All publications of Gerald Minishi . Nairobi , Kenya

Is World War 3 Imminent?: Russia’s defacto expansionist policy in eastern Ukraine !



Perhaps Hans Morgenthau ( 1948) was right when he opined that politics among Nations is entirely anchored on selfish interests and I suppose neither was John Mearsheimer ( 2001) wrong in his analogy that great powers will hardly agree on a common blueprint especially if their interests are at stake. The recent tensions between Moscow and Kyiv is not unprecedented especially from a realist point of view as opposed to a liberal standpoint.


Why Russia invaded Ukraine?


During the cold war paranoia in the 20th century that witnessed a worldwide computation for political influence between the Union of Soviet Socialists Republic ( USSR) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization ( NATO) alliance, Ukraine was part of the 15 states that made up USSR. Infact, Ukraine was pupported to be the second largest state after Russia. It is worth noting that Ukraine and Russia shared a pedigree of mutual relations to the point that in 1954 Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev gave Ukraine the Crimean peninsula so as to strengthen cordial relations between them. But when the Soviet Union collapsed during the abatement of the cold war, Ukraine got their own Independence in 1991. Subsequently, Ukraine began to strengthen ties with the West and gradually weaken ties with Russia sia. To add insult to injury, Ukraine decided to join NATO which Russia perceived as an existential security threat and in 2014 Russia annexed Crimea. Post – Crimea annexation has witnessed massive tensions between Moscow and Kyiv. This explains why Ukraine has been relentlessly trying to join NATO to balance Russia’s irredentism. Although Ukraine is only a partner and not a member of NATO, she stands the chance to gain from NATO’s guiding principle,” All for one and one for all”. This is to mean any attack on a NATO member is an attack to all members. Most of Moscow’s neighbouring countries like Latvia, Liuthania and others have joined NATO and maybe Russia feels it needs to flex its muscles to counter NATO influence in Eastern Europe.


Is World War 3 Imminent?


Samuel Huntington ( 1996) predicted that people’s cultural and religious identities will be the main source of conflict in the post – cold war world. But we are witnessing a paradigm shift in the nature of conflicts globally with inter – state and intra – state conflicts skyrocketing in almost equal proportion. Are they largely predicated on culture and religion? Partly yes. Forthrightingly, the possibility of conventional war in a unipolar world today is something that we have deemed unthinkable. Can the tensions between Moscow and Kyiv lead us to a world war 3? If we extrapolate our thinking based on how world war 2 began then it’s very difficult for one not to take this interstate conflict seriously. Of course the international milleau has changed over time but we cannot downplay the fact that power configuration in the international system is in a continuous state of flux and states are guided by selfish national interests.


Has International Law failed?


On 23rd February 2022 the United Nations security council convened a meeting to discuss Moscow – Kyiv tensions which is a threat to international peace and security. 11 security council members voted to condemn Russia and called for an end to Russia’s defacto expansionism into eastern Ukraine. Russia who is a member of the security council vetoed while India, China and the United Arab Emirates abstained. Will Russia respect the final decision of the security council?

International law has attracted a lot of criticisms with many contemplating that International law is on its death bed. But the questions that we need to ask ourselves is ; how would the world be if it was completely anarchical? If the law of the jungle was to prevail, what would the world look like? What if there was no jus cogens, opinio juris, jus gentium, jus in bello, jus adbellum, post – adbellum and international humanitarian law? Well I’m not trying to justify that international law has been entirely effective. But with the rising threats to international peace and security, we need international law more than ever before.


Which way for Ukraine – Russia conflict?


Moscow and Ukraine must respect the Minsk declaration that happened back in 2014 and settle their differences amicably. War as an instrument of foreign policy in this case is unthinkable. It was Eleanor Roosevelt who said that there are no winners in war. For us to end the crisis in Kyiv, both regional and global cooperations must work together to enable a smooth peace process. A rapprochement between Moscow and Kyiv will also bring NATO to the table and negotiate with Russia. If compromise will bring peace in the region so be it. In the final analysis we need to fully embrace preventive diplomacy in the 21st century and I think maybe if principled negotiations were given a first hand priority, maybe things wouldn’t have escalated this far between Moscow and Kyiv.


For contact :- www.baloziblog.wordpress.com

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Impact of drought on Kenya's internal security : strategies for action


By Gerald Minishi Mutebesi, Maseno Univesity,

Department of International Relations, Kisumu Kenya.


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Executive Summary

Environment is a security issue in global politics. Climate change has transboundary effects and can only be solved through cross boarder coordination. Kenya just like many countries globally is facing this externality. The overwhelming drought in Kenya and specifically in Laikipia county has posed a serious threat to it's internal security. This problem has been quite elusive to deal with because Kenya has failed to address historical cross - cutting issues such as ; land reforms, historical injustices and ethno - politics. Kenya needs to effectively actualize the land reforms Act, deal with historical injustices through a transformative approach among other robust mechanisms so as to end drought, improve it's internal security and realize her vision 2030 agenda.


Introduction

On the 9th of September 2021, president Uhuru Kenyatta declared drought a national disaster in Kenya. It is apparent that this is not the first time Kenya has declared drought a national disaster because unfettered evidence from the pages of history indicate that Kenya has been grappling with this challenge for a lengthy period of time. For example between 1993 - 2010, the government of Kenya declared 7 national disasters of which 5 were drought related ( Huho M.J, Mugalavai E ; 2010). The pervasiveness of drought especially in the northern parts of Kenya and the rift valley region has posed an existential threat to Kenya's internal security. Laikipia county exemplifies one of the few counties which has been negatively affected ( Njeru B ; 2021). Something to ponder is that the sporadic killings and unrest that has ensued in Laikipia county was instigated by drought. Jason Burke ( 2017) argues that hundreds of poor tribesmen seeking grazing lands for their cattle have invariably galvanized violence in Laikipia county. This policy brief solely aims to explain the impact of drought on Kenya's internal security and possibly give relevant recommendations and strategies for action. Kenya must adopt robust strategies to end drought which will ultimately improve Kenya's internal security. Nevertheless, Kenya will also leverage on achieving her vision 2030 agenda of ending drought emergencies and food insecurity.


Approaches and Results

Cases of insecurity in Laikipia county have been skyrocketing in direct proportion to the increase in drought in the region. The Rift Valley Regional Commissioner Mr. George Natembeya while addressing the press on 8th of September 2021 alluded that the Morans were the main instigators of conflict in the region. He further reiterated that due to drought, the rich who had more cattle hired bandits to evict innocent civilians from their land so that they could graze on the land ( Njuguna S ; 2021). According to ," The New Humanitarian", 2009, the raids over grazing lands in Laikipia are always motivated by drought when the rains are inadequate to accommodate the grazing needs of the pastoralists. The death tolls flaring up from these wrangles has left many families hopeless and homeless ( Phakathi M ; 2017). In a recent report released by Mr. Martin Wambora, the chair of the council of governors, it stated that the current drought has affected 946,494 people in Kenya. It is imperative to note that the rising cases of sporadic attacks especially in Laikipia county has put Kenya's internal security on the line.


Conclusion

It is indeed palpably clear that drought has negatively affected the internal security of Kenya. Climate change in Laikipia county has induced tensions between pastoralists and farmers hence the consequences of this bitter struggle has left many innocent civilians to be homeless and millions of other Kenyans to live with apprehension. It is important to note that there can be no military solution to the conflict in Laikipia. Deployment of military and other security personnels will only be a temporary solution and this is evident as witnessed from past skirmishes. A range of issues such as ; land reforms, historical injustices, ethnicity among others need to be addressed with a sober and robust approach.


Key Policy Recommendations

a) The short term policy recommendations to address the challenge of drought vis à vis Kenya's internal security include :-

i) Drilling of boreholes across Laikipia county

ii) Reinstating curfew from 6:00pm to 6:00am for a period of six months.

iii) Arresting bandits and political leaders behind the unrest in Laikipia county.

b) The medium to long term policy recommendations includes :-

i) Implementation of the land Reforms Act of the Constitution of Kenya 2010

ii) Addressing historical injustices by adopting transformative justice model.

iii) Re - afforestation and mass adoption of irrigation schemes in dry areas.


Policy Implications

The following are the implications if the above recommended policies are adopted :-

i) Drilling boreholes will be time consuming and costly

ii) Curfew time from 6:00am to 6:00pm will inconvenience business traders hence will reduce economic output in the region.

iii) Arresting politicians connected to Laikipia political enigma can fuel ethno - politics.

iv) Adopting a transformative approach to historical injustices will need a revolutionized independent judiciary system.


Acknowledgements

Much appreciation to the works of ; Burke J, Njeru B, Njuguna S, Phakathi M, The New Humanitarian, Huho M.J and Mugalavai E. Without their insightful works maybe writing this policy brief won't be possible. This policy brief was broadly guided by their robust arguments backed with statistics.

References

1)Burke J ( 2017)." Inequality, Drought and the deadly fight for precious grazing land in Kenya".


2)Huho. M. J, Mugalavai E ( 2010)." The effects of drought on food security in Kenya". The International Journal of Climate Change Impact and responses. 2 ( 2) : 61-72.


3)Njeru B ( 2021). " Laikipia insecurity : Eight killed in a month". Retrieved on 8th September.


4)Njuguna S ( 2021)." Kenya : Locals flee as bandits torch 50 houses in Ol Moran, Laikipia."


5)Phakathi M ( 2017)." Violence spreads ahead of election in drought - hit Kenya".


6)The New Humanitarian ( 2008)." Kenya : Tracing roots of conflict in Laikipia".

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Kenya's Foreign Policy and the UN Security Council Seat

On 18th June this year when Kenya garnered 129 votes to secure a non - permanent seat at the United Nations Security Council and outshined Djibouti on a tight contested race, there was a lot of euphoria and optimism especially among Kenyan political elites. Nonetheless, there were some sorts of goodwill from the climate of public opinion. However this is not the first time Kenya has been elected to serve as a non - permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, her recent victory goes down in history as her third time. In retrospect, Kenya first served as a non - permanent member between 1973-1974 with her second time coming in the years between 1997-1998.

Maintaining a low profile in global politics in pursuit of quite diplomacy has been part and parcel of Kenya's Foreign Policy as seconded by Professor John Okumu, Professor Samuel Makinda and Professor John Howell who are experts in Kenya's Foreign Policy. With Kenya's recent victory to represent the continent of Africa at the center of global politics, perhaps it's time for Kenya's policy makers to reassess their foreign policy so as to maintain a high profile in matters International relations. However, it's uncertain whether Kenya will have a more radical stance to global politics and most likely tamper with her policy of non - alignment especially considering the fact that among the 15 members that make up the composition of the United Nations Security Council, only 5 permanent members have considerable influence on decisions of the council, with weapon of veto power bestowed upon them. This has left the other 10 non - permanent members of the United Nations Security Council at the vulnerability of being bossed around by the P5 especially on sensitive matters of national interests. Another point of consideration is in the aspect of voting. Kenya has several allies at the United Nations Security Council such as USA and Britain ; just to name a few. Will Kenya vote on key decisions of the security council under the influence of her allies or will Kenya stand independent and vote on what it believes suits her interests, the interests of Africa and for the common good of all? That's a food for thought.

All said and done, despite all the challenges that comes with her position at the United Nations Security Council, Kenya still holds a chance to gain. Leveraging on multilateralism, championing for global peace and security and lobbying for other key security issues in global politics of the 21st century will not only make Kenya realize her Foreign Policy agenda but also make her the epitome of global consciousness.

Article written by :- Gerald Minishi ( Student of International Relations and Diplomacy with Information Technology at Maseno University).

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