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23 June 2012

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A rich person's security can be guaranteed, the same applies to a wealthy nation in which the economy is prospering and the citizens are enjoying economic prosperity.

Our state sovereignty is undermined when we allow foreigners to enter our country and develop our resources when we ourselves cannot because we do not have the human resources.

We can talk about security in terms of armoury and weapons but what about foreigners coming in and taking our jobs while locals are ignored; I consider that a basic security breach.

Knowledge is power. If we can educate our citizens well and provide better living and working conditions for our people then I do not see a problem in stepping up our security.

The security needs of a store cleaner are not high compared to the CEO of Telikom.

This century's security issues require high tech equipment which costs a lot of money.

If I was in power, I would rather spend money to create jobs for the jobless who are filling up space in their relatives' homes in towns, provide further education opportunities for young men who steal from our sisters and mothers, and protect young women who sell themselves to careless rich guys.

We need people who are more educated and more useful and valuable.

So tell us more about Dr Clement Waine Bernard.

Thanks Bernard. I wish I could be in such position to influence change. I provide strategic directions where it can be pushed through at political level - the new government. Good critique from everyone.

Phil, I agree Sometimes you have to be careful of the front guard making a charge and scoring a slam dunk.

Good intentions and off the cuff charges sometimes can go awry as the poor young Rugby playing Welshman found to his dismay, when initiating a kick and chase found that unfortunately the ball landed off centre that pushed it over the sidelines.

If fortune had smiled more sweetly he would have easily been able to picked it up and would have been away for a well deserved try.

Using one initiative some times pays off but in some cases can lead to disaster?

Phil, very interesting comments. This is my understanding of what you and Paul are saying. Being idealistic is good but you can not depend on others to pick up your ideas and use it.

One has to put oneself in a position of authority so that one can put his or her ideas into action.

"The ball is in their court", this statement made by Francis could be interpreted in Pidgin as, "Mi tok tasol ol wokim or nogat em stap lo han blo ol". No wonder you made that last comment about all talk and no action, Phil.

There are many PNG elites who are in the category you are talking about, but the wind of change is blowing.

Elites like Dr Clement Waine is one such Papua New Guinean who wrote a book about Geopolitical realignment published in the USA. He is contesting the Simbu regional seat with the intention of inspiring change at the highest level.

Hope he wins.

Thank you Phil and Paul for the challenge. As the next generation of leaders we have to make sure that we play a fundamental part in influencing change in our country.

To begin that process the path of writing is the path we will walk on.

Francis, continue to write but not with the intention of writing for others to use the information you share. Not many leaders are open to such views because their reasons for going into politics are not centered on changing the nation.

However, write with the intention of improving your knowledge of PNG and where we are going in order to prepare yourself for the future leadership role that you will be playing.

I know when Francis returns, we will all sit together with Patrick and others to share our different point of views and ways of thinking.

Okay, so now we know where you're coming from.

I guess it's a neat summary.

Some might raise the spectre of all talk and no action - a charge often levelled at the elite in PNG.

If the ball is in their court they obviously haven't noticed it. Too busy buying their way back to the honey pot.

Poor old PNG, so much potential and no hope of realising it.

I guess when you're old and grey you can say, 'I told you so'. Not much consolation there I'm afraid.

Peter I agree with you. I did not mention specifically China, however I did make specific reference to use of soft power in terms of cultural diplomacy, it did use currently.

There are several elements that characterize middle power. I argue that we can adopt each from different countries where it is suitable within our context.

Phil if you read my article you would find that I only intend to provide strategic directions through writing. The ball is in their court.

I don't think there is anything new being said in this article. There is nothing 'Chinese' about it. It is just being stated in a more academically eloquent way.

Quite a few PNG Attitude writers have made the same points, notably Martyn Namorong. Martyn also rails against the 'exploitative organizing principle where .... PNG will continue to depend on developed countries' for instance.

Other writers have also made the point that PNG has the wherewithal in terms of resources to do very well economically. People like Reg Renagi have highlighted the need to fix the garden fence. Others have pointed out the need for PNG to develop its human capital in terms of education.

I totally agree that PNG has the capacity to become a middling regional power, maybe even before 2050. I don't think there is any dispute about these things. What seems to be lacking, as Paul Oates has pointed out recently, is the willpower needed to accomplish these things.

I would be very interested in your view on this aspect Francis.

How do you re-direct the greed and avarice of the average corrupt PNG politician into this sort of positive mindset so that the smart people can get on with the job of making what you envision a reality?

Patrick - PNG is our country and we will continue to influence government though writing. We will decide what is best for us. We will discuss more when I return.

Barbara and others - I respect your comments. If you have problem with China you can talk to them may be in a round table diplomacy.

I'm not a Chinese, I will remain a true Papua New Guinean. The way I think is quite different from others. I expect positive comments not negative comments tying me down to Chinese influence.

I can see the Chinese are also teaching you well, Peter.

Francis says .."LNG disruption..is due to our weak defensive system"

If the economy is the "basic condition for national survival" and it depends on this LNG project being developed in an "uncontrolled area" with many fears for "security", do the Chinese teachers say that this "insecurity", which has the ability to spoil the economy, allows the government to bring in the military to secure the area for the developers?

The fact that PNG has been found to be so rich in minerals and oil and gas is probably going to create many huge problems like this in PNG over the coming years.

The developers from China and the USA and other countries will have their own priorities. Economic policies and strategic policies and military policies will come under great pressure.

How can the military show they "have a heart" for the people who have traditionally owned the land on which the LNG project will be built?

The NSW Government is bringing in ways that the local farm land-holders can be more involved in the process of granting exploration rights to coal-seam gas exploration in NSW.

It has a lot to do with checking that the aquifers are not spoilt by the processes they are using to look for the gas as it could have grave effects on future farming.

The future PNG government will have to work hard at ways of helping these people who live in the areas affected by the LNG development. We certainly don't want a repeat of what happened on Bougainville.

As a person who could possibly have some influence in the future on the Defence Force in PNG I was wondering if you had any good ideas.

Francis; this is a very well written piece and the stated goals of being a middle-power is achievable.

I would like to see PNG increasingly engage its Melanesian Spearhead Group members for additional leverage. These are not wild theories and nebulous ideas.

A new generation of Papua New Guinean leadership, informed by decades of lost opportunities is a credible motivation.

There are others in the region who would want a debilitated and dependent PNG. But as I have suggested to you on numerous occasions, Francis, the next government that comes in after the 2012 Election should institute forthwith a review of our existing bilateral relations and foreign policy.

Curtailing the role of foreign aid and working to promote trade as a substitute to aid should be a national priority.

Economic independence through trade and seeking comparative advantage in our external relations with other states in the international system have never been a priority of successive governments since Independence.

Your ideas are welcomed and the formation of an advocacy group to get the "new" government interested in this project is in order. See you when you get back in country!

I appreciate all your comments. But this is my theory. I respect your opinion.

Francis, your nebulous ideas and concepts need to be grounded in reality. The majority of your country still lives in a rural setting with very little in the way of material goods or the hope of attaining them. Your country's system or providing for her people urgently needs a clean out and new direction.

As Barbara suggests, the real test of your theories will be when you return to your own country and reality. What you then do to improve the lives and aspirations of your countrymen and women will be proof of the taro pudding and demonstrate the value and purpose of your current training.

Good Luck and best wishes mate. I mean it. Many have tried and failed. What will your practical and proven way be to succeed?

A healthy economy is the required condition for ensuring national security. Poverty and weakness of the national economy are the biggest security threats, which are directly related to the rise and decline of a country and life and death of a nation. Without economic support, national defense development and buildup are like water without resource and a tree without roots.

Economy is the basic condition for national survival. It is the guarantee condition for social stability, social progress, national strength, national security, international influence and human security.
However, a healthy economy does require guaranteed security. Military (hard power) is that guarantor.

Strength is different from capability in that being strong does not mean having the capability; capability is the application of strength, reflecting the government’s will and art of using strength.

Each and every country will define their respective national interests and the appropriate elements of national power (ie; military, industry, demography, politics, diplomacy, economy, etc) to secure those interests depending on its prevailing and foreseeable national conditions.

If a perceived threat to a nation is considered to be of military nature, then no doubt the military element of national power would be ticked off as a certainty. The prioritizing of the military and economy would then be viewed simultaneously because one would depend on the other.

And, yes Francis, I do agree that our government (past & present) have accorded little attention to the capability and capacity building of the PNGDF in view of our increasing population, growing economy and the diversified nature of threats PNG is faced with and likely to face in future.

There are lessons we could take from China, however, as my former teacher Barbara suggested, perhaps we should look at other smaller countries as well to see how they have managed their situations which could be more applicable and appropriate for our adoption. Botswana would be one such country I would propose.

Whether it’s the application of hard power (military), soft power (diplomacy) or smart Power (recently instituted by Hillary Clinton), it should be the security, survival and prosperity of a state and its subjects that should remain the ultimate end state for any government.

Thanks for explaining to us readers what the Chinese are trying to teach you.

It sounds very similar to what I taught my students at Keravat National High School back in the 1970s-80s. Except we didn't include the anti-capitalist lines e.g. the international mode of capitalism has hindered economic independence. I taught Tanzanian socialism!

So much of what you have mentioned "should happen" did actually happen "back then" e.g. I had some of my ex-students taking PNG culture around the world.

Also, the Chinese seem to be keen on having a big army. I'd worry about a "military Take-over".

I'm sure today, the Chinese are slowly changing many of their views on politics and their form of government is probably evolving into something that can cope with their huge population.

But PNG is at the other extreme...a very small developing country. Surely it should be looking at other small developing countries which are succeeding.

The mind boggles comparing PNG to China or even Japan!
Look at the other similar countries in the region e.g. Fiji. Learn from their mistakes.

I could write for hours on this topic. You have been well taught and write well. Now you have to go back to PNG and get on with all the educated PNG men and women who have slaved away for many years trying to get the country running as well as possible under the corrupt politicians which the people have sadly elected.

Let's hope that we get some better results this election. PNG Attitude writers are trying to work out ways of getting a better run parliament. I don't think the Chinese can help you there. But former kiaps and people who understand PNG culture just may be able to help.

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