THINK PIECE: An unjust peace is better than a just war

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With the Union Peace Conference – 21st Century Panglong scheduled to be held on July 11, 2018, it is high time that all stakeholders give a second thought to the ethnic armed organizations’ proposition of applying “conditional clause” since the last conference a year ago, as a way out of the peace process stagnation and deadlock.

 

Sai Wansai

  • From this outgoing point the unjust peace could be viewed by the non-Bamar ethnic nationalities, as having to give up some of their aspirations, say agreeing to the non-secession clause of the Bamar Military’s demand.
  • From the Bamar Military point of view, the unjust peace would be taken as having to agree to the proposition of the ethnic armed organizations’ (EAOs) federal army formation guided by the security sector reform (SSR), rather than the disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) and maintenance of its Bamar-dominated standard army.
  • On wagging a just war, the EAOs would argue that they are defending their ancestors homelands and thus it is a justified resistance war.
  • But for the Bamar Military, rightly or wrongly, it is convinced that all the ethnic states have been part and parcel of its Burmese empire since time immemorial and thus is entitled to crush all resistance groups that rebelled against its domination, to maintain territorial integrity and sovereignty, which are its sole ownership and responsibility.
  • Thus, both camps see that they are wagging a just war from their own perspectives.
  • If it is so, couldn’t the adversaries agree at least on maintaining an unjust peace by compromising, using conditional clauses to be able to reach an agreement ?
  • By conditional it is meant for example regarding the non-secession issue, the ethnic nationalities would agree that they will not secede if the agreeable and acceptable federal democracy is adhered by the Bamar-dominated powers that be, if not they have the right to nullify the “holding together” agreement and secede.
  • The same goes of the establishment of a federal army, which means if the territorial integrity of each ethnic state is guaranteed and proportionate participation in the federal army only for the purpose of the country’s protection from external enemies are honored, the non-Bamar ethnic nationalities will abide by the federal union setup, if not they have the right to opt out of it.
  • In sum, the crucial point for all stakeholders to grasp is that negotiation deadlock could be overcome only by making use of the conditional clauses, where necessary to avoid “win-lose” contest and usher in a “win-win” oriented out comes.

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