Recorded live at the Gorbachev Foundation/USA State of the World Forum.
Tape 2 of the Roundtable discussion: "The New Architecture of Global Security: Global Decision- Making and Sovereignty - Convener: Alan Cranston
Note: This was one of four roundtables on "The New Architecture of Global Security. The other three were: "Emerging Global Political and Security Trends," "Seeking Genuine Disarmament," and "New Approaches to Settling Conflict".
Transcribed by Freelance Journalist Joan M. Veon
Convener: Alan Cranston
Endeavoring to give everyone a chance to participate with strict time limits on the contribution the presenters will make. I will call upon them in alphabetical order. They will be limited to five minutes.
At five minutes a bell will be rung to make sure you stop. Following each presenters five minute statement there will be discussion by the discussants for up to five minutes total with no discussant taking more than three minutes. We hope to have three discussants after each presenter. If a discussant has a question to pose, remember that they have to be encompassed within three minutes. This final roundtable of the "Architecture of Security in the New World" will explore if there is any consensus to develop fair, rational and acceptable mechanisms for global decision-making on the increasing number of global problems. At least a minimum ability to manage world processes, as it was put by President Gorbachev in our opening session. Questions: "Are new institutions needed? Should present institutions be reformed and strengthened like the UN? What role can NGO's (non-governmental organizations), the civil society play in instigating and bringing about an appropriate decision making process? What about regional organizations --what role is there for them to be developed? What is the future of the nation state and what is sovereignty now that absolute sovereignty is gone?"
No nation can consider it realistically totally sovereign and able to make all decisions affecting its welfare. The biggest question of all is "How might we create and exercise sovereignty on global matters? Sovereignty is the business of having the opportunity to participate in decision in some orderly way. We don't have that orderly way in the world and we will get back some sovereignty we have lost if we set up arrangements that enable us to exercise sovereignty in world affairs.
Note: Journalists were not allowed into the Roundtable discussion. After scanning the first tape,
the originally stated panel members and discussants were not as stated in the program. A number of those originally printed were not there. Some of the names of those who were there are missing as their accents prevented the transcriber from understanding their names.
Panel Members: Zbignew Brzezinski, Oscar Arias Sanchez, Abid Hussain, Georgi Shaknazarov, Kas Kava (phonetic) (these people participated according to the tape)
Discussants: Jonathan Dean, Stephen ..., Alan Kay, Sidney Drell, Thomas Graham, David Hamburg, Han Sung-Joo, Max Kampelman, Saul Mendlovitz, Robert Muller (did not hear his voice), Jeremy Stone and Prince Sultan, Iroquis Confederacy
We are talking about governance and when we talk about global governance I see the need for some judicial organ. Often in the workings of the UN, I have been an ambassador for 8 years now there is a problem with interpretation of the international documents including the charter so who should be the interpreting authority? I think it should be this organ or the international court of justice. I totally agree that the composition of the court was biased at times, I think that is changing and I think that it could further be improved. Many things should be revised and improved. We are mandating so much the fate of this world, at time, in particular, member states should have the opportunity to go to the Court of Justice...if what they believe is related to the interpretation of the Charter or other legal documents. So I see this as an evolving process I see this as a way to strengthen and empower the International Court of Justice which I feel is a very important component in this issue of global governance if we are to realize it. When it comes to NGOs I could agree, and Saul (Mendlovitz) would be very offended by this because he likes to call them citizen groups. Whatever you call them are more vocal today, more representative today..than ever before. What they think should happen, and this is what I have seen at the Social Development Summit in Copenhagen is that they want to be part of the United Nations System themselves and I think if you want to make them part of the UN system, that they can contribute a lot for humanity so what I propose is not that the NGOS work with ECOSOC, this is much better than yesterday, but I feel they should have permanent quarters in the organs of the General Assembly of the UN. Now in this regard, one proposal has been to have the fourth committee of the General Assembly which dealt with decolonization. It doesn't have any function anymore, we have the Trusteeship Council of the UN .... if we are not going to create new structure for the NGO's or citizen groups, why can't the fourth committee in the General Assembly be a forum for the NGO's? Why can't the Trusteeship Council be modified to address this issue. There will be this problem of petitioning and I see the...Committee of the UN as having a possibility for being a forum of petition coming from NGOs so if the Fourth Committee will solve that it will mean that NGO resolutions would have their way to the General Assembly through the structure of the Fourth committee.
Question: could not hear
Response: When talk about NGO's there were about 20,000 of them in Rio and Copenhagen. Many were brought in because they could not afford to come. We should have criteria, I am investigating 300 NGO's from all over the international community.
It needs some form of legitimation .... Perhaps to encourage democratization of the world by saying that those countries which have elections by UN standards and the UN is a body that knows how to monitor elections, can send representatives and other can't and that would encourage democratization and free elections elsewhere as a way of legitimating NGO participation.
Another Comment -
"I have found that the NGO organization like .... Article 19, the Chambers and the Societies representing the press play an extremely important role. They try to hid some of the text...If these people are to be selected by the establishment as such, you are not going to get autonomous independent opinion as such, so it is much better that we confirm it to NGO's which have become activists organization in their particular country... and it should be necessary for UN organizations and others to have a sort of linkage with them. I have found it extremely useful. In the Republic of South Korea there was a very difficult decision and the pressure of the NGOs which strengthened my hand...
In June, 1992, then President Bush was at UNCED, UN Conference on Environment/Development at and the close of the session when he was deciding not to sign biodiversity, and watering down in my opinion, the climate treaty, he made the following statement, "I am president of the U.S. not president of the world and I will do what is best to defend U.S. interests." Now for most people in this room, that is not a non-accsessional statement. But for me it is. First of all I disagree. I raise that because it is both decision-making and its sovereignty and it is our topic. I happen to disagree with the decision made in both cases. Secondly, if you look at the U S, own political process, we are unable as a people to vote on an issue of a treaty if our president does not bring it to us. We can't force him to sign a treaty. There is a peculiar option we have here which started with the founding fathers and we may want to change that. In addition, I want to take the Statement, "I am not president of the world" and take us into the heavenly sphere. The fact that he uses in a defensive fashion, that "I am not president of the world" leads me to believe that president Bush was looking around him at the entire global community an saying, "Look I can understand that you have these highfalutin ideas that I was present of the world and maybe I should have signed this but I'm tough and I'm running for election and I just to react and I want to be president of the world."
I want to read another quote, "We have entered a new era where progress will be shaped by universal interest, awareness dictates the world politics should be guided by the primacy of human values. Could this be a little too romantic? Are we not overestimating the potential maturity of the world's social consciousness, I am convinced that we are not floating above reality." Mikhail Gorbachev, December 7, 1988. In what must be one of the most extraordinary landmark speeches in human history Because in that speech it is not only this but he is telling use he is going to remove 500,000 people from a military block, he is calling for the rule of law. I want to take those two statements and argue that those are two different statements of the world and the question is which one are we going to feed into. Are we going to feed back into President Bush's UNCED statement or are we going to feed back into Mikhail Gorbachev's into this heavenly world and what I want to argue is that it is our task to move us into the heavenly world and in a very concrete fashion.
On October 30 of this year, at the Hague, the World Court will be listening to two questions--advisory opinions, one from the World Health Organization and one from the G.A. From the WHO, Whether the use of nuclear weapons is illegal under the World Health Constitution and under international law. The one from the General Assembly is asking, " Is the use or the threat of nuclear weapons illegal under all circumstances? " The history, the brief narrative, that is, is that there where four organizations, The Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, the International Peace Bureau, the International Association of Lawyers against Nuclear Arms and the World... (not clear), The lawyers, unions, Indian chiefs and scholar/activists came together and said, nuclear weapons have to be eliminated and broad it into the normative order and into the court. Now that use of the civil society...let me say one world.. I object strenuously to the terms "non-governmental organizations". I believe it is a disempowerment of terms. I believe I am a citizen of my own society and a citizen of the world and do not use the world Non-governmental organization and am on my own campaign to change article 71 of the UN Charter so that we no longer have non-governmental organizations, but we have citizen groups. Now I have 4 - 6 other points which I will save for discussion. When Sagan and Brzezinski spoke on the first day and put that little blue dot (slide ) and talked about the lonely mystery. I want to argue that the moment in history we are in is the one in which we have to unearth our capacity for human specie identity. Each of us has locked in us that capacity and its the most oppressed capacity of the world. There is no place you can go and salute the flag, there is no anthem for us, there is no symbol, there is no myth. I want to say that myth is the foundation and practice of politics. -3-
Question: So your objection to non-governmental organizations is that there is not a democratic process involved ....
(Citizens part of government structure)
Saul: Let me start with terminology. I believe in terminology has the notion behind it that we are less than governments. I believe citizens are part of the government structure and therefore I do not wish to be called a NGO. There is a whole set of terms. Let me take the term "conventional Weapons."
Question: Is there another role for NGOs?
Saul: Let me say something. We are citizens groups who come to Washington, D. C. who come to .... we should be treated as citizens not as non-governmental and redundancy. It is very important. The kinds of activities that...what ... is talking about is precisely the kind of grouping we now need to develop through the UN. We have a set of transnational organizations which somehow have to be made part of the governmental process not as non-governmental organizations...
Question: Would prefer the term citizen groups?
(world government, Earth Charter as law)
Saul: Citizen means governance. You are...let me tell you the other myth. What does myth mean? I take this from Websters..."This is the story of a people, its origin, its beliefs." What is the myth we are attempting in this room and at this Conference? We are attempting to create the myth of planetary objectives. We are attempting to bring about a planetary community. I think we are timid in not talking realistically, realistically about local citizenship and world government. I know all the reasons for using the term "governance" rather than government. I see no way out of the next century without an extraordinary amount of chaos, dislocation of the human race, environmental degradation of the worst sort, without government within governance. It seems to me and I am not a world federalists despite Normans blandishments and Alan's. I am not a world federalist but I see no way out of government at the global level and for us to keep pussyfooting around that notion just seems to be a mistake. We should be saying "What is the organization? We are talking about an Earth Charter and that Earth Charter is going to have government in it and if it does not, it isn't going to be very good. We have got to begin to think of ourselves...I would say this...to think feel and act as a global citizen is an exceptional requirement for understanding and promoting a just world order.
Responder: One of the sad challenges of democracy, is that these decision that we talk about here and I am delighted that we have moved into decision...and we have a problem in the U.S. that is growing about the movement of the popular psychology...there is a cart out here that says, "Abolish the UN". There is more support for that today than less. So one of the challenges that we've got to address in the "how do we get this done and how do we move towards world government" which is the only ultimate solution and most thinking people would agree with that. How do we get that done with voters who say "We don't want them telling us what to do?" Here in the U.S. we ought to have the most secure feeling citizenry in the world but when you listen to the rhetoric and our new Congress and how they got elected and what they had to say and what is likely to happen in the next election, we have very insecure people. Somehow as we move towards this greater globalization and all of these objectives we are talking about and agree are generally very good things, we've got
to teach here in the U.S. our average Joe and Jane why it is in their interest to have it happen and why it doesn't threaten their fundamental sense of well-being. I think in doing that is to go out in forums like this to our world neighbors and say, "This is some place where the U.S. needs help. We need you folks to help our people understand that they don't have to be afraid of you."
(we do not wish to be called fools--need to take on the mission)
Saul: I believe there is timidity on the part of leadership that is embodied in what they call realism. Let me remind you that geopolitics and national interest is as much a normative projection of the world as it is the real world...The notion that everybody is out for themselves, they want power or they want domination is part of the human condition to be sure but so is compassion, decency and love. And the part of the holographic spectrum is as much as normative as it is empirical The problem is that we have left to the people who are in the position of trying to reshape our society that decision as to what human nature is. I believe that we lack a leadership that's willing to go out and state these truths in their own circles, we do not wish to be called fools. Even in our own circle---we don't do it Friday and Saturday night when we are having drinks with our friends. It is time to take on the mission.
Question for Mr. Mendlovitz: ...They say spirituality is the highest form of political consciousness. We can no longer tolerate leaders which have no moral authority. President Havel of the Czech Republic is someone who comes to mind. He has no absolute power. But he does stand in the world as a moral authority. Indigenous leaders...are chiefs have that similar type of power coming from the power...they have moral authority...we chose our chiefs and we also have the power from the people so we deal with the practical level.
Mr. Mendlevitz: Thank you.
Question: from Discussant - He showed a map. Western Europe. Integrated Electrical Power Network throughout Europe which developed over the last 20 years. The Berlin Wall that went down seven years produced something almost impossible in which Eastern Europe will be completely interconnected in the next 10 years. When Israel and Jordan shook hands, the first thing they will do is interconnect their electric because it makes good sense. The GENIE questions asks, "How do you provide a decent standard of living for everyone in the world without damaging the planet. ?" This come from the work of Buckminister Fuller , his #1 priority for the world game that gaming simulation. The answer was to link electrical systems around the world, taping remote renewal energy resources. Mr .... . who I corresponded with some time ago, former vice president of the Academy of Sciences says that this electrical integration of the world, extensive international cooperation necessary would mean alternative expenditures to armaments and at the same time overcome social-economic problems in developing countries. Mr. Walter Hickle took this at the NGO forum and said this was his #1 peace proposal for the world. it was impossible to link Jordan and Israel electrically for forty years, as soon as they shook hands, the electrical engineers and financiers were in immediately building the electrical system.
(globalization to regionalism; combine sovereignty with international governance; strengthen world judicial powers--world court)
Dr. Georgi Shaknazarov
It seems to be that the process of globalization would be followed by a shift in power. Globalization does not require big states. The more power that is concentrated at the top of world or continental structures, the more power would be devolved through smaller or regional communities. There will be nothing left for the state to do. It seems to me when my good friend .... . says that we somehow have to combine sovereignty with international governance that seems to be utopia. He doesn't mean that sovereignty is not going to
disappear but that it is going to be closer to the people. This process is going to be a most painful one which will take decades and naturally the states of the world are going to oppose the process. So our task is to do what's possible today and to take it one step at a time. And I would like to briefly state what goals in my opinion are possible today.
First of all we have to fortify or strengthen the world of judicial power. We have to bring the process about where the World Court is going to settle all contentious issues. Where all these issues are going to be transferred to the World Court automatically. This is the most authoritative body. Further, on how do we empower the Court, how do we make it powerful enough to bring about sanctions. Naturally not by bombardment, economic, boycott technological boycott, and actually our experience proves that this is the harshest and most effective medicine.
Look at Bosnia it has drastically changed. The events in South Africa finally took place after pressure from the world community. The tragic fate of the Soviet Union in many ways can be explained by boycott by the ...nations. I think we have to issue or promlegate international laws. Regarding the issues which are going to be supported by everyone. Let's look at the issue of terrorism. The largest threat to world security is from terrorism. A Chechen terrorist threatens the country with biological terrorism. People brought to the brink of despair justly or unjustly can indeed use these weapons. It is my proposal for the General Assembly to adopt a law which would demand of the world governments to immediately convey the terrorists to the world bodies and if a terrorist act was followed by death of ordinary citizens, then I think that the highest form of punishment, the death penalty has to be brought. Only then could we put an end to it. Now there are certain countries where there are no death penalties, why don't they use other countries who do .... I think that this law should actually involve even those countries who would initially oppose it and in this particular instance I would insist that the majority exercising its right of the majority. And finally,
I think that the expansion of the Security Council of the United Nations is a very useful action.
We have been talking about it for such a long time but it seems to be that while we have been working at the forum for a few days the heads of states of different countries are going to get together and solve this issue once and for all. But I don't think it is going to change anything in principle because the Security Council of the UN lacks enough operative potential. We have to strive for the establishment of regional security councils. Had there been such a European Security Council that the Bosnia conflict would have been prevented.
Finally a few remarks on the General Assembly. it seems to be that even now the governments of the world can agree that in the Chamber of the UN and General Assembly should be represented not only by political appointees but people should be elected to the General Assembly. I think the issue is to divide the mandates correctly...Its perfectly clear that this Chamber does not have to meet that often. Besides I am proposing another...in my proposal, actually it's not mine, it has been discussed for a number of years now to establish another chamber of the General Assembly which would count among its members the most authoritative citizens of this world. It wouldn't have any official mandates so to speak. But had the members of this potential chamber expressed their position on the world issues I am sure the world would listen to them .... Thank you.
Dr. Shaknazarov has mentioned a European Security System, an overarching one, a Security Council, I'd like to relate to that, bring to your attention, the point that one logical step to improve the UN capacity to deal for conflict prevention and peacekeeping in general is to
build up the network of regional security organizations. This is the answer, I think, to more conflict prevention and to burden sharing and to avoidance of an excessive role for the major power. Now there are 16 of these major organizations operating today, big and small. Several are peace keeper functions, among them, The European Union, The Western European Union, NATO, Commonwealth of Independent States in Russia and surrounding countries, the Organization of American States, the Organization of African Unity which has carried out small operations in Chad and elsewhere. Two big holes in the system are South Asia, as we know does not have a system and Northeast Asia with Japan, China and the Korean States. These I think, all of our countries should try to establish. But for all of these systems, including the European one, need further development. The United Nations should offer training, standardized training, doctrine and things of that kind to help them along. (end of side one)
...Build up and finance some of these systems. They have done so in a very partial way with the Organization for African Unity. One way of doing this is for the industrial countries to adopt peacekeeping units in some of the regions where that hasn't been done. For example, the US trained and equipped a battalion from Ghana which served in peacekeeping in Rwanda. The Scandinavian countries equipped and trained the unit which is serving with American personnel
in the first example of preventive peacekeeping in Macedonia. I merely bring this to your attention as something which I feel all of our national policies should further, in a very systematic and long-term way in order to build up a network which will have the effect of preventing more and more conflicts, expanding the areas of no-conflict and lowering the level of armed violence in the world.
I want to ask a question about sovereignty. I think your blueprint is pretty good but how do we realistically go about getting major countries like the United States, United Kingdom, China to abdicate the decision-making responsibility in giving up power. We have a utopian ideal. The real political sense, Clinton never said he would turn everything over to body politic (?), he'd get killed in the next election, so would Chirac. So how do we go about getting this process started?
I believe the things I was mentioning is something no one would speak against. I am not talking about dissolving the Security Council which does give certain authority to major countries. What I was trying to say that at the same time to organize bodies who would control the comprehensive power the Security Council and try and undertake the resolution of certain conflicts. Do you think it would be realistic to say the US would not object to the creation of a European Security Council or a Regional Security Council? I don't think there is reason to say no. Is it realistic to say there would be possible to set up a Chamber which would be in a sense, parallel to the General Assembly of the UN? Is it realistic to suggest that all conflicts go through the International Court of Justice? I believe that there is a lot of traditional respect in the US for legal bodies. I have been here for three days only and every day I hear about these juries and what the judge said and what the jury said..(Laughter). Why shouldn't the US agree that the conflicts that should be handled by a trial of a group of 15 wise gray haired persons. (Laughter) (Note by JMV: The World Court has 15 people) That would be a kind of international arbitrage. And I agree with you that we should not try and oppose utopian tasks along our paths. But there are a number of things that governments of certain countries would be ashamed to say no to, they would have to agree to them.
(paid volunteer UN Army)
Saul: One option that goes along with what he is talking about is to establish security forces that are denationalized. Body bags coming home to a society is not what a leadership can take nor will its community but if you can recruit individuals as civil servant police for the security area, in deed for the standing security force for the UN and there is a chamber which oversees it and there is executive capacity to pull it off and it goes along very definitive lines, Genocide, there is a treaty, Crimes Against Humanity and the Numburg Code and you begin with that set of normative order which is already in place and you now put this international police forces in that grouping and no one is a citizen of the United States or Ghana, they are international civil servants. That's a way of overcoming the resistance many states have to having their people---and Bosnia, four years ago, if we had such a force, I believe Colin Powell was wrong, 10,000 people, I think would have stopped it.
Cranston: We are suppose to vacate the room now.