22 Nov 02
A nightmare scenario - The whole World like Israel v Palestine.

Coming back after a few days away from the news of Israel destroying Palestine and the impending war in Iraq, I had a horrible thought, an imaginary sequence of future events. Then I got an email about "Carter calls for disarmament by US".

One scenario that is becoming increasingly closer is that the whole world might become like Israel and Palestine; but with the United States (US) and it's allies against the rest. This scenario implies that the world faces a future in which the infrastructure, human environment and all cultural monuments of those countries that the US sees as enemies (some of whom may be friend now) are destroyed with many civilian casualties.

There is much evidence that can be viewed as supporting this scenario. The evidence includes:

1. The war in Afghanistan and its current condition.

2. The threat of war against Iraq.

3. The US refusal to join the International Criminal Court; there-by declaring; their implied intention to allow its citizens commit crimes against humanity without prosecution; their lack of trust in other countries and their fear of them.

Former US president Jimmy Carter said (on CNN's Larry King Live program broadcast late Friday November 15, 2002) the United States has given many nations around the world cause for resentment and scorn. "There is a sense that the United States has become too arrogant, too dominant, too self-centered, proud of our wealth, believing that we deserve to be the richest and most powerful and influential nation in the world,". "I think they feel that we don't really care about them, which is quite often true."

Contract this with the United Nations (UN) Secretary General Kofi Annan's statement at the opening of the General Assembly on 12 September 2002 (http://www.un.org/news/ossg/sg/); "The more a country makes use of multilateral institutions - thereby respecting shared values, and accepting the obligations and restrains inherent in those values - the more others will trust and respect it, and the stronger its chance to exercise true leadership. … when states decide to use force to deal with broader threats to international peace and security, there is no substitute for the unique legitimacy provided by the UN." Note: see http://www.un.org/millennium/declaration/ares552e.htm for shared values referred to above.

4. Cases such as Yemen and others, who suffered discrimination after voting against the US in the UN Security Council (SC).

5. The continued and increased huge expenditure by the US on arms; over US$400 billion per year. This means the US will be driven to either seek ways to use these weapons; or sell them to the rest of the world - killing people to finance future arms development. The exporting of the American philosophy that everyone should have a gun to defend (???) themselves and light weapons to many impoverished countries can only make our bad situation worse. Guns kill people. During the 20th century guns in the US killed more Americans, than all American soldiers killed in all wars.

6. The propensity for the US to use force and not fully explore or invest in non-violent means of conflict resolution. If only 1% of the spending on the US military was diverted to finding non-violent means of conflict resolution we would have effective solutions. The genius and ability of the American people to solve complex problems is extraordinary. It a shame that many of their best minds are employed making things to kill people.

7. The supply of arms made by the permanent 5 members of the UN Security Council (who make over 80% of the arms in the world) to areas of conflict or potential conflict. It was estimated that both sides in the Iran - Iraq war would have run out of arms within 6 months; instead with the readily available supply ensured that the war lasted 6 years. In many cases it does not even take a war to devastate a country; just a crate load of weapons.

8. Israel - Palestine 2002 where the Palestinians commit suicide bombings and Israel destroy the infrastructure in the Palestinian areas; with many civilian casualties on both sides.

Globalization means in practice that US owned multinationals control much of the world's food and other supplies. Agreements such as Trips / GATS are ensuring that the US controls many aspects of life and necessities for survival, even water in more and more countries. Thus if any dispute arises the US will quickly be able to bring countries to their knees.

In this scenario the US may be seen as Darth Vader's master in Star Wars films; with their star wars system targeting earth; while the rest of the world hopes for a Luke Skywalker who can use the force of good to defeat the empire. I love the American people; I always seem to meet nice ones, but some of their government's policies sucks.

Our best hope is for the US to change its policies. This depends upon the American people electing senators, representatives and Presidents who are not beholden to their present policy of violence and militarism. The election of officials with militaristic or anti UN views or the deep held conviction that the US cannot accept authority beyond the US constitution makes this scenario more likely. US military strategy was Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) during the cold war; now it is full spectrum dominance. Peace in the 21st century demands a shift from the 20th century's expenditures on the military to civilian programs that safeguard human security.

"Every gun, every warship, every tank and every military aircraft built is, in the final analysis, a theft from those who are hungry and are not fed, from those who are naked and are not clothed."
Dwight D Eisenhower, General Commander Allied Forces, World War 2 and US President 1952-1960 (www.action-for-un-renewal.org.uk/pages/quotes.htm)

Disarmament is not the only way to peace. It must be accompanied by genuine human security. There is hope.

The Arms Reduction Coalition (ARC) (http://www.action-for-un-renewal.org.uk/pages/archome.htm) is campaigning for the states of the UN to agree and implement a legally binding instrument, to reduce the amount of resources spent on arms by between 1 and 5 percent for a period of between 10 and 25 years, and to spend the resources saved on programmes that benefit humanity and the earth. This reasonable proposal is based on Implementing Article 26 of the UN Charter, which the states of the UN have committed "to promote the establishment and maintenance of international peace and security with the least diversion for armaments of the world’s human and economic resources".

 "The pursuit of security through the endless perfection and accumulation of arms is clearly counter-productive - and in the early part of the new century, the world must achieve what article 26 of the [UN] Charter describes as 'the least diversion for armaments of the world’s human and economic resources', writes the Under Secretary General for Disarmament affairs, Jayantha Dhanapala in the 2001 UN Disarmament Yearbook. (http://disarmament.un.org/ddapublications/). Countries spent US$840 billion (an estimated 2.6% of world Gross Domestic Product) on weapons and other military expenditure in 2001, an average of US$137 for every person in the world.

"Without peace NGO’s and the UN cannot achieve their aims. Without a reduction in weapons peace will be very difficult to achieve. The present cycle that must be broken is:

A) Large amounts of resources are used to make weapons.

B) The weapons are used to maim and kill people and to destroy their homes, their infrastructure and the environment.

C) The UN, NGO’s and people who care are left to pick up the pieces and try to alleviate the resulting poverty and suffering and rebuilding their environments.

D) The world turns. Humanity advances. The weapons are replenished by more advanced and destructive ones and the cycle starts again." (http://www.action-for-un-renewal.org.uk/pages/SpeechKMwmun.htm)

Julius K. Nyerere Chairman of the South Centre (http://www.southcentre.org) said "Peace is a product of Justice; it is not simply the absence of violence. All violent conflicts represent earlier failures of leadership, either by wrong-doing or by default. … Where the law of the jungle -- the survival of the fittest -- reigns supreme; where Might is Right; where the game of money-making includes arms trafficking and corruption: What is Justice …? "

"One of the things that the United States government has not done is to try to comply with and enforce international efforts targeted to prohibit the arsenals of biological weapons that we ourselves have," Carter said. He also called for more stringent efforts by Washington "to reduce and enforce the agreement to eliminate chemical weapons, and the same way with nuclear weapons." "The major powers need to set an example," Carter said, as the United States confronts Iraq over its possession of such banned weapons. "Quite often the big countries that are responsible for the peace of the world set a very poor example for those who might hunger for the esteem or the power or the threats that they can develop from nuclear weapons themselves," the former US president continued.

Carter, who will receive the Nobel prize on December 10 in Oslo, Norway for his efforts in seeking negotiated settlements to head off violent conflict, also noted that the United States gives only one one-thousandth of its gross national product for international assistance, while the average European country gives four times as much. "For every time an American gives a dollar, a citizen of Norway gives 17 dollars," he said. "Foreign aid in this country has a bad name, but in other countries, it's a right thing for the government to do. And that's where we at the Carter Center quite often have to turn," the former president said, referring to the Atlanta-based Carter Center (http://www.cartercenter.org) he founded some 20 years ago, and which now operates humanitarian projects in 65 countries.

 I listened to some of the UN Millennium summit (http://www.un.org/millennium/sg/report/index.html)web cast and was struck by the large number of leaders who stated that the root causes of war is poverty. The consensus seems to be that poverty is one of the main causes of terrorism. In the Millennium Declaration (http://www.un.org/millennium/declaration/ares552e.htm) the General Assembly (GA) states "We resolve therefore to create an environment – at the national and global levels alike – which is conducive to development and to the elimination of poverty." And calls upon the industrialized countries "To grant more generous development assistance, especially to countries that are genuinely making an effort to apply their resources to poverty reduction." "To the extent that money can solve conflicts and potential conflicts, not a huge amount is required compared to what the world is prepared to spend on everything else, including defense." Gareth Evans, President of The International Crisis Group (www.intl-crisis-group.org ). "The world military sector is a vast repository of resources -- financial, physical, human and technological. If only a fraction of these resources could be diverted to meet the unmet socioeconomic needs of the developing world, then not only would human welfare be dramatically enhanced, but also many conflicts with their roots in economic deprivation would be averted." (. http://www.ncf.carleton.ca/ip/global/coat/24/international/intdevel.txt )

"In at least 84 countries, military expenditures exceed expenditures on health alone. In one out of three developing countries, military expenditures exceed half or more of all expenditures on health and education. In more than one out of six developing countries, military expenditure actually exceeds combined expenditure on all forms of health and education, in eight cases by two to four times. The countries spending the highest proportion of their resources on military uses are also those countries whose standing in human development lags most behind their standing in wealth and GNP. In contrast, countries with the lowest military expenditures generally rank considerably higher in human development than in GNP per capita." (http://www.action-for-un-renewal.org.uk/pages/quotes.htm ). Yet an increasing amount of resources are still being wasted on arms; by both producers and consumers, instead of poverty reduction.

A 2002 survey of funding for UN agencies, programmes and funds finds that the flow of "regular funds" or money used to fund necessary everyday work in improving the quality of life in the developing world, has stagnated or fallen at most of the major UN agencies. Carlos Magarinos Director General of UN industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) (http://www.unido.org/idr) said in their 2002 report "The real per capita income of 30 developing countries is lower today than it was 35 years ago". The Human Development Report (HDR) 2002 (http://www.undp.org/hdr2002) reported that aid to developing countries fell during the last decade, and for Africa it was halved, dropping from US$39 to US$19 per person annually. Donor countries continue to subsidize their farmers at the rate of US$1 billion a day, more than six times their total aid to poor countries, flooding markets with cheap imports and squeezing out poor country farmers. The report says 33 countries with 26% of the world's population are failing on more than half of the targets in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). A vital element in making the 8 goals and 18 targets viable will be increasing aid from developed nations.

 This nightmare scenario may be an extreme view; but it should be explored; especially ways of preventing it coming into being and resolving conflicts non-violently.

Karl Miller - Arms Reduction Coalition www.action-for-un-renewal.org.uk

Speculatively submitted to The Guardian (UK)  22 Nov 02

Carter quotes Published on Saturday, November 16, 2002 by Agence France Presse. Copyright 2002 AFP