Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Wishing for Change in 2012

With the onset of a new year one is often tempted to propose bold resolutions; those who succumb to such temptation usually find the vigour with which such resolutions were adopted in January has usually petered out by month’s end. Resolving not to make any such pronouncements I have instead decided to proffer a wish list for 2012. The list is of course extensive, but a few emanating from the political realm may prove of interest.

My first wish in this regard for 2012 is that we see the creation of viable Palestinian state and one accepted by the international community. This is a critical step toward bringing justice to the Palestinian people. A Palestinian state alongside the state of Israel—the two state solution—is embraced by Palestinians, a majority of Israelis, and most other countries. Given the multitude of factors involved no resolution has been possible through bi-lateral discussions between Israel and the Palestinian leadership. Consequently, other parties must be involved: the United States, Europe Union and Arab states.  My wish is that these three powers, particularly the Americans, will use their power and influence combined with courage to rectify an injustice set upon the Palestinians more than 60 years ago.

Secondly, I wish to see progressive steps toward normalization of relations between the US and Cuba. With a trade embargo in place now for 50 years the intent of using this to overthrow Cuban communism has long since failed; moreover, Cuba today has set itself on a path of reform. The restrictions against Cuba now seem to be in place more to pander to the Cuban exile community in Florida than to promote US interests in either Cuba or the region. Given that this is an election year—and Florida is such a crucial state—nothing substantial will take place before November;  a further relaxation of restrictions after November would be good for the US and, more importantly, for the Cuban people.

Thirdly, I wish the British Overseas Territories in the Caribbean (including Bermuda) would recognize they are a far more powerful force vis รก vis the UK when they act as an individual force rather than individually. With a new White Paper planned for later this year and the inevitable UK thrust to further devolve power back to the UK the OTs will be in a stronger position to negotiate, and if necessary, resist policy changes through a collective response. Each territory has its own specific sets of concerns but they share a common thread in that London has the power and constitutional authority to impose laws on the OTs without consultation or public input.

Fourthly, I would like to see more and more voters in more and more countries demonstrably demand a better caliber of leadership—one based on defensible principles, unimpeachable integrity and a clearly articulated vision for the future. We remain immersed in our greatest set of challenges in 80 years and it will be the nature of our collective leadership that will determine how well we make it though these challenges. The best leadership will put people first and profits second; it will provide a cushion for the most vulnerable and call on the wealthiest among us to share more; and it will treat people with dignity and respect, especially when tough decisions must be made.

This year will be an eventful one. We will have our elections as will our American friends. The power of the people to make progressive change was demonstrated with fervor last year and this year shows no sign of abating. Perhaps such power can help move my wish list to a list of accomplishments.

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