The main prerequisite and condition for the fulfilment of the worlds many different potentials is peace. As democracy supports peaceful relations between states, economic prosperity and fuller development of people, peace makes possible the development of stable political institutions, more productive economic activity and a more civilized and enlightened social life. Without establishing a stable climate of peace, human rights cannot be safeguarded, democratic institutions cannot function effectively, prosperity cannot flourish, and human beings cannot discover their higher capacities for external achievement and inner fulfilment. Peace is imperative for a thriving democracy. A comprehensive perspective and integrated approach to these inter-related issues can lead to a major breakthrough on multiple fronts.
We are poised at what can become a turning point in the role of war in human affairs. The momentous consequences at stake call for decisive action. Historically, war has been a means of territorial expansion and economic conquest that strengthened and enriched the conqueror while draining the energy and diminishing the wealth of the conquered. War and economic development co-existed and sometimes complemented each other. Technological progress increased defensive and offensive capabilities. The demands of war and the associated destruction stimulated greater economic activity and spurred organizational innovation, especially for the benefit of those not directly engaged in the conflict. Guns were one of the first products of mass production.
In the modern era, society has become the principle target and victim of war. With the advent of the Industrial Revolution, technology and economic activity in support of fighting forces became an increasingly significant factor. As a result, more and more effort was directed at eliminating or crippling the enemys economic and industrial capacity and the national will to wage war. Targeting of civilian populations became increasingly common. In the two world wars in this century, opposing sides waged all-out war against the military, political, economic and social resources and capacities of the enemy society. The strategic bombings of the Second World War, the fire-bombing of Tokyo, and the nuclear devastation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki took this concept to the extreme. As a result, the ratio of military to civilian casualties in military conflicts changed dramatically. In the First World War, there were 20 military casualties for each civilian death. In the Second World War, the ratio was one to one. In the Korean War, civilian deaths out numbered military losses five to one. In the Vietnam War, this ratio rose to 20 to one. Advances in the sophistication and dissemination of modern military technology have fuelled this trend. The IranIraq War, the war in Afghanistan and the Gulf War involved the use of ballistic missiles against civilian centres. In all, over 5,000 surface-to-surface missiles have targeted population centres during the last five decades.
The devastating effect of even conventional weapons on economic activity and society in general is so great that today no developed nation can afford the costs of military confrontation, either at home or overseas. No longer can non-combatants sit quietly on the sidelines or work productively undisturbed. War both between and within states has come to involve and affect all of society. Infrastructure and production facilities have be come a principal target of military action. Food supplies are frequently the first major casualty and most lethal weapon. A single explosion can paralyze a major metropolis or contaminate an entire region with toxic material, dwarfing the devastation caused by the industrial accidents at Chernobyl and Bhopal. The disruption of trade resulting even from regional conflicts such as the Gulf War or the war in Bosnia, impacts not only on the economies of the belligerents, but also on neighbours, trading partners and global economic performance. Neither the victor nor the victim can any longer afford to resolve conflicts violently.
Political states may still be able to survive wars, but developmental achievements can not. So long as the benefits of development are confined to one or a few sections of society, the costs of militarization and war may not prevent economic and social progress. But when the need is to fulfil the rising expectations of the masses by extending the benefits of development to the entire society thus enabling the society as a whole to move to the next higher level of collective affluence and fulfilment every social resource must be garnered and harnessed for this purpose. The colossal cost of armaments and the catastrophic destruction of war are incompatible with the achievement of prosperity for all. Peace has be come the fundamental imperative for development.
War as an Instrument of Policy
Humanity has lived with war for so many millennia that it is difficult to imagine a world without it. Even in the four decades of peace following the Second World War, approximately 160 inter-state and intra-state wars, including 100 major conflicts, have been fought in developing countries, leading directly to 20 million deaths half of them caused by the armed forces of developed countries in Korea, Indochina, Algeria and other anti-colonial wars and to another 20 million war-related casualties. These massive casualties during a time of peace are roughly equal to the total casualties incurred by all the countries of the world during the last world war.
An equally disturbing phenomenon has been the expansion of violence within society for political purposes. Of the 82 armed conflicts between 1989 and 1992, only three were between states. During 1993, 42 countries were involved in 52 major conflicts, and another 37 experienced political violence. Terrorist warfare, whose principal aim is to threaten social peace, has become the model for conflicts in Northern Ireland, the Middle East and the drug war in Colombia. Modern means of communication, increased vulnerabilities of inter-dependent, integrated civil societies, and modern instruments of violence make these forms of war extremely destructive.
The expansion of war to encompass society poses one of the most serious challenges to national and international security and development and raises fundamental questions regarding war as an instrument of policy. For more than two centuries, war has been rationalized as an appropriate instrument in international affairs. The increasing destructiveness of violent conflict to society in general has resulted in a shift in military strategy from actual fighting to preventive diplomacy. The Helsinki Process, the Stockholm Document, the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Warsaw Treatys adoption of the doctrine of non-offensive defence, and most recently the UN Secretary Generals Agenda for Peace all give highest priority to war prevention.
While welcome, these incremental measures do not fully recognize either the extent of the danger of the continued application of violence to achieve political ends or the extent of the opportunity which the end of the Cold War has brought for radically altering the way in which humanity settles domestic and international disputes. There was a time when war could be justified as a necessary expedient. Now the potential human and economic costs of even limited terrorist war especially if it involves the use of nuclear or biological weapons, but even otherwise are so great that the risks are no longer tolerable. Because the potential risks far outweigh the possible advantages of continued reliance on this means of achieving national and international security, war has become obsolete as an instrument of policy.
At the same time, there is no longer an insurmountable political conflict within the UN system to prevent all member countries from agreeing to a total ban on the use of violence against each other. It is time for the UN to declare war itself a crime against humanity and to ban from membership any nation that engages in aggression against another. Even if this intention cannot immediately be made effective, the adoption of this Peace Imperative would mark a milestone in human affairs. There is no rational or practical obstacle to the immediate adoption of this measure. As a starting point, it can be demonstrated that with the right perspective, courage and commitment, practical immediate solutions are possible for any and all of the conflicts presently raging. Recent failures of international diplomacy do not contradict this assertion, they confirm it. War must, and can, be abolished.
The threats to future peace come in many forms and at many levels, but unquestionably the most pernicious and potentially devastating is the peril from nuclear weapons. The end of the nuclear arms race between the superpowers may have removed the looming fear of all-out nuclear war and annihilation that surfaced in the artistic drawings of young American school children in the mid-1980s, but the horrible genie of Hiroshima and Nagasaki will continue to haunt us until every nuclear weapon has been destroyed. The very existence of the nuclear stock piles carries its own inherent dynamism for their utilization, which is likely to be expressed intentionally or accidentally sooner or later.
There have been repeated efforts by the non-aligned nations to move a resolution in the UN General Assembly that the use of nuclear weapons should be declared a crime against humanity and outlawed. One hundred and twenty-six nations have voted for the resolution. It is ironic that the opposition to this resolution and justification for the continued possession and possible use of nuclear weapons come solely from the most militarily, politically and economically powerful group of nations, which are militarily without adversary and at the same time in the best position to afford and institute alternative means for their national security. Here lies the real key: the insistence of the few most powerful nations on perceiving security in their own terms, and their insatiable urge to achieve ever more of it for themselves at the expense of greater insecurity for others and the world as a whole, even though their goal can never be achieved on this unilateral basis.
During the Cold War, nuclear weapons were legitimized by the five permanent members of the Security Council which are the nuclear weapon states. Now that it is over, the governments of these nations seek to justify continued possession and the option to use these weapons, even while exerting every possible pressure to stop proliferation to other countries. The very logic which the nuclear weapon states rely on to support this policy, however, makes the acquisition of these weapons extremely attractive to non-nuclear powers. So long as their possession and possible use is tolerated and justified, the relatively low cost of production and high threat potential of these weapons offer strong incentives for other states to acquire them. It is unrealistic to expect that any system of international controls or inspections can prevent their eventual acquisition by states that decide to develop them and have the advanced scientific capabilities to do so.
From the inception of nuclear weapons, two things have been clear. There can be no victors in a nuclear war and there is no credible defence against these weapons. Confidential studies by NATO in the 1960s concluded that the costs of a nuclear exchange to either party would be so great that the weapons were essentially unusable. No satisfactory answer has ever emerged for the question: where and under what circumstances can these weapons be deployed beneficially? The continued expansion of nuclear stockpiles over three decades may have added to the self-importance of the military and political leaderships, and perhaps of the general public, in states that possessed them, but there is little evidence that it ever added to national security. The unusability of these weapons helps to explain why predictions of rapid spread of these weapons to other states proved to be so wildly exaggerated. The irrelevance or unusability of nuclear weapons is evident in all the wars involving major powers during the past four decades. A greater understanding of the environmental impact of these weapons has further strengthened the perception of unusability. It is time that psychological posturing gave way to a mature recognition that these weapons have no place in the civilized world and must be banished from it.
The continued build-up of nuclear arsenals was an attempt by the superpowers to maintain parity or superiority over each other as a deterrent against being attacked. Although the nuclear powers may argue that their arsenals have protected them from any such danger, there is little rationality in a strategy that compelled adversaries continuously to take steps to offset each others measures, without either party actually achieving greater real security. In addition, this strategy was pursued at the cost of increasing insecurity to other nations. The acquisition of nuclear weapons generates a ripple effect and acts as a powerful force for proliferation.
The arms build-up has been reversed, but at least 40,000 nuclear weapons are still in stockpiles with a combined explosive force at least 1,000 times greater than all the firepower used in all the wars since the introduction of gunpowder six hundred years ago. START-I and START-II will bring down the number of warheads of the United States and the former Soviet Union by 90 per cent from a combined 55,500 total to 6,500 over a ten-year period. But this reduction could, in fact, be achieved within months rather than years by deactivating delivery systems and separating their warheads, which could then be stored under multilateral control. Nor do these agreements, long overdue and greatly welcome, remove the fundamental dangers and questionable legitimacy of these weapons. Even without a decision to abandon completely their use under any circumstances, a further drastic reduction to somewhere between 20 and 200 warheads is more than sufficient to meet any security need. Immediate steps can, and should, be taken to negotiate reductions to this minimum level.
The relaxation of tensions has drawn public attention away from this issue and reduced the momentum for progress at the very time when there is the greatest opportunity finally to eliminate this threat completely. The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which ensures the military superiority of the nuclear powers over other signatories, is an instance of rule by strength forcibly imposed by the major powers on the rest of the world community in the name of peace. It is neither equitable nor justifiable. Already, 156 countries have signed the treaty, owing either to coercion or indifference, and the number is expected to increase to 170 out of 179 states by 1995. The acceptance of non-proliferation by these countries further delegitimizes the continued possession of nuclear weapons by any country. All of the treaty non-signatories can be persuaded to sign in exchange for annihilation of these weapons by those that now possess them. Under these circumstances, refusal to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty could be considered sufficient grounds for expulsion from UN membership. Without a universal ban, the efforts of the nuclear powers to stop proliferation lack moral authority.
Arguments are often advanced that nuclear weapons cannot be dis-invented, and that the danger of a rogue state or terrorist group acquiring and threatening use of these weapons necessitates that the present nuclear powers retain them for such a contingency. With the massive conventional firepower already available, nuclear weapons are not needed for defence, even against a rogue state with nuclear capability, and they do not represent a credible defence against terrorism under any circumstances. How could nuclear weapons conceivably be used to retaliate against terrorism? Alternative solutions can be found to address these threats far more effectively.
Similar arguments were made in the past against complete eradication of chemical weapons. The new treaty for the abolition of chemical weapons provides a useful model. Chemical weapons technology is far easier to acquire and violations of the treaty are far more difficult to verify. The fact that a comprehensive universal treaty to abolish one category of weapons of mass destruction is now a reality proves that political will rather than technical factors is the crucial element. The Chemical Weapons Treaty also shows that negotiation of such a treaty need not take decades.
The demise of the Cold War offers a unique opportunity to eliminate nuclear weapons while the political atmosphere is favourable. If the world now intends to uphold democracy and human rights as inalienable values, then the human right to live without the threat of a nuclear holocaust must be proclaimed and made inviolable. A durable non-proliferation regime can only be constructed on the basis of the universal abolition of nuclear weapons. Manufacture and possession of nuclear weapons must be banned. Use of such weapons must be outlawed as a crime against humanity. First use of such weapons by any power should automatically invoke the strongest collective security measures under the UN Security Council.
The decision on whether to permit the continued existence of nuclear weapons is of too great importance to the future of humanity to be left to the discretion of one or a few member nations of the international community. Under the present structure of the UN, the only body with authority to act is the Security Council, but the veto power of the five permanent members deprives other nations of an effective voice. The proposal to ban completely the possession and use of nuclear weapons should be put before the Council. The right of veto should be rescinded with respect to this most crucial issue. A time-bound plan should be drawn up by the UN for complete and total nuclear disarmament by all nations.
Ban on ballistic missiles
Nuclear devices are the most lethal class of weapons, but much of their threat arises from the development of ballistic missile technology which can deliver them to distant targets unmanned and without risk to the aggressor. Even if nuclear weapons are eliminated, these vehicles can be utilized to carry large conventional payloads that strike terror in a distant population. The danger to all nations of unexpected and unprovoked attack from near or distant powers can be vastly reduced by declaring an immediate ban on the use of ballistic missiles of all types, including those carrying conventional warheads.
This proposal, first put forth by US President Reagan in 1986, would eliminate the discriminatory provisions that deny missile acquisition to some, while preserving the right of others to maintain and develop this purely offensive capability. It would also eliminate the need for missile defence systems, which no nation can afford and which are the only possible defence against ballistic missile weapons. The ban on use should be followed by urgent measures to dismantle and scrap this entire class of weapons worldwide. Technically, a prohibition on testing and deployment of ballistic missiles would be far more verifiable than any limits on nuclear proliferation. Monitoring stations at missile production facilities and existing surveillance systems can restrain manufacture and detect test flights. Evading a ban on testing would be practically impossible.
Small Arms, Drugs, Crime and Terrorism
Four decades of preoccupation with nuclear weapons have blinded policy makers to an extremely dangerous and destabilizing threat to nations and their citizenry from the other end of the weapons spectrum the proliferation of small arms. The shift in the nature of conflicts from massive wars between states by regular armed forces over a wide region or encompassing the globe to small, inter-state or intra-state warfare by irregular forces, insurgents, criminal or terrorist groups infiltrating and often indistinguishable from the general population has led to a frighteningly swift and widespread proliferation of small arms. This category includes weapons up to 50 mm calibre, high-powered automatic personal weapons such as the AK-47 Kalashnikov, sophisticated explosives, and shoulder-fired rockets, grenades and surface-to-surface missiles.
The transfer of small arms takes place through diverse channels formal and clandestine trade, legal and black or grey markets, and local manufacture. These weapons provide the means to support and sustain low-intensity (but highly lethal) conflict. The contemporary international scene is replete with examples Peru, Central America, Northern Ireland, Bosnia, the Caucasus, Angola, South Africa, Somalia, the Middle East, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Kashmir, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and so on. Recently, they have been used more widely to support ethnic conflicts around the world.
These weapons are often targeted against the society itself. The high rate of violence in Washington DC and other American cities, and the internecine conflicts of the Mafia and other criminal operations, all depend on the use of these deadly weapons, of which there are more than 200 million in the United States alone. Coping with this threat is made more difficult because, more often than not, such weapons in the hands of non-state actors, especially militants and terrorists, are superior to those available to security forces and law enforcement agencies of the state, and because detection and control of their distribution pose serious problems. No serious efforts are being made to stop this cancerous proliferation. In fact, many states have actively fostered proliferation as an instrument of their own policies.
One of the most serious consequences of this trend is the linkage between small arms proliferation and the drugs trade. The use of and trade in narcotics represents a menace not only to the health and well-being of individuals and societies, but also to international security. The scale of the problem can be judged by the reported fact that Americans, who represent five per cent of the worlds population, consume fifty per cent of the worlds cocaine. In Pakistan, where there were virtually no drug addicts a decade ago, it has been reported that as many as 3 per cent of the population are addicted and thrice that number use drugs frequently. The CIS has now been added to the traditional drugs routes emanating from the PeruColombiaPanama, PakistanAfghanistan, and MyanmarThailandLaos regions.
The drugs menace is transnational in character with far-reaching implications for societal and international peace and security. The countries and regions which produce these drugs, and through which the trade flows, have been afflicted by endemic violence and social turbulence. A similar impact occurs at the point of concentrated consumption, especially in the inner cities of America, where crime and murder rates have soared due to drug-related violence. Inevitably, drug trafficking is linked with illicit arms, terrorist groups and the Mafia. Criminal elements are increasingly gaining control over the administrative and political structures of drug-producing states, where drug-related corruption permeates the military and government.
Neither the proliferation of small arms, nor the proliferation of drugs, nor the growth of terrorist and criminal activity can be solved as isolated problems, or by the independent initiatives of individual states. No country is exempt from the danger, which will continue to multiply unless checked and eradicated by concerted international action. Urgent steps are needed to classify and register small arms production and trade, to monitor and control their manufacture and limit their export. Agreements are needed to reduce production and severely restrict sales. Strong sanctions must be instituted to discourage states from actively or passively aiding or abetting small arms proliferation. The scope of the UN Conventional Arms Register should be expanded to cover small arms, but at the same time its provisions must be greatly strengthened in order to make this an effective mechanism. Reporting must be made mandatory rather than voluntary, and an independent surveillance system should be established to monitor compliance. The five permanent members of the Security Council, which together account for 80 per cent of the worlds arms sales, should also set up a system for mutual consultation on all large weapons orders.
Mahatma Gandhi once explained that his efforts to suppress the natural aggressiveness of the people during Indias freedom struggle resulted in an explosion of violence between Hindus and Muslims when the country was partitioned. Today, in the absence of opportunities for venting aggression in global wars, pent-up energies are finding other outlets for expressing violence. The only possible way to manage these innate aggressive forces is to meet them firmly. The international community has already shown, in the case of airline hijacking, that it is capable of effective action on a global scale when the necessary political will and commitment are forthcoming. By concerted measures, the rapid proliferation of hijackings has been virtually eliminated. Similar results can be achieved today drastically to curtail small arms proliferation and the drugs trade. The anti-social forces supporting these activities must be handled with the same firmness and determination applied to hijackers, regardless of whether they are governments, military, criminal or terrorist groups, corporations or banks. The power of these measures lies not in the enactment of laws but in their enforcement. Enforcement should be made mandatory and automatic.
At the same time, it must be recognized that force alone can never eliminate these problems at their roots. Aggressive energies must be given constructive channels through which to express themselves positively in economic development. Unless and until famine and poverty are eliminated, both in developing countries and in the inner cities of the North, these energies will continue to find negative expression through violence. Therefore, a comprehensive approach is called for. The measures proposed here must be viewed in conjunction with recommendations made elsewhere in this report to eradicate hunger and unemployment.
Linkages to commodity trade
Isolated and independently pursued policies, which appeared highly beneficial at the time enacted, often result in unexpected and unwanted consequences that negate the benefits of the original measures. The refusal of high-income nations to meet the demands of developing countries for protection of commodity prices is an example. During the 1980s, the debt crisis forced many developing countries to increase exports of basic commodities often at great cost to the environment in an effort to make loan repayments. This resulted in a self-defeating downward commodity price spiral. The increased exports of these commodities pushed world prices lower, thereby forcing debtor nations to export ever larger quantities to earn the same amount of foreign exchange to repay debts. Defaults on these loans have resulted in huge losses by the worlds major banks and write-offs of billions of dollars by donor governments.
One consequence has been to increase the attractiveness of drugs cultivation as an alternative source of income for farmers in developing countries. At the height of the drug wars, the then President of Colombia, Virgilio Barco, argued that farmers in his country would readily give up cocaine production if the international price of coffee could be stabilized at its former price level. His call unheeded, the United States has been forced to spend billions of dollars fighting drugs crimes and expanding prisons due to the rapid increase of drugs consumption in America. By a strange circuitous mechanism, the savings to consumers in developed nations by the refusal of their governments to negotiate international commodity agreements favour able to developing countries has cost these governments and their economies tens of billions of dollars in the form of loan write-offs and crime fighting. If an international commission in the 1970s had tried to point out this linkage between low agricultural incomes in Colombia and drug-related crime in New York, London or Moscow, it would have been readily dismissed. But this is the type of understanding and perspective needed by governments and international agencies today to formulate effective policy measures in an interdependent world.
Eliminating nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles and small arms proliferation are practical measures whose time has come. But by themselves these steps will only mitigate the most pernicious threats to international security. They will not provide an effective system for ensuring the peace and security of all nations that is so vitally needed, and now so imminently possible, as a basis for accelerating the political, economic and social development of humankind. The end of the Cold War provides us with the opportunity, and pressing global issues provide the urgency, for more significant measures. These measures cannot be conceived within the perspective of international security that has dominated our thinking in the post-war period, or from a half-hearted desire to modestly improve what to some still appears an adequate and acceptable system. This is an occasion that demands visionary and courageous leadership to usher in a better world. The children of the next millennium will judge us by our response.
Historically, all landmark changes in the international political and security system have been the result of armed conflicts, wars and revolutions. In each case the victors who emerged from the ashes of war sought to build on a static formula for enforcing peace in a dynamic world. In each case, the arrangements for conflict termination contained a dynamism that would produce the tensions, disputes and conflicts of the future. These in-built limitations and imbalances resist adjustment until a new round of fighting sweeps away the old frame work and replaces it with another, fashioned in much the same way.
This has been true of the arrangements for international security which have governed international affairs during the present century and which provided the underlying dynamism for the First World War and, when the failed attempt at forming a League of Nations left the world unprepared to deal with fascism, for the Second World War as well. The skewed division of powers allotted under the UN Charter contained the seeds for the bipolar, intensely adversarial relationship between the two military blocs that resulted in the Cold War and the arms race between the superpowers.
All these arrangements have been based on the concept of competitive security. The competitive security paradigm is a state-centred, egocentric approach in which the security of each nation is perceived in terms of its military superiority over potential adversaries. The push of each nation for unlimited security through military power is inherently destabilizing, since it inevitably increases the level of insecurity of other sovereign states. In practice, the effort of nations to arm themselves against perceived external threats generates a sense of insecurity among other nations and compels them in turn to increase military preparedness, thus initiating a vicious spiral, as it did during the Cold War. When NATO and the Warsaw Pact had armed themselves to the point where direct confrontation became too risky, mutual suspicion and insecurity led them to fight each other through proxy wars in the developing world. Every move by either side was perceived as a potential security threat, prompting a counter by the other. Compounded by the inherent instability of nuclear weapons, this doctrine led to the anomaly of increasing military power and steadily decreasing national and international security.
This highly militarized approach contains an in-built mechanism for escalation that was responsible for the growth of global military expenditure to an all-time peak of $1.2 trillion in 1988. Even when effective in controlling direct aggression between major powers, it encouraged proxy wars and it completely ignored the security needs of countries not aligned with one bloc or another. This is one of the reasons why all the wars in the last forty years have taken place in developing countries. Taken to its extreme in the nuclear competition of the superpowers, it logically led to the astonishing doctrine of mutually assured destruction (MAD) as the cornerstone of national security policy.
While there have been efforts by the West to claim victory in the Cold War and arrogate to itself the right to determine the post-war dispensation, in reality neither side won or lost, but a failed international security system was intelligently abandoned because it was extravagantly wasteful of resources, dangerously unstable and actively promoted violence in other regions.
Failure to anticipate the future and to structure policies and instrumen talities to meet future needs has been the dominant characteristic of all previous attempts at forging an international security framework. Now, once again, there is a manifest tendency to forge a framework based on the supremacy of might, rather than right, and determined by the present balance of powers. This framework is likely to be even more tenuous and short-lived than previous compromises, because it ignores revolutionary forces that are reshaping the world for the twenty-first century. We now have the opportunity and responsibility to evolve a more flexible and far-sighted framework. This requires a fundamental shift in perspective, a new vision of global security.
Clearly, the competitive security paradigm cannot provide a stable basis for global peace and security. A significant reduction in global military expenditure is a welcome development. Reducing the quantity and des tructive power of weapons arsenals will certainly reduce the actual and perceived risks of conflict. But, at the same time, a tendency is emerging to perpetuate the wethey syndrome of competitive security by shifting the axis from EastWest to NorthSouth. This has resulted in increasing pressure on developing countries by multilateral and bilateral aid agencies seeking to bring down military expenditure among aid-dependent countries even further. In doing so, it ignores the right and responsibility of these nations to provide for their own legitimate security needs at a time when no alternative mechanism exists at the international level to ensure the inviolability of their borders.
There is truth in the claim that military spending by developing countries has increased dramatically during the past 30 years. This increase is partially explained by the fact that more than 100 new sovereign nations have emerged, many of which were protected, prior to independence, by the colonial powers that have now withdrawn. The acquisition of even modest defensive capabilities may consume a significant portion of national income when the economic base is small, as it is for many of these nations. In addition, the increasing incidence of war, terrorism and drug-related violence in the developing world has heightened the sense of insecurity among these countries. How ever, a closer analysis reveals that half of the military expenditure of the developing world is incurred by a small number of oil-exporting countries in the Middle East and North Africa, and another quarter is incurred by other high-income developing nations, mostly in East and South East Asia whereas the 84 developing nations with lower and lower-middle incomes, including such large nations as China, India, Indonesia, Pakistan and Bangladesh, comprising 72 per cent of the worlds population, incur roughly 6 per cent of global military expenditure, on average less than 3 per cent of the total GDP of these countries.
International pressure for defining acceptable levels of military expenditure and reducing defence budgets is entirely warranted, provided that it is applied equitably to all countries, takes into account the varying conditions between regions and nations, and places corresponding limitations on arms exports by industrialized nations. Placed under the control of an impartial international agency specialized in security issues, rather than being left to development banks or made an instrument of bilateral policy by donor nations, these measures could effect a further 50 to 75 per cent cut in global defence spending and thereby generate $400 billion to $600 billion per year for non-military purposes, equal to roughly ten times current levels of overseas development assistance. The international community should commit itself to a minimum goal of reducing global military expenditure to $400 billion (in 1992 constant dollars) by 2000 AD.
Military expenditure mitigates but does not resolve the underlying problem of security. Today, the most pressing security threats are social, not military. The appropriate response to them is greater investment in sustainable human development, not more arms. However, preservation of physical security against external aggression is a primal instinct of nation states that cannot be rationalized away. Nations will continue to arm themselves as long as that is the only effective means to ensure their security. What is needed is a quantum shift from the competitive security paradigm to a cooperative security system in which countries mutually and collectively agree to refrain from acts of aggression and to protect each other from such acts by any nation. This principle served to protect the NATO and Warsaw Pact countries in the past, but on an exclusive basis which promoted a polarization of alliances into military blocs and, most importantly, left more than one hundred countries outside the security orbit and vulnerable to proxy wars. It should now be restructured on a global basis as a collective security system that offers protection to all nations from external aggression.
A whole range of new security challenges is rising to confront the global society. The increasing number, complexity and unpredictability of security threats cannot be managed effectively and in time without international cooperation based on a fundamental change of attitude. We are now at an historic crossroads: one path leads us back to a static, unstable and exclusive competitive security paradigm; the other leads to a far more stable and dynamic cooperative security paradigm inclusive of all nations and responsive to future needs and challenges. A global cooperative security system is needed that seeks to strengthen national security without increasing the insecurity of other states. It should be based on the fundamental principle that force will no longer be tolerated by the international community as a legitimate instrument of national policy.
The limitations of the competitive security system have given rise to numerous calls for the establishment of various types of standing international military force. The role of UN peace-keeping forces has been expanded dramatically in recent years to maintain peace in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. At the same time, the scope of its activities has been enlarged to include limited forms of peace making as well disarming guerrillas, conducting elections and enforcing human rights. Article 42 of the UN Charter also empowers the Security Council to take direct military action where necessary to maintain or restore peace and guarantee international security. Article 43 pledges member states to make armed forces available to the Security Council, not only on an ad hoc basis but also as a permanent standing military force. This provision has never been activated due to the intervention of the Cold War. In the wake of the invasion of Kuwait, a proposal was placed before the UN General Assembly on behalf of a group of small and militarily weak nations seeking the protection of an international security umbrella against the threat of invasion by mercenary forces, terrorists, drug traffickers and warlike neighbours. The proposal was supported unanimously by the UNs 166 member states.
In Agenda for Peace, the UN Secretary General has recommended broadening the peace-making, peace-keeping and peace-enforcing capabilities of the UN by establishing a standing UN military force. With the end of bipolar confrontation within the Security Council, this proposal is practicable and should be acted upon immediately by establishing a strong permanent force drawn from 20 to 30 member states, trained and equipped for rapid deployment. Such a force, if established, is likely to be relatively small, however, and unequal to the task of dealing with threats from a major army equipped with sophisticated weapons. In addition, its deployment would always be subject to veto by any of the five permanent members of the Council. For both these reasons, it cannot constitute a reliable mechanism for guaranteeing the security of UN member countries. Although a strengthening of the UNs peace-keeping capabilities is highly desirable, it cannot serve as an adequate foundation for a cooperative security system unless the UNs political structure is radically modified. Because it is essentially an addition to national forces rather than a substitute for them, funding will be a perennial difficulty and there will be strong resistance to its expansion on economic grounds. Furthermore, as recent events have demonstrated, nations contributing their forces will have a strong propensity to resist their active deployment in situations that involve significant risks. Even after the Security Council decided to send a peace-keeping force into Rwanda for strictly humanitarian purposes, none of the leading military powers, with the exception of France, were willing to contribute the modest amount of military equipment urgently needed to protect UN troops.
Similar efforts are in various stages of maturity for establishing standing international forces at the regional level in Western Europe, Latin America and other places as part of collective security arrangements. The limitation of these proposals, like that of NATO and the erstwhile Warsaw Pact, is that they are fundamentally exclusive in nature and could easily become competitive with other forces as the East and West blocs have in the past. The strong resentment voiced by Russia at the proposal that some Eastern European nations would join NATO illustrates the danger of expanding exclusive military clubs. For NATO to overcome these legitimate concerns, it would have to be thrown open to all nations that seek to join and abide by its charter. The great reluctance of the West to shoulder the burden of responsibility for security enforcement in Eastern Europe under a widened NATO umbrella highlights the basic inadequacy of exclusive blocs for meeting global security needs.
If the structural limitations of the UN cannot be immediately overcome, the alternative would be to build a cooperative security mechanism in parallel with the UN but structured along more democratic lines similar to NATO. A World Army could consist of an international peace force that would unconditionally guarantee the security of its members against external aggression based on the following provisions:
The organization of a World Army, run on well-defined and transparent lines with appropriate mechanisms for control and responsiveness, would help eliminate the need for countries to maintain their own large standing armies. Ultimately this could enable other nations to follow the lead of Costa Rica, which abolished its military forces several decades ago.
National Sovereignty and International Responsibility
The recent calamities in Rwanda and Somalia following the outbreak of civil and ethnic war, and in Bosnia following the breakaway of several Yugoslav republics, demonstrate the need for substantially improving international mechanisms for war prevention, peace making and peace keeping, and for protection of basic human rights both between and within states. The effort of the international community to deal with these events has brought to the fore fundamental issues regarding national sovereignty and the responsibilities of the world community. The very definition and sanctity of the state have been blurred by the determination of ethnic groups in various nations to declare independence from their parent bodies, and the inability or unwillingness of national governments to maintain law and order and provide basic security for their citizens. The role of other states, regional organizations and international agencies in giving explicit or implicit support to these movements has further complicated the task of formulating just and practical solutions.
These events raise questions about the rights of both nations and their citizens that have to be addressed theoretically before the role of international organizations in these affairs can be determined properly. Does a minority group within a country have the right to proclaim itself independent on the basis of its desire for self-governance and in defiance of the claims of the majority on the property and resources they possess? Does a national government, whether elected or in power by force, that is unable to protect its citizens against famine and civil strife have the right to insist on its sovereignty and independent action in the face of the persecution or extermination of its own people? What is the responsibility of the international community for preventing or alleviating crises within societies? What should be the limits placed on international involvement in the internal affairs of countries that, at least momentarily, are unable to help themselves?
The sanctity of the sovereign state, like the sanctity of private property in a capitalist society, is a fundamental principle of the nation state system on which the present world community is based. Like the protectors of private property, the guardians of the sovereign state vigorously resist each attempt to limit its scope or qualify its power although in both instances there are obvious and well-recognized limits and qualifications. The sensitivity over the issue of sovereignty especially among former colonies and victims of imperialist aggression is quite understandable in view of the fact that the emergence of modern nation states over the last two centuries occurred during a period when imperialist wars and colonial conquests were accepted as part of the normal conduct of international relations. It is a measure of the worlds progress in this century that this standard of conduct is no longer tolerated by the international community. The formulation of current policy on racial memories of past exploitation or persecution is no more appropriate or conducive to human progress, however, than the false conception of policies based on an exaggerated sense of pride or egocentric self-importance derived from the glory of forceful conquest in the past. In both instances, attitudes of the past must give way to fresh attitudes oriented to the future.
Some member states are understandably wary of raising these issues, out of concern that their re-examination could become an excuse for outright political interference in the internal affairs of sovereign nations, a concern which is reinforced by the non-representative character and lack of impartiality of the Security Council. Other nations are reluctant to assume the greater responsibilities that a clearly enunciated doctrine might impose on them. All would agree, however, that neither an infinite fragmentation of nation states along ethnic, cultural, religious or linguistic lines, nor a blind indifference to persecution or unconscionable neglect of its own citizens by a state government, can be justified by either reason or lofty legal principles, or be permitted by the human heart and conscience to go unchecked.
The UN is precluded under article 2(7) of the Charter from intervening in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state. It must be possible to define objective criteria for identifying instances in which action in apparent disregard of this provision is fully justified. The deaths of hundreds of thousands of people in Rwanda and Somalia due to famine, ethnic strife and civil war surely qualify, even if errors in the method of intervention, and lack of public support among nations asked to contribute troops, complicate these precedent-setting initiatives.
The sovereignty of a nation derives ultimately from the fact that it represents the will of its own people and the right of those people to freedom of action over their own lives and territory. National sovereignty is limited on two sides: on the one, by the inalienable human rights of a countrys citizens and, on the other, by the rights of other member nations of the world community and the citizens they represent. In past centuries the sovereignty of nations may have been based on the principle that might is right. In our more enlightened age, however, the only acceptable basis for a nations sovereignty is that it expresses the will of its own people, and this condition can only be met under a freely chosen form of government that enables people to express their own free will and determine their own destiny. Therefore, the decision of the UN to insist on the operation of democratic processes in member countries is an essential step toward resolving the dilemma of sovereignty. When the representative nature of a national government is in question, its claim to sovereignty over its own people under all circumstances is also questionable. Hitherto, it has not been possible to address this issue forth rightly, because the evolution of the international community had not yet come to accept in practice, as opposed to merely in principle, the fundamental human rights so frequently espoused in constitutions and ignored in actions. This situation has changed, especially after humanitys bitter experiments with totalitarian regimes during this century. It is now recognized that the democratic principles of political freedom, social equality, self-determination and related human rights are inalienable and must be extended to all people everywhere.
The second factor that naturally imposes limits on national sovereignty the rights of other nations and their citizens has also gained substantially wider acceptance, has been enshrined by international law, and has become accepted doctrine governing many facets of international relations. Common security against transnational threats and common prosperity for all humankind cannot be based on a 250-year-old concept of nation sovereignty. Over the last half century, national sovereignty has been maturing into international sovereignty. As the evolution of the international community proceeds towards the establishment of an effective system of world governance in one form or another, the collective rights of the international community of nations must inevitably come to be regarded as another inalienable truth, alongside individual human rights and the rights of each nation. The right of the nation state to self-determination has to accommodate the rights of other nations and the common shared rights of every human being.
This approach establishes criteria for determining when claims of national sovereignty must be ignored. Every right is accompanied by a responsibility. A government that fosters external aggression or cannot contain domestic violence and civil strife, that cannot create conditions in which its people can feed themselves or even receive outside assistance, fails the test of sovereignty. Under these circumstances, the international community, through the UN, should have the right and accept the responsi bility to intervene appropriately.
The need of the hour is not to undermine the legitimate right of nations to self-determination, but rather to protect that right by more clearly demarcating its legitimate boundaries against the highly visible challenges being posed by forces of disintegration and fragmentation from within. The current tendency for states to fragment along ethnic lines cannot be handled by any abstract principle of international law. It depends on the understanding and will of people. The evolution of larger, heterogeneous national units functioning under principles of equality is an outstanding product of civilization that should not and cannot be reversed without great damage to the general welfare of humanity. The only solution is to work constantly to educate the public in all countries to understand the benefits of national integration and international cooperation. The implications of this view will be endorsed by some and opposed by others. Acceptance must be fostered through education and discussion rather than unilateral forced initiative.
Preventive Diplomacy, Peace Making and Peace Building
The answers to the questions regarding national sovereignty and international responsibility will determine the scope of UN preventive diplomacy, peace making and peace building in years to come. They must be addressed with a view to evolving valid principles of international law, rather than remaining subject to frequent reversals of public policy by member states based on the short-term impact of the media on current public opinion.
Granted that a consensus is reached regarding these larger issues of principle, there still will remain immense problems relating to implementation, as illustrated by the recent failure of international intervention in Somalia. Whatever may be the limits placed on the UNs mandate for action, it is clear that it cannot carry out that mandate effectively under the current constraints imposed on it by member states through indecisiveness, narrowly defined interests and lack of political commitment. Once again the inherent weaknesses in the structure of the UN organization impact negatively on its capacity to perform the tasks rightfully allotted to it. The absence of a unified chain of command for national forces placed under UN command culminating in the outright refusal of field forces to follow the commands of UN field staff, inadequate training and equipping of both military staff and fighting units, poor coordination between field units from different countries and between member states and UN headquarters and a failure to vest sufficient authority in the UN Secretary General are among the most blatant weaknesses of the present system.
Substantive measures are needed to strengthen the UNs capabilities to handle crises. First and foremost, the position of the Secretary General, who now has the diplomatic status equal to that of a prime minister of a member state, should be upgraded to that of a head of state, with full authority over the forces placed under his command by member states to carry out the decisions of the Security Council. Problems of control over the armed forces of member states argue for the constitution of a standing international military force, as described in the previous section of this report.
Lesser measures can be implemented immediately, such as provision of appropriate training to UN Secretariat personnel responsible for conflict prevention, expanding the staff of the Department of Political Affairs, and establishment by the UN of its own independent international surveillance capability, including a satellite system to monitor its work worldwide. Meanwhile, advanced computer, satellite and communications technology should be made available to the Secretariat by member states. A comprehensive system is needed to monitor military movements. Through its resident representatives, the UN should openly monitor political, ethnic, nationalist and religious developments that increasingly lie at the heart of conflicts in order to understand the complexities of local events and to anticipate potential turbulence. The right to sovereignty should not include the freedom to privacy in cases which involve support for terrorist groups, instigating border conflicts, arms build-ups, torture and genocide. In addition to the role of the UN in consensus fact-finding, it must also acquire the jurisdiction to order fact-finding missions relating to both domestic and regional conflicts in which this type of violation is suspected.
Cessation of violence and conflict settlement often leave unresolved the root causes of conflict, resulting in potential for renewed fighting or social turbulence. Peace-building activities should address underlying economic and social factors that prevent the establishment of a stable and secure peace. In instances such as Cambodia, Rwanda and Somalia, the vacuum created by the complete collapse of political and economic institutions necessitates a broader role for the UN in re-establishing the peace. Peace building has thus far been defined as post-conflict actions to support reconstruction and to strengthen and solidify peace. The concept needs to be broadened to include pre-conflict actions and expanded to encompass a wider array of potentially destabilizing factors that lead to conflicts. The Commission supports the establishment of an International Centre jointly operated by the UN Security Council and UNESCO to implement peace-building programmes.
Peace-building activities should be expanded to address security threats issuing from environmental degradation, poverty, migration of population and refugees. Many cases of ethnic conflict have an under lying basis of economic deprivation that must be addressed before tensions will permanently subside. Others can be mitigated by the introduction of positive economic incentives for cooperation. Economic cooperation is already dissipating ethnic tensions and conflict in the Middle East. It can be creatively fostered in the Balkans and elsewhere. In other cases, the modification of the electoral and constitutional systems in a culturally appropriate manner can reduce or eliminate tensions in ethnically divided countries. International assistance is also needed for coping with tensions arising from the sharing of natural resources particularly water resources and chemical or radioactive pollution of air, soil and waterways. Resolution of these issues requires the mediation of international experts for impartial assessment and formulation of equitable recommendations. Regional security organizations can play a leading role in this capacity.
An effective international judicial system is vitally important to the expanded role contemplated for the UN in dealing with arms and drugs trafficking, terrorism and crimes against humanity. This requires, as a minimum step, either that the International Court of Justice be granted mandatory jurisdiction over such cases by member states, or that an International Criminal Court be established with jurisdiction over these offences and other crimes under international law, thus strengthening both the preventive and enforcement capabilities of the international community against non-traditional threats to security.
Alternative Use of Military Resources
National and international security can no longer be conceived in narrow military terms. Ethnic conflict, drugs, environmental degradation and pollution, famine leading to civil unrest or massive migrations of refugees, high levels of unemployment, urban crime and violence constitute threats to both social stability and the preservation of a productive material base. Curbing drug traffic, preventing nuclear and chemical contamination, stopping soil degradation and deforestation, augmenting food production capabilities in deficit areas all directly and substantially contribute to the security of society.
The attention given to the anticipated monetary savings from reduced military spending has directed attention away from the potential benefits of utilizing other resources controlled by the military for addressing these threats to security, particularly for the alleviation of poverty, protection and restoration of the environment, and management of natural disasters. The military possesses a vast array of resources human, educational, scientific and technological, medical, organizational and logistical; in training, in engineering and production, in communication and transportation, in construction, land and housing that can be employed to meet non-military security challenges. Many of these resources can be utilized for these purposes without necessarily removing them from military control. Especially in many developing countries, the organizational and managerial capabilities of the military far exceed those of other agencies and represent a precious resource for addressing these other security threats. Participation of the military in these activities necessitates a wider conception of both security and the role of the military in meeting security needs.
Coping with the serious challenges from environmental and developmental security threats requires the mobilization of a wide range of scientific, technological and physical resources presently utilized for military purposes. There are significant precedents for the utilization of the military to support the environment and development for construction of roads in Ethiopia and Yemen, bridges in Guatemala, as well as harbours, canals, railways and airfields; for afforestation projects and monitoring wildlife in India; for training of mechanics, electricians, and other productive skills; for urban renewal projects and drug enforcement in the United States, harvesting of crops in the USSR, flood rescue operations in Bangladesh, nuclear clean-up at Chernobyl, damage limitation after the vast oil spills and oil fires in Kuwait, humanitarian relief for Kurdish refugees, distribution of food and medicine in Bosnia and a host of other activities.
In many developing countries the military can assist with efforts to improve social services in rural areas on a war footing to spread literacy, primary education, basic vocational skills, health care and access to safe drinking water. The military have at their disposal scientific and technological resources which in many cases can be applied to environmental protection with the minimum of adaptation, such as information and monitoring systems that track changes in the atmosphere, in the oceans and on earths surface. These resources can be applied to environmental monitoring and impact assessment, protection of endangered species, quick response to disasters and accidents, energy conservation, and the minimization and management of waste. The appropriate role for the military in these various activities will depend on the country, the urgency of the circumstances, and the cost-effectiveness of military involvement compared with available alternatives. In some instances, it may be feasible to establish international Earth corps units, specially trained and equipped to carry out certain types of environmental protection and restoration, such as Indias eco-battalions, which seek to conserve the Himalayan habitat by restoring tree cover and constructing small dams and canals.
International development force
The goals of peace, prosperity and fulfilment for every human being represent formidable challenges intellectual, attitudinal, organizational and technological. We cannot hope to reach such lofty achievements if we waste and squander the precious and abundant resources mental, psychological, social and material placed at our disposal. A massive reduction in emphasis on weapons production and military establishments, made possible by recent political events and demanded by the pressing unmet needs of people everywhere, represents both a great opportunity and a considerable challenge. The opportunity is not only further to reduce the threat of war by reducing the capacity for waging war, but also to redirect and utilize for other purposes the resources now dedicated to war making and prevention. The challenge is to do so at a time when rising unemployment and economic stagnation in many countries make further cuts in the size of the military unpopular domestically. Since 1990, the total number of military personnel worldwide has declined by two million or about six per cent. By 1998, a further decrease of at least two million is anticipated. A large proportion of these demobilized people have already joined, or will soon join, the forces of the unemployed. Some may be tempted to market their military skills elsewhere.
Just as the present efforts of the UN to make and keep the peace are severely constrained by the lack of a standing professional military force under its own direction, so also the prodigious efforts of the UNs development agencies to accelerate development among member countries is hampered by a lack of well-trained, disciplined and highly organized personnel for implementation, especially in those countries with the greatest need of assistance. The Commission recommends that, as a complement to the establishment of an International Force for Peace, an International Force for Development be constituted, comprised of former military personnel who, after appropriate training, will work to accelerate economic development to provide food, health, literacy and jobs for all. A UN Peace Force and UN Development Force, functioning under a democratically restructured UN, can make a lasting contribution to achieving the major goals of the UN system.
Seven years ago the threat of nuclear war between the superpowers loomed large in the minds of people everywhere. The euphoria generated by the end of the Cold War led to high expectations of peace and a peace dividend the world over. Yet excitement soon turned to disappointment as the full anticipated results of these magnificent accomplishments did not immediately materialize. Then, as attention turned to more mundane problems closer to home, the sense of relief and celebration was replaced by growing concern over the increasing prominence of other threats to international security: some of these were aggravated by the new positive developments, while others had not previously seemed so serious by comparison with the threat of nuclear annihilation. The end of political confrontation between East and West, the sudden conversion of authoritarian communist states into demo cratic market economies, and substantial cuts in global defence spending were accompanied by increasing political instability and ethnic violence in the many parts of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, by the horren dous loss of life due to civil and ethnic strife in several African countries, by growing concern over drugs and violent crime in the West, by the danger of nuclear terrorism resulting from potential theft of Soviet weapons, and by pressure on defence producers to compensate for reduced domestic defence budgets by increasing arms exports.
This surprising turn of events has led some to re-examine the incredible achievements of the period and conclude that they were either vastly overstated or, perhaps, even illusory. Others have come to take these achievements for granted. Still others have simply forgotten how much things have really changed. But the most important realization to be derived from these events is of the inherent defect in attempts to address the factors underlying international security in a piece meal manner. Over the past five years the Commission encountered reminders of this truth in virtually every field that it took up for examination. It is this experience that has convinced us of the need for wider perspectives and total solutions. The marvellous achievements of the past few years are neither fortuitous nor illusory. The Berlin Wall has been brought down and demolished. The Iron Curtain has been lifted and obliterated. But we still proceed with our heads turned back, looking for shadows behind us at a time when the future demands our full attention in order to capitalize fully on what these events have prepared and made possible.
In this report, the Commission is calling for a comprehensive, multi-pronged approach to the problem of international security that defies and will continue to defy partial solutions. That approach recognizes the critical importance of the linkages between the establishment of democratic political systems at the national and the international level, the abolition of war as an instrument of policy, the elimination of highly destabilizing weapons of mass destruction, substantial additional cuts in defence spending by all parties, and the constitution of a cooperative international security system that is not state-centred and is supported by a standing international peace force. Taken separately, each of these elements can sub stantially contribute to improving the international political and security environment. Taken together as a cohesive whole, they can transform global political affairs and create a highly conducive atmosphere for the eradication of the pressing economic problems confronting us.