The big world conferences on climate every 20 years (1972 Sweden, 1992 Brazil, 2012 Denmark) have failed. Bill McKibben and 350.org are raising consciousness and prodding consciences daily, but the big lever of “world opinion” needs a pivot point or fulcrum, a forum or year round parliament of small and responsible democracies so that all the rapidly growing threats to species and cultural diversity can be addressed rationally and continually…
By Charles Kiel
(continued)…I believe that dramatic steps toward nuclear and general disarmament are both necessary and possible at this time. This will open the way to reduce or eliminate “war budgets” and release funds for rapid reforestation and permaculturing of the planet. I outline my proposal below. But first these observations:
Since I witnessed Biafra going under in the 1960s, the UN has never stopped a war, or an “ethnic cleansing,” or an “administrative massacre” (Hannah Arendt’s precise term replacing ‘pogrom’, see her Eichmann in Jerusalem ), or an “attempted genocide.” Many of the wars by states against nations (e.g. U.S.A. against the Six Nations confederacy or Haudenosaunee, China against Tibet and the nation peoples of Sinjiang Province, Russia against Chechnya) described very precisely by Bernard Nietschmann as “The Third World War: Militarization and Indigenous Peoples” ( Cultural Survival Quarterly 11(3), 1987), are still ongoing a quarter of a century later. From Nietschmann: “Every nation people that has resisted state invasion has been accused of being terrorists: Karens (all 5 million), Miskitos, Kurds, Palestinians, Basques, Irish, Oromo, Tamils, and so on. From the state point of view only terrorists resist state ‘integration’.”
In other words the “war on terror” became World War Three immediately after World War II (circa 1948) when Burma invaded 5 nations within its borders, India invaded Nagaland, Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran divided up Kurdistan, Israel was given a piece of Palestine—and now World War Three has become the unwinnable War on Terror again. None dare call this progress.
War doesn’t work anymore. Big expensive tech is easily destroyed by low cost tech. Think roadside bomb. Think rocket propelled grenade. Think drone attack blowback. An old mortar can destroy any nuclear power plant. The greatest aircraft carrier is undone by a half ounce of anthrax, bioengineered smallpox, bigpox, or by radiation, or by chemicals. And finally, big states, power politics, growing populations have come up against walls of limited resources and vast pollution. The American Empire or “global economy” will shrink steadily or collapse quickly whatever we call it. China, and every other state, faces the same limits.
Smaller democracies like Denmark, Costa Rica and Vermont are doing well. The Swiss Confederation is doing very well. Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel/Palestine/Lebanon could figure out how to share water, basic resources, and thrive economically as Confederations. Somalia might work as a confederation. Indigenous nation peoples all over the world require something like the Swiss confederate model to survive in peace and prosper.
The following proposal aims to conserve both species and cultural diversity on this planet:
FOR THE COMMON GOOD
To stop the ecocatastrophe and build world peace processes a Global Organization Of Democracies (GOOD) supporting the International Criminal Court (ICC) could coordinate efficient regional police to help prevent “administrative massacres” and terrorism, thereby enhancing the security of all peoples and encouraging states to redirect a growing portion of their military budgets to economically sustainable and resilient problem-solving over time.
Without small, professional but unarmed police teams in each region of the world that are capable of making arrests, giving safe haven to witnesses, backing up the diplomacy of democratic nations supporting the international courts, there is no reasonable alternative to unjust and unwinnable wars that destroy people, destroy Nature — the uniquely co-evolved & irreplacable speciation we depend upon for our very survival.
To survive we have to stop burning fossil fuels, commit to appropriate and sustainable tech, achieve a moratorium or ban on genetically modified organisms…I feel a very long list coming on! But what is the point if there is no GOOD meeting daily to discuss these issues, plan accordingly, set goals, reach agreements, issue guidelines? Steps to take daily ourselves: 1) collect GOOD endorsements from all the organizations, NGOs, non-profits; 2) keep asking the small democracies to take action.
A Global Organization Of Democracies whose representatives meet year-round to instruct a reform caucus at the UN and to mobilize regional police in pursuit of justice as defined by the arrest warrants and subpoenas of the International Criminal Court (ICC),might undertake five important processes:
1. A continuing effort to intervene diplomatically, economically, politically, and to make arrests, if necessary, whenever the ICC determines that the “cleansings” or “administrative massacres” which lead to genocide are in the planning and/or early execution stages
2. The pursuit and arrest of individuals and small groups of terrorists, identified and located by open-source international intelligence, for the ICC
3. A continuing effort to halt the invention and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, so many of which are ever more easily delivered by a single person
4. Promote steady nuclear and general disarmament processes in all the nations of the world that would release billions of dollars, euros, yuan, yen, rubles, francs, pounds, kroner, pesos, etc. as well as many brilliant minds for…
5. Solving the world’s most pressing life problems — climate change, ozone layer depletion, top soil erosion, AIDS, illiteracy, overpopulation, famine, landmines, etc. — that currently are the root causes of civil unrest, wars, more terrorism, insecurity, etc.
Without a growing sense of peace and security world-wide we are not going to decentralize, revive, and transition to local communities quickly enough.
CHARLIE KEIL is author of Urban Blues (1966); Tiv Song (1979); Polka Happiness w. A.V. Keil and Dick Blau (1992); My Music w. S. Crafts and D. Cavicchi (1993); Music Grooves with S. Feld (1994); Bright Balkan Morning w. A.V. Keil, R. Blau and S. Feld (2002); Born to Groove with Pat Campbell on the web (2006). Charles retired from teaching in 1999 and has been morphing into an instrument playing poet who