Saturday, February 9, 2008

The Bigger Picture

"Diplomacy is about choosing your battles"

That quote is something I'll remember for a long time. That quote also reminds me to think of the bigger picture about everything. In our bid to achieve outcomes, we sometimes neglect the bigger picture of the situation and forget why things are the way they are.

Take the war between Hamas and Israel for example. The war is never going to end if you allow me to have a guess, not until the current generation of leadership dies and replaced by the next crop and even that. No matter how hard Israel punishes Hamas by cutting off electricity and so on, it'll not stop them from trying to attain their ultimate goal: the destruction of the "Zionist enemy". Hamas on the other hand is not going to give up arms and go to the negotiating table because if they do, someone else will come and take their spot as "destroyer of Israel". One, they'll become weak by negotiating and in the face of Muslim fanaticism, their power will be usurped. Two, complacency leads to problems. While I lack the knowledge regarding Middle Eastern affairs, by looking at the bigger picture, it is obvious to see that the war is going be become generational and unless strong and visionary leaders rise from both places, no amount of intervention is going to ensure the end of the bloodshed. Change is the only constant and status quo will be formed and then broken.

I hate to say this but peace in the Middle East is something that won't be achieved in the next few decades. It may be sustained temporarily bu true peace will never come. Religion is not always a good thing.

Moving on to another example, I recently read an article regarding China's aircraft carrier ambition. According to the author, China will unveil its prototype aircraft carrier named Shi Lang after the 2008 Beijing Olympics. In the article, it mentioned about a possible naval confrontation with India over energy supplies and how China may need to have bases in Myanmar AKA Burma. This made me think of why China played a little role in the pressuring of Burma over its human rights abuses. Because it considered the bigger picture. A number of factors must be taken into considerations before China makes any major decisions because in the bigger picture, everything is linked and has repercussions. If China pushed hard to satisfy Western desires, it'll be left with few allies in times of need. Of course, other factors comes into play, not just military but I'll not mention them here.

As I read my article, it seems that nothing is linked and somewhat superficial. It's probably my poor method of expression. The mind turns faster than what I can transpose into written English. If you could step into my mind, perhaps you'll be able to glimpse more than the fraction of what I have written here.


Zhu said...

I can read your mind just fine ;)

Yes, I agree with you, some issues just don't have a solution unless you radically change the environment, which is not possible - now my mind is going to fast too I bet!

Let's just say the quote illustrate your post well. What prompt you to blog about it? Just curious.

Shan said...

Hehe, I'm glad you can. Mind going too fast is always a good thing :D

As for why I blogged. I have little idea. It seemed that I had some kind of epiphany last night while reading the article about China's aircraft carrier ambition.

Only by looking at the picture picture will true diplomacy come about. One can only choose their battles correctly if they look at the bigger picture.

Max said...

Hey Shan,

Interesting article: I am impressed *bowing*!
Hamas is a terrorist group; that is not interested in the comfort of their people. Hamas doesn't give a damn if its people die, get sick or hungry.
Israel, in 2005, showed its good will by leaving the Gaza strip (forcing thousands of Israeli families to withdraw from a land - that many of them bought from palestinians - they worked, they prospered), the Palestinians had promised then that the war would cease (although Hamas stated that it would only cease after Israel would part from West-Bank and Jerusalem - the latter is an uthopia, of course). But the question remains the same: what guarantees do we have that even if Israel leaves the West-Bank Hamas won't want the whole of Israel? Because the Arab world states that Palestinians were forced to leave Palestine (which comprises the present Israeli land, Gaza and West-Bank) and seek for exhile elsewhere (I guess that they forget that the Jewish people were there way before they occupied their land, upon the Roman, Turkish invasions which forced the Jewish people into exhile); and that now Israel should give them back the land prior to Israel's pre-1967 Borders...

Israel belonged to the Jewish people, and the Europeans, the Turks, The Arabs pushed them out of their own country; and occupied it; thinking that Israelis would never return to claim what is theirs by right.
Did you know that the Arabs even made an alliance with the Nazi party in order to extermine the Jewish people who remained in Palestine (present Israel)? It is an interesting read...

I think that peace in the Middle East shall be achieved one day.

China couldn't intervene in Burma cause China itself violates human rights in its own territory, everyday...

Loved this post, Shan! :D


Shan said...

Thanks Max :D

I had figured my post made little sense but I'm glad you've understood it :D

Jeff said...

Peace in the Middle East will be the beginning of the end. We won't see it, probably. That is because generation after generation hold teaching the conflict and the hatred that goes along with it as a top priority.