Who Holds Their Feet To The Fire?

Try as I might, I have been unable to find a source that can tell me whether or not Papua New Guinea’s government has actually lived up to the terms of the non-binding plebiscite that demonstrated the wide support of the citizens of Bougainville for independence in 2019. That independence is supposed to come by 2027 (and perhaps as early as 2025), but only if it is agreed to by the government of Papua New Guinea. This permission was promised to come by January 31, 2022, but it appears not to have happened yet, and the international community that was supposed to be pressuring PNG to make steps towards starting the framework to give the island nation of Bougainville its independence is admittedly pretty distracted by other concerns around the world at the present moment.

It is all well and good to come to agreements that seek to resolve the problems within countries and between them, but what good are agreements where the enforcement is lacking because people cannot be trusted to perform what they have agreed to do? It is not the paper that makes something like a form of government or the behavior a government will undertake or avoid strong, but rather the commitment to live according to one’s word as a principled person. If the United States has been rather chary about signing treaties to stop doing things or to do other things in the contemporary world to a degree that sometimes irritates other nations, it may at least be said that the contemporary United States has a high degree of respect for the terms of the agreements that they come to and does not want to needlessly break them. If this has not always been the case, or if the United States sometimes agreed to treaties that contained terms it was unwilling and unable to enforce on its own people, it appears at least at present that the United States is developing a praiseworthy habit of fidelity to its promises, a tendency that does not appear to be universal in the present world.

Diplomacy is based on trust. For people to be willing to turn aside from violence and hostility to live at peace with others requires them to trust that this will be of benefit to themselves and that there are genuine solutions that allow for all to profit. For people to work with others for the common good, there has to be a way to believe that people will do what they have promised even as they expect and demand that we live up to our promises. A great deal of what is worthwhile about life and enjoyable and pleasant and that which promises good for the future depends on us being able to trust that others will be faithful to their word, and that is not something that we can often rely on. The tactical flexibility we think that we can gain through being unpredictable and unreliable all too often sabotages what we most want out of interactions, because others are conditions to view us as untrustworthy and therefore impossible to negotiate with.

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in International Relations, Musings and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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