An Application of the PrOACT Process in Decision-Making

This work is not to be copied by anyone without prior notification to me because it is protected by copyright. If you don’t comply, I will sue you and ask for a fine of 1 billion dollars (lolll). Anyway, you won’t probably read it, but if you will, have fun and learn from it. I did this as homework in one class; it was fun and that’s why I publish it on my blog. I applied the PrOACT method, a process for making effective decisions, found in the book Smart Choice written by John S. Hammond et al.


During the 12 January 2010 earthquake in Haiti, more than 220,000 people died [2], and thousands of building collapsed. Most of Haiti’s buildings were made of reinforced concrete (RC), and a few were made of timber and steel. The RC structures were the most damaged while the few steel and timber structures performed better. This performance gap has created a stigma among construction materials, and many Haitians think that RC is not an adequate material for seismic resistance while timber and steel are more resistant. It is not true because seismic resistance depends more on design than material, but many people still believe it. This incomprehension surely impacts their decisions on material choice when constructing.

It must not be forgotten also that before RC was introduced in Haiti in 1914 [3], timber structures had been widespread and highly desired. However, their susceptibility to fire had led to their abandonment in the construction field during the 1920s [3]. The timber structures also have lower resistance to hurricane, and this had led to high economical loss because hurricane is frequent in Haiti. So, RC had taken over timber because it provides greater stiffness, greater resistance to hurricane and lower susceptibility to fire.

Thus, a shift in preference of construction materials has been observed at least twice in Haiti’s history: RC took over timber in 1925, but nowadays many Haitians dislike RC because they believe it is dangerous regarding earthquake. Thus, many Haitian citizens willing to build are concerned and are facing this dilemma: What material should I use to build a resilient and satisfactory structure? To help solve this dilemma, it is supposed that Marc, a Haitian citizen, is constructing his home, and the method of PrOACT presented in the book “Smart Choice” will be applied to make a choice.

Description and Application of PrOACT

PrOACT is an acronym for problem, objective, alternative, consequence and trade-off. It represents 5 steps through which a smart choice may be done as presented in the book “Smart Choice Choice” written by John S. et Al. The process does not tell what to choose but it shows compellingly how to do an effective choice. As presented, an effective choice should satisfy these criteria: focus on the most important factors; should be logical and consistent; account for tangible and intangible factors; uses enough information; uses relevant information and reliable opinion; is straightforward and flexible.

Step 1: Problem

The problem definition is the first step, and it is where the problem is explicitly defined. It is crucial because if it is done wrongly, it will affect all the other steps, and thus could lead to ineffective decisions. According to John S. et Al., a consideration should also be given to the trigger event – the reason why there is a dilemma or why the problem exists. In the case of Marc constructing his house in Haiti, the trigger event that has caused discomfort in undertaking his project was the 2010 earthquake. Before 2010, there was not too much concern on building vulnerability. But Marc witnessed lots of collapsed buildings during the 2010 earthquake and became aware of the high risk he will entail if his house is not earthquake resistant. So, he defines his a priori problem as follows: How can I build an earthquake-resistant home?

However, going further in the book, it is suggested to not narrow the problem definition too much because it could lead to unsatisfactory solutions. In fact, Marc defined the a priori problem as such because the trigger event was the 2010 earthquake, but this definition is lazy, obvious and incomplete. The concerns when constructing are not only about earthquake but also about other extreme forces such as hurricane and fire. In addition, the economic aspect and the intangible factors should not be neglected. So, Marc comes up with the following broad problem definition: how can I build a resilient and satisfactory building at the lowest cost? The term resilient encompasses all types of natural disasters, and satisfactory encompasses the intangible factors that Marc may consider.


Step 2: Objectives

In this step, the objectives and sub-objectives will be defined. While the problem definition was broad, the objectives are more specific. They are a list of goals, expectations, and needs that should be fulfilled at their best to have an effective solution. In the case of Marc, his objectives are divided into two broad categories: the tangibles, and the intangibles. The tangible objectives are maximizing resistance to earthquake, maximizing resistance to hurricane, maximizing resistance to fire and minimizing cost. The intangible factors are minimizing anxiety and maximizing self-satisfaction. The objectives and sub-objectives are summarized in Table 1.

Objectives Sub-objectives
Maximize Resistance to Earthquake Maximize ductility
Suitability to add Lateral Resistance System
Maximize Resistance to Hurricane Maximize Stiffness
Maximize Resistance to Fire Include Fire Detector
Prioritize Less Flammable Material
Minimize Cost Minimize Construction Cost
Minimize Rehabilitation Cost
Minimize Anxiety  Fear of Collapsing
Psychology Consultation
Self-Satisfaction Architecture
How Common Is It?

Table 1- Objectives and Sub-Objectives

Objectives 1: Maximizing Resistance to Earthquake
This objective is one of the most important because it directly addresses the problem raised by the trigger event, which is to address the seismic resistance. To fulfill this, Marc considers 3 sub-objectives based on his knowledge of construction practices. First, he wants to maximize the structure ductility so that it can undergo large plastic deformation. Second Marc considers the ability or difficulty to add lateral resistance systems. This sub-objective is important because Marc feels that different structures have different ability to receive lateral resistance systems. For example, it may be more appropriate to add X or V braces to a steel and timber structure than a RC structure. RC structures can more easily take shear walls and moment resisting frames which would require more sophisticated design details.

Objectives 2: Maximizing Resistance to Hurricane
This objective is important to fulfill because Haiti is in the Caribbean and is frequently hit by hurricane. To fulfill this goal, Marc wants to maximize his house stiffness so that it can withstand the winds load. The lateral resisting system which serves for Objective 1 is also important for Objective 2 because wind loads are horizontal, and structures need to be braced to withstand them.

 Objectives 3: Maximizing Resistance to Fire
Resistance to fire has always been a concern in Haiti. In the 1920s, wood was no longer used in the construction field because of its fire susceptibility [3]. So, to fulfil this goal, Marc considers adding a fire detector in his house, and to prioritize less flammable materials.

Objectives 4: Minimize Cost
Since Marc is not a wealthy man, he wants to minimize the cost of his house. To do so, he plans to minimize the construction cost and the rehabilitation cost.

 Objectives 5: Minimize Anxiety
Many Haitians, including Marc, are traumatized by the chaos observed during the 2010 earthquake and are anxious when they are inside a building. Even if the building is properly designed, the anxiety is still present because the trauma is deep. Since the RC structures were the most damaged, the anxiety is greater for them also. To cope with this, Marc include a sub-objective called fear of collapsing. Marc also include a psychology counseling sub-objective because he thinks that for some of his alternatives, he may need counseling to help him cope with anxiety.

 Objectives 6: Self Satisfaction
Considering all, Marc want also to be satisfied about his choice because he has some preferences. Marc likes some specific type of architecture (especially timber) more than others. Marc also would enjoy having his house as uncommon as possible.

Step 3: Alternatives

In this step, the alternatives will be defined. As John S. et Al. wrote: “alternatives are the raw material of decision making. They represent the range of potential choices you’ll have for pursuing your objectives.” Marc could define his alternatives based on many factors. For example, he could consider the size and location of the house, but he has some constraints. Marc’s wife is very demanding, and she has already chosen the size and location of the house. This could be an “assumed constraint”, but Marc would rather go to hell instead of rejecting his wife’s choices. So, the size and location are “real constraint” for Marc and are already fixed.

However, Marc has more power in choosing the material and structure type for the house. In Haiti, RC frame, timber frame, steel frame and masonry bearing walls systems are used in the construction field, and they can be considered as 4 alternatives. Each of them has different influence on Marc’s objectives. But before choosing, Marc needs to evaluate their consequences.

Step 4: Consequences

As described by John S. et Al., the consequences step aims to “compare the merits of the competing alternatives, assessing how well each satisfies your fundamental objectives.” To do so, a consequence table is made in Table 2.

Sub-objectives RC Timber Steel Masonry
Maximize ductility Poor Fair Great Poor
Suitability to add Lateral Resistance System Fair Great Great Fair
Maximize Resistance to Hurricane Great Poor Fair Great
Suitability to Include Fire Detector Great Great Great Great
Prioritize Less Flammable Material Great Poor Fair Great
Minimize Construction Cost Great Fair Fair Great
Minimize Rehabilitation Cost Great Fair Fair Great
 Minimize Fear of Collapsing Fair Great Great Poor
Minimize Psychology Consultation Fair Great Great Poor
Enjoying Architecture Poor Great Poor Poor
How rare Is this type of structure? Fair Great Fair Fair

Table 2- Alternatives and Consequences

Step 5: Trade-Offs

Marc has evaluated each alternative, but he still cannot choose because he must compare them. Some the objectives are conflicting, so Marc needs to make a trade-off analysis to make an effective choice. As written by John S. et Al trade-off is the process where “you need to give up something on one objective to achieve more in terms of another.”

To begin the trade-off, all the sub-objectives are weighted on a scale from 1 to 10. The score 1 is given when the objective is not too important, and 10 when it is highly important to Marc. Furthermore, the qualitative scores of the alternatives are quantified: a score of 1 is given to “poor”, 2 is attributed to “fair”, and 3 to “great”. These values reflect Marc’s preferences and enable him to calculate a total score for each alternative without applying the Even Swap Method. Table 3 gives the weight of each objectives and the scores for each alternative. As can be seen, the best option for Marc is timber, the second is steel, the third is RC, and the last is masonry.

Sub-objectives Weight RC Timber Steel Masonry
Maximize ductility 9 1 2 3 1
Suitability to add Lateral Resistance System 9 2 3 3 2
Maximize Resistance to Hurricane 8 3 1 2 3
Suitability to Include Fire Detector 5 3 3 3 3
Prioritize Less Flammable Material 5 3 1 2 3
Minimize Construction Cost 7 3 2 2 3
Minimize Rehabilitation Cost 5 3 2 2 3
 Minimize Fear of Collapsing 9 2 3 3 1
Minimize Psychology Consultation 5 2 3 3 1
Enjoying Architecture 10 1 3 1 1
How rare Is this type of structure? 10 2 3 2 2
Total Score 175 199 191 161

Table 3- Quantification of Alternatives Evaluation

Discussion and Conclusion

The Even Swap method was not applied because all the alternatives have a quantified score, and all the objectives have a weight. Marc came up with these scores by carefully comparing all the objectives with each other. However, if Marc would like to proceed with the Even Swap method, he could have probably removed the masonry alternative because it is dominated by the RC alternative. In addition, the “Suitability to Include Fire Detector” objective could also be removed because it has the same value for each alternative.

            Another aspect of Marc’s analysis is the non-consideration of uncertainty. Natural disasters are very uncertain in intensity and occurrence, but the uncertainty would be the same for all Marc’s alternatives if all the designs of the timber, RC, steel and masonry buildings are adequate. So, Marc feels satisfied and will design his house in timber.


  • Hammond, John S. et Al. Smart Choices. Harvard Business Review Press. Kindle Edition.”
  • EERI Special Earthquake Report. The Mw 7.0 Haiti Earthquake of January 12, 2010: Report #2, May 2010. Learning from Earthquakes, EERI.
  • Randolph L., Stephen K., Patrick S., Kevin R., Martin H., Olsen J. Preserving Haiti’s Gingerbread Houses. World Monuments Fund, 2010.



My predictions on Multilateralism in 2069

In today’s world, International Organizations (IO) are facing great challenges in exercising their authority due to the threat they represent to states’ sovereignty. States always feel undermined when IOs meddle in their internal affairs and often compete with them to exercise greater influence in their decision-makings. As a result, there are still no strong multilateral institutions to deter them from abusing their power. Dictators can freely act on a whim to repress or kill their dissidents without facing prosecution. For instance, François Duvalier along with many other world’s dictators never faced international prosecution for the tragedies they caused in their countries. These are the result of a world with weak IOs.

The lack of strong multilateral institutions also allows states to freely attack and invade others as they want. For instance, the US invaded Iraq in 2003 even though the UN opposed its decision; Muammar Qaddafi, the former Libyan autocrat, was never legally punished despite his implication in multiple terrorist attacks. These happened because there is not enough cooperation among countries to empower international institutions and to punish abusing states or head of states.

In this anarchy, the world’s peace is preserved only due to “Hegemonic Stability”. According to this theory, the world is in peace if there is an hegemon to rule it. Indeed, since after the Cold War, the US has emerged as the World’s hegemon after defeating the Soviet Union. Due to its superior military power, the US deters other states from disrupting the international system and sometimes from repressing their own people. For instance, after Qaddafi’s bombing of The La Belle Disco in Germany, the US retaliated by bombing two cities in Libya (Sara Obeidat). The US also meddles in many countries’ affair for the sake of preserving peace. For instance, Jean Bertrand Aristide, the president of Haiti, was forced by the US to resign in 2004 after months of political violence. These actions have deterred many presidents from abusing.

             However, 50 years from now, the situation will be different. Cooperation between countries will be the most effective solution to maintain peace in the world for two reasons: Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) will be more available, and there will no hegemon. Despite many efforts to reduce proliferation of WMDs, advancement in technology will make them more accessible in the future. On top of that, countries will be more capable economically to acquire these weapons. According to some predictions, there will be more sophisticated nuclear weapons and less barriers to their acquisition by 2030 (John P. Caves: 4). The US will thus be less dominant because multiple other countries will be militarily as powerful. China, which have the largest population, is already expected to reach American military’s level by 2050 (Alex Ward). India also is modernizing and investing more in its army (The Economic Time). Therefore, by 2069, the gap between military Powers will be reduced, and the world will be multipolar with multiple countries in different regions having similar military strength. There will thus be no “Hegemonic Stability”, and the only way to maintain peace will be to increase cooperation. This can be called an “International Contract” whereby states wittingly reduce their sovereignty to obtain protection from empowered multilateral institutions.

Economic growth and reduction of inequality may also increase cooperation among countries. States typically prefer win-win cooperation, which can be more easily fulfilled by cooperating with economically stable countries. According to the theory of “Catch-Up Effect” or “Economic Convergence”, poorer economies grow faster than the wealthiest. As can be seen in the graph below: many underdeveloped countries including Guinea, Ethiopia, Ghana, and Nepal, are among the top 20 countries with greater GDP growth, which is consistent to the “Catch Up” theory. If this trend persists until 2069, poorer countries will catch up, and inequality among people will be reduced. Thus, countries will be less hesitant to engage in economic integration with one another.


The UN in 2069
In the context where states compromise their sovereignty for security, the UN may become more powerful. Currently, the UN is composed of five main organs: the General Assembly, the Security Council, the International Court of Justice, the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), and the Secretariat. By 2069, the structures of these organs may change to accommodate with the new nature of multilateralism aforementioned. To start with, the General Assembly, which is composed of all UN member states will not have substantial changes. No new emerged countries will feel discriminated against with the General Assembly’s structure where each member state has an equal right. So will be the case of the UN Secretariat and the ECOSOC which does not have direct impact on the UN’s policies. However, the Security Council and the International Court of Justice will have substantial changes.

The Security Council’s mission is to maintain peace and security in the World by voting binding resolutions, by using force, and by imposing sanctions on abusing states. It is composed of 15 members and 5 of them are permanent. Its structure is a subject of controversy due the permanent veto power it gives to only 5 members: the United States, France, China, Russia, and the United Kingdom. Yet, Japan, Brazil, Germany, and India have already started their advocacy to become permanent members of the Security Council (Jean-d’Amour K.: 1). In fact, the 5 actual members which have veto power are not the 5 most powerful countries. As new countries are emerging, the controversy surrounding the veto power will become more intense. Perhaps, more countries will obtain permanent veto power, but this will make it more difficult to reach consensus. As a result, the UN will not be able to intervene where it is necessary to resolve some world’s security problems. This happened with the League of Nations who became ineffective partly because it gave veto right to all of its members. In sum, the veto power will become inefficient, and the majority rule in decision-makings will be more relevant in the UN Security Council and may probably replace it.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ), which has the mission to resolve disputes among States, will gain tremendous power by 2069. Currently the ICJ is facing numerous issues:  Member States, due to their untouchable sovereignties, have the right to reject the ICJ’s jurisdiction (S. Gozie Ogbodo: 15); the Security Council’s permanent members also have veto power over the ICJ’s decisions. This was observed in 1986 when the US vetoed the ICJ’s judgement after Nicaragua sued it for launching attacks on its territory. These have showed the ineffectiveness of the ICJ, which has left many people skeptical about its future.

However, as mentioned above, by 2069 more countries will compromise their sovereignty in exchange for security, and the veto power will be obsolete. These will enable the ICJ to gain strength. First, by reducing their sovereignty, States will more likely accept the ICJ’s jurisdiction to protect themselves. In fact, if the ICJ remains weak, there will be no punishment for violating states, and the World’s security will not be preserved. Second, if Veto power is abolished, the Court will be able to enforce its recommendations without facing opposition from the Security Council.

With a powerful ICJ, the UN immunity, which protects it from being held accountable, will be challenged. Currently, the UN is denying its responsibility in many abuses of its Peacekeeping missions. In Haiti for instance, the United Nation’s Mission for Haiti’s Stabilization (Minustah), which had been established after Aristide’s ouster in 2004, brought the virus of cholera in Haiti in 2010 via the Nepalian peacekeepers which were contaminated (Mara Pillinger: 1). The year of 2010 had already been the most tragic one in Haiti’s entire history because of the earthquake’s devastations, and Minustah exacerbated it by sparking a terrible cholera outbreak. More than 8,000 Haitians lost their lives and roughly 1 million were contaminated (Mara Pillinger: 1), but the UN has never acknowledged its responsibility and has never provided compensations.

If denying responsibilities is possible now, it will not be the case in 2069. As states will rely their security more on the UN, the necessity of accountability will increase. Activists have already started to pressure the UN on that account.  The UN typically replies by denying its responsibility, which is in fact a good sign. According to the Spiral Model (Risse, T.: 8), the stage of Denial regarding a Human Right reflects that states at least acknowledge the validity of the claims. Similarly, if the UN denies its implications, it also acknowledges the wrong-doings. Professor Alex Whiting at Harvard also mentioned that by saying that the UN’s immunity does not make it ignore the problems it is causing (Anna Schecter). So with more pressure, the UN may shift from denial to making concessions and becoming more accountable.


By 2069, the nature of multilateralism will change tremendously. Due to general economic progress and proliferation of WMDs, no country will detain hegemonic power. China is expected to be as powerful as the US militarily, and other countries are making progress in their military too. The World will more likely become multipolar with many multiple Powers in different regions.  So, the World’s peace will not be assured by hegemonic stability but by increasing cooperation among countries. With this new nature of multilateralism, the UN will have substantial changes. The veto power in the Security Council may become ineffective. Many new emerged countries may obtain permanent veto power, which will render the UN less responsive to the World’s problems. However, the ICJ may gain strength. As countries will rely more on the UN for security, they will more likely accept its jurisdiction.  The UN may also become more accountable. With more powerful International Organizations, people will pressure them more to acknowledge their wrong-doings.


Mara Pillinger, Ian Hurd, and Michael N. Barnett, How to Get Away with Cholera : The UN,

Haiti, and International Law. March 2016.

Alex Ward. China’s military power could match America’s by 2050.  Vox. November 14, 2018.

The Economic Time. Significant steps towards modernization of armed forces, but challenges remain. January 05, 2019.

John P. Caves, Jr., and W. Seth Carus, The Future of Weapons of Mass Destruction: Their Nature and Role in 2030.

Sara Obeidat. Muammar Qaddafi and Libya’s Legacy of Terrorism. PBS. October 13th, 2015.

Jean-d’Amour K. Twibanire, The United Nations Security Council: Imbalance of Power and the Need for Reform, International Journal of Political Science & Diplomacy, 2016.

The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica, League of Nations, International Organization, Mar 7, 2019 .

Gozie Ogbodo, An Overview of the Challenges Facing the International Court of Justice in the 21st Century. Volume 18. 2012.

Anna Schecter, Why can’t anyone sue the United Nations? NBC News. September 26, 2013.

Risse, T., Ropp, S., & Sikkink, K. (Eds.). (2013). The Persistent Power of Human Rights: From Commitment to Compliance (Cambridge Studies in International Relations). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Juan Pedro Schmid. Development Challenges: Is the Caribbean losing out? Inter -American Development Bank, 2018.

Alex Harris. Hurricanes of the future may look a lot like Harvey — stronger, slower, much wetter. Miami Herald, May 24, 2018.

BBC. Caricom heads discuss CSME. July 04, 2005.



Policy Memo to Jovenel Moiseo

To: President Jovenel Moise
From: Marc-Ansy Laguerre
Subject: Vote at the OAS regarding Venezuela’s President’s legitimacy
Date: January 4th, 2019

During the OAS Permanent Council’s meeting that will be held on January 10th, 2019 which aims to decide whether or not the OAS recognizes Nicolas Maduro as president of Venezuela, you should not vote against Venezuela, nor abstain from voting. You should instead vote for Venezuela, which would imply that Haiti supports Maduro.


In 2005, Hugo Chavez, the 45th president of Venezuela, signed the agreement “Petrocaribe” which is an oil trade alliance with many countries in the Caribbean whereby member States purchase oil from Venezuela by paying a percentage in 3 months and the remainder in 25 years at only 1% of interest rate. This deal is an opportunity for Caribbean countries, including Haiti, to strengthen their economy by investing the funds in developing projects.

(2) After Chavez’s death in 2013, Nicolas Maduro served as interim president for nearly 3 months before his re-election on April 14th, 2013. Since then, he has continued the agreement Petrocaribe, which has enabled Haiti to receive nearly $ 4 billion to this day (Kim Ives). However, the money is being embezzled and squandered by Haitian officials, which has sparked political unrest since September 2018. As living conditions of the mass remains abject, infuriated mobs protest in the street and ask not only for a financial audit on the Petrocaribe’s fund but also for the government’s resignation.

(3) Meanwhile, Maduro, which had been reelected in 2018 on a contested election, is expected to renew his presidency by the end of January. However, believing the election was fraudulent, the United States is outraged and aims to reestablish democracy in Venezuela by ousting Maduro. To do this, the backing of the OAS is needed. On January 10th, the OAS’ Permanent Council will meet to take a decision on whether or not it recognizes Maduro as president. Haiti’s vote is important as two thirds of the votes is needed to disapprove Maduro’s legitimacy. Given Haiti’s close relationship with both the US and Venezuela, you must know the disadvantages and advantages of each possible choice to make the most effective vote.

Policy Option 1: Not participate in the meeting, or abstain from voting
This option calls for Haiti to take a neutral position by not participating or by withholding its vote.  To not participate means to not send your ambassador at the meeting. To abstain your vote means to participate but to decline voting for or against. These would imply that you are indifferent whether Maduro remains on power or not.

  1. Pros: Very diplomatic.
  2. Cons: Haiti would be uncooperative to the OAS; both the US and Venezuela would remain unsatisfied and mad at Haiti; aid from both sides could be reduced; Haiti would show that defending democracy in the Americas is not its priority; your government would appear irresolute because this position is ambiguous; this could hurt your reputation in Haiti as Haitians expect you to be loyal to Venezuela; it could lead to political unrest.

Policy Option 2: Vote against Venezuela
This option means that Haiti votes to not recognize Maduro as Venezuela’s President, which could result in Maduro’s disapprobation. It would imply that you are not supportive to Maduro.

  1. Pros: It would improve Haiti’s relationship with the US because it would please the Americans; Haiti could receive more American aid in the future; Haiti would appear as a more loyal defender of democracy.
  2. Cons: Haiti would betray Venezuela which has remained its loyal ally since their independences; Venezuela could break the Petrocaribe agreement with Haiti, which would leave your government with less money to invest in its projects; Political unrests could intensify because some Haitians will not tolerate you to betray Venezuela; you would be weak in their eyes because this vote is only to please the US.

Policy Option 3: Vote for Venezuela
This option calls to vote in favor of Venezuela by recognizing Maduro’s presidency. This would imply that you disagree with the US’s decision to undermine Maduro.

  1. Pros: You will appear stronger, and Haitians would be prouder of you; Venezuela would confirm Haiti’s loyalty; Venezuela may provide more funds to your government; it may appease the political unrest because Haitians would perceive you as a defender of Haiti’s interests.
  2. Cons: you will be labeled as a dictatorship supporter; the US would be furious and could reduce their aid to your government; you would be perceived like a bully because many other powerful heads of states dislike Maduro.

I recommend you Option 3 which is to vote for recognizing Maduro. Don’t yield to the US’s pressure, and vote against Venezuela as stated in Option 2. Haiti’s relationship with Venezuela is important to preserve. Venezuela has always been our loyal ally since after we helped them in their independence war. In addition, betraying Maduro could result in cutting the fund Petrocaribe which is highly beneficial for us. To this day, Haiti has received $4 billion from this agreement at an interest rate of 1%, which is one of the lowest rate in all loans given to Haiti. Taking a stance against Maduro would deteriorate Haiti’s relationship with Venezuela, which would hinder their generous aid to us. You may attempt to play a diplomatic game by abstaining your vote or by not participating in the meeting, but this would be the most dangerous position. If you do that, both the US and Venezuela would be dissatisfied, which would result in receiving less aid from them. In addition, you would earn some bad reputations (ambiguous, irresolute, weak) which could lead to your regime’s collapse. To avoid these, you rather vote, but it is safer to vote in favor of Maduro.

Andres Schipani. (April 16, 2015 Thursday). Petrocaribe: a legacy that is both blessing and a curse. Retrieved from Nexis Uni.

Kim Yves “Haiti’s Ruling Party Betrays Venezuela in OAS Vote, Sparking Universal Outrage”.


“Venezuela to Fund Development Projects in Haiti.” 2018.EFE News Service, Jul 11.


Grandeur et petitesse humaines

Je suis parfois petit, mais je n’ai pas honte de l’avouer ici, car mon intention c’est d’écrire des choses véridiques et utiles. Certains vont m’accuser de réfléchir rectilignement pour ma façon très directe d’aborder ce sujet complexe, mais ça ne me dérange pas. Je suis un homme résolu qui ne perd jamais son temps à faire des nuances superflues, inutiles, contre-productives, et stupides. Si cette manière de penser vous gêne, mieux vaut ne pas continuer à lire ce blog.


Après des réflexions profondes sur l’être humain, j’ai finalement compris que rares sont les personnes véritablement grandes dans ce monde. Nous avons tous des frustrations humaines qui nous contrôlent, et qui nous font adopter des comportements méchants envers nos prochains. Rabaisser et snober les gens deviennent des façons presque légitimes pour prouver notre grandeur à la société. C’en est ainsi parce que nous confondons sans cesse position sociale et grandeur. Pour beaucoup, un homme influent et riche est nécessairement grand, mais c’est faux. La grandeur d’un homme ne se mesure ni dans sa popularité ni dans ses possessions. Elle se mesure de préférence dans sa façon d’encadrer les moins capables. Si une personne utilise sa force pour dominer et détruire les autres, elle fait plutôt preuve de petitesse et de narcissisme mais pas de grandeur. Le grand homme utilise ses talents pour éclairer, inspirer, et motiver les gens. C’est pour cela que je pense qu’il n’est pas facile d’être grand.

Dans notre société, beaucoup de petits hommes dissimulent leur petitesse et se font passer pour de grands hommes. Ils prétendent aider les autres, mais ils ne font rien pour les inspirer et les motiver. Le pire c’est qu’ils découragent ceux qui sont déjà motivés, car leur objectif est simplement de dominer tout le monde. Vous pouvez les découvrir lorsque vous avez besoin de leur aide. Même un conseil sérieux ils ne vont pas vous donner, mais ils seront prêts à vous payer des tonnes de bières; ils vous redonneront ce que vous avez déjà, mais pas ce que vous cherchez; ils vous diront ce que vous savez déjà, mais ils ne vous apprendront rien de nouveau; ils vont aussi vous décourager en vous recommandant ce que vous ne pourrez jamais faire. En résumé, toute conversation avec eux est une perte de temps. Le mieux c’est de les éviter et de chercher la compagnie d’autres gens qui sont plus généreux et excités à vous voir progresser.

En conclusion: soyons plus intelligents dans nos fréquentations. Ne perdons jamais notre temps avec des gens petits qui ne veulent pas nous aider à grandir, ou qui sont dérangés par notre succès. Le monde est rempli de gens plus positifs qui seront excités de nous aider et de nous encadrer. Cherchons-les de préférence, au lieu de mourir d’impatience avec des gens mesquins et méchants qui ne vont rien vous donner.

Why did the US decide to invade Haiti in 1994?

On September 19th, 1994, the US started the operation “Uphold Democracy” in Haiti, which aimed to restore Jean Bertrand Aristide back to power. Aristide had been in exile since after the coup staged by the Haitian army on September 30th, 1991. The coup was masterminded by General Cédras whom Aristide had appointed as chief of the army. Since then, Cédras ruled as de-facto dictator, and remained the most influential person in Haiti. His regime was among the most violent in the Americas and repressed Aristide’s partisans; roughly 5,000 citizens were murdered, migration on sailboats toward the US intensified, and hundreds of women were raped by the military (Rey Terry: 74). The American senator Christopher Dodd claimed that: “Human rights abuses are worse than under the days of Papa Doc Duvalier” (Ralph Pezzullo: 252). Haiti’s economy was also looted: The military junta enriched itself through drug dealing and smuggling (Girard, P. R: 129); Cédras and his Generals accumulated $ 79 million (Douglas Jehl) while Haiti’s income per capita decreased by 30% (Elizabeth Gibbons).

Cedras VS Clinton.jpg

In response to the regime’s atrocities, the US and the UN in concert with Aristide worked exhaustively to undermine Cédras. Assets of Haitian officials in the US were frozen; foreign aid was prohibited; and an economic embargo was imposed, limiting Haiti in its exports, imports, and oil shipments (Gibbons E. et al: 1).  Furthermore, the UN forced Cédras to sign an agreement at Governors Island, whereby he pledged to peacefully relinquish power by October 30th, 1994. But, Cédras refused to leave when the day came, which prompted the International community to intensify their pressure. Live on TV in 1994, Bill Clinton unsparingly condemned Cédras of human right abuses and left a blunt ultimatum: “your time is up; leave now, or we will force you from power.” Then, Cédras resigned and went to exile in Panama. Shortly after, deposed President Aristide was reinstated on October 15th, and the UN sanctions were lifted.

Why did Cédras decide to step down and negotiate with the US? And why did the US decide to pressure him? To understand this outcome, a background of the US’s and Cédras’s interests will be presented, and the same outcome will be predicted through a Game Theory model.

The US’s motives
The US had two main motives for overthrowing Cédras. The first was to stop the migration waves of Haitians toward their shores. After the coup, Haitians fled repression and poverty by intensively sailing to Florida. The US Coast Guard seized 6,013 migrants by November 1991 and 13053 by May 1992 (Ralph Pezzullo: 246). Bill Clinton was concerned with this influx of refugees. According to Clinton, 300,000 Haitians who were in hiding might also migrate to the US, which could disrupt the American economy. “We must act” announced Bill Clinton.

The second motive was to uphold democracy. Typically, American leaders believe in Democratic Peace Theory, which states that democratic regimes are less prone to fight with one another. Thus having more democratic countries strengthens America’s peace and security. Aristide was the first president elected democratically since Haiti’s independence, but Cédras established a repressive military dictatorship after ousting him. Therefore, replacing the latter by the former was more attractive to the US. Clinton stated that Cédras was not only responsible for economic decay of Haiti, but also the murder and rape of his own people. “Restoring Haiti’s democratic government will help lead to more stability and prosperity in our region” Clinton stressed.

Avoiding international blame or war was a concern of the US. Haiti is the poorest country in the Americas, and invading it without the UN’s backing could have been interpreted as an “unfriendly act”. Thanks to the UN Security Council Resolution 940 on the 15th July 1994, the US was authorized to use all necessary means, including force, to restore democracy in Haiti. However, the invasion could have caused a massacre in Haiti due to its weak army. Unwilling to be held responsible for that, the US did not want a war with Haiti. The purpose was merely to deter Cédras and force him to negotiate. “They do not have to push this to a confrontation,” said Clinton.

In sum, the US had good motives to remove Cédras and restore Aristide. However, Clinton’s ultimatum to Cédras was merely to make him surrender, but not to wage a war. Fighting with Haiti would have caused an international outcry.

Cédras’s motives
Cédras’s paramount motive was to remain in power. He showed his willingness to fight in his first reaction to Clinton: “We are going to fight. A solution cannot be imposed on this country” (Rohter Larry). So did Francois “Papa Doc” Duvalier in 1964 when Kennedy threatened to invade Haiti; he resisted and threatened also to fight (Wien Weibert: 327). Both Papa Doc and Cédras did not really want war; their firm stances were merely to dissuade the invaders and maintained their power. Kennedy defected, but Clinton did not, which prompted Cédras to give up and preserve his life, and his assets.

Cédras was preoccupied about his survival and his honor. First, the army was divided, and some soldiers threatened to overthrow him. It was until Cédras’s henchman, General Philippe Biamby, convinced them that there would not be any invasion that they gave up (Abbott Elizabeth: 369). Furthermore, in case of war Cédras could have easily been killed: He was more a bureaucrat than a field soldier (Rohter Larry), and he was not popular in Haiti. The coup that prompted him to power was an act of betrayal against Aristide whom the people considered as their savior. Haitians have never forgiven him for that. That is to say, he ran the risk of being killed by Aristide’s partisans. Even if he survived the war, he would have still faced rape, homicide, and corruption charges, which would have hurt his pride. During an interview with CBS, he declared that he would rather die than leave in dishonor (Rohter Larry). His wife Yannick, who many believed to have great authority on him, was also a proud person. Elizabeth Abbott, in her wonderful book, said that Yannick would prefer to have her family dead before yielding to the invaders (Abbott Elzabeth: 369).

Cédras valued also his assets. He accumulated millions during his reign (Freed, K). But due to the UN sanctions, his money, deposed in American banks, was frozen. His only hope to regain it was to negotiate with the Americans. Cédras also possesses 3 houses in Port-au-Prince (Douglas Jehl), which could have been burnt by mobs during war. That’s a typical Haitian behavior, which Cédras was mindful of.

In sum, Cédras’s regime was vulnerable. He received pressure both locally and internationally. Plus, he had no chance to win the war because his army was weak and divided. Therefore, he ran the risk of losing everything.

Collaboration Analysis
The main actors for the model are Cédras and the US. Each of them had two strategy options: either to go to war (F) or to negotiate (N) for a peaceful solution. For these options, 4 results are possible.

  1. FF : The two states decides to go to war
  2. FN : The US wants war, but Cédras wants negotiation
  3. NF : The US wants to negotiate, but Cédras wants war
  4. NN : Both states want to negotiate

When the two states decide to fight, there is no cooperation, and this would cause casualties in both sides. If the two states decide to negotiate, this would represent a perfect cooperation. Coordination will follow; both Haiti and the US would work compromisingly toward an outcome equally beneficial for each. But, when only one state decides to negotiate, there will not be war; however, the state that decides to negotiate will lose more in the negotiation, as it will be weaker.

Preference Order for the US
The US’s best option is Case 2. This would mean that Cédras is negotiating out of fear for the superpower. The US could easily take advantage of that and set the tone of the negotiation. For instance, it could easily require Cédras to relinquish power, prepare Aristide’s return and go to exile. The second-best option for the US is when both decides to fight. Given the strength superiority of the US, Cédras would easily be crushed. Due to his unpopularity, there would not be too much national or international blame. The third-best option for the US is when both negotiates. This requires a lot of meetings, bureaucracy, and would not be as quick as the second option; Aristide was elected for five years and had only 17 months left. The last option is case 3. This would mean that the US is weaker and deterred by Cédras. So, he would dominate the negotiation, thus influencing it more in its advantage.

Preference Order for Cédras
Cédras’s best option is Case 3: only him wants war. Although this scenario is very unlikely, but it would enable him to negotiate with little compromise. For instance, he could reject the demand for reinstating Aristide, and even oblige the UN to lift the sanctions against his regime. Cédras’s second-best option is when both states negotiate (Case 4). In this scenario, Cédras could potentially loose his power, but each state would have to make some compromises benefiting the other. Cédras could thus save his assets and avoid exile. The third best option is Case 2. He would surely loose his power but would avoid imprisonment and death. The last option is Case 1. If both states decide to fight, Cédras would surely loose the war and risk death or imprisonment.

The preference orders are illustrated below:

Cedras VS Clinton2
The US’s best option is to wage war. In this case, Cédras will either front it or capitulate. By fronting, Cédras would be in his worst option while the US in his second; by negotiating, Cédras would be in his third option and the US in his first. Therefore, it would be better for Cédras to negotiate if the US declares war. On the other hand, if the US wants negotiation, it will be in its third or fourth options while Cédras in his first or second option. So, this option is not good for the US. Not knowing how Cédras would respond, the US rather shows its willingness to fight. By doing so, Cédras would surely negotiate. Therefore, the Nash equilibrium is Case 2.

Outcome Predictions
According to the model, if the US wants to remove Cédras more effectively, it has to declare war. That is what happened exactly. After the ultimatum in September 15th, the US never defected. At first, Cédras resisted: “We have no desire to kill Americans. We have the duty to defend our country” (Rohter Larry). This was an attempt to move to Case 3, which would have been his best. But the US took a tougher stance; the invasion was launched; US airplanes left their base toward Haiti. In the Nash table, this put Cédras in the first column, which means negotiating is his best choice. Again, that is what happened: As soon as Cédras realized the invasion was not a hoax, he quickly began negotiating (Philippe Girard: 150). On September 17th  Colin Powell and former President Carter arrived in Port-au-Prince to begin the negotiation. Out of fear, Cédras accepted to resign in exchange for immunity. He flew to exile in Panama, and Aristide was restored on October 15th. Thus, the game predicts accurately the outcome.

The Role of International Organizations
The Organization of American States (OAS), and the United Nation (UN) endeavored to oust Cédras. Only one month after the coup, the OAS initiated economic sanctions on Haiti. Assets of the military leaders in the US were frozen; foreign aid was cut; and a trade embargo was imposed on Haitian exports. This turn out to hurt only the poorest Haitians; 29780 jobs were lost by February 1992; most schools were closed within 6 months; child vaccination dropped from 40% to 12 % by 1993, which caused a measles epidemic (Gibbons, E. et al.). These prompted the US to partially lift the sanctions in February 1992(Werleigh, Claudette). In sum, the OAS sanctions was a fiasco. The first special OAS envoy to Haiti, Oscar Ramirez-Ocampo, even concluded that the embargo is ineffective to restore Aristide (Werleigh, Claudette).

However, by 1993, the UN started to impose tougher sanctions on Haiti. In June 1993, the UN Security Council approved Resolution 841, which imposed an oil and arms embargo on Haiti. Quickly, Cédras initiated negotiation. The Governors Island agreement was quickly signed on July 3rd, by which he promised to step down by October 30th and pave the way for Aristide return. Consequently, the UN approved Resolution 861, which lifted the sanctions. However, when the US’s chargé d’affaire went to Haiti to plan the deposed president’s return, she was harassed by Cédras’s partisans in October 11th (Girard, P. R.: 130).  The UN sanctions were restituted shortly after on October 13th, but Cédras remained undeterred. In May 1994, UN Security Council approved Resolution 917 which interdicted Haiti to trade all commodities and products. Later in July, the UN authorized the US to use all necessary means to remove Cédras.

Without the UN’s tough sanctions, Cédras would have not signed the Governors’ Island agreement, which was a crucial step in his ouster. He violated its terms, which legitimized the UN to take the severe sanction authorizing the US to remove him with lethal force. Without that, Cédras would have never negotiated and stepped down. Therefore, the UN was the key International Organization that toppled Cédras.

After the coup staged by Cédras, the US had good motives for removing him. First, to stop the migration flood; second, to uphold democracy. Cédras also had some good motives: to preserve his regime, his assets and his honor. In this battle, both the US and Cédras had 2 options: negotiation, or war. The Nash Equilibrium of this battle predicts that if the US declare war to Haiti, it put Cédras in the first column, which means negotiation would be his best option. That’s what happened exactly. Because the US never defect after the ultimatum, Cédras, finally deterred, chose to negotiate. However, without the help of the UN, this mission would not be so easy. International blame was also an American preoccupation, which was handled when the UN authorized the use of force to depose Cédras.

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Carl M. Cannon, Clinton gives ultimatum ‘Your time is up,’ president tells Haiti’s leaders Haiti: on the brink of invasion, The Baltimore Sun.

Douglas Jehl. “Haiti Generals Regain Access to $79 Million.” New York Times (1923-Current File), Oct 14, 1994.

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