POLICY DOCS // 

Trivial thoughts for those on the political Olympus of power and opposition

13.05.2019

Paradigm of the inevitable tomorrow

The tomorrow has always contained delicate hints for the present. There are people, social groups and societies that see, hear and perceive the implicit undertones of the inevitable tomorrow. There are also those that recklessly crash into the vortex of the present, creating new swirls and transforming into a new eddy, without even a glance at the friendly guidance of the future.

In the result, the first type of people, social groups, governments, oppositions and societies act beyond maximalism; they make an effort to avoid taking irrevocable turns; they rely on institutional memory and turn into fine or poor architects of the present that believe that ‘the future is the value added that includes the past’. Therefore, every and each action of today is measured against the vision that change of roles in the future is ineluctable. Every action is determined by considering abstractions, such as “What will happen when I will have to be in your shoes?”. These actions become more inclusive and less fierce, thus earning absolution granted by the future for the future.

For the second type of people, social groups, governments, oppositions and societies the mechanism of measuring the present actions through the perspective of the future is largely non-existent. The more simplistic chain of action-reaction is what defines their actions. Creation of the present resembles an incessant fight against the fears or experiences of the past. What one observes is a breach between the present and the future, characterised by the lack of realization that the future will inevitably demand retribution for each harm, distortion or takeover committed with either intellectual or ideological justification.

People and social groups have similar handwritings. They share similar fallacies. They resemble each other in their openness and aggression. They are alike in their capacities to sense the future within the present. People and social groups have a choice: act with or without the future in mind. However, no choice is available regarding another issue: future is inevitable.

Choice within the political system

The attribute of making mistakes and the state of exalted frenzy that are inherent to any social group, do not bypass political agents, be it the government, the opposition or the political parties. No one can predict who will be the one to give you a hand when you have fallen to prevent your downfall into an abyss. It might be the weakest and the most neglected. Therefore, a hand cut in a meadow, far from the chasm, reduces the probability of salvation at the edge of the abyss. This is what the probability theory indicates.

Cooperation, continuous dialogue, possibly large inclusion: these are the characteristics of the most reasonable choice of rational political agents in awe of the future, and first and foremost, the choice of the interim government.

It is widely accepted that relations between political agents are regulated either by collaborative or competitive models. The latter implies centralization of power, and the government tends to listen only to those that are with them. In contrast, collaborative model is less politicised, and various political entities tend to collaborate in addressing specific issues, in case there are mutually acceptable approaches.

In Armenia it is the competitive model that dominates, and it has always been so. Perhaps one of the key reasons is the fact that there are no sustainable and clear mechanisms of formation of the political elite, whereas this process should be based on well-established political institutions. Political parties have poorly developed political identities and unsteady ideological bases. The parties tend to form around a person, rather than interests or ideologies, with few exceptions.

The government can decide what kind of political relations it wants to build: horizontal or vertical? The current government has often proclaimed that it has adopted the model of horizontal relations, but the reality reveals more of a vertical one.

Moreover, we are witnessing a situation which can be described as ‘extreme legalisation’. Each and every action is evaluated in terms of its correspondence to the written law, and less attention is paid to the essence of the issue. In the result, the public agenda is formed by those who denounce, whereas those that offer a development vision or a conceptual approach to a policy issue appear in the margins. As a consequence, the past consistently wins the battle against the future, and will keep doing so until the future is here.

What then?

Then nothing. The above-mentioned trivial thoughts will not affect the exulting, the self-assured and the saviours. All the ‘others’ can take a moment to silently ponder the transience of appearing on the political Olympus of the government and opposition, and at least revise their next actions in the light of this reflection.

When you are on the Olympus of the government and opposition, when everything around you is in turmoil, when you are at the heart of all these, when you are all strained and have committed yourself to the fullest, and when you cannot get rid of the persisting question: “Why do people become less and less responsive to me working 12-14 hours a day; to all the excellent initiatives; to my honesty; integrity and bright ideas? They even scold me in parks, taxis and social media…”, then it is time to read these trivial thoughts once again. And it is time to remember the poet:

When you win treasures and trophies,

When they adorn you with crowns,

Remember, I enjoyed the glory first

And soil is my sole adornment now.[1]

 

Note: 1 - By Mushegh Ishkhan


The policy brief is elaborated based on the opinions passed by the participants of the off-the-record discussion “The role of political entities in building political consensus: Is collaboration an opportunity or a necessity?”. The discussion, which took place on 6 May, 2019, was attended by independent analysts, government officials, and representatives of international development partners.
The round table was organized with the support of Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung.

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The publication is available only in Armenian.