Month: <span>October 2021</span>

Sudan Appeals

Sudan: Dangerous Regression.

Featured Image: South Sudan’s presidential guard await the arrival of foreign dignitaries invited to participate in the country’s official independence celebrations in the capital city of Juba. By Steve Evans, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

As of Monday morning, 25 October 2021, the Prime Minister of Sudan, Abdalla Handok and certain civilian members of the Transitional Sovereignty Council (as the government was called) have been put under arrest, and the military have retaken control.  General Abdel-Fattah al-Burham who heads the military faction has said that a “technocratic administration” will be put into place until July 2023 when elections will be held. Currently, there are protests by civilians on the streets of the major cities, but the impact of these protests in uncertain.  The situation can evolve in unpredictable ways.

the Prime Minister of Sudan, Abdalla Handok

the Prime Minister of Sudan, Abdalla Handok.  I was honored to meet @SudanPMHamdok, the first Sudanese leader to visit Washington in 34 years. As Sudan undergoes a historic political transition, I look forward to supporting Hamdok’s ambitious reform agenda and greater freedom for the Sudanese people. By Office of Senator Chris Coons, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan

General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, 18th Summit of Non-Aligned Movement gets underway in Baкu. By President.az, CC BY 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

The Armed Conflict in Darfur.

In April 2019, persistent street protests led to the end of the government of General Omar Al-Bachir who had been in power since 1989.  He had faced a long-running civil war with the south of Sudan, as well as armed conflict, largely tribal based, in Darfur.  The economy of the country was in bad shape.  Part of the anti Al-Bachir movement had economic motivations.  However, there was also a wish for a less authoritarian government, and  the term “democracy” was often used.

A military government first replaced Al-Bachir.  However, during the protests that led to his departure and arrest, professional groups and trade unions became increasingly active.  They demanded a share in the government of the country.  Thus a fairly unique administration was set up comprised of an evenly divided civilian and military component.  It is most of the civilian component that is now under arrest.

General Omar al-Bashir

Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir, the president of Sudan, listens to a speech during the opening of the 20th session of The New Partnership for Africa’s Development in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Jan. 31, 2009, By U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jesse B. Awalt/Released, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

The civilian-military joint administration was not able to deal with the difficult economic situation.  To end the civil war which had divided north and south Sudan, a referendum created a separate state, South Sudan.  However, economic issues, especially the production and sale of oil was not worked out.  As a result, economic conditions remained very difficult.  There were even street protests demanding a return to military rule.

Other Middle East governments, in particular Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Egypt opposed the “winds of change” in Sudan. It is unknown what role these countries may have played in the October coup.  It is certain that Sudanese military leaders had regular contact with the military in these Middle East countries.

The current situation in Sudan is one of regression for democratic and popular currents, a situation which must be watched closely and support given, if possible, to democratic currents.

 

Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

Here are other publications that may be of interest to you.

The Uprooted.

Increasing numbers of people in countries around the world, have been forced from their homes, by armed conflicts and systematic violations of human rights. Those who cross internationally recognized borders…

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United Nations Rapprochement of Cultures.

U. N. Day: Strengthening and Reforming.

Featured Image: Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán on Pixabay

By René Wadlow.

October 24 is United Nations (U. N.) Day;  marking the day when there were enough ratifications;  including those of the five permanent members of the proposed Security Council for the U. N. Charter to come into force. It is a day not only of celebration;  but also a day for looking at how the U. N. system can be strengthened;  and when necessary, reformed.

There have been a number of periods when proposals for new or different U. N. structures were proposed and discussed. The first was in the 1944-1945 period when the Charter was being drafted. Some who had lived through the decline and then death of the League of Nations wanted a stronger world institution, able to move more quickly and effectively in times of crisis or at the start of armed conflict.

 

In practice;  the League of Nations was reincarnated in 1945 in the U. N. Charter but the names of some of the bodies were changed and new Specialized Agencies such as UNESCO were added. There was some dissatisfaction during the San Francisco negotiations, and an article was added indicating that 10 years after the coming into force of the Charter a proposal to hold a U. N. Charter Review Conference would be placed on the Agenda – thus for 1955.

The possibility of a U. N. Charter Review Conference led in the 1953-1954 period to a host of proposals for changes in the U. N. structures;  for a greater role for international law, for a standing U. N. “peace force”. Nearly all these proposals would require modifications in the U. N. Charter.

League of Nations

The semi-official emblem of the League of Nations, used from 1939 to 1941. Vectors by Mysid, based on FOTW. By The original uploader was Mysid at English Wikipedia., Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

High-Level Panels.

When 1955 arrived;  the United States and the Soviet Union, who did not want a Charter Review  Conference;  which might have questioned their policies, were able to sweep the Charter Review agenda item under the rug from where it has never emerged. In place of a Charter Review Conference, a U. N. Committee on “Strengthening the U. N. Charter” was set up which made a number of useful suggestions;  none of which were put into practice as such. The Committee on Strengthening the Charter was the first of a series of expert committees, “High-Level Panels” set up within the U. N. to review its functioning and its ability to respond to new challenges. There have also been several committees set up outside of the U. N. to look at world challenges and U. N. responses, such as the Commission on Global Governance.

While in practice there have been modifications in the ways the U. N. works;  few of these changes have recognized an expert group’s recommendations as the source of the changes. Some of the proposals made would have strengthened some factions of the U. N. system over the then current status quo – most usually to strength the role of developing countries (the South) over the industrialized States (the North). While the vocabulary of “win-win” modifications is often used, in practice few States want to take a chance, and the status quo continues.

U. N. Peacekeeping Forces: The Blue Helmets.

Now, the Secretary General knows well how the U. N. works from his decade as High Commissioner for Refugees, U. N. reform is again “in the air”. There are an increasing number of proposals presented by governments and by nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) associated with the U. N. The emphasis today is on what can be done without a revision of the Charter. Most of the proposals turn on what the Secretary General can do on his own authority. The Secretary General cannot go against the will of States – especially the most powerful States – but he does have a certain power of initiative.

There are two aspects of the current U. N. system that were not foreseen in 1945 and which are important today. One is the extensive role of U. N. Peacekeeping Forces: The Blue Helmets. The other is the growing impact of NGOs. There is growing interest in the role of NGOs within the U. N. system in the making and the implementation of policies at the international level. NGOs are more involved than ever before in global policy making and project implementation in such areas as conflict resolution, human rights, humanitarian relief, and environmental protection. (1)

NGOs at the U. N. have a variety of roles – they bring citizens’ concerns to governments, advocate particular policies, present alternative avenues for political participation, provide analysis, serve as an early warning mechanism of potential violence and help implement peace agreements.

U.N Blue Helmet

Blue Helmet – UNIFIL mission in Lebanon. Peacekeeping forces of Indonesia. By Frea Kama Juno, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

 

Consultative-Status NGOs.

The role of consultative-status NGOs was written into the U. N. Charter at its founding in San Francisco in June 1945. As one of the failings of the League of Nations had been the lack of public support and understanding of the functioning of the League;  some of the U. N. Charter drafters felt that a role should be given to NGOs. At the start, both governments and U. N. Secretariat saw NGOs as an information avenue — telling NGO members what the governments and the U. N. was doing and building support for their actions.

However;  once NGOs had a foot in the door, the NGOs worked to have a two-way avenue — also telling governments and the Secretariat what NGO members thought and what policies should be carried out at the U. N. Governments were none too happy with this two-way avenue idea and tried to limit the U. N. bodies with which NGOs could ‘consult’. There was no direct relationship with the General Assembly or the Security Council. The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in Article 71 of the Charter was the body to which “consultative-status NGOs” were related.

UN_Geneva_Human_Rights_and_Alliance_of_Civilizations_Room

Human Rights and Alliance of Civilizations Room of the Palace of Nations, Geneva (Switzerland). It is the meeting room of the United Nations Human Rights Council. By Ludovic Courtès, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

 

 

Networking.

What in practice gives NGOs their influence is not what an individual NGO can do alone;  but what they can do collectively. ‘Networking’ and especially trans-national networking is the key method of progress. NGOs make networks;  which facilitate the trans-national movement of norms, resources, political responsibility, and information. NGO networks tend to be informal, non-binding, temporary, and highly personalized. NGOs are diverse, heterogeneous, and independent. They are diverse in mission, level of resources, methods of operating and effectiveness. However, at the U. N., they are bound together in a common desire to protect the planet and advance the welfare of humanity.

U.N Networking

Wikipedia Workshop for Bangladesh NGOs Network for Radio and Communications staffs by Wikimedia Bangladesh. This is our one of big initiative to involve all community radio people to enrich Wikipedia. By Hasive, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

On the Same Wave Length.

The role of NGO representatives is to influence policies through participation in the entire policy-making process. What distinguishes the NGO representative’s role at the U. N. from lobbying at the national level is that the representative may appeal to and discuss with the diplomats of many different governments. While some diplomats may be unwilling to consider ideas from anyone;  other than the mandate they receive from their Foreign Ministry;  others are more open to ideas coming from NGO representatives. Out of the 193 Member States;  the NGO representative will always find some diplomats who are ‘on the same wave length’;  or who are looking for additional information on which to take a decision, especially on issues on which a government position is not yet set.

Therefore;  an NGO representative must be trusted by government diplomats and the U. N. Secretariat. As with all diplomacy in multilateral forums such as the U. N., much depends upon the skill and knowledge of the NGO representative and on the close working relations;  which they are able to develop with some government representatives and some members of the U. N. Secretariat. Many Secretariat members share the values of the NGO representatives;  but cannot try to influence government delegates directly. The Secretariat members can, however, give to the NGO representatives some information;  indicate countries that may be open to acting on an issue;  and help with the style of presentation of a document.

 

U.N NGO Representatives

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ms. Emma Ruby Sachs, Deputy Director, Avaaz, Ms. May Boeve, Executive Director, 350.org Mr. Kumi Naidoo, Executive Director, Greenpeace International Ms. Yoca Arditi-Rocha, Our Kids Climate Ms. Usha Nair, Climate Leader, Global Gender and Climate Alliance Mr. Michael Brune, Executive Director, Sierra Club Ms. Karuna Singh, Director, Earth Day Network India Mr. Al Gore, Chairman The Climate Reality Project. By UNclimatechange from Bonn, Germany, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

Trans-National Advocacy Networks.

It is probably in the environmental field — sustainable development — that there has been the most impact. Each environmental convention or treaty such as those on biological diversity or drought was negotiated separately;  but with many of the same NGO representatives present. It is more difficult to measure the NGO role in disarmament and security questions. It is certain that NGO mobilization for an end to nuclear testing and for a ban on land mines and cluster weapons played a role in the conventions;  which were steps forward for humanity. However;  on other arms issues, NGO input is more difficult to analyze.

‘Trans-national advocacy networks’;  which work across frontiers are of increasing importance as seen in the efforts against land mines;  for the International Criminal Court and for increased protection from violence toward women and children. The groups working on these issues are found in many different countries;  but have learned to work trans-nationally both through face-to-face meetings and through the internet web.

The groups in any particular campaign share certain values and ideas in common;  but may differ on other issues. Thus;  they come together on an ad hoc basis around a project or a small number of related issues. Yet their effectiveness is based on their being able to function over a relatively long period of time in rather complex networks even when direct success is limited.

Success Story.

These campaigns are based on networks;  which combine different actors at various levels of government: local, regional, national, and U. N. (or European Parliament, OSCE etc.). The campaigns are waged by alliances among different types of organizations — membership groups, academic institutions, religious bodies, and ad hoc local groupings. Some groups may be well known, though most are not.

There is a need to work at the local, the national, and the U. N. levels at the same time. Advocacy movements need to be able to contact key decision-makers in national parliaments, government administrations and intergovernmental secretariats. Such mobilization is difficult, and for each ‘success story’ there are many failed efforts. The rise of U. N. consultative-status NGOs has been continual since the early 1970s. NGOs and government diplomats at the U. N. are working ever more closely together to deal with the world challenges which face us all.

U.N Success History
Shellard (centre) with The Baroness Lawrence and S.P. Varma at The 68th United Nations Civil Society Conference in August 2019. By Otisjfk, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

Note.

(1) This interest is reflected in a number of path-making studies such as P. Willets (Ed.), The Consciences of the World: The Influence of Non-Governmental Organizations in the U. N. System (London: Hurst, 1996), T. Princen and M. Finger (Eds), Environmental NGOs in World Politics: Linking the Global and the Local (London: Routledge, 1994), M. Rech and K. Sikkink, Activists Without Borders: Advocacy Networks in International Politics (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1998); Bas Arts, Math Noortmann and Rob Reinalda (Eds), Non-State Actors in International Relations (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2001); and William De Mars, NGOs and Transnational Networks (London: Pluto Press, 2005).

Prof. René Wadlow is the President of the Association of World Citizens.

Here are other publications that may be of interest to you.

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Ethiopia Appeals

Urgent Appeal for Ceasefire in Ethiopia Armed Conflict.

Featured Image: Church, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Photo by Mesfin Tesfaye on Unsplash.
The Association of World Citizens (AWC) reiterates its urgent Appeal for an immediate ceasefire and the start of negotiations in good faith in the Tigray conflict which has spread to other areas of Ethiopia and is impacting neighboring countries.
 
   When in November 2020, Ethiopian  federal troops entered Tigray Province, the Association of World Citizens, knowing the fragile nature of the Ethiopian  federation foresaw the dangers and called for a ceasefire and the start of negotiations. Ethiopia is a federal republic structured on the basis of 10 provinces. The provinces have the name of the major ethnic group within the province. 
 
Tigray
Administrative Zones of Tigray. By USAID, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

 

Second Class Citizens.

 
However, no province is populated exclusively by one ethnic group.  Through history and economic development people have moved to areas beyond their original “homeland”.  People from a “foreign” ethnic group can be made to feel as “second class citizens”, and there may be violence used against them in times of acute tension or  violence.
 
   The Association of World Citizens has been concerned to detect the roots and dynamics of intra-state conflicts and to propose appropriate structures of government, often based on con-federalism, decentralization, and trans-frontier cooperation. Unfortunately in the nearly one year of armed conflict no such negotiations on the structures of the Ethiopian Federation have taken place.
 

The Armed Conflict.

 
   The AWC has also stressed the need for effective mediation to establish good communications between conflicting parties.  Today, many intra-state conflicts are secession-related.  Many states are the result of past conquests involving diverse ethnic groups. Thus, there is ample potential for lines of fracture especially when there are leaders who can use identity issues coupled with a sense of injustice as a base for mobilization.  Thus far all offers of mediation have been refused.
 
   The armed conflict has led to the destruction of the largely rural economy of Tigray. There are United Nations estimates that some 400,000 persons are in famine conditions.  Many persons are displaced, and there are refugee flows to neighboring countries.  Recently, U.N. humanitarian staff have been expelled from Ethiopia.  It is difficult to measure the extent of human needs, but they are great.
 
   Only dialogue can resolve the core issues of the structure of the Ethiopian state. Thus the Association of World Citizens reiterates its Appeal for an immediate ceasefire and the start of negotiations in good faith, helped if requested by international mediators.

USAID workers aiding displaced people from Tigray (15 March 2021). By USAID, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

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The Uprooted.

Increasing numbers of people in countries around the world, have been forced from their homes, by armed conflicts and systematic violations of human rights. Those who cross internationally recognized borders…

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Jayaprakash Narayan Rapprochement of Cultures.

Jayaprakash Narayan: Advocate of the Nonviolent Total Revolution.

Featured Image: Jayaprakash Narayan during his visit in Germany, 1959. By Ullstein bild, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

Jayaprakash Narayan (1902-1979) whose birth anniversary we mark on 11 October, was an Indian social reformer in the struggle for Indian independence led by Mahatma Gandhi and a social reformer after the independence of India.  J.P. as he was usually called, had followed the advice given by Gandhi to refuse schooling financed by the British colonial authorities.  Thus in 1922, he left India to go to the USA.  With part-time jobs, he financed  his education at different U.S. universities until 1929 when he received a Master’s degree in sociology from the University of Ohio and  then returned to India.

While at the University of Wisconsin, through some professors and a few students, he discovered the writings of Karl Marx and ever after considered himself a Marxist.  As he wrote:

Marxism provided a beacon of light for me: equality and brotherhood.  Freedom was not enough. It must mean freedom for all – even the lowliest – and this freedom must include freedom from exploitation, from hunger and poverty.”

On his return to India, he went to stay at the rural center where Mahatma Gandhi lived and where he had left his wife.  J.P. had married Prabhavat, whose father was a prominent co-worker of Gandhi.  She was 14 years old at the time and Gandhi and his wife had accepted her  as an adopted daughter when J.P. left for the U.S.  While he was away, she took the vow for a life-long abstinence from sexual relations which Gandhi encouraged  his followers to take. Thus, she and J.P. had no children.  She was highly devoted to him and an active support during the many years that he spent in jail for his political activities.  Her death in 1973 was a hard blow to him, especially as his health was then declining.

Mahatma Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi. By Elliott & Fry (see [1]), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

As Bimal Prasad writes in his analysis of the leadership qualities of Jayaprakash Narayan.

While Gandhi led India to freedom and Nehru laid the foundations of a modern, democratic state, it was left to J.P. to go on struggling for the establishment of a social order in India, of which both Gandhi and Nehru had dreamt.  The dominant feature of his political life extending over half a century was a quest for a revolution which would usher in a just social order, enshrining equality as well as freedom.”

In the years prior to Independence, he moved around the country, helping to set up an underground network of activists.  He was first put in jail in 1932 by the British; again in 1940 for 9 months and then moved into a prison camp where he fasted for nearly one month demanding the release of other prisoners.  He escaped from the camp but was re-arrested in 1943 and released only in April 1946 when negotiations between the Indian Congress leaders, especially Nehru  and the British were well under way. 

Jayaprakash Narayan had always stressed that independence could not be granted by England.  Independence could come only by a seizure of power, led especially by peasants. J.P. opposed the idea of dividing British India into India and Pakistan, but his release from prison was too late for him to have any influence on the negotiations.

Democratic Socialism.

When not in prison, he had organized a Marxist current within the Congress Movement, called the Socialist Congress Party.  Jayaprakash Narayan  had already in the mid 1930s become highly critical of the Stalinist government of the USSR, its emphasis on State-ownership of heavy industry, its collectivization of agriculture, the “Moscow trials” of former party leaders, and the efforts of Stalin to control all Marxist movements abroad.  Thus J.P. put his emphasis on what he called “Democratic Socialism” and stopped calling himself a Marxist.

J.P. by temperament was not attracted to parliamentary life with its maneuvering for power and position.  He did not stand for elections and refused an offer by Nehru to enter the government as a minister.  He was always an advocate of decentralization and the idea of local leadership in the form of “village republics”.  Thus, when a close co-workers  with Gandhi, Vinoba Bhave, began the Bhoodan (land gift) movement in 1951 he joined the effort to have land owners give some of their land to the landless.  

He left the re-named Socialist Party, which in any case by 1955 had disintegrated into factions and had largely disappeared from the political scene.  J.P. also was out of sight of those interested in politics until 1974.  Then in 1974, dismayed by what he said was:

dishonesty, corruption, manipulation of the masses, naked struggle for personal power and personal gain”.

he decided to act politically.  He added:

The permissible limits have already been crossed in this country.” 

 

He called upon students to push for the dissolution of the Bihar Assembly (his home state) the Vidhan Sabhap.  He created what he called the Sampona Kranti, the Total Revolution Movement.  The movement started spreading, and the Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, Nehru’s daughter, declared an Emergency, allowing for strong restrictions on civil liberty. Although J.P. had been close to Nehru and looked upon Indira Gandhi as his niece, he was critical of her way of functioning.  J.P. was arrested but then released because of his ill health.  The Emergency lasted from June 1975 until January 1977.

J.P.’s last years until his 1979 death were those of ill health and sadness.  There had not been a Total Revolution nor had village republics been created.

However, his goal lives on.

The problem is to put man in touch with man, so that they may live together in meaningful, understandable, controllable relationships. In short, the problem is to recreate the human community.”

Vinoba Bhave Jawaharlal Nehru with Vinoba Bhave at the Paunar Ashram. By Unknown authorUnknown author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Note:

(1) Bimal Prasad. Gandhi, Nehru, and J.P. Studies in Leadership.
(
Delhi: Chanakya Publications, 1985)

 

Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

 

Here are other publications that may be of interest to you.

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Yemen Appeals

Yemen and Somalia. The Armed Conflict Continue.

Featured Image Photo by Anthony Beck in Pexels.
The Association of World Citizens strives to respond to situations in this turbulent and frequently violent world by making proposals for the resolution of armed conflicts through negotiations in good faith and by making proposals for developing appropriate forms of government, often based on con-federalism, decentralization, and transfrontier cooperation. A current focus is on the situations in Yemen (1) and Somalia. (2)
   In March 2015, a military coalition led by Saudi Arabia attacked Sanaa, the capital of Yemen, held by a rebal force, the Ansar Allah Movement, commonly called the Houthis.  Since that date, the armed conflict has continued, destroying the fragile economy, displacing a large number of persons, creating a humanitarian tragedy.  So far, all mediation efforts have failed. The situation becomes more complex each day due in part to the rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
 
the Houthis
A calligraphic logo used by Ansar Allah, a Shia movement in Yemen commonly called the Houthis, with Arabic text: “Oh ye who believe, be supporters of God” (Quran 61:14). By Ansar Allah (Houthis), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.
 

The state of Yemen was the creation of two separate units. 

 
One was the southern part originally known as the Aden Colony and the Eastern and Western Aden Protectorates under British rule. The northern part of the country had been under Ottoman rule until the end of the Ottoman Empire in 1918.  From 1918 until 1962, it was ruled by Imams. In 1962, there was a military coup organized by officers who had been trained in Egypt and were influenced by Nasser’s views on Arab nationalism.  The coup was followed by an eight-year-long civil war between the military forces called “republicans” and the forces of the Imam Bader.  The republicans won, but the government was weak and unstable.
 
   The south of the country after the British left took the name of the Prople’s Democratic Republic of Yemen.  In 1990, the two segments of Yemen were united, and the Republic of Yemen was established. However, the euphoria which had existed at the start was short-lived.  The people in the south had been promised that their lives would be bettered after unification. Life did not improve, and many in the south felt marginalized.  Today, there is a strong sentiment in the south for separation and independence.
 
   When the fighting in Yemen stops, the creation of appropriate forms of government will have to be found. The return to two separate states presents real difficulties as people have moved from their original home areas due to changing economic conditions and to the armed conflict. Yet a single centralized government also seems impossible.  As Martin Dent points out, where there is strong identity politics, there must be forms of government that fill the gap between unity and independence.(3)  There is a need for Track II  efforts to discuss possible structures of government in Yemen.
 
Muhammad Al-Badr
Muhammad Al-Badr was the last king of the Mutawakkilite Kingdom of Yemen (North Yemen) and leader of the monarchist regions during the North Yemen Civil War (1962–1970). By Unknown photographer, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.
 

Somalia. Similar Conditions.

 
In Somalia, we have very similar conditions. The two Somali colonial areas, one under the control of Britan and the other under that of Italy were combined into one state in 1961. There had been a period of U.N. trusteeship after the end of the Second World War when the area of Italian colonial status had ended and before the two colonial territories were united. The political culture of the two territories was different.  This impact of the colonial legacy  was an element leading to the current situation.  In January 1991, the military government of Siyad Barre was overthrown, and now different parts of the country demand independence, in particular Somaliland and Puntland, though their boundary claims overlap.
 
In addition to regional demands for independence, there is an armed Islamist movement, Al-Shabaab, which poses regional and international security issues which continue.  Mediation efforts by the United Nations have not progressed.  Again Track II efforts may be helpful to find governmental structures able to provide autonomy without dividing the Somalia state into three or more independent states.
 
 
(4) The Association of World Citizens stresses the need for creative thinking on the structure of a state, on the need for regional cooperation and a willingness to negotiate in good faith.
 
 
Siyad Barre
Military portrait of Major General Mohamed Siad Barre, Somalia’s longest-serving President. By Federal Research Division, Library of Congress, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.   
 
 

Notes:

(1) Helen Lackner. Yemen in Crisis: Autocracy, Neo-Liberalism and the Disintegration of a State.
(London: Saqi Books, 2017, 330pp).
 
(2) Sarah G. Phillips. When There Was No Aid: War and Peace in Somaliland ( Ithica: Cornell University Press, 2020, 227pp.)
 
(3) Martin J. Dent. Identity Politics: Filling the Gap Between Federalism and Independence.
(Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing, 2004, 232 pp.)
 
(4) Hurst Hannum. Autonomy, Sovereignty and Self-Determination: The Accommodation of Conflicting Rights
(Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1990, 503 pp.)
 
 
 
Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.
 
 
 

Here are other publications that may be of interest to you.

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Increasing numbers of people in countries around the world, have been forced from their homes, by armed conflicts and systematic violations of human rights. Those who cross internationally recognized borders…

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world citizen action Education of World Citizenships.

The Three Waves of World Citizen Action

Featured Image Photo by fauxels on Pexels.

The idea of world citizenship has been put forward in periods when the existing structures of inter- State relations were fragile and endangering life and society: by Socrates when the classic Greek city states were under strain; by the Stoics when the Roman Republic was being transformed into the Empire; at the Renaissance as, again, the city-States were too narrow a framework for the expanding cultural renewal; by Anacharsis Cloots at the time of the French Revolution; by some of the Abolitionists during the US Civil War when equality between free and slave was at stake.

French Revolution, 1789 Painting; French Revolution, 1789 Art Print for sale. By Unknown authorUnknown author, CC BY-SA 2.5 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5, via Wikimedia Commons.

In the same way, modern world citizen action has been a response to important challenges faced by the world community. Individuals who saw the dangers of traditional ways of thinking and inaction have acted together to promote loyalty to humanity as a whole. There have been three waves of modern world citizenship action.

Barbara Fritchie 1766-1862 in US Civil War. Caption reads: “Shoot, if you must, this old gray head, but spare your country’s flag, she said.” By Source: Woman’s Work in the Civil War: a Record of Heroism, Patriotism and Patience (1867) page 10., Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

The First Wave.

The First Wave, manifested in 1938 by the creation in England by Hugh Schonfield of the Commonwealth of World Citizens, was a response to the growing power in Europe and Japan of narrowly nationalistic dictatorships. Hitler and the Nazi Party in Germany was the outstanding representative of this dangerous aggressive nationalism.

Likewise, the following year, 1939, the Association of World Citizens was created when the clouds of war had gathered, and an ideology in opposition to narrow nationalism was required. The Association began at the same time in England and the USA by persons who had been active in the League of Nations. Salvador De Madariaga who had represented Republican Spain at the League, Henri Bonnet who had headed the Intellectual Cooperation Section of the League, and James Avery Joyce, a young British lawyer active in youth efforts for the League of Nations.

The First Wave of world citizen action was unable to prevent the Second World War. The war ended the possibility of active cooperation among members. Thus the war ended the First Wave, although many of those active on the eve of the war helped to form the Second Wave of world citizen action.

French conclude agreement on lend-lease and reverse lend-lease. Jean Monnet, representative of the French Provisional Government signs agreements. Left to right: Henri Bonnet, French Ambassador, Joseph C. Grew, Undersecretary of State and Jean Monnet (1945). By Lakey, J. Sherrel, photographer, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

The Second Wave.

The Second Wave was a response to the massive destruction of the Second World War, of the use of atomic bombs, and the start of the Cold War. Under the leadership of Lord Boyd Orr, the first director of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), world citizens were particularly active in efforts against hunger and for a world food policy. 1948 and the proclamation by the UN General Assembly meeting in Paris of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was the high point of the Second Wave. In 1950, the start of the Korean War and the structuring of the Cold War into military alliances – NATO and the Warsaw Pact – put an end to the Second Wave of world citizen action. However, many world citizens were active in the 1950-1990 period to lessen the dangers of Soviet-USA confrontation, to abolish nuclear weapons and to bring colonialism to an end.

Lord John Boyd Orr, Nobel Peace Prize 1949. By Unknown authorUnknown author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

The Third Wave.

The Third Wave of world citizen action can be dated from 1990 as a response again to narrow nationalism as seen with the break up of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia and the failure of nationalistic responses to major ecological challenges. Again world citizens are organizing in collective efforts such as the Association of World Citizens to develop strategies for the benefit of all humanity and to promote efforts based on justice and cooperation.

The Fall of the Berlin Wall, 1989. The photo shows a part of a public photo documentation wall at the Brandenburg Gate, Berlin. The photo documentation is permanently placed in the public. By Lear 21 at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

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Rumi Education of World Citizenships.

Jalal al-Din Rumi (30 Sept 1207 – 17 Dec…

Featured Image: Jalal al-Din Rumi By Hossein Behzad, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

By Rene Wadlow.

I am neither Christian, nor Jew, nor Gabr, nor Moslem.
I am not of the East, nor the West, nor the land, nor the sea…
My place is the Placeless, my trace is the Traceless.

 

Rumi, a poet and mystic of Persian culture, was born in what is today Afghanistan and died in what is now Turkey.  He used the image of a person as the flute of the Spirit.  Man is a flute for the breath of God — the instrument that the Spirit uses to express itself.  The Spirit can use the flute of any quality.  What is important is not the merit of the flute, but the strength of the wind of the Spirit.  Thus, Rumi develops the idea of “grace” — the Divine can come to fill the lowest of vessels. The coming of the Spirit, the blending of the individual soul with the Universal Spirit, does not depend on the good actions or piety of the individual.  Here Rumi echoes an earlier Sufi writer al Bistani who called upon the aspirant to :

Be in the domain where neither good nor evil exists: both of them belong to the world of created things: in the presence of Unity, there is neither command nor prohibition.

Yet there is a dual motion of the human soul.  The first is to wait in silence to be filled with the Spirit coming from without — the image of the flute and breath.  The opposite image is that of the soul rising through effort to a higher stage of being.  For this motion, Rumi uses the image of a ladder, the steps of the ladder being the stages of development and purification.  As he writes in Diwani Shams Tabriz “ A ladder stood whereby thou mightest aspire.”  On the ladder, someone else has climbed first and serves as a guide.  For Rumi, this guide was his teacher and friend to whom the verses are dedicated: Shams al-Din of Tabriz.  The Diwan contains profound verses on the function of a spiritual master and the relation between master and disciple.

The name Shams al Dion means the ‘sun of religion’, and Rumi uses the symbolism of the name which refers to the inner union of the master with God. (1) Three examples:

From Tabriz shone the Sun of Truth, and I said to him: Thy light is at once joined with all things and apart from all.”

“The sun of the face of Shamsi Din, glory to the horizons, never shone upon aught perishable but he made it eternal.”

“From the sun, the pride of Tabriz, behold these miracles, for every tree gains beauty by the light of the sun.”

By following the example of the teacher, the pilgrim begins to undergo those experiences which comprise different states and stations.  As another Sufi writer Mahmud Shabistari states in The Mystic Rose Garden:

As for the saints on this road before and behind, they each give news of their own stages…Since the language of each is according to his degree of progress, they are hard to be understood by the people.”

Jalal al-Din Rumi

Folio from Jâmi al-Siyar by Mohammad Tahir Suhravardî, illustrating the meeting of Mavlana and Molla Shams al-Din in Konya. By Unknown authorUnknown author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Little is known of Shams al-Din other than his having been the teacher of Rumi.  He seems to have been part of a mystical tradition of Central Asia where influences of Zoroastrianism, Manichaeism and Buddhism from China has been in contact with Islamic thought.  The Silk Road from China to the Middle East brought many cultures into contact, and thinkers, especially mystics, were led to see the unity of experience behind the forms of practice.  As Rumi wrote in his best known collection of verses Mathnawi:

I have given everyone a peculiar form of expression.  The idiom of Hindustan is excellent for Hindus; the idiom of Sind is excellent for the people of Sind.  I look not at tongue and speech, I look at the spirit and the inward feeling.  I look into the heart to see whether it be lowly, though the words uttered be not lowly.  Enough of phrases and conceits and metaphors!  I want burning, burning: become familiar with that burning! Light up a fire of love in thy soul, burn all thought and expression away!”.

“The lamps are different, but the Light is the same: it comes from Beyond.  If thou keep looking at the lamp, thou art lost: for thence arises the appearance of number and plurality.  Fix thy gaze upon the Light, and thou art delivered from the dualism inherent in the finite body…The Faithful are many, but their Faith is one; their bodies are numerous, but their soul is one.”

Rumi developed a form of combined mobile meditation, symbolism, and teaching which became the basis of the Mevlevi dervishes, popularly called the whirling dervishes and called the Mawlawi dervishes in the Arab countries. The participants enact the turning of the planets around the sun, a symbol of man linked to the center which is God, source of life, but it is also an internalized turning of the body toward the soul, likewise source of life.  Rumi tried to map out a system in which sound, motion and one-pointed concentration of thought would lead to an end to the personal self and union with the Higher Self.

There is a danger that the remaining Mevlevi dervishes become folklore in Turkey with attention paid primarily to the external music and motion, but we may help highlight the deeper meanings.

Jalal al-Din Rumi

Jalal al-Din Rumi, Maulana – A Shoemaker and the Unfaithful Wife of a Sufi Surprised by her Husband’s Unexpected Return Home. By Rumi, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Notes:

1. See R.A. Nicholson Selected Poems from the Divani Shamsi Tabriz (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1952 re-edition)
2. See R.A. Nicholson’s translations of Mathnawi (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1926)
R.A. Nicholson (1868-1945) was a professor of Persian at Cambridge and a leading translator and scholar of Rumi.  The translations have been republished at different dates.

 

Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

 

 

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Crackdown on Buddhism in Tibet Appeals

Crackdown on Buddhism in Tibet?.

Sakya Monastery, Tibet. Sakya Monastery was founded in 1073, by Konchok Gyelpo and is situated about 130 km west of Shigatse on the road to Tingri. By I, Luca Galuzzi, CC BY-SA 2.5 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5>, via Wikimedia Commons.

By Rene Wadlow.

There have been periodical periods of repression on religious liberty in Tibet by the Chinese government usually related to broader policies concerning religion on the part of the government.  We may be in such a period now as there is a Muslim element in the repressive policy toward the Uyghurs in Xiaoping and a less obvious Christian element in the repressive policy in Hong Kong;  where Christian churches and Christian-related universities are strong champions of human rights.  It is also possible that recent events in Afghanistan have made some government officials more aware of the religious element in political trends.

The reasons for the crackdown were not articulated by the police authorities who only cited having photos of the Dalai Lama and correspondence with Tibetans living in India and Nepal for the closing of Kharmar Monastery in Gansu Provence in late July and the arrest of over 120 Tibetans including six monks from Dza Wompo Gaden Shedrup Monastery in early September.

The Uyghurs

 Uyghurs praying in East Turkestan. By Preston Rhea, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

Crackdown on Buddhism.

Crackdown in religious practice in Tibet has been periodical.  In 1951 Chinese government troops entered Tibet under a “17 Point Agreement” which left Tibet largely autonomous under the Dalai Lama.  However, in March 1959, China imposed the socialist system on Tibet in the name of “democratic reforms”.  The Dalai Lama, fearing that he would be arrested left for India, followed by his entourage of highly trained lamas and later by other Tibetans.  The Tibetans were settled in the Himalaya hill station of Daramsala by the Indian government.

In May 1966, Mao Zedong launched the “Great Cultural Revolution” to “Smash the four olds” (old ideology, old culture, old customs, and old habits).  A large number of monasteries, temples and shrines were destroyed in Tibet.

Again, in March 1989, martial law was declared in Lhasa following three days of riots during which thousands of Tibetans took to the streets to attack Chinese-owned stores and government offices.  There was a crackdown on religious practice as Buddhism and a sense of nationhood remain for most Tibetans common mobilizing symbols despite the decades of Chinese rule.

 

The Dalai Lama

 

The Dalai Lama. By kris krüg, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

Middle Way Approach.

At other times, there have been meetings between Chinese officials and representatives of the Dalai Lama such as those of 2002 when the Dalai Lama’s representatives set out a “Middle Way Approach” to secure genuine autonomy for the Tibetan people within the scope of the constitution of the People’s Republic of China.  In a follow up meeting in 2008, a detailed memorandum of “Genuine Autonomy for the Tibetan People” was presented by the Tibetan representatives. There were meetings in 2010 to clarify concerns and possible misinterpretations of the Memorandum, although there has been no formal follow up since 2010.

Within China itself, there is an increasing interest in Tibetan traditions of Buddhism. There are some 50 institutes specializing in Tibetan studies. The interest is both cultural and spiritual as some Chinese search for a meaning in life.

Thus it is not clear if the recent arrests are the start of a broader crackdown or the actions of local police officials.  From the outside, those of us concerned with safeguarding religious liberty must follow events in China closely.

 

Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

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Nuclear Weapons Appeals

UN-led International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear…

Featued Image: A U.S. Air Force McDonnell F-4C-22-MC Phantom II aircraft (s/n 64-0727) releasing a B83 nucelar bomb at Edwards Air Force Base during the last flight of the B83 project. Armed, the B83 has a maximum yield of 1.2 megatons. By Zapka, USAF, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

By Rene Wadlow.

“The struggle against the nuclear weapon cult and threats it poses to the international peace,
security and development, like all struggles against belief systems which have outlived their times,
is going to be long and arduous.”
K. Subrahmanyam. Nuclear Proliferation and International Security.

The United Nations General Assembly has designated 26 September as the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, being celebrated this year for the third time;

“to enhance public awareness and education about the threat posed to humanity by nuclear weapons and the necessity for their total elimination in order to mobilize international efforts toward achieving the common goal of a nuclear-weapon free world.”

Achieving global nuclear disarmament − or at least forms of nuclear arms control − is one of the oldest goals of the UN. Nuclear weapon control was the subject of the first resolution of the UN General Assembly and it is the heart of Article VI of the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).

“Each of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.” A Review Conference on the Treaty is held at the United Nations once every five years since 1975, and the representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have constantly reminded governments of their lack of “good faith”.

I chaired the NGO representatives at the 1975 and 1980 Review Conferences, and while our views were listened to with some interest, the Review Conferences have been a reflection of the status of world politics at the time not a momentum for change, as the 2015 Review showed.

There are still some 16,000 nuclear weapons in the world, largely in the hands of the USA and the Russian Federation, some on “ready alert”. There are plans to “modernize” nuclear weapons, and there are at least seven other States with nuclear weapons: North Korea, Pakistan, India and China in Asia, Israel in the Middle East and France and the UK in Europe. The instability and tensions of current world politics merit that we look at the ways in which governments and NGOs have tried to deal with the existence of nuclear weapons, their control and their possible abolition.

There have been four avenues proposed in the decades since 1945: presented, dropped, re-presented, combined with other proposals for political settlements, linked to proposals for general disarmament or focused on nuclear issues alone.

  1.  The first avenue proposed was the Baruch Plan, named after Bernard Baruch, a financier, often advisors to US Presidents going back to Woodrow Wilson and the First World War. He had been named a US delegate to the UN in charge of atomic issues. At the time, the USA had a monopoly of the scientific knowledge and technology needed to produce the A-Bomb, but the scientists who were advisors to Baruch knew that it was only a matter of time before other States, in particular the USSR, would also have the knowledge and technology.
  • Therefore it seemed that the best hope of avoiding an arms race with nuclear weapons was to bring all the atomic energy industry under international UN control. The Baruch Plan proposed the creation of all International Atomic Development Agency which would have a monopoly of all activities connected with atomic research and development such as mining, ownership and management of refineries, and the construction of atomic reactors. The Agency staff would be internationally recruited and would be free from interference from national governments.

However, the Baruch Plan was proposed as the Cold War (1945-1990) was starting to heat up and become more structured. In 1949, the US nuclear monopoly was broken by the explosion of the first Soviet bomb, and then in 1950, war started in Korea.

Bernard Baruch

 BARUCH, BERNARD. By Library of Congress, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

The Korean War led to the next stage, the second and third avenues in nuclear arms policy, someone contradictory but proposed at the same time, and in the light of the Korean War experience.

  • 2.  Avenue two proposed that limited war could be carried out but with nuclear weapons that were smaller than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima and that would not necessary lead to an all-out war between the USA and the USSR. This avenue is most closely associated with Henry Kissinger and his book Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy. (1) The 1950-1953 Korean War showed that war was a real possibility, due perhaps to political miscalculations, erroneous intelligence, and failure to see how a local situation could have a much broader impact.

Henry Kissinger

Henry Kissinger, former U.S. Secretary of State and national security advisor for Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. By  LBJ Library, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.
  • The Korean War stopped without a victor, leaving a divided Korea, a situation which has gone on until today. The Korean experience augmented by the French-Vietnamese War which ended in 1954 led strategic thinkers to reflect on the nature of limited war. At the same time that Henry Kissinger was writing his book, reflecting largely in similar ways, Robert Osgood of the University of Chicago was teaching a seminar on limited war in which I was one of his students. The seminar led to the widely-read book: Limited War: The Challenge to American Strategy. (2)
  • 3. It was in Europe where the opposing NATOWarsaw Pact forces faced each other most closely, that the third avenue was proposed: nuclear-weapon free zones. In October 1957, the Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Adam Rapacki, put forward a plan for creating a nuclear-weapon free and neutral zone in central Europe, usually known as the “Rapacki Plan“. The first stage would be the ‘freezing’ of nuclear armaments in Poland, Czechoslovakia, and the two German States. The second stage would consist of a reduction of conventional armaments and complete de-nuclearization of the four States.

Adam Rapacki

Adam Rapacki (December 24, 1909–October 10, 1970) – a Polish politician and diplomat. By Official photo of members of Politbureau of PZPR after IV Congress. “Trybuna Ludu” 1964 Author:unknown. Wikimedia Commons.

Cuban Missiles Crisis.

Although there had been intense discussions within the Warsaw Pact States before the Rapacki proposal was made public, mutual mistrust and suspicion among NATO and Warsaw Pact countries was such that no negotiations were undertaken. The situation was made all the more complicated by the Western refusal to recognize the German Democratic Republic. However, Rapacki had given birth to the innovative idea of negotiated nuclear-weapon free zones coupled with confidence-building measures.

Nuclear-weapon free zones took shape after the 1962 Cuban missiles crisis. Even today, it is difficult to know how close to a war the 1962 nuclear missiles in Cuba brought the USA and the USSR. It was close enough that it worried leaders in Latin America. Led by the Ambassador of Mexico to the UN and later Nobel Laureate, Alfonso Garcia Robles, negotiations for a Latin American nuclear-weapon free zone were started, and in 1967, 21 Latin American States signed the Treaty of Tlatelolco. In Latin America, two of the largest countries, Argentina and Brazil have nuclear power industries and a potential capacity to develop nuclear weapons. Thus the Treaty provides a confidence-building framework between these two regional powers, although the two States have none of the tensions between them that colored Warsaw Pact-NATO relations.

 

the Cuban Missile Crisis

Hyde Park Protesters October 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis. By Don O’Brien, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

 

The Latin American nuclear-weapon free zone has led to other treaties creating nuclear-weapon free zones in the South Pacific, Africa and Central Asia.

  • 4.  The fourth avenue and the one most discussed at the UN these days is a convention to ban the possession and use of nuclear weapons on the lines of the conventions to ban chemical weapons, anti-personnel land mines and cluster munitions. These bans are based on the unacceptable humanitarian consequences of the use of nuclear weapons, the inability to distinguish between civilians and military and other violations of the principles of humanitarian law.

A Nuclear Weapons Convention has captured the imagination of many in the disarmament community, initially among NGOs but increasingly within the governments of non-nuclear weapon States and the diplomatic community. The Nuclear Weapons Convention is strongly modeled on the Chemical Weapons Convention. Having followed from the sidelines the decade-long negotiations in Geneva which led to the Chemical Weapons Convention, I see two major differences. First, there had not been the wide discussions of the strategic use of chemical weapons as there had been on the strategic use of nuclear weapons in limited war situations.

The second difference which had its impact is that the major chemical companies in Western Europe and the USA did not want to get involved in making chemical weapons. The costs for securing the manufacture of such weapons was greater than what they could charge governments for chemical weapons. Western governments were also reluctant to construct government-owned factories for making chemical weapons, all the more so that there existed a 1925 Geneva Protocol against their use. However, there is still money to be made in the nuclear weapons field.

Track II-NGO efforts.

My own view is that effective nuclear-weapon control will come from a combined regional conflict resolution and nuclear-weapon free zone approach that was first set out in the Rapacki proposals. I believe that the Korean Peninsula holds the most potential for a settlement within a nuclear-weapon free zone. There are proposals for re-starting six-power talks, and there are some Track II-NGO efforts along this line. A Middle East nuclear-weapon free zone coupled with conflict resolution and security provisions would be the most necessary given the current tensions and armed conflicts. The recent agreement with Iran may be a step in this direction. India-Pakistan tensions have gone on so long that both States may know how not to push too hard, but there are always dangers of events slipping out of control.

26 September serves as a reminder of the avenues proposed for nuclear disarmament, but disarmament diplomacy has stalled too often and inconsistent policies by governments have made the goal of complete elimination seem unreachable in the short term. Nevertheless we, as non-governmental peacebuilders, must continue to work creatively to generate the groundswell of opinion that will create a momentum of political will to move to a world without war and without nuclear weapons.

 

NOTES.

(1) KISSINGER. H. (1957) Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy. New York: Harper.

(2) OSGOOD. R. (1957) Limited War: The Challenge to American Strategy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

 

Rene Wadlow is President and Representative of the Association of World Citizens to the United Nations, Geneva.

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