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Sludge Report #23 – Glimmers Of Hope

Sludge Report #23 – Glimmers Of Hope

NOTE: Authors of this report will be anonymous and wide ranging. Indeed you are invited to contribute: The format is as a reporters notebook. It will be published as and when material is available. C.D. Sludge can be contacted at The Sludge Report is available as a free email service..


Sludge Report #23

Glimmers of Hope - You Can’t Hurry Love

As chaos and confusion continue to reign around the world - and most noticeably this morning in Suva and at Camp David – Sludge as ever remains optimistic, like the President, that the glimmers of hope that remain will shortly burst back into flame.


Well why not? To Sludge it seems just as reasonable to argue that things are going to turn out okay, as it is to argue that things are falling apart. Especially when no-one really knows what is going on.

Sludge’s view – having spent far too much time reading gloomy Reuters reports – is that in the world of International Relations – just as in the world of Business Confidence – there is a tendency for the gloomy bastards to win out, if only through the sheer weight of their pessimistic prose.

And so today the Sludge report is dedicated to maintaining the optimistic spirit of a week which - in Wellington at least - began with the good omen of a Blood Red Moon.

Firstly to Fiji.

This morning’s reports that Mahendra Chaudhry’s deposed government is meeting to discuss creating a government in excile is arguably the first good news we have heard out of Fiji in the last nine weeks.

If the Fijian Labour Party manage to get their act together quicker than the GCC/Speight/Military camp – which seems likely – then the new Chaudhry government in excile is likely to be the only government in Fiji for a period.

At the same time it appears that Speight and his supporters have finally abandoned the Parliamentary Complex – another good sign – and a step towards the restoration of sanity referred to in the last Sludge report.

Meanwhile, given that George Speight 1) Still has his guns and 2) has been threatening everybody ever since he gave up the hostages last Thursday, is it reasonable to argue that the Maunikau Accord – which led to the release of the hostages last week– has been honoured by Speight and his rebels.

Sludge thinks not. Speight has broken the accord not only by not giving up his guns but more significantly by calling again for another coup – more lawlessness.

The people of the South Pacific and of Fiji are now heartily sick of Speight and Sludge reckons the solution is now simple. In theory at least everyone could be happy if a little lateral thinking is applied.

Sludge's Solution:

The Military should as soon as is practical declare the Maunikau Accord void. It should then surround Speight and his supporters and isolate them. If Speight replies with an offensive of any kind he should be arrested and if he resists arrest…

Meanwhile the interim PM Qarase can resign. The new Government in excile can be declared the De Jure government and the 1997 constitution reinstated. Sanctions can be lifted and the Fijian Military can hold a big ceremony to declare themselves heroes and patriots of the republic of Fiji.

Secondly, Sludge turns his attention to Camp David.

The problem in the negotiations at Camp David seems obvious, probably to everybody, except the participants. A lack of time.

Deadlines and peace do not make good bedfellows. They never have. And for the fate of one of the longest, and most bitter conflicts on the planet – not to mention the most important - to be being squeezed by a meeting of G8 leaders in Japan is silly in the extreme.

Does anyone seriously expect the G8 summit to achieve anything anyway?

It seems likely all that will happen is that everybody will gang up on Bill Clinton and tell him to abandon the National Missile Defence strategy. To which he will no doubt reply, "I am still thinking about it", and they will all have a drink of saki.

Meanwhile back where Clinton ought to remain, the final steps towards a peace – that the whole world, not only Israel and Palestine, has been longing for – will turn into a stumble, and then perhaps a brawl.

This is likely to ruin not only the prospects of a lasting peace in the Middle East, but also the atmosphere at the summit in Japan.

The solution Sludge suggests again should be sought through lateral thought processes.

If Clinton can’t make the G8 then why not bring the G8 to Camp David – and focus all the world’s attention on solving this long running dispute.

It is often said that the path to peace should be taken with small definite steps. Clearly if the US and Russia – not to mention the rest of the G8 – can put their backing behind a Middle East Peace settlement – and if everyone is given more time – then a miraculous peace is more likely.

If moving the G8 is too difficult – then an alternative would be for Clinton to stay behind and send Madeleine Albright and Al Gore in his place. Afterall its not as if he doesn’t have a good excuse.

© Sludge 2000

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