Political Agendas; Social Constructs

color-obam-netan-abbas-webFor the political maelstrom that is Palestine & Israel, it is plain for all to see the implications of behavior and agendas, that spur those arduous responses  between HAMAS and the IDF (Israeli Defence Forces.) Left holding the bag, so to speak, is the massive population of Palestinians who live day to day, in fear of the next Israeli shelling. In fairness to Israelis, the constant bombardment by HAMAS militants with rockets isolates citizens, leaving them vulnerable and fearful. What choices do the Israeli government possess in order to sustain peace, resolve the territorial impasse, and come out shining in the eyes of the international community. Herein lies the difficulty when approaching multi-lateralism and solutions to age-old issues that have vexed one administration to the next for Palestine, Israel, and their associated allies.

Six Criteria To Determine Agenda – Setting  In “Policy Analysis for the Real World,” Hogwood and Gunn outline six criteria that help to frame an issue and categorize it for agenda-setting. They are 1) crisis issues 2) particularity (e.g. impact of pollution on all beings) 3) emotive and garnering human interest & sympathy 4) the issue has widespread appeal 5) issues that raise concerns about power & legitimacy in society 6) issues that are attracting attention for the time (driving and talking on a cell phone or texting.) Suffice it to say, if we consider the Palestine issue or the Tibet issue, most would agree that #1,2 & 3 apply to both cases, though #2 affects predominantly the Diaspora for both groups, and those civilians living inside Tibet, Gaza, and the West Bank. One could argue that there are spillover affects to other regions, such as Xinjiang Province or Egypt.

Nonetheless, it is reasonably safe to conclude that the quotidian oppression that is a long-term issue and will continue have no meaningful solution in sight. As predominant “agenda-setting” issues, how is it possible to raise these concerns higher up the “to-do list” of  governments (even though these hierarchies are transformative through the election process (save for the five nation-states including China that operate a command economy.)

Perhaps if we take a brief look at democracy and Islamism, a better understanding of Near East policy is partly achievable through historical evidence. In “The Ups And Downs Of Islamism (July 2014) Tarek Masoud references scholar and writer, Shadi Hamid to illustrate the power structure in Near East politics. Hamid, who interviewed Former Egyptian President: Mohamed Morsi, concluded that most political organizations vying for power were moderate in their message to attract voters, however, once elected, returned to their roots; see HAMAS and the Muslim Brotherhood. Still, Islamism carries with it a conservative approach to how one lives their lives, particularly, in nation-states where religious ideology prevails through theocracy (Roman Catholicism, Iran and Saudi Arabia to name a few that exist, and the CTA or Tibetan Government in Exile that has maintained an ecclesiastical/administrative  power structure since the 13th c, according to historians.  Moreover, one could say that it is a lifestyle choice among Islamists in their respective countries and not an agenda for change. Contrary, though, is the advent and strength of Islam that has threatened the status-quo in western democracies such as France, Canada, and Germany to name a few nation-states. This raises important questions about “rights” and democracies. The aftermath of September 11, 2001 has evoked a sentiment among civilians and governments alike to manage our borders with vigour to avoid any replication of the disasters that occurred  in recent memory.

The issue of excessive collateral damage in Palestine has raised awareness of the brutish tactics of Israel towards Palestinians and how to better manage the political situation inside Gaza, without resorting to bombing campaigns that are deadly and extremely costly to infrastructure. Perhaps, with pressure from the international community through social media and petitions, a voice for moderate change can be heard.  The International Criminal Court at The Hague can sway positive opinion regarding the U.N. through its seeking of charges against those responsible for, in particular, bombings of UN shelters. Secretary – General Ban Ki Moon responded…”This attack, along with other breaches of international law, must be swiftly investigated and those responsible held accountable. It is a moral outrage and a criminal act.”3

Agendas seem to be words and thoughts that individuals act out according to how people understand or how we want a particular outcome to be, regardless of the actors involved. Whether they (agendas) are benevolent or malicious depends on the actors and the circumstances, however, they can be considered symbiosis (beneficial to both parties) or antibiosis (antagonistic.) For human beings, most of us go about our lives with agendas because it is human nature to communicate with external stimuli. For some it is about personal development, for others it may be in the guise of profit or rent – seeking. This is where circumstances can become frail because we may begin to put a particular groups interests ahead of our own concern.

Sadly, for Israel and Palestine, China and Tibet, they have put their interests at the forefront. For Palestinians, they are victims of their political representatives who choose to fire rockets to gain international (and Israel’s!!!) attention due to the blockade that restricts their movement and trade. For Tibetans, they are without any military support to further their cause or gain attention in the international community. Their recourse: self-immolations;    131 Tibetans have self-immolated since 2009. I explain this in better detail in my book: “Chariots of Fire: A Tibetan Historical Perspective.” It is available in print or Kindle with links at the top of my page.

1. Hogwood, Brian W. & Lewis A. Gunn. “Policy Analysis for the Real World.” Oxford: New York. 1988. 68.

2. Masoud,  Tarek. “The Ups and Downs of Islamism.” ¨Journal of Democracy.” July 2014.

3 Arora, Deepak. “Ban condemns latest deadly attack near UN school as ‘moral outrage and criminal act.” http://www.thetribuneonline.com/un.htm. 3 August 2014. 6 August 2014. 

Rent -seeking explained Tibetans facing oppression x2


About Kevin Kieswetter

Hello, I have continued studying part-time at the University of Waterloo, with an interest in the political situation in Tibet, and North America. Recently, I have published a companion or white paper to an earlier work. If you have an interest in the situation on the Ttibetan Plateau, please have a look.
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