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Defence Ministry and foreign policy pay-offs (3)

By John Amoda
THIS is one side of the preventive diplomacy third party interventions. The other side of the prevention statecraft is one that addresses the task of developing strategies that facilitate negotiated settlements of ideological and sovereignty conflicts.

These two tasks are the homework of nations prone to peace-support conflicts; that is, conflicts that take the form of winner-takes-all, conflicts of zero-sum outcomes; where parties can only envisage peace at the expense of opponents. Africa is a region of such conflicts.

When peace support operations are understood in terms of conflict prevention and management of conflicts towards the reduction of their escalation, the question of how such statecraft can be developed in the furtherance of national policy objectives becomes the principal task of national security discipline.

The connection between achieving national policy objectives and national security is an empirical one. The contrast between the pre-Amnesty Niger Delta and the transitional- Amnesty Niger Delta drives this point home.

In the pre-Amnesty period, extraction of oil went down to about 750,000 barrels per day when the price of a barrel was at its highest. In this transitional- Amnesty period, the extraction has gone up to 2.3 million per day.

The arithmetic of these figures for the achievement of national policy objectives is as simple as A. B. C. Security enables achievement of national policy objectives and insecurity frustrates the achievement of national policy objectives.

Using the Nigerian amnesty as an African template is an important foreign policy objectives for Nigeria’s African leadership objective. Nigeria desires to be a permanent member of the Security Council.

What can it presently bring to the negotiation table in ECOWAS and the African Union and the D8 that promotes this interest?

One of the reputations that the country must develop is that it is investing in the capacity for managing politics whose conflicts are presently resolved through wars; that Nigeria realises that Africa stands to gain by such investments in the discipline for translating military strategies into equivalent diplomatic strategies; and that that capacity when institutionalised as an African Union conflict prevention and conflict management template secures the relevance of the Security Council in the African region.

The Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union in its Extraordinary Session on Identification of Conflicts in Africa between August 29-31, 2009 in Tripoli Libya gave each AU member state such an assignment. It required of the governments represented a performance review of the African Union African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) as it is operationalised with their societies.

The Ministry of Defence seminar can be one that reviews the efficacy of the AU-APSA in conflict prevention and conflict management in furtherance of constitutionalisation of Nigeria’s zero-sum politics and its attendant conflicts.

Given such a focus the government’s past and present expenditures on peace support operations can be better appreciated and Nigeria’s vast experience and expertise in peace support operations can be developed to the level of providing Security Council leadership in Africa.

The foreign policy pay-offs from the developing of such a statecraft niche can be steadily harvested in an international peace and security diplomacy where the handicaps of the Security Council are progressively reduced and or eliminated. Africa provides such an opportunity for Nigeria and the Security Council.


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