Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Kofi Annan and the irrationality of peacemaking

Some might call it naivety. Others hopefulness. Either way, Kofi Annan's optimism concerning Syrian claims that they will now observe the ceasefire seem awfully irrational:
Mr Annan told reporters in Tehran that he had received "further clarifications" from the government of President Bashar al-Assad on how it intended to suspend hostilities and respect his six-point peace plan. 
"We have been in touch with them and have had positive answers from them and have also approached governments with influence to ensure that all parties respect the ceasefire," he said."If everyone respects it, I think by six in the morning on Thursday we shall see improved conditions on the ground." 
But he said the government was still seeking assurances that opposition forces would also stop the fighting "so that we could see cessation of all the violence". 
Mr Annan was speaking after talks with Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, during which he appealed for Tehran's support. 
He said the region "cannot afford another shock" and warned that any miscalculation or mistakes in Syria could have "unimaginable consequences".
Peacemaking often involves a certain suspension of disbelief: one is forced to trust (or at least appear to trust) the promises of thugs. We, viewing Annan's comments from the outside, may find his optimism almost idiotic, but this is the thankless task of mediators: trust the untrustworthy and keep on trusting them despite lies and failure to commit. Maybe you'll get burned in the short-term -- and maybe you'll get burned repeatedly. But, maybe you'll achieve peace at some point.

Anyways, someone has to deal with the bastards.

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