The articles written during the Conference by the BIMUN Tribune will be posted here.
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22.11.2020 - Day III
WE ARE GOING TO DESTROY THEIR ENTIRE FLEET
War has broken out!
After the horrendous attacks yesterday the British Empire priories getting their military operations together. First of all, they want information about hostages that were taken. Various ideas are being presented which include another round of gunboat diplomacy to get the Chinese answer properly to the demands of the British Empire. EMERGENCY. The Chinese fleet is outside of Hong Kong waiting for the British Empire to take actions. Surprise is spreading…Is it possible that China brings on their entire marine force located on only one place? Is this a logical move? Is this a trap? Or is this only a move to intimidate the British? The time is running fast demanding an answer from the British Empire! Earl Edward Smith-Stanley is screaming out the motto of the entire British Empire:” We are going to destroy their entire fleet!” As an answer the entire British fleet is commanded to Hong Kong, except for one gunship, to immediately engage and sink the Chinese fleets right outside of the city. All diplomatic approaches are trivial. Fast changing events require even faster solutions. The British Empire seems stressed. “We don’t care about the people; we just care about our trade!” Diplomatic relations between the British Empire and China collapsed leading to back-and-forth blackmailing and attacking each other. Despite the ongoing stress situation, the British delegates manage to discuss further steps quickly to not be subjugated by China. Keep it up!
- Jana Döring
Interview with the ExCom:
Karla Angeles and Anna Rieger
This morning I had the chance to get to know better two members of the executive committee, a fundamental pillar of the conference, which is in charge for the whole organization: the President, Karla Angeles and the responsible for Finance and Fundraising, Anna Rieger.
It is not obvious to say that the whole team has tirelessly worked in the last months for a successful outcome of this conference. In the unprecedented circumstances in which we find ourselves nowadays, the difficulties, problems and challenges that needed to be addressed were several, but since they first decided in August that the conference would have taken place online, their work and commitment have been remarkable.
This early decision was reasonably justified by the intention to be prepared for the possibility that big gatherings of people would not have been allowed. Organizing a conference takes time and needs dedication, an online conference needs just as the same or more amount of time, especially to come up with ideas to make it #NotAnOrdinaryOnlineConference. The purpose was to realize something dynamic, innovative, surely different but that could be remarkable in some positive way.
Finance and fundraising are not only about finding sponsors but also and for most about taking care of the different resources needed and the financial aspect of the conference. Of course, the online format of this year has a lower cost, since no venues and catering are necessary, but finding online platforms requests nonetheless an incredible amount of work and dedication. As Karla said, the conference would not have taken place without someone taking care of the whole finance aspect, as well as without all the other departments part of the executive committee.
Events, logistics and participants sector, everyone contributes to the realization of the conference, spreading the word about this great event, making BIMUN/SINUB e.V. known among students and assuring that every delegate, chair and journalist will have a great time and a fruitful debate. Advertising an online conference, as both stated during the interview, can be very challenging as well, but the main goal remained to offer a conference of quality, rather than simply a big event.
Relevant is also to mention how every task has been fulfilled with the help and supervision of the President of the ExCom, that one person that coordinates and unifies the whole team, assuring an efficient communication with the Secretariat. After three days of conference, we can firmly affirm that the whole team has done an incredible job.
Time management is the core element: uni students know well how important studying is, but being involved in an event like this, being able to balance time dedicated to different activities is fundamental.
But what has driven them to join the MUN world?
Both Anna and Karla have first been introduced to MUN through BIMUN/SINUB e.V.. Each semester lecture series and get-togethers are organized, so that students can have the opportunity to learn more about MUN, to get to know other people and deepen their interests in different issues and topics, but most of all to foster debating and communication skills.
They started as BIMUN members and are now active components and pillars of its creation, both of them very proud of what the whole team has accomplished, leading to a successful and positive outcome.
Considering these unprecedented circumstances, the commitment of so many people for the overall organization as well as the dedication of all the delegates to have a fruitful debate, may not be undervalued. The best memory for both Karla and Anna will exactly be this: students from the most different countries getting together, even though online, working, learning and having fun.
The social events of the last two nights will surely confirm it, and probably also all those who had the unique chance to witness our executive committee goofing around in the “Welcome Lobby” while trying to take a picture right before the social started, not noticing that about 60 people were watching their broadcast, will confirm that entertainment has always been on the agenda.
As I said, many reasons will make this conference remarkable and surely, not ordinary at all.
- Greta Fantoni
All you need to know about NATO’s Deterrence by Denial
Admittedly the core concern of the current NATO meeting on space policies is how to ensure a secure and firm resilience when it comes to space wars. ‘Deterrence by denial’ is reportedly a phrase that you’d hear every half a minute while virtually walking through the lobbies of the committee, it comes just after the word ‘NATO’ in frequency. But, what does this actually mean?
When it comes to ‘Deterrence Strategies’ to be employed in space defense, NATO seemed to be stuck between two approaches: Punishment, and Denial. As evident from the name, ‘deterrence by punishment’ is a form of a positive aggressive approach where attacked parties respond through an equal and opposite force of aggression; indeed, an action and a reaction. The less obvious approach of denial aims to deny the enemy the benefits of the element of surprise; in other words, a possible sudden attack would not hinder the attacked parties from functioning and communicating, and responding responsibly. This can be done, for instance, by having a backup network of satellites.
While the former approach seems to be more secure and firm, it can however easily invoke a war of mutual attacks. Unlike most attacks within the boundaries of the atmosphere, a simple destruction of one satellite is virtually uncleanable; the debris can last for decades before it burns or falls down to Earth, and with it the route to space for future launches is blocked. Something that most of the delegates rightly so did not desire, except for a handful who seemed to ‘not feel the gravity’ of the situation.
As sessions went on, the more peaceful approach became the norm. Deterrence by denial seems to be the way NATO wants to handle its space operations from now. There are still, however, some delegates who keep threatening to exploit the consensus-nature of NATO. Some delegates just love to see the world, space included, on fire.
- Pavly Nashed
UNSCW: ALLIANCES HERE, ALLIANCES THERE…
Creating a solution to a problem is not an easy task, especially when the problem involves other important factors such as Covid-19 health measures. Many ideas and possible solutions have been discussed by the delegates passionately. As the moderate debate kept unraveling, the different opinions began to show. In the moderate debate, it was suggested that the steps that needed to be taken to solve the problem were many including a good education, financing the support, offer good access to electrical devices in the rural areas, shelters that help to protect the victims, and many other more. Even though the delegates chase the same goal, not all delegates can agree on which ways they would like to move forward. At the end of the first session, the positions of the present delegations were clear and the way they wanted to proceed as well.
That´s why before the beginning of the next session the delegates decided to form alliances between countries to present the document where each alliance established the main points to their solutions, and why they thought that this was the best way to approach this problem. One of the alliances that were made during the sessions were: Japan, Mexico, Niger, Congo, Brazil, Switzerland, Kenia, Bangladesh, Nicaragua, Rep. Korea, Cuba, Germany. The other alliance is made of: Iraq, International amnesty, Saudi Arabia, Australia, Israel, Somalia, Estonia y Malaysia. Finally, the other alliance was: Bahrain, Colombia, and the United States.
Later there was an unmoderated debate between some alliances, the points the countries had been discussing had a lot of similarities between the solutions so another alliance was been discussed. At one point the delegation of Chile and Kenya were debating whether if it would be a good option to have physical support for the victims, as it wasn´t been considered that some would not have the access to it. Other delegations have discussed the same issue throughout the sessions. The incorporation of women in all areas is a key point that delegations are taking into account so that they can reach an agreement. Cooperation and dialogue have proven once again that they are key elements for conflict resolution, and as delegates, everyone should remember that they are seeking the same goal.
- Angélica Marisol Villarreal D.
The highs and lows of war
Success! Rumours within the Imperial court have stated that our most recent military actions have been successful. From what my sources tell me, out boys have executed successful military campaigns in many cities, putting the British back in their plans to spread opium across our great nation. We have even managed to make some of the high command of British our captives.
However, disaster seemed to strike almost instantly. The British attacked our fleet of junks at Hong Kong, putting more despair within the cabinet. Our fleet was decimated, and the Imperial Court needed to come up with solutions fast. Our imperial high command quickly managed to outsmart the British and commence a quick retreat. However, that did not matter. Our entire fleet was destroyed due to the slow response by our cabinet. On top of that, more of the British troops seemed to approach one of our cities. As the lunch break creeped ever closer, the stress within the cabinet became more and more palpable. The stress within the cabinet made cause for some delays, as panic seemed to go through our ranks. As the end of the first debate approached, our mission was clear. We needed to attack the port of Canton, to end hostilities with the Taiping Rebellion and to destroy the filthy British merchant vessels.
Our hope now lies in our potential allies. The Joseon dynasty of Korea seemed willing to want to coordinate. With this good news, our Chinese cabinet started with a counterattack on the British. Their first action of importance was the retaking of the city of Canton, which with the aid of reinforcements from Korea, we could take easily.
As the coffee break ended, the good news kept coming in. Canton was taken, a French invasion repelled and as the day seemed to progress it seemed like our gods were smiling upon us. However, gods can be cruel as the British seemed to relentlessly assault Canton and the Taku Fort. Our delegates hurried to make battle plans to create a counterattack. But as they were making their plans, The British seemed to conspire with the Americans.
As the days continued, it seemed the gods were against us. Everything that could go wrong, went wrong.
- Olivier Van Poppel
Does the UNCCD succeed in overcoming their differences?
With the time pressure of the deadline, yesterday’s discussions emerging again, funding yet to be discussed and voting, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) had an interesting day – to say the least – to look forward to. Funding would be definitely the hardest hurdle to tackle, which essentially is almost a tradition being upheld by any organization. Though, the committee’s third working paper, which is the merger of each’s bloc first draft document, shows the UNCCD clearly has made a lot of progress.
Yet once in debate another issue seemed to appear. Which country gets to slap their name on this resolution? The otherwise very content oriented discussions in the UNCCD committee shifted to debating on sponsorship. Starting from eight original sponsors it was difficult to choose who was going to stay and who was not. Quite soon in the debate the delegate of Brazil opted out of sponsorship out of their own will. Both the delegate of Sudan and the delegate of Australia followed. Someone also mentioned that since the topic – Migration & desertification in West Africa: Fighting Drought for a Better Future – is about Africa, African countries should have priority on the sponsorship list yet that was countered by the fact that the UNCCD is a cooperation between countries all over the world and the sponsor should reflect that. Eventually the five sponsors were chosen, with Germany as the only non-African country.
However soon debate shifted once again, this time to content oriented topics – as we got used from this committee – such as biodiversity. A highly interesting topic that could have resulted into fruitful debate if there had been more time. Though an interesting quote was “as Saudi Arabia's delegate said, 'there is no biodiversity without water' and we would add to that statement 'and there is no economic prosperity without oil'” from the delegate of Ghana. Migration is another topic that has been sadly almost completely neglected in debate due to lack of time or perhaps delegates did it to avoid heated discussions, which would be shame.
Generally, we conclude that this committee eventually succeeded in overcoming their differences. As the delegation of Germany summarized: “We are so pleased with the productive spirit and the level of cooperation in our committee today. After the constrained debate of yesterday, we’re happy that peace has returned and that all delegates are on board with the document we’ve been working on together”.
Although we can notice that African countries have slightly more reservations on their satisfaction with latest developments, as Ghana’s conclusion suggest: “Overall, the delegate feels much more positive and comfortable with the resolution on the table at this moment. We are aware of several amendments that are intended to be introduce and look forward to a more substantive and detail centered debate to occur later this afternoon. With regards to specific delegations, we wish to comment on, we would like to mention both Brazil's and Mauritania's great efforts and continued passion in committee today and were happy to see that the European powers took to heart the issues of yesterday and approached the table more constructively today”.
- Lorencia Poçi
NATO and Elon Musk: Love from first satellite
On their journey through the jungles of self-development, NATO seemed to be stuck in the lake (or, lack) of trust. With the memories of war still haunting some of the delegates, they found themselves reluctant to give in to possible beneficial co-operations with entities extending beyond the meeting. These commitment issues were carefully tackled by the other member countries who opened their arms wide for peace. Or, as the Polish delegate called it, the ‘let’s all hold hands together’ approach.
Slowly, but steadily, the possibility of cooperating with Major Non-NATO Allies (MNNA) rose to the surface. It was a bumpy road for the committee, that goes without saying, but now they seem to be more open for exchange and co-operation. As is always the case, the delegate of the United States wanted to use their ‘naughty list’ of countries to cut off some from the MNNA. The frustrated delegates of the committee clearly cannot wait until the Biden administration is in power, with the delegate of Norway reportedly reminding the USA delegate that ‘all countries matter.’
However, what seemed to use up even more time and attention of the present delegates is the adoption of a framework of co-operation with the private sector. Pretty close to the Jedi’s privately-formed army of clones, following on the step of their idols, NATO started to consider how to harvest the powers of the private companies for the strengthening of their space domain. However, with an elaborate two-layer security screening, the private sector has a long way to go for such an integration.
It should be noted that it is not clear yet in what ways the technology developed by the private sector will be deployed for the NATO as a whole, which admittedly does not have space assets of its own to begin with. Words in the street is that Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX, promised each delegate a Tesla car by the end of the conference if they include this point in their communiqué.
- Pavly Nashed
My First MUN Ever
This weekend, I faced a new challenge; I participated in my first MUN. On the 2nd of November, I was thrilled when I learned that my application was successful. Surprisingly, I heard about MUN for the first time only a few months ago. I thought that these events must be extremely enriching. Therefore, when I saw the BIMUN/SINUB event on social media at 1am, I directly applied without any hesitation… And I am glad that I did.
These past three days have been full of surprises. Being a journalist, I had the opportunity to meet the guest speakers, to visit a few committees and to observe the course of the conference. I was especially surprised by the participants’ professionalism. Although we are all students, the delegates and chairs all took their role seriously. They seemed confident and eager to defend their positions. Participants were also very respectful and listened to each other’s opinions. It is astonishing to observe how young adults can be polite, while some real-life Presidents cannot stop interrupting other candidates during official debates. These political leaders should definitely learn the right behavior to adopt from youths at the BIMUN/SINUB conference.
The conference being online, making new friends was quite challenging. Nevertheless, I am certain that in real life, MUNs also permit participants to make lifelong friendships and build an international network. Indeed, I noticed that some bubbles already existed. For instance, most students who are part of KULMUN, EUROMUN, and BIMUN/SINUB seem to all know each other. Nevertheless, they are still very keen on meeting new people.
I am truly satisfied with this first experience. This weekend made me meet students with similar interests and interview an inspiring guest. I also learned a lot about the topics of this conference. I am already looking forward to the next MUN, and I hope that the upcoming conferences will take place in real-life. Until then, we should continue to believe in our dreams and make the world a better place! Take care.
Is Corona debating a way to be?
With the coronavirus safety protocols it was only a question of time when all the plenaries and debates of international and intergovernmental organisations were going to move online. For their organizers, the duty of care was the key - providing the employees and political representatives with a safe working environment. But isn’t it true that only in-person you can feel the temperature of heated debates, the perennial evil of politics and observe the moral evaluation of political power?
The European Parliament cancelled all in-person meetings until the end of November, with exceptions. In the United Nations, the General Assembly adopted a special decision-making procedure on remote electronic voting in case of another COVID-19 induced lockdown. Under these circumstances, politics turns into business meetings where motions, draft resolutions and decisions have to be passed effectively. Enough of interrupting your rebuttalists and obliterating the sequence of speakers. Secrets behind-the-scenes negotiations and bets must eventually come to an end. Home office is the place to be for all mortals, even for astute high-ranked politicians.
I was deeply sceptical about the feasibility of MUN video-chatting. Entering the Gatherly virtual rooms lacked the glamour of offline conferences where you had to shine in your western business attire and break in your high-heeled shoes; cautiously walk down the parliamentary auditoriums. Pants-less incidents, pyjama trousers and other loose garments do not shock anymore during the virtual conferences. In these uncertain times, the question then arises - is debating from home just lounging or is it an attractive alternative to real-life MUNs hereafter?
To my surprise, the delegates fearlessly controlled their online narratives, attentive to chairs’ remarks and commands. With their broadcasts on chairs followed raised hands instead of placards and manoeuvred the general speakers list. Less spectacular than offline, yet fruitful in endless moderated caucuses and changes in working papers, the debates in committees also thrived thanks to the draconian application of rules of procedure. All chairs agreed on zero tolerance rules for time extensions, misuse of personal pronouns and greeting phrases.
Having navigated the corona MUN, I can appraise the remote debates as improved full-scale replicas. Less amical, yet sharp and to the point. The BIMUN/SINUB format proved to be effective thanks to its procedural formality and multilateral engagement.
- Julia Perendyk
NATO Chair: ‘Space Wins Wars’
Walking around through the virtual lobbies of the NATO floor, a flickering blue bubble of 2 seemed inviting. I excitedly clicked on it, seeing my black cursor moving on the map, before two familiar voices warmly welcomed me to join them. The honourable chairpersons of NATO, Mr. Kean Ooi and Ms. Liz Chang, were waiting for the delegates to finish their unmoderated caucus. A perfect setting for me to introduce questions that were running in my head the past couple of days while observing the committee in action.
Since deterrence was holding up a large portion of the discussions in the committee, it had to be my first question. On that matter, Mr. Ooi explained that while deterrence is indeed an important topic and had its worth of time, the delegates seemed to treat the two approaches of deterrence (denial, and punishment) exclusively, while they can, in fact, co-exist; a country can deny the benefits of the first strike while still be able to restrike. Both chairs agreed that the NATO delegations still have to tackle a proper space defense mechanism, with Ms. Chang affirming that it is a vastly technical topic with a need for a clear understanding of the legal aspects of the Outer Space Treaty.
That got us to the next eager question, why do they think that this topic is of large significance to NATO? Why would they choose it? Mr. Ooi, who is admittedly fascinated by the capabilities and the potential of the space domain, replied assertively: ‘Space wins wars.’ He followed up by explaining to me how the gulf war is considered to be the first space war, where while the Iraqi Army was very much in proportion in terms of number to the U.S. Armed Forces, they barely caused any injuries. Mostly thanks to the technological, overarching space powers of the U.S. at the time that gave them an immense surveillance capability. Or, as he preferred to call them, the ‘Force Multipliers,’ which although are not a direct part of the war, they significantly multiply the efficiency of the Earth-bounded forces.
To the same question, Ms. Chang adopted the legal and social perspectives of the matter. She affirmed that even if there are no military powers in space, space is nevertheless a key player when it comes to communication, with vital roles in our everyday lives. NATO realizing the importance of this, along with the obsoleteness of the Outer Space Treaty, which Ms. Chang considered it to be not much more than ‘a pinky promise that I am not going to do that,’ they had to rebuild it firmly to accommodate to the changes of the past half a century.
What both, Mr. Ooi and Ms. Chang, are trying to achieve here is no trivial task, but they seemed to be confident walking with steady steps to lead a tough committee like NATO into ensuring peace and security hundreds of kilometers above sea level.
- Pavly Nashed
In a galaxy far, far away... a communiqué has failed!
While walking with a Dark Force Meter on the floor of NATO, one could easily sense the fluctuations of the needle. The Force wasn’t balanced, and most delegates wore their hearts on their sleeves in fear that a couple of delegates may exploit the consensus condition of NATO to jeopardize the 3-day effort. The fate of the communiqué was hanging.
One of the lead opposing parties to the communiqué was the delegate of the United States who found international cooperation with allies to be of possible danger to the country’s security and interests. When asked about his unusual stances of opposing the USA, the delegate of the United Kingdom replied that cooperation is essential in this matter, affirming that NATO ‘cannot achieve space security on its own,’ and so he is trying to be the bridge between the USA and the other countries. ‘Resolving to violence will go against our own values as a country, and the interests of our future generations,’ added the honourable delegate.
Having also voted against the communiqué, the delegate of Poland asserted that offense capacities in space are a must for NATO, reiterating the USA delegate’s statement that ‘it is too late for deterrence by denial.’ Conversely however, he agreed that cooperation in space is important. Although having had his shares of threats of sanctions by the USA delegate, and threatening back to cut the countries’ relations, the delegate of Turkey had also voted against the communiqué.
With the consensus condition of NATO, the communiqué had failed. ‘Individual member states have chosen to act and speak against basic NATO policies,’ conjectured the delegate of Iceland. However, according to her, ‘scheduling another committee session on the topic of the amendment or replacement of the outer space treaty’ are possible means to find future common grounds for the organization.
Sadly, the future of the space domain is currently a bit vague. However, remembering Master Yoda’s wisdom, ‘the greatest teacher, failure is.’ With all hopes, NATO delegates will learn from this conference, and will be able to find a common ground for future space peace.
- Pavly Nashed