This is the digitalized version of a TFF Statement published by TFF’s Board almost 31 years ago. Could that be of any interest today?
First, it reflects the situation and the issues discussed at the time as well as the hopes for a better future – now sadly lost.
Secondly, it is one example of how peace researchers were thinking and made constructive political recommendations, available for anyone to take inspiration from – which virtually no one in power did.
So, it’s a piece of international political as well as intellectual history.
Third, it is an indicator of what the West could – and should – have done to have been in a much better situation than it is today. Admittedly, this is a contra-factual argument, but it can be defended on intellectual grounds although not empirically proven.
Fourth, the authors pointed out a series of longterm priorities which match still today’s agenda and, in particular, two very central issues and links for the future, namely the need for addressing environmental issues and for building security at much lower defensive military levels but strengthened by a spectrum of civil means – in short, common security.
There is not a doubt in my mind that the TFF Board made a much better analysis, or diagnosis and prognosis, of the impending changes in the Soviet Union than most others and that our basic argument – that this change in “the other” also contained a deep message for ourselves in the West/NATO countries – was important and valid.
In short, had the NATO countries reacted completely differently and taken in just some of the proposals we make below, we would all have been in a much better situation – and certainly not, as today, in a 2nd Cold War with Russia and facing a rapid decline in Western influence, intellectual capacity and legitimacy in the eyes of the rest of the world – coupled with rampant over-militarization.
Triumphalist reactions tend to boomerang. This one definitely has.
December 11, 2019
How the West can create cooperation and build peace with the Soviets
TFF Statement # 3 – February 1989
By TFF Board members with colleagues
You belong to an exclusive group of some 300 personalities. . . . .
You are a politician, popular movement spokesperson, ambassador, editor, artist, civil servant, officer or scientist who influence the defence, security and peace policies of several countries, particularly those in Norden, in one way or another. ·
The state of global affairs calls for attentiveness to problems and scrutiny of effective and realistic solutions. The Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research has initiated a series of TFF Statements advocating perspectives and solutions to urgent issues of our time. We not only strive to take personal and scholarly responsibility – we also want you to appreciate the ways in which peace and future research can make a constructive difference.
This Statement# 3 appears before the Vienna talks on conventional force reductions starting on March 6. Statement # 3 brings a fresh analysis and states that:
* the changes in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe are credible
and historical and clearly compatible with the interests of the West
* the West can participate in the process of leaving the Cold War
behind and build a new co-operative regime
* security today is mainly common security and co-operation about solutions to common challenges, including political, socio-cultural and ecological dimensions
* we have a better chance than ever since 1945 to stop the arms race
* pursuing an “unconditionally constructive” strategy with the Soviets will increase the security of the West, not decrease it
* the true principles of co-operation are quite different from those employed so far by the West, including the Nordic countries
* the present situation is also an opportunity for the West to address its own problems in a fundamental way
* and it offers you more than 20 concrete proposals as to what the West in general and the Nordic countries, in particular, can do to contribute to a safer world now and in the long-term future.
TFF Statement# 1 offered you a cohesive framework for disarmament and confidence-building at sea – a common security perspective applied to the seas, for the first time. It was commissioned by Greenpeace International and used throughout the organization and at the Six Nations Initiative meeting in early 1988.
TFF Statement # 2 highlighted a series of constructive initiatives particularly small nations can safely take in the direction of alternative security and co-operation, with particular reference to the United Nations Special Session on Disarmament (SSOD II) in summer 1988 at which we presented it.
Jan Oberg co-founder, director
1. What has happened during the last four years?
Uskorenie, Glasnost, Perestroyka, Demokratisatsiya, New Political Thinking, “the European House” – since Mikhail Gorbachev became Secretary-General in November 1984, we are witnessing a peaceful socialist revolution in and of the Soviet Union. “Revolution” because it goes deep and has a broad, transformative character comprising all parts of Soviet society and international relations and is planned to be carried through within a fairly short time.
A series of changes which most observers in the West in the early 1980s would have considered impossible, or at least extremely unlikely, have taken place or been planned during the recent four years.
The economic sphere
Here we see reform plans involving restructuring and de-bureaucratization of state agencies, reforms towards self-management, more and semi-private cooperatives and self-employment, transition to intensive development aiming at efficiency and improved quality and growth, efficiency in resource use and use of new technology, increase in order, discipline and personal responsibility; major redistribution of capital investment into machine building and new technologies as well as for meeting social needs of the population for better housing, food supply, education, environmental quality, etc.
The national economy is planned to grow from stagnation to an annual 4-5% in the late 1980s into 1990s while being intensified, made profitable, resource-conscious, independent, self- accounting and flexible. State enterprises are separated from the state and the mechanisms of the socialist market (= a government-regulated market) and individual- and family-run business will expand considerably. The monopoly of the Ministry of Foreign Trade is broken and selected enterprises and ministries can undertake import and export freely. Joint ventures with the West is encouraged and the Soviet Union has sought admittance as an observer to GATT, established “working contacts” with the World Bank and the IMF and displays an open attitude to the European Community.
These attempts are necessary and bold. But there is evidence that the state of the Soviet economy has been worse than Western experts have estimated and much worse than revealed by official Soviet statistics. Some experts find that the Soviet national income may only be about a third of that of the United States. Substantial results of the perestroika remain to be seen – and will take time if realized. One must foresee even negative results. Success is mainly dependent on the Soviets themselves, but the West can contribute constructively in many ways.
The political, cultural, social and legal spheres
Here we have seen replacement of the old power elite, new political structures and election procedures – although it is still a one-party system; the release of Shcharansky and Sakharov and hundreds of political prisoners, openness to an extent not experienced in modem times in Soviet mass media; social debate and foreign travel arrangements, meetings between system representatives and dissidents abroad, publication of hitherto forbidden literature, and an outburst of hitherto controversial art exhibitions, film shows, poetry readings, independent political clubs, rock concerts, history seminars etc. Intellectuals have come to the fore, self- criticism, re-evaluation of history and system-criticism is in vogue. One example is the anthology about perestroika distributed at the Party Conference “There Is No Alternative (Inogo ne dano) edited by the historian Jurij Afanasjev. And, not the least, churches are opening – and they are increasingly being used.
We have seen a campaign against alcohol (although relaxed now because of its criminalizing effects) at all levels and for openness about social problems including hard drugs, corruption and criminality. The secretary-general, law-educated himself, has talked about a new “partnership” between the state and the citizen; the criminal law and civil code system is being modernized; commissions have been established to change the laws and procedures pertaining to political cases, aiming at greater independence of the courts and greater rights for the accused; and KGB’s activities seem to have been brought under stricter control.
In other words, a legal basis for glasnost is developing – although it is not, as yet at least, a matter of introducing “bourgeois” legal principles. And there is a major re-organization of the military and paramilitary forces under way, bringing it firmly under civilian control.
These attempts should be seen as successful and deserve all support from the outside.
In the spheres of foreign policy, security matters and relations with the Third World
Here we have witnessed a remarkable dynamic and urgency. Leaders travel all parts of the world presenting new regional peace plans and co-operative arrangements, a historic apology to Yugoslavia and encouragement of glasnost-like ideas in Eastern Europe. We have witnessed unilateral initiatives such as nuclear testing moratorium, the opening of facilities for foreign inspection, dissemination of military data not available before – last published at the Warsaw Pact defence ministers’ meeting in February 1989.
And we have heard far-reaching proposals at international negotiations, speeches with concrete co-operation schemes directed at e.g. the Nordic countries and comprehensive plans for a new international dialogue and revitalization of the United Nations. Most recently the relations with China have improved tremendously, on Soviet initiative.
On December 7, 1988, exactly one year after the INF Agreement was signed yielding much larger Soviet than American concessions, Gorbachev in his UN speech announced yet another historical, unilateral disarmament cut in troops and tanks directed at or stationed in Europe amounting to some 15% of Soviet military expenditures. Warsaw Pact resolutions and initiatives in the Soviet Union reveals a serious interest in restructuring military forces in the defensive or non-provocative mode; the announced cuts, particularly the 5000 tanks, will considerably reduce the Soviet capability for surprise attack which has been a central Western concern.
In speeches and books, the foreign policy leadership announces a “new thinking” building on elements such as common security, non-provocation and non-coercion, non-violent conflict- resolution, interdependence, integration of the Soviet economy into the world economy, that nuclear war can never serve political purposes (at the 27th Party Congress a number of earlier formulations on the connection between war, revolution and imperialism were deleted in the party programme), de-militarization, tolerance of differing ideologies and mutually beneficial relations between systems operating on different values; a renewed interest in assistance to the Third World.
Gorbachev, in 1987, presented a thorough and far-reaching reform in the international system and a new, much more vigorous role for the United Nations. At times, these initiatives are explained as an endeavour to give the Soviet Union a new responsible leadership role and take seriously global ethics in the nuclear age.
These attempts are extremely constructive and already historical. But to continue them successfully, the Soviets are dependent on constructive and matching initiatives from the West.
Leaving the Cold War thinking behind
The West – here to be understood largely as NATO/OECD minus Japan – and the East participate in a historical conflict formation, the Cold War structures. Without one of them, this history and this formation would not exist. Each defines itself as different from, in opposition to and threatened by – “the Other.” “We” have an identity in and of ourselves, but also because we are different from “them.” Both sides feel like that. Thus, opposed to each other, the parties also share a lot, need each other, are mutually dependent. Since this relationship contains more conflict than cooperation, basically negative images create this mutually dependent identity: Each feel and perceive itself to be not only different but better, more right, more peaceful, more trustworthy, more liked by third parties, more human etc.
This is the reality and high politics but it is also drama and role-playing. Conflicting parties share the conflict and certain values, they work on something together that others do not participate in, they have their exclusive thing in common and have expectations – often mutually locking in – on what role the other will play. Indeed, “they” must behave in certain ways if “they” are “they”, otherwise “we” are not really “we” anymore and cannot act as “we” seen by them. · ·
What we have seen during the last years is a new willingness to rethink this pattern. While the late 1970s and early 1980s signalled a new or second Cold War, we are now in a phase of improved communication and relations. In particular, the new political thinking in the Soviet Union can be seen as an attempt to leave the Cold War paradigm behind and in official texts as well as other types of political communication and behaviour, cold war language has been scrapped entirely.
Soviet changes – also an opportunity for the West
No matter one’s basic attitude and approach to the Soviet Union, this is impressive and cannot be ignored. Not only does it deserve recognition on its own merit in the sense that anyone taking serious problems serious and doing something about them merits our respect.
It is also a message and a challenge to the West since the Soviet Union is, for the foreseeable
future, the single nation and the single system most important to the West. Our relationship
dominates, for good and bad, the future prospects of humankind.
If the Soviets fail in their attempts to change their society and if we fail to react in a constructive manner, things could go very wrong in many ways and the future becomes unnecessarily dark. Thus, there is an inescapable aspect of co-responsibility for the wider community.
The single Western country ought not to see this responsibility only in national terms – like in e.g. Swedish-Soviet terms – but also apply a wider regional and global responsibility for this most important and historically interesting experiment.
Thus, the question of how to respond and react to the changes in the Soviet Union must be motivated by a combination of sheer Western self-interest and care for the future of the world.
2. Understanding the Soviet changes:
Does the West have the appropriate tools?
Some characteristic features
Relevant catchwords seem to be: self-criticism, re-evaluation of history, de-ideologization, long-term vision out of crises, openness and social innovation, multidimensional changes and head-on attack on old as well as new problems, democratization and decentralization rather than dictatorial directives, extensive social learning, new social attitudes and a will to experiment, struggle for partnership with the West rather than seeing the West as an imperialist enemy and the root cause of all the internal troubles, changed attitudes to warfare and military security, ethical considerations, increasing self-confidence. Not the least, internal changes accompany changes in foreign relations and there is an emphasis on unilateral initiatives.
Since the picture is so incredibly complex, our interpretations may vary and elements may be
*This is too much in too short a time, all of this can hardly succeed. It will create a period of perhaps deteriorating standards of living (according to some, this is the case today) until the reforms start functioning properly. The risk is that their effects will break through far too late.
* The Soviets don’t disarm and change foreign policies simply because they want to, but
because they desperately need to improve their economic performance. Their “new political
thinking” is a derivative of this need. However, this “materialist” interpretation does not
preclude that the new thinking is also motivated by a genuine wish to start reshaping the
international order in a peaceful direction.
* There are risks and it could break down, violence can spread, the experiment is dangerous for
them and us – and there are some real hopes and benefits to be gained. Thus, we could perhaps
abolish the Cold War once and for all, but it could also come back one way or another.
* It is partly an endeavour to become like us and partly a revitalization and innovation of
socialism and Leninism which will not make them like us. A reformed, dynamic and well-liked
Soviet Union could, within 10-20 years, become a much more serious challenge to the West
than a stagnating, disliked power only strong on military dimensions such as we have been
used to. They could “catch up and surpass us” and may have a missionary goal of trying to save
even the West from civilizational decay – a new Russian mission.
* There are elements of Westernness in all this – social democracy, welfare state, political liberalization, economic marketization, openness, Christian images of a world reborn after an existential crisis and of the savior Mikhail Gorbachev. But there are certainly also some mysterious elements to be explained only by internal factors and Russian history.
* There is a frightening ecological dimension involved: If the growth rates stipulated by leading
Soviet experts are achieved, it is difficult to see how the Soviets can avoid, at the same time, to
harm the national, regional and global environment – like any other major power with such aims
would. The type of development policy advocated by the Gorbachev regime is similar to the one
adhered to in the West in the 1960s and 1970s which have led to severe deterioration in our
worldwide ecological situation.
* The new political thinking is extremely interesting. It differentiates itself from the post-World War II world in four respects: a) it holds the potential to leave the Cold War paradigm behind, b) it does not build on extended deterrence but acknowledges the fact that each side needs no more than around 100 nuclear weapons to make deterrence function, c) it offers increased credibility to the official Soviet position that all ideas about using mass-destructive weapons for political purposes, including fighting a nuclear war, must be given up, and d) it seems that the Soviets recognize that regional empires and global dominance is incompatible with their own development goals and a more peaceful world.
We may summarize it all and say: This is a superpower version of common security in developing! And as a policy, it is much more innovative and coherent than anything in the West. The Soviet Union has been quicker than the United States to realize that being a global superpower is not worthwhile if you make a cost/benefit analyses. Or we may say that the Soviet Union is not “condemned” to be a global power in order to warrant the socialist system whereas the United States seems to perceive it necessary – and possible – to continue its role as “global policeman” in order to safeguard capitalism which is a worldwide system.
* At the same time as the new political thinking advocates common security, there is an ongoing production of modern armory. Only the Soviet Union and some Warsaw Pact members have substantially cut their military budgets. But neither they nor the United States and NATO members have brought their “military-industrial-bureaucratic complexes” under firm control. And there have been no visible cuts in military research and development (R&D) budgets. The cold war and many tensions may have gone, but the world is still militarizing.
Particularly the multilateral disarmament process has almost stopped and none of the superpowers showed any interest in making the SSOD ill anything but a failure.
Those who have adhered to the explanatory power of “internal forces” as the most important behind the arms race, seem to have won: Although there is a fundamentally new atmosphere, there is no accompanying disarmament. (This implies no underestimation of the Soviet unilateral initiatives or the new defensive orientation, only a pointing out that in, grosso modo, there is still a long way to go).
* There are several dilemmas, a number of them with “Catch 22″ characteristics facing the Soviets – and they are frequently pointed out by Western experts:
a) Internal economic, social and political changes of these dimensions will create transitional problems – in addition to those they are meant to solve; for reforms to function, they have first to be implemented.
b) Overcoming commodity and service shortages is a precondition for the effective
implementation of economic reform and for labour incentives, sincere there is little point in
earning more if the desired goods and services are not available. But reform is also what should
make these goods and services available.
c) Some workers do not see why they should work harder and earn more if there is nothing to buy, and this cannot be the case at once. Social disparities are likely to grow since some poor and underprivileged strata in any society are made to pay for overall economic growth; social unrest coupled with the nationality problem could be a dangerous result of the – otherwise well-intended – reforms.
d) Economists point out that for the reforms to work, reform of the theory and practice of prices is indispensable, but neither this problem nor the role of profits has been solved.
e) There are always contradictions between reforms imposed from above and democratization and between centralized coordination and decentralization. What to do with popular resistance (e.g.because of lower perceived job and social security and increasing income differences) to the reforms seen as necessary by the leadership?
f) There will be a struggle between technocrats and ideologists and between advocates of very rapid changes and advocates of slow or no changes at all.
g) Unless Gorbachev and the reformers achieve some concrete results a counter-revolution may gain momentum, i.e. the modernization process carries the scar to its own grave.
The image is extremely complex. Mainstream Western “Kremlinology” is thoroughly challenged. It seems to have been caught in a trap: a stagnating nation unable to change did not demand changes in our theories and perceptions about them.
Of course, it is easier to be wise after the event, but should it take us with surprise that the first post-Stalin generation could embody more fundamental policy changes?
Perhaps it is time for some humble self-reflection in the West?
What we all need to ask no matter how we evaluate the present trends in the Soviet Union – is this: Did we search enough or did we accept that Soviet society is closed and therefore inaccessible for solid analysis? Did we really question our own images, were our paradigms and interpretations balanced?
To which extent have old enemy images and stereotypes prevented us from preparing ourselves for some kind of changes and how well equipped are we to take measures here and now?
Like the problems of reality have challenged all in the Soviet Union, the overall changes in that country is a challenge to us – through our relations with them and in and of themselves: What about some perestroika, demokrasatsiya and new thinking in the West which certainly also face some extremely serious challenges?
3. What are the implications of changes in the Soviet for
the self-understanding of the West?
The West has now had some four years to evaluate Soviet developments. We can identify the following main types of reactions: ·
a) The hesitant, in principle hopeful, but passive one: “Well, this is interesting, but we have to see more to trust it; Chruschev also lost control. Nothing in this demands any new action on our · side or reconsideration of our perceptions of Soviet policies”.
b) The open, positive, convinced, tryingly active: “This is good, a historical moment, it is credible because Gorbachev attacks both internal and external issues and takes unilateral initiatives, we have to respond in some ways: Let’s send a delegation and talk.”
c) The hesitant, negative one: “Gorbachev is nothing new. All leaders have been welcomed as reformers, there is no real reckoning with the Stalin period, it is alright with some kind of modernized Leninism and in the best of cases, the future Soviet Union will be more business-like, sensible and responsible. But it will take decades to move this monolithic country – if at all possible”.
d) The shutting off, negative and self-confirming one: “Gorbachev is nothing but a smiling Stalin, all this peace and democratization talk is another way of making the Soviet Union much stronger in the future and undermining the cohesion of the West. He is a smart propagandist with a vision (“old poison in new bottles ) which, if succeeding, will threaten our leadership and which, if breaking down, will cause unrest and perhaps conflict. Deep down they are what they always were: barbaric, godless, Asiatic, irrational and geared to world domination. Better be on our guards, disarmament in the West would be foolish”.
These different types of reactions are not only statements on what is deemed to happen in the Soviet Union; they are also indicative of characteristics of the West itself. Types c) and d) are clearly the most typical in formal politics at the moment.
As we stated above, the West and the East participate in a historical conflict formation, the Cold War structures. Without one of them, this history and this formation would not exist. Each defines itself as different from, in opposition to, and threatened by the Other.” “We” have an identity in and of ourselves, but also because we are different from them. Both sides feel like that.
What are the good questions?
Therefore, Gorachev’s Partnership rather than adversary/enemy signals, are deep challenges. They raise five inescapable issues:
1) What are the Soviets up to in their own sphere?
2) How do they view their role in the relations with us?
3) How does it affect our role in the relationship with them?
4) How can it challenge our perception of ourselves? and
5) How can the West act effectively to both improve our relations, help the Soviets and help ourselves in this new situation?
Highly noteworthy is that reaction types a-d) above only respond to 1) and 2).
We find virtually no response in the West which emanates from an analysis of questions 3), 4) and5). Almost all Western statements and actions up till now base themselves on the tacit assumption that we in the West do not have to change our role-playing in the relationship with them and that we have nothing to reconsider about ourselves in the light of what happens in the Soviet Union – neither that there could be anything to learn from them.
The West is treating the Soviet Union as a foreign, unrelated object, a phenomenon to be studied – and judged: they must change much more before they become similar enough to our criteria of good behaviour and societal development and before we can change our participation in the relation.
In the arrogant version, it goes like this: “Bow down and confess your sins more before we restore you to favour! The INF agreement is a successful example of Western strength; “they” made the concessions because “we” – the West – put pressure on them. They finally admitted their mistakes, we proved right!”
There is great risk here that reasonable Soviet action will be seen by hardliners in the West as a proof that our “politics of strength pays” and that, in consequence, the more Gorbachev develops his policies, the more concessions should be extracted and the more “politics of strength” should be brought to bear in our relations with them.
This could turn out, sooner or later, to have disastrous consequences for them as well as ourselves.
The West does not yet seem willing to analyze Soviet developments as a major social transformation. Much is discussed in personifying terms as if the person Gorbachev was all-powerful and as if everything hinges upon his being or not being at the top. This is most likely to be wrong.
It is a new generation of which he just happens to be the right man at the right place and time. Many would agree that his determination, charisma, critical and innovative solution-oriented mind, the impression that he is driven not by personal ambition but by the desire to achieve something for his country, makes him the most interesting statesman whom nobody matches in the West.
In his reading of the situation, all the above changes in Soviet policies – which are strongly inspired by the West – are not a sign of giving in. He is not accessible for the kind of humiliation that the Western political elites excel in from time to time.
In a kind of political jiu-jitsu, he has converted internal crisis and international contempt into visionary statesmanship which, time and again, surprises and fascinates (and irritates) the West; the new Soviet leadership is bolder and moves faster than even the most optimistic observers would have forecasted only four years ago. What is the man up to – there must be some other motives behind this?
It is not inconceivable that many in the West do see the point but don’t know what to do about it: If the Soviets continue and succeed to some extent, we in the West will have to revise not only the principles and conduct in our relationship with them but also the perception of ourselves.
The West is challenged too!
In the not so distant future, the Soviets may provide us with a kind of model inspiration on how to carry through structural, all-encompassing changes. This does not imply that the West should take inspiration from the direction of the changes – we have nothing to learn from the Soviets when it comes to e.g. democracy or openness (glasnost). It may be argued that the West is, in many respects, so much more advanced or modernized, that it is much more difficult to carry through system changes here, since we have no model but is perceived by others as a model.
On the other hand, this is precisely where the strength of the West must reveal itself: the ability
to change with self-confidence according to new challenges.
And the West certainly is challenged:
– We have had no system change in the capitalist market economy with its waste and exploitation of peoples in our own societies and in the Third World.
– We have not fundamentally started solving the problems related to a transition to an ecologically sustainable and viable world. Social problems and alienation throughout Western culture are manifesting themselves more than ever.
– We have contributed many times more than the Soviet Union to create a global material system which deprives 60.000 human beings per day (18 million a year) of their lives and creates more suffering and social cleavages than ever in humankind’s history. No new international economic or cultural order is in sight, but the economic dynamism works in the direction of the Pacific.
– And the United States adheres to its hegemonic ideology – recently confirmed in the “Discriminate Deterrence” report. The Reagan period has seen the largest armament drive of any nation in history, thereby aggravating its own and the world’s economic situation.
– NATO allies, with the exception of the Federal Republic, more or less basically accept this as the natural order of things. Common security, zone arrangements, defensive defence, non-military security issues, conversion from military to socially needed products have a long way to go.
– The comparatively good record on human rights in the West is somewhat dependent on how these rights are defined. Looking worldwide at countries with a Western orientation – and important to Western economic, military or political interest – will yield a somewhat mixed picture, particularly when it comes to economic and social rights and the socio-economic structures which make at least some rights more formal than real. It also goes without saying that there is a worrisome increase in censorship in countries such as England (related to intelligence), France (investigative journalism), Australia (nuclear policies) and – even – the United States (science publications and exchange, tapping of Atlantic mail and telephone communication etc).
All this could make citizens and movements in the West ask themselves: Why can this stagnating, monolithic society over there meet civilizational challenges head-on while we in the pluralist, democratic, dynamic and more advanced West increasingly get stuck and pledge our future with more and more of the factors that bring our system closer to economic, ecological, and socio-cultural breakdown?
The West has to admit that it is puzzling that the Soviets have been able to set in motion changes so radical in comparison with their own history, values and perceptions, not with those of the West.
For decades, it has been a society operating on an official orthodox form of statehood, Marxism-Leninism in a party-state bearing considerable resemblance with a traditional church and a body of “theology” revealed as the Truth. Stalin was not a theology student for nothing becoming, as Robert C. Tucker of Princeton University observes, the party- state’s Grand Inquisitor purging those found guilty of deviations from the Faith.
The changes we discuss in the West seldom open up the prospects of genuine system change or imply a fundamental break with our history, values and perceptions in a moment of global crisis? How could they free themselves from having us as their perceived enemy when we seem so dependent on having them as our enemy?
Must we find some new challenges and threats before we can let the Soviets go as enemies – terrorism, the Japanese, Khadaffi, the Arabs, Third World, the greens, fundamentalism?
In other words, if the Soviets tum out, in the long run, to be a “Cooperation partner” in the search for common solutions to problems they, we and the rest of the world share, why is the West basically stuck with a worldview which makes us only or predominantly a “Conflict partner” in their eyes?
Says Christoph Bertram, foreign editor of Die Zeit, correctly about the Soviet change: “If it would tum out as a catastrophe, the first victim would be the Soviet Union itself – but also the rest of the world would suffer.”
We do not have to develop answers to these puzzling questions in order to argue three major
* We in the West should be inspired by a perestroika-like system reform urgency and, even more, by the new political thinking.
* Meeting this challenge in a spirit of partnership will free much-needed resources in the West for more constructive purposes.
* The West will do wise to start an intensive public dialogue on the changes in the Soviet Union related to questions 3-5) above:
3) How does it affect our role in the relationship with them?
4) How can it challenge our perception of ourselves? and
5) How can the West act effectively to improve our relations, help the Soviets and help ourselves in this new situation?
In this endeavour, we may need a new theory and method and some rules of thumb.
4. How do we solve conflicts and create co-operation?
It is a characteristic of modem security policies to be more prepared for “worst case” than for “good case” or “best case”. Countries can fight wars within minutes and most governments and defence establishments operate on the principle “Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum” – if you want peace, prepare for war.
But countries are cautious, slow or downright unable to recognize and respond effectively to
peace signals, presumably because there is no established principle stating that we should
prepare for peace if that is what we want.
Consequently, a first reaction to constructive initiatives is: Well, this may be promising, but we have seen bad things happen in the past and even this peace initiative could backfire, so – as of now – there is no need to change our policies. We need more long-term credible policies from the other side!
Taking into account the global situation, this is an outdated policy. We have to develop a new capacity for conflict-resolution, co-operation and common security if the common challenges – the global socio-economic malaise and the arms race and militarization of citizenship in most cultures – are to be solved.
The Harvard Negotiating Project, directed by Roger Fisher, William Ury and Scott Brown,* has developed some rules, applicable to individuals as well as nations. As a matter of fact, we would see them as the psycho-political underpinnings of a new global common security and peace policy set of guidelines. They advise:
On the problem:
Arguing over positions or just being nice are no solutions.
Separate the people from the problem, deal directly with the problem.
Put yourself in their shoes, don’t deduce their intentions from your fears, discuss each other’s perceptions.
Give them a stake in the outcome by making sure that they participate in the process, and make your proposal consistent with their values.
Recognize and understand emotions, theirs and yours, make emotions explicit and allow the other side to let off steam.
Listen actively and acknowledge what is being said, speak about yourself, not about them, speak for a purpose, don’t attack their position, look behind it; don’t defend your ideas: invite criticism and advice; recast an attack on you as an attack on the problem.
On subject matter:
Focus on interests, not positions; a wise solution reconciles interests, not positions, remember that behind opposed positions lie shared and compatible interests, as well as conflicting ones.
On identifying interests:
Ask “Why?” and ask: “Why not?”, think about their choice; see their interests as part of the problem and put the problem before your answer; look forward, not back; be concrete and flexible and be hard on the problem and soft on the people.
On inventing options:
Brainstorm with yourself and consider doing it with them, broaden your options, take care of premature judgement and closing off, it is seldom a “fixed pie”, look for mutual gain and identify shared interests.
On objective criteria:
Deciding on the basis of will is costly, develop fair standards and fair procedures, frame each issue as a joint search for objective criteria, agree on principles first, ask “What is your theory”? and, remember, don’t yield to pressure or threats and don’t use them yourself: They most often accomplish the opposite of what they are intended to do.
There are two things in every relationship – the substance or result we want to achieve and the situation or process through which we achieve it. There are goals and there is the way in which we deal with others. It is a classic problem that we mix them.
We are most likely to focus on what we want to achieve, not on how to get there. However, establishing and improving steadily a working relationship demands that we develop an ability to pursue a relationship and substantive goals independently.
These rules of thumb seem to have been better understood and implemented in the Eastern bloc than in the Western bloc.
Some common misconceptions about conflict-resolution and cooperation
Neither the East nor the West has been perfect conflict-managers over the years. We have tended to believe that a good relationship was impossible because we could not approve of their behavior and they could not approve of ours.
However, a good working relationship – optimally workable given the differences between us – does not require approval; its real test is that it survives situations in which each side strongly disapproves of the other’s values, positions or conduct.
Neither is a good relationship the same as sharing values or being able to solve small differences; it is needed – and possible – precisely where there are substantial differences between “us” and “them.” Fisher and Brown state: “Expressing disapproval by disrupting a relationship is rarely, if ever, a good idea. Refusing to deal with someone will rarely solve an immediate problem; it will almost certainly impair our ability to solve future problems… If two nations are caught up in an escalating conflict that may lead to warfare, the last thing they should do is break diplomatic relations, no matter how egregious one believes the other’s behaviour.”
A third misconception seems to be that a good relationship and co-operative arrangements are contingent upon agreement. Governments often used the carrot of a better relationship to justify a request for a substantive concession by the other. It is a widely held assumption – or psychological habit – that improving a relationship is up to the other side, that the other must take the first step, or give in to our demands.
Fisher and Brown argue:
“When we are seeking to influence some decision by the other side, it helps to begin by asking ourselves what decision we would like the other side to make (and then consider what we might do to make that decision more likely) … When we have more control over our own behaviour than over theirs, we should start by asking ourselves what we might do to improve the relationship.”
A fourth misconception is that we tend to forget how differently people see things and that we
always hold more positive estimates of our own conduct than of other people’s. We find
ourselves more peaceful, reliable, honest, open, right, cooperative, understanding and fair than
the other, and particularly more so than the other perceives us to be. Distorted views and
closeness, inability to listen and gain new insights are likely consequences on both sides.
A fifth misconception is that rules like “Do unto others as you would like them do unto you” and “an eye for an eye” can yield effective results. We cannot just be nice guys all the time and love the other and then take for granted that the other will be as nice and loving to us. That will often lead to disappointment and destroy the chances of building good relations in the future.
To act on the premise that the other will follow our good example is risky and unwise, both for “us” and for “them.” The “eye for an eye” strategy is also counterproductive since, when we imitate the other, we end up accepting the destructive tone the other has set and we shall unavoidably create a downward spiral. Most important, however, is that by behaving as badly as the other we give up a leadership role, we let them take the initiatives and become responsive only, losing the opportunity for leadership, goal-setting and initiative.
So, it may be foolish to play it “Mr. Nice Guy” all the time, irrespective of what the other side does. With little in the way of constructive, matching proposals from the Western side to the constructive, unilateral initiatives we have seen – not the least during the last months with substantial cuts in military postures – some circles in the Soviet Union would be prone to think that Mr. Gorbachev is a “Mr. Nice Guy” who should be stopped. This would not be in our interest.
What is our task?
To pursue “an unconditionally constructive strategy” the golden rule of which is:
Do only things that are both good for the relationship and for us, whether or not the other side reciprocate!
This is completely different from the most used principle: To influence, persuade or threaten the other to do what we want the other to do.
Here are, finally, six guidelines for building co-operation:
1) Balance emotion with reason because, if so, an irrational battle is less likely and we will
make fewer mistakes.
2) Try to understand the other, because there will be fewer collisions; the more we know about
the other the more we can invent solutions and find ways to influence him.
3) Inquire, consult and listen to the other, because better communication creates better
decisions and we reduce the risks of serious mistakes due to misperceptions; consult the other
before deciding on matters that affect them.
4) Be reliable, because it builds confidence and our words will have more impact, don’t
deceive the other and don’t trust him right away.
5) Be open to persuasion and try to persuade them, because they will be more committed to solutions reached by persuasion and negotiation than by coercion. Follow this principle even when they try to coerce you, because being open we can learn and we can resist coercion more easily when at least one party is open to persuasion.
6) Accept the other as worth dealing with and learning from, because our differences are ours
not only theirs.
Remember that we should do so even if the other side is emotional, misunderstands us, don’t listen, try to deceive or coerce us or if they reject us and ignore our legitimate concerns.
6. What the United States and Western Europe can do
1. It is time to think in terms of Europeanization of the political order. It does not have to imply EC-inization only or predominantly, but if the “grand trend” rolls in that direction, we should all carry through analyses as to how the West European Community, developing steadily more integrated structures, can contribute more effectively and in new ways to confidence-, security- and peace-building, approaching an all-European profile without superpower ambitions. However, this may lead to a coming to the fore of an unprejudiced discussion: What type of future Europe do we want?
This means exploring ways to rid the world of the “Iron Curtain,” withdraw Soviet troops from Eastern Europe and American troops from Western Europe and build a “European House” with some common identities not only among capital and bureaucracy but also among peoples cultures and ethics. As a corollary here, it is easy to see that NATO-Europeans will have to think much more with their own capacities instead of listening across the Atlantic (de-clientilize).
The neutral countries can play an important role lying between the EC and Eastern Europe/Soviet Union as long as they are independent of the formal decision-making structures of the EC.
2. The political agenda must move up the civilian aspect of our relations and let military issues glide down – to create the needed political space and time for co-operative structures to develop. Environmental, social, cultural and political security is, in today’s world, much more needed than sheer military security considerations.
3. One of the most efficient ways of assisting the Soviets in their endeavours to change the economic system would be to ease all technology export controls and sanctions and grant Moscow most-favoured-nation trade benefits. This is not only a natural consequence of the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan but also a timely gesture signalling a will to engage in co- operation in areas of mutual interest and benefit – e.g. in computerization, and technology pertaining to e.g. energy, consumer industry, agriculture and environmental protection.
The West European community has shown an appropriate willingness vis-a-vis Hungary and there is ample opportunity for future co-operation between Eastern and Western Europe and the Soviet Union. A negative attitude by the United States and by Pentagon could well aggravate Atlantic disagreements on this and related matters. Furthermore, it should be noticed that there is a strong Soviet political desire to develop the Far East and make the Soviet Union an important future economic power in Asia.
4. This would imply that the Confidence- and Security-Building Measures/disarmament process
becomes much more all-encompassing and include aspects of common security at sea (see TFF
Statement# 1 for details). It would come natural here to call off certain types of exercises as a
first step in responding to the unilateral Soviet cuts.
5. Accepting the Soviets as civilized citizens of the world, give them a fair recognition for what they do well, lift embargo provisions and extend trade and all kinds of economic and technological, ecological and cultural cooperation. There is no reason that East-West trade should continue to fall (as it did from 5,5% to 3,6% of world trade from 1975 to 1986); rather it should increase substantially.
6. Regional aspects may be developed, e.g. the Baltic region is what one would call an “eco-geographical” region of major importance to us all – the Nordic countries, the Baltic Republics and the adjoining parts of the Soviet Union. Norden is a vital part of the “European house.”
7. In many respects we can act unilaterally, either in response to Soviet proposals or we can develop ideas ourselves and implement them, thereby inviting the Soviet and Warsaw Pact countries to follow. An example would be to eliminate short-range nuclear weapons nuclear artillery and other systems deployed to counter conventional Warsaw Pact forces. Most of these are as dangerous to the West itself as to a potential invader. Furthermore, it is time to abandon entirely the doctrine of ”flexible response” and replace it with policies of non-provocative defence and no-first use of nuclear weapons – a step taken long ago by the Soviet Union – and thereby move convincingly towards a coherent doctrine of common security.
8. Start common research projects and exchange programmes directed at searching for acceptable solutions to all the problems we have in common. Three priority issues here would be a) all ecological dimensions of international politics, b) defensive defence (military and civilian) structures and c) studies of ways to solve the problem of non-governmental as well as governmental terrorism. For instance, it would be a constructive step to invite a Soviet expert group on defensive defence and ask what they would like us to take away in order to perceive us as less offensive towards them.
9. To secure that the INF agreement is not “compensated” on either side by new armament initiatives or the momentum of technology and the R&D process. We should take note of the fact that the “autistic hypothesis” is probably correct – and that this is why there can be a new detente without military disarmament. The Soviet Union and the United States still pursue gigantic instability-furthering militarization – the Reagan administration carried through history’s longest and fastest armament and contributed to severe economic problems in the US and worldwide.
10. With particular reference to Eastern Europe, it deserves emphasis that constructive, unilateral tension-reducing initiatives by the West contribute to alleviating Soviet fears when it comes to reforms in Eastern European countries and in the Yalta structure. Hungary’s government has announced political and legal reforms in late 1988 aiming at guaranteeing citizens rights, independence of courts, ombudsmen, the introduction of new electoral and press laws and the right to form political parties – “a limited pluralism” as it is called. . .
In Poland, there are increasing hopes that the opposition will gain formal recognition, be integrated rather than alienated.
And although the response to changes is more rigid in the German Democratic Republic, in spite of the fact that the Czechslovakian government repeatedly clamps down on citizens’ activity and human rights and we can all be depressed over developments in Romania, we should not exclude the possibility of reforms, sooner or later, in those – and other – countries, too.
There are such signs – notably the military reductions announced in early 1989 in e.g. the GDR – and the general developments during the last few years do strengthen, overall, the reform forces. Some of the structural factors pushing ahead for reform in Eastern Europe in general are: the inspiration from the Soviet Union, the need for political and economic modernization, social movements – not the least the peace movements, students and intellectuals, the churches, refuseniks and human rights groups – the impending ecological catastrophe and the progress in the European security and confidence-building process.
At present, and in contrast to the past, the main barriers to change in Eastern Europe are internal, not external. The West can help such changes along by being constructive itself rather than by interfering, infiltrating or putting military pressure on the East. Tearing down the mental and political structures embodied in the Berlin Wall would benefit all.
11. Finally, it seems obvious that the United Nations is in need of reform at the same time as its activities under Perez de Cuellar show hopeful signs of progress. Gorbachev’s article in Pravda and Izvestija of September 17, 1987, contains a number of ideas and an interesting vision about the future of the world organization which merits serious consideration.
It should be of obvious interest to the West – and the rest of the world – to study and elaborate
on the proposal to establish a multilateral UN center for reducing risks of war and provide
procedural reforms to strengthen the UN towards this task. The same goes for the idea of
establishing a global consultative council focussing on spiritual and ethical dimensions of world
The renewed discussion of economic security (and a new international economic order) and ecological security in a framework of common solutions are priority points in the world political agenda. They must be formulated by Western groups, too. This type of common transnational political thinking points much more in the direction of a peaceful world than does conventional militarily-dominated national and collective security policies.
In summary, there are ample opportunities for implementing “the Unconditionally Constructive Strategy”. Experimenting with peace is far safer than continuing to experiment with warfare.
7. What the Nordic countries can do –
now and in the future
The Nordic countries are used to perceive themselves as advocates of balance and sensible disarmament initiatives. Over the years they have urged others to create more stability. They have seen their strategic importance increase in various ways.
Now, however, when international tension is reduced and arms control agreements and wide-ranging demilitarization proposals are presented, we have to admit that the Nordic governments appear almost paralyzed. The old balance thinking, the divided Europe, the nuclear deterrence and the identity as some kind of buffer zone – all related to Cold War thinking – is still the main intellectual framework in most of the Nordic security establishments. Unfortunately, they seem to know more about what they don’t want than what they want.
The Nordic countries have been taken with surprise. With the superpowers losing some of their influence in Europe, the Nordic countries – like all others – will be forced to re-think their situation and think more independently about the future.
The Nordic countries objectively need more coordination of their policies and more of common perspectives since they are, by and large, facing common problem having to do e.g. with the increased strategic importance of their area. That is one important message of the 1980s.
A second one is that, at the same time, the improved East-West relations open up new opportunities to move in such directions. However, since Norway has been strongly engaged in the strategic developments of the Northern areas and Sweden has been concerned about submarines (and various political scandals) there has been only a limited capacity to act in such new directions.
Governments and citizens of Nordic countries should be aware of some of the linkages between Central European and Nordic developments and how consequences can bounce back and forth. Northern waters and air space may increasingly assume the character of sanctuaries for long-range conventional as well as nuclear systems.
In Central Europe, there are political as well as legal barriers against the introduction of new long-range systems. In the maritime domain, similar constraints do not exist. The Vienna talks, confined to ground forces, may enhance the tendency to concentrate on destabilizing deep-attack systems in international territories which are largely untouched by arms control provisions, which are unpopulated, and where the incentives to disarm and redeploy are correspondingly small.
The point is not that the military dangers in Northern Europe are increasing while the force postures in Central Europe are turning more benign. At the moment, the military trends are not particularly worrisome in Northern Europe. But the risk is that Northern Europe may be left outside of or untouched by the reshuffle of East-West relations. The maritime postures in the north, including air forces and growing numbers of cruise missiles fit for purposes of retaliation/horizontal escalation, may be marking the limits of the ongoing military transformation. These postures may be considered “insurance capital” in case the benign trends in East-West affairs are reversed.
Certainly, if it comes to higher tension and stronger incentives for arms build-up, and substantial reductions and limitations on ground forces have been negotiated in the meantime, the new military investments will in large measure be oriented towards the maritime domain. And this is bound to involve the Northern region in a new and highly problematic manner. This is why we argue that a number of initiatives would be helpful:
1. One concrete step would be to establish a Nordic commission for investigating possible changes in defence postures – roughly as there is today a Nordic cooperation about the zone problematic. It would be an important signal that the smaller countries in the West, not only the Soviets and the Warsaw Pact, are also interested in non-offensive defence. Perhaps defence and security commissions of the various countries could be given the task of coordinating such an effort – also vis-a-vis the blocks.
2. Another constructive signal would be to arrange a sub-regional Baltic security conference including Soviet participation – e.g. the Federal Republic, Denmark and Norway from NATO, the neutral Finland and Sweden and the Baltic states and the Soviet Union, Poland and the GDR from the Warsaw Pact. This would be a double signal: Now we can do something that was impossible before!
3. Of course, there is Denmark (including Greenland), Norway, Iceland, Sweden and Finland but ten there ts Aland, the Faroe Islands, Spitsbergen (Svalbard), Bear Island, Jan Mayen, the Shetland and Orkney Islands and there is the Arctic and Canada. Parts of the Soviet Union, including the Baltic republics, and parts of Poland, East and West Germany, Holland and Belgium and Great Britain touch upon the Nordic region.
The Nordic area already displays some alternative measures which can be enlarged upon and fit some of the needs of the principles which should inspire us in the future:
The central Nordic area and all the smaller islands and certain territories are comparatively little militarized, some even non-militarized. Island has no national defence, Svalbard is de-militarized through the 1920 Treaty, Greenland is defended by dog-sleighs and patrol flights, the Faroe Islands have declared themselves nuclear-free under all circumstances and Denmark and Norway grant no permission for foreign troops and no nuclear weapons in peacetime. Finland has the FCMA Treaty and, for historical reasons, a defence posture limited in quantity and quality. Like Denmark has promised to keep a low military profile on Bornholm, Finnmark in the very northeast of Norway has limited military personnel; there are no military exercises and no NATO planes should go east of the 24th degree of longitude and no foreign naval vessels are permitted there either. Åland was demilitarized in 1850.
The countries have no expansive ambitions and have rather good profiles in terms of development aid and disarmament policies. Nordic names like Hammarskjold, Kekkonen, Palme, Brundtland come to mind and signal outstanding efforts reaching outside the Nordic region itself.
These examples of “alternatives” have stood history’s test. They have served the Nordic area well, they are, in their own ways, early examples of common security policies. The Nordic countries have served the world well in the Cold War period because of their overall policies and the mentioned “alternatives.” Now is the time to renew these policies in the light of East- West tension reduction in general and the changes in Soviet policies in particular.
Some would argue along the opposite lines. The strategic importance of the entire region has increased, therefore we must be on our guard and not become pawns in the superpower strategic game. But if the Nordic region attempts to meet the superpowers by their chosen means – that of strategic power and military, even nuclear strength – we are bound to lose. Security for smaller members of the international community lies basically in civilian means, in co-operation rather than conflict – built on the unconditionally constructive strategy. We would like to offer these as examples:
4. The military dynamics in Northern Europe is taking place at sea and in the air. What remains of the north as an area of low tension is the constellation of ground forces: the level of ground forces is modest, and all parties have shown restraint. Today, opportunities emerge to codify and expand these unilateral policies, in the contact of arms control agreements for the wider European area. Either in connection with the next conference on Confidence- and Security- Building Measures (CSBMs) and/or in connection with the next conference on conventional armed forces reductions in Vienna – to begin early March.
5. CSBMs in the maritime domain will be an important matter at the next phase of the Conference on Disarmament in Europe (CDE, Stockholm II). Indeed, it may be hard to strike another bargain on extended CSBMs without including independent naval and air activities into the CSBM regime. Obviously, it is in the national interests of the Nordic countries to push for such an extension into adjacent European waters, and to make the measures militarily significant. To shape a common Nordic platform on the issues should be a matter of priority.
6. It is time for some “new political thinking” and “common security” in Norden. The road to it is the unconditionally constructive strategy outlined above.
The issue of a nuclear weapons-free zone coupled with defensive defence, active foreign and peace political initiatives and regional civilian co-operation about the big challenges – the environment, the North-South issue and disarmament – should now come to the forefront. In other words, a broadening of the “common security” concept. Now is the time. The objective circumstances may be better than ever before and there is considerable political support in the populations for zone arrangements. Even some first steps – like e.g. study commissions, open debate, research projects etc. – would be a signal of willingness on our side.
7. The integrated proposals pertaining to both military and civilian issue laid down in
Gorbachev’s speech in Murmansk in October 1987 deserves serious analyses and a willingness
We would think here particularly of the concrete proposals put forward by the secretary-general. They meet the criteria of an “unconditionally constructive strategy.” But they can obviously only approach implementation when Gorbachev receives some answers to his implicit question: What do you in the Nordic area think? So far, nothing has come out of the Nordic countries to meet this initiative at equal level.
He raised the following issues in late 1987: An invitation to discuss broad military and civilian security issues, bilaterally as well as multilaterally:
1) implementation of the nuclear weapons-free zone pointing out that the Soviet Union had already withdrawn some systems unilaterally and promising Soviet guarantees and the possibility of stopping nuclear tests in Novaja Zemlja:
2) limitation of naval activities and NATO/Warsaw Pact consultations on confidence-building in the Baltic North Sea Norwegian Sea and the Greenland Sea, including zone arrangements;
3) co-operation about natural resources and energy (gas and oil) development in the Arctic and the Kola peninsula through joint ventures;
4) research of the Arctic, exchanges, conferences, sharing of knowledge and the establishment of a common research council focusing especially on the role of the ethnic minorities and promotion of cultural relations;
5) environmental protection co-operation in the whole region, employing the model and experiences of the Baltic commission in which seven states participate and the development of a general environmental plan and control authorities;
6) opening the northern sea lanes through the Arctic, connecting Europe and the Far East.
Th Nordic countries ought not play this off and maintain that this is basically a US-Soviet or bloc-to-bloc matter or that it has to be dealt with exclusively within a European framework. In substantive terms, these problems simply cannot be solved without cooperation between us and the Soviets. For us, it appears extremely difficult to see how a positive attitude to consultations on any or all of these issues can harm our own security, the relationship between the Nordic countries and the Soviet Union or that of any other power.
On the contrary, the potential costs of ignoring these substantive problems now for the decades ahead may appear tremendous. We simply all need broader concepts of security and peace and should search for an end vision of the larger Nordic area becoming the first peace zone in the industrialized part of the world.
What has to be negotiated immediately is how and through which mechanisms such consultations can be held and the process towards problems-solving set in motion. We urge the Nordic governments and peoples to develop constructive proposals to that effect – some of which are suggested here.
8. Stop a number of regional exercises! – to show goodwill and trust. Cutting out a few would in no way impair our own security; rather, they would save money and cause less pollution. (For a cohesive naval policy in a common security perspective, see TFF Statement # 1).
9. In the relations with the Baltic republics, we could contribute by setting up cultural centres and speed up research and exchange programmes, business and commercial exchange. If the Soviets and one or more of the Baltic republics, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, decide to develop economic free zones, we should be the first to respond positively. Particularly important areas of co-operation are all those related to the environment, traffic and communication. Such proposals are fully compatible with the rules of thumb established above, provided the sensitivity of the nationality issue is taken into account. The main point is to develop the relations at all levels and spheres first and then, if all so desire, develop consulate services. If this leads to the establishment of full consulates in the future it would come naturally and not possibly be perceived as lack of the sensitivity mentioned above. Thus, transnational developments rather than “statist” solutions are to be preferred.
Obviously, the Nordic welfare states with mixed economies and a rather decentralized economic
management can serve as an inspiration for the Baltic republics – to the benefit of ourselves,
Tallin, Riga, Vilnius and Moscow.
10. NATO policies in the area: Successively close down some of the prepositioning stores and host nation support agreements (Norway and Denmark) and stop developments in Greenland which could be used for ABM modernization or Star War purposes.
8. What each of us can do – changing the ways we
think: A transnational perspective
It should be emphasized that security and peace-building is not the monopoly of governments and inter-state relations. There are also citizens, movement, networks and organizations who operate on their own, not representing other bodies, i.e. who transcend the nation-state perspective and become trans-national.
Those who feel that governments are moving too slow on these matters have a particular responsibility for developing non-governmental, popular initiatives.
Important, therefore is a revitalization of the Western peace movements and a change in their focus – from anti-nuclear activism to a broader type of solution-oriented policies and change of minds.
Citizens movements have considerable advantages in formulating constructive alternatives that governments find too bold for a variety of reasons. We feel urgently that good citizens peace politics are more needed now than in fighting the nuclear policies. Not only fear but also hopes and vision must be mobilizers.
All of us can contribute: Individuals by taking up the new international opportunities with friends and colleagues, universities by co-sponsoring research and exchanges, city councils by exchanging delegations and entering friendship agreements, industries by joint ventures, political parties by inviting delegations, cultural workers by writing, singing, performing together, mass-media by opening up for programs of various kinds from “the other”.
On the last point, the Nordic mass-media could do much more to open our eyes for East European and Soviet cultures – e.g. by just having one East European or Soviet film on TV for each 20 American. The personal encounter on all levels is one of the most classical – but often forgotten – means to create confidence in the modern world. Governments can do a lot, but not without an independent and active citizenry which pushes issues vigorously. A new wave of citizens peace politics is a sine qua non of a reformed future world.
The traditional argument for leaving relations to Foreign Offices has been that “you will just be meeting the long arms of the Soviet Foreign Office anyhow – and we are better at that game.” With the recent changes, this is becoming less and less true.
9. Leaving the Cold War behind, building peace together
– a world order conclusion: Now is the moment to begin
There is little doubt that the most important message conveyed by the ease of tension, by Gorbachev’s changes in the Soviet society and by global developments (as outlined in e.g. the Brundtland Report) is this: Co-operate, solve problems together, unite in the search for solutions to problems bigger than those between states, namely all those challenging all humankind and not just regions or single states.
We are facing a period in history in which the fate of all humankind is at stake. It will not be
our capacity for fuelling the arms race or prepare for war-fighting but, rather, our ability to find
common solutions to the following issues that will determine our security and survival in the
– the environment and depletion of resources,
– the transformation towards sustainable, eco-developmental policies, – caring for the underprivileged of the world,
– creating peaceful relations in and between societies,
– ethnic conflict and intra-state conflicts,
– conflicts over material versus religious issues
– developing global measures for conflict management and
– abolish warfare as an accepted means of conflict-resolution
– the role of Asia and the Pacific in the changing world order.
This is a fundamentally new dimension – a transnational one reaching from the single individual to the biosphere. These aspects must increasingly occupy ourselves and our governments, smaller and less urgent problems must wait.
We can only solve them together and within paradigms which transcend fundamentally that of the Cold War. If we want peace, we should prepare for that.
In this perspective, there is no choice but to help each other help ourselves. We are likely to meet new problems, and changes do cause problems and create conflicts. But if all countries act with vision and determination and do something about their own problems, become responsible global citizens and face head-on common problems with both a national and a global perspective – and there are such elements in Gorbachev’s Soviet Union – we stand a better chance to survive.
We would like to quote Robert C. Tucker of Princeton University, one of the most knowledgeable Soviet experts in the West:
“When the government of a great power has come to recognize that its country faces an internal crisis situation calling for thoroughgoing reform of its economic, social, cultural, and political life, that government loses the need it had in the past to conjure up for its citizens the image of a relatively intractable external enemy…When a government is willing to openly confront the existence of profound internal problems, it becomes free to take a less combative and more cooperative stance in external relations.
In my view, therefore, the world has a stake in the success of this new Soviet leader’s reform enterprise and his incipient efforts to develop new approaches in international affairs…
The world situation being the dangerous and deteriorating one that it is, the time to start a new path of cooperation with a willing Soviet Union is now” (World Policy Journal, Spring 1987).
It is more true than ever since Albert Einstein and Bertrand Russell said that we should forget our small quarrels and remember our humanity.
* Roger Fisher and William Ury, “Getting to Yes. Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In” (Boston 1981) and Roger Fisher and Scott Brown, “Getting Together. Building A Relationship That Gets to Yes” (Boston 1988).
TFF Statement # 3
This statement was produced by the board of the Transnational Foundation with contributions from the following scholars and experts:
Hans-Henrik Holm, Denmark; Ole Wæver, Denmark; Pertti Joenniemi, Finland; Kent Lindkvist, Sweden; Martin Sæter, Norway; and Johan Galtung, Norway/USA
The TFF Board bears the full responsibility for the statement which does not necessarily express the views and opinions of the contributors.
The board of the TFF is composed of the following:
Ulf Svensson, Sweden (chairman);
Jan Oberg, director and co-founder, Sweden;
Marta Henricsson-Cullberg, Sweden;
Anna Christensen, Sweden;
Håkan Wiberg, Denmark;
Sverre Lodgaard, Norway
© TFF 1989
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