Peace on earth. We’ve all heard it talked about, promoted and wished for. Some of us have maybe even taken a step towards it at one time or another. Maybe we’ve donated to the poor or attended a protest against violence or injustice, but real, full-scale world peace? Is that even possible? How could something at once so simple and so radical be achieved?
According to fictitious journalist Robert Desjardin, world peace is not only possible, but quite a bit more straightforward than many of us would have imagined. The answer: partnerships. Desjardin suggests matching every developing country in the world with a developed country in a one-on-one Big Brother Big Sister-style mentorship — and his idea is gaining ground quickly.
“The Partnership Protocol” by JC Beauchamp thrusts both its readers and its protagonist headlong into the world of international politics as Desjardin kindles his idea from the original spark of a jail-cell conversation to a blaze that burns nearly out of control on some of the biggest stages in the world.
KIND OF A BIG IDEA
It’s a big idea, but where does he go next? Surprisingly, things seem to start falling in place as Raheed Narama, the mysterious man with whom Desjardin had shared a cell for a night after being arrested during a protest, becomes his mentor. The two begin talking strategy and before you know it, Desjardin is granted an audience with a subcommittee of the UN to discuss his proposal.
He has the time for it now that his editor has requested he take a temporary leave, a punishment he’s earned by being a “loose cannon” and refusing to report on what his superiors request. With Narama’s connections and Desjardin’s showmanship, the Strategic Partnership Initiative is quickly invited to present their idea at more and more key international councils and proceedings, but Narama’s sudden disappearance may be the first clue that Desjardin is a bit out of his depth.
From the beginning, Desjardin was warned that the idea could get out of hand, but he’s always truly believed in the cause. He knows he needs to get all, or at least a strong majority ,of the world’s countries to agree to participate in his initiative in order for it to work, but he’s learning that the cooperation of some of these players comes at a steep price. The currency is power.
NO RISK, NO REWARD?
As things ramp up, Desjardin attempts to hold firm to his resolve that the most powerful nations should not use his idea to manipulate weaker nations and essentially reestablish colonialism, but it’s becoming more and more difficult. It seems as if there might be only two options: give in to power-hungry world leaders to make sure enough nations sign on or watch the Strategic Partnership Initiative fizzle out, taking with it the world’s best shot at lasting peace. Desjardin is looking for a third option to maintain the integrity of his idea, but he has to decide what he’s willing to risk to find it: even possibly his life.
The experience of reading this book is somewhere between what one would expect from a tell-all memoir and a spy novel. To add to the intrigue, the story is framed in retrospect, with Disjardin recounting his own tale in first person to a fellow reporter over an extravagant Italian meal. Each portion of the tumultuous narrative is accompanied by a parallel course of the meal. This unique writing choice adds another layer to a book that is already rich in food for thought.
Like all good fiction, it touches on important truths facing the real world today. But is it purely fiction? A visit to the author’s website tells us it may not be just an imaginative premise for a novel.