Friday, 21 August 2015

A Little Understood Problem With Regards The Ancient Books We Read

Above are just 3 different versions of Herodotus's The Histories. I am reading the middle one but know that the Robin Waterfield version is the best, while the Tom Holland one I have already thrown in the bin for being illegible.

Mark Twain once wrote; “The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them.” I always took this to mean that we should all only read certified classics, little realising that even among those certified classics, some are so badly translated that the value of their teaching becomes lost. 

This has only fully hit home now after going through two different versions of Herodotus's The Histories and finding them unsatisfactory. Below I will show you how I got to know that they were not good enough. Fortuitously, I have been quoting Herodotus for the past 5 years or so from Wikiquote. So, as I was reading through the first (discarded) and second (already halfway with notes made so I am stuck with it) versions, I would constantly find what approximates to a quote I had used before but it just didn't sound right. 

For example, I have always liked Herodotus's: "If a man insisted always on being serious, and never allowed himself a bit of fun and relaxation, he would go mad or become unstable without knowing it." In the picture below, here is where I found that quote misrepresented (but as I said above, I am halfway through this book, with notes made, so I must press on).
"If a man insisted always on being serious, and never allowed himself a bit of fun and relaxation, he would go mad or become unstable without knowing it."
But because all these different authors truly believe their translations to be the best in circulation, you will never find a copy which forewarns you that it may not be the best.

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Trip Ideas For The Discerning Men: Factory Visits

Under construction: the Airbus A380 - 800 at Airbus's Toulouse Factory. Picture Credit: Adaptable Travel.

I am a bit of an anachronism, for all my immersion and engagement in the so-called "modern/western values," what was inculcated in me as a youth in my own culture still abides: namely, a demarcation of the different roles, responsibilities and interests that should occupy women and men. Society is so much better if there is no confusion over this (we can debate this on a different day - the point is; I have chosen the title for this post very deliberately). For example, in my own youth, men sat around the fire at night - the much vaunted Dare or Council - and discussed the most pressing issues of the day. The trips in this post are really an extension of the Dare. Make no mistake, one of my female friends is a Senior First Officer on the Airbus A320 and would be a more knowledgeable companion than the men who are going with me to the Toulouse Airbus Factory Tour. Still, it is the principle that matters: the Dare or Council is for men only.

Toulouse Airbus Factory, France. 

This trip idea was copied wholly from the United States Military's 18th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff - General Martin Dempsey. He visited the Boeing Factory in Seattle 2 years ago and took some truly imposing pictures while there. As you very well know, Boeing makes most of the United States Air Force's advanced air assets. I have no plans to visit the United States for now, so Boeing's European peer competitor makes a very good substitute. My friends and I have a background (and continued interest) in Civil and Military Aviation, so this trip is most logical.

Stuttgart Daimler-Benz Factory, Germany.

The Stuttgart factory tour will be a hard sell even for me - its proposer - because I am NOT a car person! The only thing that could make such a trip appealing is if it is included with much context and other things of interest. Let me suggest a few. Obviously, under the overall theme of "Factory Visits," Mercedes-Benz, one of Germany and the world's top companies, must appear in the Top 10. But there are car factories everywhere in the world. So, a trip to Stuttgart can only be made more appealing by first flying to Munich to watch Bayern Munich in their forbidding Allianz Arena. After that, the discerning men can then take the early morning ICE Train - Germany's answer to Japan's MAGLEV Train - to Stuttgart for the whole day. The day in Stuttgart can then include the Mercedes Benz Factory and Museum tours among other things.

The Daimler-Benz Factory, Stuttgart. Picture Credit: InsideEvs.

The Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart. Picture Credit: AutoWeb.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Travel Ideas For The Discerning World Traveller

The Bernina Express on the Brusio Spiral. Picture Credit: Wikimedia
 The Bernina Express

The Bernina Express is Europe's most scenic rail trip and runs from Chur in Switzerland to Tirano in Italy. Its selling point is its panoramic windows which gives passengers the best views of the Swiss Alps, Glaciers, and Lakes. This is a 4 hour, 90 mile journey and the most famous sights on this route are the Brusio Spiral (pictured above) and the Landwasser Viaduct (see picture below). Either side of the trip you can visit Milan (Italy) and Zurich (Switzerland) which are the closest metropolises.

This trip is best taken with your girlfriend or wife sans kids. In later instalments, I will tell you about the trips for the guys, trips for the girls and trips for the family.

The Bernina Express in Winter. Picture Credit: RHB.

The world famous Landwasser Viaduct. Picture Credit: RHB. 
Your train awaits!

Saturday, 18 July 2015

The Cyber Warfare/Security Briefing Part II

"He who offends others does not secure himself" - Leonardo da Vinci.

The blue circle represents what I knew before the USCYBERCOM briefing while the black circle represents elements I did not know.

by Kudakwashe Kanhutu

Following on from my provisional assessment of the state of the field before my meetings with the USCYBERCOM Commander, I can now say with great confidence that it is possible to know enough about a field not to engage in any further earnest research every time a permutation occurs. Of course, this conclusion of mine may be down to the fact that my allegiance is to the Republic of Zimbabwe, and cyber threats are not our foremost concern at this present point in time. The picture above represents what I knew about the field (blue circle) and what I did not know (black circle) before meeting Admiral Michael S. Rogers.

Admiral Michael S. Rogers, Commander USCYBERCOM, Director NSA.

The Real State of the Cyber Environment

Admiral Michael S. Rogers speaks to Financial and Security Experts at the London Stock Exchange.

My summary of the field in Part I (pre-meeting) is very much valid. The only thing I can now add is that as the NSA Commander as well as the GCHQ Director also presented their views of the field, I managed to get an insider's view as opposed to mine which is that of a dilettante. Their classification of the various threats; criminal, vandal, state attack etc and the ways in place to respond to each of these threats were also much better than mine. Again, this may be due to the fact that I only worry about those cyber actions that are related to, or may result in open warfare. These practitioners were more concerned, or rather, equally concerned with commercial crime in cyber space. In this regard, my opening quotation by Leonardo da Vinci is not as apt as it could be - those who are targeted by cyber criminals do not necessarily have to have done something to get targeted. Possession of wealth and valuable information is enough reason for the cyber miscreants. It has always been my argument that military aggression creates committed enemies but this dictum does not strictly apply in the cyber domain. 

The other knowledge I do not have, represented by the black circle in the first picture, relates to classified information these officials did not divulge, as well as, that knowledge Donald Rumsfeld saw fit to call unknown unknowns.

My arrival for the meeting at the LSE

My arrival for the meeting at the LSE

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

The Cyber Warfare/Security Briefing Part I

"He who possesses most must be most afraid of loss" - Leonardo Da Vinci.

The London Stock Exchange for meetings with the Commander of the United States Cyber Command 15. 07. 2015
by Kudakwashe Kanhutu

I have often wondered if it is possible, no, I have often hoped that it is possible to have enough information about the principles of a particular field that you no longer need to add to your stock and can, on the basis of this stock, cogently discuss any new permutations in the field. I am going to test this hope (empirically) by, without looking at a book, webpage, journal, video or audio clip, write all I currently know about the Cyber (Security) Domain; then, tomorrow, after meeting the National Security Agency (NSA) Director and Commander of the United States Cyber Command, I will write, for want of a better word, a de-briefing of the current state of the field. I will then measure the distance between what I thought I knew and what I will have learnt from tomorrow's discussion. If the distance is too vast then I must conclude, in despair, that we are all in exactly the same situation as Sisyphus.

The State of the Cyber Environment 

Wherever human beings live and operate, challenges and opportunities exist. I have no charts or graphs to show you here but, because human beings live on land, land warfare (a challenge) is the most predominant form of warfare. The benefits (opportunities) of land to humans need not be listed - it's our natural habitat. Adjunct environments such as Sea, Air and Space are then used either to support the waging of (land) warfare, or enjoying the benefits of our habitat. To these natural environments - Sea, Land, Air and Space - human ingenuity has added another one - Cyber! 

The Cyber environment, properly conceived, is just an adjunct that helps humans perform their tasks better: I am communicating my ideas to you from the comfort of my bed when previously I would have gone to a library, typed my thoughts, printed them, then snail mailed them to the national paper, wait to see if they may be published and, even then, if you did not buy the paper that day, you would have still missed all this I am writing right now (which would probably not have been necessarily a tragedy!). The point is, the cyber domain makes a lot of things easier. This convenience, however, comes with potent challenges. As the (physical) Critical Infrastructure Network (CNI) - health system, roads, national grids, railways, aviation, military command and control - all now rely on the cyber environment for their smooth operation, a potent vulnerability thus exists.
The oft quoted possibility is that of a hacker being able to disrupt Air Traffic Control to the extent that aircraft will collide into each other. For busy airports like Heathrow, where planes land every 3 minutes, this will be a nightmare of epic proportions with, in addition to the loss of life, serious knock on effects to the economy. The same scenario would have the most negligible effects on an airport in Swaziland where under 10 aircraft land on a busy day. This is also very pertinent to the cyber security environment - with greater interconnectivity comes greater threats and disruptions. Another (remote) possibility is that a hacker could launch a country's missiles against a nuclear armed state and thus hasten Armageddon. The essence is that, activity in the Cyber Domain now has real world consequences, to the extent that if cyber assets of Country A are damaged by Country B, the understanding is that Country B reserves the right to strike back with all its Land, Sea, Air and Space Forces.

What is still notoriously elusive in the Cyber Domain is the ability to attribute a cyber attack to the right culprit.

Monday, 22 June 2015

Applying the Tools of Conflict Analysis to the Rwanda Genocide

"Normal people do not know that anything is possible" - David Rousset.

Researching the dynamics of the Rwanda genocide at the University of Kent, Canterbury for the PO572 Module (Conflict Analysis and Resolution).

by Kudakwashe Kanhutu

Map and analyse a conflict of your choice drawing on relevant literature and theory. The first section should identify primary and secondary parties, positions, interests, needs and the strategic environment. The second section should apply one or more of the theories to analyse the conflict. The third section should analyse (using appropriate literature and theories) how it ended and whether the conflict termination has been short term or long term.


Rwanda became the byword for genocide after an estimated 800 000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were massacred there over a 100 day period between 6 April 1994 and 18 July 1994 (Melvern, 2000). The killings were organized by Hutu extremists who feared losing their political and economic power to the Tutsi minority after the Rwanda Patriotic Army (RPA) – the military wing of the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) – invaded from its bases in Uganda (Melvern, 2000). While the actual genocide captured the most headlines, my paper is more focused on the conditions prior to the genocide.

It is difficult to discuss the Rwanda conflict without ultimately engaging with the genocide. I have, therefore, chosen the period between 1 October 1990 and 18 July 1994 as the period of the conflict I will talk about. The actual genocide is evidently a failure in the attempts to find a workable solution to the conflictual relations between Tutsis and Hutus ever since the colonially sanctioned Tutsi domination of Hutus ended in 1959 (Scrogie, 2004: 67). Paradoxically, the most significant failure is the Arusha Accords which – at face value – held great promise for a new democratic dispensation in Rwanda.

My paper will be arranged in this manner: in the first section of my paper, I will identify the primary and secondary parties in the conflict and their relationships. In the second section, I will turn to the theories of conflict to analyse the causal mechanisms in the Rwanda civil war. No single theory can capture the complexity of conflict, hence I will rely on theories such as, colonial legacy theory, collective fears for the future and horizontal inequalities. In the third section I will discuss the resolution. I will do this by focusing on the Arusha Accords and how failure in their implementation led to the genocide (Scrogie, 2004). The explanation that captures the essence of this failure is Barbara Walter’s critical barrier to civil war settlement theory.

Section I

Primary and Secondary Parties to the Conflict

A Brief History of the Conflict:

Ami R Mpungwe, the Tanzanian diplomat who was entrusted to mediate the Rwanda conflict on behalf of his president, records that the Rwanda conflict was one which was “deep-rooted, in both its historical and prevailing dynamics” (Mpungwe, 1999). He differentiates it from disputes over authenticity of elections results in Lesotho, and therefore suggests that the issues were genuinely intractable (Mpungwe, 1999). He intimates that, “these conflicts by their very nature and character, are extremely tenacious because they revolve around the fundamentals of human life: land, safety, security, identity, recognition, esteem and unhindered opportunities for human development as a whole” (Mpungwe, 1999). The conflict has its roots in the widespread colonial practice of ‘divide and rule’ which in Rwanda eventually meant Tutsis and Hutus being pitted against each other in a deadly adversarial relationship. Access to the human needs, listed above by Mpungwe, became dependent on which group you belonged to.

Most accounts of how the colonial powers had a hand in creating the above problem, agree that the colonial powers gave the Tutsi and Hutu classifications, the ethnic and racial superiority connotations which they originally did not have (Hintjens, 1999: 247). This began with Germany and was maintained when Belgium became the next colonial power (Hintjens, 1999). For now, it is sufficient to just highlight that the colonial powers had a hand in the problems which have beset Rwanda since its independence. The significance of that will become clearer in the second section of my paper when I talk about colonial legacy as a cause of the Rwanda conflict. The main point at this stage is to record that at independence there was violence as the Tutsis who had been favoured throughout the colonial period were ousted by the Hutu majority: the violence at that time claimed 10 000 Tutsi lives (Hintjens, 1999). Indeed, there is a history of cyclical pogroms against Tutsis by Hutus (1959, 1963, 1972 and 1994), as a result of the hate fostered when they (Tutsi) were made overlords by colonial powers while the Hutus were marginalised (Mpungwe, 1999). The root cause of the 1990 – 1994 conflict can be traced to these pogroms which led the Tutsis leave Rwanda and become stateless persons in neighbouring Uganda. When the Tutsis became persecuted in Uganda’s government (1982), a return to their homeland became an urgent imperative (Mpungwe, 1999). Before seeking to return home however, the Tutsis fought alongside Yoweri Museveni when he formed a rebellion which finally deposed Obote in 1986 (Melvern, 2000). With Museveni now in power in Uganda, the Tutsis now had an ally. As it is not within the scope of this paper to give a detailed history, I will now turn to the main parties to the conflict and what their grievances were.

Hutus vs Tutsis?

Fig. 1 Conflict Map
The Arusha Accords of 1993 are the best source for who the parties in the Rwanda civil war were and what they were fighting for. The main parties were the Government of Rwanda (GoR), which was a Hutu government, and their opponents were the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), a group of exiles from Uganda seeking to return to their homeland (Scrogie, 2004: 67). As the RPF fighters were based in Uganda, there is a suspicion that units of the Ugandan People’s Defence Forces were fighting alongside the RPF, although this is always difficult to prove. What is more difficult to deny, is that Uganda gave bases to – and armed – the RPF (Melvern, 2000). My conflict map (Fig. 1) shows these relationships: where the primary paries are the GoR pitted against the RPF; and the secondary parties who supported the GoR in the civil war are France, Zaire, Egypt and Kenya, while the RPF was supported by Uganda (Prunier, 2010). I have chosen to focus more on showing alliances with primary actors, as direct clashes between the French and Ugandans would have been very minimal. A deviation is the conflict relationship between Uganda and Rwanda that is shown in Fig. 1, this is because of the level of dependency of the RPF on Uganda. Overall, my map tries to show which primary party the secondary parties put their support behind. Tanzania, the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) and the United Nations (UN) are also shown on the map but in the mediator’s role. Tanzania genuinely played an honest broker role and the OAU and UN were largely behind Tanzania’s lead in the mediation (Wage and Loigh, 2004).

Fig. 2 Rwanda Conflict Alliances
Although the GoR was a Hutu government, the character of the conflict was not strictly Hutu vs Tutsi. It has been said that if the Tutsi had not invaded on 1 October 1990, the Rwanda civil war would still have happened, but between Northern Hutus and Southern Hutus (Newbury and Newbury, 1995). A pertinent point is that the GoR was not a unitary actor having been, at the time, strong armed by the international community to end the one party state (Newbury and Newbury, 1995). It was thus a coalition of opponents. So, apart from the secondary parties, my map also shows the GoR’s alliances with various political parties and other non-state actors such as militias, it is thus difficult to pin down the GoR’s positions and interests. Fig. 2 shows more details of the non-state actors involved. The claim that there was a likelihood of war between Northern and Southern Hutus, prior to the RPF invasion, is based on the fact that there was discrimination and exclusion among the Hutus themselves on the two geographical locations. My map (Fig. 1) shows Coalition pour la Defence de la Republic (CDR) as an ally of the GoR, the CDR is an example of a Northern Hutu grouping that had its own agenda in the conflict: they were the hardliners (Newbury and Newbury, 1995). The other main political parties are represented on the map as the opposition for, although they were in a coalition with the GoR, they had their own agendas too which, on the most part, coincided with the RPF position (Newbury and Newbury, 1995). It was this coalition, with their disparate goals, that negotiated at Arusha.

Positions, Interests and Needs: Primary Actors

Fig. 3 Onion Analysis Rwanda
The consensus in the literature is that the RPF negotiated better at Arusha and so were able to articulate their positions and interests and got the most concessions, while the GoR, owing to its disparate power centres, fared very badly (Scrogie, 2004: 68). My onion analysis (Fig. 3) reflects this situation. I have been forced to award the GoR general human needs and not their clearly stated positions and interests for, it was that convoluted: the CDR was not interested in any settlement, the Mouvement Revolutionaire National Pour le Development (MRND) was ambiguous, while the other coalition partners may have wanted a settlement. The RPF on the other hand knew what they wanted and insisted on it. RPF positions and interests are listed on the right hand column of Fig. 3.

Other Interests and the Strategic Environment:

After the invasion by the RPF, France, Zaire, Egypt and Kenya came to the aid of Rwanda. Egypt allowed weapons sales to Rwanda, while Zaire, France and Kenya sent troops to defend the GoR (Prunier, 2010). France’s interest was defending a Francophone country against the perceived encroachment by the Anglo – Saxons, while Kenya and Zaire may have been interested in sovereign state under attack (Prunier, 2010). Despite Uganda denying any involvement, its interests can be seen as supporting allies and solving its Tutsi refugee problem. The conflict was framed differently too by different actors at its outbreak. The OAU framed it as an attempt by refugees to return home, while France and the GoR framed it as neighbouring state (Uganda) aggression (Melvern, 2000). To this end, Kenya and Zaire could legitimately come to the aid of Rwanda. The general strategic environment was whereby the principle of non-intervention in the domestic affairs of sovereign states had not yet begun to be seriously questioned. This would only come as a response to the shock of the genocide.

Section II

Analysing the Conflict:

The 1994 Rwanda genocide was used by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan as a spur for the need to change the state sovereignty rules that have been in existence since the Peace of Westphalia (ICISS, 2001). It was his view that the failures of the international community in Rwanda were due to a deference to sovereignty over the protection of human rights. If it was not for that reason, the assumption is that the international community would have no fetters in using force to stop the violence there. I raise this point to try and discuss the situation in the context of the limits placed on the actors by the prevailing situation in 1994, mindful that African states are very vocal against any erosion to state sovereignty rules. This is important as my approach to discussing the causal mechanisms imposes upon me to mention the Arusha Accords and the failure of their implementation. Their implementation failed because there was no commitment to enforce them, perhaps owing to a defence to the sovereignty of the GoR. In any case, that failure has insights for my first theory below.

As I have stated above, this conflict cannot be explained by a single theory, the most significant theory for my conflict is the one proposed by David A. Lake and Donald Rothchild. This is the theory which proposes that collective fears for the future are a potent cause of conflict. The theory holds that “as groups begin to fear for their safety, dangerous and difficult to resolve dilemmas arise that contain within them the potential for tremendous violence” (Lake and Rothchild, 1996: 41). These dilemmas are information failures, problems of credible commitment and the security dilemma (Lake and Rothchild, 1996: 41). The theme that runs through these dilemmas is a high level of diffidence towards each other on the part of the groups in a conflictual relationship. Ethnic activists and political entrepreneurs then play on these fears to incite violence, especially if there is a history of violence between the groups (Lake and Rothchild, 1996: 41). This was certainly the case in the lead up to, and during the genocide. To capture this dynamic, Lake and Rothchild (1996: 43) use Vesna Pesic’s quote that “ethnic conflict is caused by the ‘fear of the future,’ lived through the past.” Memories of violence in the past endure. With the adversarial relationship, due to colonialism, between the Hutus and Tutsis I posited in Section I of this paper, this theory is very apt for the conflict under discussion. In terms of elite mobilization for violence, the CDR can be seen as the group that played this role in Rwanda. Within the CDR was the group called the Akazu (little house or inner circle) which was the group that feared losing power to the RPF the most. This group then used the Radio Television Libre des Mille Collines (RTLMC) to mobilise ordinary Hutus in the politics of fear. The result was the genocide. Furthermore, the fact that the Arusha Accords failed is a testimony to the credible commitment dilemma this theory postulates. This is when absent enforcement action from a powerful outsider, ethnic groups fear the other will renege on agreements therefore they all seek to pre-emptively strike each other (Lake and Rothchild, 1996).

Regardless of the above insights, colonial legacy theory can also add something to the discussion of the Rwanda conflict. Colonial legacy theory argues that the ill effects of colonialism can still be the source of conflict even so long after colonialism ended. Bernard et. al. (2004: 229) posit that colonialism “creates patterns of development that leave countries highly dependent on exports from monocrop agriculture or resource extractive industries… which leaves many post-colonial economies vulnerable to volatile prices for primary goods on the world market.” This is one general part of the theory, the other part, which is more pertinent to my conflict, is the enmity such as the deadly rivalry created by the divide and rule tactic in Rwanda under colonialism. The Stanford Prison Experiment shows the susceptibility of human nature to such in-group/out-group constructs. Put together then, these two aspects of the colonial legacy mean that any economic pressures will create ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ as the two competing groups exclude each other on the basis of the perceived ethnic differences. In Rwanda, the Hutus were initially marginalized and they in turn marginalized the Tutsis on the basis of ethnicity. This dynamic has an overlap with Gudrun Ostby’s theory of horizontal inequalities. Ostby (2008: 143) posits that inequalities will lead to conflict if they are horizontal (between groups) rather than vertical (between individuals). 

The above theories (colonial legacy and horizontal inequalities) are salient because of the fact that Rwanda in the 1990s was experiencing severe economic problems and was on an International Monetary Fund (IMF) structural adjustment programme (SAP) which coincided with the world wide crash of coffee prices – Rwanda’s monocrop (Clark, 2011). These pressures are said to have made the Hutu extremists hatch a plan for survival that depended on the elimination of Tutsi.

Section III

Conflict Resolution

The negotiations to end the Rwanda conflict seem to be the perfect antithesis to Roger Fisher and William Ury’s theory of principled negotiation. In principled negotiation, the focus is on these four points: “separate the people from the problem; focus on interests, not positions; generate a variety of possibilities before deciding what to do; and insist that the result be based on some objective standard” (Fisher and Ury, 1991: 10). The logic behind these postulates being that you will get a resolution that can actually be implemented, as no party would feel to have been tricked or coerced into settling – a genuine compromise. The negotiating tactics of the RPF at Arusha were that of hard bargaining and, as predicted by Fisher and Ury (1991), they produced a lop-sided agreement. Granted, it was not the RPF’s fault that the GoR was incoherent and that the ‘hurting stalemate’ was bearable for the RPF, still, the resultant genocide reverses all the gains the RPF thought it made at the Arusha negotiations. Strength, thus, becomes a weakness. The two main failures of Arusha were (1) the exclusion of the hardliners (who then became spoilers) owing to the RPF’s hard bargaining having won the day and, (2) the international community’s lack of will in underwriting the agreement (Scrogie, 2004). In the literature, the involvement of the international community, especially the UN and the OAU gives Arusha a Track One classification and, also since, the potential level of violence was very high given the history (Crocker et. al., 1999). What was lacking, as prescribed by the literature, was a willingness to use force to ensure the implementation of the Arusha Accords. I have pointed out that this may be down to either a respect for state sovereignty rules or, meddling by powerful players such as France (a permanent Security Council member) that had an interest in the conflict. The result is that the one mechanism which was supposed to ensure compliance; the UN peacekeeping force – United Nations Assistance Mission in Rwanda (UNAMIR I) – was undermined, under-equipped and did not arrive in place on the scheduled time, which allowed the spoilers the time and space to carry out their genocidal plans (Scrogie, 2004). This is what Walter (1997) called the critical barrier to civil war settlement; in her conception, “most internal wars end with the extermination, expulsion or capitulation of the losing side.” She says negotiations fail because combatants are asked to disarm when there is no legitimate institution to guarantee their security (Walter, 1997). The way to overcome this barrier, which was missed at Arusha, is to have a robust force in place to implement and enforce sanctions against any breaches of the settlement. The international community, for whatever reasons, failed to underwrite Arusha. The conflict, as predicted by Walter, was then settled on the battlefield when the RPF captured Kigali from the GoR on 18 July 1994, putting an end to the genocide.


My paper has attempted to show the three main steps to analysing conflicts those working in conflict resolution have to be conversant with. The first step is mapping the conflict so as to clearly understand the issues, parties and relationships involved. The second step is applying theories so as to better understand the causes of the conflict and, the third step is choosing the best conflict resolution tools having understood the nature of the conflict through steps 1 and 2. I have chosen the Rwanda conflict and discussed it in those three steps. The Rwanda conflict was steeped in the problems that arise from colonial legacies but it can be discussed in the same terms of the in-group/out-group dynamics that apply to all human conflicts. My paper highlighted the need for conflict resolution based on genuine compromises as lop-sided agreements are just a foundation for the next permutation of the conflict. The solution that finally ended the genocide in Rwanda was a military victory by the RPF, followed by the expulsion of the Hutus into the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Whether this is a permanent or short term solution, remains to be seen, as it is not infeasible that one day the Hutus will be the invasion force demanding the right of return as the RPF did on 1 October 1990.

"Normal people do not know that anything is possible" - David Rousset


Bernard, Michael et. al. (2004), The Legacy of Western Overseas Colonialism on Democratic Survival. International Studies Quarterly, Vol. 48: 225 – 250.

Clark, Janine Natalya (2011), Between Theory and Practice: Conflict Resolution in Rwanda, in Wolff, Stefan and Yakinthou, Christalla (eds.), Conflict Resolution: Theories and Practice. London: Routledge.

Crocker, Chester et. al. (1999), Herding Cats: Multiparty Mediation in a Complex World. Washington D.C.: United States Institute of Peace.

Fisher, Roger and Ury, William (1991), Getting to Yes: Negotiating an Agreement Without Giving in. New York: Houston Mifflin Company.

Hintjens, Helen M. (1999), Explaining the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda. The Journal of Modern African Studies, Vol. 37, No. 2: 241 – 286.

ICISS (2001), “The Responsibility to Protect: The Report of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty.” Link available on Google Search.

Lake, David A., and Rothchild, Donald (1996), Containing Fear: The Origins and Management of Ethnic Conflict. International Society, Vol. 21, No. 2: 41 – 75.

Melvern, Linda R. (2000), A People Betrayed: The Role of the West in Rwanda’s Genocide. London: Zed Books.

Mpungwe, Amir R., (1999), Crises and Response in Rwanda: Reflections on the Arusha Accords. Institute for Security Studies Monograph No. 36.

Newbury, Catherine and Newbury, David (1995), Identity, Genocide, and Reconstruction in Rwanda.  Reseau Documentaire Sur la Region des Grands Lacs Africains. Link available on Google Search.

Ostby, Gudrun (2008), Horizontal Inequalities and Violent Conflict. Journal of Peace Research, Vol. 45, No 2: 143 – 162.

Prunier, Gerard (2010), The Rwanda Crisis: History of a Genocide. London: Hurst and Company Publishers.

Scrogie, Lindsay (2004), Rwanda’s Arusha Accords: A Missed Opportunity. Undercurrent, Vol. 1, No. 1: 66 – 76.

Wage, David and Haigh, Lois (2004), A Case Study on the Arusha Peace Agreements. The Florida State University. Link available on Google Search.

Walter, Barbara F., (1997), The Critical Barrier to Civil War Settlement. International Organization, Vol. 51, No. 5: 335 – 364.

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Does Europe Still Need America For Its Security?

"There will no longer be need for spheres of influence, for alliances, for balance of power, or any other of the separate alliances through which in the unhappy past the nations strove to safeguard their security or promote their interest" - Cordell Hull, 1945 Testimony before the U.S. Congress hearings on the United Nations Charter.

With Boss Lady - Professor Gulnur Aybet - my Course Director for the BA (Hons.) Conflict, Peace and Security at the University of Kent, Canterbury.
Europe needs America for its security – so, should it always be expected to follow an American lead in international affairs? Does Europe need America for its security today?


The assertion that Europe needs America for its security has to be assessed for currency in the 21st Century. There was a time when Europe, unquestionably, needed the American ‘security blanket’ (Galen, 1994). This was during the Cold War when two grave existential threats loomed large over the continent. Since the Cold War ended on Europe and America’s terms, it must follow that these existential threats have been tamed, and therefore the question of whether Europe still needs America for its security provision does arise. To be sure, the threats of the Cold War era could not have been successfully countered without America’s involvement, but it bears investigation whether this remains the case in the post-Cold War era.

My discussion of this question will be in two parts. In the first, longer part of my paper, I will use the historical process tracing, to show that Europe really need America between 1945 and 1991. In the second part, working with the assumption that the main threats of the Cold War are largely obsolete, I will try to find out what new threats exist now for Europe and, whether the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) is still the optimal shield against these threats.

My position is that the demise of the Soviet Union does not mean the end of all security threats. There are new threats to Europe, and NATO has had to adapt itself to these new threats so as to remain relevant. My response to the other important part of my question, that of whether Europe has to unwaveringly follow America’s lead in international affairs, will be interwoven in both parts of this paper in the form examples of Europe’s response to crises. History, and international relations theories seem to put a question mark as to whether Europe can be expected to always follow America’s lead in international affairs. The crises with good insights for my discussion are the 2003 Iraq War in the post-Cold War period, and the 1973 Middle East crisis during the Cold War.

Part I. The Cold War Years: 1945 – 1991. 

This is but a brief excursion to the Cold War period. The purpose of which is to try and ground Europe’s security situation in its historical context. In this period we find this objective situation: a war ravaged Europe in economic dire straits. Thus, among the major consequences of World War II, these three below are significant for my paper: (1) Europe emerged from the war physically devastated and economically while; (2) America and the Soviet Union, on the other hand, rose to superpower status and, consequently, there was; (3) the emergence of the Cold War (McWilliams and Piotrowski, 2009). While these consequences mean Europe had to depend on the United States, I argue, as does Zoellick, that although national interests of allies may sometimes coincide, there is always the likelihood of a divergence of views on how best to pursue them (Zoellick, 1997). This will be reflected in this part of my paper by what has been called the ‘abandonment – entrapment dilemma’ (Sharp, 1987). 

Did Europe Ever Need America for its Security?

We could ask the question why is the subject of this paper not, for instance, “Africa needs America for its security?” A reformulation of the question as; why did the pre-eminent power in the world choose to ally itself to the extent it did with Europe at the end of World War II and not, say, with Africa or Latin America? The answer must be steeped in the fact that the two World Wars started, and, were largely fought in the European theatre. Twice, America had had to come to Europe’s rescue. Each time at great expense than would than would have been the case if preventive measures against the two world wars had been pursued through American power in the first place. American involvement was not altruism either, contiguity of values also played a part. The reason why America could not stand on the side lines is that due to values, economic, and geographic propinquities, European insecurity inevitably had a negative impact on America. In Deutsch’s conception of security community, America would not be able to stand aside and a let a continent with shared values (social and economic) be consumed by opposite social values (Tusiciny, 2007). This is possibly the line of reasoning that sustains NATO and tallies with that of other authors who have argued that NATO endures because what defines it is “not only what it is against but by what it is for” (Aybet, 2012).

For my current arguments, it is sufficient to agree with Josef Joffe’s position that it was not unthinkable that an even more devastating third world war would have started in Europe if left to tis own devices (Joffe, 1984). All of which would have been to the detriment of Europe, and America. So, certainly, due to two existential threats during the Cold War, Europe needed America for its security. The first existential threat was the insecurity prevalent between the European states that had led to the two catastrophic world wars in the first place. In this conception, Europe left to its own devices was a clear and imminent danger to itself, and thus needed a pacifier; America became that pacifier (Joffe, 1984). Any doubts about this formula can be dispelled by looking at the interwar years between 1918 and 1939, where American non-involvement on the continent is largely seen as the reason why a catastrophic second world war started (Joffe, 1984). The second threat is the external and well documented Soviet threat where, again, it is widely agreed that Europe could not have met this threat without American support. Many other authors concur with this view, such as David Compert who says ‘NATO brought lasting peace to Europe, previously the globe’s most dangerous continent’ (Compert, 1997). To sum up, the objective security conditions in Europe at the end of 1945 called out for external assistance and America heeded that call. It is only, inevitably, when interests diverge that may then find dissonance in transatlantic relations: effectively a refusal to follow the American lead.

The Abandonment – Entrapment Dilemma:

Glenn Snyder, in my view, captured the essence of this dilemma when he said,

Abandonment, in general, is ‘defection,’ but it may take a variety of specific forms: the ally may realign with the opponent; he may merely de-align, abrogating the alliance contract; he may fail to make good on his explicit commitments; or he may fail to provide support in contingencies where support is expected…. Entrapment means being dragged into a conflict over an ally’s interests that one does not share, or share only partially. The interests of allies are generally not identical; to the extent they are shared, they may be valued in different degree (Snyder, 1984).

The above description serves my discussion well as it (1) explains the main features of the dilemma as I have chosen to apply it in this paper, and (2) highlights my earlier stated position that allies’ interests are not necessarily identical. From the above explanation follows the observation that while Europe feared American abandonment in the face of the Soviet threat, they were also worried about being entrapped in American conflicts which did not constitute vital interests to Europe. For Snyder then, the actions of the states would determine what they fear at the moment, such as moving towards the ally’s position when fearing abandonment or, for fear of entrapment; loosen their alliance commitment or refuse to support an ally’s position (Snyder, 1984). 

The Middle East Crisis of 1973 is a good example of the action prompted by fear of entrapment. Aybet (2001) records that ‘for the first time European allies had decided to follow a foreign poicy which was divergent to that of the US.’ In the 1973 Middle East Crisis, Europe’s position, as dictated by national interests, was that of wanting to minimise frictions with the Arab countries and with the Soviet Union (Aybet, 2001). In this instance Europe’s interests were divergent from that of the United States as Europe depended on Middle East oil while the United States did not; the result was that the United States followed a pro-Israeli stance while Europeans took a pro-Arab stance in the crisis (Aybet, 2001).

Even before this crisis, the possibility of diverging interest can be seen as early as during Charles de Gaulle’s time. In fact, France seems to be a good example of the European country that persistently questioned the wisdom of blindly following America in international affairs. Charles de Gaulle’s concern seems to have that American nuclear deterrence against the Soviet Union amounted only to a nuclear war fought on European soil. In his quest for a French deterrent he questioned whether the Americans were willing to trade New York for Hamburg in a nuclear exchange with the Soviets (Laird, 1984). In a taxonomy of interests, Europe’s vital interests was to ensure that a nuclear war would not be fought on its soil while, in de Gaulle’s view, the same matter would be a secondary interest to the Americans (Roskin, 2012). With varying degrees of success therefore, Europeans, mostly at the behest of France, attempted to assert their position independent of the US. Examples of this would include the (French) third force concept, de Gaulle’s rejection of US nuclear forces on French soil, and his diplomatic recognition of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) which was against the US position (McWillimas and Piotrowski, 2009). All this inverts the leader – follower relationship. Of course, the abandonment side of the coin means that Europe did not follow a fully contradictory policy to that of the United States. This would only come in 2003 when France threatened to veto, at the Security Council, the United States war on Iraq at the time (Buzan and Gonzalez-Pelaez, 2004).

Part II. The Current Security Environment. 

The charge to answer in this section can be formulated in this manner: Europe is no longer the dangerous and fragile continent I described in Part I of this paper, war between European states has become unthinkable. The economies are strong (pre – 2008 financial crisis) and interdependent, and most importantly; the Soviet Union was dismantled and in its place, Russia is a capitalist democracy which even has an office at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE), NATO’s military headquarters. So why should an organisation former to counter Cold War threats remain in place after the Cold War ended? In short, does Europe need America for its security today? Ted Galen poses the same question more forcefully. It is his view that Europe is ‘clinging to the American security blanket’ (Galen, 1994). He further questions, among other things, why America still has troops stationed on European soil when the original purpose; to deter a Soviet invasion, no longer exists (Galen, 1994). He is not alone in this view as Jones (2004) also records Robert Kagan’s view that Europe has deliberately allowed itself to atrophy in matters of security provision because of its dependency on America. Which is what is called the problem of free riding in alliance theory (Joffe, 1984). It is not an unreasonable position to take, considering that as the Cold War ended on the Western block’s terms, the threats of that era must have ended at the same time. Indeed, with the collapse of the Warsaw Pact, NATO should have found itself without a purpose. It is in this section that I will discuss what the new threats are and what the transatlantic security community has decided is the best way to counter the new threats.

New Challenges: 

The end of the Cold War brought with it new challenges. Among them is a paradoxical one; that envisaged by the concept of Critical National Infrastructure vulnerabilities, where European success in integration and development creates potent security threats (RUSI, 2008). Victory in the Cold War therefore did not mean an end to threats but, instead, a fostering of new threats which are more difficult to deal with than the symmetric ones of the Cold War era. The new challenges are therefore mostly of an asymmetric nature but cannot be ignored either. In list form, the new security threats to Europe are; terrorism, cyber-attacks, failed states, nuclear proliferation, climate change and demography (migratory pressures and an ageing population) (Williams, 2008). Climate change and demography certainly cannot be met by military force but their implications for security cannot be overstated. The other threats such as cyber-attacks are also difficult to meet with military force since attribution to a state is not easy to make, this was the case with cyber-attacks on Estonia (a new NATO member) in 2007 (NATO, 2010). My main point is that some of these new threats do not easily lend themselves to NATO’s traditional core capability, while some, such as countering nuclear proliferation can fall within the traditional remit. It is with this in mind that we may investigate whether NATO is no longer relevant and, by implication, whether Europe still needs America for its security. 

These new threats are very closely related and may still require capabilities only NATO can muster. Take for example the first time NATO’s Article 5 was ever invoked – in the September 11 attacks – the link between terrorism, failed states nuclear proliferation is easy to discern. Weak or failed states can host terrorists who are then able to attack Europe and America. The further suspicion is that these kinds of terrorists would use nuclear weapons should they lay their hands on them. Taken together then, the new threats to Europe are threats to values as well as physical security. While NATO’s original purpose was defence of territory, it has had to reconfigure itself to meet the new challenges. This reconfiguration is in line with Aybet’s remark I mentioned earlier about NATO also being defined by what it is for (Aybet, 2001). A strategic inflection point has, therefore, been observed and proof of this can be found in the 2010 Strategic Concept which, inter alia, records these new commitments;

NATO member states form a unique community of values, committed to the principles of individual liberty, democracy, human rights and the rule of law. The Alliance is firmly committed to the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, and to the Washington Treaty, which affirms the primary responsibility of the Security Council for the maintenance of international peace and security (NATO, 2010).

We see here then that the transatlantic relationship is still necessary insofar as it has evolved to mean more than territorial defence. To the question whether Europe still needs America for its security, the answer can be discerned from Professor Joseph Nye Jr.’s insightful remarks at Chatham House. He conceives the world as a three level chess game with different security threats on each level; on the level that has the asymmetric threats I outlined above, he concedes that no nation – even America – can go it alone (Nye Jr., 2010). So, if even American cannot manage to provide for its security in the new threats environment, it follows that NATO – of necessity – remains a good insurance policy. 

But even though the allies are united against these new threats, my earlier position is that allies will tend to have a divergence on threat perception and disagree on the best methods to deal with threats remains valid. I see the ‘Abandonment – Entrapment Dilemma’ as ‘loaded’ against abandonment in the post-Cold War era. To my mind, absent the Soviet nuclear threat, European states are more forceful against being entrapped by American interests which may not be vital to Europe. It is for this reason that France threatened to veto the US invasion of Iraq, Turkey refused the Americans transit and Germany was very vocal against it (Buzan and Gonzalez-Pelaez, 2004). Divergences can also be seen in Europe’s position on other issues such as the Kyoto Protocol and the International Criminal Court (Cottey, 2007). The argument made here is that there are always different points of view as to how to best meet the threats. Europeans seeming to favour favour diplomacy and soft power while, America, due to its capabilities, may lean towards using force (Cottey, 2007).


My paper has attempted to answer the question of whether Europe needs America for its security by arguing that in the Cold War era, Europe could not have withstood the Soviet threat without America’s support. World War II had devastated Europe and there were also fears that a third world war would start due to enduring animosities among European states. NATO became the vehicle of that security provision. I have argued that the fact that NATO has endured after the end of the Cold War is a testimony to the way the transatlantic relationship is an example of a security community with shared values beyond the immediate threats. Europe and America have the repositioned themselves against the new threats on the basis of retaining NATO’s core capabilities and adding to it the relevant ones for the current environment. I have used the 1973 Middle East Crisis and the 2003 Iraq War to show that even the closest of allies may have divergent interests and opinions, so Europe does not necessarily follow America’s lead. A fair way to characterise the transatlantic relationship would be to acknowledge that even in the same countries, there will different of thinking, some will be Atlanticists in outlook and some, like de Gaulle, will prefer an independent European position; but these are differences of degree rather than kind, as none truly doubt the usefulness of their alliance.

Conducting my researches from home during my time as a BA (Hons.) Conflict, Peace and Security student at the University of Kent, Canterbury.

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