I am deeply concerned with the latest developments in American foreign policy, namely the security strategy that was published in September 2002. This speaks of preventive war and the unilateral use of military force. I would urge anyone who is concerned about these issues to read this document, which can be downloaded from the Internet.
This document clearly states that American policy is directed towards a position of absolute supremacy in our world based on its enormous military, political and economic power. It now looks as if we shall be living in a long period of pax Americana. This means that the whole concept of the charter of the United Nations will be put under the table.
The choice we face is between a system of international relations based on the United Nations or on the preponderant unilateral position of the United States. It is therefore of great importance that institutions, organizations and the general public become aware of this dramatic choice and work together to create a different approach and a different line of thought. In this respect I was particularly interested to read the article in Prospect magazine by the former UK diplomat Braithwaite reexamining the traditional relationship between the United States and Great Britain.
We should also be aware of the enormous destructive power that is now available with modern arms. Special attention should be given to the research and development of weapons of a truly diabolic character. Already now large numbers of people can be burned alive, suffocated to death or shredded to pieces. The terrible effects of the cluster bombs, daisy cutters, MOAB and laser weapons are however until now unsufficiently made public. A whole new category of directed energy weapons is now in development. More is in preparation! Although the Geneva Convention bans the development and use of some of these kinds of weapons is the wording of the protocol unfortunately rather loose.
Such weapons stand as one example, in one field, where thousands of brilliant scientists have used their intellect to produce arms for mutilation and destruction without any moral sense. Equally to blame are the politicians and the managers of the arms industry. In short there is a major moral disorientation in the area of security.
But I would like to qualify my remarks about scientists by pointing to the Pugwash movement, founded on the Russell- Einstein Manifesto. Here scientists from all over the world cooperate in order to prevent the use of arms for mass destruction. This is a very hopeful sign and earlier when I spoke of cooperation between religions I would like to add that quite a number of these scientists hold to no religious belief yet all are united by a common love for humanity and a deep sense of awe and reverence. Having said this I must again emphasize that notwithstanding, preparations for future wars are in full swing.
A few years ago Pugwash received the Nobel Prize for peace. Today Pugwash is a good example of how conscience can work in people. Some scientists said “no” to acts against humanity. Today I would like to add religion as a mobilizing force for saying “no”. Religion, I would propose is a strong motivating force for taking a stand.
We need a new concept of security. The old concept dates back to the Romans who said, “If you want peace, prepare for war.” The new concept I would propose is exactly the opposite, “If you want peace, prepare for peace”. While this may sound simplistic it is difficult to put into practice as the application of justice and solidarity in international political and economic relations require sacrifices from ‘those who have’.
I would give three reasons why the old concept of “security” is no longer valid
a)The extreme vulnerability of modern society
b)The tremendous destructive power of modern arms and terrorism
c)The interdependence between nations
These three elements are closely interconnected. It is therefore imperative to apply justice and solidarity in our international relations. If not disaster looms!