A new model of great-power relations?


February 14, 2018

A new model of great-power relations?

Author: Editorial Board, East Asia Forum

http://www.eastasiaforum.org/2018/02/12/a-new-model-of-great-power-relations/

Image result for Xi and Trump

Asia’s economic ascendancy over the past half century has depended on a period of remarkable regional peace and stability. This is not the natural order of the world: international relations theorist Hedley Bull reckoned that the natural order is prone not to stability but to chaos. The current international order was a product of political choice, framed fundamentally by the post-war choice to put in place the institutions agreed at Bretton Woods that guaranteed the evolution of an open, multilateral regimeThis regime fostered both economic prosperity and international political stability among those who chose to sign on to it.

Asia will continue to prosper and be secure if that framework can be sustained, but for that to happen, the order must evolve. We have with little thought simply taken the current order for granted. The advent of Donald Trump, the potential disintegration of Europe and how these two events interact with the rise of China and other powers mean that taking this framework for granted is no longer tenable.

Image result for Asia

 

The ‘peace’ in Asia resulted from the situation that emerged in the early 1970s when China decided to follow Japan in accepting the United States as the primary strategic power in Asia and in emulating the West’s modern economic development. That choice eliminated major-power rivalry as a source of tension and conflict in the region.

China’s President Xi Jinping perhaps prematurely heralded a successor to the old model of great-power relations in his famous summit with America’s then president Barack Obama at Sunnylands in June 2013. There the focus turned to China-US relations. Xi proposed to inject ‘new momentum’, not satisfied with short-term gains but rather striving for long-term mutual benefit and the achievement of a grand geopolitical win-win. The new model, Xi urged, would promote world peace and the stable development of the Asia Pacific.

The Obama leadership did not reject this notion outright, but never embraced it. Obama himself gave it no traction at all. The model appeared to give Beijing too much space in defining its own core geopolitical interests. Policymakers and analysts in Washington remained in denial about the seriousness of China’s claim to more geopolitical space — a claim that had already become a reality because of China’s new economic and political power.

The Trump administration’s National Security Strategy has discarded all pretence at defining the Sino-American relationship in cooperative terms: it has now cast it in terms of the contest for global geopolitical supremacy in all theatres.

China may no longer accept American leadership as the foundation of the regional or global strategic order, but Beijing is now confronted with explicit rebuff of its new model of great power relations, which stresses cooperation among the major powers. Few, if any, in Asia or around the world want China to get all it wants: US leadership has served the region well and no one wants to live exclusively under China’s shadow. But China is deeply embedded in the current global order both economically and politically, and it has accepted and incorporated into policies and institutions many tenets of the formerly US-led established international order.

Image result for trump national security team

John Kelly is now White House Chief of Staff

Image result for Kirstjen Nielsen is sworn in before testifying to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on her nomination to be secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in Washington, U.S. on November 8, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photo

Kelly’s successor Kirstjen Nielsen 

Not many would see China’s engagement in the global system as an all-or-nothing game. The zealots in Mr Trump’s team and a deep current in the political security community that are innocent of the connection between economic openness and political security would do well to calculate the costs to global prosperity of trying to extricate China’s mutual engagement from the United States, it allies and partners.

The idea that Asia could be transformed economically by the biggest shift in the distribution of wealth in history without its also being transformed politically and strategically is a delusion. It would have been remarkable if China had not sought a bigger global role as its power has grown in the same way that every rising power before it has done. That it has sought such a small role relative to its weight and importance thus far has been remarkable and to the benefit of the international system (which has proven stubborn to change).

Given the stand-off, one might think that there is no future for a new era of great-power relations. Perhaps that will turn out to be so.

This week’s lead essay by Zha Daojiong at Peking University reminds us that short of military conflict — which even the hawks in the Pentagon and a few fledglings in Ichigaya and Russell Hill baulk at openly advocating — the choice will not be entirely Washington’s.

‘It is not difficult to understand the United States’ characterisation of China as “disruptive”’, says Zha. ‘It repeats US insistence on maintaining its own continuous primacy in the regional and global order’.

‘US security elites across the ideological spectrum have for decades argued that the pillars of recent Chinese success are made in the United States’, Zha notes. ‘They argue that Washington carved out this path by letting China into the World Trade Organization and that it continues to facilitate China’s success by providing their navies to help keep the Indian and Pacific oceans open for shipping in and out of Chinese ports’. But China had to deliver on the opportunity from its own starting point. And it has to find its own way through.

China has a right to choose its own path of development, given its own set of historical assets and liabilities, Zha insists. He concedes that some in Beijing are too enthusiastic about associating its ‘unique path’ with ‘superiority’ but notes that China rejects imposing its system of governance as a precondition for engagement through trade, investment or aid upon others around the world.

Zha’s message is this: China should not be tempted to the take up the competition on the terms that Mr Trump and (more tentatively) some of America’s partners appear to be spoiling for. It should stand back from the bully pit.

China would have the most to lose if it foolishly failed to put the new American security strategy rhetoric into proper perspective and to work hard at alleviating feelings of uncertainty about its intentions in Washington and elsewhere.

The EAF Editorial Board is located in the Crawford School of Public Policy, College of Asia and the Pacific, The Australian National University.

Fareed Zakaria: Trump has drawn three red lines that are bound to be crossed


February 5, 2018

Fareed Zakaria: Trump has drawn three red lines that are bound to be crossed

by Dr, Fareed Zakaria

https://www.wvgazettemail.com

Image result for fareed zakaria in davos 2018

NEW YORK — President Trump’s State of the Union speech mostly ignored the world outside of America. He made a few tough statements on things like the Iran deal and Guantanamo and described (accurately) the evil nature of the North Korean regime, but he said very little about his foreign policy. This masks a more dangerous reality. The Trump administration has in fact, either accidentally or by design, laid out aggressive markers in three different parts of the world — three red lines — without any serious strategy as to what happens when they are crossed.

The first is with North Korea. Trump and his top officials have asserted that the era of “strategic patience” with North Korea is over. They have ruled out any prospect of accepting North Korea as a nuclear state and believe traditional deterrence will not work. The president has specifically promised that North Korea would never be able to develop a nuclear weapon that could reach the United States. Meanwhile, CIA Director Mike Pompeo says Pyongyang is “a handful of months” away from having this capability.

Image result for State Department Victor ChaDr.Victor Cha is a Professor of Government and Foreign Service at Georgetown University, Washington DC and served as Director for Asian Affairs at the National Security Council under President George W. Bush.
Image result for State Department Victor Cha

So what happens when that red line is crossed? What would be the American response? Victor Cha, a seasoned expert who was expected to be the nominee for ambassador to South Korea, explained to the administration that there really is no limited military option, not even a small strike that would “bloody” the nose of the North Korean regime. For this frank analysis, he was promptly dropped from consideration for the ambassadorship.

Cha simply raised the fundamental problem with the Trump administration’s approach. It has outlined maximalist goals without any sense of how to achieve them. In response to North Korea’s new capabilities, would Trump really rain down “fire and fury” and “totally destroy North Korea”?

Image result for State Department Victor Cha

Trump has done something similar with Iran. He has announced that he will withdraw from the nuclear deal if Congress and the European allies don’t fix it. The Europeans have made clear they don’t think the pact needs fixing and believe it is working well. In about three months, we will reach D-Day, when Trump has promised to unilaterally withdraw if he can’t get a tougher deal.

Image result for iran

Were Trump to unilaterally abrogate the accord, the Iranians have several options. They could pull out themselves and ramp up their nuclear program, which would mean the Trump administration would have to deal with another North Korea, this time in the Middle East. Or Iran could simply sideline the United States, keep adhering to the deal, and do business with the rest of the world. Most likely, Tehran would make the United States pay a price by using its considerable influence to destabilize Iraq, which is entering a tumultuous election season.

The third arena where the White House has talked and acted tough without any follow-on strategy is Pakistan. The administration has publicly branded that country a terrorist haven and suspended military aid on those grounds. This is an entirely understandable impulse, because the Pakistani military has in fact been supporting terrorists and militants who operate in Afghanistan, even against American troops, and then withdraw to their sanctuaries across the border in Pakistan. As then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen noted in 2011, one of these terrorist groups “acts as a veritable arm of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency.”

Image result for Pakistan and the US

Demonstrators shout slogans in response to U.S. President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital during a protest in Peshawar, Pakistan Dec. 12, 2017.

But being right is not the same thing as being smart. Most experts predicted that Pakistan would respond to the American action in two ways: First, by pursuing closer relations with China, which can easily replace the aid. Second, the Pakistani military would ratchet up the violence in Afghanistan, demonstrating that it has the capacity to destabilize the pro-American government in Kabul, throw the country into chaos and tie down the U.S. forces that are now in their 17th year of war. And that’s what has happened. China immediately voiced support for Pakistan after the American announcement. And in the last two weeks, Afghanistan has suffered a spate of horrific terror attacks.

Image result for Thomas Schelling,

Thomas Schelling, the Nobel-prize winning scholar of strategy, once remarked that two things are very expensive in international affairs: threats when they fail, and promises when they succeed. So, he implied, be very careful about making either one. President Trump seemed to understand this when his predecessor made a threat toward Syria in 2013, and Trump tweeted, “Red line statement was a disaster for President Obama.” Well, he’s just drawn three red lines of his own, and each of them is likely to be crossed.

Fareed Zakaria is a columnist for The Washington Post and host of Fareed Zakaria GPS on CNN.

The South China Sea and ASEAN Unity: A Cambodian Perspective


February 3, 2018

The South China Sea and ASEAN Unity: A Cambodian Perspective

by Cheunboran Chanborey

Mr. Cheunboran Chanborey is currently a PhD student at the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, Australian National University. His main areas of his interest include Cambodia’s foreign policy, East Asian security and international relations.

Prior to pursuing a PhD degree, he worked at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Cambodia and taught at the Department of International Studies, Royal University of Phnom Penh. Mr. Chanborey holds an MA in Public Management from the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore, in conjunction of the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. He also holds an MA in Diplomacy and International Studies from the Institute of Diplomacy and International Studies, Rangsit University (Thailand), as well as a BA in International Relations from the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam.

https://thcasean.org/read/articles/268/The-South-China-Sea-and-ASEAN-Unity-A-Cambodian-Perspective

Image result for Cambodia and ASEAN

Since 2010, the South China Sea has reemerged as one of Asia’s hotspots due to increasing military tensions between China and other claimant states, especially the Philippines and Vietnam. Diplomatic stalemate between ASEAN and China as well as within ASEAN further exacerbates the uncertainty. The South China Sea has become what The Economist called a “sea of troubles.”1

Clearly, China is being assertive in the disputed areas. Its massive land reclamation, the establishment of new military landing strips, and the deployment of anti-craft missiles are strong evidence for such a judgment. Moreover, despite the absence of major military clashes, China has been assertive in using Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) ships, civilian fishing ships as well as mobile oil explorations to assert and defend its maritime territorial claims.

Image result for Cambodia and ASEAN

China’s growing assertiveness resulted in numerous confrontations with ASEAN claimant states. For instance, confrontation between China and the Philippines over the Scarborough Shoal escalated in 2012. In May 2014, China moved a large oil ring into waters near the Paracels, which Vietnam also claims. This resulted in confrontation between Chinese and Vietnamese civilian and military ships. In March 2016, Jakarta-Beijing bilateral relations soured due to alleged encroachments by Chinese fishing boats into Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

Decoding China’s Assertiveness in the South China Sea

There are many attempts to explain China’s military and diplomatic posture in the South China Sea. Donald Emmerson argues that China’s increasing assertiveness derives from Beijing’s three fears and one megaproject. 2 The three fears include: (1) the repetition of humiliation that China experienced throughout the 19th century by Western powers—Britain, France, and the United States—that arrived in China in ships across the South China Sea, (2) attempts by external powers, the United States in particular, to contain the rise of China to assume its rightful place in the world, and (3) the disaffection of the Chinese over Beijing’s handling of the country’s territorial integrity.

Meanwhile, since becoming China’s new leader in November 2012, President Xi Jinping declared the China Dream as a way to achieve a “rich and powerful country, the revitalization of the nation, and the people’s happiness.”3 The goal is to exert China’s primacy in Asia and the world. To this end, offshore dominance, especially in the South China Sea, may be viewed by Beijing as a requisite step forward toward the goal.

The US Involvement in the South China Sea: Constructive or Divisive?

Image result for xi jinping

Another development that must also be considered while discussing about a more assertive China in the region is the American “pivot to Asia,” which has been seen, at least in the eyes of Chinese strategists, as an attempt by Washington to encircle China.

Controversially, at the ASEAN Regional Forum meeting in Hanoi in 2010, then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared publicly that the United States has a national interest in the freedom of navigation and flights in the South China Sea. Since then, military tension has been unabated, and the Philippines and Vietnam have been more assertive both in their bilateral negotiation with China and in using ASEAN as a framework to deal with China. Arguably, Manila and Hanoi might share the same conviction that time is actually on the Chinese side and that it is the right time to push for more compromise from Beijing given the fact that China is not yet a full-fledged superpower and, more importantly, the United States is actively reengaging in Asia. As a result, the South China Sea has always been a hot agenda item in ASEAN meetings and ASEAN-related meetings since 2010.

Although the United States does not exert any claim, it has interests in the South China Sea, which include, but not limited to: (1) freedom of navigation; (2) commitments to its allies in the region, and (3) attempt to prevent regional hegemony.4 To protect its interests in the region, the United States has strengthened its security cooperation with the Philippines, Vietnam, and Singapore. It has also increased joint military exercises with the regional countries and operated maritime patrol aircraft to challenge China’s assertiveness in the disputed area. The US engagement in the South China Sea, in turn, gives ASEAN claimant states leverage in pursuing a firmer stance toward China, which is not supported by ASEAN non-claimant states due to their desire to maintain close ASEAN-China relations. As a result, ASEAN’s division on the issue has been evident.

Hun Sen’s Rebuke Against “Unjust Accusations”

Image result for Hun Sen

 

Inevitably, disagreement within ASEAN on the South China Sea caused a political crisis during the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Phnom Penh in July 2012 as the foreign ministers failed to issue a joint communiqué for the first time in ASEAN’s history. The failure—known in ASEAN circles as the Phnom Penh Fiasco—has allegedly been interpreted as the result of enormous Chinese pressure on Cambodia: Beijing allegedly blocked any mention of the South China Sea in the joint communiqué.5

More recently, the ASEAN-China Special Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in June 2016 in Yuxi, China was concluded without a joint press conference by the co-chairs of the meeting—China and Singapore, ASEAN-China Coordinator—due to a lack of agreement on the South China Sea. Following the meeting, it has been reported that, under Beijing’s pressure, Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar forced the recall of the ASEAN joint press statement by withdrawing their support on the statement, which was to be released separately from the host, China.

Earlier in April 2016, China has reached a four-point consensus with Brunei, Cambodia and Laos that territorial disputes in the South China Sea were “not an issue between China and ASEAN as whole.” Subsequently, Beijing has been accused of dividing ASEAN to preempt any ASEAN consensus on the verdict by the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) on the Philippines’s South China Sea case against China just issued on July 12, 2016.

In defending his country’s position, Prime Minister Hun Sen recently remarked that “Cambodia has again and again become a victim of the South China Sea issue because of unjust accusations.”6 He added that the Phnom Penh Fiasco took place not because of Cambodia. The reason was, as he said, “They bullied Cambodia,” referring to pressure from two ASEAN claimant states—the Philippines and Vietnam—to incorporate their strong wordings in the joint communiqué. He also blamed some ASEAN claimant states for “trying to drag Cambodia into the dispute,” saying that “They have a dispute, but they get Cambodia to be responsible.”

Cambodia’s position on the South China Sea is aimed at: (1) continuing implementing the declaration of conduct (DOC); (2) urging ASEAN and China to make the utmost effort to finalize the code of conduct (COC); and (3) encouraging countries concerned to discuss and resolve their issue because ASEAN is not a court. Prime Minister Hun Sen stated that, “ASEAN cannot measure land for them…the South China Sea is not an issue between ASEAN and China.”

With regard to the PCA’s verdict, Prime Minister Hun Sen has revealed a clear position that Cambodia would “not make any joint declaration to support the decision of the court.” The Philippines has gone too far in unilaterally bringing the South China Sea to the court without seriously anticipating the action’s implications on ASEAN and ASEAN-China relations. Hun Sen made it clear that, “It is the Philippines who sues China. Let the Philippines deal with it. Why call for ASEAN’s support?”

Prime Minister Hun Sen also called upon major powers outside the region to refrain from “pouring the oil into flame and try to keep detente in relations on the South China Sea.” He referred to “one of the major powers outside the region”—widely taken to be the United States—has lobbied ASEAN members to jointly support the PCA’s ruling.

Cambodia Between ASEAN and China

Clearly, the South China Sea constitutes today’s most difficult foreign policy dilemma for Cambodia since ASEAN and China are both crucially important for the kingdom’s security and economic development. Since becoming an ASEAN member in 1999, Phnom Penh has attached a great importance to the integration of Cambodia into the regional grouping. In fact, ASEAN has always been the cornerstone of Cambodian foreign policy. Cambodian policymakers were convinced that ASEAN would be a crucial platform through which their country could safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity as well as promote its strategic and economic interests.

Prime Minister Hun Sen reminded again four main factors encouraging Cambodia to join ASEAN. First, ASEAN’s principle of non-interference would help Cambodia, which is sandwiched by its “two giant ASEAN countries—Thailand and Vietnam,” to address its external security challenges. Secondly, a consensus-based ASEAN would ensure that “Whether the country is rich or poor, big or small, every member has one voice equally.” Thirdly, Cambodia would stand to benefit from ASEAN in terms of “economic construction, socio-economic development and connectivity.” Finally, Cambodia would benefit from ASEAN’s “big diplomatic outreach to partners.”

Prime Minister Hun Sen’s recall of reasons for Cambodia’s membership in ASEAN can be understood as an expression of doubt in contrast to his past conviction on the role of the regional organization. First, it seems that Hun Sen’s confidence in ASEAN has gradually faded due to the grouping’s ineffective response to the Cambodia-Thailand border conflict between 2008 and 2011. In response to Cambodia’s urge for help, what ASEAN and its member states did was the encouragement for Phnom Penh and Bangkok to bilaterally resolve the dispute. In fact, the border dispute was never tabled as an agenda of the ASEAN Summits until Prime Minister Hun Sen broke protocol, possibly out of his frustration, and raised the issue at the ASEAN Summit in May 2011.

Second, his statement related to the fact that Cambodia has been bullied by some powerful ASEAN members implies his unease at ASEAN’s inability to enforce the principle of non-interference and equal sovereign rights among its member states.

Last but more importantly, China, not ASEAN, has become Cambodia’s largest foreign investor and biggest economic benefactor. China is also the biggest provider of military assistance to Cambodia. Noticeably, China’s military assistance increased remarkably at the time when Cambodia badly needed to build up its defence forces during the Cambodia-Thailand border dispute. Moreover, as for policymakers in Phnom Penh, China is not a threat but a protector of Cambodia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, ensured on many occasions by Chinese top leaders.

In this context, it is important for regional leaders and policymakers to reflect the reality of Southeast Asia and how to move forward. Firstly, it is not unreasonable to agree with a Cambodian scholar, Chheang Vannarith, who argues that, “If the regional and external countries keep pressuring the non-claimant states like Cambodia to build a united front against China, ASEAN will be disintegrated”.7

Secondly, ASEAN-China relationship is not only about the South China Sea. There are many areas of cooperation that both sides stand to benefit from, including trade, investment, tourism, regional connectivity, and joint efforts in fighting against non-traditional security issues.

Thirdly, it is unpractical to consider ASEAN a dispute-settlement mechanism. It has never fulfilled that role even in disputes between its member states. Like Cambodia and Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines tried to initially resolve territorial disputes through bilateral mechanisms but eventually brought the issue to the International Court of Justice. At its best, what ASEAN can do is to be a dispute-avoidance mechanism.

Lastly, there is a dangerous risk of internationalizing the South China Sea, particularly by dragging in external powers. By so doing, ASEAN will lose its neutrality in its relations with major powers outside the region. Moreover, ASEAN’s members might be drawn into great-power competition, which will eventually put ASEAN’s unity at risk, for ASEAN members have different interests in the South China Sea and see the role of external powers through different lenses.

End notes:

1. See The Economist, “The South China Sea: Sea of Troubles”, 2 May 2015. Available at: http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21650122-disputed-sea-growing-security-nightmareand-increasingly-ecological-one-sea-troubles.

2. See Donald Emmerson, “Why Does China Want to Control the South China Sea”, The Diplomat, 24 May 2016. Available at: http://thediplomat.com/2016/05/why-does-china-want-to-control-the-south-china-sea/

3. See William A. Challahan, “The China Dream and the American Dream”, Economic and Political Studies 1(2014):143-160.

4.See Ronald O’Rourke, “Maritime Territorial and Excusive Economic Zone (EEZ) Disputes Involving China: Issues for Congress”, CRS Report, 31 May 2016. Available at: https://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/row/R42784.pdf

5. Kishore Mahbubani, “Beijing in the South China Sea – belligerent or assertive?” Financial Times, 15 March 2016. Available at: https://next.ft.com/content/58c676ed-f3f4-32ac-b3c9-69efd0ae07fd

6. See Hun Sen’s Remarks at the Graduation Ceremony of the Royal School of Administration, in Phnom Penh, on 20 June 2016. Available at: http://cnv.org.kh/selected-impromptu-comments-graduation-ceremony-royal-school-administration-unofficial-translation/

7. Khmer Times, “Hun Sen: Enough on South China Sea”, 29 June 2016. Available at: http://www.khmertimeskh.com/news/26635/hun-sen–enough-on-south–china-sea/

 

Foreign Policy: Diplomats can be developed


February 1, 2018

Foreign Policy: Diplomats can be developed

https://www.diplomacy.edu/resources/general/knowledge-management-and-diplomatic-training

For a long time it was held that a diplomat is born as such and that it is impossible to produce a diplomat by training. This view was based on a lack of distinction between personal characteristics and qualities of the diplomat on one hand, and the knowledge and skills he needs to do his job on the other. Whereas the first are indeed part of the physical and mental makeup a person is born with, the second can be and must be taught. The days when any well-born and well-bred dilettante of great personal charm could handle diplomatic business as a result of these in-born and in-bred qualities are long past, if they ever truly existed. However there are some characteristics and qualities a diplomat should possess if he is to perform at all well in his profession, however vast his acquired knowledge and skills may be. Thus, before going into the issue of training, we should spend a few moments to consider what these qualities and characteristics are or should be.

Image result for Henry Kissinger on Diplomacy

America’s Top Diplomats from Henry Kissinger to John Kerry

Diplomacy is not for the sickly, the weak, the neurotic and the introverts. A robust constitution and good health are needed to stand the physical and mental strain put on diplomats in many situations. Being able to sleep well in almost any circumstances is of great help. A well-balanced personality, good self-control, a natural inquisitiveness, an interest in understanding others and their manner of thinking are also essential. This should be complemented by a friendly and outgoing nature, natural courtesy and good manners, a capacity to create empathy and develop friendships. A gift for languages is a great asset, because being able to communicate with opposite numbers in their own language is becoming increasingly important, especially in some less traditional forms of diplomacy.

What  must a Diplomat know?

For a long time diplomats studied history, languages and law, and this was seen as sufficient. Even today, lawyers are over-represented in foreign ministries. A quick look at the subject-matters of present-day international relations should suffice to impress on anyone the importance of multi-disciplinary academic knowledge. To that extent the generalist-specialist controversy does not exist at all. All diplomats must have basic familiarity with history, law, economics and political science. And it is therefore not surprising that curricula of all respected training institutions includes these subjects.

Image result for condoleezza riceDr. Condoleezza Rice is an Expert on Russia and was a Secretary of State with her predecessor, General Colin Powell

 

But diplomats must also be able to acquire specialist knowledge in nearly any subject when needed. This may be in order to assume a certain position within the diplomatic establishment or in order to handle a temporary task like a specific mission or negotiation. It is therefore important when providing them with their initial training, or when completing such training undergone prior to the admission to the career, to promote the capacity for assimilating unfamiliar subjects at short notice. A diplomat who has this ability can look forward to a variegated career, whereas one who finds it difficult to assimilate new knowledge is likely to spend his life dealing with matters well within his range of competence, thus becoming some sort of specialist not to be considered for assignments handling other matters.

How should a Diplomat be trained?

In many countries with an old diplomatic tradition, candidates for the diplomatic service are expected to come with a sufficient baggage of basic academic knowledge to make initial training in such fields unnecessary. They undergo tests and examinations to make sure that they possess such knowledge. Training after recruitment is restricted mainly to teaching professional skills and to adding to basic academic knowledge specialised subjects of particular importance for diplomatic activities. Language training often occupies a predominant place in such systems. Other countries prefer to recruit candidates to whom basic academic disciplines for diplomacy are taught during a training stage. This kind of basic training is also provided by regional institutions such as the Mediterranean Academy of Diplomatic Studies, as many countries cannot afford to provide basic training to the few diplomats they recruit every year or only from time to time.

 

For many years now the need for continuous training of diplomats has been recognised, but little headway has so far been made for its satisfaction. This is quite understandable as diplomats once recruited are supposed to spend their time working and not learning. Current budgetary constraints make it even more difficult to release a diplomat for any kind of continuous training. On the other hand, the rapidly changing content of diplomatic interaction and of methods used make in-career training an inescapable necessity. Fortunately, as we shall see, new training approaches and facilities make it easier to respond to this necessity without disrupting a diplomat’s activity to an undue extent.

The evolution of training approaches and methods

Institutions training candidates for diplomacy or offering training for beginning diplomats were mostly offspring of universities or strongly influenced by academic teaching methods. When foreign ministries started to set up in-house training establishments, these again mostly relied on university lecturers for the teaching of academic subjects. Thus ex-cathedra lecturing was the dominant approach, sometimes complemented by seminars. Where practising diplomats were used to convey their experience to newly recruited colleagues, the lecture method was invariably used.

Only in the 1960s were simulations of imagined or real diplomatic situations introduced to a meaningful extent. Diplomat trainees were made to simulate pleadings before arbitral or judicial tribunals, negotiations or even complex international crises. A pioneer in these fields were the Stabex exercises conducted at the Graduate Institute of International Studies for the trainees of the Carnegie diplomatic training courses. In conformity with the reluctance in those days to upset any existing country or government, most exercises were between invented Ruritanias, any resemblance to actual countries being “entirely coincidental.” These days simulations use much more concrete approaches. Participants are made to simulate a crisis or negotiations which already took place (with the intent to show that the historical outcome was not the only possible one), or they simulate oncoming negotiations or even simulate alongside an ongoing negotiation. Such exercises allow diplomat trainees to immerse themselves in the reality of past or ongoing events rather than to amuse themselves with imagined “games.” For their conduct, the expertise of seasoned negotiators is needed, who are in the thick of ongoing activities. They are of course not always easy to get hold of and all of them do not have the ability to convey their expertise to participants.

As in other fields, information technology has introduced new possibilities and methods for the training of diplomats. Computer-assisted and computer-based training allows trainees to participate in their own formation. By breaking down subjects into relatively small teaching modules it has become possible to move from basics into any degree of detail. As a result, basic and continuous training become interlinked. A diplomat who has to assimilate specialised knowledge in a given field can start with going back to what he already knows or, if he is totally unfamiliar with the subject area, acquaint himself with the basics. Then he proceeds gradually in the direction of what he really needs and thus finds it relatively easy to achieve a considerable degree of mastery.

Information technology also allows training to become delocalised. Trainers and trainees can interact in cyberspace without having to be physically present in the same place. This enormously facilitates continuous training, as a diplomat can do a lot of learning by himself, on his computer, at the time and for the duration of his convenience. Interaction in real time then starts from this base and becomes much more intensive and lively. As indicated, a special branch of continuous learning is the preparation for a given mission or event. In the case of multilateral negotiations, chosen negotiators can do their basic learning together and even simulate their interaction before the real event. This should reduce the duration of actual meetings, a constant preoccupation of cash-strapped international institutions.

Consequences for training institutions

Should such institutions abandon their present methods of teaching, send home their students and proceed to teach them over the Internet? This would certainly be an unwelcome and extreme approach. Every teacher and most students know how important physical interaction is. Spending together not only classroom hours but also working together, studying together and discussing matters not immediately related to the teaching programmes are essential elements of learning. Moreover, the fundamental task of the diplomat is interpersonal contact and interaction. All this can to some extent be at least simulated in cyberspace, but sometimes the real thing is needed, especially in more recent forms of diplomatic interaction, where the diplomat must meet people who are not diplomats, distrust diplomats, want to be physically present with their guns and do not believe in cyber-interaction.

The approach chosen by the Mediterranean Academy of Diplomatic Studies for its distance learning programmes should therefore be highly commended. Trainees and trainers spend an initial period together in Malta or some other location before repairing to their workplaces and resuming interaction from there. Preliminary trial runs have shown that in ten days of intense cohabitation and interaction participants of a programme become a family whose members henceforth feel at ease with each other also in cyberspace.

As we are at the outset of what may well be termed a revolution in teaching approaches and methods, individual training institutions should feel free to find their own approach, for which cultural characteristics of those involved may also play an important role. It will be interesting to meet again some years hence in Malta—and not in cyberspace—to compare notes on experience acquired.

A Message to UMNO’s Hishamuddin Tun Hussein Onn: We MAF Veterans are Patriots and you are a Racist


January 18, 2018

Image result for Maj Hj Mior Rosli TUDM (Bersara)

A Message to UMNO’s Hishamuddin Tun Hussein Onn: We MAF Veterans are Patriots and you are a Racist

By Major (R) Mior Rosli (TUDM) (received via e-mail)

Image result for Hishamuddin Hussein Onn is a racist

I wish the Defence Minister, the Deputy Defence Minister read and listen to what I have to say very carefully.

Yesterday, you, Hishammudin accused Persatuan Patriot Kebangsaan of being Racist. I demand your apology to us because it is not us who are racist. It is you. Don’t you remember when you were the UMNO youth chief? You unsealth the Keris, waved it in the air and demand for Chinese blood? Isn’t that Racist and dangerous? The Police should have charged you under ISA, put you behind bars and throw the key. We don’t need Racist people like you leading a multi-racial country. Now just because the elections is round the corner you have the cheek to talk about increasing the number of non- Malays in the Armed Forces. Something that we have heard many many times over many many years. It is pure hogwash.

Let me tell you and all your bloody UMNO goons. THERE ARE NO RACIAL CONFLICTS NOR SENTIMENTS AMONG SOLDIERS WITHIN THE MAF. We have gone through tough and team training day and night for 6 months for the other ranks and 12 months training for the officers. We ate, slept, trained, sweat, cried and laughed together. After recruit or cadet training we were enlisted and Commission into various corps and services. Except for the Royal Malay Regiment, in all corps and services we were never bothered if one is a Malay, Chinese, Indian, Punjabi, IBAN or kadazan. Our loyalty only goes to our Commander whatever race and religion they are, to our Corps/services, to the MAF, to our King and country. That’s was how we were taught and trained.

Image result for Malaysian soldiers

During both the Emergencies (1948-1960/1960-1989), during the confrontation with Indonesia, and the war in Sarawak till the early 90s.. we fought like brothers to defend this country and  maintain the sovereignty, territorial integrity, and independence of this country. We make sure people like you to be safe and maintain your freedom in this country.

You were never there to see our comrades die,got their legs and arms blown off. You were never there to see how their wives and children cried when their husbands came back in coffins or without legs or arms.

Image result for Hishamuddin Hussein Onn is a racistMalaysia’s Chickenhawk Defense Minister

 

You were born with a silver spoon. You are no more than a show off, a low down phony. Donning a military uniform, with a Commando beret, with senior airborne wings on your chest. You make many veterans sick, looking at your stupidity.

During the emergencies combating the CTs (Communist Terrorists) there were many non-Malays did clandestine operations, became agents inside the enemy troops and acted as rubber tappers,farmers, etc. Some were caught and killed.

Our pilots, many were non-Malays too were shot down, and when they did their rescue, bodivac and medical missions, don’t care the dead or injured were Malays, Chinese, Iban or Indians or what ever race they were.

Image result for kanang anak langkau the iban warriorKanang Anak Langkau of the 8th Battalion of the Royal Ranger  Regiment

 

Kanang Anak Langkau from the 8th Battalion of the Royal Ranger Regiment who became one of the most decorated war heroes in Malaysian military history was the grandson of an Iban headsman. Growing up in a remote part of Sarawak meant that a formal education was scarce, but Kanang was receiving a different kind of education as a child from his grandfather. Kanang would often follow his grandfather on hunting trips in the jungle where he was taught to read the signs of plants, the sounds of the animals, the smells in the wind, and the ways of becoming a tracker.

“Agi idup agi ngelaban!” ( “Still alive, still fighting”)

Today UMNO is kissing lips with the Communist Party of China (CPC). Having closed doors meetings…all for power and money and forgetting their sacrifice so that UMNO can continue to exist until today.

It is you and (UMNO) policy makers who try to separate and divide us racially. It is your party that makes the quotas for entry and promotions. It is your party that controls who should be generals and who should not.

Soldiering is a professional job. If you get unskilled people to be promoted, you will get a half-baked Armed Forces. A half baked Armed Forces will never be able to defend this country effectively.

If you want the Chinese to be seen of their loyalty, make the Armed Forces more professional and not political.

We, the veterans Armed Forces Officers and the ex-senior police officers are the real Patriots, more Patriotic than any of you, “power and kleptocracy” crazy politicians. DON’T EVER BELITTLE US. IF THERE IS A WAR TO DEFEND THIS SOIL, WE WILL BE THE SECOND OR THIRD LINERS BEHIND THE REGULAR FORCES TO DEFEND THIS COUNTRY… PLEASE DON’T MESS US UP WITH YOUR POLITICAL DREAMS!

Image result for Hishamuddin Hussein Onn is a racist

What your party are doing towards the MAF is degrading them, making them weak, making the Generals like puppets on strings until they do not know to differentiate between what is right and what is wrong.

You are making the Rakyat live in a “BOILING FROG SYNDROME”. The moment the Rakyat realised what happened to this country, it will be too late.

The problem with politicians like you is because you rose up not from grassroots leaders. From the beginning until now you are just “A TORTOISE ON A POLE”. Don’t know how you got up there. You are where you are because your father was the Prime Minister, if not you are nothing.

We who served from 1948- 1989/91, the majority are still very much alive. Your party betrayed us, ignored us, lied to us and many of us are struggling to live on with our lives, while over all these years you and your party members became kleptocrats and took away what actually belongs to us and the Rakyat.

May Allah curse all of you if you don’t realise what you did wrong.

Wallahualam.

Maj Hj Mior Rosli TUDM (Bersara)