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Category: Commission on Global Security, Justice, & Governance

Joseph E Schwartzberg -- CGS Lifetime Achievement Award

Joseph E Schwartzberg -- CGS Lifetime Achievement Award

Dear Professor Joe,

 You have received so many much-deserved honors, including being named “Distinguished International Professor Emeritus at the University of Minnesota,” how can Citizens for Global Solutions add to that?  For decades you have taught important courses and have been recognized for that.  For many years you have also done significant work in seeking solutions to the Kashmir conflict.  You have authored many professional articles and books, including being the editor and principal author of the Historical Atlas of South Asia, which in 1980 won the Watumull Prize of the American Historical Association.  In 1984 you were presented the annual award of the American Association of Geographers.  What a life!

​Father Finn's Manifesto: America First

Blog Author Fr Ben Urmston, SJ in Bellarmine Chapel on the campus of Xavier University
Citizens for Global Solutions aims to move our world toward a just, democratic, and war-free global community.  To make the necessary modifications in the existing external structures to reach that goal, it is necessary to pay attention also to internal values like openness and cooperation.
 
Attending to the manifesto of Father Francis J. Finn, SJ (1859-1928), could help promote the values that would lead us all in the right direction.  During his life he was principal of a grade school, an assistant pastor, and author of 27 novels for young people.  Those children’s stories have heroes who display strong spiritual values, leadership, and breadth of interests.
 
His manifesto posted on the wall of his office at a grade school in Cincinnati reads as follows:
         
AMERICA FIRST 
Not merely in matters material, but in things of the spirit.
Not merely in science, inventions, motors, and skyscrapers, but also in ideals, principles, character.
Not merely in the calm assertion of rights, but in the glad assumption of duties.
Not flaunting her strength as a giant, but bending in helpfulness over a sick and wounded world like a Good Samaritan.
Not in splendid isolation, but in courageous cooperation.
Not in pride, arrogance, and disdain of other races and peoples, but in sympathy, love, and understanding.
And so, in that spirit and with these hopes, I say with all my heart and soul, “AMERICA FIRST."
 

The Current and Future Prospects of the African Union

The African Continent on Planet Earth

The African Union usually does not receive the attention it deserves.  Media coverage of the organization has been minimal, despite what has arguably been a very significant year for it. This began with the peaceful resolution of a disputed election in the Gambia followed by the reintegration of Morocco into the bloc. With that latter occurrence the entire continent, excluding those regions governed by overseas powers, is now a part of the organization for the first time since its foundation in 2002. Furthermore, ongoing reforms aimed at promoting democracy are changing the organization's image from one that historically has been associated with dictators to one that is spearheading democratic change on the continent.

CGS 2017 National Convention in St Louis, MO

CGS 2017 National Convention, St Louis, MO

The 2017 national convention of Citizens for Global Solutions in St. Louis October 20-22 marked a new focus in its efforts to bring about a democratically governed world.  "Just Security 2020:  Citizen Action for an Effective and Inclusive UN" was the theme of the convention.  The featured speaker, Dr. Richard Ponzio, Director of the Just Security 2020 Program at the Stimson Center in Washington DC, explained how broad institutional reforms at the UN are designed to culminate in a 2020 summit on the UN's 75th anniversary.  The specific recommendations of the Albright-Gambari Commission on Global Security, Justice and Governance can be found on the CGS website http://globalsolutions.org/issues/commission-global-security-justice-governance

David Lionel used videos in an interactive session to encourage discussion about what local groups can do to raise awareness of the Just Security 2020 effort and how to educate them about its specific recommendations.  The challenge is to find ways of generating local enthusiasm for this project for global justice and knowing how to bring other non-governmental organizations into a collaborative effort.

The World Federalist Institute's Friday meeting began with a report via Skype with Andreas Bummel in Germany about how a UN Parliamentary Assembly is needed to make the UN more democratic.  After that, the first topic discussed was what WFI's role should be in CGS in emphasizing global governance messaging and outreach.  The next topic was why WFI should be promoting a UN Parliamentary Assembly and how to do that.  The third topic was how WFI could and should promote World Federation Education and how such education is critical for the kind of social change we want to implement.

Yemen: Effective Humanitarian Aid Depends on a Peace Accord

United Nations Yemen Observation Mission (UNYOM)

The United Nations together with the governments of Sweden and Switzerland which have often led humanitarian issues in the U.N. system held a high-level pledging conference in Geneva on 25 April 2017 to again draw attention to the deepening humanitarian crisis in war-torn Yemen, currently the largest food security emergency in the world.  Some 60% of the population is in a food-insecure situation.

More than 3.5 million people have been displaced in the cycle of escalating violence.  "We are witnessing the starving and the crippling of an entire generation. We must act now, to save lives" said Secretary-General Antonio Guterres who presided over the conference. Realistically, he stressed that funding and humanitarian aid alone will not reverse the fortunes of the millions of people impacted.  Diplomatically, he called for a cessation of hostilities and a political settlement with talks facilitated by the Special Envoy of the Secretary General, the Mauritanian diplomat Ismail Ould Chekh Ahmed.

UN officials and most diplomats are reluctant to call the armed conflict by its real name: "a war of aggression".  The aggression of the Saudi Arabia-led coalition (Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar, Sudan, and the United Arab Emirates) against Yemen began on 24 March 2015.  The Saudi-led coalition is helped with arms and "intelligence" by the USA and the UK which appreciate Saudi money for arms and do not want to antagonize a large segment of the Arab world when the conflicts of Syria-Iraq-Kurds-Turkey is still "on the table."

Global Week of Action for UN Parliamentary Assembly: #HumanityFirst

World Parliament Now

America first. Russia first. China first.

The United States of America puts American interests first. Just as every other nation in the world puts its own interests first. President Donald Trump was right about that in his first speech before the United Nations, on Sept. 19. Few world leaders have so nakedly expressed the essence of the Westphalian state system, established by treaty in 1648, and under which every human being dwells today.

“As president of the United States,” Trump said, “I will always put America first, just like you, as the leaders of your countries, will always, and should always, put your countries first.” This is controversial? Every undergraduate learns this on the first day of International Relations 101. It is the first principle of the realpolitik practiced by Henry Kissinger, Winston Churchill and Otto von Bismarck.

Virtually every other American president has made the same point. President Barack Obama, expressing his conception of larger interests during his final speech before the United Nations in 2016, returned in the end to his own primary obligation—and that of his counterparts. “Sometimes I’m criticized in my own country for professing a belief in international norms and multilateral institutions. But I am convinced that in the long run, giving up some freedom of action — not giving up our ability to protect ourselves or pursue our core interests, but binding ourselves to international rules over the long term — enhances our security. And I think that’s not just true for us.”

Brexit and the Future of the E.U.

Brexit

The initial news of Brexit was greeted with dismay by a majority of people with a liberal internationalist outlook, myself included. Most saw it as a serious setback for the European Union (E.U.), with some even hailing it as the beginning of the end for the bloc. However, in the aftermath of this event, we are beginning to see a different picture emerging. The immediate after effect was not a propagation of nationalist movements, but rather a reaction against them. Geert Wilder’s Partij voor de Vrijheid (Party for Freedom) party failed to gain power in Denmark, as did Marine Le Pen’s Front Nationale in France. In Germany, the previously expanding Alternative für Deutschland (Alternative for Germany) experienced a precipitous decline in popular support. This lack of proliferation of nationalism is an encouraging sign, and the E.U. has not, as some may have feared or indeed hoped, experienced any similar shocks since Brexit.

Declaration of Peace

Earth as seen from outer space.

These are self-evident truths:

That all humans are a single family living on a fragile and endangered planet whose life support systems must  remain intact if we are to survive;

That the well-being of the planet and the well-being of humanity are one and the same;

That the well-being of each requires the well-being of all—security is common;

That all humans have a natural right to peace and a healthy planet;

That all war is a crime against humanity and nature;

That any war anywhere degrades the quality of life for all of us everywhere;

That we live at the decisive moment in history when we will choose between break down or breakthrough on a planetary scale;

That we here now dedicate our intellectual, spiritual and material resources to the establishment of permanent peace and the conservation of nature, and,

That we are fully endowed by our Creator with the wisdom and the ability to achieve these ends.

Ben Ferencz: a life dedicated to “world peace through world law”

Defendants during the Nuremberg Trials
 “60 MINUTES” on Sunday evenings is a very popular weekly TV news programs.  The second segment of the May 7, 2017 program focused on Ben Ferencz, a prosecutor for the Nuremberg Trials after World War II.  In those trials Nazi leaders were convicted for the killing of millions of Jews and others in what became known as "the Holocaust.”  Fortunately you can see Leslie Stahl’s wonderful interview of Ben again and again at  <http://www.cbsnews.com/news/what-the-last-nuremberg-prosecutor-alive-wants-the-world-to-know/>.
 
An important part of the interview comes near the end when Ferencz clearly makes the point that war turns generally good people into murderers.  His goal during much of his 97 years has been to end war by means of the use of law.   The disaster of wars exists because the world of nation-states with unlimited national sovereignty still lacks a system of law and government at the global level.
 

Syria: Chemical Weapon Use, Destruction of Children, The Ethical Vacuum

Syrian children in a doorway (UN photo)

The Association of World Citizens calls for the re-affirmation of humanitarian international law. It is a call to the soldiers and militia members in armed conflicts to refuse orders to violate humanitarian international law by refusing to use weapons outlawed by international treaties such as chemical weapons, land mines,  cluster munitions or any weapon to attack civilians, especially children and women. We must defend all who use their individual conscience to refuse to follow orders to violate humanitarian international law.

At the heart of this growing phenomenon of mass violence and social disintegration is a crisis of values.  Perhaps the most fundamental loss a society can suffer is the collapse of its own value system.  Many societies exposed to protracted conflicts have seen their community values radically undermined if not shattered altogether.  This has given rise to an ethical vacuum, a setting in which international standards are ignored with impunity and where local value systems have lost their sway.  Olara Otunnu, then Special Representative of the U.N. Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Report to U.N. General Assembly, 1998

The attack on Khan Sheikhoon in Idib Province of Syria on 4 April 2017 raises at least two essential issues concerning humanitarian international law and the protection of children in times of armed conflict.