Culture is Not an Excuse

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In the Caribbean, we often accept abuse, assault, insult and injury because “it is part of our culture.” According to Moran et al (2014), ‘culture impacts behavior, morale, and… includes values and patterns that influence…attitudes and actions. Culture is…the driving force behind human behavior everywhere’ (Moran, Abramson and Moran, 2014, p. 11). While I understand that culture dictates behaviour, what is bothersome is that we continue to accept indecency under its guise. One example which comes to mind is that of street harassment.

 

Street harassment has existed for time immemorial, and is most commonly called catcalling. Many women surprisingly see it as men paying a compliment and because it is so prevalent in society it has been somewhat normalized. My contention is that this does not make it right.

 

Men who feel a sense of entitlement to say what they wish to do to women are no different to rapists. Perhaps this is harsh. However, it is a violation. If a woman has not engaged you in conversation and consented to your sexual comments and her objectification, you are violating her; you are guilty of rape. Culture is not an excuse.

 

One author explains and provides examples, noting street harassment ‘as verbal and nonverbal markers … wolf-whistles, leers, winks, grabs, pinches, catcalls and street remarks. Specific remarks commonly include, “Hey, pretty,” “Hey, whore,” “What ya doin’ tonight?” “Look at them legs,” “Wanna f**k?” “Are you working?” “Great legs,” … “Smile,” “Smile for me baby,” “Smile bitch,” “Come here girl,’ and “I’ll be back when you get a little older baby.”‘ When these acts occur on a public street, street harassment takes place’ (Deirdre, 1994, p. 138). In the Caribbean context, it is often men telling women what they would like to do to them (sexually) and making comments about their various body parts.  Many women often feel embarrassed, uncomfortable and at times powerless.

 

According to Laniya (2005) ‘rarely is it the case that a woman in a public space is not
confronted with unsolicited comments and gestures of a sexual tone by men unknown to her. Yet, it is precisely the ubiquity of this phenomenon that distills its perceived effects on women and on society as a whole. Most men view the occurrence as harmless and even desired by women’ (Laniya, 2005, p. 92). This is an unfortunate reality.

 

Let us not accept this behaviour by ruling it out as culture.  Let us call it was it is.

 

References

 

Deirdre, Davis. (1994). The Harm That Has No Name: Street Harassment, Embodiment, and African American Women. UCLA Women’s Law Journal, 4(2). uclalaw_wlj_17595. Retrieved from: http://escholarship.org/uc/item/83b9f21g

 

Laniya, O.O., 2005. Street smut: gender, media, and the legal power dynamics of street harassment, or hey sexy and other verbal ejaculations. Colum. J. Gender & L., 14, p.91.

 

Moran, R; Abramson, N; Moran, S, (2014). ‘Managing Cultural Differences’, Ninth Edition, Routledge, New York

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The Irony of Democracy

handsAs Barbados is gearing up for yet another protest against some stringent tax measures that the government has implemented which directly impacts purchasing power; in essence reducing it by 50%, the head of government has made a statement which saddens me. As I watched the extract of the head of government’s response to the scheduled protests on the local evening news (July 23rd, 2017), I heard someone who was in no way concerned about the pending action. In fact the action was seen as a political tactic being used by the private sector to strong arm the government. I wondered why the upcoming protest ( scheduled for July 24th, 2017) by the Barbados Private Sector Association (BPSA) was viewed as a tactic especially considering that just four days prior (July 20th, 2017), the public sector also engaged in a measure of protest (sickout).  I wondered why a leader would think that it was more than just wanting their views heard and considered. Why must this be politicized?

I well understand that politics is involved in virtually every aspect of life so I got the answer to my latter question. Additionally, the reality is the protest is political because it seeks to influence government’s taxation policy. However, the news report made me increasingly perturbed as the leader stated that he wants the protest (march) to happen so that the real intent could be revealed; my heart further sank. I questioned whether I really understood the concept- democracy and it was clear to me that there is a real gap between theory and practice.

The concept democracy typically conjures thoughts of participation and the right to exercise and enjoy all civil liberties.  So that the same people who elect a government has a right to voice their disapproval. But does democracy stop at voicing alone? Participatory Democracy is perhaps the benchmark when speaking of democracy as an ideal. In practice I see that 1 vote and ability to voice is the extent of democracy currently existing.

The public therefore needs to be aware that democracy is nothing more than an occasion to vent. It is not a means of influencing policy even when the majority has already begun to feel the adverse effects of a tax regime that is quickly eroding the masses’ ability to meet basic needs. The irony is that it was through social movements and economic protests that change occurred in the past. We are where we are today because of a democracy which heard and considered the views of our forefathers. Yet now, the idea is to approach protests with much political skepticism, and indifference.  If each group which seeks to be heard is being painted with the same brush of skepticism and is being dismissed, then democracy is being suppressed. How do you strangle the very thing that gives you life? How do you suffocate yourself and expect to breathe?

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Press the Reset Button: Protect Our Children

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The innocence of the young is so refreshing. A child is perhaps the most rational being one will ever encounter. Children look at the situation as is. They speak the truth. They have no baggage from the past and are therefore able to objectively examine a situation. This innocence makes children highly valuable and at the same time vulnerable.

There is much anecdotal evidence which speaks to the innocence of children being virtually gouged from them  in the form of sexual abuse. In the Caribbean, every individual must know someone who was sexually abused as a child by an adult.  While this threat is real, many societies seem to believe that once an issue is not discussed its existence is negated.

Child sexual abuse encompasses a range of behaviors/actions/activities directed towards a child (typically under the age of sexual consent – 16 years old), and can include: Rape, forced and ‘consensual’ sexual intercourse with a minor, incest, children used as sexual objects in videos, photos or as pimps; Exposure to sexual materials through different media, e.g. radio, photos, movies, text, mobile telephone, Internet, parent/adult sexual toys, sexual DVDs; Exposing the child to the sexual act deliberately or unknowingly; Uncomfortable or intrusive touching of a child (Jones and Trotman-Jemmott, 2010)

One might be inclined to think that developed countries are able to adequately protect their children. This is not necessarily the case. A recent (Jul 18th, 2017) news article out of the UK, noted that  “children as young as 12 are being denied compensation because of evidence that they went along with their abuse” (The Telegraph News, 2017).  The article also made reference to a specific case in which:

a 12-year-old girl who was plied with alcohol, led into the woods and sexually assaulted by a 21-year-old man, was denied compensation, despite the fact that the man pleaded guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse with a girl under the age of 13. The reason for the denial of compensation was that she had gone into the woods “voluntarily”, had not been a victim of violence, she emerged “happily” from the woods and that she had recently had sexual relations with another child around her own age.

This above situation occurred within the context of a law which states that children aged under 16 cannot consent to sexual activity under the law.

The focus in the above scenario is not about denial of compensation because compensation can not heal, neither can it undo the damage done. However, what is revealed is the attitudes of those in authority; those who hold the keys to policy, practice and precedent; towards children. The fact that a child can be sexually abused by an adult; that adult admits to the said abuse; and yet the child can be considered as “not a victim” is disconcerting, to say the least.

In the Eastern Caribbean, a study commissioned by UNICEF revealed that 85% of the sample believed that adults who have sex with children cause long term emotional harm to the children. Yet in the region, while it is known that child sexual abuse is prevalent, the precise incidence is difficult to determine however,  as many cases are under-reported.  Under-reporting was attributed to feelings of fear and shame, inter alia, on the part of the victim.

An unfortunate statistic and record noted in the report had to do with older men in sexual relationships with minors, where 17% of the respondents perceived there to be circumstances in which it was okay. It was also noted that in Barbados, ‘the involvement
of older men in sexual relationships with female minors was seen as so widespread that it could be described as ‘normal’. The majority of these relationships were viewed as ‘consensual’, and did not seem to most participants to be worth reporting’ (Jones and Trotman-Jemmott, 2010, p. 11).

What the above reveals is an embedded culture and attitude which needs to be reformed. Having domestic laws and ratifying international conventions such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child, for example, are mere stepping stones. There are many more deep seated issues to be addressed, namely the attitudes and reinforced cultural norms which lead to the existing gaps between practice and law.

This is merely a superficial consideration of the issue, yet at this level, there is a need to- Press Reset!

What is needed is much more than a law, more than a proclamation. There needs to be action! There needs to be genuine care! There needs to be understanding and empathy! There needs to be a will to protect our children at all costs!

 

References

Jones, A and Trotman-Jemmott, E (2010), ‘Child Sexual Abuse in the Eastern Caribbean, Perceptions of: Attitudes to and opinions on Child Sexual Abuse in the Eastern Caribbean, UNICEF. Available at: https://www.unicef.org/easterncaribbean/Child_Sexual_Abuse_Publication.pdf. Accessed on: 18th July, 2017

Rudgard, O (2017), ‘Child Sexual Abuse Victims Denied Compensation Because They Consented’ The Telepgraph News. Available at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/07/17/child-sexual-abuse-victims-denied-compensation-consented/. Accessed on: 18th July, 2017

 

 

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The Future of Network Diplomacy: On Diplomatic Culture and Small States

I wish to share this article I wrote, which has been published in the Journal of Political Studies.

Ref: Smith, Cherine,The Future of Network Diplomacy: On Diplomatic Culture and Small States, The Journal of Political Studies Vol. II (I), November 2014, pp 28-45

URL:www.journalofpoliticalstudies.com

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Culture is a “common language, a common pool of memories, and shared way of thinking, reasoning, and communicating…a people’s common stock of ideas and values” (Sharp 2004, 361). Culture may additionally be defined as ‘the collective programming of the mind which distinguishes the members of one human group from another’ (Hofstede 1980, 25). Thus culture speaks to a particular way of socialization and civilization, determining thought processes, ways of understanding, speaking and ultimately conduct.

Diplomacy has it owns embedded culture and civilizing virtues; ‘diplomatic culture places a premium on consulting others, of taking note of others’ concerns, ‘(Sending 2011, 646). It is concerned with rules, protocol and procedure. Linklater explains that communication/dialogue is key to diplomatic culture and its civilizing virtues. The civilizing process is marked by the eqaulity of speakers’ rights, speaking in so far as one listens and cooperative conversation. It is about persuasion, giving all concerned a voice and recognising others (Linklater 2005). Civilization, according to Sharp is ‘[a] system of relations which exist for the heightening and enrichment of the human personality itself’ (Sharp 2003, 868). So the civilization is the transformation from notions and norms into practice; a behavioural manifestation. Additional traits of the culture involve detachment, self-restraint, distance, objectivty, courtesy, and knowing how to speak without creating undue offense (Sharp 2003).

Diplomatic culture is essentially a behavioural skill set, however, globalization has had a transformative effect on diplomacy; thus on diplomatic culture. All of the values and virtues which make up diplomatic culture were aimed at navigating difference but modern diplomacy calls for a diplomatic culture that is able to coordinate and collaborate on common issues, rather than on mitigating distinction. How diplomacy is practised is evidence of the underlying socialization(culture).

Globalization is changing the way in which the world once existed. Globalization has transformed ways of human interaction, the pace of information flows, and by extension decision making. It has made individuals more cognisant of others existing beyond their own borders and it has obliterated traditional notions of the world comprising of distinct entities and that problems can be somehow contained to a specific territory or region. In short, globalization has made the lives of every citizen, state, community, corporation, sector, non-state actor more integrated and interconnected than ever before. More importantly and pertinent to this paper is the fact that, globalization has changed the way in which people, diplomats, and actors, think, behave and the roles they play.

Castells explains what globalization means as it relates to the present reality:
Overall, the critical issues conditioning everyday life for people and their governments in every country are largely produced and shaped by globally interdependent processes that go beyond the realm of countries as defined by the territories under the sovereignty of a given state. Under such conditions, a number of processes constitute the new landscape of global politics. There is a growing gap between the space where the issues are defined (global) and the space where the issues are managed (the nation-state) (Castells 2005, 10).

Jazbec acknowledges this increasing blur between internal and external distinctions noting that,

Contemporary international phenomena are global phenomena, linking various dimensions – political, military, economic and others – and within them, a very important role is played by the linking and mutual dependence of the internal and the external (Jazbec 2010, 68).

Traditional diplomacy was concerned with state to state relations, an affiliation to a specific territory, the pursuit of power and a Westphalian conception of sovereignty. According to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (1961), diplomacy or diplomatic relations is a process of promoting and developing friendly relations among sovereign states in light of different constitutional and social systems.

De Malgalhaes (1988) holds that diplomacy has long existed, tracing it to ancient civilizations and to biblical periods, and pointing out that there has always been a need to have messengers to maintain peaceful and friendly relations. For Berridge, ‘diplomacy is an essentially political activity and, well-resourced and skilful, a major ingredient of power. Its chief purpose is to enable states to secure the objectives of their foreign policies without resort to force, propaganda or law’ (Berridge 2010, 1).

From a traditional diplomacy standpoint, its scope was very limited as it was only concerned with pursuing national interests and was state centric in nature; the above definitions are clear evidence of this insularity.

Diplomacy has evolved over the years especially as a result of globalization, as aforementioned, and as a result of the Cold war and the information, communication and technologies revolution. Diplomacy and international relations as a whole has moved from a state centric model to a model of a multiplicity of actors. Evidence of the evolution of diplomacy may even be seen in Barston’s conceptualization of diplomacy as ‘the management of relations between states and between states and other actors’ (Barston 2006, 1). With globalization, the number of issues has increased as well as the stakeholders. Barston thus contends that ‘diplomacy is undertaken by a wide range of actors…’ (Barston 2006, 1).

Globalization has had a commonizing effect on life, relations and problems. That is to say, it has brought similarities and shared anxieties to the fore and has made the preoccupation with difference and distinction redundant. Globalization has posed challenges to governance and simultaneously created needs for managing this new reality where there is ‘the evermore complex ways in which different issues are linked’ (Hurrell 2010, 292). So now more than ever, diplomacy is about finding ways to reconcile common problems.
According to Jazbec:
The contemporary international community is, “for the first time in the history of international relations and the human race generally, faced with the question of survival…distinct warnings of the growing importance of the structural interdependence of the contemporary world” (Jazbec 2010, 68).

The author states that globalization has brought new actors and new issues onto the agenda and that interdependence is necessary to deal with issues of survival.

As it relates to small states, it can be argued that their diplomatic culture has always been characterized by an identity of survival seeking and/or problem solving. That is to say, it goes beyond the bilateral pursuit of national interests. However, just as traditional diplomacy has changed, changes too have occurred in small state diplomacy’s perceptions and its reality. Traditionally, small state diplomacy was seen in terms of bandwagoning; this is a passive view of small state diplomacy. Small states were also more influential geopolitically but this has waned in the post- Cold war world.

Small states may be defined as ‘states with limited resources and, therefore, with a limited reach of diplomatic efforts’ (Iaydjiev 2011, 46). Smallness is not only about size of territory or population but it is also about capacity. Many small states became sovererign states during the Cold War, joined the international system and conformed to the international system. This implies limited influence or impact on diplomacy and its culture.

In international relations, the power of a state is often attributed to quantitative criteria, such as population and territorial size, gross domestic product (GDP) and military capacity. In these terms small states are held to be politically, economically and strategically vulnerable and, as such, incapable of exerting any real influence in world affairs (Thorhallsson 2012, 135-136).

However, small states have generally been less concerned with power and more about survival and solving problems which threatened their existence. Henrikson contends that,

By definition, as well as usually in reality, a small country is one that cannot protect itself by its own efforts. Small countries require allies – or to be allies… (Henrikson n.d.).

What is perhaps intriguing about the above statement is that this is no longer an exclusive reality of small states.

Small states have tended to focus on coalition building with others as a means of pursuing their national interests. They have long understood the essence of interdependence due to the inherent challenges that come with their smallness. Certainly some difficulties exist in terms of small states’ ability to influence international organizations, big countries and diplomacy and its culture, however, small states have tended to focus on influencing through persuasion rather than coercion, as the latter was never a part of their cultural identity either in theory or in reality.

For Caribbean small states, usually among the weakest states in the international system, diplomacy plays a central role in their international relations. These states usually have little recourse to great military or economic power and as such, diplomacy remains the only effective means by which such states can attempt to impact and interact in the international system for their benefit (Cross-Mike 2007).

Thorhallsson (2012) posits that the influence of small states, especially in international organizations, using the UNSC as a case study, rests in some key factors viz:
the administrative competences of small states based on quality not quantity, diplomatic skills, knowledge and initiatives… states’ image and their reputation as norm entrepreneurs and their perceived neutrality… [d]emonstration of strong leadership, excellent coalition-building skills and an ability to prioritize heavy workload (Thorhallsson 2012. 140).

The above actors make small state diplomacy quite reminiscent of the diplomacy which NGOs employ. Sending (2011) notes that NGOs are concerned with norms, coalition building, mobilization and advocacy and that they are apolitical in nature. The small state narrative tends to be that of survival, it basically assumes the nature of a cause for which advocacy and lobbying is employed.

In essence, the more competence small states have in diplomatic skills and the more they can demonstrate that smallness does not impinge on their ability to function, the more influence small states possess. Others’ (states or actors) perceptions are also important in determining the influence which can be wielded. Strong leadership too is key, according to Thorhallsson above. The author looks at various presidencies including that of Kofi Anan (former UN Secretary General) to show that strong leadership provides the best opportunity for influencing. Presidencies in international/intergovernmental organizations, namely the UN provide avenues for setting the agenda, this is critical to how small states boost their impact (Thorhallsson 2012).

In 2009, the Secretary General of CARICOM, His Excellency Edwin Carrington noted that Caribbean diplomacy has been:
…integrally involved in the fight to get the international community to recognize the special circumstances of small vulnerable economies and to accept that small states should not be marginalized in today’s rapidly evolving socio-economic and geo-political landscape (Carrington 2009).

While the above appears to be a cry for influence and agenda setting capability, the issues which have long plagued small states are now the issues which are core to global governance. These are issues such as: poverty, economic and food security, climate change, in short the Millennium Development Goals. The priority now given to these issues can precisely be attributed to the factors which Thorhallsson outlined especially the coalition building factor.

His Excellency Jim Mclay noted at the Forum of Small States (FOSS) in March 2013 that,
despite our size, we know that small states can, and do make a difference… being small can have its advantages. Time and again, small states have demonstrated greater agility than many larger countries. They are less weighed-down by the baggage of complex relationships and obligations, or by the historical legacies that often burden great powers. They are less constrained by domestic and global interests and by large, often rigid and siloed bureaucracies. So, they can often respond more quickly, creatively and decisively to emerging challenges and opportunities (Mclay 2013).

The Ambassador noted that small states have had to learn how to address their interests by relying on persuasion, negotiation; key elements of diplomatic culture, and partnership. He states that the power of small states reside in the power of their numbers, partnerships, and good ideas.
…[I]t is through partnerships, more than anything else, that small states survive and thrive at the UN. Participation in groups such as the G77, G7+, the EU, the FOSS, the 3G, and a multitude of regional and sub-regional arrangements, enables small states exponentially to expand their coverage of the UN agenda. And those small states who have employed variable geometry –working through multiple groupings, and approaching issues in partnership with allies have been particularly successful (Mclay 2013).

Small states have had two major successes in terms of setting the climate change agenda and the calling for the establishment of the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea (Briguglio 2007). Finding solutions to climate change and the numerous claims and disagreements as it related to the ocean were in the interests of small states but also had consequences and an impact at the international level, and small states played a mojor role in persuading and promoting for solutions in these areas. The AOSIS group- a partnership among small states, allowed these states to have a louder voice at the global level, carving out a space for climate change on the global agenda . Small states also partner with NGOs and epistemic communities/organizations to find solutions to common issues. Thus, what is revealed is that, small states are less concerned about mitigating distinctions and instead their diplomatic culture is based on finding commonalities to work as partners with others (cooperation), to pursue common goals, while engaging in persuasion for some goals to be part of the global agenda by establishing common interest. In addition, they rely on classic diplomatic culture and values of communicating and deliberating. This is the crux of future network diplomacy.

Networks are the way forward as it relates to global governance. Networks are ‘complex structures of communication constructed around a set of goals that simultaneously ensure unity of purpose and flexibility of execution by their adaptability to the operating environment’ (Castells 2005). Traditional issues of territorial affiliation and outdated concepts of sovereignty are passé. Šumberová points out that diplomatic culture is about finding ‘ ways to live with differences unresolved’ (Šumberová 2007, 8). However, interdependence is the way forward and structures stressing problem solving through interdependence will be the most effective means of global governance and will be the shift required in diplomatic culture. It appears that small state diplomacy can give an idea as to how network diplomacy ought to function. Though small states have been centred on national interests, there have been the elements of solidarity and partnership which are needed to facilitate the move towards problem solving of common issues. For pursuing similar national interests and issues of mutual concern are very different matters.

While globalization has created more challenges or heightened the issues facing small states, it has at the same time provided them with the tools needed to mitigate these challenges through reinforcing the need for interdependence and the evolution to network diplomacy. Considering that coalition building and mutual problem solving have characterized small state diplomacy, the future of network diplomacy based on: creating shared value, solidarity, employing diplomatic practices of courtesy, dismantling of hierarchy and an issue centric model should be a simple transition for small states.

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Freedom of Speech: The right to speak without saying what you really want to

To me, freedom of speech is an individual’s right and ability to share their beliefs and opinions on multiple issues, especially on issues which affect their lives.

freedom-expressionConsidering the recent claims that the government wants to charge a well-known and often controversial Reverend and secondary school teacher for statements he made at a meeting, many Barbadians (people from Barbados) may say that freedom of speech does not really exist. In fact they may go as far as defining freedom of speech as the right to speak without saying what you really want to say.

In a very basic way, we all know that one person’s rights/ freedoms end where another person’s rights/freedoms begin. Thus freedoms are not infinite. For example, in law, there is the concept of defamation. Defamation essentially limits a person from speaking ill of another (especially when those statements lack veracity).
According to an online legal encyclopedia:
Defamation law tries to balance competing interests: On the one hand, people should not ruin others’ lives by telling lies about them; but on the other hand, people should be able to speak freely without fear of litigation over every insult, disagreement, or mistake. (http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/defamation-law-made-simple-29718.html)

The right to speak freely without fear of litigation, being ostracized, or even losing your job ought to be hallmarks of any country claiming to be a democracy. No two people think alike and one should not therefore have to keep their opinion to themselves because of another’s insecurity. This is certainly not meant to condone deliberate acts of tarnishing one’s reputation. However, if individuals believe that a government leaves much to be desired, that the government is overtaxing its citizens and that the state of the economy is in shambles due to a lack of managerial competence on the part of the government, the citizens who are being affected and anyone who observes the situation and believes it to be the case has the right to say so. Likewise, anyone who believes that the government’s performance is nothing short of stellar equally has a right to state so.

Is it fair that a man should be in fear of losing his job in these economically precarious times, all because he exercised his democratic right? Not at all!

The statement the Reverend made was that the current administration was the worst ever. He was speaking from his experience. He did not incite a coup d’état. He did not defame the characters of any minister. He merely stated his opinion.

Two things are necessary. First people need to be made aware of their rights. This includes knowing their limitations. At the same time governments need to be okay with citizens giving performance appraisals as opposed to trying to stifle citizens’ voices.

A society can only flourish if there is difference of opinion. Everyone can have the same goal but it is unnatural for everyone to be on the same page.

In all things there needs to be a balance and thus reasonable limitations.
It would be a shame to have the emergence of another undemocratic democracy…

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Desperate Times

It is widely accepted that when unemployment is high, crime will also be high. We all know that adage “desperate times call for desperate measures.” Allow me to go up to Mount Utopia as I ask you, “must this be reality?” How desperate is too desperate?

As a child and an adolescent, the phrase, “desperate times call for desperate measures” meant that my mother would embark a period of frugality. I understood it to mean that there would be heightened conscious thought when it came to spending. Desperate measures, from my understanding meant stringent measures, the denial of wants and the prioritizing or even the re-prioritizing of needs. Perhaps I never fully understood the depth of the phrase until after I went to college…after I had lived a little.

I’ve seen individuals in desperate situations. It must be noted that what is desperate for one isn’t necessarily desperate for another. There is one kind of desperate situation, where individuals have little to no money, food, shelter etc. In the other kind of situation, desperate simply means reduced disposable income, reduced ability to maximise profit. In both desperate scenarios, their specific situation is used as justification for crime- theft, robbery, tax evasion, paying less than minimum wage… the list goes on. However, I have never believed that such situations should merit their dishonesty. Having ten kids, no house , no food, no means of income, does not in any way justify, for example, the theft of goods from a market so as to have a meal, neither does it justify one keeping another’s wallet which was found because it contains money which is so desperately needed. Likewise, paying a worker significantly less, and violating other labour laws as a means of ensuring that the business remains lucrative ought not be justified. No the ends does not justify the means!

Desperate measures should mean innovation; creating something from nothing. Transforming trash into treasure, rather than simply transferring one’s treasures to another. Why is it so easy to innovate crime? Why is it so easy to find new ways of wrong doing? Why is there a need for schemes? Why assume that the one from whom you take is able to easily absorb the loss? Why rationalize that this is the only way to make ends meet? Why appoint yourself as the one to distribute the wealth?

Despite whatever social and economic instability countries may face, it is important to understand that though the times be desperate, the measures need not be so. Desperate measures tend to translate to increased crime and increased immorality. Against a background of social and economic instability, desperate measures (as they have come to be known) will only serve to exacerbate an already unfavourable situation.

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Societal Hypocrisy: Progress With Limits

social equality

It is disheartening to hear individuals (both male and female) proudly spout that women in leading positions are a nightmare; incompetent and should leave certain roles up to men. There has always been a general consensus that women are too emotional and irrational, and for the most part lack logic and are unable to engage in sound decision making, especially at the macro level.  Thus the higher up the ladder a woman climbs, the more criticism she faces. True, this is the reality of anyone who seeks self improvement; who strives to do better, but I would submit that women are met with even greater criticism.

no womanThis society empowers women but at the same time tells them there are limits to their dreams and aspirations.  The society we currently live in, will say that women ought to be independent and even laud the progress that has been made in terms of women being able to pursue courses of study in a field of their choosing. However, it is that same society which will condemn an opinionated woman, calling her aggressive and should she be passionate about a particular subject, her passion may be seen as PMS. To limit one’s contribution, one’s voice; to simply write off another’s opinion and to call it ranting associated with a biological function associated with womanhood is a regressive step.

Moreover, there are individuals who may even suggest that in a situation where a male and a female possess the same qualifications that a man is undoubtedly the more qualified and competent. This is ignorant thinking. It is even more abhorrent when it comes from other females. Women, how dare you take backward steps in  trying to shoot down a fellow female who has reached levels that some men have been unable to?  Why attack a woman for having a voice  because you are not brave enough to have your own voice? Because you have not yet liberated your mind from the structures of the past?

jb_img_07Males and females, (the society), must begin breaking down the prejudices which plague our society as a whole. One may argue that it is human nature to be prejudiced. However, I submit to you that unless we as a society begin to work towards the eradication or minimization of our prejudices, whether they be based on gender, age, religion, race (whatever it may be) our society will never know the true meaning of progress.

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