Recognising the global influence exercised by the US, the political shift in the United States provides an important opportunity for rethinking some of the political and military orthodoxies that are taken for granted. Please join us in developing ideas to take advantage of this golden opportunity.
Here follow some thoughts of contributors:
THIS IS THE TIME TO BEGIN THINKING IN TERMS OF NON-VIOLENT OPTIONS.
Military solutions are not delivering democracy, security or protection against terrorist threat. On the contrary they seem to be giving exactly the opposite. We are beginning to see something of the futility and counterproductive nature of coercive response to threat.
There is no way that the United States alone or in coalition with its allies can control a fractured and divided world. One challenge is how to organize an orderly withdrawal from Iraq. There will be no prospect for peace there without a cessation of foreign occupation. As Richard Armitage said in response to concerns about “cutting and running” we must “notify and walk”.
A new coalition of the willing is needed, involving the UN and other international development assistance to make the Iraqi regime independent and enable the Iraqi people to determine their own strategies for satisfying basic needs.
EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES CAN NOW BE GIVEN TO THE PEACEMAKERS BY ESTABLISHING A DEPARTMENT OF PEACE - to give voice to non-violent options in government at the highest level of decision making would institutionalise this process. Excellent bills are now before both US houses; now is the opportunity to pass these bills and support and fund the new department appropriately.
NEW THINKING - AND YOUR CAMPAIGNING - COULD MAKE A HIGHER CORRELATION BETWEEN JUSTICE AND PEACE A REALITY.
This will ensure that the powerful act justly and the just become powerful!
This involves the development of organizations and movements that are dedicated to ensuring inclusion rather than exclusion, equality of opportunity, education, employment options, and sustainable development at local, national and international levels. These are much more likely to deliver real security than efforts to impose military order.
DIALOGUE, CONVERSATION AND CONFLICT RESOLUTION - can be established and supported in the battle for hearts and minds. This is desperately needed between different faith groups, different political groups, different gender, cultural and ethnic groups. These will generate more positive benefits for peace, and co-operative and collaborative thinking can the replace the tragic division of the world into adversarial camps.
IT IS ABSOLUTELY CRUCIAL TO REASSERT THE RULE OF LAW.
There must be a willingness for all castes, classes and elites to place themselves under the rule of law. We need to reassert the sanctity of the United Nations, the Geneva Conventions and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. There must be an immediate end to the practices of extraordinary rendition and torture of those considered our opponents. This includes an immediate end to the detention of prisoners without trial at Guantanamo Bay.
MORE EFFORT IS NEEDED TO INVIGORATE AND REINVIGORATE REGIONAL AND GLOBAL INSTITUTIONS - The United Nations at its best is capable of channelling a huge amount of non-violent energy for productive purposes. It must be given the resources to do this.
IT IS IMPORTANT TO ENSURE THAT WE HAVE CONFLICT SENSITIVE DEVELOPMENT STRATEGIES - which are both top down and bottom up and that these are aimed at enhancing and strengthening the power of civil society groups all around the world so that there are immediate checks and balances on the arbitrary exercise of power in all states and nations.
THE US AND ALL OTHER NUCLEAR POWERS NEED TO TAKE AN IMMEDIATE LEAD IN REDUCING THEIR DEPENDENCE ON NUCLEAR WEAPONS AND OTHER WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION.
Then moral energy can be returned to Non Proliferation Treaties (NPT) initiatives. These should also be accompanied by efforts aimed at reducing and controlling the flows of light weapons – which still generate most deaths in present wars.
HOW TO BECOME INVOLVED:
- Tell one person about this today, face-to-face, by phone or email.
- Add to, delete, edit or do your own version of this email. Send us a copy and circulate it widely.
- Start making campaign notes in your diary.
- Tell three people about this next week.
- Ask for time to discuss this at any group you attend or convene a conversation group yourself.
- Send "letters to the editor" and don't forget your local paper or newsletters of any organisations you have access to.
- Run a campaign in your own style; let us know or not as you wish.
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org with any thoughts you have about this campaign.
THERE NEEDS TO BE A RENEWED COMMITMENT TO NON-VIOLENCE AS A WAY OF A LIFE, and a return to diplomacy and negotiated solutions to problems. The world is too small for unilateralism and national exceptionalism. We need to reassert the essential value of multilateralism and collaborative problem solving.
We need to celebrate all those non-violent social and political movements that have generated positive social change, the Civil Rights movements, the Independence Movements, the democratic movements against tyranny. These struggles can lay claim to being more positive over the long term than most military interventions.
Non-violent transformation works. So often the right times have been missed. Now let us grasp this golden opportunity.
Do you wish to contribute an issue for action, discuss becoming a proponent?email email@example.com
This message was originally cirulated by: Australian Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Queensland; Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Sydney;
Conflict Resolution Network (Australia)