Lord May of Oxford gave a very interesting lecture on why co-operative associations exist in the way that they do. He discusses Darwin’s understanding of how generically related groups benefit and theories on how the governance of common assets is managed by groups. It has implications for international governance of the management of resources. Why genetic, visual or dogmatic reasons are often used to motivate groups in inter group battles of resoources.
Clearly we have many global assets which are not currently being equitably plundered such as oil, fish, water and the atmosphere. A problem for one and all in the long term and only for the weak for now.
He also touches upon the battles between dogmatic faith and enlightenment that several people have pointed out form the basis of European battles over the last thousand years, recent US politics and some of the discussions in the Islamic world.
The lecture is clear, well referenced and very listenable. The mp3 can be found here.
You have to wonder who Condoleeza Rice thinks appointed the US as ruler of the universe. This is for the security council to say and otherwise we had better hold our peace and argue any case rather than diving into the usual mindless rhetoric to stir up the pundits.
The reason the security council can’t say it is that Russia is militarily significant and as a result has a veto. This reality is reflected in the governance model because it is better in the long run to argue any real case than to play games of reckless bravado with major powers.
- War is not a battle between good and evil;
- War is a battle between the misled and the unprepared.
The conflicts around South Ossetia this week began within one war between Georgia and the independent South Ossetia. Firstly Georgia blockaded the regional capital of Tskhinvali and then began to shell it. This was an unnecessary escalation against the under prepared South Ossetia. However the second and more serious conflict arose when Russia moved significant armored divisions into South Ossetia to support the ethnic Russian town. This resulted in a battle between Russia and Georgia for which Goergia was unprepared. The failing on the part of the Russian leadership to communicate their willingness to support South Ossetia is something for which Russia can be blamed if in deed they had not made this clear to Georgia. If Georgia had understood this then insanity is the only explanation and Georgia will have received the outcome which such leadership tends to ultimately result in: Abject defeat.
The rights and wrongs of this debate are not simple. Since the Second World War the consensus among nations has been to allow autonomy. South Ossetia had been independant for over ten years but had not been widely recognized as a sovereign nation so it would appear not to have been able to have had the benefits of UN membership and been able to claim recognition of a mutual defense pact with Russia that would have automatically permitted action by Russia under Article 51. The defense or Russian citizens outside of Russia’s borders is a much less clear issue.