TFF Board member
January 26, 2007
In the early nineties, people hoped for the
irrevocable end to fear and the great peace dividend. Those governing
limit themselves to fighting symptoms. The causes of terror are not a
theme for them.
Freedom from fear and freedom from distress are the fundamentals of human
security. The United Nations emphasized this when the Cold War allegedly
ended. Freedom from distress should be gained with freedom from fear.
The goal was to overcome malnutrition, sicknesses, poor education and
Since then, globalization has advanced rapidly. However, only a minority
of the world’s population has benefited. The far greater part of
humanity must struggle at the lower end of the quadrant for sheer physical
survival, often without success, with less than one Euro per day per person.
The reality of life’s opportunities distributed crassly differently
cannot be hidden any longer. The rice farmers in Bangladesh, the shepherds
in the mountain valleys of the Andes, the Bedouins on the Saudi Arabian
peninsula and the industrial workers in Central America or Southeast Europe
have not read the UN Charter in which a better life has been promised
But all of them feel the unequal distribution of freedom and equality
daily. They do not know about the un-kept promises for decades of the
rich industrial countries to make the small contribution of 0.7 percent
of their national revenue to reduce inequality. However, they see that
goods from the industrial countries are available while few people have
the means to buy them. On the other hand, their politicians know why.
Many are unwilling to let their exports continue to suffer discrimination.
That is a main reason why the Doha trade round of the World Trade organization
broke down in 2006.
500 multi-millionaires have more
capital than 460 000 000 fellow citizens
The struggle for freedom from distress and against this double standard
will always be hard fought. There are partial successes. In 2000, the
United Nations announced eight millennium goals to improve human security
by 2015. The number of starving persons should be cut by half. All children
in the world, boys and girls, should have access to elementary schools.
Child mortality should be lowered by two-thirds and maternal mortality
by three-quarters. The frequency of new HIV/AIDS cases and malaria should
be considerably diminished and so on.
Still the progress is too slow. The goals are not reached. There is still
over-nourishment and riches on one side and malnutrition and poverty on
the other. State debt of the developing world remains high and with it
political dependence on the outside world. At the same time, the budget
deficits in the industrial countries are also growing. Yet, 500 billionaires
have more capital than 460 million of their fellow-citizens in the world.
Politics in the West does not understand or take seriously the close connection
between freedom from fear and freedom from distress. It also lacks understanding
that inequality, poverty and humiliation have something to do with what
is generally described as terrorism. The governing limit themselves to
fighting symptoms and hoping to control terrorism with display of power
and military provocation. The causes of terror are not a subject for them.
They do not even try to understand and tackle these causes. As a result,
the bondage of distress becomes an increasingly serious danger for freedom
from fear. Fear grows and becomes fear of an imminent global catastrophe.
western double standard
The West, intent on its privileges and consciously measuring with two
kinds of yardsticks, provokes all sorts of reactions: from anti-western,
especially anti-American, criticism to criminal terrorist acts. New alliances
arise in the middle of this spectrum with the goal of ending this western
double standard in very different areas. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization
(China, Russia, Central Asian countries in association with India, Pakistan
and Iran), the China-Africa partnership and the trio of trading countries
Brazil, India and South Africa (Doha trio) are three of these alliances.
In this context, six Arab states (Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, the United
Arab Emirates, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia) not surprisingly want to cooperate
on questions of nuclear energy. In this area, there can be no double standard,
if for no other reasons than sheer survival. However, the meeting in May
2005 at the UN headquarters in New York of the signatories of the Nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty accepted on March 5, 1970 has shown that the
double standard continues and hardens.
At this meeting, UN General Secretary Kofi Annan spoke of a “crisis
of trust” in the areas of non-proliferation, disarmament and the
peaceful use of nuclear technology. The differences among member states
were great. Some spoke of the “danger of the proliferation of nuclear
technology” and others of the “danger of the present arsenal”
of nuclear weapons.
The double standard over the question of the development of nuclear energy
has increased in political significance on account of international political
events, particularly in the Middle East and the growing mistrust among
UN member states. The “Project for a New American Century”
and the American security strategy of 2002 based on this project have
become symbols of the double standard. The world, especially the developing
world, will not accept that the power of decision lies solely with the
US superpower, not only in the military realm but in political, economic
and cultural areas.
of nuclear weapons
must apply for everyone
One acute example of this conflict is the confrontation between Iran and
the US against the backdrop of the disastrous Iraq war which violates
international law and occupation of the country that has come to nothing.
The United States was one of the initiators of the Comprehensive Test
Ban Treaty but has not ratified it and has turned more and more against
the obligations of this treaty.
The US pursues nuclear research, develops new generations of nuclear weapons
and designs a nuclear offensive strategy contained in the “Doctrine
for Joint Nuclear Operations” of March 2005. As a result, it will
be hard to convince countries like China, India and Egypt to ratify the
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Many other countries that pursue active
nuclear research, for example Iran, think they can only protect themselves
against such a hegemonic policy by increasing their nuclear capacities.
A genuine danger exists that human security will degenerate into inhuman
The great responsible task expected of the new UN General Secretary, Ban
Ki-Moon, reminds member states of the community of nations of what Kofi
Annan emphasized again and again during his term of office.
“The glue of common interests”
must be created to overcome the double standard in international relations
so that uniform standards for everyone in the sense of the UN Charter
can finally prevail and the same obligation towards non-proliferation
of nuclear weapons and disarmament. With that a great step would be taken
towards freeing the world from fear. The prerequisites for reaching the
millennium development goals and freedom from distress would be improved.
It will be a long and arduous way if we take it. “Neither learning
nor survival is obligatory,” the Austrian mathematician and thinker
W. Edwards Deming once said.
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