It’s Time to Militarize the United Nations
The governance of our species is dysfunctional, our so-called democracy seemingly observed more its breach than in reality. The planet itself is overwhelmed by our numbers, consumption and pollutants and there is every likelihood that this century will be our last together.
Consequently, we can no longer wait out crises, gambling that these threats too will pass — they will not unless we act now.
The world is dominated by rogue states with nuclear weapons, who claim to offset each other, but in fact frequently present those weapons to “project power” and “secure their interests”. This legacy militarism, that failed so definitively in the 20th century, remains humanity’s signature cancer and the prime contributor to the chaos and poverty across the globe.
We are a poor and sorry lot, arguably an infant tribe of killer apes victimized by each other at every turn. We are pissing away a miraculous planet, animal and plant kingdom in which we are a biological plague of acute and deadly proportions. The time has arrived to implement what we twice attempted in the previous century — military security via the UN.
Removing the Security Council and Vetoes from the UN
Three generations ago the victors in WW2 — America, Britain, China, France and Russia — granted themselves a veto on any UN resolution, to guarantee their own hegemony and to preclude any intrusions on their “interests” by the rest of the world. This “Security Council” must be dissolved and replaced by a UN Parliamentary Assembly.
Within this parliament the UN must evolve a constitution based solely on the principle of responsibility — as taught since the ancient Greeks, by Confucius and Petrarch and Russell. This is the foundation of humanism, which shall imminently displace religious teaching as a distinctive species credo and driver.
Solutions are immediately evident. If responsibility is the new morality, then we remain fully accountable for the canton in which we are born — becoming a migrant seeking greener pastures will not be an option. This resentment of territorial intruders is the basis for the populist uprisings in Europe, and legitimately so. Visit anywhere, but stand and deliver — you are never free to live in your neighbor’s home.
Converting Overseas Bases to UN Bases
A nuclear war could immediately snuff out our atmosphere, and the existence of thermonuclear bombs simply cannot be tolerated any longer. The disarming of rogue nuclear nations will be achieved through sanctions and boycotts — as was done with Iran. If a nation retains nuclear weapons, the balance of the world must ostracize them until it discards them. This is non-violent militarising of the UN.
Further, all overseas military bases will revert to their own countries and become UN bases if the population there so chooses. Again, this can be done passively and by species consensus and order.
A major initiative would be offering the Russian people membership in the European Union, and full reconciliation with Germany. We cannot constantly be referencing wars and dictators of a century past, as some sort of rationale for continuing such acrimony.
National armed forces would be rebadged as UN forces, around the world. Mutual defence taxes paid directly to the UN will then fund the continued operation of these bases, whose main duty will be to police and eliminate the manufacturing of war weaponry anywhere it is found, and to respond to acts of aggression per the UN’s founding charter and purpose.
By this process the UN is not so much materiel-militarized, as the legacy militarists are disenfranchised. In the spirit of Gandhi, this will be achieved peacefully through consensus public opinion.
Direct Democracy via the Internet
New technologies such as block chain referenda, wherein propositions and their results are patent and indisputable will guarantee direct democracy. Funding spy networks and hacking activities will become serious crimes akin to tampering with the mails and species treason. Access to the Internet will be a universal and fundamental right of every human, as defensible as freedom itself. These concepts are being researched by emerging entities such as Europe’s Pirate parties, and the Swiss have proven the canton model for generations.
Taxation and Benefits
Nation states may elect to downsize to cantons, at their local option, always under UN protection. Each will have its own domestic budget, collected and disbursed internally. A security portion analogous to present day “defence” spending will fund true UN peacekeeping, as well as world health, administrative and science programs.
As the former UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan wryly observed following the 911 attack in 2001 “The UN has a very small budget, smaller than the fire department of New York City”. To those who claim that the UN is incompetent or flawed, let them first switch budgets with the Pentagon, and we’ll see if that builds credibility.
It is incumbent for all humans to participate in democracy and become uncorruptible taxpayers, per the Scandinavian model. A very modest universal minimum income will replace most social welfare programs, and give citizens the chance to survive communally through shared housing and cooking, with dignity, in any society.
Rescuing the Atmosphere
The universal goal will be climate stability, to prevent a runaway greenhouse effect that threatens all life on Earth within the coming decades. The replacement of coal, then oil and gas will necessitate not just the adoption of renewables such as wind and solar power, but also an expansion of nuclear power generation. To gamble that we can do without the strong assistance of fission (or hopefully fusion) power will compromise our retreat from fossil fuels, a possibly fatal error if global warming continues to accelerate. Nuclear power is our sole hole card, and if we foul our own nest, that is a character issue. At least we would have had the common sense to grant the atmosphere our best efforts.
The time frame might be set at 1000 summers, giving us the leisure to fully harmonize with the planet, our sister species, with artificial intelligence and all the new issues that life, science and human ingenuity might bring forward.
If DNA block chains are secure for thousands of years, as claimed, we will be afforded an opportunity to register ourselves with our own kind, and a chance in the coming centuries to revisit sacred life here or on Mars, Venus and beyond. Your Self is bound up in your genotype or phenotype — let’s look into and extend it some deft long term stewardship, in your name.
This option will encourage responsibility toward this communal goal — so that someday Thoreau’s statement that “men live lives of quiet desperation” will no longer be true.
We’ll all have more calm lives to work toward, our quiet expectation through the centuries to come.