Third Option has a strategy to help the Bottom Billion, create lasting friendships in the process, and break the cycle of People & Resource exploitation.
By Robert Simmons
If you were handed power on a plate you’d be left fighting over a plate.Tom Stoppard, Squaring the Circle
South Sudan is the world’s youngest country, winning its independence from Sudan in 2011, and with it, the area’s major oil fields. Soon after, its people started a fight with themselves that lasted from 2013 until the present, killing off 400,000 of their people, and displacing well over 4 million, most of them fleeing over the border to several neighboring countries like Ethiopia, Sudan, Kenya and Uganda.
Although it did little good, those with financial ties to the oil initially tried to come in and calm things down. China had invested billions in the oil infrastructure, and Sudan was getting millions of dollars to allow landlocked South Sudan to run the Chinese pipeline through Sudan to the shore. Kenya, who hoped to run a second Chinese pipeline through its country, also had a vested interest in brokering peace.
So what failed? A bunch of money flowed into South Sudan, but none of it trickled down to its people. Any game theorist would tell you that people will cut off their nose to spite their face, if they believe they’ve been treated unfairly. What is instructive is how the mass of people, in order to secure this Fairness, always get together and sign constitutions, lay down laws, establish rules, none of which ever stop the power-hungry, who would have no trouble stepping around rules (or over dead bodies) to get to what they want. Independence was won, a constitution was written, power ignored the constitution and played by their own rules, the people rebelled, and so this dance continues; no matter who lays down the beat, it’s always the same old tune.
Regardless, the only glue that would truly bond these splintered factions together is Fairness. During the peace process in both Sudan and South Sudan, level-headed mediators were able to bring various factions to the table by reminding them the reasons they began all the fighting in the first place:
“there are no equal citizenship rights, there is no distribution of wealth, there is no equal development in the country, there is no equality between black and Arab and Muslim and Christian.”
Recently, both Sudan and South Sudan did broker separate tentative peace deals with their people, but at the community level, revenge killings and raids still go on; nothing has really changed, because the powers that be have no intention of ever sharing a financial piece of this global pie.
The Chinese, by most standards, really tried for a win / win version of Economic Globalism, which still failed, because, spoiler alert: Economic Globalism doesn’t work (unless we eventually want the entire world in the hands of a few people, then it works incredibly well). As outlined in Amy Chua’s earlier work, World On Fire, there is danger of reprisal when any ethnic minority dominates the wealth of a country, or in the case of superpowers like China or the U.S., the larger “globalized” world.
It is time to redefine Globalism so that it works for all people. To do this is simple: only refer to Globalism as “global foreign policy planning”, and remove the Economics from it, until we fix Economics to mean merely “resource allocation”, which will then allow us to reason that some resources (like food and water) need to be allocated more judiciously than others.
Once equal is defined as fair, those in power can maintain power simply by giving their people what they need to survive: food, shelter, electricity, clean water, education, and healthcare. Better yet, they should give their people the
opportunity, through employment, to provide these things to themselves, which would also provide a sense of purpose, and a chance to work with one another instead of fight with one another.
Sir Paul Collier, who has much experience working to help the Bottom Billion, understands how difficult life can be for landlocked countries like South Sudan. Without cooperation among neighbors, there is no way for landlocked countries to peddle their wares on the Global Market; meanwhile, the rules of “economics” dictate that these neighbors must extract “rent” for the use of distribution channels, completely obliterating a landlocked country’s profits, or driving up the cost of their wares until they are not competitive on the so-called Free Market. In many cases, these underdeveloped countries do not even have the financial means to bring their natural resources to the market. This is, of course, where superpowers step in, and lend a Globalist hand.
China wanted oil. South Sudan had the oil, but the country was, logistically, a landlocked region. China knew that, in order to get the oil, it would have to move it through either Sudan or Uganda / Kenya to get to an ocean port. They practiced Globalism, and tied the area’s fates together “economically”: South Sudan got oil infrastructure, Sudan and Kenya got pipelines and a cut of the distribution cost, and China got the oil. Lots of money and oil were flowing, but none of it trickled down to the people living in the region. These people just happened to live and die on the ground around this natural resource, nothing more.
In reality, things were going to crash anyway, at some point. Collapse has come to many countries like Venezuela, Angola, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, who are rich in resources, but always wind up being exploited because developed countries broker deals through corrupt leaders. Sometimes developed countries, like the U.S., have put the corrupt leaders in place themselves, to insure they received uninterrupted access to these natural resources. China tried to stay out of South Sudan’s politics, and paid the price “economically”, which only leads superpowers to eventually say “screw it”, and “protect their interests abroad” by any means necessary; thus the age-old tradition of oppressive imperialism still resonates within this flawed system of Economic Globalism.
What we still have not grasped is that from a globalist perspective, extracting another country’s resources will eventually end badly no matter what, when either the resource dries up, or (in the case of oil) becomes obsolete. In the current virtual world of Economics, a country would become worthless to the world when it had no resource left to exploit, while in the real world, the people would also become worthless, and starve to death while the rest of us watched on television (or more precisely, didn’t watch on YouTube, because who really wants to see people starve?)
The Third Option understands that with bad actors inundating the country with weapons, putting them in the hands of the citizens instead of food and water, there is likely not going to be a quick solution to the problem, but here is an example of what could be done to start:
South Sudan, using its Nile river, has many hydropower projects planned, in order to get electricity into urban areas (there is no guarantee electricity would get to rural areas, and 80% of the population lives there). Solar and wind power would also do well in South Sudan. We in the U.S. understand that nothing meaningful would begin to happen for the people of South Sudan until energy starts flowing there. The current hydropower plans, which are sure to be incomplete, won’t even be finished until 2040 or later.
Starvation is extreme in the rural areas; these people need to replenish their livestock, and acquire the tools necessary to farm; and as famine is always a threat, new methods like vertical, hydroponic, or even greenhouse farming need to be introduced.
The general practice of globalism is to only provide countries with the means to extract what we want from them, as when China built oil infrastructure for South Sudan in order to get to their oil.
Instead, the United States needs to go in and help build all the energy and agriculture systems South Sudan would need to sustain itself. Meanwhile, it needs to build educational infrastructure, and after bolstering the country’s literacy, teach them all the skills of energy and agriculture production, so the South Sudanese no longer need any global superpower to ever come “rescue them” again.
So what does the United States get in return? Well, South Sudan has iron ore, copper, tungsten, silver, chromium ore, zinc, gold, mica, and yes, oil. Face it: the U.S. needs to get back into the steel business. We also need to build new transportation, and the latest way to make hydrogen fuel involves using methane with iron ore, so South Sudan has plenty of resources they could offer us in exchange. The good news is that our little transaction is a finite one: we will make a plan, we will honor our part of it, and once our obligation is met, both countries can re-evaluate how this new experiment in “globalism” went. If the U.S. leaves South Sudan with a new generation of peaceful, literate citizens, who work in energy, agriculture, healthcare, and education jobs that will sustain their region, meanwhile establish a friendship instead of an “alliance”…how much more could any man profit and still retain his soul?
Check out the Forebrain Underground as The Third Option unveils its larger plan to tie all the fates of Central and East Africans together, as they provide essential needs for each other, based on each countries strengths, or surplus resources.