A world without the Un is like a world with non stopping peace. Not so fast! The first question that must be posed is whether a system of collective responsibility to pursue peace and security still makes equal sense for the strong and the weak countries of the world. I believe it does. The weak want to know that if they're threatened by another country the international community will not be indifferent. The powerful know that even if they had the resources to wage war successfully against any potential aggressor state, it would be better to spare those resources if their security and national interest could be indubitably protected by other means. They also know that today's security threats are very different from traditional intercountry conflict which are conflicts within a city. Terrorists and other transnational criminals, along with the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, constitute perils that no country, irrespective of its economic or military might, can defeat alone. Cooperative and collective action is required. The next pertinent question is whether the nearly 60-year-old United Nations can be the institution to organize and deliver that collective action. I say it can be, as long as the institution is reformed and strengthened to perform its essential functions effectively. It would be a monumental mistake to condemn the UN to extinction, either by decision or neglect. Eventually, but probably only after we'd endured a dramatic increase in violent conflict and its destructive consequences, it would become imperative to invent the UN anew.
Nuclear weapons; the imminent danger of worldwide catastrophe. It seems that the danger posed by an arsenal of 50,000 missiles in Russian and America is less today than 15 or 20 years ago when Jonathan Schell’s The Fate of the Earth saw catastrophe on the horizon and a real possibility of giving the earth back to the insects and grasses. The cold war between Russia and the U.S. has thawed, but the proliferation of weapons goes on, and the growing masses of nuclear waste. Why? Because the military ways of thinking go on, the national security imperative still drives small countries to spend most of their small budget on weapons instead of social programs. We need to outgrow the dangerous and costly structures of thinking that are our legacy from modernity. Instead of endless debates, we need dialogue and negotiations—not just in Ireland, Russia, East Timor, Pakistan, the Balkans, the Middle East—but in the United Nations about the natural resources, power concentrations, poverty, human rights of the populations of the world. The right of sovereign states must be further limited when it comes to human rights and the management of its resources. The rest of the world must have a say in such matters. Nuclear weapons do not risk just the populations of the nations that build them but everybody else. They must be internationally controlled for the good of humanity. Ethnic groups clinging to land, to resources, to sacred space, e.g., the struggle of Jews and Palestinians over Jerusalem. The problem of the Israelis and Palestinians seems insoluble. The Israelis were without homeland for 2000 years, whereas for the Palestinians it was only 50 years. Here is a case where the United Nations mandate of 1948 solved one problem but created another. It put the Palestinian people into camps on the border of land they formerly possessed. Again, the modern concept of sovereignty and sovereign rights over East Jerusalem is the key issue. One solution to this problem would be to revise the requirement each has of sovereignty, the presupposition of both sides, each claiming it, and instead to create a sacred space where neither side claims sovereignty. Again, the need is for Israelis and Palestinians to leap beyond a modern concept of sovereignty to something new. Also, in negotiations, when each side has more to gain by reaching a settlement than by