Challenges to Comprehension Implied by the Logo
of Laetus in Praesens
University of Earth Alternative view of segmented documents via Kairos

3 July 2004 | Draft

Post-UN Alliance of Nations?

Enhancing the proposal of Dr Matthias Rath

- / -


Introduction

A full-page "open letter" advertisement was placed by Dr Matthias Rath in the New York Times (30 June 2004) and in the International Herald Tribune (3 July 2004). It was entitled "The United Nations Committed Suicide...Now the People of the World Must Build the Alliance of Nations". It states that: "With its decision made on June 8, 2004 to authorize a US-led military occupation, the UN Security Council retrospectively approved the Iraq War. With this decision the UN Security Council destroyed its own code of international law, the UN Charter and thereby, the very basis for the UN's existence." [see full text]

In calling for an Alliance of Nations, the text offers a Preamble and a set of 14 Purposes and Principles entitled as follows:

  1. The Goals
  2. Equal Rights for All People
  3. Equal Rights for All Nations: One Country -- One Vote
  4. People before Profits
  5. Benefits of Peace and Prosperity
  6. Eliminating the Gap Between Poor and Rich Countries
  7. Health for All -- by Eradicating Today's Most Common Diseases
  8. Terminating the Investment "Business With Disease"
  9. Energy for All
  10. Comprehensive System of International Law
  11. Peaceful Settling of Conflicts
  12. International Security System
  13. Disarmament as a Goal
  14. Seat of the Alliance of Nations

Matthias Rath is to be congratulated for taking this positive initiative and for pointing so vigorously to a way forward. The comments which follow are an exercise in pointing to the need for enriching the proposal by careful attention to some vital details -- in the light of many past efforts to explore alternatives and to reform the existing system.

Comment

  1. The Goals
    1. Ensuring that the set of goals is structured so as to move strategically beyond similarly named goals on which action in the past has been less than successful
    2. Ensuring that the initiative is not coopted by vested interests and parties with exploitative ideological agendas, as has happened so often in the past
    3. Ensuring that the initiative is not undermined by corruption and bribery of decision-makers, as has proven so often to be the case with intergovernmental institutions
    4. Applying the principle of "guilty until proven innocent" to those with the power to act deceptively and exploitatively, in recognition of the fallibility of human nature whether expressed individually or through groups
    5. Ensuring that the initiative is not distorted by over-simplification of its challenges and the formulation of its strategic responses
    6. Ensuring that those promoting the initiative are at all times reminded of the factors and dynamics that have undermined previous efforts to respond effectively to the challenges of the world

  2. Equal Rights for All People
    1. Ensuring the procedures to guarantee those rights, especially in the light of their erosion in countries in which they are constitutionally embedded
    2. Ensure appropriate recognition of the challenges of ensuring representation of those who have difficulty in recognizing their rights (the young, the aged, the illiterate, the handicapped, the exploited, etc)

  3. Equal Rights for All Nations: One Country -- One Vote
    1. Exploring the mathematics of this principle, in relation to the highly disparate national population numbers, to avoid dependence on a principle that may literally be overturned by weight of numbers
    2. Ensuring appropriate representation of sub-national and cross-border ethnic groups that have so often been provoked to violence by discrimination again them
    3. Ensuring appropriate representation of non-territorially based groups, whether non-profit or for-profit.

  4. People before Profits
    1. Clarify the nature of the pressures brought to bear on people linking livelihoods of the many to profits for the few
    2. Ensuring that news management techniques, in conjunction with biased media interests, are not used to claim positive achievements (through simplistic slogans) to disguise inaction and promotion of exploitative agendas

  5. Benefits of Peace and Prosperity
    1. Exploring attentively the challenges of peace and prosperity in cultures worldwide where these have only inspired by their absence and where there is little understanding of how such conditions can be rendered sustainably viable
    2. Exploring the variety of understandings of peace and the ways in which their promoters can constrain the diversity of modes by which peace might be more richly characterized
    3. Exploring the variety of understandings of prosperity, including those that may be primarily based on non-material forms of wealth

  6. Eliminating the Gap Between Poor and Rich Countries
    1. Exploring the challenge of equality amongst the unequal, notably by reframing the nature of poverty and wealth

  7. Health for All -- by Eradicating Today's Most Common Diseases
    1. Recognizing the tendency of some to articulate challenges, and to ensure their persistence, in order to derive benefit from them
    2. Recognizing the tendency to fix distant targets because of the conditions that may be exploited in the transitional period towards their achievement

  8. Terminating the Investment "Business With Disease"
    1. Recognizing the ways in which certain sectors position themselves to achieve moral superiority, effectively blackmailing others to subscribe to their agendas

  9. Energy for All
    1. Recognizing the unsustainable environmental impacts of some understandings of the level of energy required by all

  10. Comprehensive System of International Law
    1. Recognizing the weaknesses of the system of international law and its vulnerability to manipulation

  11. Peaceful Settling of Conflicts
    1. Recognizing the hopes vainly invested in this possibility over many decades

  12. International Security System
    1. Recognizing the many challenges faced by the security systems of the past and the tendency of their promoters to become heavily influenced by those providing instruments to ensure that security
    2. Recognizing the variety of forms of security, beyond those defined purely in physical terms or in relation to property
    3. Recognizing the tendency to promote the existence of threat as a means of ensuring benefits to those with an investment in security systems

  13. Disarmament as a Goal
    1. Recognizing the need for non-material arms if weaponry is to be set aside

  14. Seat of the Alliance of Nations
    1. Recognizing the challenge of a permanent seat for an evolving network of nations
    2. Recongzing that "nations" may need to include indigenous and ethnic groups, as well as what are effectively non-territorial "nations"

Comment on process

  1. It is vital to recognize that a number of worldwide groups have very firm beliefs in the nature of an appropriate structure and set of principles by which any Alliance of Nations should function. They are often radically opposed to each other's views. This challenge will not disappear and should be effectively studied and addressed.[more]

  2. There are theoretical arguments (regarding requisite variety) suggesting that it is not a single "Alliance of Nations" that is required but rather a suitable configuration of several "Alliances of Nations", each with a different emphasis. This configuration might indeed be named as an "Alliance of Nations" but its geometry would be of a different nature to those supportive of particular, but distinct, emphases. It is possible that it is this new framework (of higher dimensionality) that is required to link existing structures -- and which may be easier to implement -- rather than a new structure that seeks to replace existing structures using patterns of organization with known disadvantages [more]

  3. Many initiatives of this scope have been proposed and explored in the past. It is vital to learn from their successes and failures.

  4. Any assembly of people, whomever they claim to represent, exhibit dynamics which do not provide any guarantee of the viability of what is proposed. These challenges need to be explicitly recognized and addressed. Of particular concern is the role and undue influence of charismatic personalities with no sense of their own limitations. Also of concern is the tendency for particular languages to be used in preference to minority languages in which the articulation of some concepts is more credible.

  5. There is a marked tendency to promote governance through checklists of principles and implementing agencies, when it is vital to ensure that the pattern of principles and agencies is itself anchored in non-linear frameworks of categories and institutional systems -- appropriately sustained by communications reinforcing that pattern [more]

  6. In a rapidly evolving social system there is a need to take account of the necessary continual development and evolution of any "Alliance of Nations". Such development needs to be enshrined in the founding framework which should therefore avoid the marked tendency to seek for a static framework consistent with unchanging "nation states" -- rather than an appropriately dynamic articulation supportive of such evolution.

  7. Many of the challenges and solutions lend themselves to simulation and modelling beyond the current use of such techniques for economic policy making. Given the failure of many past initiatives, greater attention should be given to simulating alternatives before committing resources to them. [more]

  8. A range of well-recognized strategic dilemmas are a challenge to simpler approaches to any process of world governance in which an Alliance of Nations might seek to engage. Addressing these conceptually, in a manner which can be both debated and widely communicated, calls for richer metaphor through which to articulate options [more]

  9. There are many sources of inspiration to guide the formation and processes of an Alliance of Nations. But, as has been said of academic disciplines, what discipline would not consider itself to be particularly well-equipped to offer insights into interdisciplinarity and transdisciplinarity? The challenge is how to reconcile the conflicting views of authoritative counsellors of every persuasion -- that may well have been a prime source of wise council for initiatives that have been less than successful in the past.

  10. Increasing recognition of psychological, paradoxical, symbolic and mythopoetic dimensions of society, and individual aspirations witin it, suggests that these should be reflected in some measure in the design of an Alliance of Nations -- if only by articulating its structure and dynamics through media (other than legal texts) that are capable of widely communicating the coherence of whatever is proposed to an increasingly alienated electorate.[more]

 

References

Anthony Judge:

Union of International Associations. Yearbook of International Organizations. [book and online]

Union of International Associations. Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential. [book and online]

creative commons license
this work is licenced under a creative commons licence.