Saturday, 2 August 2014

Mandela's strategic moral diplomacy over Lockerbie a lesson for Gaza

[It is interesting that Lockerbie is now being referred to not only in relation to Malaysia Airlines flight 17, but also in the context of events in Gaza. What follows is a brief excerpt from an article headed Gaza ceasefire crumbles while West embarks on a new round of hand-wringing by Professor Michelle Pace published yesterday on The Conversation website:] 

Israel, for one, needs a thorough soul-searching exercise on what its oft-invoked idea of “security” actually means in practice, and whether its chosen definition really has anything to do with “defending itself”. Hamas, by the same token, must reflect on the wisdom of indiscriminately firing rockets into the territory of one of the mightiest military forces in the world.

But the international community, too, has to improve on its woeful diplomatic performance throughout this catastrophe. There are plenty of examples from which to draw inspiration.

Think of how Nelson Mandela, for example, used strategic moral diplomacy to resolve the seemingly intractable stalemate between Libya, the US and the UK in the handling of two suspects accused of the Lockerbie bombing.

The point of this example is that moving away from the idea that our enemies are simply evil, and towards a more pragmatic moral position, is often the only hope in intractable, unstable negotiations between warring factions.

[The tale of Nelson Mandela’s part in shaming the United Kingdom and the United States into accepting a Lockerbie solution that had for years been accepted by Libya has been told often on this blog.  Here is one instance.]

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