Humanity should not live under the nuclear threat

Apr 23 2012

By Federico Mayor Zaragoza *

BARCELONA, Apr (IPS) Now that the war in Iraq is considered ?over?, another major goal of Israel has come into view: attacking Iran on the pretext that it may possibly be working on a nuclear weapon (though Pakistan, China, and India definitely already have them).

For years now, the major producers of weapons and oil (both essential to the world’s “great power”) have been seeking a confrontation with Iran, just as they did years before with Iraq, resorting to falsehoods and bogus arguments. It is no coincidence that Iran’s oil reserves are as large as and possibly even larger than those of Saudi Arabia.

Given that Israel does not need to speak with the Pentagon to convince military leadership ?because it is already inside the Pentagon? there is reason to worry that something might happen the way it happened in 2003: an inundation of news about the malevolent intentions of Iran today ?as with Iraq then? followed by a decision to take military action without obtaining permission from the Security Council.

But things will not unfold in 2012 the way they did in 2003, when the entire world looked on passively in fear and silence. Today millions of people, in person or virtually, will react against it.

Working together we can promptly put an end to these intolerable abuses, the effects of which are not even tallied afterwards, including the number of dead, maimed, and displaced.

The G8 and the G20 (the richest nations on the planet) have amply demonstrated their incompetence at global governance, including economic governance. What is urgently needed is a refoundation of the United Nations. Only multilateralism will make it possible to avoid armed conflict and immediately regulate ?and then abolish? atomic weapons through recourse to words and mediation. Humanity should not live another day under the nuclear threat, which is an invitation to death by inaction and a collective disgrace. This, and not the fluctuations of the stock market, is the true problem we face. It affects all of humanity and is a concrete and urgent challenge.

A systematic crisis requires a change of the system: transferring power and initiative to society and aligning political action with the principles of democracy ?which were so well expressed in the preamble to the UNESCO Constitution? and not to the exigencies of the markets, whether local or global.

In this way we can bring about the urgently-needed refoundation of a strong U.N. with the moral authority enjoyed only by those institutions that are able to bring together all of the countries of the world without exception or exclusion. The hegemonic impulses to govern the world through a plutocratic group of 7, 8 or 20 countries must give way to multilateral cooperation in response to the global outcry that is about to make itself heard. I have written before how both the new General Assembly and the Security Councils (a Council for Socioeconomic Security and a Council for Environmental Security would be added to the current Security Council) could be restructured in order to provide adequate international structures, especially when global governance requires it.

After the intolerable and immoral intervention in Iraq, global civic power should now firmly oppose such adventurism, particularly that which would have Iran as its target, both for geostrategic reasons (spurred on by Israel) and for its fabulous oil reserves. The only solution to the problems potentially posed by Iran, or Yemen or Syria, is -and this would have been true with Libya as well? mediation by the United Nations as the only interlocutor that has the backing of the entire world.

Have we considered the horrific number of casualties caused by the intervention in Iraq? Have we considered the five million displaced and the thousands and thousands killed or maimed? Have we examined who is exploiting Iraq’s oil fields today? The people of the world will no longer tolerate atrocities of this nature.

It is apparent that the Republicans in the U.S., who continue to profoundly influence the country’s political direction, are redoubling their efforts ? which began in the 1980s ? to demolish the U.N. They abandoned UNESCO in 1984, then they reconciled in order to invade Iraq. Now they are trying to paralyse it again by not paying their dues because the organisation decided to allow the admission of the Palestinian State acting on the autonomy conferred upon it by the General Conference.

They are stubbornly trying to activate the G20, the G8 and the G2 at the same time as they are turning their backs on multilateral cooperation. But these will be the death throes of a system that is in complete collapse. (END/COPYRIGHT IPS)

(*) Federico Mayor Zaragoza, ex-director general of UNESCO, is president of the Foundation for a Culture of Peace and president of the IPS agency.

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