Friday, August 29, 2008

The Natural Results of Global Understanding

Chapter One: When in the Course of Human Events

“When in the course of human events,” wrote Thomas Jefferson to begin the Declaration of Independence. He went on to describe a situation intolerable to him regarding certain unalienable or inalienable rights, depending on the draft or final copy you look at. (I’m guessing from his college background, William wanted it spelled one way, and Mary the other.)

If we look at the population of North America in 1750, around the 7th year of life of Thomas Jefferson, Wikipedia tells us there were two millions of us in North America, where the vast majority were likely native indigenous tribes. By 1800, circa the election cycle for the Presidency of Thomas Jefferson, that number had risen to 7 million, the vast majority of that growth being an increase in the immigrant European communities and 3 million black slaves and indentured servants. Within the incorporated United States alone, the population rose by 1 million between the 1790 and 1800 census.

Using rough math, the growth rate of population for the continent from 1750 to 1800 represents approximately 350% overall, and a per annum increase of 2.54%.

The American Revolution was not the first or last of the wars over the struggle to control that population growth during this fifty year period. From the French and Indian War, which was the North American adjunct to the Seven Years’ War, to the 1795 Northwest Indian War and the other Indian Wars of that century, there was an ever-widening crisis and conflict between European and indigenous control of the continent.

European-heritage cultural governments warred amongst each other between French and British, or British and Dutch, or Germans and English, or Germans and Germanss. The indigenous peoples of the continent warred amongst each other also. Europeans and native American indigenous peoples partnered for mutual benefit and propserity, and at other times competed for control of resources.

All of this competition and conflict was, ideally, for the most advantageous outcome for their peoples. Yet often times these wars were fought for the most advantageous outcome only for a certain select subgroup, such as a locality or network of people, or a class or controlling structure. Some minority of the total number of people were benefiting most.

Thus Thomas Jefferson was compelled to write the Declaration of Independence. The growth of a new continent’s society required the birth of a new nation. Founded upon a synthesis of ancient philosophies which we had somehow strayed from. Natural laws. Basic philosophies of what was good and just. Ironically, tragically, this new nation would be bathed in ideas as ancient as Greece and Roman, and in its own blood for two more future centuries or more before every citizen was truly guaranteed some of their unalienable rights.

The birth of the United States as an experiment in democracy was not concluded in 1776. It was only the beginning. The birthing process continues to this day.

Today, the influx of peoples to the United States, and the flow of peoples around the world continues at rates that would astound the Founding Fathers of the United States. The struggle over resources and control of the fate of the world continues, reflected in wars of culture, of race, religion, philosophy and economic theory.

Beyond the United States, the global population in 1750 was estimated at 791 million. North America had 2 million of that: 0.25%. One of 400 people in the world.

By 1800, global population was 978 million. A growth of 23.64%. The North American 7 million was now 0.72% of the world’s population. It was this small but growing sliver of humanity, the leadership circle of less than 1% of the world’s population, which would spur the birth of modern representative democratic nationstates which would traverse the world over the next few centuries.

What they had solved for was “scalability.” How do you make a new governmental structure for a continental-spanning country? The answer was: with an experiment in democracy.

It worked, to a degree. During Jefferson’s lifetime, the nation’s territory grew from “sea to shining sea.” Yet it would take until the middle of the 19th Century for those territories to be made into separate-but-equal states of the union, like California. Likewise, there was great divisiveness over the means of the employment of humans as property and chattel — human slaves — that meant not everyone who was a biological human was treated as such politically. Women too accutely felt this pain, and were agitating for their own voice in politics. Children and retirees were likewise both the beneficiaries yet the victims of industrialization. Protective laws came into effect to safeguard the newborn and elderly alike.

The concept of a nationstate as a civil society broadened to look out for the welfare of its citizens and total human populace (including non-citizen immigrants and residents, guest workers and tourist visitors). People never before franchised in politics became enfranchized in democratic institutions. One person. One vote.

In the movement towards this goal, by the early part of the second half of that century, a war was fought, state-upon-state, brother-against-brother. The war also recruited into it the indigenous populations of the continent. They called it the War Between the States, amongst other titles — such as the consensus-driven yet tragically ironic American Civil War. For its execution was so often savage, deadly, and uncivilly conducted.

Internationally, Europe by this time had undergone the most devastating Napoleonic Wars, and the democratic revolutions of the 19th Century. In Asia in the 19th Century, the powerhouse of humanity and human labor, the population in Asia would increase by roughly 50%, from 635 millions to 947 million. Colonial empires brought the industrial revolution. Wars were fought over control of the continent, and the consolidation of China, Japan, the Indian subcontinent.

All to bring about a better peace, as St. Augustine would pray.

Scalability of nationstates was the hallmark of industrialization. Yet competition remained fierce. The clash of pre-industrial and industrial societies was bloody. The wars of “progress” often resulted in devastating loss of life and destruction of cultural identity which, to this day, still remain deep wounds on the psyche of nations.

Africa, Latin America, the Indian and Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. To the polar ice caps north and south. The world was awash in a tide of progress and pain. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

While there were many gallant and chivalrous souls who fought on both sides, and many deeds of epic heroism, the cynics and pragmatists of that historic period all-too-often cut down any rational, peaceful, logical debate by harsh reality like a bullet through a lung.

In response to that, humanity invented a new way to stop the worst results of such unmitigated savage destruction and grossly-intent or utterly indifferent human cruelty. To literally staunch the flow of traumatic blood loss, and to encourage the flow of precious blood transfusions to save lives. To save and treat the wounded, to comfort and respect the dying, and to count the dead.

Out of the literal blood shed, for reasons both devastatingly tragic and wholesomely life-sustaining, came International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. The idea was born in 1859 in the aftermath of a terrible, now almost-forgotten battle in which 40,000 people were wounded or killed. Out of the mind of one driven person, Henry Dunant, and out of the commitment of others who believed in his vision for a more compassionate world came the Red Cross.

It is an extragovernmental, supernational movement. It is a movement. With physical and philosophical principles. It needed to change, to move, the attitudes of the day. It needed to move physically, the casualties. It needed to move equipment. To move people and organize from one place in the world to another to accomplish its mission. To move to wherever disaster may strike.

It is a human movement, comprised of directors, staff, volunteers, donors, partners in business and governments, and all those committed, interested and concerned citizens around the world who support its ideals. By their concern, their interest, and their commitment to the movement, the Red Cross saves lives and creates good works on behalf of humanitarian principles to this day.

Even when they do not make headlines, they are making the life-and-death difference, and quality-of-life difference, for neighbors all around us. Even when they may fail or fall short of their ideals or donation goals, as a whole entity and as a sum of its member organizations, they ever strive to create a more perfect union of humanity.

This is one service organization of the 19th Century that changed the world. One of many. Yet let it serve as an example of the needs of its time, through today. Its Seven Principles are the ethics that guide it in its mission.

The Red Cross movement sparked the Geneva Conventions. Nationstates became signatories to these standards to which people and their governments hold themselves to ethical and moral account for their actions, even in the conduct of the chaos and destruction of war. Other protocols and conventions, treaties and agreements followed.

The world was aware of its excesses, and sought to curb them. To govern the behavior of the worst, for the good of the many. Karl Marx, in the midst of the traumatic events of 1848, wrote some thoughts about this, which only led to even more bloodshed on how to correct the disparities people perceived in the world around them.

What the Red Cross could not do was to stop the massive wars of its age. They were occurring at an ever-larger scale. Ever more destructive.

Beyond the conflicts of war were even greater and more natural ravages. Hunger and disease killed far more than bullets or bombs did. Both were traumatic, but in different ways. One was chronic suffering. The other form acute. While war can be blamed upon those who wage it, it does little good to rail against nature.

Even with all the bloodshed, starvation, disease, repression and rebellion, by the end of the 19th Century, the population of the world had grown from 978 million to 1.65 billion. A growth of 68%.

Coming through the 20th Century, the population of the world grew from 1.65 billion in 1900 to pass 6 billion in the Year 2000. Not only had we grown, we had grown the growth rate. Approximately +264% absolute population growth. That is about four times the growth rate of the prior century.

Neither capitalist democracies nor those committed to the purest of Communist ideals could stop vying with each other. In the midst of this global conflict between the property and capitalist wealth of Adam Smith and the ideals of common wealth and labor of Karl Marx came the dark underbelly of humanity.

These were nationstates comprised of a fusion of business and government interests, with an ethics born out of racial and cultural identity far beyond the xenophobic, and political orthodoxy that wholeheartedly embraced the zealotry of religious experience. These nationstates were purposefully aggressive, expansive, ultra-patriotic, uncompromising, ruthless, triumphant, tyrannical and domineering towards any group that was in or out of its control. This over-arching dominant, pan-cultural, control-oriented style of life bore many names. For some, it was the Nazi German government. Or Imperial Japan. Fascist Italy.

Yet in the wake of the Second World War, George Orwell wrote in 1948 his novel 1984, about a world turned upside down by the overarching influence of bureaucracy, government, business, and the repression of true and genuine life choices, freedoms, joys and liberty. Over most of the remainder of the 20th Century, his dark vision was given true credence given the repression of the totalitarian dictators of the world, as well as the repressive, ultrapatriotic group think of “free” societies, such as the United States.

The Cold War and the Post-Colonial era led to more wars around the world. Direct conflicts or proxy wars. The term “terrorism” and “asymmetrical warfare” were born. The world went from “3rd Generation” warfare between modern nationstates to “4th generation” warfare, which meant that force-on-force conflicts were replaced by other means of conducting the affairs of nations: psychological and emotional warfare (wars of propaganda and terrorism), economic and social warfare. Anything was fair game now.

The resultant wars of the 20th Century can now in hindsight be seen as due to the pressures of such population growth, and the competition for control of resources, the command of labor, and the ideological sway of the of the masses. They can be seen as dramatically phenomenal and horrific, or scientifically understandable given the conditions of the world.

World War I and II dwarfed anything ever seen before. The power of the atom was harnessed to create a bomb that could cause the deaths of 80,000 to 100,000 people. One one day, one weapon, dropped by one aircrew, in one aircraft, could kill two to three times all the individual missiles and physical harm hurled at the battle that launched the Red Cross. The world had discovered a new definition of the word “scalability.”

Total loss of life, including war-related famine and disease casualties, was approximately 72 million people. The Allies, the political winners of the war, lost approximately 60 million dead. The Axis lost approximately 11 million. The global population of 1940 was 2.3 billion according to UN estimates. Making the total loss approximately 3.1% of the total world population.

If the losses were normalized across the planet, out of every group of 100 neighbors, you would have three die from the conflict of the Second World War. However, instead, the loci of fighting was proximate, while for others it was nonexistent to everyday experience. Some cities were leveled, and whole communities died to the last man, woman, elder and child. In other places, the world went on as if the war never happened.

Out of this carnage, the victorious Allies, comprised of a very mixed bag of democratic, dictatorial, aristocratic, communist and totalitarian governments, founded the United Nations. And from the United Nations came the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

If Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the United States President who helped the United States win the Second World War, it was his wife, Eleanor Roosevelt, who helped create a new peace. For it was she, “along with RenĂ© Cassin, John Peters Humphrey and others,” who drafted the Declaration for the 20th Century.

Mrs. Roosevelt took Jefferson’s work, and took it to the next level. Instead of applying only to the territory and interests of the North American-based United States, at the political level of the nationstate, it was applicable to all the collective territory and interests of the entire United Nations, and all persons resident within. She expanded both its physical coverage of territory, to further define the ideals to be upheld by specific warrant of rights, and the depth of the document, to make it apply personally.

It was a Euclidian expansion of scope on the planes of the real (x), ideal (y), and profound (z) axioms.

You go, girl!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Waxing Philosophical

What irony! The word sincere is Latin meaning “without wax;” for wax was often used to hide flaws (much as we use it as polish even to this day) and thus was an aid in deception. To wax philosophical, to polish your love of wisdom, is a sophist’s tactic. This has been the eternal debate: the “unvarnished truth” of logic, as the Platonists desired, versus the “polished wisdom” of the artistic Sophists.

Many saw the sophists as charlatans, and the original Greek infers deception, hence the derogatory term “sophistry.”

Perhaps art is a form of delusion. It is the transformation of the commonplace into something more profound. This can be accused of being magical or demonic. “It is just pulped paper with pigment smeared over it! It is not real!” Yet others look at it and say, “That is Titian’s portrait of a man.”

Portrait of a Man, thought to be Ariosto; image from the Wikimedia Commons

The battle between “polished” and “unvarnished truth” is like the war of art and science. The holistic communications theorist would accept that there are both forms, which are appropriate at the proper time. The communications engineer would split the difference between the two and round to significant digits.

Onwards to adventure!

-Peter Corless.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Immigrant Crisis

Yes, it is true I have not posted much in the past few days. There's a reason for that which I cannot get into. It has to do with an immigration crisis. Indeed, it is a conflation of immigration, healthcare and housing all combined.

Let me just say this: because of this issue, I will commit to making the following issues in the United States the first examples of crisis “weather maps.”

1. Healthcare:
• Suicide & Suicide-Homocide
• Cancer, Cancer Care & Treatment

2. Social Justice:
• Immigration, Undocumented Aliens & Human Trafficking

3. Economic Opportunity:
• Regional Salaries, GDP & Unemployment
• Housing Costs, Rental & Mortgate Rates, Foreclosures
• Homelessness

I want to keep things to about this number of crises to watch. I also need to peer with organizations to begin to get the data to plug into these maps. I just began making calls regarding one of these situations today.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Video Too Dark

Someone saw my first YouTube video for the Global Understanding Institute. Last night I asked her what she thought of it. She said it was very dark. She didn’t like it.

She was referring to the lighting, and also the muted and somber tone of my voice. Yes. It was very dark. Shot in the low-evening light of my apartment far past midnight. Neighbors asleep downstairs and across the courtyard.

It was supposed to be, I told her.

I was speaking about genocide, after all. Death on a nearly unimaginable scale, if World War III ever broke out.

There is a book published by Stephen Ministries entitled Don’t Sing Songs to a Heavy Heart. The title is based on the Biblical Proverbs:
Like one who takes away a garment on a cold day,
or like vinegar poured on soda,
is one who sings songs to a heavy heart.

Proverbs 25:20

I explained to Vien there are people out in the world today who are dying. The darkness was purposeful. I was speaking to people in quiet, subdued tones because to me it was reverent and respectful. If I was all smiles and cheery, it would be disrespectful. Too cavalier. Like trying to show a whacky cartoon to people weeping at a funeral. There is a place for humor to leaven a situation that is too grim. There is a place to even tell a joke at a funeral. Yet first we must recognize the suffering around us. To give credence to the claims of violence and respond to those whose pain has gone unanswered to date.

Yes, I began grim, because to deal with the possibilities of nuclear war, genocide, ethnic cleansing, rape, racism, religious zealotry on a murderous level, terrorism caused by suicide bombings, pillaging and destruction, and all the other perverse results of human conflicts... Simply put, it will not be a light-hearted job. Even the stunning aftermath of a widespread natural disaster will be sobering for those not prepared.

This video was to first acknowledge that there is a problem. And that it must be addressed. To name the worst form it could take: the prospect of World War III occurring in the 21st century. And to posit manners in which we can help understand what causes such conflicts, and hopefully diffuse them before it can take form and overwhelm us.

“I looked back and saw the limbs of my colleagues flying through the air...

Today, listening to National Public Radio in the car en route to my various destinations, I heard the following:

• The day after President Musharraf of Pakistan stepped down from office, suicide bombers killed 67 people and wounded at least 102 at the nation’s largest arms factory.

• Russia cut off military relationships with NATO and delivered a blunt ultimatum: either side with Russia, or, if we continued to support Georgia, to face the consequences.

• Fighting in Somalia has gotten to the worst level since the end of the 2006-2007 war.

If poorly managed, this could turn into the world’s greatest nightmare scenario.

Reading deeper into the Pakistani attack than NPR covered, in this Associated Press article one discovers that over 250,000 people were displaced due to the recent government attacks against the Taliban in Pakistan. “Amid the violence, the coalition government appeared to be veering toward collapse.”

We must gravely consider the truth that Pakistan has nuclear weapons. What shall happen in the event of an outright Pakistani civil war? We are faced with the first case in human history of a nuclear-armed nation facing widespread violent internal conflict. The generally peaceful dissolution of the former Soviet Union was difficult enough to manage and mitigate. The situation in Pakistan is far more volatile.

In South Ossetia, the death toll apparently is far less than the Russians first claimed. I had heard claims of 2,000 dead South Ossetians (out of a population of 70,000). That would have been 1:35 killed. Then it was 1,600. Apparently now it is 133. An order of magnitude smaller than the Russian news sources claim; a ratio of about 1:526. Still a very significant number for a small community. It is akin to a terrible tornado hitting a rural county.

On top of that, the Canadian press reports Russia claims to have lost 64 dead, and 323 wounded; Georgia acknowledges 160 dead and 300 MIA. The Red Cross took in over 1,000 to its hospitals in Georgia.

This fight was known to be coming for months; the Russians were provocating for it. Now it has also turned into a showdown with NATO itself. Cooperation between Russia and NATO has ground to an abrupt halt, though this might have more to do with the Polish missile defense system than the South Ossetia/Georgia conflict. Yet Russian politicians are warning NATO it clearly has to choose between cooperation with Russia, or to support of the Georgian “criminal regime.” In response, oil prices sharply rose. Of course, as an oil producer, Russia does not mind this situation.

If this was not enough, fighting in Somalia has grown in intensity. It has spread past the capital across the countryside, and even out to sea, where piracy has risen its ugly head again — including the seizure of an oil tanker.

Algeria was also hit by a series of explosive attacks this week, including one bomb that killed 60 persons; Al Qaeda claimed credit for the attack.

I do not mean to be alarmist, yet I do urge immediate attention, vigilant observation and prudent deliberation, as well as to request we all ask the governments involved to not exacerbate the situation further.

My own feeling is that the breakaway Georgian territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia are already lost to Georgia. The Russians are pushing for the “facts on the ground” to be acknowledged. Yet much of this situation was formented long ago. During the days of the irridentist movements and wars of the West Balkans, South Ossetia and Abkhazia began their movements to leave Georgia.

The likelihood of them being the sparking point for World War III is very, very low. Yet politicians are flirting with that sort of language. While the Christian Science Monitor is denying the possibility of Cold War II, I would argue that it has been upon us since the day the day the Berlin Wall came down. The Great Game continues.

This, again, all goes into why I shot my first video in such somber lighting and tone. I wish for you to listen to me even if I am quiet. I wish for you to see I mean no harm. Then, I wish to express my thoughts. They are indeed somewhat dark. As they should be. Yet my hopes are that we get out of the darkness and find the light of hope again.

Please make comments and let me know if you see something that needs to be pulled into this discussion. Ball in their Court

Syndicat Internationale Werbemittel GmbH is the company presently in control of the domain name “,” yet there is no web site hosted at that domain. Not yet.

Going to, I see a nicely designed stencil-style font declaring “GOODBYE LIMITS.”

Yet, still, I am limited. For this company has not yet agreed to assign this domain to the Global Understanding Institute or the Global Understanding movement.

The Genuine Article

I do not mean to be angry or overly pushy. The company owns the domain. They can do with it as they see fit, within the bounds of law. They could throw up a site to get advertising revenue, much the same way some person in Queensland, Australia, who curiously uses an email address in the island nation of Mauritius, has for some reason decided to claim the domain name — to get ad revenue. Note this site is not the official site of the American Liver Foundation; that organization has to use Their organization’s name is being squatted on.

At least Syndicat Internationale Werbemittel GmbH is not squatting on They are merely letting it lie fallow. In one of my calls to Munich, I heard something uttered about Greenpeace. Maybe that other organization is trying to get the domain also. Yet I was kindly told that since my organization is “political” they were leery of dealing with me.

On what planet would someone choose to register a domain named “global understanding” in the ".org" TLD and not expect it have anything to do with global socio-politics? I suppose a society solely comprised of linguists could use it. Even so, this movement, while having a political nature to it, is not a lobbying firm nor a political party. We’re a movement to help achieve a better peace for the world and to encourage us towards a better and more cooperative sort of politics, however each of us may interpret that concept.

So I am left somewhat perplexed as to their decision. I wrote a second letter and copied Karl John, of Hanoi, Vietnam. He is the man who founded this movement in 2006, independent of my own work on Razumijen at the time. I copied Karl to have a “witness” to the transmission of the letter. To ensure that it was polite yet clearly and firmly written. For now, I shall give Syndicat Internationale Werbemittel GmbH thirty days to put their actions where their banner slogans are. Shall we be able to say “goodbye limits?”

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Carpent tua poma nepotes

Peter Corless, 17 Aug 2008, Mt View, California: This photo was taken while I was away researching Razumijen (“I Understand’) in June 2006. Yet one could get a translation of a phrase, and it means little without fuller context. Two years later, to better understand what this poster in the background means, I wrote an article for Wikipedia for the Latin expression Carpent tua poma nepotes.

Edit: Wikipedia blew it away! That wasn’t very nice!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Updates on the Quest for the Domain/Site Names

As I already reported on 14 August 2008, I have been attempting, since 12 August 2008 to get ahold of someone from Syndicat Internationale Werbemittel GmbH, in Munich, Germany, to grant to the Global Understanding Institute the domain of I say grant because, to be honest, I do not feel it appropriate to squat on unused domain names without intent to use it simply to try to get money from it. That is a form of arbitrage which, while I understand the market for it, I do not support personally.

(btw: In the sense of full disclosure, I do have an unusued domain or two which I still have registered to my name, and people once did contact me to get one assigned to them. I thought about it, we talked about it, yet we were unable to come to an agreement on how to transfer the domain. I have the private intent of resurrecting that domain name in due time. I see that as somewhat different than just “registering domains for the express intent to sell them off.”)

Yet most of all, I feel it an inappropriate use of organizational funds or private contributions for an educational and charitable humanitarian movement (which hopes to one day be a non-profit corporation upon approval by the appropriate government bodies). It would simply set the wrong tone at the outset of the organization.

While I gladly personally funded the setting up of everything else so far, I do not wish to personally pay for the “liberation” of a domain name. If Syndicat Internationale Werbemittel GmbH sees fit to relinquish their claim upon the domain and freely donates, grants and assigns it to the Global Understanding Institute, I would act as its administrative contact for now. I would then transfer it and grant it to the organization upon the filing of assets during the incorporation stage.

Here is the polite letter I wrote on 12 August 2008:

Guten tag!

I was forwarded to this email address by J—————.

I contacted you this morning as the domain administration for If I have reached the wrong firm, please let me know directly so that I may do more research and seek a more appropriate person. If Syndicat Internationale Werbemittel GmbH, of Muenchen, Germany, is indeed the administrator of this domain, and you are empowered to speak as to its disposition, then let me begin by introduction of myself and my purposes.

My name is Peter Corless. I am a concerned citizen of the world, seeking to found the Global Understanding Institute (GUI). The goal of the institute shall be to help model, monitor, analyze, and, where appropriate, to suggest recommendations for resolution and amelioration of global crises and conflicts. My goal is to found the organization as a 501(c)(3) charitable non-profit public benefit corporation as per the United States Internal Revenue Service tax laws. If we are successful, it would become a global Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) much like the Red Cross movement.

A great deal of the vital work of the organization shall depend on Internet and Web communications.

I was wondering if you have present plans to actively use the domain, or, if not, if you wish to graciously and freely grant the domain name to me, as the organizing founder of this movement, in order to establish this new organization.

Please contact me presently when you receive this email, either by reply email or directly by phone call.

Vielen dank,

-Peter Corless.
1-650-906-3134 (mobile)
360 Chiquita Avenue #4
Mountain View, CA 94041
Since then, I have done my best to be polite yet persistent in calling. I called three times last week, and once tonight (20 August 2008). I was told the person I needed to speak to a) was in a meeting, b) did not have the email I sent, c) would get back to me if they wanted to, and d) was not in yet today.

Each time, I have tried to make clear the goals of the organization, and to emphasize that right now, there are people dying in crises and conflicts around the globe. I have somewhat half-jokingly said, “The fate of humanity rests in the hands of Munich.” In a way, it somewhat does.

The more people brush off my inquiries and say they are “too busy” to deal with the issues of our world, or the more they treat this as “business as usual” rather than an important and urgent issue facing us all, the more energies and efforts I will need to put into simply setting up the organization and not getting to, for instance, writing up corporate documents, attracting the Board of Advisors, working with technology professionals and businesses to create the prototype for the Global Model, and, of course, the less time I have to put into authoring Razumijen.

The more money I would have to pay into freeing up domain names, the less I would have in the bank to pay my own rent. Never mind the less I could contribute personally to spend on operations and programs.

I hope to hear back from Syndicat Internationale Werbemittel GmbH to the affirmative of my request. To simply, out of their generosity and sense of humanitarian contribution, grant the domain to this nascent organization. Yet I can understand also, objectively, if they just decide to hold on to it for the sake of money. Pure capitalism. No hard feelings. Just business.

Here is why I believe that business and science alone — secularism — do not hold the entire keys to the solution of the world’s problems. Because I am hoping they see the possible aesthetic value — the artistic beauty — the creative principle and the epic poetic value of freely relinquishing this domain for the sake of mankind. I am also hoping they have a good sense of humor. That even if they run across this article, they smile and say, “Yes! Let’s do it! This will be fun!” And because I have a spiritual side of my beliefs, I am privately praying they do so for the good of their fellow humans.

Speaking of faith, I still have faith that I can contact Karl John (possibly Karl Derek John), whose last known email was

He’s the person who registered I’d like to see if he is still interested in maintaining that, and participating in the movement, or if he’d grant access privileges to the blog so it can be rolled into a program of overall efforts. So far, his email bounced, but I think I got a good handle on how to get in touch with him.

This entire endeavor is going to take science, business, art, and good few leaps of faith to get rolling.

Workarounds are in place. Even if I cannot get the domain for now, or for the forseeable future, at least I have And instead of, at least I have Longer names. But oh well!

Onwards to adventure!


Global Understanding Institute Intro on YouTube

Global Understanding Institute Web Site

The Global Understanding Institute Web Site is now up at

It is just off the ground now. A lot of the “boilerplate” content needs to be scraped out. Aside from the California State and US IRS 501(c)(3) filing for incorporation this activity makes the institute feel like a real organization.

Except for one thing: I’m the only one doing all the work so far!

Fortunately, that will soon change. I have the pledge of few friends from Mar Toma Enterprises, makers of Holy Chocolate, to get Drupal installed on Global Understanding Institute site.

A few other friends have also now been called to be on a Board of Advisors (BoA). All so far have said yes. I need to write to them a formal letter of invitation to the BoA, and then create an email list.

I also have my web hosting company looking into why I can’t get TikiWiki or their database installed. (Today I have to check on Ticket # 1-356434171).

If you are an interested and committed citizen of the world who would like to help the Global Understanding Institute in its formative stages, please contact me to volunteer: I am looking forward to making this a true global movement. I’d be glad to work with someone who has their heart in the work.


Global Understanding Institute Intro on YouTube

I just posted a video introduction to the Global Understanding Institute on YouTube.

It was recorded last night in the quiet of the evening. It takes a few hours to get screened. By the time I woke up this morning, it was up there!

Hopefully that will solve some people's questions as to what we're about.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

South Ossetia Update, Editorial, 16 Aug 2008

Yesterday, August 15, 2008, the Newshour with Jim Lehrer had an excellent analysis of the crisis brewing between Russia, Georgia, the breakaway province of South Ossetia (apparently pronounced by one speaker as "Oh-see'-shah" rather than "Oh-set'-ee-yah"). Margaret Warner and the others on the NewsHour team did a great job of putting the crisis in perspective. PBS has a remarkable and clear perspective for those interested in a good overview.

In the analysis on Thursday, there was a discussion of how lower-level State Department professionals had warned the Georgian government to not try to retake South Ossetia. Yet some neo-conservatives had given mixed signals to support the endeavor.

Also, there were postulations Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili felt forced to act, because Russia had been treating South Ossetia as a de facto annexed territory already: issuing passports, locals posting signs reading “Putin, Our President,” and so on. If Saakashvili hadn’t acted at all, South Ossetia was as good as lost. In fact, it may already have been lost, and in a way, he used the crisis to highlight to the world how Russian irredentism and increasing nationalism can chip away at democratic nations.

This is not to paint a “good versus evil” story of what is going on. Georgia did violate a cease fire. They did roll across into South Ossetia and renewed hostilities. The Russians were prepared for a massive counterattack. Pre-positioned troops rapidly rolled through Georgia and effectively decapitated government control. To me it seemed like one of those famous samurai iajutsu duels of the days of bushido. But on a national level. Perhaps it could also be likened to a Wild West gunslinger duel.

A smaller country, feeling threatened, draws first. Then the other warrior, already prepared, trained and blooded through prior experience, draws their own weapon and ends the conflict with a massive, bloody and conclusive retaliation. Is this bullying?

In some circles, this is being seen as a bit of tit-for-tat. The US helped pry Kosovo out of Serbia. So perhaps Russia can help pry South Ossetia and Abkhazia away from Georgia? Some global political sauce for the goose? In this light, of the great game, the pawns are being taken off the board one-by-one. Gravestones are marking where these pawns of power, sentenced to death to score points, once lived.

Reading an article in the August 15th edition of the San Mateo County Times by Nancy A. Youssef, Tom Lasseter, and Dave Montgomery for the McClatchy Newspapers pointed out a key strategic flaw of the Bush administration plan to intervene in this crisis. At first, President Bush wanted to use US warships and aircraft to deliver relief supplies. Apparently this news surprised the Turkish government.

Since Turkey controls access to the Bosphorus, the US ships and planes could not pass en route to Georgian relief without the Turkish government’s permission.

Thus, for those who agree with this status quo equilibrium outcome, Turkey has, for all intents, sided against Georgia and in Russia’s favor, even if tacitly or implicitly. The Bush administration, by failing to include a NATO ally in the pre-planning of relief efforts, or overriding concerns of Ankara, was described in the article as having jumped the gun. A wince-inducing analogy which seems all too apropos.

The mission of Global Understanding is only in part to sort through how things started. The real work comes in figuring out how to get this to end.

For those who find the present situation unacceptable, the question is how would not just the United States, but all of NATO wish to respond to this situation. It seems France, and the EU overall, is ahead of the United States in positioning leaders towards a solution. The United States is too close politically to one of the parties in the dispute (Georgia) to act as a neutral broker. Likewise, its longstanding direct rivalry with Russia means the US are far more likely to end up one of the belligerents in the dispute, especially if declared intents of support (food, and likely covert intelligence and aid) to the Georgian government find some other route to reach their destination.

Turkey Shoot

The isolated position of Georgia has been highlighted by the recalcitrance of Turkey to permit US relief operations. Soldiers from Ossetia, a bit overenthusiastic in having sufficient ammunition, fired at a civilian vehicle filled with Turkish journalists, nearly killing them. The Turks, while under fire, shot back with the only thing they had: cameras. I pray for all those who bravely go into harm’s way to find out the truth for the benefit of the rest of humanity.

For Turkey, this is a war in proximity of their borders. It would be as if people in the US northeast had to worry about a war spilling over from the Quebec border. (That’s just an example. I do not wish to give any extremist French Canadians any ideas towards that end. It is also a mindful example for one to consider just how safe these borders are, generally speaking.)

The soldiers looting Georgian property even joke about invading Turkey next. Reading the analysis, one must agree that Turkey is in a tough dilemma over South Ossetia.

CENTCOM Responsibility and Lack of Response

This crisis falls into the USCENTCOM mission, the same geographic purview as Iraq and Afghanistan. Some questions were raised in 2007 with the appointment of Admiral Fallon to take over from General Abizaid, who is of Lebanese heritage and has U.N. peacekeeping experience. Whereas Fallon is an “offensive” commander who helped lead NATO operations in Bosnia in the 1990s. At least, that was what he seemed to be. At the time of his oppointment, the concern was an offensive strike at Iran. Yet in March 2008, Admiral Fallon resigned, apparently over resistance to support a more belligerent stance towards Iran. See also CNN’s coverage of the incident.

However, if the United States can be shut down on a humanitarian relief operation to Georgia (a country of 4.6 million souls) to stabilize the crisis of South Ossetia (with a population of roughly only 70,000) simply by the political closing of the Bosphorus due to the sensitivities of only one of our NATO allies, how would the US ever hope to invade Iran, a nation of 80 million?

Thus why so many believe that this is just a resuscitation of “The Great Game” — the war over central Asia played out between Russia, England, and other colonial powers of the 19th Century. Indeed, it is being dubbed “The Second Great Game.” Only in such games, people are dying, being shot at, wounded and end up crippled for life as fortunes are made and lost with the release of each video feed.

Many people and nations are simply asking to not play this game to its conclusion. Or to conclude it as soon as possible with the minimal negative consequences for neighboring states and peoples.

If This Had Been a Real War...

Why does American response seem so anemic? Is it merely that we have already overstretched our treasury and our troops to cover two simultaneous regional conflicts in Central Asia? What else is hampering matters on top of that?

An issue directly impacting USCENTCOM capability to respond is that it is being run by a temp. The acting commander of CENTCOM is US Army Lt. General Martin Dempsey, Admiral Fallon’s #2. He stepped in in 2007 to take over when the Admiral resigned, and was maintained in that role to date.

While Iraq was closely supervised by Gen. Petraeus, overall command of CENTCOM went to Gen. Dempsey. This is not to question Gen. Dempsey’s ability to lead, for he is surely a respected and capable career soldier, but to highlight his formal authority to lead, or lack thereof. He was never formally elevated to the office. This reveals a resistance of US military leadership to declare he is the right person for the job. He is being passed up for this promotion. Wikipedia reports (based, of course, on external sources) that Gen. Petraeus will be promoted from commander of Iraqi forces to commander of CENTCOM in September. We’ll see how that goes.

Yet for now, just as a temp at a company cannot legally or sociologically do certain things — they cannot sign binding contracts on behalf of a business in most cases, and they can be ignored if they say “I’m in charge!” — people do not psychologically expect an acting commander to do have the same authority as a permanent one.

They more or less expect an acting commander to maintain a status quo, even when matters require far more sophisticated problem solving and wide-ranging solutions than the situation warranted when the problem was given to them in the first place. Just as a temp might need to save the day when the building catches fire, an acting commander of a real-time military operation has to be able to get the responses they need, and not be met with inertia.

It is almost like a situation out of Catch-22.

“The building’s on fire! Follow me!”

“Who are you to tell me what to do? You’re a temp! You’re not the boss!”

“Would you rather die, or argue?”

“Don’t take that tone with me, young lady!”

This is a classic case of people who make the fallacy of appealing to authority (either their own or others above them) and not facing logic and common sense. It happens all the time. Like it or not, Gen. Dempsey has been and will treated as a temp. A “lame duck” general. Written off. Either consciously or unconsciously. Otherwise, he’d have the full title. Right? Face it, he never got the formal nod. He’s been passed over. I am not sure why. He seems like a decent guy.

It is somewhat telling of how the Bush administration is managing the Global War on Terror if they left the CENTCOM seat open for so long under “acting” leadership between 11 March 2008 until September 2008. That’s six months.

During the American Civil War, it would have been like leaving the Army of the Potomac without a full commander from between the time of the New York Draft Riots (March 1863) to the Battle of Charleston Harbor (August-September 1863). There would have been an “acting” commander for Chancellorsville. An “acting” commander for Gettysburg. Lincoln would have calmly leaned over his desk and spoken something pithy and pointed to hurry matters along long before the Spring months had gone by.

In terms of World War II, it would have been the equivalent of having no full US commander in Europe between March 1943 to September 1943. No one, like Gen. Omar Bradley, fully in charge of Tunisia after the collapse of the Axis at Kasserine Pass. No one fully authorized to lead the clearing of Axis forces from North Africa through May. No one fully and formally authorized to plan and execute the invasion of Sicily in July. No one formally vested with the command position to plan the invasion of Taranto and Salerno, or to accept the Italian surrender in September.

President Roosevelt would have smiled that glorious yet crystal-clear smile and said, “I am sure you will solve this issue immediately, won’t you?” I can’t see the persistent and consistently organized Dwight D. Eisenhower waiting six months to make a choice.

Nor can I imagine any Congress so suicidally obstructionist as to leave the most important theater of operations officially leaderless just to spite an opposition party. In fact, they voted in favor of the appointment of General Petraeus in July. He got the promotion, but just hasn’t moved into his new executive position yet. A CEO’s corner office remains filled with a temp.

In terms of modern command decision-making, there should be little logical reason to leave such a vital office of command under the term “acting” unless inconvenient politics or personality issues are getting in the way. We can rule out politics, because the person for the job got it by an overwhelming vote.

Yet Gen. Petraeus made a personal choice, as commander there, to stay in Iraq for the summer, until mid-September. So there is some personal or personnel issues he feels uncomfortable to leave behind. That infers a possible inclination towards micromanagement. Otherwise, he’d just have gone upstairs with his new command and given Odierno Iraq to deal with. Gen. Petraeus could shift his focus to with wider perspective of dealing with a theater stretching from Georgia to Afghanistan. That would have made sense, wouldn’t it, especially as violence has been mostly stemmed and the strategic initiative seems to be moving away from Iraq?

If this had been a real war, one would have expected better, faster, more clear command decision-making cycles.

While the world’s snow caps are melting at record speeds, apparently our ability to think and make decisions in our nation’s capital and command centers is becoming so cold as to be glacial. Ironically, we still try to apply the term “superpower” to ourselves.

This is not to poke too much fun at the powers-that-be. But if someone gave me a new high-ranking job, I’d try not to take more than the weekend to think things through and move into my new digs at work.

Getting Along

Speaking of superpowers, much of this seems to be because Russia is not quite ready to cede that title as applied to itself. Much of what is going on is based in a resurgent nationalism and irredentism, as I have pointed out before.

So how are our leaders getting along with each other?

George Bush and Vladimir Putin sat next to each other at the ceremonial opening of the Beijing Olympic Games. Apparently they seemed mostly calm to the cameras discussing the Georgian invasion (or attempted recapture) of South Ossetia while the cute-as-a-button Chinese girl was lip-synching the patriotic theme for her country.

Others overheard a more heated discussion, including the Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd.

I, for one, was both glad and alarmed to hear of these reports. I had spoken earlier in the week to a close relation of mine who was livid how Putin and Bush seemed to be getting along so famously. I would liken the venom towards the President of the United States sitting next to the Prime Minister of Russia as equivalent to the bile one might hurl at thoughts of a chummy reunion of Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin.

This revealed a truth we all knew, similar to the faux friendship Hitler and Stalin might have shown for each other while it was politically expedient and advantageous for both: George Bush and Vladimir Putin only play at friendship for the cameras. The severe differences between them, and the stark similarities in terms of both wishing to amass and wield power, are now simply affirmed by a third party.

I am not accusing either of these men of being anything else than what their supporters elected them to be: the most nationalistic, driven, patriotic and power-brokering leaders of the two societies controlling the vast majority of nuclear munitions in the world.

Yet I am not going to fallaciously fall to Godwin’s law. As of yet, neither are Hitler nor Stalin. In comparison to true genocidal tyrants, both of these modern statesmen are rank amateurs. They are who they are. I am glad they are getting towards some levels of truth and talking directly to each other.

We have to speak truthfully to the Russians while also listening to their own concerns.

The Russians are feeling culturally vulnerable. The desire to rally around nationalistic and racial schemas are no different than any nation that turns to its past to remember its glory, and to gather the most passionate to do something to help improve their country.

Yet this sentiment is dangerous in any land, whether it is the Nazi party unifying a massively improverished Germany due to war reparations and depression, or a group of Islamic militant scholars who vow to drive away western influence in order to establish a republic of Islam on earth.

Ironically, before people proclaim how great America is, one may notice the domestic trend of xenophobia and racial hatred in the US. The UN even cited the US criminal justice system in March 2008 as exhibiting a pattern of racial bias. Our fears often map out to the areas in our country hardest hit by economic shocks caused by global capitalism and social shocks caused by massive immigration.

The EU has its own version of this in each member nation as well. It can be caused by feelings of disenfranchisment and culture clash, like the banlieue riots, or the Bridget Bardot case. These are intense human issues. Each culture undergoes this retrenchment when threatened. Some become more strident and militant than others, but all human cultures, and most animal cultures, will behave the same when threatened or provoked.

The way to step back from global crisis is to recognize these social pressures that are faced by each of the participants: from Georgia and South Ossetia to Russia, the US, Turkey, the EU and other proximately adjoining and affected states.

If we all recognize each nation has its pressures and we all call for calm, there is a chance peace will break out. We have to be extremely vigilant and principled to look for those who may and do abuse and self-centeredly manipulate such conditions. Check for the “prisoner’s dilemma” and other common maladaptive, neurotic and dangerous lose-lose or lose-win outcomes.

The possibility of the US going to war directly with Russia is ebbing slightly, yet can flare up dramatically any day. In a way, there is more pressure and tension building up between them. It could even be argued the Turkish equivocation to support the Bush planned intervention for humanitarian relief could embolden Russia and fuel future hostilities. Unless these social pressures between nation-states can be redirected, diffused, or dealt with progressively, one day they will finally come back to remind us of the warnings we had years before.

I suggest the discussions be hosted by a truly disinterested but major nation. Perhaps Brazil. Everyone should fill out the equivalent of a “Cosmo quiz” for self-assessment. My thoughts, for example, would survey these sorts of things:
  1. On a scale of 0 (not a problem at all) to 10 (they will exterminate us all), how fearful are the South Ossetians of the Georgian government?
  2. On a scale of 0 (not a problem at all) to 10 (we want to exterminate them all), how angry are the South Ossetians at the Georgian government?
  3. On a scale of 0 (not a problem at all) to 10 (they will exterminate us all), how fearful are the South Ossetians of the Georgian people?
  4. On a scale of 0 (not a problem at all) to 10 (we want to exterminate them all), how angry are the South Ossetians at the Georgian people?
And so on. Ask them specific questions as to their mineral rights. How poor or well-to-do are their communities? What is more important to provide next for relief? Food, water, shelter, etc. I just do not see sufficient metrics being taken to measure how happy, or unhappy, people are these days.

Perhaps we can do this sort of benchmarking before we start ordering carriers into action.

Take care!

(Edited 22 Aug 2008, 3:58 AM Pacific Time)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Web/Internet Communications Infrastructure

I am getting some web infrastructure together today for the Global Understanding Project. As I set up Facebook and LinkedIn groups (Done), domain names and web sites (work-in-progress) and Frappr maps, Forums and Ventrilo servers (TBD), I am delighted at how much there is available for organizations to create a global presence these days. Much of what I want to do would have been impossible to do without the Internet and the Web to communicate with a truly global community.


I have gotten the following setup:
• Facebook: Global Understanding Institute
LinkedIn: Search for “Global Understanding Institute”

Barriers to Progress

Right now, these are my two greatest Web/Internet quests:


I have run into my first global conflict. A company in Germany, Syndicat Internationale Werbemittel GmbH, is sitting on the domain name for They have no use for it presently.

Admin ID:ASCIO3734171-001
Admin Name:Syndicat Internationale Werbemittel GmbH
Admin Street1:Watzmannstr. 1 A
Admin Street2:
Admin Street3:
Admin City:Muenchen
Admin State/Province:
Admin Postal Code:D 81541
Admin Country:DE
Admin Phone:+49.8962081050
Admin Phone Ext.:
Admin FAX:+49.8962081099
Admin FAX Ext.:

Understanding the South Ossetia Crisis

The basis of the crisis of the 2008 South Ossetia War is one of irridentism: the desire of a state to expand geographically to encompass territory occupied by those of a reference ethnic group. The people of South Ossetia are ethnically Russian, as opposed to majority Georgian ethnicity in Georgia.

The majority ethnic Russians in South Ossetia desire to achieve independence from Georgia, with an overarching interest to be brought back into the fold of a “greater Russia.” This may be achieved either by being made an independent yet dependent satellite state of Russia, or it may be annexed and incorporated into Russia directly. In any regard, it would result in South Ossetia being territorially alienated from Georgia unless some conciliatory peaceful resolution to the conflict is achieved.

There are 3.9 million ethnic Georgians living in Georgia, roughly 84% of the total estimated national population of 4.6 million.

In South Ossetia, with an estimated total population of 70,000, only 14,000 are ethnic Georgians; the vast majority of the rest are ethnic Russians.

This Georgian-Ossetian conflict, which seems to be quite surprising news to most Americans in 2008, has been going on for nearly two decades, since a referendum held in South Ossetia in November 1989 sought to rejoin South Ossetia (in Georgia) with North Ossetia (in Russia). This escalated into a crisis after independence was achieved by Georgia in 1991.

The first violent flare-up occurred in 1992, while most western eyes (and television cameras) were focused on the crisis of Somalia (q.v. UNISOM I, UNITAF, The United States Army in Somalia, 1992-1994), the wars of the West Balkans (q.v. Croatia and Bosnia), or the U.S. Presidential Elections. This breakaway movement was conducted simultaneous to the War in Abkhazia (1992-1993).

The second phase of the conflict came in 2004-2006. While a referendum of the local populace supported independence, there was also a local minority asking to remain within the Georgian state. An uneasy peace settled over the unsettled political issues.

The third phase of the conflict began in August 2008 with the resumption of hostilities by Georgia to retake the area, which was the causus belli for Russian military intervention (q.v. Russia, Georgia Fight Over Breakaway Region, NPR, 13 Aug 2008).

Observers, such as Volodymyr Kulyk of the Institute of the Political and Ethnic Studies at the National Academy of Science of Ukraine, are postulating that this conflict is part of a bigger military and social picture, where an increasing nationalistic Russia is seeking to establish dominance over the former Soviet republics. If anything, it may achieve the short-term effect of shoaling Georgia’s hope of joining NATO in the near future. (q.v. NPR interview, 13 Aug 2008).

These Caucasus wars, like those waged in the West Balkans, are marked by brutal ethnic cleansing and nationalist designs closely related to the politics of intolerance and zealotry: racism and xenophobia. Furthermore, economics and the obsessive drive to control economic and natural resources of these regions add a layer of politics focused on achieving supremacy and power, and smack of crass greed and opportunism.

The concerned citizen of the world may indeed wonder what may happen if this crisis is not managed effectively. There are many possible outcomes:

Breakaway from the Breakaway

Greg Moses postulates if South Ossetia wishes to rejoin Russia, then the ethnic Georgian enclaves within South Ossetia should be given the option to remain aligned with the Georgian state. This issue then becomes an exercise of fractal math and recursion cum reductio ad absurdum, as then the ethnic Russians in the Georgian enclaves may then push for union with the rest of South Ossetia.

Non-Intervention and Appeasement (The "Neville Chamberlain" Strategy)

In this postulated scenario, Russia and South Ossetia achieve their desired irredentist outcome. The international community may indeed write off Georgia as “not worth fighting for,” in a manner similar to way the League of Nations wrote off the annexation of the Czech Sudetenland in October 1938.

The question is whether this would then lead a bolder Russian foreign military strategy, similar to the League of Nation’s passivity emboldening Hitler's Nazi Germany, and lead to similar movements and armed interventions elsewhere, such as a Russian move to annex Abkhazia. The Herald-Sun ran an article warning that the west should “wake up.”

Greg Sheridan of The Australian portrays a grim escalationist picture, as published in Sydney's Sunday Telegraph: “The more Moscow can successfully engage in military adventures like this -- intimidating its neighbours and seizing parts of their territory -- the more it will feel that a military-nationalist approach to government will lead Russia back to its former glory. Along that path lie infinite dangers for everyone, and perhaps ultimate tragedy not only for the Russian people, but for many others as well.”

World War III Already in Full Swing

Others, such as Larry Chin, propose a global war has already been underway for years, and is only now being made more readily apparent as violence escalates. World War III denotes, generally, the anticipated war between the Soviet Union (or Russia, its successor state) and its allies, and the United States and its NATO allies. World War IV has generally been used to denote a similar war between the US and its NATO allies against the “rogue nations” as well as against the threat of Islamic fundamentalist states and non-state actors. However, as reported in the AFP in 2007, the term World War III can also sometimes be applied the war against [Islamic] fundamentalist terrorism.

One can postulate that present circumstances may indeed shift Russia and the Islamic opponents of the US and its NATO allies into an alliance of convenience. There have already been Christian sites postulating this as a Biblical prophecy. Yet serious consideration needs to be given to the topic, such as the March 2006 thoughts recorded on the Indonesia Matters blog.

There is actually some circumstantial evidence in support of this theory. In March 2007, Georgia doubled its commitment of troops to Iraq to 2,000. These troops were deployed in October 2007 and stationed near the Iranian border. While there were already plans to scale back the force to 300, with the outbreak of hostilities, on August 8th, 2008, the entire contingent was ordered to be withdrawn to help defend their home nation. Even by happenstance, it seems to be that the Russian pressure on Georgia has benefited their tacit ally, Iran.

The critical urgency and severity of the issue cannot be misconstrued. For the sake of roughly 50,000 people wanting to rejoin Russia, the United States and the Soviet Union have seemingly been pushed near to the tooth-and-jowl brink of direct military conflict. The crisis is more severe than any other time since the end of the Cold War.

It is the rough demographic equivalent of saying if Wrigley Field were filled with irate Cubs fans, they could lobby for cessation from Chicago, and threaten global conventional or nuclear war if they did not get their way. And then, the rest of the United States invades the city of Chicago to enforce control and to permit the team to relocate to Gary, Indiana.

France seems to be taking a reconciliatory lead in negotiations between Georgia and Russia. The key question is how much Russia cares to negotiate settlements or pay heed to external influence and sanctions.

While all of this is an “interesting” academic postulation, we must commit, day-by-day, to brokering peace between all the factions. This does not mean capitulation of principles or an undermining of our ideals. It shall simply command and require the peacemakers to exhibit strength and patience.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

South Ossetia

Today I spent the day preparing emails and documents to organize the Global Understanding Institute. Meanwhile across the globe in Tskhinvali, South Ossetia, war is being waged. There are reports of possibly 2,000 civilian deaths, and accusations of the Georgians using Multiple Rocket Launch Systems (MLRS). Now, the propaganda war is being waged, both in traditional media and on YouTube. When I speak of propaganda, I mean not only the issues of distortions or lies inserted into factual material. I include the tone and viewpoint reports take.

My compassion and my sympathies lie with all the victims. Yet I wish to know: who were the leaders that strove to create this conflict in the first place? What did they expect would be the result of their actions and orders, if not this very result?

I need to spend some time to find who the Walrus and the Carpenter are in this situation.


Welcome from the Founder

Hello! My name is Peter Corless. I am the founder of the yet-to-be-incorporated Global Understanding Institute (GUI). I am presently in the initial organizational stages of establishing this as a new non-profit educational and charitable corporation.


The Global Understanding Institute's mission is to help monitor, analyze, and inform the interested citizens of the world about global crises and conflicts, and present solutions by highlighting possible scenarios and opportunities for crisis and conflict resolution.

The Work

  • Razumijen — The initial project studies the dissolution of Yugoslavia and the birth of new nations in the west Balkans c. 1989-2008. It will result in, to begin with, a board game simulating the breakup of Yugoslavia, where players, as interested citizens of the world, have to cooperate to minimize suffering and violence, while maintaining economic prosperity and seeking the most equitable resolution for all factions involved.
  • Global Model — The long-term goal is to create and maintain an Internet "weather service" for global crises and conflicts, to enable us to watch the "hot spots" and "cold fronts" of the world, and to help us understand what may be needed to reestablish peace, prosperity and stability in a myriad of communities and regions.
If you have any interest, talents, resources or expertise you feel could contribute to the success of this new organization, please contact Peter Corless at 650-906-3134, or email pcorless{at}