Boy, isn’t global diplomacy on a roll at the moment? Hot on the heels of the ‘historic’ climate change agreement negotiated in Paris, we now receive the joyous tidings, beautifully timed for a sectarian festive season, that ‘the UN Security Council has unanimously adopted a resolution outlining a peace process in Syria’. BBC News tells us:
The resolution endorses talks between the Syrian government and opposition in early January, as well as a ceasefire.
Well, that ought to do it. Obviously, the idea of talks and a ceasefire was beyond the wit of the Syrian factions until it received the imprimatur of the Security Council. The smacking of foreheads and rueful grimaces in Damascus must be deafening!
Borrowing from the COP21 rhetoric and imparting irresistible momentum to the initiative, US Secretary of State John Kerry, announced that the resolution sent:
…a clear message to all concerned that the time is now to stop the killing in Syria. The resolution we just reached is a milestone, because it sets specific goals and specific timeframes.
Far be it for me to rain on their parade, but a couple of minor sticking points remain:
- the position of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad in such negotiations remains unresolved (Russia wants him in, the US wants him out), and
- the role of ISIS and other like-minded organisations in this eminently reasonable proposal is problematical despite the fact that the resolution specifically excludes them.
So within two weeks we have:
- effectively put the impending catastrophe of climate change behind us by announcing a goal of limiting global warming to 1.5C. Details to be advised in due course. (By the way, is it my imagination or has the triumphalism following the ‘historic’ climate agreement been strangely muted?), and
- solved the Syrian crisis by calling for “credible, inclusive and non-sectarian governance to be established within six months and free and fair elections under UN supervision to be held within 18 months.”
It beats me why world leaders haven’t hit on this foolproof formula before now. ‘Sending clear messages‘, ‘calling for‘ and ‘recognising that the time to act is now‘ are clearly such powerful tools that surely they can be used to solve any problem that plagues us. But why stop at Syria? Why not use this wonderful new paradigm to eliminate war altogether?
Now that we have a foolproof template for limiting global warming, coupled with far-sighted world leadership that, possibly for the first time in history, is unanimous in its commitment to put aside petty nationalistic considerations in favour of the common good, what better time to address the next most serious threat to humanity after global warming? Who knows when we may get a grouping of such Olympian governments again?
Why not re-convene the successful COP21 team and charge them with drafting a new global agreement on war? I envisage a pact that, say, limits wars to no more than one per continent per century. I know many will sneer at such an unambitious target. I would caution against setting too ambitious a target in the initial stages. We wouldn’t want to set ourselves up for failure.
This kind of agreement is something that the arms industry has been wanting for many years, like their fossil fuel industry counterparts. It will give them the certainty they seek in order to make sound investment decisions going forward.
Mmm, I can feel a Nobel Peace Prize coming on. Imagine being in the same company as Al and Barack.