The military and terrorist threats to democracies in the 21st century have at least three sources. The first is from rogue regimes, like Syria and Iran, which finance extra-territorial militias and terrorists. The second results from our consumerist over-dependence on totalitarian and authoritarian suppliers, manufactures from China, and oil from Saudi Arabia. It is not that those countries provide an imminent military threat, but their protégés, like North Korea and Sudan, can create regional military mayhem or provoke regional arms races. The third is from militant Islam, as opposing Sunnis and Shiites project their millennium-long rivalry onto third parties and other faiths, including Christians, Jews, Hindus and Buddhists. The solution to such problems may not be military: Sunni-Shiite rivalry, for example, may be resolved, if not in a democratic Iraq, then by communities living peacefully together in democracies which have already succeeded in separating church and state. But meanwhile any and every democracy may be threatened.
There are other threats to security, such as piracy, drug-running and human trafficking, which may best be met by collective action. Again a precedent exists, in the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), formed on 31 May 2003 among (now) 15 core democracies within and outside Nato, and with a further 60 countries cooperating on an adhoc basis, an association which exists to search ships and other transports suspected of carrying nuclear, biological and chemical weapons and materials. Other forces which a new association might foster include a Genocide Intervention Force, such as I wrote about in the paper prepared for the Nato summit in Istanbul in 2004, and downloadable from my website’s Conference Papers page; and an International Women’s Brigade, led by women now playing a significant role in many democratic armed forces, given that military rape, still perpetrated in Darfur and the eastern Congo, is recognized as a war crime.
The North Atlantic Treaty was signed in Washington in May 1949. Any new Democratic Allies Treaty Organization would have to have US participation, if not US initiative. This is partly because the US spends more than many other democracies put together on the maintenance and development of its military. It is also because the US has become the first target of the enemies of democracy, the most common antithesis to democracy now being, not communism or even totalitarianism, but envy and anti-Americanism.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Posted by LaurenceJarvik at 4:59 PM