Tag: <span>Soviet Union</span>

Ukraine Appeals

Ukraine: Moving Toward Negotiations?.

Featured Image: a view of Maidan Nezalezhnosti in Kiev, Ukraine (2018). By Juan Antonio Segal, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Frederick L. Schuman (1904-1981) was the U.S. international relations scholar whose writings on the Soviet Union were important contributions in the 1950-1960s and whose birth anniversary we note on 24 February. 

24 February is also the one-year anniversary of the Russian intervention in Ukraine.  The “Special Military Operation ” – Russian invasion of Ukraine has created security tensions we thought were left behind with the end of the Cold War in 1991.  In many ways, I have the feeling of being back to the early 1950s when I started to analyse world politics.  Thus I turned back to Frederich Schuman.

The Challenge of Anarchy in World Affairs: Striving for Peace and Stability.

He sets out the broad framework.  “In a world community lacking world government, and therefore afficted with anarchy in the relationships among rival sovereignties, the successive patterns of power politics which follow one another  bewildering in the kaleidoscope of world affairs change rapidly and radically through time.  They are never the product of the decisions of any one group of power-holders or policy-makers in any one sovereignty, but they are always the product of the confused interaction among rival policy-holders in rival sovereignties.  The resulting design for power, with no one willing the result, is sometimes a design for conflict and violence, and sometimes a design for peace and stability.” (1)

I would estimate that the current pattern is a design for conflict and violence.  Thus, as Citizens of the World, we have to promote policies that will lead to a design for peace and stability through negotiations in good faith.  We are challenged by the tensions of this time to strive for a vision of the steps needed.

Assessing Russian Policy and Motivations: The Challenge of Negotiating a Settlement for the Ukraine Conflict.

Schuman asked the questions which again face us today.  “How do the rulers of Russia behave toward the West and why do they behave the way they behave?  How may we expect them to behave in the future in light of the long past and in the light of the triumphs, the tragedies, and the immense transformations of the past years? (2)

The proposals for a negotiated settlement of the Ukraine conflict will be colored by the assessments of Russian policy and especially by the evaluation of the motivations of the Russian President, Vladimir Putin.  Certain commentators have seen the conflict as a proxy war between NATO and Russia.   It is unclear how many of the NATO State leaders have a real influence in policy making on the Ukraine issue.  There are some proposals being publicly presented – trial balloons as they say.  We will have to see if they are shot down as was the Chinese balloon.

The Importance of Timing in Negotiations: A Historical Perspective on U.S.-Soviet Tensions.

It is certain that in situations where opinions are deeply divided, proposals for negotiations are often considered as “giving in to the other side.”  In the leadup to the 1948 elections in the U.S.A. Frederick L. Schuman was a key member of the committee drafting the Platform of the newly-created Progressive Party in July 1948.  Schuman wrote the foreign policy section with its emphasis on U.S.-Soviet tensions. “Responsibility for this tragic prospect of war is an American responsibility insofar as the leaders of the bipartisan foreign policy have placed monopolistic profits and military power ahead of peace in their dealings with other nations.  It is a Soviet responsibility insofar as the leaders of the Soviet Union have subordinated the preservation of peace and concord to aggaradizement and power politics.”

Schuman stressed that instead of the economic Cold War, the U.S.A and the U.S.S.R. should work together, through the United Nations for world economic reconstructions and development.  After demonstrating non-aggressive and humanitarian intensions, the United States and her allies should enter in good faith into negotiations with Russia and her allies, with a view to achieving a world settlement which would be in the best interests of all.

1948 was too early for such views to influence U.S. government policy.  In negotiations, timing is of crucial importance. 

Is the time ripe for negotiations on Ukraine?

Notes.


1) Frederick L. Schuman.”Toward a World Settlement. The Half-Way House of 1954″  Talk delivered before the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations, 9 April 1954.
2) Frederick L. Schuman “The Cold War: Retrospect and Prospect”  (Baton Rouge, LA, Louisiana State University Press, 1967).

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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Moldova Appeals

Dangers and Conflict Resolution Efforts in Moldova.

Featured Image: Official visit of the President of the Republic of Moldova Maia Sandu to Kyiv, January 12, 2021. Meeting with the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyi. By President.gov.ua, CC BY 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

Recent statements by Russian military authorities; such as General Roustan Minnekaiev involved in the Ukraine conflict have drawn attention to what was often considered as a “frozen conflict” in Moldova.  The situation of the Transnistrian region in Moldova has been considered as a frozen conflict due to its unresolved; but static condition since the violent confrontation in June 1992.

Transnistria is de facto independent with many state-like attibutes; and calls itself officially the Moldovian Republic of Dniestr.  However; no other state, including the Russian Federation has recognized it as an independent state.  There are, however; some 1500 Russian military permanently present in Transnistria.  Transnistria had some 706, 000 inhabitants in 1991 at the time of the breakup of the Soviet Union. 

Today, there are some 450,000 – probably less.  Many, especially young people, have left to study or work abroad.  Many in Transnistria have Russian passports in order to travel.  The Transnistrian economy is in the hands of a small number of persons closely linked to the government.

There have been a number of negotiations between representatives of the government of Moldova; and those of the government of Transnistria; but which have led to no agreement as to a possible reintegration of Transnistria.  Official negotiations have been complemented by Track II  efforts; informal discussions in which members of civil society also participated.  The newly elected, in November 2020; President of Moldova Ms Maia Sandu has been actively speaking of the reintegration of Transnistria into Moldova.  Her position has been strongly supported by the government of Ukraine; which sees the parallel with their situation concerning the two People’s Republics: the People’s Republic of Donetsk and the People’s Republic of Luhansk.

Republic of Donetsk and Republic of Luhansk

Return of released citizens to the territory controlled by Ukraine, December 29, 2019. By President.gov.ua, CC BY 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

You might interest read: Vital Autonomy for the People’s Republic of Donetsk and the People’s Republic of Luhansk. The Way Ahead.

There is a danger that the frozen conflict of Moldova begins to melt.  Russian military authorities involved in the Ukraine conflict have spoken of a possible creation of a land route between Crimea and Transnistria.  In adddition; there have been recently a number of rocket attacks; possibly by Ukraining forces; on to Transnistria damaging radio-TV towers used by Russian broadcasting.  While it is unlikely that the fighting in Ukraine spreads to Transnistria and Moldova; the situation must be closely watched and preventive discussions put into place.

 

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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Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan Rapprochement of Cultures.

Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (1888 – 1975) World Citizen.

Featured Image: Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, Former President of India. By White House, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

If we claim to be civilized, if we love justice, if we cherish mercy, if we are not ashamed to own the reality of the inward light, we must affirm that we are first and foremost Citizens of the World…Our planet has grown too small for parochial patriotism

S. Radhakrishnan, Philosopher and President of India (1962-1967).

The present crisis in human affairs is due to a profound crisis in human consciousness, a lapse from the organic wholeness of life.  Today, there is a crisis of perception, a widespread sense of unease concerning old forms of thinking which require that we must recreate and re-enact a vision of the world based on the elements of reverence, order, and human dignity, without which no society can be held together.”

Philosophic Consciousness.

As Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan pointed out, the next stage of human evolution is in the human psyche:

in his mind and spirit, in the emergencies of a larger understanding and awareness, in the development of a new integration of character adequate to the new age.  When he gains a philosophic consciousness and an intensity of understanding, a profound apprehension of the meaning of the whole, there will result in a more adequate social order which will influence not only individuals but peoples and nations. We have to fight for this order first in our souls, then in the world outside.”

Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan repeatedly stressed the close interdependence between the need to recover the visions of the Higher Self in each person and the need to move beyond a narrow, nationalistic view of the world.

The Human Heart and the New World.

If we are to help the present society to grow organically into a world order, we must make it depend on the universal and enduring values which are implanted in the human heart that each individual is sacred, that we are born for love and not hate…We have learned to live peacefully in larger and larger units”.

The concept of a community has grown from a narrow tribal basis to the Nation-State. There is no stopping short of a world community…Thus we rejoice that there is an institution like the United Nations, for it is the symbol and hope of the new world, of the light dawning beyond the clouds, clouds piled up by our past patterns of behavior, past ways of speaking, judging, and acting which do not answer to the deep desire of the peoples of the world for peace and progress. We owe it to ourselves to find out why the light does not spread and disperse the darkness, why the sky is still clouded by fear and suspicion, hate and bitterness.”

Photo by Shinobu in Pexels.

Then you could read The United Nations: The Reflection of the World Society.

President of a State.

It is rare for a world citizen to become president of a State and even rarer to find a professional philosopher as head of State outside Plato’s Republic. Radhakrishnan was a rare individual who played an important intellectual role in three crucial periods:

  1. The revival of Indian thought in the 1920s—1930s after a long period of marginalization.
  2. The Second World War period when a new world society was being planned and when India was on the eve of becoming a fully independent State.
  3. The first years of Indian independence  and the start of the Cold War, the Korean conflict and the need to help reduce Soviet-American Cold War tensions.

Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was born into a middle-class Brahman family in south India near Madras.  His family valued education, and he attended Christian-sponsored secondary schools and did his higher education at Madras Christian College.  During his education, he came to study classical Greek and Western thought, especially Plato, Aristotle and came to know Christian religious views.

The Hinduism.

He was confronted with Western teachers who held a low opinion of the Hinduism they saw around them but who were active in promoting Christian social action, especially in the fields of health, education, and poverty reduction. 

Madras was also the headquarters of the worldwide Theosophical Society; which agreed with the Christians that Hinduism was asleep but who felt that it could be awakened from within by its deeper values and did not have to copy the West. This was the avenue which Radhakrishnan followed, a recognition of the stagnant state of much of Indian religious thought and practice but a confidence that the answer lay in a revitalization of the best of Indian thought such as the Upanisads and the Bhagavad Gita.

This folio samples a part of verse 20, and the beginning of verse 21 from the opening chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, which is on the topic of Arjuna’s distress. By British Library, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

The Status of Indian.

Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan cited the status of Indian thought described by the religious reformer Sri Aurobindo; “If an ancient Indian of the time of the Upanisads, of the Buddha, or the later classical age was to be set down in modern India, he would see his race clinging to forms and shells and rags of the past and missing nine-tenths of its nobler meaning…he would be amazed by the extent of the mental poverty, the immobility, the static repetition, the cessation of science, the long sterility of art, the comparative feebleness of the creative intuition.”

Sri Aurobindo (1872-1950) around the turn of the century, 1900. By Rudolf 1922, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

The Philosophy of Rabindranath Tagore (1918).

Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was aware of the then status quo. As he wrote “Stagnant systems, like pools, breed obnoxious growths, while flowing rivers constantly renew their waters from fresh springs of inspiration. There is nothing wrong with absorbing the culture of other peoples; only we must enhance, raise and purify the elements we take over, fuse them with the best in our own. Indian philosophy acquires a meaning and a justification for the present only if it advances and ennobles life.”

For Radhakrishnan, it was Rabindranath Tagore who best represented this new, flowing river, and his first book was The Philosophy of Rabindranath Tagore (1918). Tagore remained his ideal. While teaching philosophy at the University of Calcutta, he saw the impact of Tagore’s thought in the cultural revival of Bengal.

 Radhakrishnan’s reputation for his analysis and presentation of Indian philosophy grew, especially since many of his essays were published in Western journals. Thus in 1929, he was called to teach in one of the colleges of Oxford University, and in 1936 he was appointed to a newly created chair of Indian thought at Oxford University.

Rabindranath Tagore By Unknown authorUnknown author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Then you could read Rabindranath Tagore: The Call of the Universal Real.

Association of World Citizens.

Thus it was in England that the second phase of his intellectual contribution began. As the clouds of the Second World War were gathering in the late 1930s, he stressed the need for a world vision, freed from the aggressive nationalism of the times. He joined the English branch of the recently formed Association of World Citizens and started meeting with thinkers who would be the creators of UNESCO such as Julian Huxley.  Radhakrishnan was to play an important role as the 1948 chairman of the Executive Council of UNESCO and in developing the UNESCO emphasis on the study of Asian culture.

Julian Huxley (12 February 1964). By Unknown authorUnknown author, CC BY-SA 3.0 NL https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/nl/deed.en, via Wikimedia Commons.

Community of Spirit.

 As he said “If we are to shape a community of spirit among the people of the world which is essential for truly human society and lasting peace, we must forge bonds of international understanding.  This can be achieved by an acquaintance with the masterpieces of literature, art, and science produced in different countries.

When we are in contact with them, we are lifted from the present and immediate passions and interests and move on the mountain tops where we breathe a larger air…For out of the anguish of our times is being born a new unity of all mankind in which the free spirit of man can find peace and safety.

It is in our power to end the fears which afflict humanity and save the world from the disaster that impends.  Only we should be men of a universal cast of mind, capable of interpreting peoples to one another and developing a faith that is the only antidote to fear.  The threat to our civilization can be met only on the deeper levels of consciousness.  If we fail to overcome the discord between power and spirit, we will be destroyed by the forces which we had the knowledge to create but not the wisdom to control.”

The Independence of India.

 With the independence of India came the third and most public of Radhakrishnan’s roles.  In 1948, he was named as the first Ambassador of India to the Soviet Union then headed by Stalin (1948-1952). While he had little personal sympathy for Marxist thought, he realized that he was in a key post at a crucial time, as the Cold War was turning hot with the outbreak of war in Korea in 1950 and the possibility of war spreading to other parts of Asia. He had written a book on the relations between India and Chinese philosophy and so had a particular interest in events in China.

 Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was among the few in India who studied deeply Buddhist philosophy and tried to place the Buddha in the context of Indian thought. Thus events of Southeast Asia and the French war in Indochina were of particular concern.

The Indian Political System.

In 1952, he returned to India to become Vice-President and in 1962 became the President of India for a five-year term. In the Indian political system, executive power is in the office of the Prime Minister rather than the President. During Radhakrishnan’s political life the Prime Minister was Jawaharlal Nehru who shared many common interests but who kept a close hold on political decision making.

         Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan put his political energy into the area he knew best, the improvement of university education and the development of culture.  As a man of South India in a government dominated by people of the north, he was a symbol of national unity. As a person with deep knowledge of both Indian and Western philosophical thought, he was the model of the “meeting of East and West.” He set out his challenge to world citizens clearly “We live in an age of tensions, danger, and opportunity.  We are aware of our insufficiencies, and can remove them if we have the vision to see the goal and the courage to work for it.”

Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan
Jawaharlal Nehru, the main campaigner of the Indian National Congress, 1951-52 elections. The poster reads ‘for a stable, secular, progressive state; VOTE CONGRESS’. By Indian National Congress, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Notes.

 For a useful overview of his philosophical
thinking see Paul A. Schilpp (Ed). The Philosophy of Sarvepalli
Radhakrishnan (1952)

For a good picture of his bridge-building role, see S.J. Samartha Introduction to Radhakrishnan: The Man and His Thought. Dr. Samartha was Director of the program Dialogue among Living Faiths at the World Council of Churches in Geneva

Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

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

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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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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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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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Simone Weil Portraits of World Citizens.

Simone Weil : Roots in the Ideal.

Featured Image: Simone Weil (1909–1943) – a French philosopher, Christian mystic and political activist of Jewish origin. By Unknown photographer, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

By Rene Wadlow.

“In the day of Victory, the angel of justice strives with the demons of violence; the heart of the victor all too easily is hardened; moderation and far-seeing wisdom appear to him weakness; the excited passion of the people, often inflamed by the sacrifices and suffering they have borne, obscure the vision even of responsible persons and make them inattentive to the warning voices of humanity and equity.”  – J. Naughton

 

Simone Weil;  who died on 24 August 1943;  was one of those warning voices writing a memo in London for General Charles DeGaulle’s;  Free French on the problems that would face France;  after the victory over Nazi occupation. 

Her memo concerning the need for humanity, non-violence, and equity;  was published after the War;  as Enracinement in French and The Need for Roots in English.  The memo;  too philosophical for people;  who were primarily concerned with the upcoming D-Day;  and the need to coordinate the different resistance movements within France;  had little impact.

No one in the Free French leadership was sure;  where Simone Weil fit into the different groups;  which had assembled in London.  The Free French officials had quickly rejected her request to be sent back to France;  to partake in armed resistance or in helping the wounded.  Simone Weil had had a short experience with armed combat;  as part of an anarchist brigade in Spain in the Civil War against Franco;  but her poor eyesight and very fragile health;  had quickly put an end to her armed participation. 

Simone Weil

Simone Weil (1909–1943) – a French philosopher, Christian mystic and political activist of Jewish origin. By Unknown photographer, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

A Poem of Force.

She returned from Spain convinced of the need for non-violent action;  influenced by her philosophical interest in Indian thought and the efforts of Mahatma Gandhi.  She also returned from Spain as a convinced opponent of the death penalty;  having tried to stop her anarchist co-fighters;  from executing prisoners of war and Catholic priests. Her non-violence is expressed in a powerful prose-poem ‘L’Iliade: A Poem of Force;  published in both French and English;  first under her pen name, Emile Novis.

She had begun her intellectual life as a Marxist;  but an anti-Stalinist one. As a young philosophy teacher;  she had housed Leon Trotsky in her Paris apartment;  but found Trotsky dogmatic and too willing to justify the policies of the Soviet Union even as he opposed Stalin.  Simone Weil’s Marxism was embodied in no political formation;  and was more an ideal form based on compassion;  for the fate of workers than from an expression of class struggle.  Simone Weil was above all indebted to the writings of Plato;  and her teaching was largely related to Plato and classical Greek thought.  The cave from where one only sees shadows is her image of the world;  in which we live. 

Leon Trotsky

Headshot of Russian Revolutionary political leader and author Leon Trotsky (1879 – 1940), 1930s. By Лев Давидович Троцкий (1879-1940), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

She was interested in the spiritual dimensions of religion;  without ever becoming a member of an organized religion.  She came from an agnostic Jewish background.  Her brother;  André Weil;  who was able to leave France for the USA in 1941;  was a well-known mathematician;  whose career was largely spent at the Institute for Advanced Studies at Princeton;  New Jersey.  The Institute had been created to house Albert Einstein;  and was home for a good number of theoretical mathematicians.

Joseph Stalin

 

Joseph Stalin, Secretary-general of the Communist party of Soviet Union (1942). By Unknown authorUnknown author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Osiris in Egypt and the Krishna of the Gita.

Simone Weil was interested in Taoism, Hinduism and in the person of Jesus.  As she wrote;  Osiris in Egypt and the Krishna of the Gita;  were also incarnations of the Divine.  Her views of Jesus as Prince of Peace kept her outside the Catholic Church;  but after her return from Spain;  she started meeting with Catholic intellectuals.

The most significant of these was Gustave Thibon (1903-2001);  who lived not far from where I live in Ardeche, south-central France;  but I never met him.  Simone Weil and her family had been able to leave Paris in 1940 for Marseille in what was then still “Unoccupied France” under the French government of Vichy. 

Gustave Thibon.

Simone Weil’s parents and brother left for the safety of the USA;  but she refused to leave those suffering behind.  Thus; through mutual friends in Catholic intellectual circles;  she went to live in Ardeche;  helped by Gustave Thibon. 

She left all her writings;  nearly all unpublished; with Thibon when she left Ardeche to join the Free French in London.  Thibon oversaw the publication of her writings and wrote perceptive introductions to many of them after her death.

 

Gustave Thibon was a self-taught philosopher and poet but also a wine producer;  wine being the economic base of our area. Thibon had left school at 16 at the death in the First World War of his father;  in order to help his grandfather tend the wine vines. 

Thibon remained a farmer all his life;  even after the Second World War;  when his philosophical writings became well known;  and he was often asked to give talks in different European countries.  Thibon understood the driving energy of Simone Weil;  her constant questioning of ideas and her desire to put her ideals into practice. 

Gustave Thibon

Gustave Thibon 1982. By Bohémond, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

Network of Intellectual Catholics.

Gustave Thibon was part of a network of intellectual Catholics;  who were also concerned with the future of France after the war.  Along with Thibon;  the group included Louis-Joseph Lebret;  a Catholic priest;  who played a large role in creating the cooperative movement in France;  and who helped draw up the first development plans for Senegal after its independence in 1960. Francois Perroux;  whose economic ideas set the stage for the first post-war reconstruction;  and planning in France was also a member of the network.  

Although Thibon and the others were orthodox Roman Catholics;  they were united with Simone Weil in trying to build a synthesis between philosophical thought and economic conditions;  especially of the poorest and those ground down by repetitious factory work.

Simone Weil’s health, always poor, declined in London, and she died at age 34. It is only after her death that her writings in notebooks were structured into books.  Her life and writings are a prime example of the effort to establish a link between society and the direction of thought.

Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

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Albert Thomas Rapprochement of Cultures.

Albert Thomas: The ILO Centenary. by Rene Wadlow

Albert Thomas, By National Photo Company Collection, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Albert Thomas (1878 -1932); was a French socialist close to Jean Jaures; who was assassinated on the eve of the First World War by a French Nationalist; who thought Jaures was too active trying to prevent a war with Germany.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, the New England philosopher wrote that

an institution is the lengthened shadow of a man.”  

This is certainly true of the International Labour Organization (ILO); whose centenary was celebrated in Geneva at the start of its annual conference in May, 2019.  

Albert Thomas, the first Director General, set in motion nearly all the elements that were developed later.

Director General of the ILO.

Thomas was brought into the French government as the war began; largely as a sign that not all socialists were pacifists.  He was quickly given a newly-created Ministry: the Ministry of Armaments.  In this position; he met many French industrialists; who were making arms and that he would see again as the representatives of French industry; when Thomas was Director General of the ILO.

Minister of Armaments.

Thomas was very aware of the socio-political situation in Russia.  He had widely traveled there as a university student, and returned in 1916 as Minister of Armaments.  He returned in 1917 after the April revolution which had made Alexandre Kerensky Prime Minister.

Soviet-Style Revolution

Thomas saw the possibility of similar revolutions in other countries; if labor conditions were not improved and if cooperation between workers and owners was not developed.

Thus, the background of labor unrest leading to a Soviet-style revolution; was in the minds of many of the 1919 negotiators that led to the Treaty of Versailles.  Without mentioning the Russian Revolution in public; the negotiators; especially the English and the French; saw the need for an organization that would bring together in a cooperative spirit the representatives of government, of industry and of labor.

Norwegian delegation to the 1919 International Labour Conference (Washington Conference).
By Unknown authorUnknown author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

The French and the British.

The French and English negotiators were the most active on these labor cooperation; issues and divided the structure of the administration of what was to become the ILO between the two States. 

The U.S.A. had already indicated that it would not join the League of Nations. Russia, become the Soviet Union, was not invited, and Germany, as the defeated power was also excluded.  Thus a Frenchman, Albert Thomas, became the founding Director General, and the British Harold Butler became his deputy.  In practice, all the important posts were divided among the French and the British.

Trade Union Federations and Employers’ associations.

The ILO has a three-part structure of equality among the representatives of governments, trade union federations and employers’ associations.  The ILO has a philosophy of dialogue and compromise.  However, Thomas began a tradition of strong leadership and expert knowledge by the secretariat. 

Thomas stressed that “The governments must be told what they have to do; and told in terms so far as possible, of their own constitution and methods”.

Letters of Principle.

He insisted on what he called “letters of principle”; in which the duties of governments were carefully set out and a method for their performances suggested.

This approach has led to the widely used ILO practice of setting out “Recommendations”; which creates standards but need not be ratified by national parliaments as must be ILO Conventions; which are treaties which need to be ratified in the manner of other international treaties.  Thus there are many more ILO Recommendations than ILO Conventions.

Rural Workers and The Unpaid Labor.

From his early days in French politics; Thomas had developed an interest in cooperatives and in rural workers; both of which were usually outside the interests of trade unions and employers’ association which focused on industry.

Under Thomas’ leadership, the ILO took on a fairly broad view of what is “labor”.  He was also concerned with the role of women; though it was only a good bit later that the ILO became concerned with “unpaid labor” and the informal sector.  In many countries the work of wives  as “unpaid labor” is still outside employment statistics.

The International Labour Conference.

On 21 June 2019, a new Convention and accompanying; recommendation to combat violence and harassment in the world of work was adopted by the ILO Conference.  

Manuela Tonei; Director of the ILO’s Work Quality Department said; “Without respect, there is no dignity at work, and without dignity there is no social justice.” 

This is the first new Convention agreed by the International Labour Conference; since 2011 when the Domestic Workers Convention (Convention 184) was adopted.  Conventions are legally binding international conventions while Recommendations provide advice and guidance.

An Intensive Worker.

Also linked to his political background, Thomas knew the importance of personal contacts.  Thus, he traveled a good deal to meet officials and explain the role of the ILO.  He traveled a good bit in Asia; especially China and Japan, two countries outside of colonial control, as well as to North and South America.

Thomas was an intensive worker, often traveling in difficult conditions.  He did not take into consideration his own health needs – suffering from diabetes.  He died suddenly in 1932; as the ILO was facing the consequences of the world-wide depression.  He was only 53.  He left a strong legacy on which the ILO has been able to build.

Note

For a biography and analysis of the start of the ILO; written by a close co-worker and high official in the ILO Secretariat see: E.J. Phelan. Albert Thomas et la Création du B.I.T. (Paris: Grasset, 1936) translated into English as Edward J. Phelan. Yes and Albert Thomas (1936).

Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens

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world citizens UN: Growth of World Law.

Citizens of the World Diplomacy.

Picture by  Artem Beliaikin on Pexels

The crisis today in human affairs is represented not by the absence of human capacity, but by the failure to recognize that the capacity exists. What gives hope its power is the release of human energies generated by the longing for something better”.

Norman Cousins.

The Association of World Citizens.

Douglas Mattern;  was the founding  president of the Association of World Citizens;  when in 1975 he brought together individuals;  who considered themselves as Citizens of the World;  but were working within a host of other prizce organizations. He has since died;  but his efforts for world citizen diplomacy has continued and expanded.

One of the primary duties of State leaders;  is to identify and then to defend against enemies. As soon as a pair of states begins to identify one another as enemies; as the USA and the Soviet Union did in 1945 at the end of the World War;  they take steps that confirm and amplify the initial fears;  thus starting a cycle of action and reaction.

For American leaders;  the Soviet Union represented not only an expansionist state;  but was also a leader of a more vague and undefined “international communism”. For the Soviets the USA was an atomic-weapon state; but also the champion of an effort to destroy the “socialist system”.

Many citizens feel that if a government fails to be vigilant in its “threat assessment” of the present danger;  then that administration does not deserve to govern.

Cycles of Distrust and Resort to Arms.

We see after “9/11”; the same political and security mechanisms made all the more difficult; because “Islamic Fascism” is even more vague and undefined than “International Communism”; and does not have a specific “home state”; as the Soviet Union or China had for Communism.

There are basically two types of activities; which people can take to modify; such cycles of distrust and resort to arms.

The first is the role of “kibitzer” — the person; who is on the sideline in a game of cards; who says after each hand

“I would not have played the Ace of Hearts then.”

Likewise we can say :

“If I were in the place of President Bush; I would not have gone into Afghanistan, much less Iraq.”

A good deal of world citizen energy; has gone into efforts to convince governments that nuclear weapons; nuclear-weapons testing; and keeping nuclear weapons on “hair-trigger alert” is unwise.

It is likely that had there not been the anti-nuclear efforts starting in 1945; when as Albert Einstein said 

“The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking; and thus we drift toward unparalleled catastrophe”.

Governments would have continued to develop and test nuclear weapons; driven by only technical and strategic considerations.

Photograph by Orren Jack Turner, Princeton, N.J. Modified with Photoshop by PM_Poon and later by Dantadd., Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and Community-Based Moral Voices.

Much of the drive for arms control and disarmament has come from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and from community-based moral voices; such as that of Martin Luther King, Jr who said :

“I do not minimize the complexity of the problems; that need to be faced in achieving disarmament and peace. But I am convinced that we shall not have the will, the courage; and the insight to deal with such matters unless in this field; we are prepared to undergo a mental and spiritual re-evaluation; a change of focus which will enable us to see that the things that seem most real and powerful are indeed now unreal; and have come under sentence of death.

It is not enough to say ‘We must not wage war!’; It is necessary to love peace and sacrifice for it. We must concentrate not merely on the eradication of war; but on the affirmation of peace.”

Martin Luther King, picture: Colors by Emijrp, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The value of being a “kibitzer” at the United Nations through non-governmental organizations in consultative status with the UN; is that one can give advice to a host of governments. Out of the 192 UN members; some governments will be interested and take up ideas which; later may be found in resolutions.

NGO representatives cannot claim “ownership” of the ideas; but the constant repetition of basic ideas of conflict resolution, human rights, and a fairer economic system; keep these ideals in front of decision makers.

Citizen Diplomat.

Another approach is the role of “citizen diplomat”. As Douglas Mattern notes:

Citizen diplomacy is an idea whose time has come. With modern technology; individuals and organizations from diverse parts of the globe; can have instant communication through the Internet, telephones, and fax machines.

The marvel of telecommunications; along with the relative ease and speed of travel; provide the capability for joint activity among people that was not previously possible.”

Mattern tells of his experiences as a citizen diplomat in the Soviet Union; on “Citizen Diplomacy Volga Peace Cruise” — trips starting in 1983; organized by Alice and Howard Frazier of Promoting Enduring Peace.

During the eleven hundred mile trip on the Volga with stops at major cities along the way; there were workshops and exchanges of views and perceptions. Later in 1986; there was a return trip down the Mississippi; during which thousands of Americans came to greet the Russians on the Delta Queen steamboat; and to extend their own message of peace and friendship.

The multiplication of such examples of citizen diplomacy; helped to break down the walls which the Cold War had created; both physical and mental walls. Mattern sets out the basic aims of citizen diplomacy:

“ Our unyielding task is to build a world community that respects law and justice, the sharing of resources, and the creation of a new civilization based on respect for life, respect for the environment, and respect for each other.”

Rene Wadlow; President, Association of World Citizens.

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The Phantom Republics Appeals

Nagorno-Karabakh: A Phantom Republic Takes Center Stage

Photo by Sarin Aventisian on Unsplash

From bitter searching of the heart
Quickened with passion and with pain
We rise to play a greater part.
This is the faith from which we start
Men shall know commonwealth again
From bitter searching of the heart.
— Frank Scott (1899-1985)

9 Oct 2020 – The Phantom Republics;  is the name given to the States demanding the status of independence;  after the breakup of the Soviet Union: Abkhazia and South Ossetia in Georgia, Transnistea in Moldova, and Nagorno-Karabakh;  between Azerbaijan and Armenia.  The conflicts in Georgia and Moldova are now “frozen”; but they can “melt” at any time.  One might add the Donbass and Luhansk of Ukraine to the list  although the aims of the “separatists”;  are not fully clear: an autonomous status within Ukraine;  integration into the Russian Federation;  or an independent state.

The Association of World Citizens  had in a 14 April 2014 message;  to the Secretary General of the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe;  welcomed the serious consideration of federalist  government structures for Ukraine;  being proposed both by the then President of Ukraine;   in a 13 April 2014 statement;  and by the authorities of the Russian Federation. Since then the conflict has been “frozen”;  and no new advances have been made on constitutional structures.

As fighting has resumed between Armenia and Azerbaijan;  the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has moved to center stage.

Package Deal.

As a first step toward a resolution of the conflicts in Georgia, Moldova and Nagorno-Karabakh;  is to have the Phantom Republics be given membership  within the United Nations;  so that their representatives could speak for themselves: Abkahazia, South Ossetia, Transnistra and the Republic of Artsakh;  the name given by the Armenian leadership to the Nagorno-Karabakh area.  In the Association of World Citizens’ proposal;  security would start with a “package deal” for the four entities.  Once recognized through U.N. membership;  it will be up to each of the Phantom Republics to create economic, social and political ties with its neighbors.

There are obviously oppositions;  to recognition of each of these states as independent members of the U.N;  in particular opposition from the state of which they were once a part.  Nevertheless;  such a package deal resembles earlier package deals for U.N. membership;  when countries had been blocked by Cold War tensions.  U.N. membership grants recognition of being part of the international community.

Breaking out of Thinking in Fixed Patterns.

To find mutually acceptable forms of government in these conflicts;  will require political creativity (breaking out of thinking in fixed patterns);  and then new forms of constitutional order;  such as renewed forms of con-federal types of government;  greater popular participation in decision making;  and new forms of protection of minorities.

Flexibility;  compromise and cooperation are the hallmarks of success;  when it comes to resolving conflicts concerning independence and autonomy.  There is a need for a healing of past animosities;  and a growth of wider loyalties.  Thus;  there is a need to create what has been called a “dialogic community” – a group of people who are concerned with intra-state conflicts;  who stress non-violent strategies of conflict resolution and associative methods of problem solving. These are people with political imagination;  who are willing to think about new institutions, practices, and ways of  life.  Today;  we are in a race between those who would create such a “dialogic community”;  and those who would use ethnic identity and ethnic myths to mobilize for narrow aims.

Thus;  the Phantom Republics can join the U.N. to sit along with such small U.N. members as Andorra, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco and San Marino – states born with the restructuring of feudal Europe.  It may take some time to turn Abkhazia into a Black Sea Monaco;  but inevitably, for economic and social reasons;  neighboring states learn to cooperate if they are not able to destroy by war.

 

René Wadlow is President of the Association of World Citizens;  an international peace organization with consultative status with ECOSOC;  the United Nations organ facilitating international cooperation and problem-solving in economic and social issues.

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