Whether one calls it war (see the ongoing discussion regarding Afghanistan), or crisis or conflict: the confrontation of people making use of force of arms remains a sad fact of reality and it will still remain certainly for many decades, if not eternally. Except for the case of a legitimate act of self-defence, the exclusive right to use weapon force has finally got to be assigned solely to the United Nations Security Council which needs to be profoundly reformed for this purpose.
The „peace soldiers“ have to be adequately equipped (weapons, equipment and rules of intervention) for their mission in a field getting very complex, to be able to fulfill their task in line with a comprehensive (civil and military) strategy to rebuild legitimate institutions and „normal life“. To say it in different words: it is necessary to fix the will of all inflicted parties to live together, regardless of all differences.
If you take a look at the past you can’t claim that the situation of the world – especially since the ending of the cross-national conflicts – was worse than before. But some considerable threats remain and the future is far from being safe.
What can be done to assure wealth, freedom and security for everyone?
The measures have to be taken on an individual as well as on a collective level.
The individual level
1 – Developping the public spirit (a different expression of responsibility?) , well-understood as individual dedication on the different (starting from the local up to international) levels of society, corresponding to the talents, the conditions and phases of life of everyone involved. Public spirit is also the sense of duty towards fellow citizen. And it finally means to enable people to contribute individually to common welfare, with their daily action, votes, decisions and dedication, that means to take part in the consruction of a fairer and more solidary world. It is true that many people show their generosity when big natural disasters happen, but this always remains temporarily and insufficient. The logic of particular interests and personal egoism are always returning too fast.
Naturally, young people are the main target group of the establishment of a public spirit. The special formation inside of educational institutions has to occupy a very important place in the corresponding programs, in which actually the UNESCO will certainly play a major rôle. But this alone is not sufficient. The transmission of these values has above all got to be made by parents, but also by all those who are able to transmit them on their corresponding level: associations, companies, elected politicians, public servants (firefighters, policemen etc.).
Finally, the public spirit will above all be transmitted into the manners of young people and adults through exemplary behaviour.
The level of the community
2 – Giving the nation its key power back, maybe apart from the state, that is seen as the protector of a common identity and livelyhood on a defined geographical region, disregarding all kinds of thoughts of superiority and fixed as basis of the worldwide community. Article 15 of the Declaration of Human Rights officially fixes the right of every human being to be part of a nation.
But it’s a question of a sensitive and especially complex topic, above all when one thinks of the situation of minorities or territories with different ethnic groups who don’t manage to live peacefully together, due to their differences.
People’s right of self-determination and the non-interference in the matters of a state are two bases of international law that might oppose each other. The example of the Kosovo declaration of independence shows it. All states fighting against regional independence movements feel disturbed. It is impossible to respond to every particularity and to each claim of identity.
What else can be offered? The ideal case is to let decide the affected population by arranging a referendum (like in Saarland in 1955). But this isn’t always possible or preferrable, because each involved side has got to be wise enough to be able to deal with its result. That’s why a basic consensus is necessary. The other solution would be the acceptance of the international community as mediator, may it be imperfect (or imposed). Many scenarios of an autonomy and/or the acceptance of more or less particularity are possible if people have a good will and if they know their obligations.
The essential here is the recognition of the rights and identity of small groups by each country concerned. By applying the subsidiarity principle, one is forced to promote soft and particular case matched combinations.
We need the States, even if they are inclined to be driven by their own national interests. They have their doubts and their own logic, but they need it - and every single one all the more to follow - a common principle, which is their actions (as a compass or orientation) based on: the principle, dignity, freedom and to respect the lives of everyone. It is on every system of government, to help or point them in the barriers.
The formula chosen by Pierre Calame, President of the Charles-Leopold Mayer Foundation, is absolutely correct: « The sovereignty of states is never only a functional sovereignty. Their legitimacy derives not from a property claim but to prove himself as a good administrator, who reports to the international community accountable for his actions on the part of humanity and the territory for which he is responsible. »
3 – The UN put the funds available to carry out their role in security more effectively manage these challenges by:
+ improve their response capabilities and the ability to be given military leadership on a strategic level,
+ giving them the capacity to control the operational aptitude of the forces made available for them,
+ it shall be provided with permanent light crisis reaction forces
+ the Security Council has to be radically reformed, so that the different continents are represented fairly.
4 – Without having the certainty, it should be used in spite of everything from working through the gradual disarmament of the total destruction of all nuclear weapons. This assumes that the disarmament takes place completely, is verifiable and enforceable against all nuclear power countries.
A state that has nuclear weapons, makes this decision certainly not easy, particularly if it has already been attacked several times from the outside. A world without nuclear weapons is not necessarily safer. Moreover, the nuclear deterrence during the Cold War has played a positive role. It has been shown to the fronts of peace between India and Pakistan. Nevertheless, a further spreading is not excluded a risk of increased use of these weapons, and it is therefore legitimate to question whether a solution could lead a nuclear disarmament.
Even if the current nuclear power countries decide themselves to destroy their stockpiles, but it is never excluded that still does not want to provide additional states with nuclear weapons. Therefore, the international community must be in a position to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons. In practice this means that they would have in the appropriate case to show readiness for the preventive destruction of production facilities, after all the necessary diplomatic and economic steps are reached, without harming the civilian population. The difficulty of such an approach is to be aware of. But you can not say in principle that it is impossible to abolish nuclear weapons and that the world was safer with additional nuclear powers. It has worked well to ban chemical weapons, of course, under less significant circumstances. One must at least try to be honest.
This also requires a global balance of conventional forces like the situation already is now in Europe.
5 – Implementation of a dedicated campaign to drastically limit the number of civilian casualties during conflicts.
Of course, war means taking a risk, and civilian casualties can never be prevented, even if all preparations are not made so conscientious. Sure, compared to earlier times, many advances have been made, but they are still inadequate, as do some states not all the necessary preparatory measures to avoid collateral damage (or because they assume incorrectly assumed that this strategy could pay off) and because extremist movements use human shields. Both practices must be condemned equally.
All this is fixed in the various treaties and conventions on the legal situation of armed conflict. It is therefore crucial that they be rigorously enforced and the resolutions of the UN Security Council to go out to perform thus the sanctioning of non-compliance by the use of proven reports of the UN.
The high-tech long-range weapons sent to the incorrect application of collateral damage, but they also offer the opportunity to support their high precision, by previous education, whether the targeted objects are really deserted at the time of destruction.
Asymmetric conflicts are difficult to win, it is, however, resolve the asymmetry through targeted information about the crimes of the enemy, through tactical and technical capabilities of the forces at work, framed in the context of a high expertise in the right mix of military and civilian efforts peace making.
6 - Promote the development of less lethal weapons as an additional means of lethal weapons in order simply to avoid civilian casualties.
The difficulties in the technical implementation and the cost involved, the problems in the tactical application and ethical considerations should not obscure the benefits that these weapons bring with them. Especially if UN peacekeepers are attacked with legitimate mandate by a mob or if fighters have established a human shield.
This necessitates the provision of loans and requires the targeted implementation of current programs. The responsibility lies with the states which should be of international institutions and civil society experienced support.