Sunday, March 20, 2011

Walking Tightropes

In the Middle East, the fictional country of Ibrimia is on the edge of a revolution. Thirty-seven friends have managed to get the populace of the second largest city upset at the ruling regime. They have convinced the people that they could achieve many of their dreams if their country was a democracy. In this action they are copying the pattern of successful government changes elsewhere. The existing regime considers itself to be generous to a fault in providing free college education and healthcare, and in distributing significant oil revenues to all citizens.
If the activists force out the regime, the stability of oil income might end. While the majority of the population is in favor of democracy and new leadership, there is no agreement as to what alternate group should rule and with what agenda.
While the existing regime does not want to use military might against its own population, it feels that it offers the safest and most secure future for everyone.
What is the best course for each side to take in walking the conflict tightrope toward an improved future?
  • Should the regime announce increased benefits and salary structures?
  • Should the activists hold meetings to elect a "government-in-waiting" that will formulate and announce the people's goals following the ouster of the current regime?
  • Should the regime offer big increases in employment on government-funded public works projects?
  • Should the activists meet openly with government representatives to discuss possible power sharing and reforms of constitutional provisions?
  • Should the regime offer term limits for itself and future governments?
  • Should the activists attempt to split the country and gain international recognition for the part they control?
  • Should the regime risk international condemnation by cutting off financial support and utilities to the part of the country it no longer controls?
  • Should the activists invite outsiders to support their cause?
  • Should the regime cancel the citizenship of the activists and offer citizenship to loyal immigrant workers instead?
  • Should the activists seek an alliance of their part of the country with the neighboring large and stable country?
  • Should the regime threaten the neighboring country with attack if it interferes in Ibrimia's internal affairs?
  • Should representatives of both sides meet secretly to negotiate a mutually acceptable outcome?
  • Should the regime ignore the uprising but ship its wealth overseas just in case the outcome isn't favorable?
If you were leading one side or the other, what would you do or recommend?