Comprehensive Approach to Security
On June 3rd Jayantha Dhanapala, the President of the international Pugwash Movement, gave a lecture at the HSE. His speech was dedicated to the prospects of concluding new agreements on nuclear weapons, but he also commented on the main problems of international security today.
Jayantha Dhanapala is 71 years old;he is a Sri Lankan citizen and currently the President of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs. This movement unites scientists from different countries of the world who are committed to nuclear disarmament. In 1995 the movement received the Nobel Peace Prize for its efforts.
Dhanapala worked for many years in the Sri Lankan Foreign Service and had Ambassadorial appointments to China, the USA and several other countries. In 1995 he acted as the President of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review and Extension Conference, which resulted in an indefinite extension of the NPT. Betweeen 1998 and 2003 Dhanapala served as UN Under Secretary General on Disarmament. In 2004-2005 he was appointed Secretary-General of the UN Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process. In 2006 he ran for the post of UN Secretary General, narrowly losing to Ban Ki-moon from South Korea.
And on June 3rd the Pugwash President delivered a speech in Moscow.
"We have entered an era when there is no alternative to peace, because all the achievements of humanity can be destroyed by nuclear weapons"- Dhanapala said at the beginning of his presentation. He emphasized that the whole world is looking forward to the results of the new Russian-American negotiations which were started after the inauguration of the new US President, Barack Obama. Dhanapala said that more than 95% of all nuclear weapons in the world belong to Russia and the United States.
According to Dhanapala, security problems in the contemporary world cannot be solved separately from the problems of economic development and human rights. And the UN, giving the international community a chance to put international relationships into a legal framework, should play a central role in these efforts. Jayantha Dhanapala admits that some states are still able to use force regardless of the opinion of the international community and without UN authorization;The American invasion of Iraq in 2003 demonstrated this fact.
But this is not so much a problem of the United Nations Organization, this is a problem of the member states, he believes. Besides, the United States received a wave of censure from all over the world as retribution for their unilateral actions. The Pugwash President thinks that to improve the UN's efficiency it is necessary to expand the sphere of peacekeeping operations and expand the peacekeepers'rights to use weapons. It is essential to move from simple peacekeeping operations to ‘peace building'- which means the creation of fully functional institutions in conflict areas.
Almost all contemporary conflicts (except the conflict in Chechnya) take place in developing countries, and the majority of them in Asia. Most conflicts are the legacy of the colonial era, for example, the conflict in Sri Lanka and the confrontation between Indians and native Fijians on the Fiji Islands. The conflicts are exacerbated by an active weapons trade, which involves many developed and some developing countries. According to SIPRI, in 2003 - 2007 the USA accounted for 31% of world arms sales, Russia for 25%, and Germany for 9%.
Total military expenditure in the world is equal to about $1.39 trillion, or about $200 per head of the world's population. And yet all this takes place while about 1 billion people on Earth live on less than one dollar a day. Security based on weapons is ephemeral, and main attention should be focused on economics and human development, Dhanapala believes.
He disagrees with the popular US theory that democracies rarely or never fight each other. The main problem is the lack of a clear definition of a democracy. Is it just a multi-party system in the contemporary Western mould? Can one party systems be called ‘democracies'? What about countries where there are so many parties that the possibility of effective government has been lost? Nowadays the role of ideologies has become a thing of the past, and the reasons for military conflict lay in the clash of national interests and the growth of ethnic nationalism.
Economic development could help to prevent armed conflicts, but countries which are already involved in conflicts have no opportunity to develop effectively, since the price of modern warfare is very high. So, this is a vicious circle.
Such events as the genocide in Rwanda in 1994 gave birth to the concept of humanitarian intervention. In its framework the international community is obliged to intervene in such situations and prevent crimes against humanity. Such ideas were spread in the 1990-s by the ‘Doctors Without Borders'movement, which was then led by the current French Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bernard Kouchner. But they faced strong opposition from many developing countries, which feared the return of old colonial practices.
According to the lecturer, the issues of contemporary nuclear security depend on the success of the Russian-American dialogue as well as on the creation of a common international approach to the problem. Pakistan and India were in fact rewarded for the nuclear test explosions carried out in 1998, since later the United States established closer relationships with both countries, and signed an agreement with India on nuclear cooperation.
Speaking on the current situation with North Korea's nuclear weapons, Mr. Dhanapala said that North Korea is an isolated country and its administration has a distorted vision of the situation in the world. North Korean leaders feel threatened by the USA and are willing to get recognition by Washington to obtain political guarantees of security. In the 1990s, Bill Clinton's administration came close to a breakthrough in its relationships with North Korea, but shortly after coming to power in 2001, President George Bush made his catastrophic ‘axis of evil'speech mentioning Pyongyang. This set relations with North Korea back many years, and later efforts failed to improve the situation. Jayantha Dhanapala pins his hopes on the resolution of this and a number of other major international problems, including the Middle Eastern issue and Russian-American relations, on Barack Obama and his administration.