage Safe Zones” and linking them up?’ In the essay I will also discuss:
(i) The relationship between the human environment, development and culture, because all civilisations spring from and are shaped by the quality of their surrounding natural elements and the histories of different peoples are inseparable from the natural conditions in which they have lived for millennia. In other words, art, literature and science cannot be understood, or even imagined, without acknowledging the influence of nature and its components. Thus, cultural diversity, like biological diversity, emerges from the various ecosystems.
(ii) The link between illicit trafficking and:
(a)        organised crime;
(b)        money-laundering; and
(c)        terrorist financing.
(iii) Why cultural identity is considered to part of human dignity, and is linked to human rights, i.e. because cultural heritage is of crucial importance to individuals and communities as part of their identity. I will also argue that since cultural heritage requires memory, this applies to both tangible and intangible heritage, because material and physical heritage needs to be placed in both a historical and cultural context, in order to understand its value.
(iv) Why mediation is a powerful tool in Cultural Heritage D #humanrights #culture #law iplomacy, and that at its centre are ‘norms’ of behaviour, which theoretically apply with equal vigour to private law claims, i.e. there is a bridge between public international law claims, and private law claims when art becomes cultural heritage. That bridge is the fiduciary doctrine of Jus Cogens.
As the war in Ukraine has brought into sharp focus, there is no one who today can effectively provide any observance of the International Humanitarian Law Rules. No international peacekeeping mission is possible, because Russia is blocking Security Council action. Therefore, the designation of an area as a ‘Cultural Heritage Safe Zone’ is also linked to two other issues that I will discuss:
(i) the powers and procedures of the UN Security Council; and
(ii) reform of the UN Security Council.

See:

‘There is still time.’ The Vatican assesses its influence as war breaks out in Ukraine. (religionnews.com)

Vatican Diplomacy – Diplomat Magazine

The Vatican and International Diplomacy on JSTOR

Vatican Secret Diplomacy (culturaldiplomacy.org)

New book ‘God’s Diplomats’ unveils the secret history of Vatican diplomacy | National Catholic Reporter (ncronline.org)

The language and tools of Cultural Heritage Diplomacy enable a Mediation framework to be jointly developed by those at War by identifying common ground, i.e. a shared cultural heritage, and the connection between: (i) protecting cultural heritage; and (ii) preserving the environment, e.g. where there is a risk of nuclear contamination because a nuclear power plant is located in the War Zone and could be attacked.

In cultural heritage disputes there is a philosophical and legal nexus between the existence of ethical standards and norms of behaviour in relation to antiquities and cultural heritage (which includes landscape). Because formulating international ‘ethical’ duties of care and standards (i.e. framing and institutionalisation), that are capable of practical implementation, monitoring, and enforcement involves multi-lateral diplomacy, Mediation  is an incubation tool in Cultural Heritage Diplomacy.

Norms are linked to the existence of fiduciary duties. This is an evolving question that is linked to the concept of global fiduciary governance in the form of treaty-making and multi-lateral co-operation.

My theory is that when art [‘A’] is of cultural significance, i.e. is recognised as being cultural property [‘CP’], it forms part of a recognised heritage. If then in either a narrow or a broad sense, it becomes part of civilization and a record of human evolution (i.e. part of the consciousness and collective memory of mankind), public duties do or should attach to possession. In particular, the possessor [‘P’] who owns A under private law that is also CP, is also a custodian of the object [‘CPO’]. In which case, fiduciary duties attach to possession, e.g. a duty to preserve and protect the cultural property [‘DP’] (including an underwater site). If is a state, these duties extend to protecting the CP in the event of war. Therefore, DP is a quintessentially fiduciary duty.  The underlying premise is that every civilized society is a fiduciary of humanity, and so are their governments.

There is also a relationship between the human environment, development and culture. The commentary to the preamble to the Draft International Covenant on Environment  and Development (5th edition, IUCN Switzerland 2015) states:

‘All civilisations spring from and are shaped by the quality of their surrounding natural elements [and that] the histories of different peoples are inseparable from the natural conditions in which they have lived for millennia. … Art, literature and science cannot be understood, or even imagined, without acknowledging the influence of nature and its components. Thus, cultural diversity, like biological diversity, emerges from the various ecosystems.’

Since the Declaration of the UN Conference on the Human Environment, Stockholm, June 1972  (the ‘1972 Stockholm Declaration’) stated that ‘Man has a special responsibility to safeguard and wisely manage the heritage of wildlife and its habitat which are now gravely imperilled …’, and this ‘special responsibility’ includes a duty to restore and maintain the integrity of the environment, the existence of fiduciary duties in relation to cultural heritage is linked to wider: environmental; strategic; legal; and policy issues, i.e. international law applying to activities on the high seas and on the continental shelf.

The big question is ‘What ethical standards of behaviour do these duties give rise to?’   This is linked to:

(i)      international humanitarian law;

(ii)      the protection and preservation of cultural property; and

(iii)     illicit trafficking of art and antiquities.

The problem of illicit trafficking is further linked to:

(a)          organised crime;

(b)          money-laundering; and

(c)          terrorist financing.

Because cultural identity is considered to part of human dignity, it is linked to human rights, i.e. cultural heritage is of crucial importance to individuals and communities as part of their identity. Since cultural heritage requires memory, this applies to both tangible and intangible heritage, because material and physical heritage needs to be placed in both a historical and cultural context, in order to understand its value.

That is why mediation is a powerful tool in cultural heritage diplomacy, and at its centre are ‘norms’ of behaviour, which theoretically apply with equal vigour to private law claims, i.e. there  is a bridge between public international law claims, and private law claims when art becomes cultural heritage. That bridge is the fiduciary doctrine of Jus Cogens.

Therefore this theory is not only about mediation, it is also about the fundamental values humanity attaches to Art and Cultural Heritage, because those values can translate into norms of behaviour that can be building blocks for reaching agreement in a mediation about art and cultural heritage between both private parties and states.

This is the subject of an article I will be writing in 2022 for a Diploma in ‘Art Law’ at the Institute of Art & Law in London. See the ‘Mediation of Art Disputes’ page at www.ihtbar.com.

‘No Fly Zones’

‘Air power can only be used effectively to coerce or deter if it is used in accordance with these ends. It can be called in to support a force on the ground and attack the targets indicated by the force as threatening it; and it can react to any aircraft ignoring the NFZ [No Fly Zone] and shoot it down. If it is to deter or coerce, then the opponent has to believe that targets that matter to him will be struck effectively, even if they are not necessarily those that he is risking in battle. He must also believe that you will escalate if you do not succeed in getting him to succumb at first, and that the outcome would be to his disadvantage. One is in effect negotiating by threatening or using force, in confrontation not conflict.’(‘The Utility of Force – The Art of War in the Modern World’ [2005], p.345 by General Sir Rupert Smith (former Deputy Supreme Commander (DSACEUR) in NATO. All territorial airspace is considered as coming within the purview of International Humanitarian Law [‘IHL’]. ‘IHL provides that certain areas within the territory of a party to the conflict (or in any other territory) may be rendered off-limits to military activity, through designation of the area as a demilitarised zone, a neutralised zone, and undefended locality (or safe zone), or a hospital or safety zone. Thus, IHL provisions and protection still apply, but these zones are not to be made the location of hostilities. Non-defended localities can be any town, village, dwelling, or building which is declared to be an undefended place. … Neutralised or demilitarised zones may also be established by parties to a conflict. … Demilitarised zones are outlined in article 60 of API and are intended to protect civilians living within such zones from attack by parties to the conflict. The provisions for establishing a demilitarised zone are similar to those for an undefended locality: however, demilitarised zones can only be created by agreement of the parties to the conflict. As the ICRC Commentary to the Protocols notes, the “essential character of the zones created in article 60 … [is] that they have a humanitarian and not a political aim; they are specially intended to protect the population living there against attack.”‘ (The Oxford Guide to International Humanitarian Law (2020) edited by Ben Saul and Dapo Akande), p.67. In international armed conflicts, international humanitarian law applies as soon as an armed conflict exists between states. The formal declaration of war is not required. Therefore, the four Geneva Conventions of 1949 apply to the invasion of a sovereign state by another state actor. The toolbox for humanitarian intervention includes the imposition of ‘humanitarian’ no-fly zones. An undefended locality can be estatblished unilaterally. Attacking a UN safezone is a breach of the rule of law. See also the ‘Humanitarian Mediation’ page at www.diplomaticlawguide.com.

See also:

‘Diplomacy and Defence are not substitutes for one another’

‘We cannot, as a free nation, compete with our adversaries in tactics of terror, assassination, false promises, counterfeit mobs and crises. 

We cannot, under the scrutiny of a free press and public, tell different stories to different audiences, foreign and domestic, friendly and hostile. 

We cannot abandon the slow processes of consulting with our allies to match the swift expediencies of those who merely dictate to their satellites. 

We can neither abandon nor control the international organization in which we now cast less than 1 percent of the vote in the General Assembly. 

We possess weapons of tremendous power–but they are least effective in combating the weapons most often used by freedom’s foes: subversion, infiltration, guerrilla warfare, civil disorder. 

We send arms to other peoples–just as we send them the ideals of democracy in which we believe–but we cannot send them the will to use those arms or to abide by those ideals. 

And while we believe not only in the force of arms but in the force of right and reason, we have learned that reason does not always appeal to unreasonable men–that it is not always true that “a soft answer turneth away wrath”–and that right does not always make might. 

In short, we must face problems which do not lend themselves to easy or quick or permanent solutions. And we must face the fact that the United States is neither omnipotent or omniscient–that we are only 6 percent of the world’s population–that we cannot impose our will upon the other 94 percent of mankind–that we cannot right every wrong or reverse each adversity–and that therefore there cannot be an American solution to every world problem. 

These burdens and frustrations are accepted by most Americans with maturity and understanding. They may long for the days when war meant charging up San Juan Hill- or when our isolation was guarded by two oceans– or when the atomic bomb was ours alone– or when much of the industrialized world depended upon our resources and our aid. But they now know that those days are gone– and that gone with them are the old policies and the old complacencies. And they know, too, that we must make the best of our new problems and our new opportunities, whatever the risk and the cost. 

But there are others who cannot bear the burden of a long twilight struggle. They lack confidence in our long-run capacity to survive and succeed. Hating communism, yet they see communism in the long run, perhaps, as the wave of the future. And they want some quick and easy and final and cheap solution– now. 

There are two groups of these frustrated citizens, far apart in their views yet very much alike in their approach. On the one hand are those who urge upon us what I regard to be the pathway of surrender-appeasing our enemies, compromising our commitments, purchasing peace at any price, disavowing our arms, our friends, our obligations. If their view had prevailed, the world of free choice would be smaller today. 

On the other hand are those who urge upon us what I regard to be the pathway of war: equating negotiations with appeasement and substituting rigidity for firmness. If their view had prevailed, we would be at war today, and in more than one place. 

It is a curious fact that each of these extreme opposites resembles the other. Each believes that we have only two choices: appeasement or war, suicide or surrender, humiliation or holocaust, to be either Red or dead. Each side sees only “hard” and “soft” nations, hard and soft policies, hard and soft men. Each believes that any departure from its own course inevitably leads to the other: one group believes that any peaceful solution means appeasement; the other believes that any arms build-up means war. One group regards everyone else as warmongers, the other regards everyone else as appeasers. Neither side admits that its path will lead to disaster–but neither can tell us how or where to draw the line once we descend the slippery slopes of appeasement or constant intervention. 

In short, while both extremes profess to be the true realists of our time, neither could be more unrealistic. While both claim to be doing the nation a service, they could do it no greater disservice. This kind of talk and easy solutions to difficult problems, if believed, could inspire a lack of confidence among our people when they must all– above all else– be united in recognizing the long and difficult days that lie ahead. It could inspire uncertainty among our allies when above all else they must be confident in us. And even more dangerously, it could, if believed, inspire doubt among our adversaries when they must above all be convinced that we will defend our vital interests. 

The essential fact that both of these groups fail to grasp is that diplomacy and defense are not substitutes for one another. Either alone would fail. A willingness to resist force, unaccompanied by a willingness to talk, could provoke belligerence– while a willingness to talk, unaccompanied by a willingness to resist force, could invite disaster. 

But as long as we know what comprises our vital interests and our long-range goals, we have nothing to fear from negotiations at the appropriate time, and nothing to gain by refusing to take part in them. At a time when a single clash could escalate overnight into a holocaust of mushroom clouds, a great power does not prove its firmness by leaving the task of exploring the other’s intentions to sentries or those without full responsibility. Nor can ultimate weapons rightfully be employed, or the ultimate sacrifice rightfully demanded of our citizens, until every reasonable solution has been explored. “How many wars,” Winston Churchill has written, “have been averted by patience and persisting good will! …. How many wars have been precipitated by firebrands!” 

If vital interests under duress can be preserved by peaceful means, negotiations will find that out. If our adversary will accept nothing less than a concession of our rights, negotiations will find that out. And if negotiations are to take place, this nation cannot abdicate to its adversaries the task of choosing the forum and the framework and the time. 

For there are carefully defined limits within which any serious negotiations must take place. With respect to any future talks on Germany and Berlin, for example, we cannot, on the one hand, confine our proposals to a list of concessions we are willing to make, nor can we, on the other hand, advance any proposals which compromise the security of free Germans and West Berliners, or endanger their ties with the West. 

No one should be under the illusion that negotiations for the sake of negotiations always advance the cause of peace. If for lack of preparation they break up in bitterness, the prospects of peace have been endangered. If they are made a forum for propaganda or a cover for aggression, the processes of peace have been abused. 

But it is a test of our national maturity to accept the fact that negotiations are not a contest spelling victory or defeat. They may succeed– they may fail. They are likely to be successful only if both sides reach an agreement which both regard as preferable to the status quo– an agreement in which each side can consider its own situation to be improved. And this is most difficult to obtain. 

But, while we shall negotiate freely, we shall not negotiate freedom. Our answer to the classic question of Patrick Henry is still no– life is not so dear, and peace is not so precious, “as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery.” And that is our answer even though, for the first time since the ancient battles between Greek city-states, war entails the threat of total annihilation, of everything we know, of society itself. For to save mankind’s future freedom, we must face up to any risk that is necessary. We will always seek peace– but we will never surrender. 

In short, we are neither “warmongers” nor “appeasers,” neither “hard” nor “soft.” We are Americans, determined to defend the frontiers of freedom, by an honorable peace if peace is possible, but by arms if arms are used against us. 

And if we are to move forward in that spirit, we shall need all the calm and thoughtful citizens that this great University can produce, all the light they can shed, all the wisdom they can bring to bear. It is customary, both here and around the world, to regard life in the United States as easy. Our advantages are many. But more than any other people on earth, we bear burdens and accept risks unprecedented in their size and their duration, not for ourselves alone but for all who wish to be free. No other generation of free men in any country has ever faced so many and such difficult challenges-not even those who lived in the days when this University was founded in 1861. 

This nation was then torn by war. This territory had only the simplest elements of civilization. And this city had barely begun to function. But a university was one of their earliest thoughts– and they summed it up in the motto that they adopted: “Let there be light.” What more can be said today, regarding all the dark and tangled problems we face than: Let there be light. And to accomplish that illumination, the University of Washington shall still hold high the torch.’

John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 25th President of the United States of America.

Address at University of Washington | JFK Library

See also: Who Blinks First in Ukraine? | The New Yorker

William Taylor, the former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine now at the U.S. Institute of Peace, told me this week, a few days after returning from Kyiv. “[Putin] will want to own or dominate or reabsorb Ukraine until he dies.”

‘Cultural Heritage Funds – Can an ESG Fund be a charitable trust’

This is a question that I put in a slightly different way to the panel at a joint UN – Islamic Finance Summit 28.09.2021 (Islamic Finance and the UN SDG’s 2021 Global Summit); IF-SDG-2021-Global-Summit-Agenda.pdf (ukifc.com) (UKIFC in partnership with UN and Islamic Development Bank organised a virtual global summit on Islamic finance and the SDGs to coincide with the UN General Assembly which I was invited to attend online. Please note that I am an English Trust Law practitioner and Commercial Mediator and do not practice in the field of Islamic Finance.

I do not see any legal impediment to the creation and administration of an ESG Charitable Trust under English law, provided the trustees exercise their duties and powers in accordance with English law, see: see: Islamic law principles applicable to the administration of trusts | Carl’s Wealth Planning Blog) and Chapters 3 (Powers of Trustees), and 4 (Duties of Trustees), of my book the ‘Contentious Trusts Handbook’ published by the Law Society in July 2020: Wildy & Sons Ltd — The World’s Legal Bookshop Search Results for isbn: ‘9781784461249’

To develop a business plan and strategy for such a trust the following issues would need to be thought through and agreed (and this is not an exhaustive list):

  1.  Objectives;
  2.  Size;
  3.  Investors;
  4.  ESG portfolio principles;
  5.  Asset classes;
  6.  Asset pool;
  7.  Governance structure;
  8.  Fund management;
  9.  Management structure;
  10.  Administrative powers;
  11.  Fund management duties (including fiduciary duties);
  12.  Investment policy;
  13.  Liquidity management;
  14.  Selection evaluation and monitoring of investments;
  15.  Risk assessment & due diligence;
  16.  Regulatory compliance (including MLC compliance);
  17.  Transaction management and record keeping;
  18.  Execution rules and protocols;
  19.  Auditing; and
  20.  Legal and Data Protection compliance.

In addition advice would need to be obtained about how to structure and manage the ESG fund for tax-efficiency.

Because most professional trustees have limited knowledge of funds and ESG investing, perhaps a trust specialist, a fund specialist and an ESG specialist could make up the board of a private trust company in the structure?

I am not sure if anybody has yet designed a structure that combines the idea of a charitable trust with an ESG fund for the ethical financing of social projects, e.g. a cultural heritage project (involving Islamic Finance). Therefore, because the idea of such a structure is innovative, it will probably need a sponsor to give it wings.

Meanwhile, I invite you to connect the dots between the following ‘boxes’:

  • Environmental protection.
  • Agriculture.
  • Irrigation, clean water and sanitation.
  • Environmentally friendly energy generation, e.g. solar power.
  • Politically stable and prosperous civil societies.
  • Free trade areas.
  • UN protected enclaves.
  • Micro social projects, which together create a larger matrix of projects that can create a functioning civil society.
  • Moving refugees out of camps into a healthy, and safe environment where they can apply themselves (and acquire new skills) to create a tolerant and functioning civil society, i.e. municipal services e.g. emergency services, hospitals, schools, and the planning and implementation of building and infrastructure (which requires architects, engineers, and trades e.g. electricians).
  • Development finance provided by states.
  • Technical know-how and co-operation provided by the private sector; and
  • Ethical investment by ESG (including Islamic Finance) funds – which already exist, see: ESG and Islamic Finance collaboration could be major revenue boost for sustainable investment: report (responsible-investor.com).

An idea for a specific micro-project which could form part of a larger matrix that occurs to me, is a Global Initiative to create ‘Islamic Gardens’ (i.e. as parks for planting trees, and with greenhouses for growing plants, fruit and vegetables), see for example Gardens of Paradise: past and present | Aga Khan Foundation UK (akf.org.uk). These Gardens or Parks appear to tick all of the above boxes.

There is also a relationship between the human environment, development and culture. The commentary to the preamble to the Draft International Covenant on Environment and Development (5th edition, IUCN Switzerland 2015) states:

‘All civilisations spring from and are shaped by the quality of their surrounding natural elements [and that] the histories of different peoples are inseparable from the natural conditions in which they have lived for millennia. … Art, literature and science cannot be understood, or even imagined, without acknowledging the influence of nature and its components. Thus, cultural diversity, like biological diversity, emerges from the various ecosystems.’

Since the Declaration of the UN Conference on the Human Environment, Stockholm, June 1972 (the ‘1972 Stockholm Declaration’) stated that ‘Man has a special responsibility to safeguard and wisely manage the heritage of wildlife and its habitat which are now gravely imperilled …’, and this ‘special responsibility’ includes a duty to restore and maintain the integrity of the environment, the existence of fiduciary duties (i.e. in public international law) in relation to cultural heritage, is linked to wider: environmental; strategic; legal; and policy issues, i.e. international law applying to activities on the high seas and on the continental shelf.

See further: Mediation of Art & Cultural Heritage Disputes – Carl Islam

Therefore, it would appear that an Islamic Charitable Trust could in principle be established as an ESG fund to finance Cultural Heritage projects throughout the Islamic world. However, this specific idea does not yet appear to be on the radar of either the Islamic Finance industry, academics, Governments, or UN institutions.

‘Afghanistan – Transforming a geo-political fiasco into a diplomatic opportunity’

Applying the following conflict resolution principles to Afghanistan, and taking into account the points set out below about the transference of global economic power to Asia and the fast evolving new world economic order, can a diplomatic ‘safe zone’/ ‘breathing-space’ be created by organising an international conference about infrastructure development in Central Asia in e.g. Qatar or Turkey?

Paradoxically, could ‘Global Britain’ miss out entirely on potentially ‘the largest free trade deal in history’ because the UK is ‘going-it alone’, whereas geo-politically Central Asia as a region, is moving in the opposite direction of multi-lateral trade and development co-operation. In other words, does Afghanistan present the UK with a diplomatic opportunity for future investment in Central Asia? – see: https://www.adb.org/sites/default/files/publication/29927/central-asia-trade-policy.pdf, the extract from the ‘New Silk Roads’, and Afghanistan – Linking economic diplomacy to humanitarian relief, & evacuation’, below.

Conflict resolution principles:

  1. Transform conflict into an opportunity – ‘Every conflict takes place at a crossroads that, when recognised for what it reveals, offers each participant an opportunity to overcome what Sigmund Freud called “the narcissism of minor differences”, and thereby become better, more balanced, collaborative human beings. … At its deeper levels, conflict resolution is naturally and automatically a path of integrity and character, of heart and spirit, of learning and revolution, that begins here and now inside each of us. In the end, of course there are no paths. The way forward begins wherever we are, and opens whenever we are ready to open our eyes, drop our judgements and expectations, and act authentically. More fundamentally, we need to learn how to resolve our differences if we hope to ever end the use of warfare, reduce climate change and environmental degradation, and assuage racial, gender, national, religious, and cultural hatreds. This will require us not only to focus our energies on learning and teaching these more subtle and demanding arts and sciences in dispute resolution, but to recognise that we can only succeed in eliminating conflicts in others by discovering how to eliminate them within ourselves.’‘The Crossroads of Conflict – A Journey Into the Heart of Dispute Resolution’ by Kenneth Cloke (2019).
  2. Create an enabling environment for transformation and transcendence, i.e. a ‘breathing space’ / ‘safe zone’ to open up unimagined possibilities – ‘[Daniel Shapiro has] developed a practical method to bridge the toughest emotional divides. This method leverages the unique feature of conflict that has been consistently overlooked: the space between sides. We typically view conflict as a binary concept – me versus you, us versus them – and focus on satisfying our independent interests. But conflict literally exists between us – in our relationship – and in that spacelive complicated emotional dynamics that thwart cooperation. Learning how to transform an emotionally charged conflict into an opportunity for mutual benefit requires that you learn how to effectively navigate the space. My goal has been to decode the space between disputants and to design processes to help them work through intransigent emotions, divisive dynamics, and clashing beliefs. The result is the method that I call ‘relational identity theory’, which features practical steps that produce dynamic effects, much as the few simple actions necessary to light a pile of wood produce the dynamic effect of fire. The greatest barrier to conflict resolution is what I called the tribes effect, divisive mindset that cast you and the other side as inevitable adversaries. As long as you are trapped in this mindset, you will be trapped in conflict. The way out is to counteract the five hidden forces that draw you toward this outlook – the Lures of the tribal mind – and to cultivate positive relations via the process of integrated dynamics. In the course of doing so, you will confront unavoidable tensions – relational dialectics – that threaten to make your conflict feel like a no-win proposition. ….

In the sunny resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, I facilitated a workshop called “building peace, breaking taboos”. Its purpose was to help regional leadership wrestle with political taboos constraining progress in the Israeli Palestinian negotiations. Co-led by Tony Blair, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and the United Nations Middle East quartet special envoy at the time, the session included participants ranging from high-level negotiators and government leaders to royalty and religious figures. To create a safe zone, I established the rules of our workshop [i.e. mediation], including confidentiality and mutual respect. In the tense context of the conflict, I knew that productive conversation would be possible only if participants felt safe enough to voice their honest opinions. I also emphasise that our workshop was exploratory, providing everyone a clear chance to think outside the constraints of the conflict [i.e. to think outside the box]. No one will be asked to commit to any action discussed in the workshop. This freed the participants to engage in energised conversation. Mr Blair took the floor to discuss his involvement in negotiating the Good Friday peace agreement that helped to resolve the Northern Ireland conflict. He explained that effective negotiations could not have taken place within an environment of violence and counter-attack. Both sides needed “breathing space” – [i.e. a] safe zone that, once established, opened up possibilities that Blair said he had “never imagined possible”.’ ‘Negotiating the Non-Negotiable – How To Resolve Your Most Emotionally Charged Conflicts’ by Daniel Shapiro (2017).

A new economic world order?

‘By 2050 the per capita income in Asia could rise sixfold in purchasing power parity (‘PPP’) terms, making 3 billion additional Asians affluent by current standards. By nearly doubling its share of global GDP to 52%, as one recent report put it, “Asia would regain the dominant economic position it held some 300 years ago, before the industrial revolution.” The transference of global economic power to Asia “may occur somewhat more quickly or slowly”, agreed another report, “but the general direction of change and the historic nature of this shift is clear” – concluding similarly that we are living through a reversion to how the world looked before the rise of the West. The acute awareness of the New World being knitted together has helped prompt plans for the future that will capitalise on and accelerate the changing patterns of economic and political power. Chief amongst these is the Belt and Road initiative, President Xi’s signature economic and foreign policy, which uses the ancient silk Roads – and their success – as a matrix for Chinese long-term plans for the future. Since the project was announced in 2013, nearly $1 trillion has been promised to infrastructure investments, mainly in the form of loans, to around 1000 projects. Some believe that the amount of money that will be ploughed into China’s neighbours in countries that are part of the Belt and Road over sea and land will eventually multiply several times over, to create and interlinked world of train lines, highways, deep-water ports, and airports that will enable trade links to grow even stronger and faster … Today, there is a series of Great Games taking place, over competition for influence, energy and natural resources, for food, water and clean air, the strategic position, even for data. … The number of passengers travelling by plane will nearly double to 7.8 billion a year by 2036, with the growing and increasingly affluent populations of Asia, with China, India, Turkey and Thailand driving this increase. … Pakistan is now the World’s fastest growing retail market, partly thanks to the fact that disposable income has doubled since 2020. … There are fortunes to be made by being in the right place at the right time – and consequences for failing to adapt or respond in the right way. … Tastes, trends and appetites will be made in the East and not in the West. Changing aspirations, appetites and tastes will drive demand – as they always have done. … Corporate fortunes and failures will be made in the East – and not in the West. … The age of the West is at a crossroads. … The themes of isolation and fragmentation in the West are in sharp contrast to what has been happening along the Silk Road since 2015. The story across large parts of the region linking the Pacific through to the Mediterranean has been about consolidation and trying to find ways to collaborate more effectively; the trend has been about defusing tensions and building alliances; the discussions have been about solutions that are mutually beneficial and provide the platform for long-term co-operation and collaboration. These have been facilitated by multiple institutions that both enable dialogue and take practical steps to deepen ties between states – multilateral financial institutions such as the Asian Development Bank and the New Asian infrastructure Development Bank, but also groups like the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, the Eurasian Economic Union, the BRICS summits, the Transpacific Partnership (albeit without US participation) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership – the last of which includes countries from South East Asia along with China, India, South Korea, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. Together, these have a combined GDP of almost – 30 trillion or 30% of global GDP – and represent 3.5 billion people. Negotiations to create a modern comprehensive high quality and mutually beneficial economic partnership agreement have intensified, raising the prospect that one economist has called the largest free trade deal in history. .. The world is spinning in two different directions: decoupling and going it alone in one, and deepening ties and trying to work together in another. … A typical example of the way in which the heart of the world is being knitted together comes from a conference held in Samarkand in November 2017 when senior officials from the Central Asian republics as well as from Afghanistan, Russia, China, Turkey, Iran, India and Pakistan, met to discuss ways of working together to deal with terrorism, religious extremism, transnational organised crime and drug trafficking under the theme “Central Asia: one past and a common future, cooperation for sustainable development and mutual prosperity.” … If Kazakhstan and Iran build transit networks, Kazakhstan may be linked to the southern waters through Iran, and Iran can be connected to China via Kazakhstan … The development of a new international north-south transport corridor that connects Southeast Asia and northern Europe has also made progress and seen government bodies in Azerbaijan, Russia and Iran working closely with each other.’’ The New Silk Roads – The Present and Future of the World, by Peter Frankopan(2018).

Diplomatic opportunity?

The UK elected to ‘go it alone’. The US President has pinned his colours to a policy of isolationism. China is the emerging global leader in Central Asia. Could the UK miss out entirely on ‘the largest free trade deal in history’ because of a lack of coherent thinking, imagination and diplomatic leadership, or does regime change in Afghanistan represent a time-limited opportunity?

AFGHANISTAN – Linking economic diplomacy to humanitarian relief, & evacuation

An idea cannot be killed by military action, however its appeal can be weakened by creating a stable and thriving economy that rewards application, in other words entrepreneurship and wealth creation are weapons that can silently defeat an ideology over time by making it irrelevant to people’s  needs, expectations, and aspirations. That is why communism was doomed to fail from the start, i.e. because it removed the incentive to work, which runs counter to human nature as most rational people want to improve not only their own lives but also to create opportunities for their children. Wealth creation should therefore be part of a coherent and cohesive diplomatic strategy for managing the risk of terrorism fuelled by a culture of crime in a hostile oligarchy or failed state. Educated Afghan refugees can help build the economies of Central Asian states and create wealth and social flourishing in the region, which in the long term may increase stability in Central Asia. Is there a time-limited opportunity for the US, EU, UK, Turkey, Canada and Australia, to jointly develop a coherent diplomatic strategy linking trade deals to an agreement by Central Asian States to provide a home for refugees from Afghanistan?

‘Regional preferential trade agreements have the potential to contribute to Central Asia’s economic diversification. Their usefulness is positively correlated with their capacity to facilitate trade among participants and negatively correlated with the extent of trade diversion caused by the agreement. From that perspective, the Commonwealth of Independent States free trade area is useful and fairly harmless because it reinforces the already existing regime of Central Asia’s trade with traditional partners based on a set of rules consistent with the WTO’ – Connecting Central Asia with Economic Centres: Final Report (adb.org)

A potential Win/Win strategy?

  • Fly in aid to Afghanistan.
  • Fly out evacuees for settlement in Central Asian States.
  • US, EU, UK, Turkey, Canada and Australia to provide: (i) humanitarian relief to Afghanistan; and (ii) trade and development support to Central Asian States.

The problem

After the last flight has left Kabul there will be no airports under neutral control to fly in and out of, and no force on the ground to create and protect a humanitarian land corridor, and to escort evacuees to safety.

Can Pakistan and the UAE provide troops wearing ‘blue’ helmets and air cover with the agreement of the Taliban and local war lords, to operate and protect strategic airports and to ensure safe passage?

Otherwise, how are people, including UK and US citizens i.e. passport holders, left behind (who apparently number more than 2000), to get out of Afghanistan?

They are trapped.

Likewise, how is humanitarian aid going to get into Afghanistan and be distributed where it is needed?

That is where a coalition of the US, EU, UK, Turkey, Canada and Australia appear to have some diplomatic leverage, unless of course China advances into the political vacuum and eventually controls the ungoverned space. If it does, geopolitically who is going to end up being the largest investor in Central Asia – the US, EU, UK, Turkey, Canada and Australia or China?

The United States has a vested interest in promoting regional economic integration, which could catalyze political reform and reinforce efforts to stop illicit traffic and militant activity at Afghanistan’s borders. As cited in a World Bank report, landlocked countries can face average growth rates that are about 1.5 percentage points lower because of transaction costs and other inefficiencies such as unpredictability in transportation time.  In July 2011, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the New Silk Road (NSR) initiative, a long-term economic vision to transform Afghanistan into a hub of transport and trade, connecting markets in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Central Asia. Some of the proposed NSR projects include completing the Afghan Ring Road; establishing rail links between Afghanistan and Pakistan; completing the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline; and creating a regional electricity market by establishing a transmission line between Central Asia and South Asia (CASA-1000).   NSR requires U.S. leadership, not necessarily an infusion of new U.S. funds. It will instead involve cooperation from multilateral development banks, foreign donors, regional governments, and the private sectorNSR has been enthusiastically welcomed by governments in Afghanistan and Central Asia who want to connect to markets in Europe and Asia and appreciate American attention to their economic challenges.   However, connecting Central to South Asia via Afghanistan will be challenging in light of the barriers to continental transport and trade, including the lack of regional cooperation. NSR will not be a panacea for Afghanistan’s economic woes, but it does offer a vision for the broader region that could foster private sector investment if projects are prioritized and steps are taken to create an enabling environment. The United States can play a vital role by supporting political and economic reform and leveraging its resources.’

CENTRAL ASIA AND THE TRANSITION IN AFGHANISTAN (govinfo.gov)

See also:

Why did the UK become involved? – https://rusi.org/explore-our-research/publications/commentary/afghanistan-and-uks-illusion-strategy

What can the US do now? – Biden can still salvage his legacy and US credibility. It won’t be easy. – Atlantic Council

Scale – Half a million Afghans could flee across borders – UNHCR | Reuters

Can Central Asian States provide a refuge? –Afghanistan: Where will refugees go after Taliban takeover? – BBC News

Concerted humanitarian strategy? – David Miliband calls for ‘unified’ international engagement with the Taliban (alaraby.co.uk)

EU diplomatic support? – Top EU diplomat Borrell calls for dialogue with the Taliban in Afghanistan – POLITICO

UK logistical support? – https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/afghanistan-uk-troops-refugees-support-b1910646.html

Regional consequences? – Afghanistan: What Taliban takeover means for the region | Asia | An in-depth look at news from across the continent | DW | 19.08.2021

Could Turkey be a diplomatic mediator? – https://rusi.org/explore-our-research/publications/commentary/turkeys-return-central-asia

China – The influence of Chinese economic growth on Central Asian countries.(Business Reference Services, Library of Congress) (loc.gov)

Russia – Sino-Russian Economic Cooperation in Central Asia is Not What It Seems to Be – The Diplomat

India – Taliban takeover a ‘body blow’ to Indian interests in Afghanistan | Taliban News | Al Jazeera

https://www.futuredirections.org.au/publication/the-geopolitical-shift-in-afghanistan-security-implications-for-india/

Pakistan – Pakistan’s problematic victory in Afghanistan (brookings.edu)

Australia – Australia and Kazakhstan: a Steppe Forward for Bilateral Ties – Australian Institute of International Affairs – Australian Institute of International Affairs

Canada – https://www.canadainternational.gc.ca/kazakhstan/bilateral_relations_bilaterales/canada_kazakhstan.aspx?lang=eng

Islamic Finance – Gulftimes : Central Asia pushes Islamic finance in preparation of post-Covid era (gulf-times.com)

Cultural Heritage Diplomacy & Humanitarian Mediation – The Paradox of Machiavelli’s Principle of Survival’

In the 16th century, the strategist and political philosopher Niccolò Machiavelli wrote that ‘he who becomes a master of a city accustomed to freedom and does not destroy it, may expect to be destroyed by it, for in rebellion it has always [been] the watchword of liberty and its ancient privileges as a rallying point, which neither time nor benefits will ever cause it to forget.’ (‘The Prince’, Chapter V – ‘Concerning The Way To Govern Cities Or Principalities Which Lived Under Their Own Laws Before They Were Annexed.’)(1532). In other words, if you really want to destroy a people, its pride, it self esteem, and its sense of belonging to its own cultural identity, you need to destroy its cultural heritage, otherwise you will not be able to dominate. (‘Machiavelli’s principle of survival’) [‘MPS’].

‘Most recent cases of international destruction of cultural heritage have in common the circumstances that the target of perpetrators was not a particular community that they wanted to annihilate but rather the international community as a whole, with the exception of those who share their same ideals. As noted by Ana Vrdoljak, it is “cultural and religious diversity which the perpetrators find abhorrent and seek to expunge through such acts.” In all those cases, these crimes against culture assume the characterisation not only of crimes against persons but also and especially of crimes against the international community as a whole.’ (‘Intentional Destruction of Cultural Heritage’, by Federico Lenzerini, the ‘Oxford Handbook Of Cultural Heritage Law’ (2020), Oxford University Press, page 90).

The Second Protocol to the 1954 Hague Convention For The Protection of Cultural Property In The Event Of Armed Conflict enumerates five war crimes, known collectively as ‘serious violations’ of the Second Protocol, in respect of which States Parties owe a suite of obligations of suppression through their own or another willing States Party’s criminal law and courts. In addition to the regime applicable to serious violations, the Second Protocol obliges States Parties to adopt such legislative, administrative, or disciplinary measures as may be necessary to suppress any use of cultural property in violation of the Convention or Second Protocol and any illicit export, other removal, or transfer of ownership of cultural property from occupied territory in violation of the Convention or Second Protocol.

Therefore, there is an unspoken connection between:

  1. the deliberate destruction of cultural heritage as a strategy by an invading force in war and occupation; and
  2. genocide.

Cultural Heritage is entwined with UNESCO’s broader mandate concerning human rights, the rule of law, development, and peace. The intentional destruction of cultural heritage is an offence against humanity as a whole. Article II.2 of the 2003 UNESCO Declaration concerning the Intentional Destruction of Cultural Heritage (17 October 2003) states:

‘For the purposes of this Declaration “intentional destruction” means an act intended to destroy in whole or in part cultural heritage, thus compromising its integrity, in a manner which constitutes a violation of international law or an unjustifiable offence to the principles of humanity and dictates of public conscience, in the latter case in so far as such acts are not already governed by fundamental principles of international law.’

In other words, the intentional destruction of cultural heritage is an unjustifiable offence to the principles of humanity and the dictates of public conscience.

Under International Humanitarian Law (‘IHL’), war has limits. Violation of IHL can result in an offender being prosecuted for having committed a war crime. While there are no rules establishing any particular consequences, the International Criminal Tribunal For The Former Yugoslavia emphasised in Prosecutor v. Jokić Case IT-01-42/1-S (Judgment) Trial Chamber (18 March 2004), paragraph 46, that in the interests of humanity as a whole:

‘since it is a serious violation of international humanitarian law to attack civilian buildings, it is a crime of even greater seriousness to direct an attack on an especially protected site’.

This may be considered as an aggravating factor in determining the length of any sentence in the prosecution of perpetrators.

However, viewing future conflicts through the hard geo-political lens of the international relations doctrine of ‘Offensive Realism’, the rules of war under International Law (in particular under IHL) are not an effective deterrent to the destruction of Cultural Heritage, because if an invading sovereign state is a hegemon [‘H‘], and the political logic underlying invasion is survival (i.e. because the political psychology of H is that it must dominate to survive), then achieving its political objectives requires the deliberate destruction of Cultural Heritage, because in H’s mind, that is the law of the jungle, i.e. MPS.

Furthermore, the Achilles Heel of IHL is that to prosecute a violation you must be able to prove that the destruction of e.g. a monument, church or library was deliberately targeted. Even if you could prove this intent, there is no international police force to deter the destruction of Cultural Heritage before it happens, i.e. IHL has no political, diplomatic or military teeth.

Because of the strategic significance and value of Cultural Heritage, which in the opinion of the author is often completely misunderstood by politicians, policy makers, diplomats and the military, is there a better way of deterring the destruction of Cultural Heritage in war? The author argues that there is, and that as part of this vision:

  1. The protection of Cultural Heritage needs to be integrated into a ‘grand strategy’ in confronting and defeating an enemy during war, not least because of the paradox that when the enemy destroys part of a shared Cultural Heritage, it is destabilising its own society, because it is destroying part of:

1.1    its own identity; and

1.2    a historical legacy owned by its own people.

Therefore, its own people will inevitably ask – ‘who and what are we fighting for – the survival of a political elite (‘them’) or ourselves (‘us’).’

  1. There is an urgent need to explore innovative and practical mechanisms that will allow non-state actors (‘NSA’s’), to ensure the sustainable protection of Cultural Heritage. This is linked to the use of ‘Cultural Heritage Diplomacy’as an instrument in the mediation of a peace process and agreement.

There is a tension between the:
(a)      common ground [‘CG’] represented by a shared cultural heritage (including a set of ethical, philosophical and religious values/beliefs); and
(b)      political ambitions and objectives [‘PA’], that drive military strategy in war.

As the author observed above, a logical corollary of MPS, is that where CG exists between an ‘invading state’, i.e. H, and an ‘invaded state’, H must destroy part of itself in order to achieve its political objectives. Therefore, if the political logic underlying invasion is the survival of H, i.e. driven by the psychology that a hegemon must dominate, then there is a paradox because PA requires the destruction of CG. In other words, to achieve its political objectives, H must destroy part of itself. Therefore, invasion is ultimately a political mistake. The miscalculation is that instead of H becoming stronger it will actually weaken itself, because by invading a state with a shared cultural heritage, H will to an extent destroy its own cultural identity. If that happens then over time, institutionally H may become unstable and ungovernable, resulting ultimately in the political break-up of H. In other words, institutionally, the destruction of CG by H is an act of political self-destruction. The existential question for H then becomes, how do they end the war without ending up being in a worse position than they were in before it, in order to:

  1. preserve the status quo within H itself; and
  2. restore the balance of power (i.e. the status quo ante) between H and other hegemons and aspiring hegemons in the region/world, including H‘s political allies –  who may pursue their own self-interest at the expense of H, if H becomes politically unstable, i.e. by annexing territory that H can no longer politically control because its military capability and economy have been weakened.

If the author is right, then the calculus of risk by H is a dynamic that can influence a decision by H to end a war by positively engaging in mediation. In other words, the principles and norms that underly IHL are a tool in the negotiation of a peace process and agreement. Arguably, these principles are powerful tool, because violation, i.e. the impact of war on CG, may adversely affect public opinion within H and weaken support for the war.

When the political strategy of H is to create a failed state, i.e. where it has failed in its primary objective to turn the invaded state into a client state, then the preservation and protection of cultural heritage in the invaded state, is arguably elevated to the level of being a threat to the national security of any other state in the region [S], because there is a risk of a failed state emerging within S‘s geo-political sphere of influence. If the destruction of CG has the potential to politically destabilise H, then it follows that S also has a national security interest in the survival of H.  Therein, and counter-intuitively, lies the seed of a principle that can result in the mediation of terms of peace which ensure the survival of both and the sovereign state invaded by H. If this geo-political interest is recognised by all parties to the conflict and their supporters, then this can open up a dialogue which includes the use of cultural heritage as a language of diplomacy, to negotiate a ceasefire and peace agreement.

Because cultural identity is considered to part of human dignity, it is linked to human rights, i.e. cultural heritage is of crucial importance to individuals and communities as part of their identity. Since cultural heritage requires memory, this applies to both tangible and intangible heritage, because material and physical heritage needs to be placed in both a historical and cultural context, in order to understand its value.

‘The cultural heritage of a people is not limited to the tangible expressions of art, architecture, religion, poetry, or writing in general but also includes its intangible heritage, which is transmitted from generation to generation, is constantly recreated by communities and groups in response to their environment, their interaction with nature and their history, and provides them with a sense of identity and continuity. More generally, cultural heritage includes the expressions of the people’s spirituality, and the body of values which give meaning to life. … The real target of most acts of intentional destruction of cultural heritage is therefore, not the heritage in itself but the human communities for which such a heritage is of special significance.’ (‘Mens Rea of Intentional Destruction of Cultural Heritage’, by Federico Lenzerini, Chapter 4 of the Oxford Handbook of International Cultural Heritage Law’ (2020), Oxford University Press, page 77).

There is also a relationship between the human environment, development and culture. The commentary to the preamble to the Draft International Covenant on Environment  and Development (5th edition, IUCN Switzerland 2015) states:

‘All civilisations spring from and are shaped by the quality of their surrounding natural elements [and that] the histories of different peoples are inseparable from the natural conditions in which they have lived for millennia. … Art, literature and science cannot be understood, or even imagined, without acknowledging the influence of nature and its components. Thus, cultural diversity, like biological diversity, emerges from the various ecosystems.’

Since the Declaration of the UN Conference on the Human Environment, Stockholm, June 1972  (the ‘1972 Stockholm Declaration’) stated that ‘Man has a special responsibility to safeguard and wisely manage the heritage of wildlife and its habitat which are now gravely imperilled …’, and this ‘special responsibility’ includes a duty to restore and maintain the integrity of the environment, the existence of fiduciary duties in relation to cultural heritage is linked to wider: environmental; strategic; security; legal; and policy issues, i.e. international law applying to activities on the high seas and on the continental shelf.

The author’s thesis, is that when art [‘A’] is of cultural significance, i.e. is recognised as being cultural property [‘CP’], it forms part of a recognised heritage. If then in either a narrow or a broad sense, it becomes part of civilization and a record of human evolution (i.e. part of the consciousness and collective memory of mankind), public duties do or should attach to possession. In particular, the possessor [‘P’] who owns A that is also CP, is also a custodian of the object [‘CPO’]. In which case, fiduciary duties attach to possession, e.g. a duty to preserve and protect the cultural property [‘DP’]. DP also applies to an underwater archaeological site, because as the French Archaeologist Salomon Reinach famously remarked, ‘The sea is the largest museum in the world’.  If P is a state, these duties extend to protecting the CP in the event of war. Therefore, DP is a quintessentially fiduciary duty.  The underlying premise is that every civilized society is a fiduciary of humanity, and so are their governments.

Universality of values: Cultural dimension of geopolitical competition

‘Universality of values: Cultural dimension of geopolitical competition Event’ Conference Talks 14.1.2022 organised by the European External Action Service – The presentations broadcast from: Europe; China; and India, were insightful and provided much food for thought. I think that the recognition and promulgation of universal values, possibly enshrined in an emboldened code of international law norms and standards of behaviour is linked to cultural heritage diplomacy (i.e. as bridge building and so much more).

As far as I am aware, there is no fiduciary doctine of custodianship, protection, and preservation in relation to cultural heritage under English law. Whether such a doctine is desirable is a controversial subject, however there do appear to be fiduciary policies in e.g. Italy. For more information please visit the ‘Mediation of Art and Cultural Heritage Disputes’ page of my website (www.ihtbar.com), or just Google ‘Mediation of Art Disputes.’

DRAFT ESSAY [Work in progress] –  ‘Transforming Conflict Through Humanitarian Mediation & Cultural Heritage Diplomacy.’

Contents:

  • The nexus between International Humanitarian Law (‘IHL’) and classical fiduciary theory.
  • The limits of war under International Humanitarian Law.
  • Fiduciary Principles of International Relations.
  • Are fiduciary principles and norms underlying  IHL a tool in the negotiation of a peace process and agreement?
  • Universal ‘ethical’ values under IHL.
  • Principles & Norms of IHL in relation to Cultural Heritage.
  • Thinking strategically about the protection of cultural heritage during war.

Introduction

The twin themes examined in this article are:

  1. What humanitarian tools have been applied is mediating a peace process and agreement in conflicts from antiquity to the present day?
  2. What lessons and principles of Humanitarian Mediation can be drawn from history?

The nexus between International Humanitarian Law (‘IHL’) and classical fiduciary theory

Cultural Heritage is entwined with UNESCO’s broader mandate concerning human rights, the rule of law, development, and peace.

The intentional destruction of cultural heritage is an offence against humanity as a whole. Article II.2 of the 2003 UNESCO Declaration concerning the Intentional Destruction of Cultural Heritage (17 October 2003) states:

‘For the purposes of this Declaration “intentional destruction” means an act intended to destroy in whole or in part cultural heritage, thus compromising its integrity, in a manner which constitutes a violation of international law or an unjustifiable offence to the principles of humanity and dictates of public conscience, in the latter case in so far as such acts are not already governed by fundamental principles of international law.’

In other words, the intentional destruction of cultural heritage is an unjustifiable offence to the principles of humanity and the dictates of public conscience.

While there are no rules establishing any particular consequences, the International Criminal Tribunal For The Former Yugoslavia emphasised in Prosecutor v. Jokić Case IT-01-42/1-S (Judgment) Trial Chamber (18 March 2004), paragraph 46, that in the interests of humanity as a whole:

‘since it is a serious violation of international humanitarian law to attack civilian buildings, it is a crime of even greater seriousness to direct an attack on an especially protected site’.

Therefore, this may be considered as an aggravating factor in determining the length of any sentence in the prosecution of perpetrators.

‘The cultural heritage of a people is not limited to the tangible expressions of art, architecture, religion, poetry, or writing in general but also includes its intangible heritage, which is transmitted from generation to generation, is constantly recreated by communities and groups in response to their environment, their interaction with nature and their history, and provides them with a sense of identity and continuity. More generally, cultural heritage includes the expressions of the people’s spirituality, and the body of values which give meaning to life. Its characterization into different kinds (tangible, intangible, spiritual, etc), is simply descriptive and approximate, as one single piece of heritage may assume different meanings for a community, depending on the values it incorporates as perceived by the people concerned. For instance, a building which is considered of outstanding universal value – i.e. of exceptional significance for humanity as a whole – may at the same time have a special spiritual and social (intangible) significance for a given community, for which it greatly transcends the artistic architectural, aesthetic, and economic worth of the property concerned. It is exactly such a special spiritual and social significance which is usually targeted by the perpetrators of acts of intentional destruction of cultural heritage. Indeed, when they destroy a piece of cultural heritage, they demolish much more than an outstanding and irreplaceable object. They destroy the special – often spiritual – connection between that object and a human community, a fundamental element of the cultural and social identity of the latter, ultimately upsetting the community as such. The real target of most acts of intentional destruction of cultural heritage is therefore, not the heritage in itself but the human communities for which such a heritage is of special significance.’ The Oxford Handbook of International Cultural Heritage Law’, pages 76-78.

In the 16th century, the strategist and political philosopher Niccollo Machiavelli wrote that ‘he who becomes a master of a city accustomed to freedom and does not destroy it, may expect to be destroyed by it, for in rebellion it has always [been] the watchword of liberty and its ancient privileges as a rallying point, which neither time nor benefits will ever cause it to forget.’ (The Prince, Chapter V – ‘Concerning The Way To Govern Cities Or Principalities Which Lived Under Their Own Laws Before They Were Annexed.’)(1532). In other words, if you really want to destroy a people, its pride, it self esteem, and its sense of belonging to its own cultural identity, you need to destroy its cultural heritage (‘Machiavelli’s principle of survival’) [‘MPS’].

This reality has been denounced, much more recently by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), affirming that ‘the loss of heritage during times of conflict can deprive a community of its identity and memory, as well as the physical testimony of its past. Those destroying cultural heritage seek to disrupt the social fabric of societies.” Intentional destruction of cultural heritage carries a message of terror and helplessness: it destroys part of humanity’s shared memory and collective consciousness: and it renders humanity unable to transmit its values and knowledge to future generations.’ 

‘Most recent cases of international destruction of cultural heritage have in common the circumstances that the target of perpetrators was not a particular community that they wanted to annihilate but rather the international community as a whole, with the exception of those who share their same ideals. As noted by Ana Vrdoljak, it is “cultural and religious diversity which the perpetrators find abhorrent and seek to expunge through such acts.” In all those cases, these crimes against culture assume the characterisation not only of crimes against persons but also and especially of crimes against the international community as a whole.’ The Oxford Handbook Of Cultural Heritage Law (2020), page 90.

The Second Protocol to the 1954 Hague Convention For The Protection of Cultural Property In The Event Of Armed Conflict enumerates five war crimes, known collectively as ‘serious violations’ of the Second Protocol, in respect of which States Parties owe a suite of obligations of suppression through their own or another willing States Party’s criminal law and courts.

In addition to the regime applicable to serious violations, the Second Protocol obliges States Parties to adopt such legislative, administrative, or disciplinary measures as may be necessary to suppress any use of cultural property in violation of the Convention or Second Protocol and any illicit export, other removal, or transfer of ownership of cultural property from occupied territory in violation of the Convention or Second Protocol.

Therefore, there is an unspoken connection between:

(i) the deliberate destruction of cultural heritage as a strategy by an invading force in war and occupation; and

(ii) genocide.

The limits of war under International Humanitarian Law

Under IHL war has limits.

‘Current world affairs are plagued by a plethora of conflicts, many of them marked by methods of warfare displaying a shocking disregard for the established principles of international humanitarian law (‘IHL’). In some contexts, it seems that methods such as direct attacks against civilians and unarmed or wounded combatants, indiscriminate attacks, perfidious suicide-bombings, and the destruction and pillage of cultural objects have become commonplace, and it seems to have been forgotten that even wars have limits.

The so-called “Hague-Law”, which regulates the use of means and methods of warfare so as to mitigate, as much as possible, the “calamities of war”, is the oldest branch of IHL. It’s basic tenet can be summarised in three fundamental maxims, namely: (i) that “the only legitimate object which states should endeavour to accomplish during war is to weaken military forces of the enemy”; and that therefore, in pursuing this aim, both (ii) “the right of the parties to the conflict to choose methods or means of warfare is not unlimited”; and (iii) “[t]he civilian population and individual civilians shall enjoy general protection against dangers arising from military operations.”

The first maxim expresses the basic principle of military necessity, which limits the permissibility of means and methods of warfare to what is actually required for the achievement of a legitimate military purpose. The second maxim provides the basis for the prohibition of means and methods of warfare that are of a nature to cause superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering to combatants. The third maxim concerns the principle of distinction, which prohibits not only direct attacks against civilians in the civilian population, but also indiscriminate means and methods of warfare. Both the prohibition of unnecessary suffering and the principle of distinction are regarded as “cardinal principles” of IHL by the International Court of Justice and, in this basic form, are universally accepted as part of customary international law.’ (The ‘Oxford Guide to International Humanitarian Law’ (2020), edited by Ben Saul and Dapo Akande, Chapter 10 – ‘Methods of Warfare’ by Gloria Gaggioli and Nils Melzer at page 235).

Violation of IHL can result in an offender being prosecuted for having committed a war crime.

States retain the primary responsibility in the prosecution of international crimes. Under the Geneva Conventions and Additional Protocol I of 1977, States must prosecute people accused of war crimes before their own national courts or extradite them for trial elsewhere.

The International Criminal Court (‘ICC’), headquartered in the Hague, exercises a complementary jurisdiction in respect of international crimes, and may take up a case when either:
1.    a State is unable or unwilling to prosecute the suspects, which include former and serving:
1.1    heads of state;
1.2    government ministers;
1.3    public officials;
1.4    military, intelligence, and police personnel of any rank;
1.5    members of a paramilitary group; and
1.6    civilians; or
2.    the Court is requested to initiate proceedings by the UN Security Council, acting under Chapter VII of the UN Charter.
The ICC is an independent international organisation, and is not part of the United Nations system. The jurisdiction of the ICC is limited to the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole, including war crimes. The ICC also has jurisdiction over crimes against humanity, which include a range of acts committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population. Together, this includes most of the serious violations of international human rights law covered by the 1949 Geneva Conventions and the 1977 Additional Protocols, whether committed during an international or non-international armed conflict. While the ‘crime of aggression’, also mentioned in the Statute, was not defined during the establishment of the Court, it is within the ICC’s jurisdiction. Contrary to other international courts, the ICC may take action against individuals but not States. However, nothing in the ICC Statute releases States from their obligations under existing international humanitarian law or customary international law. ‘All war crimes are crimes for which there is universal jurisdiction, so that any State can prosecute them. The most authoritative and convenient, list of war crimes, committed in international or internal armed conflicts, is now to be found in the ICC statute. The defence that an accused was acting under the order of a superior is available only in very limited circumstances.’ Handbook of International Law, by Anthony Aust (formerly legal advisor to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office).

Fiduciary Principles of International Relations

Viewing future conflicts through the hard geo-political lens of the international relations doctrine of Offensive Realism’, the rules of war under International Law (in particular under International Humanitarian Law [‘IHL’] are not an effective deterrent to the destruction of Cultural Heritage, because if an invading sovereign state is a hegemon/an aspiring hegemon [‘H‘], and the political logic underlying invasion is survival (i.e. because the political psychology of H is that it must dominate to survive), then achieving its political objectives requires the deliberate destruction of Cultural Heritage. This is based upon what the author calls, ‘Machiavelli’s Principle of Survival’ [‘MPS’] – see above.

Furthermore, the Achilles Heel of IHL is that to prosecute a violation you must be able to prove that the destruction of e.g. a monument, church or library was deliberately targeted. Even if you could prove this intent, there is no international police force to deter the destruction of Cultural Heritage before it happens, i.e. IHL has no political, diplomatic or military teeth.

Because of the strategic significance and value of Cultural Heritage (which in the opinion of the author is often completely misunderstood by politicians, policy makers, diplomats and the military), is there a better way of deterring the destruction of Cultural Heritage in war?

The author argues that there is, and that as part of this vision:

(i) The protection of Cultural Heritage needs to be integrated into a grand strategy in confronting and defeating an enemy during war – not least because of the paradox that when the enemy destroys part of a shared Cultural Heritage, it is destabilising its own society, because it is destroying part of: (i) its own identity; and (ii) a historical legacy owned by its own people. Therefore, its own people will inevitably ask – ‘who and what are we fighting for – the survival of a political elite (‘them’) or ourselves (‘us’).’

(ii) There is an urgent need to explore innovative and practical mechanisms that will allow non-state actors (NSA’s), to ensure the sustainable protection of Cultural Heritage. This is linked to the use of ‘Cultural Heritage Diplomacy’ as an instrument in the mediation of a peace process and agreement.

The author concludes that:

(i) Universally recognised fiduciary principles for the protection and preservation of Cultural Heritage exist under IHL.

(ii) These fiduciary principles can cohere as an ethical foundation for:

(a) the development of an integrated strategic framework for the protection of Cultural Heritage in a conflict zone; and

(b) its implementation, though a process of humanitarian’ mediation.

The author further argues, that as a matter of practical application, (i) and (ii) above are strategically linked to:

(iii) Principles for the peaceful resolution through a process of multilateral ‘Cultural Heritage Diplomacy of the apparently irreconcilable conflict between:

(a) the ethical duty of a state and its government to behave as a ‘fiduciary of humanity’; and

(b) the political instincts and ambitions of H in an ‘offensive realism’ paradigm – i.e. their impulse to destroy cultural heritage and its symbols in order to suppress and indoctrinate by erasing the cultural memory of the people H is oppressing (see: John Mearsheimer – Offensive Realism in Brief | Genius).

(iv) The development of a unified and coherent international relations doctrine of ‘Fiduciary Principled Behaviour’ – i.e. the political idea that states and governments can maximise their survival and gains through collaboration, instead of competition, because ‘competition’ leads to ‘confrontation’ which can result in war.

(v) The mediation of a process and protocol for the preservation and protection of Cultural Heritage in a conflict zone by a politically non-aligned non-state actor (‘NSA‘), as a foundation stone in the negotiation of a sustainable and enduring peace process and agreement, based upon recognition of shared values, interests, realpolitik, and practical ethics.

Are fiduciary principles and norms underlying  IHL a tool in the negotiation of a peace process and agreement?

If fiduciary principles are a cornerstone of IHL, are they a potential negotiation tool in the mediation of a peace process and agreement?

As the author observed above, there is a tension between the:
(a)      common ground [‘CG’] represented by a shared cultural heritage (including a set of ethical, philosophical and religious values/beliefs); and
(b)      political ambitions and objectives [‘PA’] that drive military strategy in war.

A logical corollary of MPS, is that where CG exists between an invading state and an invaded state, that the invader must destroy part of itself in order to achieve its political objective(s). Analysing the psychology of an invasion through the lens of an ‘Offensive Realism’ paradigm (see Mearsheimer, John J. (2014) The Tragedy Of Great Power Politics), if an invading sovereign state is a hegemon/an aspiring hegemon), i.e. H, and the political logic underlying invasion is survival, i.e. because a hegemon must dominate, then there is a paradox because PA requires the destruction of CG. In other words, to achieve its political objectives, H must destroy part of itself.

Therefore, invasion may be a political mistake. The miscalculation is that instead of H becoming stronger it will actually weaken itself, because by invading a state with a shared cultural heritage, H will to an extent destroy its own cultural identity. If that happens then over time, institutionally H may become unstable and ungovernable, resulting ultimately in the political break-up of H. In other words, institutionally, the destruction of CG by H is an act of political self-destruction.

The existential question for H then becomes, how do they end the war without ending up being in a worse position than they were in before it, in order to:

(i) preserve the status quo within H itself; and

(ii) restore the balance of power (i.e. the status quo ante) between H and other hegemons and aspiring hegemons in the region/world, including H‘s political allies –  who may pursue their own self interest at the expense of H, if H becomes politically unstable, i.e. by annexing territory that H can no longer politically control, i.e. because its military capability and economy have been weakened.

If the author is right, then the calculus of risk by H is a dynamic that can influence a decision by H to end a war by positively engaging in mediation.

In other words, the fiduciary principles and norms that underly IHL are a tool in the negotiation of a peace process and agreement. Arguably, these principles are powerful tool, because violation, i.e. the impact of war on CG, may adversely affect public opinion within H and weaken support for the war.

When the political strategy of H is to create a failed state [‘FS‘], where it has failed in its primary objective to turn the invaded state into a client state, then the preservation and protection of cultural heritage in the invaded state, is arguably elevated to the level of being a threat to the national security of any other state in the region [S], because there is a risk of a failed state emerging within S‘s geo-political sphere of influence. If the destruction of CG has the potential to politically destabilise H, then it follows that S also has a national security interest in the survival of H.  Therein, and counter-intuitively, lies the seed of a principle that can result in the mediation of terms of peace which ensure the survival of both H and the sovereign state invaded by H. If this geo-political interest is recognised by all parties to the conflict and their supporters, then this can open up a dialogue which includes the use of cultural heritage as a language of diplomacy, to negotiate a ceasefire and peace agreement. This is where a politically non-aligned NSA can play an instrumental diplomatic and mediation role.

Universal ‘ethical’ values under IHL

Whether IHL can bring warring P‘s together in an ‘offensive realism’ paradigm depends upon the answer to the following questions:

  • Do ‘universal ethical values’ exist under IHL, i.e. as ‘core fiduciary principles and norms’ [‘UV-IHL’].
  • What are these values – see below.
  • In the real world, are UV-IHL’s potential building blocks, in the Mediation of a peace process, protocol, and agreement – i.e. are they a sufficient basis for starting a ‘difficult’ conversation that can eventually transform attitudes and each P’s Political Doctrine [‘PD’], resulting in the negotiation of a sustainable and enduring Peace Treaty.

Where CG exists, then the answer to the second question depends upon whether UV-IHL’s  align with H’s political interest in the preservation of CG, as destruction of CG is ultimately an act on institutional self-destruction. So, in theory, because, by definition preservation of CG is common ground,  the door is open to Mediation through Cultural Heritage Diplomacy.

Whether a convergence of values can be diplomatically engineered through a process of Transformative Mediation involving a politically non-aligned NSA, depends upon what the causes and driving forces of a conflict actually are.

At the King’s College London School of Security Studies Annual Conference on the 8th and 9th June 2022, the author asked the following question –  ‘Is understanding what lies underneath competing narratives [‘N’] the key to mediation of a peace process in a conflict?’ i.e. can analysis of N reveal:

  • the philosophy and political doctrine driving a conflict on each side; and
  • (ii) psychological biases which are road-blocks in geo-political mediation?

The author drew the following conclusions from the comments made by the speakers in reply:

(i)      Mediation is not possible where and the invaded P requires the destruction of the other,  i.e. when the values and interests underlying each N collide.

(ii)     Conversely, Mediation is possible where the ‘ethical values’ underlying each N potentially overlap, because they can potentially cohere.

(iii)    Where:

(a)     the claims made by H reveal value driven ‘choices made by the State elite’; and

(b)     the elite is more than one man,

then ‘collective’ thinking will not change unless and until H’s state elite, alter their H‘s Political Doctrine [‘PD’].

The antithesis of ‘offensive realism’, i.e. a counter-thesis, is the idea of ‘solidarity’ between states, which to an extent is rooted in fiduciary principles and norms of behaviour under IHL. However logically, the concept is a grand ‘delusion’, unless this worldview is a strategic component of PD. Therefore, before undertaking a step in Mediation, a Mediator who is  a NSA [‘M’]  needs to first see the world through H’s eyes.

If the invaded does not:

(i) understand H’s N; or

(ii) believe that the values which are the foundation of H’s N actually exist in the collective psychology of H‘s state elite, and are therefore deeply embedded in H‘s PD,

e.g. because P‘s intelligence gathering capability did not see or correctly interpret the signs of war before P was invaded by H – i.e. P did not foresee the conflict or believe that it would happen, then Mediation is doomed from the start because cannot see where the ‘rails’ of the underlying and causal political dispute actually lie, let alone the direction in which the train is going.

It is a cardinal principle of any Mediation that the Mediator must not make the situation worse. This principle applies to the Mediation of a geo-political conflict no less than it applies to a civil dispute. Therefore, M must rigorously analyse, probe and interrogate each N in order to  accurately see and understand the root causes of the conflict through the eyes of each P. Only then, will it be possible to explore and identify the existence of common ground, i.e. values (including UV-IHL’s i.e. because of CG) – which is why a process of Mediation can transform a conflict into a sustainable peace, provided H and P are actually ready to talk to each other through M. Therefore, CG is a potential catalyst of Transformative Mediation.

Principles & Norms of IHL in relation to Cultural Heritage

Although it can be said that jus cogens rules consist of rules stipulating erga omnes obligations, it is not axiomatic that erga omnes obligations constitute jus cogens. While there is an overlap, between: (i) obligations erga omnes; and (ii) jus cogens rules, the IHL principles and norms that can be derived from the nexus between these doctrines in relation to Cultural Heritage, suffer from a lack of scholarly formulation, definition and classification.

Thinking strategically about the protection of cultural heritage during war

In the opinion of the author, the protection of Cultural Heritage needs to be integrated into a grand strategy in confronting and politically defeating an enemy during war, in order to engineer a re-orientation of H‘s Political Doctrine.

The strategic aim would be to create doubt in the collective psychology of H‘s state elite, about the validity and relevance of the assumptions upon which H‘s PD is fundamentally based. PD is the foundation and driving force behind H‘s narrative. In the collective mind of H’s state elite N is therefore the political rationale for the conflict, because it is the singular moral driving force behind H‘s aggression. Where a conflict is primarily the result of a ‘clash’ of divergent values,  the solution, i.e. peace,  therefore hinges upon evolving a method of convergence. The author’s thesis, is that ‘universal ethical values’  which are the foundation of IHL can be applied through Mediation to reduce divergence by demonstrating compatibility. With some creative thinking, IHL can therefore be used to create a road-map for the negotiation of peace.