Kampagne für die Reform der Vereinten Nationen

Movement for UN Reform (UNFOR)


 If you want peace, prepare for peace!



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Human, All too Human

284 The means to real peace. -

No government nowadays admits that it maintains an army so as to satisfy occasional thirsts for conquest; the army is supposed to be for defence. That morality which sanctions self-protection is called upon to be its advocate. But that means to reserve morality to oneself and to accuse one‘s neighbour of immorality, since he has to be thought of as ready for aggression and conquest if our own state is obliged to take thought of means of self-defence; moreover, when our neighbour denies any thirst for aggression just as heatedly as our State does, and protests that he too maintains an army only for reasons of legitimate self-defence, our declaration of why we require an army declares our neighbour a hypocrite and cunning criminal who would be only too happy to pounce upon a harmless and unprepared victim and subdue him without a struggle. This is how all states now confront one another: they presuppose an evil disposition in their neighbour and a benevolent disposition in themselves. This presupposition, however, is a piece of inhumanity as bad as, if not worse than, a war would be; indeed, fundamentally it already constitutes an invitation to and cause of wars, because, as aforesaid, it imputes immorality to one‘s neighbour and thereby seems to provoke hostility and hostile acts on his part. The doctrine of the army as a means of self-defence must be renounced just as completely as the thirst for conquest. And perhaps there will come a great day on which a nation distinguished for wars and victories and for the highest development of military discipline and thinking, and accustomed to making the heaviest sacrifices on behalf of these things, will cry of its own free will: ,we shall shatter the sword‘ - and demolish its entire military machine down to its last foundations. To disarm while being the best armed, out of an elevation of sensibility - that is the means to real peace, which must always rest on a disposition for peace: whereas the so-called armed peace such as now parades about in every country is a disposition to fractiousness which trusts neither itself nor its neighbour and fails to lay down its arms half out of hatred, half out of fear. Better to perish than to hate and fear, and twofold better to perish than to make oneself hated and feared - this must one day become the supreme maxim of every individual state! - As is well known, our liberal representatives of the people lack the time to reflect on the nature of man: otherwise they would know that they labour in vain when they work for a ,gradual reduction of the military burden‘. On the contrary, it is only when this kind of distress is at its greatest that the only kind of god that can help here will be closest at hand.  The tree of the glory of war can be destroyed only at a single stroke, by a lightning-bolt: lightning, however, as you well know, comes out of a cloud and from on high. (R.J. Hollingdale, transl., Human, All Too Human. A Book for Free Spirits, Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy (1996), pp. 380-81)


Is Germany actually blocking the development of the UNITED NATIONS to become an effective System of Collective Security?

►►(Click here (German)!)◄◄



by Klaus Schlichtmann




December/January 2005/2006

UNFOR 2007 in "Wissenschaft & Frieden"

Dear Colleagues, Supporters and Friends,

Our Round letter this time is again in English.

Just recently I was startled by two things I read - a notice about a new book and an article in an online journal. The first was a recent publication by Andreas Zumach, the renowned publicist and international correspondent in Geneva of the Berlin daily "taz" (tageszeitung). The title of the book is "Die kommenden Kriege" (The coming [or future] wars). The caption in the amazon.de comment on the book starts: "Will the United Nations at all in future have an important role to play in questions of war and peace?" Future wars will be inevitable, the author maintains, if the present trends continue.

The other alarming "news" I stumbled upon was a long article by another journalist, Axel Berkofsky, who regularly reports on Far Eastern events. The sentence that startled me was: "Japan's long road to become an active military power is, one can say [now], irreversible..." (CLICK HERE)

Can this be true? Or, as Berlin Humboldt University's Bardo Fassbender put it: "...will things go on and on forever like this, or is there an alternative?" Of course, both of the above-cited authors argue their case with reason, and are not defeatist or negative in their approach. Axel Berkofsky correctly believes that "Japan's humanitarian mission in Iraq does not stand for a radical redefinition of Japan's regional and global security policy and does not turn Japan's security policy from 'defensive' into 'expansive'." Also, the "Japanese policy-making process remains slow and the public is still opposed to a role of the military beyond defending the national territory and providing humanitarian assistance in Iraq and elsewhere."

Andreas Zumach is by no means just America-bashing. In his opinion it would be wrong for the Europeans (and others as well) to try to compete militarily with the United States, since this would only speed up the processes of global confrontation (Verteilungskämpfe - fighting over resources). It should be possible (and would be desirable), Zumach argues, that from among the 191 UN member states "a transcontinental strategic coalition of willing multilateralists (European nations, Canada, India, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, etc.) should form, to organize majorities" for peaceful purposes. The author names the International Criminal Court, the Kyoto Protocol and the Anti-Landmine Treaty as examples of what such a coalition might be able to accomplish. (CLICK HERE for the German text)

However, none of the authors seem to be aware of the significance of Article 106 of the UN Charter, which contains regulations for the "transitional security period" from the present nation-state system to an effective system of collective security, with binding international jurisdiction and real enforcement powers that could bring about global disarmament. Today's problems will not be solved until nations agree to pool sovereign powers to create a supra-national authority based on the rule of law and justice. The UN Charter contains the blueprint for bringing about such a system to solve our common global problems. Nation-states have so far failed to take action because the public has been kept unaware of these possibilities and regulations.

A common argument against an effective United Nations with real executive, legislative and jurisdictional powers, capable of achieving global disarmament, social justice and equality, is that this  would be "neither possible nor desirable." Soon after Germany had joined the United Nations in 1973 a publication by the West-German United Nations Association (DGVN - Deutsche Gesellschaft für die Vereinten Nationen) made it clear - so as to not let the informed public have any false notions about the implications of this (and probably after intensive discussions as to what Germany's aims and policies as a member of the UN should be) - that "the United Nations are essentially different from a world federation. The [UN] Charter also cannot be seen as a step toward such a goal... A peaceful resolution of conflicts through internationally binding (obligatory) regulations is neither possible nor desirable..." The writer of the publication of the prestigious DGVN of course was a "straw man" - a poor graduate student writing only what he had been told. In German tradition this exceptionalism is called the "Sonderweg," a special German way of accepting the principle of power above that of law, a Hegelian notion of the nation-state as the supreme and sole arbiter of its causes and actions. Compare this to the Anglo-Saxon traditional approach to international organization. (CLICK HERE)

Of course these are just trends, not hard and fixed positions.

With regard to the "Transitional Security Arrangements" in the UN Charter (Chapter 17, including only two articles, 106 and 107), it is interesting to note that Wilhelm Grewe (1911-2000), who significantly shaped Germany's foreign policy and the country's position in international law after the Second World War, already had used the term "transitional" in a 1943 article: "...there can be no doubt about the transitional character of this epoch ... The battle is only about the question of whether we will enter an 'American century' - in which control of the world goes to the United States as a great power of Pan-American dimension and backed up by Great Britain, the Soviet Union and China - or whether the reorganization of the world personified by the powers of the Triple Alliance [Germany, Italy and Japan] will succeed." Of course Grewe was wrong, and he admitted in later years, but not before "the events of the 1990s," that he had "modified his systemic orientation ... [and was] inclined to consider the possibility of a more closely integrated international community having its own law-making potential, something which seemed utopian [before]..." Grewe now saw a "strong tendency ... to recognize that the consensual structure of the international legal system, based on national sovereignty, is incapable of sustaining today's global order." (CLICK HERE)

Professor Jost Delbrück, whom I had the great fortune to have as my teacher when I studied international lawm, also recently stated that "sovereignty has been shown to be divisible... The international rule of law is not an illusion but a vision, perhaps a concrete utopia [konkrete Utopie]." (CLICK HERE for the German text) However, unless individual states take legislative action, to empower the United Nations, nothing is going to change.

The United Nations is mainly the result of Western or European ideas about the rule of law and the organization of peace and justice. However, the West has been divided when it comes to implementing these concepts: The Europeans, for example, have taken practically no action to implement the UN’s (or their own national constitutions') provisions for collective security, while the Americans have overacted or, in the absence of an effective UN, acted unilaterally, whatever other reasons they may have had in addition to that.

It is interesting to read the English edition of German Hans Wehberg’s book, The Outlawry of War, published by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in 1931. After World War II, Wehberg edited the renowned peace research journal Die Friedens-Warte, which celebrated its 100th anniversary in 1999. 

Outlawing war in constitutions and allowing for legislative action in national parliaments to give shape to an effective international organization by providing it with a binding legal framework has been part of this great effort for collective security in the 20th century which would allow nations to disarm. Since legislative action in democratic countries is backed by the electorate and public opinion, politicians, and also the schools and the media should do more to educate the populace about such matters. Yet such education about the Purposes and Principles of the United Nations and related provisions in constitutional law have been conspicuously lacking. Academics have made themselves the lackeys of vested interests by obfuscating the issue to the point of criminal negligence, or even conspiracy, endangering the lives of millions on this planet.

A conspiracy?

In 1961 the USA under President John F. Kennedy and the Soviet Union under Nikita Khrushchev concluded an agreement, known as the McCloy-Zorin Accords, that stipulated far-reaching measures towards general and complete disarmament under effective international controls, the abolition of all military institutions and production and empowerment of the United Nations and the International Court of Justice. The McCloy-Zorin Accords were unanimously adopted in the General Assembly on December 20. On September 25, John F. Kennedy had introduced the Accords in the UN General Assembly with the following words:

"Today, every inhabitant of this planet must contemplate the day when this planet may no longer be habitable. Every man, woman and child lives under a nuclear sword of Damocles, hanging by the slenderest of threads, capable of being cut at any moment by accident or miscalculation or by madness. The weapons of war must be abolished before they abolish us..."

“The program to be presented to this assembly--for general and complete disarmament under effective international control--moves to bridge the gap between those who insist on a gradual approach and those who talk only of the final and total achievement. It would create machinery to keep the peace as it destroys the machinery of war. It would proceed through balanced and safeguarded stages designed to give no state a military advantage over another. It would place the final responsibility for verification and control where it belongs, not with the big powers alone, not with one’s adversary or one’s self, but in an international organization within the framework of the United Nations. It would assure that indispensable condition of disarmament - true inspection - and apply it in stages proportionate to the stage of disarmament. It would cover delivery systems as well as weapons. It would ultimately halt their production as well as their testing, their transfer as well as their possession. It would achieve ,under the eyes of an international disarmament organization, a steady reduction in force, both nuclear and conventional, until it has abolished all armies and all weapons except those needed for internal order and a new United Nations Peace Force."

Nobody could tell the Europeans what to do! And apparently nobody did. But it was obvious that in order to make the McCloy-Zorin Accords effective, decisive action by the Europeans would have been required. This would have meant that the liberal democracies should have taken measures to implement their constitutional provisions and invoked the relevant UN provisions, for creating a UN Peace Force and giving the UN the power to do its job. If the Europeans had taken action in accordance with the McCloy-Zorin Accords it would have been possible to bridge the chasm existing between East and West much earlier. No action was taken, and consequently the situation changed for the worse. (Interestingly, Wilhelm Grewe, who was the West-German ambassador in Washington at the time, does not mention the McCloy-Zorin Accords in his autobiography at all!)

As a German I regret to say that apparently nobody in my country had thought of this - though the German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer might have. But the diplomats and international or constitutional lawyers advising Adenauer were mostly recruited from old Nazi stock, and the same doctrines - historical and legal - that were predominant in academic circles during the Nazi era continued to prevail. These doctrines were critical of internationalism. Only recently has this problem surfaced, and the German Foreign Ministry has appointed a special Commission to investigate the matter. (CLICK HERE - See also our ROUNDLETTER for October/November!)

It is always good to remember the great possibilities that were present for example at the time of the Hague Peace Conferences, to get to the roots of the problem and to learn from the mistakes. Germany has never apologized for starting World War I or bringing the projected goals of the Hague Conferences to naught. It is time to demand from our government(s) to take legislative action, to put the UN System of Collective Security into effect.

Vincit veritas!


MerryChristmas and a Happy New Year!

        (project manager)

The Japanese Constitution's Article 9 in context (CLICK HERE!)

P.S. Ecologists will also like my "One-Acre Model Farm."

Also see what Germany can do for world peace and security  (Click here !)

"60 Theses for a European Peace Policy" (in German), by the AG Friedensforschung, University of Kassel (PLEASE CLICK HERE).

Previous letters in German:

Letter to the German and other peace researchers and activists (October/November 2005) - Click here !

Brief an die deutschen Friedenswissenschaftler (June/July 2005) - Click here !

Brief an die deutschen Friedenswissenschaftler (April/May 2005) - Click here !

Brief an die deutschen Friedenswissenschaftler (January/February 2005) - Click here !  

Brief an die deutschen Friedenswissenschaftler (October 2004) - Click here !  

Brief an die deutschen Friedenswissenschaftler (September 2004) - Click here !  

Brief an die deutschen Friedenswissenschaftler (August 2004) - Click here !

Brief an die deutschen Friedenswissenschaftler (July 2004) - Click here !



See articles in German and English on issues related to UN reform. (Click here!) Unfortunately all of the articles I wrote for the dailies taz, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and DIE ZEIT etc. were rejected or not taken notice of. Only some articles in English were published by "THE STATESMAN" (Kolkata/India). See also:

(1)  Article about UNFOR 2007 in the recent issue of Wissenschaft & Frieden, No. 4 (German text)

(2)  full-page coverage of UNFOR 2007 in AFB-INFO (p. 8, PDF German/PDF English);

(3)  full-page coverage of UNFOR 2007 in the Round Letter of the Arbeitskreis Historische Friedensforschung (AHF);

(4)  a double-page publication about UNFOR 2007 in the Round Letter of Pax Christi, Cologne (PDF Deutsch, pp. 13-14);

(5)  Correspondence with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and "Independent Report" concerning reform of the United Nations, to the High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges, and Change (English) (see also the Report of the Panel, PDF English);

(6)  Correspondence with the UNESCO Committee on the UN Decade for a Culture of Peace  (English);

(7) New members for UNFOR 2007 (the list is not yet open);

(8) Lecture on the occasion of the 60th Anniversary of the United Nations concerning UN reform at  Johann Wolfgang Goethe University, December 22, 2004, Frankfurt. (See poster)



TEXT (Read online):

Walther SCHÜCKING, The International Union of the Hague Peace Conferences


INDIA and the Quest for an effective UNITED NATIONS ORGANIZATION


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KONTAKT: klaus.san@gmail.com


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