No. 42, September 2003
Responsible and active civil societies -- Maurice Errera
Peaceful America, an interview with Paul Walker
The Middle Power Initiative -- Douglas Roche
Forum for the destruction of chemical weapons -- Nicola Hellmich
Meeting INES Council 2003
The INES special projects fund
The INES office
Responsible and Active Civil Societies
for a world of justice, solidarity, peace and a strong Europe
Emeritus Professor – Université Libre de Bruxelles, Institut de la Vie (Belgium)
A possible strategy
In order to reach the goal phrased in the title of this paper, the best strategy is first to identify the actors willing to contribute to the success of the project in Universities, associations and student or youth groups. A wide international participation should help to gather funds from international or home organisms and agencies.
A working group should be established to go over the project, amend it and also collect information concerning the present existing student participation to humanitarian work and on their interest in constituting an active and wide international network.
This working group should define rules concerning the selection of NGO’s and other institutions (where humanitarian work is taking place) and in ways of officially acknowledging the student humanitarian work (a certificate for citizenship? Delivered by whom?).
A full time secretariat should be organized in a small number of European countries to get things moving, or perhaps a more important international secretariat in a town to be selected (Brussels?) where the most efficient help is available.
The working group should gather information concerning expenses for students work in local or foreign organisms, for supporting (extra) personnel in Universities and associations, for incentives and publicity to induce student participation, for organizing and publishing a journal concerning humanitarian work as education to citizenship. On this basis a tentative budget could be calculated, i.e. for a period of 3-4 years, with yearly increases to provide for the expansion of the project. On the basis of this preliminary work, applications for funding could be introduced to various institutions (European Communities, private foundations, official national departments for education, and aid organizations for developing countries,…).
Point of departure
To become sustainable, world development requires that civil societies play a far greater role in political decision making. This cannot be achieved as long as a great proportion of the world population remains poor and illiterate or lives in unhealthy conditions, causing annually millions of avoidable deaths. This situation has worsened from year to year in spite of repeated requests for adequate funding by international organizations (UNO). The poor response, especially by leading rich countries, has also worsened the abyss between rich and poor, leaving the latter with a hopeless future. This shameful situation has in all times nurtured revolt and war, fundamentalism and terrorism. This offence to human dignity, the uncertainty of how to feed the family from day to day or how to escape deathly diseases also constitute for these people permanent situations of terror.
Strong peaceful movements to counter this catastrophic situation have arisen in recent years from Seattle to Porto Alegre, but there remains a strong need to amplify them, to strengthen and to publicize their arguments for solving world problems. Several ways of approach exist, including the improvement of international organizations such as the UN and its agencies, or modifying the rigid economic system which has led to the present threat to living organisms and to our planet itself.
Involving young people to world problems in collaboration with NGOs and other institutions in a period of life where they express their need to understand the world, to improve it and get inserted in active life could be the basis for an active civic education and the way towards a responsible civil society and a strong Europe unified in all its diversity. Transdisciplinary collaboration between humanitarian institutions and universities would be of primary importance to confront the academic knowledge with ground facts. Not so long ago, compulsory military service gave some opportunity for social mixing and awareness of national and international problems.
The present project leaves no place for indoctrination, all actors coming from a very diversified range of people and institutions. Numerous exchanges have been so far organized by the EU and NGOs and already constitute an important asset, but they only concern a very limited number of participants. This could be considerably increased and mobilize people and their ability to participate actively to decision making.
Europe remains weak because it has no common feelings nor clear political aims, or ways to get them through. With this project we hope that, with time, a better European unity may be achieved.
A culture of Peace, tolerance and non-violence must replace the violence of the last century which still aggresses us daily in reality and fiction.
Credible democracies: they cannot exist as long as elementary human rights (health, education,…) remain inaccessible to a large proportion of the world population as a result of structural adjustments for debt recovery and as long as arrogant free trading is not tempered by social perspectives.
A strong, participative and sustainable Europe thriving for a world of justice and the dignity of all. Fighting against terrorism in this context takes all its importance when despair is still the daily bread of millions.
A transdisciplinary, pluralist, international approach to all problems threatening the sustainability of our planet and of the human kind. A culture of Peace must lead to anticipate events and prevent catastrophes instead of having to support their consequences.
Solidarity and tolerance are essential because, unfortunately, most humans still think and act irrationally.
Globalization of cultures, of ethics and justice – not necessarily on the western model – and of economic practices respecting the well being and dignity of all.
A better awareness of ground facts without which science and academic knowledge can not be fully efficient.
Sensitize and mobilize towards action. The young are especially perceptive but usually do not know how to participate in finding solutions.
enriches the way of thinking and develops solidarity;
induces participation and engages in teamwork;
helps to understand oneself, the other and situations;
enables to shape one’s future orientation;
establishes links of confidence and friendship.
A duty of memory for historical events when they continue to undermine present societies and beings who are fighting for their survival and a decent place to live in. This concerns as much (past) slavery and colonialism as all the XXth century genocides.
An education to citizenship all along life and especially during higher education to awaken humane qualities – as important as academic accomplishments.
Participation in solving concrete problems, with administrations, institutions and NGOs – but also musical and theatrical groups – let us call them Workshops for Democracy – is able to give an approach and vision of problems not achieved when reading books or papers.
The diversity of these workshops would awaken a clearer but perhaps more complex vision of a problem when all aspects and long term consequences of decisions are considered; these do not appear to be a priority for the political and economic worlds which are essentially preoccupied by immediate results. This diversity would also be a barrier against indoctrination.
The notion of Worshops for Democracy must be wide. Slavery and colonialism with their looting and genocides have helped western countries to become rich and this ill acquired wealth has enabled them to lend money to the Third World and plunge it into an everlasting spiral of reimbursements. A transdisciplinary study of the archives of slavery ports on both sides of the Atlantic and of colonial settlements would probably demonstrate that the debt is not on the side one usually thinks it is, and would give strong arguments to those fighting to suppress what may well be one of the most murderous scandals in history.
To collaborate with NGOs and institutions in a context of Peace and Sustainable Development should become a major responsibility of universities, not only as a subject for dissertations and PhD work, but as a part of the regular curriculum of all students, from the beginning of their studies, as a means of education for responsible citizenship. This activity of students should be officially recognized.
Interdisciplinary and international understanding and cooperation between students would contribute decisively to European unity and would lead to the emergence of a European way of thinking whilst preserving all cultural diversity. The numerous organisms which promote collaboration with students implicate but a small minority of them; they also lack the ambition of the present project which should be developed in the framework of a strong Europe.
The younger generation and civil society as a whole have the responsibility to protect our Planet and leave it livable to all human beings yet to come, among which we are only a minute minority.
During any free time: after work, during weekends, vacation or sabbatical leave. Help to a fellow student in his studies, or to a refugee family with the administration or full participation to a third world project are examples amongst lots of others. Humanitarian help would not be limited in time.
The struggle for Peace must be visible and everlasting
Awakening the consciousness of us all to the immensity of the challenges to the world should lead to concrete proposals which may not all be expressed during mass rallies (Seattle, Porto Alegre). This struggle must rest on the United Nations and UNESCO: they have recognized its necessity by requesting all Rectors of universities to develop a Culture for Peace based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other objectives of the UN.
The battle for Peace could be a subject for competitions between students and of publications, essentially by the young, which would regularly relate activities towards Peace and the Protection of the Planet in other universities and institutions with the aim of creating strong emulation between them and of informing the general public.
This project concerns the young: they will only get fully involved if they have given thought to its objectives and taken a major part in its planning. A working group of students, young researchers, organizers of NGOs should get together and:
underline the objectives and ways to develop together a responsible citizenship for each branch of knowledge (history, sciences, demography, law, arts, etc.);
list NGOs, institutions and all places susceptible of organizing collaborations with the young and universities including Eastern Europe, Mediterranean and Third World countries for immediate and future world cooperation;
estimate costs for functioning, collaborators, travel, advertising, tools (for medical, educational, agricultural, action) and other requirements like periodical contact sessions between actors;
initiate or support actions towards establishing Peace in regions of unrest (Middle East, Africa,…) by organizing discussions with diasporas from these countries to find out topics of common interest between rival or enemy communities (e.g. management of common resources like water, pollution, health and education).
promote collaboration between universities like the Baltic University, grouping 160 Universities around this sea to study together with authorities, industries,… ways for depolluting the area, but also to acquaint all participating cultures to the others. A Mediterranean University would be necessary to organize friendly relations between all bordering countries to solve similar problems and bring back Peace to the region;
advertise this project with the help of artists, movie producers, writers.…
initiate symbolic actions like in Hiroshima: Waterloo, Stalingrad (Volgograd), El Alamein,… to underline ways in which Peace was established and which were the present consequences. The Congress of Vienna (1815) forged Europe and may be the origin of the present prominence of German, British and American cultures in matters of science and economy. A City of Peace, besides being a monument to the victims of war, must also become a source of inspiration for the construction of Peace;
promote transdisciplinary thinking on present day problems. Universities get considerable public or private funding to develop medical, agricultural and other applications of fundamental research for promoting economy. The socio-economic consequences of some applications are sometimes ill perceived: intensive agriculture and genetically modified crops may be capable of feeding the planet – but then, what about local farming? What benefit if farmers in the Third World get unemployed? They migrate to crowded city slums and the most enterprising increase the migration pressure towards the rich countries.
Advantages for the young
They need to express their generosity and other values and to conquer their independence and a place in society.
They are anxious to discover other people and cultures.
They must be encouraged:
Their work with NGOs and administrations and their humane qualities must be recognized when they leave their university; special jury’s may be needed.
Collaboration should start during the final years of the secondary school and from the start of the university: this would valorize their academic years in case of failure to obtain a diploma. The student should choose his program of humanitarian work in harmony with his studies and capabilities.
Fellowships for collaboration would certainly be more intellectually and socially inspiring than usual student jobs (in restaurants, baby-sitting) often necessary to pay for tuition, books or even recreation!
Advantages for university and institutions
Both will need extra collaborators! This action will increase their influence towards society. Universities and institutions will be responsible for informing the students about the historical, cultural and economical background of the place where the collaboration will take place (at home with migrant people, and abroad…) to let them better understand the problems they are confronted with.
The European Union should be a full actor through the Commission and the Parliament. International collaboration within Europe is a decisive factor contributing to its unity on account of the common problems it will emphasize.
The Nerve for Peace
If money is the nerve for war, what funding is for Peace? Only moral and political will can ever be able to provide efficient ways. Struggle for Peace cannot rest only on the free "good will" of benevolent actors. Voluntary action is necessary: Peace is the business of all mankind, not only of politicians and those who have spare time after work. Peace is not a "discount affair," as it appears to be at present. Working for a Peaceful world must be decently paid and may be as expensive as fighting wars – but so much more civilized!
Cannot depend on private donations and foundations only. Peace is the responsibility of governments, and of international, national and local institutions. The budgets must be established in the framework of those for Education, Cooperation, Culture, and Security.
Funds have to be found, i.e. through taxing financial transactions and other non-sociably productive benefits.
Secure Peace and Sustainable Development of the Planet for all must become a world priority. Europe must lead the way and consider this an equally or even more valuable publicity effort as the introduction of a single currency. A strong press and TV campaign is just as necessary as for the Euro!
Which platform for a responsible civil society?
This project is an ambitious and long lasting challenge for the younger generation: Universities, NGOs, administrations must be aware of their responsibilities. "Progressive" Universities and experienced NGOs must lead the way.
The support of personalities of all horizons: parliamentarians (national and European), members of public institutions and universities, people from industry and unions, from Peace and feminist associations is needed.
The project also concerns armed and security forces who must fully understand, like all citizens, peaceful ways to reach security.
A united and diversified Europe must have the necessary weight to make the development of our common Planet sustainable! An active and responsible Civil Society is probably a key element to reach this goal.
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The American and European policy stands during
and after the Iraq war and their consequences
an interview with Paul Walker
by Nicola Hellmich -- 1st July 2003
Dr. Paul F. Walker is Legacy Program Director of Global Green USA, the US affiliate of Green Cross International. He is former Professional Staff Member of the Armed Services Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives and former Acting Director of the Peace and Conflict Studies Program at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass. In the early 80ies he was director of the "Freeze Campaign."
Paul Walker is a founding member of INES; he represents the Institute for Peace and International Studies (IPIS), Cambridge Mass. in the INES Council.
How do you regard the relationship between Germany / the "old Europe" and the USA after Germany did not support the USA in the Iraq war?
I would say first that the Bush administration has a policy which is very black and white, which is "either you are with me or against me," or with the Americans or against the Americans, and so any country which raises serious questions such as France, Russia, and Germany with US policy in Iraq obviously was quickly an enemy in the "black" category.
On the other hand, Germany and the United States have very good, long-term relations; they are very close and I don’t think in the longer run it will make too much difference at all. I think Bush is somebody who seems to hold grudges but I think the majority of Americans still feels very close to Germany, France, and Russia in that matter and relations will be much more positive over the longer run. It will take time, but I think the more Schröder and the German representatives can speak positively of the United States, perhaps help in Iraq a bit and with the reconstruction of Afghanistan, the better the relations will become in the longer run.
What is your personal opinion regarding these European policy stands which definitely have split Europe with respect to the EU into two parties?
I think it is healthy. I think being engaged in a major dangerous conflict like we have in Iraq necessitates "devil’s advocates;" we need countries and individuals to speak thoughtfully and constructively so that we do not necessarily engage in violent activities as a nation or as an alliance, certainly not as a NATO alliance or as the European Union, which is not good for the Union and not good for foreign policy. The questions raised by Germany, France, and Russia were all very fair and appropriate questions. In my mind, unfortunately, the U.S. President went in the other direction. I think it is important that tough issues be raised and countries not always just follow the leader whether it is the Iraq war, economic policy, or trade policy, or whether it is human rights, whatever the issue might be. So I think Germany, France, and Russia have done really a service to the world, not just to the United States, but to the world in general by raising tough and important issues about the Iraq war. Many of those issues still remain. President Bush and Prime Minister Blair in many ways never responded to all the questions. So I am glad they were raised and I think they should be raised again. I also think that Germany and Japan, in particular, since WW II have a history of non-offensive war and it is important for those countries to retain that cautious foreign policy goal; and for those who try to steer Germany or Japan towards a more aggressive mode, I think it is a very wrong direction to go.
How do you consider the situation nowadays in Iraq since the conflict will not be over for some time?
I would first say that I am not surprised, particularly after the experience in Afghanistan, that people take years and years to help rebuild those countries and to provide a solid foundation for human rights and democracy in the future. On the other hand, I think some Americans, a lot of whom supported the war, thought that it would be a cakewalk, that Iraq would be an easy and quick conflict, that the Iraqis would put up their hands, drop their weapons, and all surrender at the same time; they also believed that we would walk into Baghdad and find Saddam sitting behind his private desk. Ironically we did not find it that way. The Iraqis organized a guerilla warfare operation, we could not find Saddam, and now we have not found the alleged Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD); and the Iraqis continue to undertake guerilla warfare with the Americans. The question for the United States is how long can we put up with the expense – billions of dollars, the constant danger, and the loss of life – the injured and dead soldiers in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
The President said, if you recall, that he would stay in Iraq and Afghanistan for that matter as long as it takes to build a solid nation. But unfortunately the United States has always been good at war but not good in nation building, although we did actually a very good job in West Germany after the Second World War with the Marshall Plan. But our more recent history, whether it is Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Haiti, Ruwanda, or Bosnia has been very mixed. If you look at the Haitian experience, for example, the country remains unstable and dangerous about a decade after we installed the new President; just this week the police chief of Haiti alleged that he was being threatened with assassination. If we cannot rebuild Haiti, a small island nation right of the coast of the United States, it is going to be very difficult to accomplish the same in Afghanistan and Iraq. I think that additionally it may have an impact on the national elections in 2004; if Bush still is perceived as having won the initial battles in Afghanistan and Iraq, but as having lost the longer wars and failed at putting the countries back together again, it could have a very negative impact on his chances of re-election in 2004.
I don’t think that the United States planned for the post war period at all in Iraq. It is a sad commentary on current United States foreign and military policies that we could not find WMD even though we alleged definitively that the weapons stockpiles were there and battlefield ready; and we forced even Secretary of State Colin Powell to go to the United Nations and explain all of the evidence we had. And secondly the Americans had no real sense of how difficult it would be after the war – that not everyone would come out in the streets of Iraqi cities, cheer the Americans, welcome them with open arms, and be fully supportive of U.S. actions. It just did not happen that way. The Iraqis have not turned over their weapons. The same thing has happened in Afghanistan. Some of the enemy forces have lost their jobs, obviously have lost everything they had under Saddam Hussein or the Taliban, and probably have nothing to lose at this point so they are going to fight for a while longer. That is why I think the only option for the United States and Britain is to chase them down; but unfortunately in chasing them down, arresting and killing people, we in fact have hurt a lot of innocent civilians. Most recently the U.S. wounded five Syrian border guards during an attack on an Iraqi convoy across the Syrian border; we kept the guards for a week without explanation, interrogated them, and finally released them back to Syria. Incidents like this can have very negative consequences for our relations with other countries in the regions around Iraq.
What kind of influence will this Iraqi conflict have on the Middle East, especially considering Israel and Palestine?
Well, I think, on the one hand, the Iraqi engagement distracts from the seriousness of the Israelian and Palestinian situation. We have a lot of money and a lot of troops now focussed on Iraq when we, in essence, really need them focussed on Israel and Palestine. I think, secondly, though in a more positive way it has pushed President Bush to try to get some success in negotiating or facilitating peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Because he does not have success yet in Iraq and he needs some degree of success somewhere in the Middle East, it may have distracted us from Israel and Palestine but in fact it may also have focussed us on the Israeli and Palestinian conflict. I think now that we have so many troops in the Middle East too, it has probably made the Americans much more aware of the dangers in the region and the need for non-violent conflict solutions. I hope this new roadmap that Bush and Powell and Rice have proposed will in fact be some small steps in the right direction for Israel and Palestine. We have got to put more pressure on Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to stop all the attacks on the Palestinians. I think the moratorium that the Hamas had a week or so ago is a very positive step forward and I think the appointment of the new prime minister of Palestine, Abbas, instead of dealing with Arafat is a big step in the right direction too. So I guess on the whole it is a positive step forward. We certainly did not need the Iraqi war to try to resolve the conflict between Israel and Palestine, but I think ironically this may in the long run help a bit as well.
Also the other issue I would like to raise concerns weapons of mass destruction. We all of course believe that Iraq should not have weapons of mass destruction. In hunting them down and trying to make the region a nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons free zone, we have begun to focus attention on the WMD crisis in the Middle East itself. This is a positive step. We need to abolish all WMD in the Middle East, as well as globally, and that naturally puts a lot of focus on Israel. The reason that six Middle East nations – Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Lebanon, Libya, and Syria – still remain outside of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), for example, is basically because Israel refuses to ratify or accede to the CWC. So in the long run this whole focus on WMD, whether we find them or not in Iraq, may help build abolition regimes or WMD free zones in the Middle East. I think that should be a major initiative of not only the United States, but also the world powers to get all of the Middle East nations to sign on to the Chemical Weapons Convention. Egypt’s basic reason for refusing to ratify the Convention is that they believe that the Israelis have chemical weapons. Yet no one really wants to use chemical weapons, no military likes them, and there is absolutely no purpose to retain them. They have very little if any deterrent value; this is why over 150 nations globally have ratified the CWC. If Israel would come forward, acknowledge their arsenal, and ratify the Chemical Weapons Convention, they would then have to legally their stockpile; I think you would find all the other countries signing on board immediately thereafter.
What do you think about the lack of results in finding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq?
I think it was very unlikely to begin with that we would find WMD in Iraq because we had had experienced IAEA and United Nations task forces looking for nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons for several months prior to the war. The Americans had allegedly given these teams a tremendous amount of intelligence on where they might discover those weapons and so the Al Baradei IAEA team and the Blix UN team were in country a couple of months searching. They did a very critical job but did not find anything at all, except for some old, empty chemical artillery shells. I have said in television interviews several times over the past months that there would be at best a fifty-fifty chance to find something. We knew that Saddam Hussein had the ability to build WMD, and we knew from pre-1998 inspections that he had been trying to build them, and we knew as well that he has used them in the past, and we destroyed large stockpiles after the Gulf War in the mid-1990s. So the question is not open to debate as to whether he has the ability to build WMD. The question was did he have large stockpiles with thousands of weapons and hundreds of tons of chemical agent, which the Bush administration alleged, in the 1998-2003 pre-war period? After the Blix and Al Baradei inspections, I really thought it increasingly unlikely that the U.S. would find anything, that he probably either did not build anything at all after the inspections ended in 1998, or that he had built some new stocks but had destroyed them before the 2003 war. I am not very optimistic we will find anything now and that is a good sign. But I think Bush and his senior advisors arguing so strongly that this was the primary purpose of the war – to eliminate the threat of WMD against ourselves and our allies – seems to me to be a very negative sign regarding either the U.S. intelligence community, which perhaps could not quite come to the right conclusion, or the politics in the Bush administration which pressured the more cautious intelligence recommendations. And we now are learning that the more cautious CIA recommendations before the war in fact very much questioned the existence of battlefield-ready WMD. Bush’s public statements no doubt went considerably beyond what the intelligence community predicted.
I think intelligence should be very, very cautious also in assuming that our allies such as Britain, or even the more critical allies as France, Germany or Russia, could somehow come up with proof otherwise. So this also raises questions about the intelligence capabilities of Western Europe and Russia; if they did not believe Saddam Hussein had WMD, then why could not they prove this to Bush? There are a lot of questionmarks in the ability of ourselves and the whole world really to identify when people have WMD and when not. This is the biggest issue of course for North Korea. If we now allege that North Korea has nuclear weapons, and the big question in the post-Iraq war period is, do they really? The Koreans have publicly stated that they have nuclear weapons, but I am not so sure they do. I think they may be bluffing. We do know that they have chemical weapons. North Korea has not signed the Chemical Weapons Convention either. We know that South Korea has chemical weapons as well, but they have signed and ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention and announced that they are trying to get rid of those weapons. There is a sort of arms race in WMD on the Korean peninsula but after Iraq I am not so sure we really know definitely about the situation in North Korea at all. Do you recall that the U.S. attacked alleged WMD facilities in Africa a couple of years ago and subsequently discovered that they were not bomb factories after all? It’s a tough question now as to whether the intelligence community can really adequately and accurately predict the research, development, and deployment of WMD. And I think these allegations are a real embarrassment for the Bush administration now. President Bush is today talking about the fact that he knew Saddam had weapons of mass destruction programs and what a lot of Americans don’t realize is that he has just recently added the word "programs." Previously he spoke only of "weapons of mass destruction." So he is now really engaged in a little bit of word play in saying that we knew Saddam Hussein had "programs." Everybody agrees on that but it is too late to change the official White House story.
What do you think about identifying WMD as the main cause of the war which now seems to be doubtful?
I think that was a big mistake of the Bush administration and it is an embarrassment now. It is important that we have a good and thorough investigation into why this happened. The U.S. Senate has begun inquiries but this could still suffer from politics. We need a full, good, and thorough policy investigation as to why these predictions came about, why the Bush administration was so adamant that Saddam possessed large WMD arsenals, and how we could have done it better. We cannot afford to make such mistakes again. The most recent allegations that have come out from the White House that Syria, Libya, Iran, and North Korea all possess WMD must be seriously investigated as well. We need to sit back and really consider whether there is adequate proof in these cases or not. We cannot afford to shoot from the hip. These issues are too serious and, if wrong, drive policy in costly and negative directions.
Do you fear that the USA will go further, for example, in the direction of Iran or Syria?
I do. I think the Bush administration has a tendency to jump to conclusions based on weak and / or biased intelligence, to think their way is the only way, and to lean strongly towards military solutions to perceived proliferation problems. We can all agree that non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, as well as conventional weapons these days, is a worthy goal. No reasonable foreign policy analyst wants WMD to proliferate in any way. But a number of us also feel very strongly that we cannot much longer retain this international double standard under which the superpowers – the U.S., Russia, Britain, France, and China – retain their WMD but tell the rest of the world they cannot have WMD. There is a growing recognition, I believe, by non-nuclear countries of this double standard. And the new nuclear nations – India and Pakistan – certainly voice this opinion too. Some countries such as North Korea believe that the sooner one can obtain nuclear weapons the better because it complicates matters for any potential foreign attack. Nuclear weapons can be used as bargaining chips in negotiations, as we will soon see in Pyongyang. I think the US is serious about accusing Syria and Iran of having WMD. And I think some political advisors could actually be looking for another war to help President Bush in next year’s election. They certainly developed and mastered a campaign over some ten years to attack Iraq. If we consider that President Bush relied on the WMD excuse, or perhaps even believed it himself at the time, then we have to take these warnings of new U.S. interventions seriously. We have to try to figure out how best to preclude future military action; for example, if Syria and/or Iran would open up their alleged weapons programs to international inspection, that would go a long way to alleviating concerns.
What Iran needs is a regime change. One of the big issues in many of these regimes is their bad human rights record. And while I acknowledge similar issues in the United States – capitol punishment, the recent Patriot Act, and U.S. handling of Taliban and Al Quaeda prisoners in Guantanamo – western countries no where match human rights abuses of other parts of the world.
What kind of change will this war bring for other Islamic countries?
We all have to be concerned that the United States not become a global cop, a single, unilateral, interventionist nation. I do not think most Americans want that. In fact I know most Americans do not support such a dangerous and radical policy. It is too much responsibility and too expensive globally. Americans also recognize that we cannot force our political and economic system on every country or alliance in the world. On the other hand, I think the Bush administration has a clear vision that "America knows best," that our system is the best and the more we can encourage the rest of the world to follow us, not as partners, but as followers, to serve the American system the better off everyone will be. I think the Islamic countries, countries who carry on aggressive foreign policies or support terrorism, have to be extremely worried about the United States under the Bush administration. This administration has publicly committed itself to proactively engage perceived foreign threats and to track down terrorists, terrorist camps, and supporters regardless of what it may cost in lives, money, and politics. This is what the "war on terrorism" is all about.
Moreover I think in the Middle East we are specifically interested in having more influence, even though we have a great deal already. More directly the primary concern is prevention of terrorism. Any country which harbors terrorists, or even indirectly supports terrorism, and we can prove it internationally or even just allege it, has to be very cautious. In the post-September 11th period, the U.S. will attack them as part of the war on terrorism. This has been illustrated in the last three years by U.S. anti-terrorist attacks in Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, and elsewhere, and our recent attack in Syria when we followed the Iraqi convoy right over the border into Syria. Previously we would stop at the border and not follow enemies into a foreign country. Now we are walking right into foreign countries because we recognize there is not much anyone can do about it.
But I think nobody wants a war with Islam. There is a general cautiousness that we do not want to turn this current crisis into a religious war of Judeo-Christian vs. the Islamic world. I am less worried about that. I am more worried about the growing poverty, hunger, starvation, and disease around the world which convinces people who have nothing to lose to attack the U.S. or other westerners. Whether it is in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Japan, the U.S., or in Europe, growing numbers of people increasingly feel they have nothing to lose. If we are to eliminate terrorism, we must somehow alleviate the crippling poverty, discrimination, and rich versus poor standards which are getting worse and worse all the time. What I am arguing for is non-violent, productive approaches to revolve these conflicts before first-strike military attacks take place. Although I do not think that one can exclude military options, these must be last resorts, final options. And most every country obviously has a history of force. But I think the U.S. has set new precedents in Iraq and Afghanistan by engaging in first-strike attacks when other, less violent options such as intrusive inspections existed. We all need to be more careful and cautious before initiating military operations, and we need to be more wise and foresightful in finding longer term, more peaceful solutions.
How do you consider the US relationship to Israel and Palestine under the aspect of the large Jewish influence in the USA?
I think that President Bush should take a middle road, as he has, putting a lot of pressure on both Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and on the new Palestinian Prime Minister Abbas, to follow the new "road map" to peace in the Middle East. As you know, the Jewish influence is very important in the US; we have a very large Jewish population and they have a lot of political power in many ways. They spend a lot of money in political campaigns and are well organized. A small minority of the Jewish community in the U.S. are more radical Zionists, but they have much less influence. Most American Jews support the right of both Israel and Palestine to exist. I do too.
We also have a growing Arab influence in the U.S. but this is younger and smaller than the Jewish and Israeli lobbies. The U.S. has a history of very strong support for Israel since World War II and the Holocaust, but we also increasingly support the Palestinians. I would hope that in the long run we can find a middle ground where we can help create a Palestinian state which is safe and productive and non-violent, without suicidal terrorist attacks, and we can at the same time encourage Israel to become less aggressive in its policies against Palestinians and others. Israel must also agree eventually to give up its WMD; this will accelerate the establishment of weapons-free zones in the Middle East. You also cannot neglect the fact that we have a lot of ethnic groups in the U.S., be they Cubans in Florida, Mexicans in Texas and California, Jews in New York, the Polish and German communities in Chicago, or Russians in Boston; these groups always have influence on our politics. The U.S. is such a melting pot that ethnicity is a central element of our young democracy. The bottom line regarding Israel is that we will never allow the nation of Israel to be hurt badly, and I think we will also now exert more pressure on Israel to find a peaceful resolution to the Palestinian conflict.
What influence could the large anti war demonstrations excerpt?
The Iraq war has really catalyzed the reinvigoration of the peace movement in the US. We had hundred of thousands people walking in the streets against the war. The peace movement in the United States is still very active and very concerned about President Bush’s public statements about Syria, Iran and other war policies too. It is time, for example, for the U.S. to implement the landmines convention. We should continue to help Russia, through the Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR or Nunn-Lugar) program, destroy its weapons of WMD. These are the policies which the peace movement is increasingly concerned about. I think the war has ironically been a positive step for citizen activist involvement and we will continue to see this as the presidential debates become larger and more prominent. The Democrats have several peace candidates such as Vermont Governor Howard Dean, Congressman Dennis Kucinich from Ohio, and several other candidates such as Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, North Carolina Senator John Edwards, Graham who are also all speaking out with regard to questioning the Iraq war and the allegations around weapons of mass destruction. The peaceful movement will remain quite active and will have considerable influence in the presidential elections over the next year. It will be particularly interesting should President Bush engage in another aggressive war somewhere in Syria, Iran, or elsewhere. I actually do not think he will because the U.S. is stretched so thin now with Afghanistan, Iraq, Korea, and elsewhere that it really is not very plausible that we would take on some new war. Our economy is very poor, unemployment is rising, federal deficits are ballooning, and interest rates are incredibly low, so the Euro and other foreign currencies are much stronger than the Dollar. This is a very delicate situation domestically and internationally for President Bush. So for Bush to engage in some other questionable foreign adventure will only enlarge the peace movement all the more and potentially undermine his presidency. So I would say the peace movement is stronger because of the war and will remain so, especially next year during presidential elections.
What kind of role do economic policies play and especially oil in this conflict?
If Saddam Hussein would have been in the middle of Africa we would not have attacked him. Oil is very important and part of the long-term strategy of the Bush administration to gain more influence in the Persian Gulf. The U.S. is very dependent on adequate oil supplies, at least for the next couple of decades, so this becomes an important national security issue. It of course raises many predictable questions about our relations with Iran and Iraq and how we deal with the Saudis, let alone the Russians and others. I think clearly oil is a main driving force for our interests and interventions anywhere, but especially in the Middle East. When you look at the amount of oil production in Iraq it is not absolutely crucial to western interests and U.S. economic policy. If you are interested in general in more influence in the Gulf region, certainly Iraq was a good place to start for the Bush administration.
I am also very critical of American consumption policy. On a population basis, we are a small percentage of the world, yet we are using a majority of global natural resources, not only oil, but also natural gas and many other resources. We produce a lot of pollution as well and have an inordinate impact on global climate change. This all very definitely has to change. We also need to relate environmental issues and resources to peace and security. There is a close tie between energy, environment and resources, and peace and non-violent foreign policies, international policies, and that has to be more and more recognized. You cannot go to war over oil every other year. What I wish we could do is not spend so much money on military policy and weapons, including such wasteful procurements as "star wars," and commit more funds on social and environmental priorities. Our energy policies must be based more on conservation and renewable resources, otherwise we will find ourselves in violent conflict again and again over access to natural and increasingly scarce resources.
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The Middle Power Initiative
By Douglas Roche – www.middlepowers.orgMPI Chairman Douglas Roche was appointed to the Senate of Canada on September 17, 1998. Senator Roche was Canada’s Ambassador for Disarmament from 1984 to 1989. He was elected Chairman of the UN Disarmament Committee, the main UN body dealing with political and security issues, at the 43rd General Assembly in 1988. He was elected to the Canadian Parliament four times, serving from 1972 to 1984 and specializing in development and disarmament.
A new campaign is underway to urge the leaders of several key middle-power states to press the nuclear weapon states to negotiate the elimination of nuclear weapons.
After fifty years with the nuclear sword of Damocles hanging over humanity and all life on Earth, several historic developments have presented an opportunity to enter the new millennium with a plan for the abolition of nuclear weapons. These include:
The end of the Cold War.
Entry into force of the Chemical Weapons Convention, and the signing of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and Anti-Personnel Landmines Treaty.
A succession of authoritative reports and statements recommending complete nuclear disarmament, led by the Canberra Commission on the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.
Unprecedented statements by 61 former Generals and Admirals and 117 civilian leaders.
A new report by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, which advised the U.S. Administration that the potential benefits of a global ban on nuclear weapons "warrant serious efforts to promote the conditions that would make this work."
The unanimous conclusion of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), in its July 8, 1996 Advisory Opinion on the legal status of the threat or use of nuclear weapons, that an obligation exists to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects.
Resolutions adopted by the U.N. General Assembly and European Parliament calling for negotiations to begin, leading to the conclusion of a Nuclear Weapons Convention.
Recent public opinion polls in the United States and United Kingdom showing 87% support for negotiating a Nuclear Weapons Convention, and showing 92% in Canada wanting their government to lead such negotiations.
Development of technical and political expertise in monitoring, verifying enforcing of nuclear disarmament.
However, the governments of the Nuclear Weapon States -- particularly the U.S., U.K. and France -- are not grasping this opportunity.
The Middle Powers Initiative (MPI) is a bold attempt to encourage the NWS leaders to break free from their Cold War mindset and move rapidly to a nuclear weapon-free world -- which is now widely considered feasible and overwhelmingly desired. This would be achieved by a new coalition of leaders of countries respected by the Nuclear Weapon States (NWS) -- especially the U.S. -- generating the necessary political momentum and media attention.
The world is at a critical stage. Nearly a decade after the end of the Cold War, more than 30,000 nuclear weapons remain. No new nuclear negotiations are taking place and the Conference on Disarmament is paralyzed. The Russian Duma, fearing NATO expansion, has not ratified START II; START III is stalled because of this. Some Russian military leaders, concerned about Russia’s crumbling conventional force structure, are once again talking of nuclear weapons as a vital line of defence for Russia. Even if START II were ratified, there would still be at least 17,000 nuclear weapons remaining in 2007.
With Russia’s early warning and nuclear command systems deteriorating from shortage of funds, the possibility that such weapons could be used either by accident, miscalculation or design has, if anything, increased since the end of the Cold War. In January 1995, the world came close to accidental nuclear weapon use when the Russian military detected an unidentified ballistic missile over Norway possibly heading for Russia. For the first time, the Russian "nuclear briefcase" carried by the President was activated as Yeltsin prepared to respond. Disaster was averted by only a few minutes when the missile was reassessed as no threat, as it continued north over the Arctic to observe the Northern Lights. Its identity and research mission had not reached the Russian early warning system. If such an incident were to occur at some future time when relations between the U.S. and Russia are less cordial, disaster might not be averted. In addition, a new US Presidential Decision Directive permits nuclear strikes against non-nuclear States that had used chemical or biological weapons, which again increases the risk of nuclear weapon use.
Reports of smuggling of nuclear materials from an insecure Russian system are growing. General Alexander Lebed, former Secretary of Russia’s National Security Council, says that 84 "mini-nukes," in the form of "suitcase" bombs, are missing. Ethnic unrest, terrorist connections and old warheads at risk make a volatile cocktail. Thomas Graham, former head of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, warns that if substantial progress is not made in nuclear disarmament in the next ten years, a terrorist nuclear attack could occur in the U.S.: "The threat is real." On 13 October 1997, the New York Times deplored the "perilous pause on nuclear cuts." Nuclear abolitionists are in a race against time.
Despite the indefinite extension of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and signing of the CTBT, the development of new nuclear weapons and delivery systems continues. The Natural Resources Defence Council warns: "The U.S. government clearly intends to maintain under the CTBT, and indeed significantly to enhance, its scientific and technical capabilities for undertaking development of advanced new types of nuclear weapons." Under the designation "Stockpile Stewardship Management Program" (SSMP), the U.S. has begun "sub-critical" nuclear weapon tests to improve their reliability and efficiency. New projects include:
deployment of the B61-11 earth-penetrating nuclear weapon, capable of a yield between 0.3 - 335 kilotons;
a replacement for the current Trident submarine-launched war head;
the Trident missile itself and the development of a new submarine;
a nuclear warhead for theatre ballistic missile defence systems designed to intercept and incinerate chemical and biological warheads, and:
a plan to resume production of plutonium triggers for nuclear weapons.
The nuclear weapons laboratory programs are being funded by a dramatic expansion in annual U.S. defence budgets, which, after their initial post-Cold War decline, are now expected to rise by 33%, costing $60 billion over a 13-year period.
Meanwhile, Russia and France are preparing "sub-critical" tests and Britain is believed to be participating in the U.S. SSMP in order to extend the life of its Trident warheads and missiles.
All this activity is clearly against the spirit, if not the letter, of the CTBT, and is undermining the NPT. The world is poised to enter the 21st century in a "Cold Peace" in which the CTBT will remain unratified by some key States and the NPT may unravel. A growing number of non-nuclear NPT signatory States are resentful that the NWS are flouting their obligation under Article VI of the NPT, which is reinforced by the unanimous conclusion of the ICJ in its Advisory Opinion quoted above.
Although they deny this right to others, the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council retain nuclear weapons, insisting that nuclear capability is essential for the security of their countries and their allies. NATO states that nuclear forces continue to play an essential role in its strategy. Consistent with this, NATO plans to exclude use of nuclear weapons as a war crime or crime against humanity from the draft Statute of the planned International Criminal Court, while including use of chemical and biological weapons. However, the ICJ, in confirming the general illegality of the threat or use of nuclear weapons, cited their uniquely destructive characteristics. Indeed, it added that nuclear weapons alone "have the potential to destroy all civilization and the entire ecosystem of the planet." In the words of former ICJ President Bedjaoui, nuclear weapons are "the ultimate evil."
For the last two years, an overwhelming majority of States in the U.N. have called for negotiations leading to a Nuclear Weapons Convention to begin immediately. These General Assembly resolutions and statements by the Canberra Commission and former generals, admirals, and civilian leaders go unheeded. Those NWS resisting such negotiations, clinging to their outmoded rationales for nuclear deterrence, fly in the face of massive public support for negotiations as well as the opinion of the highest legal authority in the world. The gravest consequences for humankind lie ahead if the world is to be ruled by militarism represented by nuclear weapons rather than the humanitarian law espoused by the ICJ. Nuclear weapons are incompatible with the peace we seek for the 21st century.
A HISTORIC LEGACY
The leaders of the NWS have an opportunity to leave a historic legacy for humanity by removing the greatest threat to the survival of our species: nuclear annihilation. This would pave the way for other achievements in protecting humanity from environmental or social disasters and from future wars and other armed conflict.
By abolishing the most destructive of weapons, the NWS would be providing an admirable example of the use of negotiation and cooperation in stead of the threat or use of force. The vast resources devoted to the nuclear weapons programs could be redirected into areas of human need. If the leaders of the NWS succeed in this, they will join the ranks of the greatest statespeople in history.
The most important step for the NWS is to commence negotiations with the clear aim that these will conclude with complete nuclear disarmament in the near future.
However, there are achievable steps that the NWS can take unilaterally, bilaterally, or multilaterally to make the world safer. The most important and immediate of these is to get all the strategic systems of the NWS off the hair-trigger alert status they are still on. For example, the U.S. and Russia remain ready to launch more than 5,000 nuclear weapons at each other within half an hour.
In addition, all the NWS should make a commitment not to be the first to use nuclear weapons (only China does so at present). NATO has hitherto refused on the grounds that nuclear weapons may be needed to counter an overwhelming conventional attack. Now Russia, fearing its new conventional inferiority (which will be exacerbated by NATO expansion), has abandoned Gorbachev’s no-first-use commitment. Yet the ICJ implicitly confirmed that any threat, let alone first use, of strategic nuclear weapons would be illegal.
Other steps which the NWS should take include:
Taking nuclear weapons off deployment.
Removing warheads from missiles and placing them in verifiable storage.
Reaching a binding agreement on negative security assurances.
Achieving deep cuts in stockpiles.
Establishing a registry of nuclear weapons and fissile material.
Placing all fissile material under international control.
Ending all nuclear weapon research, development, testing, and production.
Article VI of the NPT obliges all States to negotiate nuclear disarmament as well as general and complete disarmament. As the ICJ confirmed, these two elements are not dependent on each other.
A CALL FOR LEADERSHIP FROM THE MIDDLE POWERS
Sadly, it often takes a disaster to motivate people tact to remove a threat. No doubt, if a nuclear weapon were used by accident, miscalculation, or design by either a State or terrorist group, the result would be so devastating that all stops would be pulled out to eliminate nuclear weapons. The political momentum must be generated in less disastrous ways. The Middle Powers Initiative could be instrumental in this.
A new coalition of leaders who are respected by the NWS, media and people of the world could propose a practical, realistic plan for the abolition of nuclear weapons.
No one State can move the NWS. With the end of the Cold War, the Middle Powers’ moment has come. A focused diplomatic initiative, therefore, is planned to forge a new coalition of key middle-power States with the political will, underpinned by public support, not to be deflected or dismissed by the NWS. The aim is to encourage the NWS to make an unequivocal commitment to complete disarmament.
The coalition will break out of the West/East/non-aligned blocs of the Cold War. It will include States which are influential because of their good track records on disarmament, have access to the NWS, have credibility in other security spheres, and whose leaders can work together.
A precedent for such a collective effort was the "Six-Nation Initiative," started in the early 1980s by Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA). PGA rallied the leaders of India, Mexico, Sweden, Greece, Tanzania and Argentina to press the US and USSR to stop nuclear testing and resume negotiations. This was an important element in demonstrating world support for nuclear disarmament to the two superpowers, and led to the resumption of bilateral negotiations.
THE WAY AHEAD
The essence of the MPI is to seek the start of multilateral negotiations on nuclear disarmament. This process allows for intermediate steps such as further US / Russian warhead reductions, de-alerting, negative security assurances, no-first-use etc., but places these firmly in a negotiating path to complete nuclear disarmament. Such a framework enables the MPI leaders to discuss a Nuclear Weapons Convention (NWC) as an end goal. This minimizes the risk of outright rejection by the NATO NWS and Russia (China has voted for negotiations to start), the governments of which are unlikely to agree to negotiate a NWC soon, but could be engaged on various issues it covers. These include the possibilities and problems of verification of, and compliance with, the elimination of nuclear weapons.
Such a framework also provides a basis for the hard-line non-aligned States to join negotiations on disarmament steps and possibly sign, and even ratify, the CTBT. This approach stands a good chance of gathering considerable media attention.
Humanity provides our common bond. People cared about landmines: they understood the issue in human terms; the media, awakened by the celebrity intervention of Princess Diana, intensified that concern. The 26,000 deaths and maimings each year from landmines were presented in their full horror, with limbless children appealing directly to political leaders.
The deaths of millions in minutes from the detonation of a single nuclear weapon are much more difficult to register with NWS decision-makers -- especially when the horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are so remote from them, and can be deflected by Japanese wartime atrocities. That is why the MPI must try to register the casualties from thousands of nuclear tests (especially those from the US, Pacific, Australia and Kazakhstan); the nature of nuclear war, including the unique, cumulative effects of radiation on generations to come; the irrational risks of maintaining nuclear weapons on hair-trigger alert; and the irresponsibility, immorality and illegality of nuclear deterrence doctrine.
The Middle Powers Initiative will require careful, discreet diplomacy and immense perseverance. The political power of the NATO NWS -- and especially that of the US military-industrial complex -- is daunting. Russian militarism and paranoia are being revived by NATO expansion. Gigantic vested interests are opposed to nuclear weapons abolition. After 50 years of pro-nuclear propaganda, lawlessness and lies, massive loss of face is another obstacle.
Yet the goal is no longer utopian. There are past campaigns, such as the abolition of slavery, the struggles against apartheid in South Africa and colonialism and for women’s suffrage, where the forces opposing seemed overwhelming. The time for a Middle Powers Initiative is now. On the eve of the 21st century and a new millennium, those leaders are invited to seize this opportunity on behalf of all humanity.
The Middle Power Initiative
The Middle Powers Initiative is a network of eight international NGOs (two of which have won the Nobel Peace Prize):
Global Security Institute;
International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms;
International Network of Engineers and Scientists for Global Responsibility;
International Peace Bureau;
International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War;
Nuclear Age Peace Foundation;
State of the World Forum;
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.
The MPI network began operating in 1998 under the fiscal sponsorship of the Nobel Laureate organization, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War. In early 2002, MPI became an integral program of the Global Security Institute. (www.gsinstitute.org).
MPI works with middle power governments to promote practical steps and negotiations that support the elimination of nuclear weapons. MPI targets about 40 middle power countries, which are politically relevant and economically significant countries that have renounced nuclear arms. These countries can contribute significant international influence over the long term and have an interest in promoting a nuclear weapons free world. MPI sends delegations to educate government leaders in capital cities around the world, produces briefs that are widely read among officials, and convenes strategy consultations for diplomats at significant venues such as the Carter Center and the United Nations.
By identifying influential strategic leaders in middle power countries, and bringing them into active participation in the committee structure of the Middle Powers Initiative, we have been able to leverage our resources so that we can challenge the extraordinary forces aligned against us on the other side of the debate. For example, members of the MPI steering committee include the former Prime Minister of Canada, the Rt. Hon. Kim Campbell; former Deputy Foreign Minister of Mexico, Amb. Miguel Marín-Bosch; Member of the European Parliament, Maj Britt Theorin; and others.
"MPI’s process is its product."
– Jean du Preez, Former South African diplomat at the United Nations.
Through strategy consultations, delegations, and professional publications, MPI makes a distinct contribution to bolstering the position of middle power countries that have recognized that nuclear weapons today decrease rather than increase international security. As illustrated in the following examples, governments are taking our recommendations seriously:
MPI has sent four high-level delegations to Canada. Members of these delegations have testified on the record before special parliamentary sessions, consulted with the Foreign Ministry and the Foreign Minister, organized press conferences, and have, in each instance, had extensive consultations with Prime Minister Chretien. The delegations have included Secretary Robert McNamara, General Lee Butler, Mort Halperin (former head of long-range planning, U.S. State Department), Bruce Blair (President, Center for Defense Information), UN Messenger of Peace, Michael Douglas, Senator Roche, Jonathan Granoff, and others. The most recent delegation was headed by Prime Minister Chretien’s predecessor, former Prime Minister Kim Campbell.
Canada has taken a leading role in promoting non-proliferation and disarmament positions within the United Nations system. MPI will continue to work closely with leaders in the Canadian government to ensure that Canada continues to be an effective voice for disarmament in the international community.
MPI has helped place the issue of space weaponization before the international community through its delegations. In Canada, for example, legislation has been introduced in Parliament, and the Foreign Ministry has become a leading international voice for the prevention of the weaponization of space.
MPI sent a high-level delegation to meet with President Vicente Fox of Mexico. The delegation was led by Mexico’s Former Deputy Foreign Minister and member of the MPI steering committee, Ambassdor Miguel Marín-Bosch. Our delegation reinforced MPI’s ongoing relationship with Mexico, and enhanced our ability to work with members of the Mexican foreign ministry. Mexico is one of the leading advocates for the global elimination of nuclear weapons in the international community, having led in the efforts to make all of Latin America a nuclear weapon free zone.
MPI has conducted ongoing meetings with Foreign Ministers of the New Agenda Coalition countries. The New Agenda Coalition constitutes the leading voice in the international community calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons. The coalition includes Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa, and Sweden. MPI works directly with the chief Ambassadors and/or Foreign Ministers of these countries.
MPI works with influential civil society leadership, such as President Jimmy Carter, whose Carter Center in Atlanta hosted an exceptionally effective Strategy Consultation. Many Ambassadors have informed us that important programs and relationships emerged from this Consultation, and President Carter heightened his public activism for nuclear disarmament.
At the invitation of Foreign Minister George Papandreou, MPI sent a delegation to a highly focused symposium hosted by the Greek Foreign Ministry, which was preparing a summit of European Union heads of government and formulating policies relating to nuclear weapons. MPI promoted a rigorous review of the impact of tactical nuclear weapons deployments, particularly those deployed through NATO nuclear sharing arrangements. The Greek Foreign Ministry is publishing a book on the outcomes of this very important symposium.
After receiving a copy of the MPI memorandum on NATO nuclear policy, Canadian Foreign Minister Bill Graham wrote back to MPI, stating "Previous Middle Powers Initiative documents have provided me with helpful food for thought on nuclear weapons policy issues, and this memorandum was no exception. Canada will continue to work to ensure that NATO policy is coherent both with the commitments of Alliance members under the NPT and with its own national policy."
MPI sends formal delegations to meet with policy makers usually at the level of Foreign Minister and Prime Minister. These delegations educate and influence leaders who have the greatest impact on policy and law making. Delegations are often planned to coincide with pivotal political events. A current emphasis of delegations is to support and strengthen the leadership of the New Agenda Coalition, a group of countries that has formally positioned itself as a leading voice for nuclear weapons elimination. Additionally, MPI delegations focus on NATO powers and other middle power countries that can influence the nuclear policies of the nuclear weapon states. MPI has sent delegations to the capitals of the following countries:
Ireland, Sweden, New Zealand, Canada, Japan, Australia, Germany and the Netherlands (1998); Canada, Japan, Norway, Germany, Greece, Italy and the Netherlands (1999); Norway, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium (2000); Canada (2001); Ireland, Canada, Japan and Mexico (2002); Greece (2003).
B. Strategy Consultations
MPI’s Strategy Consultations, often held at the United Nations and other prominent locations, are designed to strengthen the treaties that protect humanity from the further spread of nuclear dangers by providing a secluded, off-the-record environment for diplomats and policy makers to come to a deeper understanding of one another’s positions before returning to the formal negotiating table.
C. Briefing Papers and Publications
MPI’s briefing papers represent the intellectual basis for both its Strategy Consultations and its Delegations. They are broadly read among disarmament diplomats and experts.
Recent papers include:
"Advancing the NPT 13 Practical Steps" April 2003;
"Priorities for Preserving the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in the New Strategic Context" August 2002;
"Towards NPT 2005: An Action Plan for the 13 Steps" April 2001;
"Fast Track to Zero Nuclear Weapons" By Rob Green 1998, Revised 1999. Editions also published in German, Japanese and Russian.
OBJECTIVES AND GOALS FOR 2003-2004
The primary objective of MPI¹s "Nuclear Disconnect" campaign is to bring the overall NATO security policy in line with the NPT, thereby helping to reverse national security policies that continue to rely on the threat to use nuclear weapons. In particular, MPI will work toward
Specific goals for 2003-2004 include:
Through delegations and strategy consultations, MPI will continue to promote the policies of the New Agenda Coalition, as well as the 13 Steps leading to nuclear disarmament agreed to at the 2000 review of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
MPI has decided to focus on the 180 U.S. nuclear weapons actively deployed through NATO countries in Europe. These weapons are a political constraint to NATO countries in working vigorously as part of the global movement for the elimination of nuclear weapons. MPI’s long-term strategic decision to work on this issue was made in preference to working on a more tangible short-term goal, such as the valuable threat-reduction work of cleaning up nuclear waste.
MPI is planning a tour of NATO capitals in the fall of 2003 designed to point out the inconsistencies in NATO nuclear weapons policies and international treaty commitments under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Through this process, GSI will lay the intellectual groundwork that has the potential to lead to the removal of all tactical nuclear weapons from the soil of NATO countries in Europe.
MPI will hold a consultation for diplomats at the 2003 session of the UN General Assembly in New York. The subject of the Consultation will be, "Challenges of the Second Nuclear Age: Preserving Multilateralism, Advancing Disarmament." The new Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations for Disarmament Affairs, Mr. Nobuyasu Abe, has agreed to give the keynote address to the assembly of select disarmament experts.
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Forum for the Destruction of Chemical Weapons
June 26th and 27th, Palais des Nations, Geneva
Report by Nicola Hellmich
On June 26th and 27th, an international „Forum for the Destruction of Chemical Weapons" was held, hosted by the UN headquarters in Geneva. It was organized by Green Cross International and the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs.
Stakeholders from national and international governments and NGOs came together to promote the destruction of 40,000 tons of chemical weapons in Russia. About 100 participants from 15 countries gathered in the forum.
Micheline Calmy-Rey, Swiss Secretary of State, Sergei Ordzhonikidze, General Director of the UN Office in Geneva and Michael Gorbachov, President of Green Cross International opened the forum by making their statements.
18 persons from Russia, the USA, Switzerland, Germany, Italy and Denmark represented the national and international Green Cross and Global Green.
The Legacy-Program of Green Cross is coordinated by Green Cross Switzerland, headed by Dr. Stephan Robinson, Global Green USA (Dr. Paul Walker) and Green Cross Russia (Prof. Sergei Baranovsky). Its option is to promote the processes that lead to a successful implementation of demilitarization projects and to a strengthened conscience of the environment inside military units. The means are soft tools and public outreach projects.
Green Cross respectively Global Green represents a neutral and cooperative attitude. Its strength is a profound understanding of all the projects‘ aspects and a broad network that includes all participating groups of interest.
The Legacy-Program is realized by practical and pragmatic projects that represent local needs and promote the building of a civil society.
In March 1997, the Russian Chemical Weapons Forces signed an agreement with Green Cross Russia. It states that Green Cross Russia is an independent and objective source of information in the fields of chemical weapons demilitarization. In addition, Green Cross is a mediator between the Russian Chemical Weapons Forces and the local population which lives in fear of an improper destruction of these weapons. This shows that the work of Green Cross is highly respected.
The forum in Geneva was held to identify obstacles faced by demilitarization projects, to compare the learned lessons and to work on practical solutions to secure these billion-dollar-projects. Open debates and discussions were held about the worldwide cooperation of finances that were granted for the building of destruction facilities in Russia. Another goal was to invite countries, multinational organizations, governments and NGOs to participate in the implementation of the destruction of chemical weapons.
In workshops we discussed, what kind of obstacles arise during the implementation of the destruction, how successful examples were and what lessons were learned. After that, proposals for possible solutions were made.
Obstacles can arise when there is not enough competence on implementation of the planned projects. Besides the general lack of finances, there is an annual insecurity regarding the promised donations. Bureaucracy and bad organization like fluctuations and internal changes in the OPCW, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, lack of transparency, vagueness of the in tentions of the G8-countries and bad coordination make it very hard to implement the demilitarization projects.
Environmental dangers are an important obstacle. Here, the right choice of technology plays a crucial role.
Psychologically, there is resistance from the political side and the population. The extremely high risk to environment and health arising during the destruction of chemical weapons leads to the tendency, to destroy less dangerous weapons first. There is a tendency to regard the destruction of chemical weapons as an environmental rather than as a security problem – and the environmental aspect is not taken too seriously. But after the September-11th attacks, the danger of proliferation is very high. That is why demilitarization must have highest priority.
The public outreach was largely underestimated. The projects inform and give support to the local population which lives in great fear of possible accidents that can occur during the transportation and destruction of the chemical weapons. The example of Chapayevsk shows how a billion-dollar project can fail due to resistance of the local population: In the 80s, the Russian Ministry of Defense secretly built a central destruction facility. When shortly before opening, the local population became aware of the purpose of the facility, it vehemently protested against the opening – with success. Today, the facility is used for training purposes.
Solutions must be found by the international community supporting the demilitarization projects. In order to make the relation between donor countries and Russia transparent, the cooperations must be defined very clearly. This applies to the national and international organizations that work on the destruction of chemical weapons like the OPCW, the RMA (Russian Munitions Agency), and the CTRP (Cooperative Threat Reduction Program) of the USA. The OPCW and the G8 countries could be the main coordinators for financing the building of destruction sites. The USA gets responsibility for the finances and for the management, since after the Cold War they have the responsibility to destroy weapons of mass destruction. They guarantee quality management, good coordination and a responsibility towards the whole life of such a project.
Neutral help and mediation is needed for the planning and implementation of the demilitarization project. Here, NGOs play an extremely important role. Green Cross is strongly engaged in dialogue forums in Russia that inform stakeholders as well as the local population and reduces their anxiety.
Right now, Green Cross runs seven information offices in Russia. It has published flyers and information material and tours regularly around the country holding speeches to facilitate direct contact between the highest decision makers and the local population. The Russian population, especially in the countryside, is in a process of transformation. It is very important to inform them thoroughly.
Democratic and environmental education are by-products of the public outreach. With the building of a destruction site, investments in the social infrastructure are made: roads, pipelines, schools and hospitals are built and run in a sustainable way.
A lesson learned in the past is that it is very important to give clear and detailed information about the intentions of the decision makers. This is true for speech as well as for writing. With soft tools the population should be involved by providing open information and the possibility of dialogue. The unsuccessful example of Chapayevsk shows the importance of the public outreach projects. Proper information was given during the building of the Gorny destruction facility, and now the destruction work can be carried out without problems.
Regarding technology, it turned out that there is no „best" technology for all the stockpiles and all the different kinds of chemical weapons. That is why a choice of different technologies is needed for the communities and their local politicians.
At the end of the well-organized forum, I felt an atmosphere of great hope and energy. I hope that it will empower the process of worldwide demilitarization.
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INES COUNCIL MEETING 2003
PARIS, 10-12 November,
hosted by Jean-Paul Lainé in the
SNESUP-FSU head office,
78 rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis,
at walking distance from Gare du Nord.
Nicola Hellmich also supplies information about nearby hotel accommodation,
both for the Council meeting and for the following European Social Forum.
10 November, 16.00 h.-- Opening ?Report Chairman ? Report Treasurer ? Elections ? Reports on INES projects.
11 November, morning -- Discussion about consequences of the IRAQ war; Speakers: Bahig Nassar, Paul Walker.
11 November, afternoon -- Discussion about the future of INES as a network of engineers and scientists, options and opportunities for meaningful action; Speakers: Maurice Errera, Joachim Spangenberg.
12 November, morning -- INES activities in 2003 and 2004, Main projects, decisions and declarations, Council 2004, time and location.
The Council meeting will be followed by the European Social Forum, from 12 to 16 November.
The forum will consist of a great number of conferences and seminars and may attract up to 50,000 participants. The activities will be spread all over Paris and its surroundings. INES, together with the World Federation of Scientific Workers and some French INES member organizations, will organize two seminars with titles "Peace and Sustainability" and "Science between War and Peace."
The INES Special Projects Fund
In 1998 the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation established the "INES Special Projects Fund." We want to remind you of the existence of this fund. Members of INES and of INES member organizations may apply for a remittance of up to $500 from this fund, in order to get projects ? which are in accord with the intentions of INES ? through a difficult time (critical edge funding). The money may be spent for publication of articles or books, for travelling etc.
Applications should contain a short explanation and may be sent to Armin Tenner, E-mail: ;
or to the INES office: Nicola Hellmich, E-mail:
THE INES OFFICE
Gutenbergstraße 31, 44139 Dortmund, Germany
Dieter Meissner, Sparkasse Dortmund
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