Humanitarianism

Loretta Napoleoni is an expert on terrorist financing and money laundering, and advises several governments and international organizations on counter-terrorism. Her new book: North Korea The Country We Love to Hate exposes a nuclear chess game of leverage and politics in which, the threat of war between power players is fuelled by economic needs and ego.

People love to take sides, good vs evil—this predilection creates an addiction to war. Loretta suggests a third option…PEACE between North and South Korea.

Deft strategies and an appetite for power have kept us at a stalemate but could this creative solution nullify the nuclear threat?

Loretta Napoleoni asks: ‘Are we Addicted to War?’

In 2017, North Korea attempted to prove to it is a nuclear power and has the capability to threaten the United Stated. The US response has been mixed: while at times Donald Trump has used a strong belligerent language against Kim Jong-un, including threatening military intervention, the White House adopted a peaceful approach, it mobilised the international community to impose economic sanctions. So far this policy has not being effective for several reasons, among which the peculiarity of the North Korean regime and the impossibility to force Pyongyang to end its nuclear programme.

To many, North Korea is an aberration, the antithesis of democracy: a totalitarian regime, ruled by a dictatorial dynasty that successfully reinvented feudalism. Nicknamed the hermit state, it is so secretive that separating fact from fiction is often problematic. Indeed, the mystery that surrounds it has proven advantageous to depict it as the ultimate dystopian society, an evil benchmark against which the spreading of democracy always appears positive. Even Iraq or Libya are perceived as better regimes than North Korea!

North Korea is the enemy we all love to hate.

Yet, for all the comfort this statement may bring, it fails to comprehensively describe the Pyongyang regime or to address the fundamental question: how do we deal with a nuclear North Korea?

From a more accurate analysis it emerges that the DPRK is a unique and resilient nation. It has survived the implosion of the Soviet Union and the modernization of Chinese communism – its northern neighbours and historical sponsors – without even the slightest attempt to open up to the West. Because of that, it does not fit neatly into any political classifications even if at the same time, it displays features of several of them.

The failure to fully understand North Korea has played in the hands of its regime and in particular of its nuclear programme. Donald Trump is the fourth president of the United States who has unsuccessfully promised to end it. Bill Clinton signed a deal in which North Korea agreed to freeze its nuclear development in exchange for oil and a civilian reactor, but neither side fulfilled its commitments and Pyongyang outsmarted Washington. Why? Clinton convinced Congress to ratify the agreement because he was sure the regime would fall before the delivery of the reactor.

George W. Bush initially refused bilateral negotiations but then changed his mind and joined the Six-Party Talks. Barack Obama first appeared conciliatory then retreated into a stonewalling policy called ‘strategic patience’. Finally, during his first year at the White House, Donald Trump led the UN Security Council to pass several rounds of additional sanctions against North Korea, which made Kim Jong-un more determined to show off North Korea’s nuclear capabilities.

The young dictator is using the same strategy employed by his father. In the second half of the 1990s, Kim Jong-il used the nuclear program as a bargaining chip to get food, oil and other forms of assistance from the West. He succeeded in stringing along the US administration by playing the deterrence game. In the ultimate analysis, deterrence is a confidence game; to be effective, you need to convince people that, if they step over the line, you really will do the things you say you would do. Washington has to believe that Pyongyang will do to Tokyo or Seoul what it has said it would and Pyongyang has to believe that Washington will use the bomb.

How do we get out of this stalemate? Thinking outside the box. It is clear that becoming a nuclear power has been a game changer for Pyongyang, the regime has finally relaxed and is showing a conciliatory attitude towards South Korea, a nation with whom the DPRK is technically still at war. This confirms that nations seek nuclear capability not to use it but as the best form of détente against old and new foes, as proven by Pakistan, India, Israel and very soon Iran, countries that like North Korea have ignored the non-proliferation ban.

Against this scenario a revision of the international agreements is badly needed. By encouraging a peace treaty between North and South Korea, the United States and China could use such a diplomatic victory as a launching pad for a new nuclear protocol, one that allows proliferation, but only within very well defined parameters, and whose primary aim would be to empower the international community to contain and control nuclear weapons worldwide, including, of course, the US and China.

About the Book: In North Korea, The Country We Love to Hate, political analyst and bestselling author Loretta Napoleni challenges our Western preconceptions of North Korea. Napoleoni situates North Korea in context – historical and ideological – and answers questions central to our global future. This informative book is an account of a country central to world politics and yet little understood. Further, it presents insider narratives of its people, whose self-image is radically different to the image we have in the West. Released in Australia by UWA Publishing.

About the Author: Loretta Napoleoni is the best-selling author of Maonomics, Rogue Economics, Terror Incorporated and Insurgent Iraq. She is an expert on terrorist financing and money laundering, and advises several governments and international organisations on counter terrorism and money laundering. She is a regular media commentator for CNN, Sky News and the BBC, and writes for El Paris, The Guardian and Le Monde. Visit her @ lorettanapoleoni.net

New Year Resolutions are a loaded list of short-fuse goals, the spark ignites a vision of health and success but life and habits happen! This annual ritual of set-then-forget is an interesting psychological phenomena which has inspired countless books and articles. Various theories point the finger of failure at one or more of the following,

Motivation: a goal must inspire you on a authentic and visceral level.

Habit: consistency is required to break a habit and it helps to replace undesirable triggers with positive reinforcement ‘rewards and rituals’.

Time: goals need to be realistic and measurable, set the clock back 5-10 minutes instead of an hour to begin with and adapt your schedule in increments. Be flexible and free-style your day to make use of idle moments or suitable spaces ‘office yoga’ anyone? Track time spent on a given goal, frame this metric as you please (minutes, hours, days) and it could reflect how long you have abstained from something also (e.g. not buying the latest fashion).

The sum of this trio is simple: how we frame and plan our approach to achieving goals, will influence the success of our outcome.

Now I’d like to explore two popular resolutions which, have found a way to reinvigorate a superficial goal with a substantive motive.

Fitness is a best-seller come January, who doesn’t desire more energy, strength, and a few less pounds?

What if fitness was a healthy result of a humanitarian mission?

It’s crazy to think that 844 million people in the world—one in ten—do not have clean water¹. It’s something so simple that we don’t think about. Every minute a newborn dies from an infection caused by lack of safe water and an unclean environment. When you put it like that, it’s even harder to understand why mainstream media isn’t tackling the issue head-on. The facts are, if every person on earth had access to clean water, the number of deaths caused by diarrhoea would be cut by a third.

Clubbercise, a UK founded company changing the game in the fitness industry by combining fitness and clubbing in one fun, easy-to-follow workout, is hoping to make a change. Litres of water are consumed at every Clubbercise dance fitness class to keep participants (aka Clubbers) stay hydrated—this luxury isn’t afforded to everyone.

It all started when Claire Burlison Green and her friends were discussing that there weren’t any dance fitness classes that played the kind of music enjoyed in clubs on a night out. Always looking for a creative way to keep fit, Claire and her friends started putting together routines and playlists. Their ‘healthy clubbing’ classes started in mid-2013 and in 2014, Clubbercise training officially launched in the UK.

Clubbercise rapidly became wildly popular and within three years over 2,000 instructors from gyms, health clubs and dance studios were trained. Today there are over 100,000 people who regularly participate in Clubbercise sessions. In 2016 Clubbercise was introduced to Virgin Active clubs in Thailand and Singapore.

With their rapid growth, Claire Burlison Green made it her mission contribute to making water safe and accessible for everyone. Inspired by the American brand TOMS Shoes, Claire loved the idea of buying something and giving to charity at the same time. When she started Clubbercise, it seemed natural to make the water connection with people coming to classes and taking it for granted that they could fill up their water bottle and drink as much as they needed to stay hydrated.

A donation to Oxfam is made whenever someone becomes a licensed Clubbercise instructor. The money donated to Oxfam is used to set up and maintain safe water supply with pumps, tanks or purification systems. With every donation, roughly 10 people gain access to safe drinking water in some of the poorest places on the planet. With over 2,000 instructors trained internationally, Clubbercise has provided thousands of people something that could mean the difference between life and death.

Clubbercise classes will be sweeping the nation in 2018, training more instructors and providing more people with clean water.

Get Fit for a Cause @ clubbercise.com/australia

¹ https://www.wateraid.org/au/why-wateraid/facts-and-statistics

Next let’s challenge our perception of Fashion. Often part of a New Year’s Resolve to curb a spending spree or shake-up a tired wardrobe?

What if fashion was a stylish result of a globally empowering aim?

Project Futures, an Australian not-for-profit whose purpose is to educate the public about human trafficking and slavery issues, has collaborated with fashion designer Steven Khalil to launch its very first charity t-shirt. The aim is to raise awareness of crimes that deprive women and children of their freedom and dignity in Australia and abroad. With over 45.8 million people enslaved, modern slavery is the fastest-growing crime industry in the world today.

Renowned red carpet and bridal gown Australian designer Steven Khalil has dressed the likes of Beyoncé, Jennifer Lopez and Nicole Kidman. Casual lifestyle brand Citizen Wolf, who believe in producing ethical, local and sustainable clothes, has also teamed up to create the organic charity t-shirts. In partnership, both Steven Khalil and Citizen Wolf represent the Australian fashion industry as the faces of a better future. Zoe Marshall, Australian media personality, wife of NRL star Benji Marshall, and soon-to-be mother, is one of the celebrity ambassadors who is giving her full support for this project.

100% of the profit goes directly to helping end modern slavery and cover a range of services from medical treatment to psychological service.

The exclusive Steven Khalil charity tee retails for $99 from projectfutures.com.

Khalil and Wolfe talk with BE Journal about the Future of Fashion get it in your inbox!

All Kinds of Love

Valentines day should be more than a Hallmark or Cadbury moment, it is a chance to acknowledge a love for or of a place, a person, a passion, a tradition, a cause, a community, your animal companions or our wild world.

Crafty cupids seek to create a memory beyond the moment with a unique experience or gift expressing all kinds of love…

Don’t just wine and dine go on a romantic adventure!

Athlete, author and founder of the Primal Blueprint, Mark Sisson (www.marksdailyapple.com) on his favourite ways to spend Valentines day.

“Every day should be an opportunity for adventure and reinforcing the love you have for your partner. But holidays like Valentine’s Day can be a fun reminder to do something special. Carrie and I are both active people. Ideally, we’d get outdoors, hike around our favourite spots together (nature is a great backdrop to slow down and connect), pick a venue to enjoy a shared interest (maybe a concert), and pick a stellar restaurant to top it off.”

Former Navy Seal, coach, author and SealFit founder, Mark Divine (www.sealfit.com) describes his most romantic adventure…

“My Most romantic adventure was a six day silent retreat with my wife on the Big Island Hawaii in 2015. We enjoyed meditation, and yoga in silence by day and equally enjoyed secret whispers in the evening as we broke the rules a bit. It was a beautiful time to practice the non-verbal art of communication.”

What these rugged romantics realise is that the simple things often convey more—spending time in nature, engaging in authentic communication (spoken or silent) is true joie de vivre!

Don’t just buy something, make, bake or build it!

Heartfelt handmade gifts reflect your passion to create and when you share that with someone this honours two kinds of love.

Jamie Oliver pupils might plan and prepare a romantic menu or host a family feast spreading the love across generations.

Combine cultivation and culinary creation by harvesting and blending your own honey (like a mixologist of the meadow, melding the botanical notes of different varieties to produce a bespoke bee offering). For bonus points: take a mead making course and brew your own wild-fermented, honey-based wine.

Perhaps your partner loves surfing, imagine their delight being presented with a board built by you. Workshops catering to all kinds of loves are great gifting avenue for crafty cupids, build a board, a bird box, or for tech lovers a specially designed drone modified to excite your muse.

Don’t just celebrate couples, show some love for your animal companions too!

Cuddles from a cat, devotion from a dog, these gestures are given freely. What’s more, science confirms the benefits to our health, from oxytocin to getting us outdoors more, animals and wildlife deserve some love in return.

Play can be a profound expression of our love especially with active animals, another simple sentiment with theraputic value is to do as Dr. Doolittle and ‘talk to the animals’ (animals are excellent listeners, perfect for confiding in, and the cathartic practise also reassures young, timid or restless animals).

Don’t just love local, love globally!

Romance is but one facet of love, empathy and compassion are equally powerful expressions of the heart. Valentines day is a great catalyst for engaging in acts of love and a springboard for carrying forth its virtues.

There are many causes and communities worth investing your time, talent and funds with—so, to help decide your contribution consider what you are passionate about, your unique talents, and life legacy goals to identify how you can best serve your higher purpose.

With all my love, happy Valentine’s Day!

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Enoughness, how much is enough? Cristina MIttermeier shows her stunning images of indigenous peoples to shine lights on conservation issues and places where healthy ecosystems remain. In 2008, she founded the International League of Conservation Photographers at the 8th World Wilderness Congress in Anchorage, Alaska.

Contentment is long lasting and comes from inside. She defines it as an internal yard stick. Humor is a great way of building enoughness. Her images remind us “that when all the rivers have been dammed, and all the forests have been turned into chopsticks, and when the last wild creature has been hunted for their trophy, we will all be a lot poorer.” Enoughness cuts across cultures.

A conservationist with a camera and a passionate opinion, Cristina Mittermeier has dedicated her career to convince others of the imperative to protect our planet.

Learn more about her work at: www.cristinamittermeier.com

Hilary Rodham Clinton

Hilary Clinton’s memoir Hard Choices (2014, Simon & Schuster) broadens public knowledge and understanding for the role of a Secretary of State in managing crisis, overcoming challenges, and making ‘Hard Choices’. The demands of executive focus are all the more impressive given the urgency and global scale of problem solving, that dominates Hilary’s daily agenda. A deep awareness and decisive action are hallmarks of her character and the two qualities that embody a leader.

Hilary’s ability to manage the physical and mental burden of constant travel, high-stress situations, urgent deadlines and decisions with expansive perspective and swift action are skills of value to us all.

How doe’s Hilary maintain focus and executive processing under high stress situations?

Through this riveting memoir we gleam insight on the two Hallmarks of Hilary:

1. Deep Awareness.

Faced with an influx of daily information, Hilary’s ability to determine which knowledge is worth pursuing based on high-value objectives, efficiently refines her focus. A clear objective makes it easier to attend to the facts and situation at hand—fostering deep awareness that correlates to innovative problem-solving.

2. Decisive Action.

Taking action, always carries risk but leaders like Hilary know that for knowledge to be useful it must be acted upon. Strategic attention strengthens integrated reasoning that encompasses a broader perspective and novel application of key information and proven practises. Courage to embrace change and see failure as an opportunity to learn and improve is the foundation for Hilary’s hallmark for decisive action.

This book makes a wonderful christmas gift for anyone looking to cultivate the virtues of leadership, it reveals the charismatic and courageous vision of Hilary Clinton in first-hand account.

About the Author: Hillary Rodham Clinton served as the US Secretary of State from 2009 to 2013 after nearly four decades in public service as an advocate, attorney, First Lady, and Senator. She is the author of several bestselling books, including her memoir, Living History, and her groundbreaking work on children, It Takes a Village.