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Violence Disciplined and Channelled
The potentially explosive paradox of our growing civility
COVER ILLUSTRATION: GARY TAXALI
protests in Israel betray a maturing national project that is no longer in need of a big, unifying idea. Richard Rousseau of Azerbaijan’s Khazar University profiles the continuing disintegration of the old Soviet space, and predicts the near-term dissolution of the Russia-dominated Commonwealth of Independent States. And finally, Fred Lazar of the Schulich School of Business makes the case for a strong government role in shaping the behaviour – even sometimes pushing magnanimity – of ‘new capitalist’ companies within and across borders. In Tête à Tête, GB picks the brain of Harvard’s Steven Pinker on the long-run diminution of micro- and macro-violence in the world. Eliot Spitzer, former New York governor, assesses the curious state and fate of American politics as the 2012 presidential election nears. In Query, Singapore’s Arabinda Acharya and Canada’s Tom Quiggin divine the future of terrorism in Southeast Asia. And Fady Fadel of Lebanon’s Université Antonine parses the idiosyncracies of Syria’s majority-minority dynamics as that country’s internal crisis sharpens. In Nez à Nez, Kyle Matthews of the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies debates Wolfgang Krieger of Marburg University (Germany) on whether national interests corrupt humanitarian interventions. In The Definition, we ask the University of Denver’s Nader Hashemi, Nanyang Technological University’s Rebecca Lunnon and others about the principal near-term consequences of the Arab Spring. The European as he or she will be and ‘look’ in 2030 – presumably after the current string of crises – is our subject of interest in Strategic Futures: Fraser Cameron of the EU-Russia Centre in Brussels, Willem Mass of Glendon College, and several others oblige us. In Situ reports come to us from Dakar, Senegal, where the Casamance problem crescendoes; and from Canberra, Australia, where Australia plays for a ‘Concert of Asia,’ but steadfastly recuses itself from any role in a possible US-China war. GB visits Argentina’s Cabinet Room to see how that country is preparing to profit in the Falklands after recent reports of growing British military weakness. Douglas Glover takes us home again in Epigram. Enjoy your Brief. | GB
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he expansion of modern civilization, education, culture, government and public institutions may well have lent itself to the happy conclusion that we live in the most peaceful of times. Proliferating mass and social media may suggest otherwise, but the long-term trend is definitively one of diminishing violence. This is a fact. Still, the very same advances that have allowed us to ‘master’ the brutality of which we are so eminently capable – witness the cataclysms of the last century – are manifestly at play among political actors – big and small alike – who wish to use brutal means to realize any number of imaginative purposes. And so we come to a major paradox of the modern strategic condition: civilization has tamed man (and his violence), and at once made civilized (disciplined) man more capable than ever of vaulting destruction. This vaulting destruction will of necessity issue less from a general anarchy than from a combination of precision-weaponry, geopolitical calculus and clinical ruthlessness. This Fall 2011 issue of GB is built on three ‘images’ of violence mastered: violence mastered by civilized or civilizing forces (the good story); violent methods mastered (used) in ultra-modern ways to advance 21st-century objectives (perhaps the less good story); and, finally, on this 10th anniversary of the ‘Responsibility to Protect’ (R2P) doctrine, violent methods – advanced methods – used to tame, suppress or reverse other violent methods in order to restore civilization (still a decidedly grey story). George Anderson, President Emeritus of the Forum of Federations, sets the tone of the number by projecting the future of federations and the necessary devolution that awaits new democracies (or democratizing states). Michael Cotey Morgan of the University of Toronto holds the pen in our first Feature, arguing that humanitarian interventions of the R2P mould – whether successful or not – are invariably tragic. American strategic analyst Daveed Gartenstein-Ross discusses terrorism futures, positing three key forces – austerity, resource scarcity and technology – as driving a very precarious next decade in international affairs. The University of Calgary’s David Tal argues that the recent Jewish
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EDITOR-IN-CHIEF & PUBLISHER Irvin Studin
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EDITORS’ BRIEF. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 ONE PAGER
George Anderson | Federalism over the next 20 years. . . . . . . . . . . 5
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Abdoul Aziz Mbaye | La guerre en Casamance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Hugh White | Australian tests and a Concert of Asia . . . . . . . . . . 38
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TÊTE À TÊTE
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Steven Pinker | The state and future of violence. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Tim Coates, David Dewitt, Paul Evans, Drew Fagan, Dan Fata, Margaret MacMillan, Maria Panezi, Tom Quiggin Mailing Address Global Brief Magazine Glendon Hall, Room 301 Glendon Campus, York University 2275 Bayview Avenue Toronto, ON M4N 3M6, Canada Tel: 416-736-2100 ext. 88253 Fax: 416-487-6786 General Enquiries, Feedback & Suggestions firstname.lastname@example.org Subscriptions email@example.com Advertising firstname.lastname@example.org Article Submissions: email@example.com Global Brief® is published quarterly in Toronto, Canada by the Global Brief Society in partnership with the Glendon School of Public and International Affairs. The contents are copyrighted. Subscription Rates One year (four issues) for CDN $38. Two years (eight issues) for CDN $72. HST or GST applies only to purchases in Canada. Shipping and handling charges apply only to purchases outside of Canada. PM Agreement No. 41914044 ISSN: 1920-6909
Eliot Spitzer | American politics and the Presidency in 2012. . . . . 46 QUERY Arabinda Acharya & Tom Quiggin | Whither SE Asian terrorism? . . . 26
Fady Fadel | Quel destin pour la Syrie pluriconfessionnelle?. . . . . . 34 IN THE CABINET ROOM Dusan Petricic | Argentina, the Falklands and British defence . . . 33 NEZ À NEZ Kyle Matthews vs. Wolfgang Krieger Do national interests corrupt humanitarian interventions? . . . 56 THE DEFINITION
“The key near-term consequence of the Arab Spring is...” . . . . . 60 STRATEGIC FUTURES “The European of 2030 will be…”. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62 EPIGRAM
Douglas Glover | On ruthlessness and magnanimity. . . . . . . . . . 64
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Glendon School of Public and International Affairs The Glendon School is Canada’s first bilingual (English and French) graduate school of public and international affairs. It combines a comprehensive bilingualism with a focus on both public and international affairs. Adopting a global perspective, the School explores the relationship between public institutions and their larger environment. Its purpose is to advance research on public and international affairs; provide a high-quality bilingual master’s programme; and offer innovative professional development programming. L’École de Glendon est la première école bilingue d’affaires publiques et internationales au Canada. Établissement d’études supérieures unique en son genre, l’École est axée sur le bilinguisme anglais-français et spécialisée à la fois dans les affaires publiques et les affaires internationales. On y explore, dans une perspective mondiale, les relations entre les institutions publiques et le contexte général dans lequel elles fonctionnent. Le mandat principal de l’École consiste à faire progresser la recherche sur des questions d’affaires publiques et internationales, à offrir un programme de maîtrise bilingue de grande qualité ainsi qu’un programme de développement professionnel novateur.
F E AT URES
THREE TRAGEDIES OF HUMANITARIAN INTERVENTION The Responsibility to Protect 10 years on, and why perfection is the enemy of the good BY MICHAEL COTEY MORGAN
TERRORISM FUTURES Austerity, resource scarcity and technology will drive the next decade’s opportunities for violent non-state actors BY DAVEED GARTENSTEIN-ROSS
STATE OF THE ISRAELI PROJECT The protests in Israel suggest that the Jewish state has achieved its goals, and is no longer in need of big, unifying ideas BY DAVID TAL
FIN DE L’URSS, ACTE DEUX «La plus grande catastrophe du 20e siècle» se répète – un second éclatement à retardement PAR RICHARD ROUSSEAU
RUTHLESSNESS & MAGNANIMITY Companies are never truly ruthless, but governments have a key role in setting rules globally to make them more magnanimous BY FRED LAZAR
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Federalism in the Next 20 Years The future may not always be democratic, but where and when countries do democratize, the pressures for devolution or federalization will prove irresistible BY GEORGE ANDERSON
significant autonomy for the ‘historic nationalities.’ The result has been a highly devolved – and surprisingly symmetrical – regime. In a great bargain, the ANC in South Africa accepted a form of federalism as the price of support for the constitution from the whites and coloureds, as well as the Inkatha Freedom Party. Ethiopia’s civil war was won by a coalition of regional groups that opted for a strong form of ‘ethnic federalism.’ Indonesia has devolved significantly, with a special deal for Aceh. In August of 2010, Kenya approved a new constitution that will create and empower regional governments. Peru, Columbia and Morocco are other examples of countries moving to devolve further. Nepal is committed to federalism as part of its peace agreement, but is struggling to find a consensus on its form. In Spain, South Africa and Indonesia, the word ‘federalism’ has been largely rejected, but the essence of constitutional devolution to elected governments has not. Old federations had their origins in various units ‘coming together.’ The EU has been the biggest story of ‘coming together’ since WW2. It too has some federal features. Successful federations have not typically been founded in a climate of violence. While the US and Nigeria recovered from civil wars, a wellfunctioning federation normally requires most of its people to feel real attachment both to the country and to their region or ethnic group. Both federal and centralized regimes have failed. Today, the international community tends to become involved when a regime is failing, often with a view to trying to prevent a breakup. While not a panacea, federalism certainly does offer approaches that may help manage serious conflicts. Success is most likely if the various groups themselves work their way to an accord, rather than being pushed into something by outside parties. What the international community can offer is expertise, incentives and dialogue to promote the process of finding a workable formula. While it may be difficult to envisage many countries becoming a successful federation, it is even harder to envisage a successful democracy without some elements of federalism. Such countries are often too large and diverse to be highly centralized. So if countries such as China, Iran, Burma or Congo do democratize, we can expect simultaneous pressure for devolution or federalization. The most immediate such developments may well be in North Africa and the Middle East. It will be a bumpy, twisting road, but the direction is beyond dispute. | GB
George Anderson is President Emeritus of the Forum of Federations, and a former deputy minister in the Canadian government.
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he arab spring is yet another reminder of how many publics are pushing for democracy – even in countries long considered by many to be ‘not ready’ for it. But as many countries – especially in Asia and Africa – democratize, it will become clear that they do not fit with the Wilsonian concept of ‘one nation-one state.’ There will inevitably be recourse to federal models as a way to address internal conflicts and territorial cleavages. There has been a mushrooming of federal systems. While Australia, Canada, Switzerland and the US were the only functioning federal democracies in 1945, today some 25 to 30 countries, with 40 per cent of the world’s population, are federal. Federalism is only real with some degree of political freedom and competition – some measure of democracy – ideally based in a strong system of constitutional law, with independent courts. Such ‘paper federations’ as the former USSR, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia never passed this test. Argentina, Brazil and Mexico had federal forms when under dictators or one-party rule, but not federal politics. The foreign policy community’s attention to federalism has been largely focussed on cases in which external powers have intervened in conflict-prone countries to promote or impose federalism as a way to hold the country together – often with limited success. The model imposed on Bosnia-Herzegovina is deeply dysfunctional. Attempts to find federal solutions for Cyprus and Sri Lanka have failed. The highly asymmetrical federation created for Sudan in 2005 ended in break-up (though, post-secession, the North and South both claim that they will be internally federal). Iraq muddles along with a half-baked federal model, accommodating the inevitability of Kurdish autonomy, but still not resolving critical issues. The more promising new federal stories are in countries that have turned to federalism relatively free of outside influence. This was the case in India, whose unique form of federalism has proven remarkably resilient in coping democratically with the country’s vast complexity. Previously fictive federal structures have become real in Mexico, Brazil and Argentina, and actually facilitated their transitions to democracy. With the return to civilian rule, Nigeria is now genuinely federal, and very devolved. Many traditionally unitary regimes have also been federalizing – or devolving in a serious way – as they democratize. Spain is an outstanding case where, after Franco, it was clear that democracy would require
La guerre en Casamance
Nœud gordien au Sénégal et les perspectives d’une paix définitive ABDOUL AZIZ MBAYE depuis Dakar
L Abdoul Aziz Mbaye est fonctionnaire à la Cour pénale internationale. Les points de vue exprimés dans le présent document sont ceux de l’auteur en sa capacité personnelle et ne reflètent en aucune façon ceux de la Cour
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a guerre en Casamance – à l’extrême sud du Sénégal – est comme une tâche d’huile sur la page de l’histoire contemporaine du Sénégal. Elle a provoqué des violences considérables de toutes sortes, sans compter ses effets pervers qui sapent à petit feu les fondements mêmes de l’unité nationale et le développement économique du pays. Cette crise n’a de cesse d’être condamnée par une large partie de la population sénégalaise, lasse de la guerre et de ses effets dévastateurs, et qui appelle de ses vœux pieux la reprise du processus de paix suspendu depuis 2005 et le retour d’une paix définitive. Mais comment ce conflit, qui a éclaté dans les années 1980, a pu s’éterniser jusqu’à nos jours, alors que dans la même période le Sénégal est cité comme un modèle de stabilité et de démocratie dans la sous-région africaine? Faut-il alors internationaliser la gestion de cette crise ou plutôt poursuivre les efforts nationaux de sa résolution durable par des initiatives essentiellement sénégalaises? Le réveil de l’irrédentisme en Casamance remonte au 26 décembre 1982, date de la marche de protestation de foules nombreuses dans les grandes artères de Ziguinchor, ville principale du sud du pays. Les manifestants vont commettre ce qui allait être véritablement le signe majeur déclencheur du conflit: ils se sont emparés du drapeau sénégalais qui flottait au-dessus du Palais du Gouverneur, provoquant la panique des autorités centrales, qui ordonnèrent à l’armée de tirer sur les manifestants, faisant des centaines de victimes. C’est dans ce contexte que s’installa progressivement un conflit armé entre le Mouvement des forces démocratiques de Casamance (MFDC) et l’État du Sénégal. D’autres facteurs politiques, économiques, socioculturels et stratégiques ont aussi contribué à la genèse et à l’aggravation de la crise. La Casamance est séparée du reste du pays par une seule voie d’accès assez étroite, ce qui lui donne un air de péninsule, entre le Sénégal, la Gambie et la Guinée-Bissau. Cette configuration, imposée par le découpage artificiel des frontières africaines, s’est en réalité dressée comme l’un des obstacles à l’identification de certains Casamançais à une nation et à un État sénégalais devenus «étrangers» à leurs yeux, comme à leur cœur. D’une superficie de près de 30 000 kilomètres carrés, la Casamance est traversée par le fleuve Sénégal long de 300 kilomètres. La basse vallée de
celle-ci est constituée par un long et étroit estuaire aux rivages bordés de mangroves. Le climat qui y règne est de type tropical – humide avec une longue saison des pluies et une végétation très abondante, ce qui contraste avec le reste du Sénégal, qui est généralement désertique. Bref, cette partie stratégique du pays, notamment du point de vue de l’eau, riche en ressources naturelles, s’est imposée comme le «grenier» du Sénégal. À cela, s’ajoute le potentiel économique que procure le développement touristique de la région. Tout ceci a sans doute contribué à exacerber les ambitions indépendantistes et surtout à durcir l’aile combattante du MFDC. D’aucuns avancent également que l’un des catalyseurs de la guerre serait une promesse d’auto-détermination 20 ans après l’indépendance du pays – c’est-à-dire en 1980 – qu’aurait faite le premier président du Sénégal, Léopold Sédar Senghor, aux communautés casamançaises en 1960. En tout cas, cette guerre n’est pas étrangère à l’absence jusqu’ici de la part de l’État d’initiatives administratives, politiques et économiques audacieuses et claires, afin de consolider davantage l’unité et le sentiment d’appartenance des Casamançais à la nation. Faut-il avoir peur d’édifier un régime administratif spécial pour la Casamance et adopter un plan exceptionnel de développement économique d’envergure pour cette zone si cela est le prix à payer pour installer définitivement la paix sur l’ensemble du territoire national? Cette perspective n’est pas dénuée de pertinence, pourvu qu’elle ne remette pas en cause les fondements de l’État du Sénégal, l’unité de la nation et l’intégrité du territoire. Depuis longtemps, les autorités de l’État comme la société civile sénégalaise et certaines factions du MFDC, ont affiché leurs volontés communes d’arriver à une paix durable en Casamance. Ni l’accord de paix de 1991-1992 ni les accords ultérieurs (2001 et 2004) n’atteindront cet objectif. Au fond, les conditions dans lesquelles les accords de paix et de cessez-le-feu (1991, 1999, 2004) ont été négociés présageaient déjà de leur échec. La concorde nationale peut difficilement se concevoir à ce stade sans l’identification exhaustive des véritables entraves à la dynamique du processus de paix lui-même. L’un des facteurs négatifs réside dans la physionomie du MFDC. À ce jour, personne n’a véritablement pris le soin et le temps nécessaires pour comprendre précisément la nomenclature du MFDC. Il est clair
que le MFDC n’opère pas suivant les schémas classiques des mouvements de revendication ou de libération du même genre, ce qui rend encore plus complexe le processus de paix: il ne dispose pas d’une aile militaire subordonnée directement à une aile politique unifiée. L’enjeu ici sera alors de soutenir les efforts d’unification d’un mouvement complètement atomisé (Aile civile, Aile Nord, Aile civile extérieure, Aile militaire, Aile extérieure, Front Nord de l’aile combattante…). Pour plusieurs, cette unification doit passer par l’organisation de discussions internes du mouvement, devant permettre d’identifier ses dirigeants légitimes qui vont conduire les négociations avec l’État. Même si les conditions restent à définir, ce processus doit associer toutes les communautés de la Casamance, incluant la diaspora, les jeunes, les religieux et surtout les groupements féminins devenus incontournables de la vie économique, politique et socioculturelle du sud du Sénégal. La vigilance doit naturellement être optimale dans tout soutien d’unification du mouvement, afin d’éviter que les actions ne produisent l’effet l’inverse: renforcer le MFDC dans le sens de la pérennisation du conflit. L’objectif doit être exclusivement de permettre au MFDC d’élire ses dirigeants, qui auraient pour tâche de définir une plate-forme revendicative consensuelle et de mener les négociations de paix.
Soldats du Mouvement des forces démocratiques de Casamance (MDFC)
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outes les guerres se terminent autour d’une table de négociation. Il est impérieux que l’État et les responsables d’un MFDC unifié se rapprochent enfin pour des discussions franches et ouvertes. L’implication des deux pays frontaliers (Gambie et Guinée Bissau) dans ce processus semble inévitable, mais celle-ci doit s’opérer avec sincérité, dans le respect des souverainetés de chaque entité et des orientations dégagées par le Sénégal, principal concerné par cette crise. Dans ce contexte, il y aura lieu d’élaborer un dispositif plus global en matière de coopération devant inclure un système d’alerte rapide abouti aux fins d’échanges d’informations et la mutualisation des ressources pour davantage sécuriser les frontières communes (patrouilles conjointes, contrôles de franchissement des frontières et présence militaire renforcée) et lutter contre les trafics (de drogue, d’armes…) qui alimentent la guerre et les divisions. L’approche que semble poursuivre l’État est de trouver une solution exclusivement sénégalaise. Cependant, la stratégie privilégiée jusqu’ici doit être réorientée vers une gestion plus efficiente et globale de la crise. Pour être viable, toute démarche doit être cohérente, dépasser les nombreux clivages dans le choix des interlocuteurs et être conduite par des émissaires d’une intégrité incontestable. Ceci implique que dans la détermination des points de
toute négociation, aucune revendication ne devrait être ignorée. Il serait illusoire de s’attendre à des résultats concluants dans la perspective de futurs dialogues crédibles si certains sujets essentiels n’étaient pas gérés adéquatement de bout à bout, dans un cadre sans équivoque: l’unité nationale et l’intégrité du territoire ne sont pas des éléments négociables. Dès lors, il faudra traiter des questions de fond devant créer les vraies conditions de cette négociation (tels le plan de retour des exilés, le sort des prisonniers, la question des poursuites pénales lancées contre certains acteurs de la crise) et d’autres problématiques tels les contours de la réconciliation, l’indemnisation des familles des victimes, le problème des terres, le désarmement intégral, la démobilisation, l’intégration sociale des rebelles, le déminage complet et le désenclavement du sud du pays. Pourquoi se dispenser d’une conférence nationale de paix sur la Casamance quand d’autres pays du continent africain ont multiplié des expériences positives en ce sens? Le problème casamançais n’a de nos jours jamais été autant évoqué dans le milieu intellectuel, politique, religieux et culturel. Serait-il devenu une cause nationale? En tout cas, cette attention particulière trahit un ras-le-bol général exprimé par une large franche de la population, en particulier suite à la recrudescence de la violence dans le sud du pays, depuis le mois de février dernier, causant encore des pertes humaines importantes autant du côté de l’armée que de celui des rebelles qui multiplient d’ailleurs les incursions dans les villages et se livrent à des pillages et braquages répétés de véhicules et de magasins. Le peuple sénégalais est plus que jamais résolu à préserver l’unité nationale du pays et à trouver une sortie de crise au problème casamançais. Ce sujet sera certainement inscrit à l’ordre du jour des débats de la prochaine élection présidentielle prévue en 2012. Comme pour la majorité des élections du genre, il est attendu des futurs candidats qu’ils présentent aux Sénégalais une politique viable de relance économique du pays. Comment celle-ci pourrait être envisagée de façon réaliste si la région la plus riche et stratégique du pays est en proie à des violences quotidiennes? Autant dire que pour être crédible, tout prétendant au fauteuil présidentiel devra soumettre au jugement des électeurs un vrai plan de paix pour la Casamance. | GB
PHOTOGRAPH: MAX S. GERBER
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On the State and Future of Violence
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GB picks the brain of one of the world’s brainiest on the roles of government, civilization and culture in disciplining man’s brutality Conversation with STEVEN PINKER
GB: In historical terms, how violent is today’s world? SP: Not very. The median homicide rate across countries in the world in the first decade of the 21st century was around six per 100,000 people per year. Compare this to the homicide rate in medieval Europe of around 50 – in some places, as high as 100 – or to the rate of violent death in tribal societies, which exceeds 500. If you count not just homicides, but try to estimate all of the violent deaths, the global average is around eight. That is much better than in the 20th century, where a very pessimistic estimate of the human damage from all wars, genocides and war-induced and man-made famines was around 60 (not counting the homicides). No matter how you measure the mayhem, the present stands out as exceptionally peaceful. GB: Why is the present so much more peaceful than the last century? SP: Bruce Russett and John Oneal have presented evidence to the effect that Kant got it right more than 200 years ago when he proposed that democracy, trade and international institutions are, in general, pacifying forces. All of these have shot up during the past 65 years, and all are statistical predictors of peaceable relations – holding other factors constant. Also, thanks to technologies of easy transportation and communication, we are living in a global village in which the lives of others are more immediate to us. The cliché that the Vietnam war was unpopular because it was the first war to be brought into people’s living rooms may well have some truth to it. More nebulously, there have been ideological changes. Utopian ideologies that exalt the nation, race, religion or class above the individual are slowly being superseded by a humanism that puts the flourishing of individuals first.
SP: There is a crescent of armed conflict extending from sub-Saharan Africa through to the Middle East and Southwest Asia, into Southeast Asia. It is hard to pinpoint the causes of the violence because, across
Steven Pinker is Harvard College Professor of Psychology at Harvard University.
GB: Are human beings violent animals – at their core – or might some be born magnanimous?
He is the author of eight books, including The
SP: We all have competing tendencies that go in different directions, though the mix varies from person to person. Most people harbour violent revenge fantasies, and enjoy seeing these acted out in plays and films. People can easily be swept into a rampage going on around them. We have inherited circuits in the brain from our furry ancestors that make us lash out in rage. On the other hand, we also are equipped with faculties that pull us away from violence – what Lincoln called “the better angels of our nature” – such as empathy, self-control, a moral sense, and reason.
Language Instinct, How the Mind Works, and most recently, The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined.
GB: To what extent do these tendencies change in the collective? SP: Every culture has norms and taboos that govern people’s sense of what makes for a decent and honourable person. Over the millennia, a ‘culture of honour,’ in which a man had to respond to any affront with violence in order to maintain a credible deterrent, has given way to a ‘culture of dignity,’ in which a man has to control his passions in order to distance himself from boors, peasants and roughnecks. Moreover, in most societies, the range of groups that are considered to be within one’s circle of concern and empathy has steadily increased. In respectable company, one can no longer make casual jokes about rape, the beating of women or children, or the laziness or stupidity of racial minorities. Yet another proliferation of individual psychology into collective norms is the range of behaviours that are considered morally punishable. By default, the human mind is apt to moralize a vast range of behaviours, including deference to authority, conformity to social conventions, as well as spiritual and physical purity. With the spread of modernity and liberal humanism, the sphere of legitimate moral
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GB: What is the most violent part of the globe, and why?
countries, bad things tend to go together: extreme poverty; bad governments; illiteracy and ignorance; lack of commercial infrastructure; marginalization of women; bulges of young men; and militant Islamist, nationalist and Marxist ideologies.
concerns has been shrinking to just respect for autonomy, avoidance of harm, and the enforcement of fairness. Paradoxically, less morality means less violence, as there are fewer grounds for legitimate punishment of ‘sinners’ like blasphemers, heretics, pacifists, social critics, homosexuals, and unchaste sisters and daughters. Some of the sectors of the world that have maintained the greatest amount of traditional morality are sectors with a great deal of violence.
Decent governments with a competent and reasonably non-corrupt police and judiciary are probably the best safeguards against individual and gang violence within their borders.
GB: How violent will the world of the next 20 to 30 years be? SP: Only a charlatan could answer that question with confidence. Many trends are pushing in the direction of non-violence: an increased abhorrence of war among developed states; taboos against invasion, conquest and the use of nuclear weapons; the decline of militant communism; pent-up demand for democracy; and the empowerment of women. On the other hand, there are several known unknowns: militant Islamism; environmental degradation; revanchist movements in Russia or China; Chavismo movements in the developing world. There are even more unknown unknowns: a kook with a nuke; or an eschatological ideology fermenting in the mind of a cunning fanatic – somewhere – who will take over a major country and plunge the world back into war. GB: Are the sources of human violence likely to change in the foreseeable future? SP: It is possible – though by no means necessary – that climate change will lead to wars over water or arable land, or over incompetent governments that cannot feed their populations. Perhaps the maledominated cohorts of the girl-aborting countries in Asia will make trouble. Ideologies are a wild card: the human mind is inventive in coming up with reasons to demonize and dehumanize other groups.
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GB: Are modern electronic or social media enablers of new ideologies, or do they make their development more difficult?
SP: In general – though not always – freedom of speech and communication have been liberalizing and pacifying forces. The explosion of printing and literacy in the 17th and 18th centuries preceded the Enlightenment and its associated humanitarian revolution, which saw the abolition of slavery, judicial torture, blood sports, duelling, witch-hunts and other barbaric practices. The electronic revolution in the 1950s and 1960s probably contributed to the civil rights revolution and the rebirth of Western pacifism. Sunlight is the best disinfectant, and open exchange of ideas can debunk toxic theories – such
as that witches cause crop failures, Jews poison the wells or control the world economy, infidels go to hell, Africans are animalistic, and so on. New and old social media can help to solve the collective action problem, in which no single member of a large class of dissidents is willing to stand up alone and be picked off by government goons, whereas a large number who agree to rise up at once can challenge even the strongest government. No one can really predict whether Al-Jazeera, Facebook and cell phones will lead to Arab democracy, but many historians believe that the European and American Enlightenments were made possible by the Republic of Letters and the networks of coffee houses and pubs in cosmopolitan cities. GB: Should political leaders be more concerned, as a matter of policy, with intra-state murder rates or the prospect of inter-state wars? SP: If they are concerned about minimizing violent deaths, they should be concerned with the extremes at each end of the destruction scale: the large number of murders – each with a death toll of one – and the small chance of really big wars – such as the two world wars in the last century – with death tolls in the millions or tens of millions. The sum of the deaths from all the deadly quarrels in the middle – riots, skirmishes, small and medium-sized wars – are dwarfed by the murders and world wars. GB: Are states still the lead players in minimizing intra- and inter-state violence? What are the roles, in this new century, of other players? SP: Decent governments with a competent and reasonably non-corrupt police and judiciary are probably the best safeguards against individual and gang violence within their borders. However, the international community has increasingly played a role. Engagement with the world economy lowers the risk of civil war and genocide. Belonging to intergovernmental organizations lowers the risk of entering into inter-state wars. And peacekeepers from the UN and other international bodies are provably effective in preventing civil wars from reigniting, as Joshua Goldstein shows in his new book, Winning the War on War. GB: Would a world with zero political violence necessarily be a good thing? SP: As long as it did not come at the price of an increase in non-political violence (homicides, slavery, warlordism), then yes. Canada and the US – to take a ready example – do not seem to have suffered any harm from having had no political violence between them for a couple of centuries.
GB: Might political violence – say, in the form of humanitarian interventions – still be necessary to address some of the non-political violence you mention? (See the Feature article by Michael Morgan at p. 14, and the Nez à Nez debate at p. 56.) SP: It will be interesting to see whether the world’s governments will develop a systematic framework for humanitarian interventions – analogous to the way in which a decent criminal justice system reduces violence within countries. World government remains a fantasy of science-fiction fans, and neither the UN General Assembly (a soapbox for despots) nor the Security Council (with two authoritarian behemoths wielding vetoes) will assume the role – though, as mentioned, it is important to recognize the effectiveness of peacekeeping forces. It is possible that the world’s democracies are groping and bumbling their way toward implementing a consistent and coherent ‘Responsibility to Protect’ policy. One of the impediments is ‘Black-Hawk-Down’ casualty dread, which seems to have chilled enthusiasm for interventions in non-strategic failed states. We do not yet have a culture of awe and adulation for the courage and sacrifice of peacekeepers and humanitarian interveners as we have had for millennia for aggressive warriors. Another impediment is a well-founded nervousness about unilateral interventions – or lopsided coalitions of the willing – such as in the last Iraq war, where it is not easy to distinguish the self-deluded or self-interested motives of a single leader from a legitimate and disinterested humanitarian intervention. A third is the necessary contradiction between the principles of sovereignty and of human rights: on the one hand, it is generally a good thing when borders are sacrosanct and the temptation of irredentist, imperialistic or opportunistic conquest is taken off the table; on the other, we do not cede to despots carte blanche to murder their citizens with impunity. These are not necessarily insoluble problems, but they certainly are difficult ones.
SP: When it comes to individual predators and thugs, deterrence and incapacitation are probably indispensable. But when it comes to organized political change, then non-violent movements are more effective – at least statistically. According PHOTOGRAPH: COURTESY OF HARVARD UNIVERSITY
rack their brains for examples, and so the violent ones dominate. Only if you compile statistics will you discover how effective non-violence can be. GB: Why this apparent potency of non-violence? SP: One eternal problem with violence is that it is attractive to many young men as a form of recreation, and as an opportunity to plunder and rape. So once a programme of violence is legitimated, it will draw in thugs and psychopaths, who will in turn corrupt the movement. Non-violent movements are less heart-poundingly thrilling, they attract a larger demographic – including women, older people and moderate citizens of all kinds – and their followers tend to keep their eye on the original goals. A second problem is that violence invites retaliation, igniting a cycle in which each side – blinded by self-deception – believes that it is morally pure and only responding to a provocation from the other side, while third parties do not know whom to believe or trust. That impedes the recruitment of new members to the cause, as well as the support of external parties. Indeed, when a guerrilla or terrorist group escalates to violence against innocent civilians (see the Query article by Arabinda Acharya and Tom Quiggin at p. 26), large segments of the population support a brutal crackdown, figuring that the fighters are just out for
Paradoxically, less morality means less violence, as there are fewer grounds for legitimate punishment of ‘sinners’ like blasphemers, heretics, pacifists, social critics, homosexuals, and unchaste sisters and daughters.
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GB: Is non-violence an effective strategy for dealing with violence, or is it patently naÏve?
to Max Abrahms, at least 93 percent of terrorist movements fail (see the Feature article by Daveed Gartenstein-Ross at p. 20), whereas only two-thirds of movements that rely on economic sanctions fail. And, according to Erica Chenoweth and Maria Stephan, half of non-violent protest movements succeed, whereas only a quarter of the violent ones do. This is seldom appreciated, because people just
À PARAÎTRE EN SEPTEMBRE CHAIRE RAOUL-DANDURAND L’Observatoire sur le Moyen-Orient et l’Afrique du Nord de la Chaire Raoul-Dandurand en études stratégiques présente :
senseless mayhem, and would be no better as leaders than the incumbents. By contrast, when a movement is consistently non-violent, and when all of the violence comes from government repression, the movement can mobilize an increasing proportion of the populace and peel away internal and external support from the other side. If, at the same time, the movement engages in nonviolent resistance, it can frustrate the pretensions of the country’s leaders that they are presiding over a viable, well-functioning society. In this case, it has some probability – though of course, no guarantee – of prevailing. GB: Which trends in intra-state and inter-state violence concern you today? SP: Militant Islamism, irredentist nationalism, and vicious little Maoist movements – since ideologies can rack up high body counts. Tribal turf battles and score-settlings also concern me – particularly in post-Arab Spring countries. There is also the economic collapse of vulnerable poor countries, as well as countries with lopsided gender ratios and real or de facto polygyny. GB: Can ruthlessness in international politics yield any good at all?
G.I contre Jihad Le match nul
PIERRE-ALAIN CLÉMENT La confrontation entre George W. Bush et Oussama ben Laden s’est terminée sur un prévisible match nul. L’auteur expose les raisons de cet échec mutuel en démontrant que les stratégies des deux combattants ne pouvaient qu’exacerber les tensions. ■
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SP: Not that I can see – at least, if you distinguish ‘ruthlessness’ from resolve, deterrence and strength. GB: In intra-state dynamics (e.g. majority-minority scenarios), can ruthlessness ever lay the ground for eventual magnanimity? SP: This tends not to happen. The genocidal governments of the 20th century all came to power by murdering their opponents. Chenoweth and Stephan show that movements that gain power through violence are more likely to be oppressive and non-democratic once they are in place. GB: Are most revolutions – even ones that usher in peaceable or democratic governments – not born of violence? SP: You mean like the bloody ‘Canadian Revolution’ of 1867? I do not know of any statistical studies, but I suspect that democracies that grew out of acts of parliament, or out of Glorious, Velvet or colour revolutions, tend to have happier endings than those that grew out of regicides and insurrections. The American Revolution may be an exception that proves the rule. This was a violent revolution that did give the world a more or less democratic country, but at the start it contained the most undemocratic institution imaginable – slavery – which four score and seven years later led to the worst war in the country’s history. And even today, the US remains one of the more violent of the advanced democracies, with a high homicide rate and a pronounced tendency to get involved in wars. | GB
Michael Cotey Morgan holds the Raymond Pryke Chair at Trinity College at the University of
Ten years after the formal launch of the ‘Responsibility to Protect’ doctrine, we are coming to terms with the idea that, in striving for the good, we will always fall short, and that perfection is always the enemy of this good BY MICHAEL COTEY MORGAN
Toronto, where he teaches international relations and history.
THREE TRAGEDIES of HUMANITARIAN INTERVENTION umanitarian interventions are always tragic. But this does not mean that they are always a bad idea.
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Advocates of intervention are now heralding the Libyan rebels’ success
against Muammar Gaddafi as a model for future wars against other dictators. Gaddafi’s fate has dealt a blow to the opponents of intervention, who warned before NATO began bombing Libya that the alliance would kill thousands of civilians and – at best – bring about a stalemate. The argument over the wisdom and ethics of intervention in Bosnia, Kosovo and Afghanistan followed a similar pattern, and made for strange bedfellows – for instance, by uniting those on the far left and the far right in their opposition to these campaigns. Some critics have recently dismissed the whole notion of humanitarian intervention as, in their tart phrase, “a solution from hell” (see the Nez à Nez debate on humanitarian intervention and national interests at p. 56). It is too simple to say that those who take this position are wrong. But it is also too simple to embrace (or reject) those who offer unalloyed support for intervention. Both sides of the debate misunderstand the problem because they misunderstand the nature of humanitarian intervention. It is not a straightforward matter of weighing the greater good against the lesser evil, but rather a necessarily tragic undertaking that requires us to strive for the good with the full knowledge that, in the process, we will always fall short. The tragedies of intervention are unavoidable. The late American theologian and commentator Reinhold Niebuhr wrote insightfully about tragedy in international affairs. “For Niebuhr tragedy is always linked to a recognition of our own finitude,” philosopher Jean Bethke Elshtain told an interviewer shortly after the start of the last Iraq war, which revived interest in
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ILLUSTRATION: GARY TAXALI
Niebuhr’s work. On this view, tragedy springs from the tension between what we know we must do, on the one hand, and what, on the other hand, we are actually capable of doing – because of our limited resources, our imperfect understanding of the world, or even our own mortality. “If men or nations do evil in a good cause; if they cover themselves with guilt in order to fulfill some high responsibility; or if they sacrifice some high value for a higher or equal one they make a tragic choice,” Niebuhr wrote in 1952. In statecraft, pursuing the good is often unavoidably bound up with doing wrong. One might contemplate abandoning statecraft altogether in order to avoid causing any harm whatever, but the cost of this perfectionist approach is even higher. “We cannot purge ourselves of the sin and guilt in which we are involved by the moral ambiguities of politics without also disavowing responsibility for the creative possibilities of justice,” Niebuhr argued. One does not have to share Niebuhr’s religious views to appreciate the wisdom of this insight. In his reflections on Machiavelli, for instance, Isaiah Berlin observed that, in politics, upholding one virtue can mean not just foregoing, but actually sacrificing, another. The implications for global affairs are stark and uncomfortable – especially when it comes to questions that we like to think of as ethically unambiguous, such as the defence of human rights. Of course, human rights have always been an intensely political idea. They are not above or outside of politics. Because of the ambiguity of the precise meaning of ‘human rights,’ politicians can easily
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It is not a straightforward matter of weighing the greater good against the lesser evil, but rather a necessarily tragic undertaking that requires us to strive for the good, knowing that we will always fall short.
mould the concept to serve their own ends. During the Cold War, the most abusive governments did not hesitate to proclaim themselves the champions of human rights – regardless of whether reality bore any resemblance to their rhetoric. Today, it is futile to hope that international institutions will offer reliable assessments of governments’ track records in this area – not least because some of the most egregious offenders sit on the UN Human Rights Council. So one must not be naïve when a government (or any other actor) uses the rhetoric of human rights to make its case. In the early stages of the ongoing war in Afghani-
stan, both the war’s supporters and its opponents offered humanitarian arguments to justify their positions. In addition to the obvious national security rationale for the war, the Bush administration and its Western European allies (including Germany’s Social Democratic Chancellor Gerhard Schröder) insisted that overthrowing the Taliban was morally necessary in order to defend the human rights of ordinary Afghans, especially women. Their opponents, including thousands of anti-war protestors, maintained that the use of force would do more to harm human rights than to protect them. Even the Taliban got in on the act. A month into the war, it issued a statement declaring that the invasion was causing a “human catastrophe” and, citing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, called on the “citizens of the world” to oppose the American-led campaign. Even though human rights have emerged over the last 40 years as the global language of the ‘good,’ it would be foolish to think that one side’s invocation of human rights in a dispute is necessarily as valid as the other’s. Moreover, it is almost impossible to imagine a case in which worldwide opinion would unanimously agree that human rights were being violated. Waiting for an international consensus to emerge before taking action would mean waiting forever. This is not to reject the idea of human rights as illegitimate, but rather to highlight that it is subject to political manipulation and the vagaries of public opinion. In the West, domestic public opinion weighs heavily in leaders’ decisions about whether to intervene in a particular crisis. Voters tend to agree that, when a country’s government threatens to massacre its citizens, it is legitimate to step in in order to save lives. A public outcry can doubtless spur leaders into action. But public opinion is as mercurial as it is powerful, which highlights the first tragedy of intervention: citizens’ empathy for the suffering can embolden a leader to act, while their impatience can just as quickly become a burden. If an intervention – once underway – fails to make quick progress toward its goal, voters may start to doubt its wisdom and demand that it be brought to an end. In Libya, as days of NATO bombing turned into weeks, and weeks into months, previously strong public support for the campaign softened into indifference. Had Gaddafi’s government not collapsed so suddenly, one could well imagine that same indifference turning into opposition. Western leaders would have felt pressure either to scale back their goals – perhaps to seek a negotiated peace with Gaddafi, instead of his overthrow – or to abandon the campaign entirely. This dynamic has been at work in Afghanistan. In recent months, the US government has backed away from its original ambition of forging a strong democratic govern-
ment in Kabul that respected human rights. The new goal is simple stability, including perhaps a deal with the Taliban. Given the war’s costs and prognosis, it could hardly be otherwise. There is little hope of preventing democratic public opinion from fluctuating in response to events, especially when it comes to the use of force. This dynamic clearly has its benefits, since it can keep political leaders accountable for the consequences of their decisions. However, in cases where it is necessary to take the long view and be patient – as with every humanitarian intervention – this fickleness can just as easily transform public opinion from an asset that makes action possible into a liability that makes it unsustainable.
How to respond to simultaneous crises, or deal with how public opinion limits the action of democratic leaders? Why should one decide to intervene in Libya, but not Syria? Or in Kosovo, but not Darfur? of an intervention within a particular country’s frontiers. No matter how well-intentioned, its effects will ripple outward across borders – perhaps with undesirable results. So while the ‘Responsibility to Protect’ is admirable – even necessary – it is not a strategy. In fact, it stands in tension with the rudiments of sound strategic thinking. Honest leaders will recognize that they cannot square idealist intentions with strategic constraints. It is dangerous to pretend that they can. Take, for example, the cases of Libya and Syria, in which undemocratic governments used force to kill civilians who voiced their opposition to the regime. In the first case, NATO intervened to help the rebels. In the second case, it has done nothing. If the allies were to claim that humanitarian principles were their utmost concern in both cases, voters could well interpret NATO’s divergent approaches to the two crises as inconsistent at best, and hypocritical at worst. They might conclude that the principles of the ‘Responsibility to Protect’ are just fig leaves to cover cynical raisons d’état. But if Western leaders were frank about the crucial differences between the two cases – not least that it would be much harder to overthrow Assad than Gaddafi, and that toppling the Syrian government might well cause a humanitarian crisis in its own right, or even a regional war – they could make clear their commitment to humanitarian principles without denying the profound difficulty of turning them into reality. Voters need to understand that trying to do everything means doing nothing. Such candour is not the stuff of inspirational speeches, but it is essential in the ongoing struggle to maintain public support for the concept of intervention.
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o when should one act? The ground-breaking 2001 report of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS) offers a few criteria, which bear a close resemblance to the traditional principles of just war theory. The crisis must be dire enough to justify the use of force; the intervention must be undertaken with the right intent and under the right authority (ideally, but not necessarily, the endorsement of the UN Security Council); all other possible solutions must be exhausted first; the force used must be proportional to the situation; and there must be a good chance that intervention will do more good than harm. These guidelines are useful, but insufficient. They offer no solutions to some problems of vital practical importance. How, for instance, should one respond to simultaneous crises, or deal with the ways in which public opinion limits the freedom of action of democratic leaders? By what principles should one decide to intervene in Libya, but not Syria (see the Query article on Syria by Fady Fadel at p. 34)? Or in Kosovo, but not Darfur? And, above all, when one decides to intervene, what goals should one pursue, and how should one go about achieving them? It would be too much to expect this level of detail from the ICISS, since its purpose was to lay down general principles. But this does not diminish the urgency of such questions, or indeed the need for leaders to address them in a way that simultaneously honours the humanitarian imperative for action and recognizes the inevitable constraints on action. These problems point to the second tragedy of humanitarian intervention: the incompatibility between the humanitarian imperative for action and the strategic necessity of choice. The logic of intervention is universalist. It demands action to stop egregious human rights violations in every case – no matter when or where they happen. But good strategy requires distinguishing between
competing demands – opting to do one thing, and rejecting another. It entails not just the pursuit of admirable ends, but also serious calculations about how to use available resources to pursue a country’s top priorities. And it requires thinking not just about the immediate effects of a particular policy, but also about longer-term consequences. It is impossible to anticipate every second- and third-order effect that an intervention might have on the stability of a country or a region, but it is likewise unacceptable to pretend that one can confine the consequences
andour is also essential in explaining exactly what the use of force is meant to achieve. Intervention may be able to prevent hell, but it cannot create heaven. This is the third tragedy, and it requires finding the right balance between trying to do too little and hoping to do too much. A minimalist would aim only to prevent a threatened massacre by pushing back the aggressors, and giving their targets a chance to escape. But this would provide only a short-term fix, since the aggressors could easily regroup and begin the genocide anew. At the opposite end of the spectrum, a maximalist would try not just to stop the violence, but to transform (or upend) the conditions that made the violence possible in the first place.
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The logic of intervention demands action to stop egregious human rights violations in every case – no matter when or where they happen. But good strategy requires distinguishing between competing demands.
In the most extreme cases, the goal would be to overthrow the government and build a new liberal, democratic regime from scratch. In the early years of the last decade, this was precisely the vision of the most optimistic advocates of war in Afghanistan and Iraq. However, those wars have demonstrated exactly how expensive such ambitions can be, and how hard it is to turn them into reality. Between these minimalist and maximalist extremes lies an unenticing middle ground. Over the last 12 years, this has been the fate of Kosovo, where genocide no longer threatens, but stability remains a long way off. Such a model will never set idealist hearts aflutter, and may well elicit pointed questions about the viability of intervention in the first place. If Kosovo is the best-case scenario, can intervention ever be worth the financial and military costs – to say nothing of the ethical risks, particularly relating to the threat to civilian lives? But in practice, if it is insufficient to be minimalist about intervention, it is also impossible to be maximalist. The task of the strategist is to strike a delicate balance between lofty aspirations and what it is actually possible to achieve on the ground in a given country – recognizing all the while that idealist hopes are certain to be disappointed. Leaders never get to choose between the terrible and the perfect. The number of desirable – even
urgent – goals always outstrips the capacities of even the richest country. And the last decade of American fiscal and military turmoil reminds us that unmatched power is not the same thing as unlimited power. Well-meaning leaders may confront terrible dilemmas – when public opinion and basic ethical principles demand action to stop a humanitarian crisis – but insufficient resources and strategic concerns mean that action will make the crisis worse instead of better. War is not the realm of certainty, but of probability. It offers no sure outcomes – either in a military or a moral sense. As Clausewitz put it, “no other human activity is so continuously or universally bound up with chance.” But in cases where action is ethically imperative, a leader cannot simply sit on the sidelines for fear of what chance might bring. Niebuhr saw the heart of the matter: “We take, and must continue to take, morally hazardous actions to preserve our civilization.” He had the Cold War in mind, but his insight is just as true today, where human rights are at stake. There is no scientific, foolproof way to ensure a good outcome in cases of extreme human suffering, whether in Syria or the Congo. There is no way to guarantee that military force – no matter how noble its goals, or how judiciously it is used – will not kill innocent civilians. Much depends on a leader’s good judgement – a virtue for which battalions of analysts and pundits offer no substitute. Because the point of war is always to create a better peace, it is essential to be honest – with one’s citizens and one’s allies – about exactly what one’s goals are, and how one proposes to achieve them. This means thinking not just in humanitarian or ethical terms, but in explicitly political and strategic ones. As circumstances on the ground change, those goals may well change too. Still, governments must always recognize the gulf between what they want to do and what they actually can do, and how they will use the resources that they have to create the post-war settlement that they wish to see. Idealism is not diminished by recognizing its limits, nor does clear-eyed strategic thinking corrupt the humanitarian impulse that it aims to serve. The three tragedies of humanitarian intervention mean that we have to reach for lofty goals even while knowing that we can never achieve them, and that we have to strive to do good even while knowing that we will do harm along the way. These tensions cannot be resolved, and leaders should not try to resolve them. Instead, they should understand that, in statecraft, the perfect is always the enemy of the good. They should look for ways to marry national interests and humanitarian demands. And they should think strategically and pragmatically about the highest ethical imperatives. The point is not to overcome the tragedies, but to learn to live with them. | GB
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Austerity, resource scarcity and technological advances will empower Al Qaeda and other violent non-state actors, just as they weaken certain already-fragile states DAVEED GARTENSTEIN-ROSS
Daveed Gartenstein-Ross is the author of Bin Laden’s Legacy (Wiley, 2011) and a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
en years after the 9/11 attacks, US officials are speaking openly of Al Qaeda’s impending death. Defense secretary Leon Panetta declared in early July of this year that the US is “within reach” of “strategically defeating” the jihadist group – an assessment that the Washington Post has confirmed is shared by many intelligence analysts. This view is questionable on its face: after all, we have heard similar official proclamations that did not bear out. But it is all the more so because it examines the group in a vacuum, without considering major geopolitical trends that could well strengthen violent non-state actors in the coming years. The second decade following the September 11th
lizing poorer governments on the brink of collapse. The second defining trend is resource scarcity. The past two decades have seen unprecedented global growth – especially in China and India. This growth has put a strain on the world’s resources. One early and vital indicator has been oil, where growing demand has outstripped the pace of new discoveries. Skyrocketing oil prices have had a direct impact on individuals’ transportation costs. The cost of agricultural inputs has risen – driven by rising fertilizer prices and spikes in the cost of bringing produce from farms to the markets. Rising food prices, in turn, create desperation for those who worry that their basic needs will go unfulfilled. The third defining trend is technological advances that empower non-state actors who wish to overturn the status quo. Technology has played a clear role in the Arab Spring revolts, allowing revolutionaries to organize and disseminate their message. But technology also played a role in the violence that wracked London and other parts of Britain this past August, where lofty aspirations of democratic change took a backseat to the violent lust for mammon (see the Tête à Tête interview with Steven Pinker at p. 8). Technological developments can make upheavals hit an already unstable system at a heretofore unimaginable pace. Not all of the changes likely to be brought by this coming decade of fragility will be negative. Few tears will be shed for the likes of Tunisia’s Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak or Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi – dictators who deprived their own citizens of so much. Yet the overthrow of even a repressive, despised ruler does not necessarily mean that better days lie ahead – as the aftermath of Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi’s overthrow in Iran demonstrates. And even if the already deposed leaders of the Arab world – as well as other leaders who are soon to fall – are replaced by something better, this does not mean that the death knell will sound for groups
TERRORISM & THE COMING DECADE OF
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attacks and the onset of the poorly named ‘war on terror’ is likely to be defined by the fragility of the nation-state system. Three overarching trends are driving this fragility. First, the world is entering an era of austerity caused by record national debts and slumping economies. This makes developed countries less likely to sustain their extravagant counter-terrorism budgets – thus creating the prospect that future attacks may be more likely to succeed. Fewer government jobs and cutbacks in social services may produce social unrest. And developed countries, faced with their own internal problems, will be more hesitant to devote resources to stabi-
ILLUSTRATION: CHRISTIAN NORTHEAST
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As numerous governments are faced with cutbacks – and possible unrest – where will this leave their counterterrorism efforts, foreign aid budgets, and overall appetite for trying to bring stability to remote lands?
like Al Qaeda. Indeed, when looked at through the eyes of Al Qaeda and other violent non-state actors, the three converging trends of austerity, resource scarcity and technological advancement provide a great deal of opportunity. The US economy is in shambles; its national debt more than US $14 trillion. National debt, as is reasonably well known, is not an inherent evil. As the economists Robert Heilbroner and Lester Thurow once noted, “The government sector, like the business sector, also can justify its rising debt in terms of an increasing stock of real assets – dams and roads, skills and knowledge, and the like.” However, the US’s current staggering level of debt is larger than one could see as a reasonable investment in its economic future. Moreover, many of the past decade’s expenditures – including the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the mushrooming of homeland security and intelligence agencies – have been defensive in nature. Rather than building American infrastructure, these expenditures were designed singularly to prevent hostile forces from taking American lives or destroying property. The national debt threatens the US’s fight against non-state terrorist groups, and in fact threatens the country’s continuing role as a superpower. Harvard University historian Niall Ferguson wrote in 2009 that the US’s “ability to manage its finances is closely tied to its ability to remain the predominant global military power.” Not mincing words, Ferguson added: “This is how empires decline. It begins with a debt explosion. It ends with an inexorable reduction in the resources available for the Army, Navy, and Air Force.” Other observers agree that the US defence budget is likely to experience major cuts that will hamper the country’s continued ability to project military power. By 2019, the annual interest on the US’s national debt will be more than US $700 billion, which is more than the current size of the Defense Department’s budget. “If the deficit isn’t reined in, investors eventually could refuse to continue lending Uncle Sam the money required to run the government – everything from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to unemployment insurance, Social Security and Medicare,” USA Today noted in August 2010. “Once ignited, worries about US creditworthiness could quickly snowball.” Such fears are clearly already emerging, as shown by the recent S&P downgrade of US debt. The US remains the world’s sole superpower, and thus its cutbacks will uniquely undermine the methods of maintaining global security in which the international order is currently so deeply invested. But the US is by no means the only country that will be forced to make cutbacks. Austerity is the paradigm du jour throughout Europe, and is a paradigm that is unlikely to quickly fade.
he riots that rocked Athens in June of this year after Greece’s parliament passed unpopular austerity measures demonstrate the kind of internal instability that austerity can bring. And though the apparent cause of the riots that hit London and other British cities in August was not austerity measures, those events did trigger fears about what such measures may eventually bring. As news analysis published by Reuters notes, the riots “[raise] questions about the sustainability of spending cuts and a widening gap between rich and poor.” Indeed, after noting that a massive show of police force restored order to London, Reuters stated that even the police “face the drastic spending cuts that will affect everything from the military to social benefits and inner-city services.” In other words, spending cuts threaten internal unrest as jobs, benefits and social services are lost. Meanwhile, police cutbacks may leave governments less able to contain this unrest. As numerous governments are faced with cutbacks – and possible unrest – where will this leave their counter-terrorism efforts, foreign aid budgets, and overall appetite for trying to bring stability to remote lands? Diminished counter-terrorism resources increase the probability that terrorist attacks will succeed in developed countries – not necessarily on the scale of 9/11, but perhaps in the idiom of the later attacks in Madrid, London or Mumbai. From the perspective of violent non-state actors, such smaller, opportunistic attacks can easily raise their profile, advance their objectives, and attract monetary contributions. Even more significant to these groups’ long-term prospects is the diminished appetite that developed countries will have for foreign commitments. In the fall of 2001, Al Qaeda enjoyed a single physical sanctuary: in Afghanistan. Today, its affiliates have four such sanctuaries: in Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan, and also northern Mali. No one has a cognizable plan to dislodge these groups from their safe havens. Indeed, because of declining governmental capacity, it is likely that the number of physical safe havens enjoyed by Al Qaeda and other Islamist militant groups will grow rather than decline in the near-term. Besides fiscal austerity, resource scarcity will put further strains on already struggling governments. One prominent example is Pakistan – a country long beset by unrest. Pakistan’s political system is notoriously corrupt, and its government discredited by countless failures – including a bungled response to the flooding that devastated the country last year. Based on these factors, the New York Times found great pessimism among informed observers about
Pakistan’s future. At the start of this year, a Western diplomat told the Times that the only thing that the country lacked was “a person or institution to link the economic aspirations of the lower class with the psychological frustration of the committed Islamists.” He continued: “Our assessment is: this is like Tehran, 1979.” Scarce resources are already part of this combustible mix – and, as scarcity deepens, the situation in Pakistan will grow more precarious. Already, the country has experienced food price inflation of 64 percent in the past three years, while the average wage-earner’s purchasing power has declined by 20 percent. Moreover, Pakistan has for years been in the midst of a deep energy crisis. Noting that energy riots have been common since 2008, David Steven of New York University’s Center on International Cooperation has written that “[p]ublic reaction to the energy crisis has swung from resignation to violent protest and back again.” Steven notes that the country’s resource scarcity produces a “feedback loop” – undermining its resilience in the face of its many challenges. For one thing, energy and food prices have derailed the growth that Pakistan experienced from 2001 to 2007. But there are also security implications. One is the destabilizing effect of citizens’ basic needs not being met. Another is Pakistan’s militant groups, which doubtless see opportunity in scarcity. “In 2005, production from the Sui gas field, which accounts for 45 percent of national production, was halted for more than a week due to sabotage,” Steven writes. “Attacks on gas pipelines and electricity grids have continued with depressing regularity ever since.”
Resource scarcity presents new targeting opportunities for violent non-state actors. Their awareness of this fact can be seen in Al Qaeda’s targeting of Saudi Arabia’s means of oil production.
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akistan’s resource scarcity problems force one to the unhappy conclusion that the country’s most important indicators are pointing in the wrong direction. And it is not alone. Yemen is beset by environmental and resource catastrophes. As Gregory Johnsen wrote in Foreign Policy in early 2010, “The country’s water table is nearly depleted from years of agricultural malpractice, and its oil reserves are rapidly dwindling. This comes just when unemployment is soaring and an explosive birth rate promises only more young, jobless citizens in the coming years.” Food prices have spiralled upward in such already deprived countries as Afghanistan, Chad, Mozambique, Sudan and Uganda. Indeed, the Horn of Africa is currently wracked by what seems to be its worst drought in 60 years – a condition that observers fear is partially attributable to global climate change. And Iraq may be running out of water, with a March UN report warning that the Tigris and Euphrates rivers could dry up by 2040.
Resource scarcity will exacerbate the challenges that nation-states face. Like austerity measures, scarcity in itself can be destabilizing. Scarcity will force tradeoffs, making nation-states choose between dealing with their own internal problems and addressing the challenge of violent non-state actors. As was the case in Pakistan, resource scarcity presents new targeting opportunities for terrorist and insurgent groups. Their keen awareness of this fact can be seen in Al Qaeda’s repeated targeting of Saudi Arabia’s means of oil production as global prices have risen. There has been some talk that the Arab Spring – driven in part by technological advances that have allowed unprecedented organizing by the disaffected – has devastated Al Qaeda. As journalist and Al Qaeda expert Peter Bergen told this author: “Have you seen a single person carrying a placard with Osama bin Laden’s face on it? Has anybody been mouthing Al Qaeda’s talking points? Have you seen a single American flag burning? It’s an ideological catastrophe.” One might describe this view as technological triumphalism: as social media technology helps to sweep away the old, bad regimes, the violent ideologies that arose in opposition to them are discredited as well. It is, of course, far too early to conclude that the Arab Spring has eliminated Al Qaeda as a threat. In the short-term, upheaval in the Arab world creates a more permissive operating environment for jihadists, as a significant talent pool of violent Islamists has been released from prisons in Egypt and Libya, and groups like Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb have secured new weaponry during the chaos. In the medium-term, the Arab Spring may produce a more fertile recruiting environment for violent groups. After all, the Arab Spring is not just about the desire for democracy. It is also about unemployment and skyrocketing food prices – and, as discussed above, both of these indicators may move in the wrong direction. Historically, when sky-high expectations – as in the Arab Spring – go unfulfilled, extreme ideologies can take hold. Still, it seems that the most powerful lesson of the Arab Spring is not that technology can be democratizing, but that it can be destabilizing. The same social media that were used to organize peaceful protests against undemocratic regimes in Tunisia and Egypt also helped to organize violent protests against a democratic regime – and state – in Britain. Looking at the Arab Spring through the eyes of Al Qaeda and other violent non-state actors, it is clear how technology has made it easier to provoke instability. Bref, while technology – which it itself can be used for good or for evil – has in the past decade clearly empowered individuals relative to the state, it has also made weak states even more fragile. Violent non-state actors will certainly seek to exploit this
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The same social media that were used to organize peaceful protests against brutal regimes in Tunisia and Egypt also helped to organize violent protests against a democratic regime – and state – in Britain.
growing weakness for their own gain. Fragility equals unpredictability. Just as the Arab Spring may (arguably) be understood as a ‘Black Swan event,’ there will be many more wrenching changes that commentators simply do not foresee. Some of these changes may ultimately be for the good, as many expect of the Arab Spring. Other events, such as the current drought devastating the Horn of Africa, or possible meltdowns in Pakistan or Yemen, may be unmitigated disasters. Thriving in the decade of fragility will involve a nimbleness and ability to adapt that developed countries have not displayed during the past decade. Looking specifically at the threat of terrorism, it is important to make counter-terrorism efforts more efficient – a characteristic that has not defined them in the ‘war on terror’ era. A decade ago, when the US was far richer, it structured its system of homeland security – from top to bottom – in an extremely expensive manner. This included the country’s hesitation to embrace a system of terrorist profiling: without some framework for assessing risk, security personnel were left trying to guard against a greater number of potential threats. (Profiling, it should be noted, does not mean looking out for ‘threatening’ ethnicities: the most promising aspect of risk allocation to date has been behavioural detection.) But beyond guarding against terrorism more efficiently, strategy must play a more central role in the coming decade of fragility. The past decade of combatting jihadist groups has been characterized by the US’s poor strategic understanding of its foes, and hence a strategy that has often played into Al Qaeda’s hands. The aforementioned inefficient systems of homeland defence and such follies as the invasion of Iraq have helped to advance Al Qaeda’s goals of driving up its adversary’s costs, and of broadening the battlefield on which its enemy has to fight. The lack of attention paid by the US to Al Qaeda’s strategy during this period is evident from such documents as the National Military Strategic Plan for the War on Terrorism (NMSP-WOT), which is the most comprehensive plan detailing the US armed forces’ understanding of the fight against Al Qaeda. Understanding an adversary’s ends, ways and means is fundamental to military strategy. Tellingly, the NMSP-WOT outlines America’s ends, ways, and means in the conflict, but does not perform this same analysis for Al Qaeda. Likewise, neither the White House’s National Strategy for Combating Terrorism nor the 9/11 Commission Report performs an ends-ways-means analysis of the jihadist group. Vital strategic documents typically discuss Al Qaeda’s goal of re-establishing the caliphate and its tactic of terrorism, with an unresolved disconnect between the goal and the group’s methods. It appears that planners assumed that Al Qaeda did not
think strategically – an unwarranted assumption. Even granting that it may be difficult for democratic powers to competently formulate strategy, the US and its allies cannot afford another decade of strategic blundering. In this decade of fragility, bad things will happen. People will die, and even the US will lack the resources for prevention or robust response. Therefore, building up societal resilience is an important way to hedge against the damage that violent nonstate actors can inflict. As the US’s Department of Homeland Security has defined it, resilience, which has both physical and psychological dimensions, is the “ability of systems, infrastructures, government, business, and citizenry to resist, absorb [and] recover from, or adapt to an adverse occurrence that may cause harm, destruction, or loss of national significance.”
rom an infrastructural perspective, it is important to identify the vulnerabilities that a society will have in five, 10 and 15 years’ time, in order to work on these from time zero. (Fifteen years ago, the cell phone and Internet were not seen as critical infrastructure.) As for psychological resilience, incorporating the public into emergency response processes can help to produce better national performance and outcomes in times of crisis – man-made and natural. An example is the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) model adopted in some areas of the US – such as Phoenix, Arizona – which teaches citizens how to prepare for a disaster, and how to serve as auxiliary responders when one occurs. A final critical – if controversial – question that must be asked during the decade of fragility concerns the pace of change. At this time of writing, the NATO mission to Libya that deposed Muammar Gaddafi is generally seen as a success. (The historical reading of this mission – a strategically discretionary mission, to be sure – may yet determine otherwise. See the Nez à Nez debate on humanitarian intervention and national interests at p. 56.) Three different regimes have been toppled in North Africa this year alone. The question is whether having another regime fall – another new government in need of international assistance – is a good or bad thing. Indeed, there may be something to be said for letting an already challenging pace of change remain ‘manageable.’ Without question, the decade ahead will feature unprecedented challenges. These challenges do present opportunities. But the threat posed by violent non-state actors will probably deepen rather than recede, driven by the overarching trends that will make nation-states more fragile and already-fragile states dangerously so. | GB
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Whither Southeast Asian Terrorism?
Tactical successes mask continued strategic weakness and incoherence among the region’s states. All political violence will be local BY ARABINDA ACHARYA & TOM QUIGGIN
Arabinda Acharya is a Research Fellow and Head of Strategic Projects at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.
Tom Quiggin is a Senior Research Fellow at Carleton University (Ottawa), a criminal court-appointed expert on terrorism, and a Canadian Federal Court-appointed expert on intelligence
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outheast Asia’s post-9/11 tryst with terrorism was characterized by a number of issues. First, there was the labelling of the region – perceived as a hub for an Al Qaedaled global jihadist movement – as the ‘second front’ in the global ‘war on terror,’ even if almost all of the conflicts in the region predated 9/11. Second, it was feared that a number of regional countries with predominantly Muslim populations could fall prey to religious extremism. Third, the ability of some of the region’s governments to deal with terrorism was suspect. In retrospect, it is clear that the region is overcoming these challenges, and that it has been robustly countering the transnational terrorist threat. Groups like Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and others have been contained or weakened. Indonesia has scored significant operational successes: key JI leaders like Azahari Husin, Noordin Top and Dulmatin have been killed. Abu Bakar Bashir, the leader of JI – and, more specifically, of its newest incarnation, Jamaah Ansharut Tauhid (JAT) – was arrested and convicted. The JI is now fragmented, forcing it to put the objective of establishing a regional caliphate on hold. In the Philippines, military operations have decimated the ASG, including its top leadership. The group is little more than a bandit outfit engaged in kidnap-for-ransom operations. The national government has commenced peace talks with the communist rebels (the Communist Party of the Philippines, the New People’s Army and the National Democratic Front – CPP-NPA/NDF), and resumed negotiations with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). Despite hiccups in the respective peace talks, the overall level of militancy in the country remains low. In Thailand, the active groups lie primarily in the south. Their attacks are low-key, and their impact is largely local. In regional terms, the link between the groups in Southeast Asia – particularly JI and Al Qaeda Central – has weakened significantly. This is critical, as the regional groups had looked to Al Qaeda for inspiration, strategic direction, training, logistics and money. To be sure, a number of hybrid groups have emerged in the region, taking the name of Al Qaeda: Al Qaeda in Malay Peninsula, Al Qaeda in Indonesia,
and Al Qaeda Serambi Mekkah (Al Qaeda in Aceh). But these names suggest only an ideological affinity, for no visible links exist with Al Qaeda Central. Most importantly, groups in the region now focus on the ‘near enemy’ – taking up issues against local governments – rather than the ‘far enemy’ that was the idealized target of Al Qaeda Central. Despite these developments, concerns remain about how the regional threat will evolve in the coming years. While regional countries have dealt with the symptoms, the underlying issues still need to be addressed – or are being addressed without much success. For instance, official response by successive governments in the context of the Southern Thai conflict has generally been marked by overreaction, insensitivity and brutal measures. At the same time, the issue was almost totally neglected during last few years of political instability in Bangkok. No signs yet exist that the new government under Yingluck Shinawatra (sister of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra) will be able to rein in southern militancy. The government is bogged down with political issues in Bangkok, and the legacy of Thaksin Shinawatra makes Yingluck’s appeal for reconciliation difficult. Thaksin’s name still invokes resentment in the South, due to high-handed policies and brutal crackdowns. In the Philippines, negotiations with the CPPNPA/NDF have reached an impasse. The government insists that there will be no further talks until the reciprocal working committees on the Comprehensive Agreement of Social and Economic Reforms (CASER) have reached a common tentative agreement on social and economic reforms. The government also clarified that there will be no formal talks regarding the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) and the release of NPA leaders detained in prison. The government had earlier accused the NDF of participating in the peace talks so that the NDF can demand the release of some of its members. The August 2011 talks with the MILF were marked by disagreement concerning the nature of the autonomy that the government is prepared to concede. The MILF seeks an asymmetrical state-to-sub-state relationship, wherein the powers of the central and the local government are clearly stated. The government proposal conceding “a more empowered, more
PHOTOGRAPH: THE CANADIAN PRESS / TATAN SYUFLANA
violence will persist for the foreseeable future. The good news is that this violence will lose much of its transnational flavour. The bad news is that political violence as a means of problem-solving will remain attractive at the regional and sub-national levels. Even though the key groups have weakened operationally, the prognosis for the region remains troubled. The threat has now metastatized into multiple fronts. Small groups or even individuals are acting autonomously in terms of planning, target selection and execution of attacks. An increasingly radicalized milieu in Indonesia, and certain pockets of Malaysia and the Philippines, continue to provide the new recruits for militant activity. The influence of the Internet and the print media in fuelling radi-
calization is increasing. Many radical Islamic educational institutions in the region – and even some universities (for instance, in Malaysia) – continue to spread extremist ideologies. Prisons have become a major source of recruitment – mostly due to a dearth of effective de-radicalization or rehabilitation programmes. A high degree of recidivism among ex-convicts exists, as was the case with a majority of the people arrested in the Aceh camp. In many countries in the region, the legal regimes against terrorism remain weak. Cooperation among many of these countries remains ad hoc and issuespecific. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations countries (ASEAN) has binding commitments for its members to work in concert in countering terrorism. Still, high sensitivity on issues like sovereignty and non-interference, ambiguity about the definition of terrorism, the domestic politics of the respective countries, and divergent national capabilities, are all hindrances to the implementation of a regional strategy. Thus, even as significant successes at the operational level have reduced the transnational threat in the short-term, the countries in the region must remain prepared for prolonged regional and localized struggles in the years to come. | GB
An Indonesian National Police spokesperson holds a picture of three militants killed in a March 2010 raid, including Dulmatin (far left), a top-ranked Southeast Asian militant wanted for planning the deadly 2002 Bali bombings.
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workable, and thus, more genuine autonomy” for the Bangsamoro region appears to be non-specific. While both sides agree that a negotiated settlement could succeed, certain elements within the MILF are becoming impatient. Openly expressing his opposition to peace negotiations, renegade MILF commander Ameril Umbra Kato has formed his own splinter unit – the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Front – to wage an armed battle for an independent Muslim homeland. Though the MILF downplays the significance of Kato’s defection, the Philippine government is not convinced that it can afford to underestimate Kato’s force in Mindanao. In Indonesia, the July 2009 Jakarta bombings – after a five-year ‘hiatus’ – and the discovery of the military training camp in Aceh in February 2010 demonstrated the ongoing threat of terrorism in Indonesia, while exposing chinks in the national counter-terrorism strategy. Despite a strong military response, which resulted in the killing and capture of key leaders, terrorists groups have been able to regenerate. The Aceh camp was an initiative of a new cross-organizational coalition (lintas tanzim) – the Al Qaeda Serambi Mekkah – comprising members from JI, JAT, Darul Islam (DI), the Action Committee for Crisis Response (KOMPAK), and also Aceh’s Islamic Defender Front (FPI). The camp was run by Dulmatin – one of the region’s most wanted terrorists, due to his involvement in the October 2002 Bali bombings. The fact that Dulmatin – who was believed to be with the ASG in the Philippines – could evade detection and return to Indonesia to organize the camp, exposed weaknesses in border management and the lack of cooperation in intelligence sharing. This fact was further buttressed by the arrest in Pakistan of Umar Patek – another high-value fugitive in the region. The Aceh camp also exposed the double act of Abu Bakar Bashir. For a number of years, the mainstream perception was that there had been a breakdown in JI’s hierarchy, and tensions between two major factions. It was believed that the faction led by the now-deceased Azahari Husin and Noordin Top was interested in focussing on an anti-Western agenda similar that of Al Qaeda. On the other hand, the faction led by Bashir was believed to have been against this approach, preferring instead to use religious proselytization and socialization. Bashir also maintained that violent means like bombings are not justified in Indonesia, since it is not a land of conflict. However, Bashir’s involvement in the Aceh camp demonstrated that, behind a façade of legitimate activities, he was actually training a new generation of militants. Given the complex composition and history of the polities of Southeast Asia, multiple groups will remain at the margins of society or perceive that they are exploited. As such, some form of politicized
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Israel’s own ‘Arab Spring’ suggests a far more complex national destiny, but one that is to be expected for a maturing state and multiethnic society BY DAVID TAL
he unique street protests raging in Israel – Israel’s own brand of ‘Arab Spring,’ as it were – are far more portentous than meets the eye. On their face, the demonstrators represent a cobweb of variegated Jewish grievances against the Israeli government – grievances tenuously united under the philosophical banner of ‘social justice.’ Far more profoundly, however, the demands of the young Israelis spearheading the protests for the state to address the very practical needs, interests and wellbeing of common citizens betray the disintegration of the ‘grand idea’ or ideas on which the Jewish THE CHANGING FACES OF state was first built. This disintegration is rapidly ushering in a far more complex, multifaceted Israeli society and future (or destiny). At the same time, paradoxically, it signals the maturation of the Israeli project and the advent of a very normal, multicultural society in which notions of the good life are hotly contested; and rightly so. For a nation sprung from a grand idea – the political emancipation of the Jews – the flowering of multiple, individual, often contradictory narratives about what should be the proper concern of the Israeli state may well be disorienting. In a Hebrew-language op-ed in Haaretz in July of this year, Fania Oz-Salzberger wrote that “the era of ‘together the Israeli clan’ is over. We won’t sing anymore ‘how good it is to have brothers’ sitting together. […] Israel’s tribes are divided today more than ever – more than they were during the time of the Bible or in modern times. […] No single nation exists in any way, civil or national.” But is this indeed the case? Do the clear fractures and divisions within Israeli society necessarily spell the end of the Israeli-Jewish nation? And if this is the case, is it such a bad thing? The conventional expectation that there should be a single, unified IsraeliJewish nation on Israeli soil presumes that a viable Jewish state could not simply consist of the accumulated people living within a defined territory, under a single representative sovereign; that is, that the state should have an idea and a purpose that are inherently stronger and greater than the sum of the individual preferences of its denizens; or that what may appear to be important cleavages in the body politic could not more plainly be read in the context of a more sophisticated political project that allows the people to express themselves – variously,
THE STATE OF THE
ISRAELI PROJECT David Tal is the Kahanoff Chair in Israel Studies and a professor of history at the University of Calgary. He is the author of War in Palestine, 1948: Strategy and Diplomacy (2004).
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ILLUSTRATION: DOUG PANTON
THE JEWISH QUESTION
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of course – according to their own individual wills. In other words, the difference between the unified nation and the divided nation may also be the difference between a monocultural and a multicultural society; or, as Isaiah Berlin might have put it, the difference between the functional nation-state – a functional, impersonal political unit – and the organic nation-state that is the very embodiment of a national spirit – a Volksgeist. Of course, the fragmentation of Israeli society is not a new experience in the history of Zionism. Fragmentation was evident from the early stages of the movement, as Zionism was shaped almost from its inception as a political system, with political parties and political representatives each representing an idea or group-interest. Throughout the years of the Zionist enterprise inside and outside of Palestine – even prior to the establishment of the state of Israel – a liberal, democratic contest of ideas and programmes was at play, meaning that the socialists competed with their ideological brethren – for there were several socialist parties at that time – and with liberals. Secular liberals competed with religious Zionists, and religious politicians and the pious competed with other religious politicians and pious Jews. Bref, competition and division are an integral part of any dynamic, politicized society, and Jewish society in Palestine during the pre-statehood year was most certainly political. While contemporaries noticed the divisions and differences, the pre-statehood period is today remembered largely as one of relative unity. There were two major reasons for this relative unity. First, Jewish society during the years of the Yishuv was predominantly European, and its values, culture and economy were Occidental. Second, a big idea united this society – the achievement of statehood. Still, even this period of relative unity was marked by fierce political debates, ranging from the argument over the suggestion that the Jewish national home be built in Uganda – a notion that nearly tore asunder the entire Zionist movement – to the struggle within the Yishuv over the nature and methods of the struggle against the British mandate administration during and after WW2. Things seemed to have changed with the establishment of Israel – for two reasons. First and foremost, the big idea that appeared to be keeping the Yishuv united had run its course, as the dream of statehood had been realized. Second, between 1948 and 1955, nearly half a million Jews immigrated to Israel from Muslim and Arab countries, resulting in a state that was no longer culturally and socially homogenous.
It was David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, who first gave the most elaborate public articulation of the fears of many contemporary Ashkenazi Israelis about the effect that the Sephardic newcomers would have on the fabric of Israeli society. For Ben-Gurion, dealing with the newcomers went hand-in-hand with the need to delineate the next great idea for the nascent Jewish state. He postulated that the need to deal with the transformations in Israel’s social and cultural fabric intersected with the basic imperative of ensuring the survival of Israel. Ben-Gurion strongly believed that Israel was still under an existential threat, and that to ensure its survival it had to remain Western. He argued that, while Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt had all signed armistice agreements with Israel, the Arab states did not in fact accept the terms of the agreements and Israel’s continued existence. He was convinced that once Arab leaders would be capable of so doing, they would resume the war against Israel in order to destroy it. Such a war – which Ben-Gurion saw as inevitable – would aim not only to undo the establishment of the state of Israel, but would attempt to physically annihilate its Jews. “Our security problem,” he said a few months after the end of the 1948 war, “is not only a problem of borders, the integrity of the state, its independence. Security means our very existence – to live or to die. […] Our security problem is an existential problem.” This existential threat, on this analysis, was made ever plain by the huge gap in demography and geography between Israel and the Arab states – a gap that, for all practical intents and purposes, made it impossible for Israel to end the conflict through its own will or means. Israel could win wars time and again, but it could not inflict a decisive defeat on the Arabs, such that it could dictate terms of surrender. Nor could Israel impose peace on the Arabs. The Arabs, on the other hand, could finish the conflict either at will or, after endless rounds, by a single decisive victory. The Arabs, for their part, assumed that time was on their side; and, at least demographically, they were right. On Ben-Gurion’s logic, Israel was not only inferior demographically and geographically; it also could not expect the world to come to its help, should war occur – or when it would inevitably come. The Jewish people were alone in the world; that is, history had shown that the Jews were singled out from their neighbours, from their environment, and from the civilizations around them. “Am Levadad Yishkon” – a People that Dwells Alone – was one of Ben-Gurion’s favourite Biblical phrases. But this was not only a parable; it was very much a state of mind. The Jews were different and isolated – both in universal and practical terms. The obvious solution – peace – was not an option. Arab leaders did not want peace with Israel,
argued Ben-Gurion, and the few of them who might otherwise favour peace were unable to pursue it because of strong domestic pressures – pressures that they were not sufficiently powerful to resist. And in the unlikely event that an Arab government did sign a peace agreement with Israel, Ben-Gurion argued that “we must beware of the dangerous illusion that the peace will guarantee our security.” For as long as war was permitted worldwide as an instrument for goals of policy, Israel would remain under existential threat. The best way for Israel to face the existential threat and survive – the argument continued – would be to maintain and excel in its Western features; especially in respect of scientific and technological achievement. Geographically, said Ben-Gurion, Israel was in the Middle East, but by any other criteria it was different from its neighbours. There was a profound difference between Jews and Arabs, the latter of whom were living “still under patriarchal or feudal regime, with power concentrated wholly in the hands of heads of clans.” Most Arab regimes were unstable, and none of them was democratic. With the exception of Israel, “all of the Middle East countries are subject to riots, revolutions, political mayhem, political assassinations, regicide and constant competition between adventurers and tyrants over power.” Israel was different from its neighbours in “its language, the fundamentals of its existence, its spirit and values, its political and social regime, and in its historical destiny.” Israel belonged, “without doubt,” to the group of democratic nations that adhered to the freedom of the individual, and respected the freedoms of thought, speech and science. And Israel should maintain its advantage by adhering to modernism, rationalism and science. During the last three centuries, Ben-Gurion would say, in numbers that exceeded their demographic weight among the nations, “Jews were full accomplices to the profound intellectual revolution that took place in the perception of the material world, and in exploring the secrets of nature.”
The conventional expectation that there should be a single, unified Israeli-Jewish nation on Israeli soil presumes that a viable Jewish state could not simply consist of the accumulated people living within a defined territory, under a single representative sovereign. character and intensity of the Sephardic protest by the 1970s and 1980s. The 1973 Yom Kippur war destroyed the nearly blind trust of Israelis in their leaders. A new musical genre, the Mizrahi or Yam Tihoni (Mediterranean) style – once virtually banned from the Israeli public domain because of its resemblance to Arabic music – was gradually introduced by singers and performers at the periphery of Israeli society, and embraced by Israelis of Mizrahi origin. The Labour party was toppled from power in 1977, and Likud formed the government – to a great extent the result of the shift in the voting patterns of many Mizrahi people. Israel’s foundational ethos was destroyed by those who came to be known as ‘new historians’ and, later, ‘critical sociologists.’ Through their work, Israelis learned that the establishment of Israel involved atrocities committed by Israeli soldiers against Palestinians in 1948, and that the creation of the Palestinian refugee problem was not the result only of Arab actions, but also of Israeli soldiers who had expelled Palestinians – combatant and non-combatant alike – by the hundreds of thousands from their homes; or that Israel had not always been pursuing peace relentlessly, while the Arab leaders unexceptionally rejected Israel’s peace offers, but that, in fact, Israel too had missed opportunities to make peace. The free market and privatization were endorsed as leading economic
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he belief in the identity of Occidentalism and the survival of the Jewish state provided some of the rationale for assimilating the Jewish immigrants from the Orient. However, the process of assimilation and acculturation would not go without a price, as the creation or recreation of a monolithic society required newcomers to give up their past culture and values in order to endorse the culture and values – and overall narrative, as it were – decided for them by the state. Of course, some of the immigrants – particularly those from Iraq – already had Occidental training and occupations, the con-
sequence of which was more rapid assimilation into Israeli society. Nonetheless, the vast majority of the newcomers were ill-equipped to integrate into Israel’s labour market, and were placed within the lower strata of Israeli society. And in either case, the immigrants had to leave behind them their Arabic heritage – language, music, geist – and adjust to the terms of the incumbent, European Israelis. Initially, this process of acculturation passed with minor resistance, and in the first years, where resistance was evident, the protesters did not demand that their cultural values be put on an equal footing with the dominant values and culture of the Ashkenazim. Instead, they largely demanded improvement of the economic conditions of their life. A number of factors conspired to transform the
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On BenGurion’s logic, Israel was not only inferior demographically and geographically; it also could not expect the world to come to its help, should war occur – or when it would inevitably come.
and social principles – idées fixes that gained momentum principally from the mid-1980s, with the introduction of the unity government under the premiership of Shimon Peres. In 1987, the first Intifada made it clear to Israelis that the occupation of millions of Palestinians could not remain a remote dynamic having no bearing on their daily lives. At the end of the Cold War, hundreds of thousands of Jews (and non-Jews) from the former Soviet Union immigrated to Israel. And the political power of particular interest groups – especially religious factions, previously on the margins of political life – grew markedly. Also important was Israel’s short-lived experiment with the direct election of its prime minister, which ended the era of large, umbrella parties, and ushered in the present era of multiple smaller, issue- or cause-specific fractions. The Oslo peace process pushed to the forefront the ‘elephant in the room’: since 1967, the fate of the occupied territories was nary a prime subject of debate within Israeli society. The Oslo Accords made the status of the territories a subject of heated public discussion that, among other things, led to the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, and further exposed the hostility between the proponents of continued occupation and those opposing it.
n the aggregate, all of these factors seemed to distance Israelis from each other, or at least to divide them into what analysts described as ‘Israeli tribes.’ Centrifugal forces within Israeli society – the various interests – created many small and sectarian power centres that supplanted the major power centres – the big political parties – that had reigned until the early 1970s. This coincided with the end of Zionism as it had been defined, for many years, by its creators and practitioners. If Zionism had meant to solve the Jewish problem, and to allow the Jews to realize their right of self-determination, then that meaning was no longer valid by the 1980s and 1990s. For the vast majority of the Jews that had wished to exercise their right to live in a Jewish state had by then already done so. Meanwhile, Zionism seemed to be acquiring a new, less consensual meaning. The settlers who colonized the occupied territories declared that they were the successors and inheritors of the first Zionists – seeking to turn Zionism from a movement for the salvation of the people of Israel to a movement for the salvation of the land of Israel. That is, the settlers turned a secular ethic – embedded in a worldly, political, international law Zionism – into a religious messianic movement. And the settlers carried their own self-declared next great idea for Israel. At the same time, more and more Israelis – and particularly young Israelis, like those leading the national protests – have been turning away from
the search for a great idea, wishing instead to simply live their lives. For them, this is a time to turn to self-fulfillment and the expression of self. (Classical Zionism, as it were – a clear creature of Western thinking – has been colonized in Israel by the equally Western preoccupation with the individual.) More and more Israelis are acting to advance their own ethnic, social or religious interests at the expense of the ‘grand idea’ of the Jewish state. And more and more Israelis do not bother asking themselves what it means to be an Israeli; that is, they are Israelis by the sheer force of their life in Israel. They are defined by territory, not by idea. And within that territory – that space – there are various voices and tunes, each meriting its own place. These voices are variously complementary and contradictory. Sometimes they form coalitions, and sometimes they oppose each other with great ferocity. But it is in the very nature of a normal, modern society and normal, mature political system to have these differences and struggles. The prime question for analysts should not, therefore, be whether the Israelis are united. Rather, Israel’s apparent fragmentation should be regarded as the somewhat predictable outgrowth of an increasingly ‘thick’ multiculturalism. The real question should be whether Israelis will manage to accept the core idea that their differences should be respected by society, on the one hand, and appropriately addressed at the political level, on the other. In other words, given the myriad challenges that Israeli society and Israel’s political system face today, the common ground remains the country’s liberal democratic framework. As long as this remains the case, the factionalism and divisions in today’s headlines should not be deplored, but viewed instead as a sign of a complex, no-longer-embryonic society in which the versions of the good life are hotly contested. Further still, the current public divisions and arguments – sometimes heated and nearly violent – should not be interpreted as symptomatic of the dissipation and disappearance of core values to which Israelis would surely rally in a time of need, and for which they plainly will be ready to fight. The Jewish-Israeli sense of patriotism continues to remain strong enough to bring them together against external challenges. While in the past, the vast majority of Jewish Israelis had never questioned the decisions of their politicians to go to war, they began to do so, as mentioned, after the October 1973 war. Having said this, most Jewish Israelis still accept the dominant Zionist premisses about the necessity of a Jewish state and the need to defend it – even if they will not say so explicitly. This means that today’s ‘multicultural’ debates in Israel are taking place within psychic and indeed legal-constitutional boundaries that most Israelis continue to accept. | GB
IN THE CABINET ROOM
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ILLUSTRATION: DUSAN PETRICIC
Quel destin pour la Syrie pluriconfessionnelle?
Les minorités en Syrie continuent à peser le pour et le contre d’un changement du régime PAR FADY FADEL
Fady Fadel est Professeur de droit et de relations internationales à l’Université
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Antonine au Liban.
uarante et un ans sont passés depuis la «révolution corrective» menée le 13 novembre 1970 par Hafez el-Assad, intronisé Premier ministre puis Président de la République arabe syrienne, jusqu’à son décès en 2000 et la nomination de son fils Bachar el-Assad à la tête du pouvoir suite à une révision constitutionnelle. Depuis lors, on assiste pour la première fois à compter de mars 2011 à une révolution populaire menée par le bas, loin des coups d’État orchestrés entre 1954 et 1970 par les militaires et les appareils des partis politiques. Or, cette révolution populaire et la prise de conscience des Syriens par rapport aux libertés publiques n’arrivent pas seules dans le monde arabe. Elles s’inscrivent bel et bien dans le contexte du Printemps arabe, partant de la Tunisie, jusqu’en Égypte, en passant par le Yémen et le Bahreïn, sans parler des réformes conjoncturelles au Maroc et en Jordanie. Pourtant, la situation syrienne constitue une unicité, tant sur le plan de la complexité de la mosaïque religieuse en Syrie qu’à l’échelle géopolitique. En effet, contrairement à la Tunisie ou encore à l’Égypte et au Yémen, la société syrienne est composée de musulmans sunnites, d’Alaouites, de Chrétiens et de Druzes. Les Sunnites (arabes et kurdes) étant majoritaires, à hauteur de 74 pour cent, les autres communautés (Alaouites, Chrétiens, Druzes, Chiites duodécimains, Ismaéliens, Juifs) sont de l’ordre de 25 pour cent. Pourtant, depuis l’avènement de Hafez el-Assad au pouvoir en 1970 et la consécration de la dynastie héréditaire, ce sont les Alaouites qui détiennent les arènes du pouvoir politique, économique et sécuritaire du pays. Pendant cette période, le régime syrien se montre protecteur des minorités en Syrie, voire dans la région, n’hésitant pas à écraser un soulèvement populaire composé de plusieurs dizaines de milliers de Sunnites, accusés d’être des intégristes, dans la ville de Hamah en février 1982. La donne aujourd’hui a changé. L’opinion publique arabe et internationale est plus sensible et plus sévère dans son jugement du comportement des régimes autoritaires. La communauté internationale est plus attentive au développement des événements en Syrie. Les médias suivent de près le fil des faits syriens. Les puissances régionales «sunnites», telles que la Turquie et l’Arabie Saoudite, supervisent les promesses et les actions du régime à Damas.
Ce concours de circonstances nous amène à nous interroger sur la complexité de la révolution syrienne et ses perspectives «ambigües». En effet, non seulement les enjeux géopolitiques commandent cette ambigüité, mais l’avenir des relations entre la majorité sunnite et les minorités pluriconfessionnelles constitue une épée de Damoclès sur cette révolution. Dès lors, il convient d’examiner en premier lieu les revendications «populaires» et leur pertinence dans le contexte pluriconfessionnel en Syrie, avant d’explorer les défis à relever tant par le régime en place que par les révolutionnaires pour le maintien d’une paix civile entre les différentes composantes confessionnelles syriennes. Quant aux revendications des opposants, nous assistons, depuis le 14 mars dernier, à un soulèvement contre une situation qui dérange des Syriens. Or, sur le plan économique, l’arrivée de Bachar elAssad au pouvoir en 2000 fut le prélude d’un certain nombre de réformes: création de zones franches, modernisation du système bancaire, autorisation des privatisations de sociétés commerciales et industrielles et d’institutions éducatives et universitaires. Si cette donne constitue une réalité incontournable qui a été peu contestée, il n’en demeure pas moins que le taux de chômage qui tourne autour des 16 pour cent, notamment chez les jeunes, est une menace constante sur l’avenir de la population. Au delà de ces enjeux économiques, les opposants et les manifestants en Syrie se sont soulevés pour le rétablissement des libertés publiques, pour instaurer le pluralisme politique et pour consacrer la liberté d’expression. Leurs revendications visent une réforme politique du pays, dont la prise de conscience se situe au niveau moral. C’est-à-dire l’éveil des Syriens pour un changement radical dans le régime se situe plus au niveau éthique qu’au niveau de la prise du pouvoir. Il s’agit d’un soulèvement qui revendique le respect de la dignité et des droits humains avant de présenter un projet politique bien constitué. Dans le sillage de cette mouvance, on retrouve des points communs avec les autres soulèvements populaires en Tunisie, en Egypte ou à Bahreïn. Il n’en reste pas moins que les revendications influencent déjà l’avenir des relations entre la majorité «sunnite» et les autres minorités confessionnelles, Alaouites et Chrétiens. En effet, l’arsenal juridique en place permettant au régime d’el-Assad de gouverner depuis
Le ministre syrien des Affaires étrangères Walid Moallem, assis devant un portrait d’Assad lors d’une conférence de presse à Damas en juin 2011, promet de donner au pays «un exemple sans précédent de démocratie» en moins de trois mois.
PHOTOGRAPHIE: LA PRESSE CANADIENNE / BASSEM TELLAWI
manifestants est réel. Bien plus, les minorités en Syrie, en tirant des leçons du Liban, devraient revendiquer la consécration des libertés publiques dans l’espace public et dans le système politique, garantissant ainsi leur existence à court, moyen et long termes. C’est la raison pour laquelle dans le sillage de la révolution printanière le clivage entre majorité sunnite et minorités chrétienne et alaouite devrait s’estomper au profit des valeurs de la tolérance et du respect des principes moraux des droits de la personne et de la collectivité. C’est à cette condition que les Syriens, de toute obédience, peuvent prétendre présentement fonder un espace pour vivre ensemble de manière pacifique dans l’avenir. Dans une entrevue télévisée le 21 août dernier, Bachar el-Assad a annoncé que de nouvelles élections
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les années 1970 ne peut plus fonctionner comme dans le passé. Par exemple, l’article 8 de la Constitution syrienne empêche le pluralisme politique en autorisant le monopole du parti Baath sur la vie politique. En raison de l’interdiction du mouvement des «Frères musulmans», l’appartenance à un parti «à connotation religieuse» est passible de la peine de prison. Sans oublier que Bachar el-Assad est à l’origine du décret limitant sérieusement la liberté de presse et de publication depuis septembre 2001. Il convient de signaler que les minorités en Syrie ne devraient aucunement craindre les réformes structurelles politiques ou dénoncer les revendications contre les tendances autoritaires de l’actuel régime. Sinon, le risque qu’elles appuient, par confusion, l’action répressive de l’actuel régime contre les
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Dans le sillage de la révolution printanière présente en Syrie, le clivage entre majorité sunnite et minorités chrétienne et alaouite devrait s’estomper au profit des valeurs de la tolérance et du respect des principes moraux des droits de la personne et de la collectivité.
législatives auront lieu avant février 2012. C’est cette nouvelle Assemblée parlementaire qui assumera la responsabilité pour la révision, ou non, de la Constitution syrienne (notamment ledit article 8). Bien que cette promesse, qui se projette dans un avenir à court terme, porte les germes d’une certaine compréhension des revendications populaires, il n’en demeure pas moins qu’elle soit insuffisante pour répondre aux attentes des manifestants. D’où, en date du 28 août 2011, le Président syrien a promulgué un décret-loi concernant la liberté de presse. Il est clairement indiqué dans cet acte législatif qu’un journaliste ne peut pas être arrêté et emprisonné dans le cadre de l’accomplissement de sa fonction et qu’il a librement accès aux différents services publics pour la collecte des informations. Néanmoins, en cas d’atteinte à l’intérêt de la «Nation» ou à l’unité nationale ou de collaboration avec l’ennemi, le journaliste sera immédiatement arrêté, jugé et emprisonné. Encore faut-il connaître ou savoir à travers la future jurisprudence l’interprétation de l’atteinte à l’unité nationale ou à l’intérêt de la «Nation». De toute façon, force est de reconnaître que des efforts sont faits par le pouvoir en place, bien qu’insuffisants au regard des attentes de la population en mouvement. À cet effet, il semble jusqu’à présent que ni les revendications des manifestants ni les réformes annoncées n’ont fait l’objet de dénonciation partisane par les communautés confessionnelles syriennes. Or, il convient de noter qu’il existe un déficit triangulaire auprès des opposants et de leur nouveau «conseil national», qui vient de naître. Ce déficit concerne les bons points marqués par le régime sur le plan de la politique étrangère, sa maîtrise des forces militaires et sécuritaires et sa position intransigeante à l’encontre d’Israël. Par rapport à la politique étrangère de la Syrie, on voit mal comment les opposants ou le conseil national de l’opposition pourraient revendiquer une plus grande place qu’occupe aujourd’hui la Syrie dans l’échiquier régional. En premier lieu, une alliance forte avec l’Iran tant sur le plan économique que sur le plan géopolitique fait de la Syrie l’acteur principal du renforcement ou de l’affaiblissement du Hezbollah, parti chiite libanais allié de l’Iran, ennemi juré d’Israël. En second lieu, son appui indéfectible à la cause palestinienne a fait du régime syrien le principal soutien régional à l’endroit de la résistance palestinienne contre Israël. Par conséquent, il semble avoir contrôlé jusqu’à présent les options et les actions de Hamas dans les pourparlers israélo-palestiniens. En troisième lieu, l’entente implicite entre Américains et Syriens sur le contrôle des frontières syro-irakiennes constitue un point stratégique fort dans le maintien de la sécurité
en Irak à la veille du retrait américain. En quatrième lieu, l’intransigeance du régime el-Assad, père et fils, ainsi que son refus d’entrer en négociations bilatérales directes avec Israël, comme l’ont fait les puissances sunnites de la région (Égypte, Jordanie…), représentent pour l’opinion publique syrienne une force d’opposition politique contre l’occupant israélien.
nfin, la loyauté des forces sécuritaires et militaires à l’endroit du régime assure qu’il y aura moins de pression politique et populaire pour les réformes, comme ce fut le cas en Tunisie et en Égypte. Face à ces données qui sont un point fort dans la realpolitik du régime el-Assad, il n’y a pas de propos pertinents de la part des opposants et de leur conseil pour rassurer l’ensemble des Syriens quant aux échéances nationales et régionales. Ne faut-il pas prendre le dessus des «Alaouites» qui sont au pouvoir pour réitérer le désir de l’opposition syrienne d’encourager une paix négociée bilatéralement au Moyen-Orient? Ne faut-il pas rassurer les alliés iraniens qu’un changement politique n’affecterait pas la stratégie géopolitique iranosyrienne qui interpelle l’Occident? Ne convient-il pas de rassurer l’armée syrienne des mérites du front uni face à Israël? Ne faut-il pas approfondir les rapports avec la Russie, qui considère toujours le régime syrien comme étant sa fenêtre méditerranéenne et sa porte sur le conflit arabo-israélienne? Ne faut-il pas dénoncer d’une façon claire et nette les actions terroristes commises à l’encontre des minorités chrétiennes en Irak et en Égypte, d’autant plus qu’il existe des penseurs et des militants chrétiens syriens dans l’opposition (Michel Kilo, Anwar Al-Bounni, Jean Antar…)? N’est-il pas temps de rassurer les minorités en parlant de tolérance et d’égalité de tous les Syriens devant la loi et dans l’accès à la haute fonction publique, voire d’un système politique qui garantit leur participation active dans la vie politique? Tant que les réponses à ces questions vitales et géopolitiques restent pendantes, les minorités en Syrie continueront à peser le pour et le contre d’un changement de régime. Bien que des axiomes semblent aujourd’hui s’imposer au niveau de certaines libertés publiques, il n’en demeure pas moins que la vision comparative prédomine dans l’approche des minorités en Syrie. C’est à la majorité désormais de rassurer et de proposer des valeurs démocratiques fondées sur l’égalité en droit et en dignité de tous les citoyens et sur les libertés religieuses qui constituent le prolongement des autres libertés publiques. À ce prix, la peur des minorités sera éradiquée. Ces dernières deviendront ainsi davantage des actrices du changement que simplement des bénéficiaires. | GB
Please join the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies (MIGS), Concordia University for
THE PROMISE OF THE MEDIA IN HALTING MASS ATROCITIES : A Conference to Mark the 10th Anniversary of the Responsibility to Protect
20 – 21 October 2011 | Mount Stephen Club, Montreal
FEATURED SPEAKERS The Right Honourable Paul Martin C.J. Chivers, New York Times Mona Eltahawy, American-Egyptian Journalist Sarah Sewall, Harvard University André Pratte, La Presse
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Lt Gen Roméo Dallaire
The Australia Test
The strategists Down Under see errors in America’s moves in Asia. They will not commit to anything in the event of war with China HUGH WHITE reports from Canberra
A Hugh White is Professor of Strategic Studies at the Australian National University and a Visiting Fellow at the Lowy Institute. He is a former Australian deputy secretary
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ustralia is not America’s most important ally in Asia, but it is America’s oldest and closest ally on this side of the Pacific – the one with which it shares the deepest bonds of history, culture, values and institutions. So Australia is a good market in which to test American policies in this part of the world. If they will not sell in Australia, then they will not sell in Asia. Today, the policy that needs testing is America’s approach to China’s power. America has never really decided how to respond to China’s growing power in Asia. Instead, it has drifted into what is certainly the most consequential foreign policy decision since the end of the Cold War, and what could well prove to be the most important – and costly – foreign policy decision that it has ever made. The policy that has emerged – without much reflection, analysis or explanation – is to push back against Beijing’s challenge to Washington’s leadership in order to preserve the primacy in Asia that America has enjoyed and exercised for so long. Until very recently, this has seemed easy enough to do. It has been an article of faith that China, for all its growth, could never match American power. China’s economy might stop growing. Even if it kept growing, China’s military would remain weak. And even if its military grew strong, Beijing would not choose to unsettle the regional order upon which its growth depends. And even if China were dumb enough to take on America, America would win. A lot of Asians and most Australians have agreed. However, this reassuring syllogism has become steadily less credible over the past few years, as China’s economy, its military and its strategic ambitions have all continued to expand. America has therefore begun – again, without much reflection or analysis – to rely more and more heavily on support from China’s neighbours in Asia to help it to resist China’s challenge. It has set out to build a coalition – including old allies like Australia and many newer friends – to swing the power balance back America’s way, and prevent China from reshaping the Asian order in its favour. The big question, naturally, is whether this will work. Can America build a coalition in Asia to help it to resist China’s challenge, and preserve its leadership in Asia? The best reason to think that it can work is that China’s neighbours – including Australia – so obviously want America to stay in the region.
None of them wants to live under China’s shadow, and they all understand that a strong American strategic presence in Asia is the best – and perhaps only – guarantee against Chinese hegemony. China’s own assertive behaviour has helped to strengthen this understanding. Still, there are several reasons for which it might very well not work – or at least not work the way that Washington hopes and assumes. First, while no one in Asia wants to be dominated by China, everyone does want to get on well with it. China’s economy is central to every Asian’s (and Australian’s) future prosperity, so all of the region’s parties and players have a huge stake in preserving manageable relations with Beijing. All of these parties and players also understand that China would be a very formidable and dangerous adversary. All of its neighbours have both a lot to gain from good relations with China, and a great deal to lose from bad relations. Again, this is certainly true of Australia, whose economy has become more and more dependent on China’s demand for its minerals. Evidently, the same is also true on the other side of the Pacific. As China’s power grows, the costs and risks to America of confrontation with the Middle Kingdom grow too. It is not so much China’s holdings of American debt as its central place in the entire global economy that would make any serious confrontation so economically catastrophic for Washington. And no one in America can now assume that US forces could face the People’s Liberation Army in the Western Pacific with impunity, nor can they be quite sure about the point at which, in an escalating crisis, the threshold to nuclear conflict might be crossed. The more that these costs and risks of confrontation with China rise – for Asians and Americans alike – the more that it matters that their interests in Asia are not so closely aligned. This is the second reason for which America’s new coalition to preserve its primacy in Asia might not work. Clearly, countries like Singapore and Vietnam want America to stay engaged in Asia, but are they sufficiently committed to support America in a confrontation with China in which their own interests are not directly engaged? Which of America’s new friends would provide real support to the country in a conflict with China over Taiwan, for example? Indeed, which among even its old allies in Asia could really be relied upon to take up arms at America’s side against China in the
Taiwan Strait, when the stakes for all of them in their relations with China are so high? Certainly, no one should assume that Australia would offer more than rhetorical support. Canberra has never shared Washington’s conviction that preserving Taiwan’s current anomalous status is critical to the future of the regional order – especially not when weighed against the immense significance to Australia of its trade with China. Quite simply, a regime of everexpanding mineral exports to China is the only model that Australians have of their economic future. They will not sacrifice that future and go to war with a nuclear power for any cause that is not absolutely fundamental to their own future security. So America must ask itself: of what use are these friends and allies in supporting American primacy against China’s challenge if they cannot be relied upon when the crunch comes? Conversely, how sure can America’s friends and allies in Asia be that America would support them against China when they face a crisis? For all that Washington has encouraged Vietnam to stand up to China over these two countries’ claims in the South China Sea, would America really be willing to send the Seventh Fleet into action against the People’s Liberation Army Navy over a disputed rock – with all of the strategic and economic risks and costs that this would entail? And if not, of what use to Vietnam are Washington’s fine words?
PHOTOGRAPH: THE CANADIAN PRESS / ANDY WONG / AP
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, right, accompanied by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao receives the guard of honour during a welcoming ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, April 2011.
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he third reason for which America’s bid to preserve its primacy in Asia might not work is that there is – or at least there may be – a better alternative. America has drifted into a policy of safeguarding primacy by assuming that the only strategic alternative is to abandon Asia to Chinese hegemony. But there is a third option. America could stay engaged in Asia – not as the sole primary power, but as one among a number of equal great powers. It could help to build a concert of Asia’s great powers. This concert would have to include not just itself and China, but also India and Japan – all of the powers that will be strong enough to disrupt a new order if it does not suit them. Japan, despite all of its problems, will remain an Asian great power in this sense for decades to come. India, if it continues to
grow, will soon become one. Russia, on the other hand, probably will not be essential to this mix: while clearly a great power in Europe, it will not be strong enough to veto anything to which the other four agree. But America’s role – to be sure – would be key. Working within a new ‘Concert of Asia,’ Washington could balance and constrain Chinese power, and prevent Chinese hegemony without seeking to retain strategic primacy in Asia itself. This would not be easy, and would require unwelcome compromises with China – compromises that many would find unappealing. However, these costs and risks, though real, are small compared with the costs and risks of escalating strategic competition with China. At a minimum, it is worth a try. No country in Asia has more reason than Australia to want America to remain the region’s dominant power, but even for Australia, China looms so large – both as a current partner and as a potential adversary – that this third strategic option looks quite attractive. The debate in Australia about these issues has only just begun, but it has indeed begun, and it is by no means clear that, once Australians understand the choices that they face, they will be willing to assume that preserving American primacy is the best way by which to keep Asia stable and Australia secure. If Australians are not willing to make this assumption, then neither will their neighbours to the north. And all of this suggests that America needs to seriously redefine its objectives in Asia. | GB
«La plus grande catastrophe géopolitique du 20e siècle» se répète – un second éclatement à retardement PAR RICHARD ROUSSEAU
FIN DE L’URSS, ACTE DEUX Richard Rousseau est professeur associé et directeur du Département de science politique et de relations internationales
à l’Université Khazar
Secrétaire exécutif de la CEI
Premier ministre de l’Azerbaïdjan
Premier ministre de l’Arménie
Président du Bélarus
à Bakou, Azerbaïdjan. Il enseigne la géopolitique de l’Eurasie, l’économie politique internationale, ainsi
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que la mondialisation.
u début du mois de septembre 2011, les membres de la Communauté des États Indépendants (CEI) se réunissaient à Douchanbé au Tadjikistan pour le 20e sommet de l’organisation. Quelques jours avant le début du sommet, le président ouzbek Islam Karimov annonça qu’il ne serait pas présent et que l’Ouzbékistan serait représentée plutôt par son Premier ministre Shavkat Mirziyoyev. Avant Karimov, le président de l’Azerbaïdjan Ilham Aliev décidait lui aussi de rester chez lui et d’envoyer à sa place son Premier ministre Artur Rasizade. Ces absences sont monnaie courante depuis la création de la CEI, mais leur fréquence est de plus en plus élevée depuis le milieu de la dernière décennie. Cela est symptomatique d’un malaise profond au sein de la CEI et d’un processus, lent mais déjà perceptible, de reconfiguration géopolitique dans ce que les spécialistes des relations internationales appellent le continent eurasiatique, un immense territoire ballotté entre l’Union européenne, à l’ouest, et la Chine et le Japon, à l’est. En fait, nous assistons depuis l’effondrement de
l’Union soviétique en décembre 1991, et davantage depuis le début des années 2000, à un processus de déconstruction géopolitique: l’espace eurasiatique vit une deuxième mort de l’Union soviétique. La domination de la Russie sur ce gigantesque espace s’effrite irrémédiablement sous les assauts principalement des États-Unis et, plus récemment, de la Chine. L’«étranger proche» (c’est ainsi que Moscou désigne l’espace post-soviétique) se réduit ainsi comme peau de chagrin. À l’ère de la mondialisation et des technologies de l’information et des transports, la plupart des facteurs qui ont contribué à l’expansion de la Russie au cours des 19e et 20e siècles ont disparu ou sont en voie de disparaître. Vingt ans après la création de la CEI, une question fondamentale s’impose alors: à quoi ressemblera le continent eurasiatique à l’horizon 2030? (Voir la section Strategic Futures sur l’identité européenne à la page 62.) La CEI a-t-elle un avenir? Le 8 décembre 1991, les nouveaux dirigeants de la Russie, de l’Ukraine et de la Biélorussie (Bélarus), réunis à Bélovejskaïa Pouchtcha, à quelques kilomètres de Minsk, proclamèrent que l’Union
Les chefs d’État de la Communauté des États indépendants posent pour une photo lors du sommet informel Noursoultan Nazarbaïev
à Strelna, pas loin
Président du Kazakhstan
Président du Kirghizstan
Président de la Moldavie
Premier ministre de la Russie
Président du Turkménistan
Président de l’Ouzbékistan
Président du Tadjikistan
de Saint-Pétersbourg, en juin 2007.
PHOTOGRAPHIE: LA PRESSE CANADIENNE / DMITRY LOVETSKY / AP
toujours mal définie ou même inexistante, selon plusieurs observateurs. Pour la Russie, la CEI était à l’origine un instrument qui lui permettrait de maintenir son influence politique et économique dans la nouvelle zone post-soviétique. En fait, elle servit à faire étalage d’une version russe de décolonisation «soft». Avec le temps, la Russie espérait transformer la «Communauté des États» en une sorte d’Union soviétique II, permettant ainsi la réinsertion du plus grand nombre d’États de l’Europe de l’Est, du Caucase et d’Asie centrale dans une formation géopolitique cohérente. Ce projet politique ne s’est pas encore concrétisé. Jusqu’à maintenant, le processus d’intégration au sein de la Communauté consiste généralement à signer, devant les caméras, de nombreux accords tous plus ambitieux les uns que les autres, mais dont la grande majorité n’a jamais été mise en pratique. Les réunions périodiques des chefs d’État de la CEI ne sont rien de plus que des «moulins à paroles» («talk shops») dont la principale utilité est de permettre la résolution de problèmes bilatéraux. Bref, la CEI est devenue un club de présidents (autoritaires),
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soviétique avait cessé d’exister «en tant qu’État et entité géopolitique». Ils substituèrent à la fédération soviétique une organisation politique inédite: la Communauté des États indépendants (CEI). Les républiques soviétiques d’Asie centrale (Kazakhstan, Ouzbékistan, Turkménistan, Tadjikistan, Kirghizstan) et l’Arménie les rejoignirent deux semaines plus tard à Alma-Ata (Almaty), alors capitale du Kazakhstan. L’Azerbaïdjan et la Moldavie ratifièrent l’acte de fondation quelque temps plus tard, suivis par la Géorgie en 1993. Comptant 11 membres, la CEI n’est ni une confédération, ni une simili-fédération (une fédération de façade) comme l’était l’URSS, qui a survécu 69 ans, entre 1922 et 1991. (Voir l’article One Pager de George Anderson sur l’avenir du fédéralisme à la page 5.) Ce n’est pas non plus un État unitaire comme l’était la Russie tsariste. Le continent eurasiatique est devenu une nébuleuse d’États qui sont fortement déterminés à conserver, au plan juridique, leur entière souveraineté nationale. Rien d’étonnant à ce que, 20 ans après sa création, l’identité politique, économique et militaire de cette communauté soit
l’équivalent à plusieurs égards du Commonwealth britannique. Toutefois, pour Moscou, il est encore important de maintenir et de contrôler cette structure, même illusoire, parce qu’elle lui permet de rester un pivot dans l’ensemble de la zone et constitue une plate-forme à partir de laquelle Moscou peut
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arrive au Congrès du parti Russie unie où le président Medvedev propose que Poutine redevienne candidat pour les présidentielles en 2012.
défendre ses intérêts lors des sommets annuels et des consultations plus informelles. Cela dit, le processus de dislocation de la CEI est déjà en marche. Aux alentours de 2030, la Russie n’aura plus les moyens politiques et économiques de maintenir et de renforcer sa puissance au sein de la CEI, encore moins dans l’arène politique internationale. Son économie, bien que montrant des taux de croissance qui surpassent de beaucoup ceux des pays de la zone européenne et du G8, n’a pas
le dynamisme des économies de l’Asie de l’Est ou même de certains pays d’Amérique latine, notamment dans le secteur manufacturier. Trois facteurs majeurs annoncent déjà l’échec de l’intégration des pays membres de la CEI ou de l’espace post-soviétique. Premièrement, en raison de l’énorme taille géographique de la Russie, de sa population, de son potentiel économique et de sa force politique et militaire, il était impossible pour la Communauté, et ce dès le début de son existence, de devenir une organisation internationale de membres égaux. Même avec la plus démocratique des organisations interétatiques – ce que la CEI n’est pas – les 11 membres de la Communauté seraient inévitablement à la botte de la Russie sur le plan des décisions. À la différence de la Communauté économique européenne (1958-1993), qui se caractérisait lors de sa fondation par une combinaison de plusieurs grands et petits États, de sorte qu’aucun n’avait un avantage disproportionné par rapport aux autres, la CEI fut créée par et pour un seul membre, la Russie, qui en est le seul et unique centre d’attraction. C’est dans ce contexte que, ces dernières années, les pays voisins de la Russie prennent les moyens pour éviter une dérive trop prononcée vers l’orbite géopolitique et géoéconomique russe. Ainsi, depuis 2005-2006, on observe des signes avant-coureurs indiquant que la CEI pourrait éclater dans un futur peut-être pas si lointain. Avant le conflit armé entre la Russie et la Géorgie en août 2008, Tbilissi était considéré comme le plus «instable» des membres. La guerre en Ossétie du Sud, territoire séparatiste mais faisant partie légalement de la Géorgie, a convaincu le président géorgien Mikheil Saakachvili et son entourage que la CEI n’est qu’un appareil politique au service des intérêts de la Russie. Au cours du sommet de la CEI à Kazan en août 2005, le Turkménistan, alors dirigé par le dictateur stalinien Saparmourat Niazov, annonça qu’il modifierait son statut au sein de l’organisation, le faisant passer de membre à celui de membre associé. À la fin de 2005, l’inefficacité de la CEI est devenue de plus en plus évidente aux yeux de nombreux responsables politiques ukrainiens et moldaves, entre autres. En mai 2006, un peu plus d’un an après la «Révolution orange», l’Ukraine annonça qu’elle procéderait à un examen sérieux et exhaustif de la nécessité de prolonger son appartenance à la CEI. Cinq ans plus tard, les sentiments des Ukrainiens envers la Communauté sont toujours ambivalents. Compte tenu des valeurs et du programme politique véhiculés par le Parti des régions lors des élections présidentielles du 14 février 2010 en Ukraine, les analystes politiques occidentaux et les dirigeants russes étaient en droit de s’attendre à ce que le leader de ce parti et vainqueur de l’élection, Viktor PHOTOGRAPHIE: LA PRESSE CANADIENNE / IVAN SEKRETAREV / AP
Ianoukovitch, prenne fait et cause pour la CEI. Il n’en fut rien. Pire pour la Russie, le nouveau président ukrainien, dans un article coup-de-poing publié le 19 août 2011 dans l’hebdomadaire ukrainien Zerkalo Nedeli, affirme que «le choix européen est devenu le fondement de la politique étrangère de l’Ukraine. Les valeurs européennes sont devenues le fondement de notre développement».
L’onde de choc d’une désagrégation de la CEI se ferait sentir plus particulièrement en Asie centrale. Mais ce sont les États-Unis, la Russie et la Chine qui deviennent de plus en plus attentifs aux développements qui ont cours dans cette région.
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euxièmement, les «11» offrent une palette très diversifiée de modèles économiques. Ils diffèrent considérablement en termes de niveau de développement, de libéralisation de leurs marchés intérieurs, du rôle de l’État dans l’économie, de la part du secteur privé dans le PIB, etc. Par exemple, les économies du Bélarus et du Kazakhstan ou celles de la Moldavie et du Turkménistan sont actuellement totalement différentes et orientées vers des secteurs de «développement» incompatibles. Par conséquent, il n’existe aucune base solide pour une intégration économique réelle entre les membres de la CEI. La corruption généralisée concourt à la stagnation du développement à long terme. Les statistiques sur l’économie mondiale font la distinction entre les économies transparentes et les économies non transparentes, et l’importance des lois et de la transparence dans le développement économique des États n’est mise en doute par aucun économiste sérieux. Or les économies de la CEI demeurent à ce jour parmi les moins transparentes à l’échelle planétaire. La Russie, l’Ukraine, les pays d’Asie centrale et l’Azerbaïdjan apparaissent constamment sur les listes noires du Fonds monétaire international et de la CIA quant au blanchiment d’argent. Dans son index sur le niveau de corruption, l’organisme Transparency International place les États de la CEI tout au bas de la liste. Les membres de la CEI, pour les milieux financiers et politiques de New York, Londres, Paris ou Francfort, demeurent toujours fondamentalement, selon l’adage populaire russe, des pays de «lois non lues et règles non écrites». Cela ne signifie pas que les lois sont absentes. Par exemple, les textes et les codes législatifs remplissent au moins quatre rayons de la plus imposante librairie de Moscou sur la rue Kalinine. N’importe qui peut les consulter. On note néanmoins, sur le terrain, que les règles du droit ont été marginalisées par tout un système de pratiques économiques et sociales qui se sont cristallisées pendant les années post-soviétiques. Dans le secteur corporatif, on systématise l’évasion fiscale. Des réseaux financiers sophistiqués voient le jour quotidiennement, surtout dans les compagnies qui ont été délocalisées avec pour objectif
d’évacuer de faramineux profits hors de la CEI et éviter les embarras du fisc, fortement tatillon et hautement incompétent. Les lois non lues sont nécessaires pour naviguer dans les méandres des contraintes formelles et informelles, ainsi que pour manipuler les bureaucrates – ces êtres qui, en Russie, se prennent toujours, du plus petit au plus puissant, pour de véritables «jupitériens», selon l’expression de Dostoïevski. Le respect formel de la loi n’a jamais été la caractéristique principale des anciens États soviétiques. Ce sont les règles non écrites qui dominent et il y a peu d’espoir que le groupe d’élites qui prendra le pouvoir dans 10 ou 20 ans soit suffisamment différent – et dégoûté par la corruption – pour qu’il renforce significativement la primauté du droit. Des liens économiques en phase de réorganisation sont un troisième facteur de dissolution de la CEI. Les échanges commerciaux entre la Russie et les autres membres de la Communauté ont diminué constamment depuis l’éclatement de l’Union soviétique. Une tendance semblable s’observe dans le reste du commerce intra-CEI. Pendant ce temps, les pays de la Communauté accroissent leurs liens commerciaux avec d’autres États limitrophes et les régions plus éloignées. Par exemple, l’UE accapare maintenant plus de 50 pour cent du commerce extérieur du Bélarus et de l’Ukraine; et 30 pour cent des exportations de la Géorgie sont acheminées vers la Turquie, son voisin au sud-ouest. En Asie centrale, le volume de biens et services importés de la Chine et de l’Inde est en voie de dépasser celui de la Russie. Le Kremlin, et Poutine surtout, prétendent que l’ex-État communiste, le premier et deuxième plus grand producteur de gaz et de pétrole respectivement, est indispensable au G8 et à l’Union européenne en tant que fournisseur de matières premières. Depuis le premier mandat présidentiel de Poutine, Moscou, en effet, utilise ces richesses pétrolières et gazières pour mettre la Russie sur une trajectoire de puissance «impériale». La vérité, cependant, est que l’extraction de pétrole russe est stagnante, les investissements dans le secteur énergétique sont en déclin et le joueur dominant de cette industrie, le conglomérat étatisé Gazprom, est de plus en plus inefficace et souffre grandement d’un manque de transparence. Néanmoins, le Kremlin poursuit son objectif de faire de Gazprom une «superpuissance énergétique», selon l’expression du Premier ministre Poutine. Dans le secteur gazier, les prévisions sont plus encourageantes que dans celui du pétrole. Le ministère de l’Économie russe a récemment annoncé que la production de gaz devrait atteindre 671 milliards de mètres cubes en 2011, soit trois pour cent de plus qu’en 2010 et 1 pour cent de plus qu’en 2008, année durant laquelle un record historique fut at-
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Aux alentours de 2030, la Russie n’aura plus les moyens politiques et économiques de maintenir et de renforcer sa puissance au sein de la CEI, encore moins dans l’arène politique internationale.
teint. Grâce aux performances impressionnantes des producteurs de gaz privés, la production totale devrait progresser de façon régulière et s’élever à 741 milliards de mètres cubes en 2014. Cependant, l’arrivée du gaz de schiste sur les marchés mondiaux met Gazprom sur la défensive et pourrait sérieusement déstabiliser les plans du Kremlin, surtout en Europe, son principal importateur. La Lituanie, un ex-satellite de l’URSS et grand consommateur de gaz russe, annonçait en mai 2011 son intention d’importer du gaz naturel liquéfié américain dont le prix est moins élevé que celui du gaz russe. La Pologne et l’Ukraine, dont les sous-sols contiennent apparemment des réserves géantes de gaz de schistes, envisagent déjà, à long terme, de rompre leur dépendance énergétique envers la Russie. Le département américain de l’Énergie fit paraitre une étude en juillet 2011 qui prévoit une quadruple augmentation de la production de gaz d’ici 2040. L’étude ne manque pas de souligner que l’exploitation du gaz de schiste va «affaiblir l’arme énergétique russe» et par conséquent l’influence politique de Moscou en Europe et dans les pays de la CEI. Gazprom, le numéro un mondial, va assurément prendre un coup dans l’aile, d’autant plus que sa production, depuis des années maintenant, végète autour de 520 milliards de mètres cubes par an. L’onde de choc d’une désagrégation de la CEI se ferait sentir plus particulièrement en Asie centrale. Enclavés, comptant actuellement environ 61 millions d’habitants, les pays d’Asie centrale ont une importance stratégique considérable pour les grandes puissances et pour les pays voisins. Mais ce sont les États-Unis, la Russie et la Chine qui deviennent de plus en plus attentifs aux développements qui ont cours dans cette région. Ce qui s’y passe est important pour les États-Unis pour trois raisons principales. D’abord, les pays d’Asie centrale ont des voisins qui représentent un danger évident – au premier chef, l’Afghanistan. Deuxièmement, les États-Unis ont des troupes militaires au Kirghizstan – un peu plus de mille soldats et techniciens – dont la tâche principale consiste à appuyer et à renforcer les manœuvres américaines en Afghanistan et à soutenir le régime kirghize. Troisièmement, la localisation géographique de l’Asie centrale est d’une grande importance en raison de sa proximité avec la Russie et la Chine, ainsi que de l’histoire qu’elle partage avec ces deux pays. Si ces deux puissances manifestent un intérêt pour un pays de la région, les États-Unis doivent emboîter le pas. Moscou craint également de voir s’enflammer l’Asie centrale, qui est aux prises avec une pauvreté endémique, des régimes sur la défensive depuis quelques années et des mouvements islamistes ayant pour objectif de prendre le pouvoir pour y jeter les fondations de régimes fondamentalistes. Le
Kremlin y déploie pleinement tous les instruments de son influence, pour la plupart hérités de l’URSS. Ces instruments sont multiples: fourniture d’armes, diaspora russe, coopération militaire, accueil des oppositions en exil et des présidents déchus. Mais les principaux sont l’orientation sud-nord des oléoducs et gazoducs – qui a coupé, dès 1991, les pays de la CEI exportateurs d’hydrocarbures (Azerbaïdjan, Ouzbékistan, Turkménistan et Kazakhstan) de l’accès direct à leurs marchés d’exportation – le poids de la dette énergétique de ces pays envers la Russie, et, bien entendu, les holdings semi-publiques Gazprom et Transneft, dont le monopole, respectivement dans le transport du gaz et du pétrole, en fait des armes redoutables et redoutées. Pékin est avant tout préoccupée par le maintien de la stabilité, l’ordre public et le renforcement des contrôles frontaliers. Les autorités chinoises redoutent en fait les conséquences de la chute des gérontocrates centro-asiatiques. Elle a pu compter jusqu’à présent sur l’aide du pouvoir kirghiz et kazakh pour étouffer les revendications séparatistes de la communauté ouïghoure du Xinjiang, une province chinoise voisine du Kirghizstan. C’est dans cette province lointaine que Pékin mène sa lutte contre le terrorisme et tient dans son œil de mire 11 millions de musulmans ouïghours. Les autorités chinoises affirment que, depuis 1990, au moins 200 attaques terroristes ont eu lieu dans cette région montagneuse. Dans son discours sur l’«État de la nation», le 25 avril 2005, le président russe Vladimir Poutine a «surpris» les dirigeants et les observateurs occidentaux en déclarant que l’effondrement de l’Union soviétique fut «la plus grande catastrophe géopolitique du 20e siècle». En Occident, la déclaration de Poutine a rapidement suscité un débat sur la gravité de la mort de l’URSS comparée à d’autres catastrophes géopolitiques dans l’histoire mondiale. N’en déplaise au Premier ministre russe, la CEI connaitra probablement le même destin que l’Union soviétique. Au cours des cinq ou 10 prochaines années, pour des raisons politiques ou physiologiques, les États gérontocratiques (Nazarbaïev, Karimov, Loukachenko) de la CEI entreront dans des zones de turbulence: une multitude de problèmes sociaux, économiques et politiques attendent encore des solutions durables. De son côté, la Russie se verra confinée dans le rôle de pourvoyeur de matières premières, peu créateur d’emplois, pour les véritables puissances industrielles du monde présent et celles de l’avenir. Ses ressources énergétiques constituent son principal moyen d’influence, non négligeable faut-il insister. Mais cela ne suffit pas pour un pays qui cherche à devenir un joueur global et rivaliser avec l’Europe, les États-Unis, la Chine, le Brésil et l’Inde. Une seconde «grande catastrophe géopolitique» est en préparation sur le continent eurasiatique. | GB
Itâ€™s public knowledge.
TÊTE À TÊTE Reflections on American Politics GB sits down with the former Governor of New York to understand the games and stakes for 2012 and beyond Conversation with ELIOT SPITZER
Eliot Spitzer served
GB: Will US politics remain divisive over the coming decade?
as Governor and Attorney General of New York State. He lives in New York City with his wife. They have three daughters.
Spitzer: A decade is a long tenure. I do not think that anybody’s crystal ball can, with any clarity, reach out that far. Certainly, between now and the presidential election in November 2012, we will be faced with a period of divisiveness and sharply contrasting ideological worldviews. We have an increasingly conservative Republican Party that is rejecting Keynesian economics – rejecting a view of government intervention (on both the social and economic levels) that had been the staple of American politics over the last half century – versus a Democratic Party that remains somewhat loyal to traditional Keynesian economics and the notion of government intervention in areas as disparate as education, infrastructure and medical research. This increasingly vitriolic ideological battle, given the backdrop of national economic distress, is leading to divisiveness in our politics. I do not see any reason to believe that the angst that is being felt by the public will dissipate, or that the emotional friction between the two parties will disappear in the near-term.
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GB: What are the stakes in 2012 for the presidential election?
Spitzer: The stakes could not be greater. Even though we turn at every presidential election to the old saw that this is the most important election in American history, there is a genuine sense now that history is indeed at something of a fulcrum point. The role of the US as a dominant superpower is, for the first time in nearly a
century, being openly challenged by a rising China, by rising economic forces around the world, and by a sense of frailty on the part of the American economy – and indeed a sense of inability on the part of the US government to confront serious issues. As a consequence, we have a significant ideological choice to be made between what is a very moderate and, in a way, ‘status quo’ Barack Obama – all the rhetoric of transformational politics notwithstanding, he has been a rather ‘down-the-middle’ politician as president – and what would be a rather dramatic move toward conservative ideology if, say, Rick Perry (or even Mitt Romney) were to become president. Listen, for example, to the positions that Perry is taking on balanced-budget issues, and on government intervention more broadly. GB: What are the key policy challenges for the country in the next 10 to 12 years? Spitzer: The single greatest challenge is the intersection of joblessness and the corollary decline in middle class wealth and an increasingly inequitable national distribution of income. Putting aside how one views this challenge as a philosophical or political matter, its economic impact is the outflow of middle class jobs to other regions of the world. For instance, Canada has done better than the US for the past number of years. Most dramatically and obviously, though, we are talking about the rise of the powerful middle class in China, and increasingly in India. We will also see this in Vietnam and in other countries – meaning that those regions of the world are going to be the centres of global economic activity and wealth creation. All of this will have a dramatic impact on the US, and this will ripple through with social movements that will become angrier. The Tea Party is maybe one early manifestation of such middle class anger. Putting aside what one thinks of the policies embraced by the Tea Party, I see it very much as the outgrowth of middle class anxiety. This anxiety will begin to take form and take shape in other ways as well. The other big shift, of course, is demographic in nature: the racial complexion of the US will be changing over the next decade. How that affects both politics and social interactions will be interesting to see.
Spitzer: In New York City, for instance (I do not have the most recent numbers for New York City; and it is not, of course, a mirror image of the rest of the country), I think that it is the case that white voters, although still a plurality, are now a minority. This will inevitably change the complexion of elected PHOTOGRAPHS: COURTESY OF CNN
GB: What distribution of responsibility or labour do you envisage for Washington DC, the states and the private sector in tackling issues like joblessness? Spitzer: I might have to challenge the premise of your question. The focus is perhaps less on states versus Washington than on what anyone or any government entity can do about the trends that we are seeing. The laws of economics cannot be easily repealed. And globalization has become a given – even if nearly two decades ago, the concept was new to many people. The reality of globalization and the free flow of capital across international boundaries has led to a reality that makes it much harder for workers either in the US, Canada or Germany to get wage increases that are commensurate with the productivity gains that they used to get. It used to be that there was a pretty good correlation between individual productivity increases of, say, five percent, and individual wage increases on, say, the assembly line, of about five percent. That no longer happens. In the last 20 or 30 years, this has been the big disconnect. Even though labour in the US has been getting more efficient – because of significant capital investment – labour does not get the uptick because labour is competing against wages in the rest of the world. Now, is there something that government can do about this? That is the big question that is facing us. You can see people struggling with this at every level – put politics aside. We have tried most of the easy answers. The Republican persistence in seeking tax cuts has led to enormous cuts in marginal rates over the last 10 or 15 years. This really has not led to anything terribly useful in terms of job growth or income growth for the middle class. It has led to very significant wealth increases for the wealthy, but, again, has not led to anything substantial for the middle class. Even I – as a Democrat who has supported the stimulus, and who believes that it has worked more than people acknowledge – concede that it has not brought the economy roaring back: capital is still being invested elsewhere – to a certain extent – where there are greater returns. So the real policy question that is facing Washington right now is: what can be done? Marginal shifts in payroll taxes and even in investments in infrastructure – all of which are in and of themselves important – have not yet produced the big payback over the long-term time horizon. An educated workforce that can permit higher value-added for workers is, as economics will tell you, the only way to ensure that workers will
We have a Republican Party that is rejecting Keynesian economics, versus a Democratic Party that remains loyal to the notion of government intervention in areas as disparate as education, infrastructure and medical research.
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GB: Could you elaborate a little on this changing racial complexion of the country?
officials. We will have a more diverse leadership – a function of a more diverse society. All of this is a good thing, but it will be a change that will become increasingly apparent to the rest of the world in the coming years.
do better. Of course, even there we are not seeing returns, because there is such a vast supply of labour elsewhere in the world. So all of this is a little bit of an economic conundrum that does not, at present, lend itself to an easy answer. GB: Is this an issue of a dearth of ideas or a recalibration of expectations? Spitzer: It could be both. They are not either-or. The short answer is: I do not think that we really know. GB: Is there still a place for intellectuals in US politics? Where are they to be found?
There is certainly frustration
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when you see serious – or allegedly serious – presidential candidates rejecting Galileo, Darwin and Keynes, and getting away with it.
Spitzer: On one level, intellectuals are finding themselves drinking much more heavily these days as they watch politics. From my corner of the world, there certainly is frustration when you see serious – or allegedly serious – presidential candidates rejecting Galileo, Darwin and Keynes, and getting away with it. It is a little difficult to figure out what has happened to our belief in rational thought, science and progress. All that being said, those who live in the world of academia and ideas – there are smart folks out there, and there are many of them – will keep churning out ideas. They are creative. You look to universities and the writers to give inspiration and content to those of us who just try to read and internalize these ideas. You just hope that they will come up with better ideas, and give us the next set of policies that might work. GB: Having said that, is there trouble with the intellectuals’ sales job? Spitzer: To a certain extent, yes. We look back now with such fondness on Bill Clinton’s capacity to connect with the public, and to explain issues and elevate the conversation in a way that, unfortunately, President Obama has not succeeded in doing. There he is with the loudest, most powerful megaphone out there, and yet he has not challenged or been able to push back against what seems to be a significant turn to the right in the national policy conversation. I keep waiting for him to say: “You know, Keynesian economics is not dead; it works. Here is what the government has to do, and here is the history.” We can all laugh about Al Gore creating the Internet – but, you know, the government did in fact create the Internet. I keep waiting for that articulation of purpose on the part of government. GB: How dependent is future US power in the world on the domestic game? Spitzer: They are interrelated. First of all, I would suggest that our position in the world as a super-
power is, over a 30- or 40-year time horizon, dependent upon our economic position and military power. Our military power is unquestionably the greatest in history – unchallenged by anybody at this moment. The capacity to maintain this power is dependent on the domestic economy; and our domestic economy will not continue to thrive unless we have domestic politics that understand how to maintain it. If we fail at a political level, then, as we are already seeing somewhat, the emotional position of the US in the world begins to slip. That process will accelerate if we do not alter the trend line on unemployment and our capacity – and the perception of our capacity – to address deeper problems. GB: What future global challenges will the US not be able to lead on? Spitzer: When Fukuyama’s book, The End of History, came out, I remember saying to others that, while we have won the ideological battle in respect of liberal democracy and capitalism, Fukuyama is forgetting about fanaticism – fanaticism that is visible primarily in the context of religion today (although this has not always been the case). I am not sure that we will be able to push back successfully against this rise of fanaticism; that is, against the threat of fanaticism that does not understand the notions of tolerance. We are doing what we can, but have not quite figured out whether the answer is necessarily a military response. We have tried that in various places, obviously, and sometimes it works better than at other times. Is it soft power that you should use to interact with other nations? Is it simply about expanding our economic reach? Somehow, we are not yet winning the battle in persuading a significant part of the world that the fanaticism that we are seeing is simply not an ideology that works over the long-term. GB: What is the the most significant societal weakness in the US today? Spitzer: The US’s greatest strength is that we still have the best-educated workforce and population – at some level. The weakness is that we are beginning to lose the capacity to educate ourselves as well as we need to for future success. The core strength of the people here – our human capital, as it were – will ultimately determine success or failure. And I am not persuaded that we are investing in that human capital as we must. GB: Are there countries in the world that provide interesting examples for emulation by the US on particular major policy issues? Spitzer: I suppose that we all should believe that
you look around the world to see who is doing what well in terms of health care. I do not want to start listing individual countries, but there are certainly better examples of high-quality health care being delivered at a much lower cost than here in the US. We have not yet figured out this problem, which is a real economic problem. In terms of education, I scratch my head – both as someone who has just been on the outside watching and who has been in government trying to figure out how to use resources to fund educational systems. There are great examples around the world of systems in which kids are doing better than they are in the US. On the whole, we are a little out of balance right now, and so we clearly have to look around the world to ask: is somebody else getting it right? Are they getting better fixes than we are?
GB: What is the future of the law in the US, and how might its evolution affect American politics and culture? Spitzer: This again comes to the 2012 presidential election. No individual president since Roosevelt has had the chance to appoint a significant nucleus of justices. With so many appointments, the entire direction of how we view the Constitution shifts. But if we were to have Romney or Perry in the White House, and Republicans in the Congress, and if we put more justices of the school of Thomas or Roberts on the court, then that really could begin to move our interpretative theories – certainly not in the
Finance should be plumbing.
GB: How do you see the future of the North American continent? Spitzer: North America will, of necessity, become a more integrated economic and social entity. The ties between the US and Canada should become tighter, as our common economic future becomes increasingly apparent to all. We also share common challenges, as lower-wage parts of the world will compete to take away the jobs that are the backbone of our middle classes.
I am not denigrating it, but it should be a system that permits capital to flow to sectors that can then invest productively. It should not be the end in and of itself.
GB: What would be your idealized future vision for Wall Street and, relatedly, global finance?
direction in which I would want them to go. Indeed, that could change the direction significantly from what has been the accepted understanding of the Constitution for the last 60 or 70 years. I really do think that it will be interesting to see how the court rules on the constitutionality of a number of laws: one key law, of course, will be the determination of the constitutionality of the health care act. This will presumably be determined by the current nine justices, which means that there is a pretty good chance that it will be upheld. That being said, if we get a conservative president, then nominations will not be in the Elena Kagan mould. That will push us in a very different direction – an uncomfortable one for me and for many others, I suspect. So that is one of the big choices that we as a country are facing. | GB
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Spitzer: Finance should be plumbing. I am not denigrating it, but it should be a system that permits capital to flow to sectors that can then invest productively. It should not be the end in and of itself. Finance became such an end in and of itself when 40 percent of our corporate profits were being earned by the financial institutions alone. That spoke to a type of casino approach. Too much of the return was being scraped off by institutions that were gambling, rather than institutions that were creating the wealth. I saw that someone cleverly wrote the other day: “Repeal Dodd-Frank, but pass Glass-Steagall.” There is a lot of merit in this. We are trying to regulate these huge institutions, instead of separating them into smaller, more nimble entities with limited purpose – entities that would actually compete with each other. We have gone the wrong way in addressing ‘too big to fail.’ We have made banks bigger, rather than smaller. I am not sure that this concentration will work. The conflicts of interest are going to be impossible to mediate. And the problems that we are building – structurally – are really going to be hard to overcome. I think that we have now paid a price for this, although we have not yet addressed it officially.
As the world inches toward another recession, it looks for new answers on the economic jousting of companies around the world BY FRED LAZAR
& THE FUTURE OF CAPITALISM Fred Lazar is Associate Professor of economics at the Schulich School of Business, York
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t the height of the economic crisis in 2008, there was rising speculation, on all continents, about the death of capitalism – at least of the US-style capitalism predicated on a ‘winner-take-all,’ ‘take-no-prisoners’ model. A capitalist model based on ruthlessness and a general absence of compassion and magnanimity was increasingly viewed as a failure in light of the collapse of the global financial system, the need for massive bailouts by the major central banks, and the explosion of income inequality in the US and Europe. There has been much speculation about what might replace US-style capitalism. In 2008, there was no consensus. There is even less consensus today, as many major economies continue to stagnate, and with a new recession looming. At first, the European model – ‘compassionate capitalism,’ as it were – was touted as the next phase of evolution. Capitalism did not have to be ruthless – or so the narrative went – and it definitely could be magnanimous. Of course, the European model itself is today failing, with rising speculation about its survival, as well as that of both the Eurozone and the EU. (See Strategic Futures on European identity in 2030 at p. 62.) The welfare state is on the verge of collapse throughout Europe, as country after country has been pressured by the so-called ‘bond vigilantes’ to eliminate budget deficits and greatly reduce public spending – especially on social programmes. Is the Chinese model the wave of the future? Many believe that it might be, given the dramatic growth of the economy of the Middle Kingdom during the past three decades. But that growth has been driven by government spending at all levels. Moreover, Chinese freedoms continue to be limited; China’s social safety net is porous and underdeveloped; income inequality is growing rapidly; and corruption is even more prevalent than in Europe or the US. A recent Associated Press report highlighted that leaving China is at the top of the wish-list of the wealthiest Chinese. Many of these wealthy Chinese are moving their families and capital out of the country in order to get foreign passports; that is, in order to leave China quickly if and when necessary. If the wealthy wish to leave, then this is likely not the model for the future. So what, at this uncertain moment in global economic affairs, will be the capitalist model of the future? How ruthless should it be? How magnanimous should it be? What roles will govern-
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ILLUSTRATION: GRACIA LAM
ments play – particularly in regulating ruthlessness and magnanimity? The answers to these questions may provide some of the basic considerations in the great debates on the future of the world’s political economies. There is a common saying in business: “Nice guys finish last.” Does this necessarily mean that in order to succeed, companies and – more importantly – the people who run them must be ruthless and adopt a ‘take-no-prisoners’ approach? When he was the CEO of American Airlines, Bob Crandall once stated that competition is about “killing your competitor.” Joseph Schumpeter talked about the importance of creative destruction. The competition that matters – and supposedly benefits society as a whole – is the one that overwhelms previously successful companies. In short, companies and their executives need to be ruthless in order to succeed; or, more broadly, ruthlessness is a critical aspect of competition in economic life. At this time of writing, large companies in Europe and the US continue to sit on record stockpiles of
Many of the wealthiest Chinese are moving their families and capital out of the country in order to get foreign passports; that is, in order to leave China quickly if and when necessary.
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cash – reluctant to invest and hire at the precise moment when economies and the general welfare require just that. These companies are confused about the future. They lack the confidence to take risks. But, fundamentally, these companies do not at all appear to be magnanimous – in the sense of trying to help to turn around their national economies and raise the condition of the people.
orbes annually produces a list of the richest people in the world. Are any on this list truly ruthless according to the true meaning of the word? Probably not – especially when one considers that the list does not include despots, drug lords or other heads of organized crime syndicates. Has Carlos Slim or, say, even John Paulson – who has moved high into the ranks of billionaires since 2008 by making large bets against the US housing market, and on the American banks bailed out by the Federal Reserve – been cruel, merciless or vindictive? Perhaps in the eyes of some. But have these men murdered anyone? Have they tortured
anyone? Have they destroyed an economy or country? Many very successful businessmen and women who have created enormous wealth by starting or growing companies or through financial engineering, have also made large contributions to society through their foundations or other forms of philanthropy. Indeed, more and more of the world’s wealthiest individuals and families are donating more and more of their wealth. Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, respectively the second and third richest people in the world (according to Forbes), have started the “Giving Pledge” initiative, through which they have invited the very richest to commit to leaving most of their wealth to support numerous charitable activities. There are at least 69 billionaires who have signed up thus far. (Interestingly, wealthy Americans tend to be more generous than non-American billionaires with their wealth – and also less susceptible to the creation of dynasties; yet they are generally viewed outside of America as more cutthroat competitors.) So we ought, perhaps, to be careful to distinguish between the truly ruthless and the hyper-competitive. To be sure, one can find numerous examples of modern-day malfeasance by companies and their senior executives. To take an obvious example, British Petroleum (BP) – even prior to the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 – had a dismal safety and environmental record. The Deepwater Horizon explosion killed 11 people on the rig, and caused tens of billions of dollars in damage in and around the Gulf of Mexico. In both 2001 and 2005, Multinational Monitor named BP as one of the 10 worst corporations in the world, based on its environmental and human rights records. BAE Systems has been investigated in the UK by the Serious Fraud Office on the use of political corruption in order to help to sell arms to Chile, Qatar, Romania, South Africa and other countries. In 2010, BAE Systems agreed to pay £257 million in criminal fines to the US government, and £30 million to the UK government. Under a plea bargain with the US Department of Justice, BAE was convicted of felony conspiracy to defraud the US government. US District Judge John Bates said that the company’s conduct involved “deception, duplicity and knowing violations of law […] on an enormous scale.” Like many arms manufacturers, BAE has been criticized by various human rights groups for the rights records of governments to which it has sold equipment. Basic fraud has been as ubiquitous as bribery. Some of the classic cases at the beginning of the 21st century include Adelphia Communications, BNY Mellon, Enron, Global Crossing, Merck, Nicor Energy LLC, WorldCom and Xerox. But once again, do these companies and their executives deserve to be put in the same league as the really ruthless political tyrants of the past and present? (See the Nez à Nez debate on humanitarian intervention at p. 56.)
as a result, that these companies were successful in influencing politicians in both parties to pressure the heads of the regulatory agencies to be less vigorous in their enforcement of their respective regulations. Can a company be fiercely competitive – short of ruthless – and at the same time also be required to care for more than just its shareholders; that is, for other stakeholders like employees, customers, suppliers, the environment? Would this be in the best interests of companies, their senior management and their shareholders? The advocates of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) will answer with a resounding yes. And it seems that more and more companies are answering yes as they adopt and more fully develop CSR strategies and procedures. Today, being hyper-competitive but not at least somewhat magnanimous is a recipe for disaster. Magnanimity – in the form of CSR policies – is viewed by a growing number of executives as critical for creating and sustaining a competitive advantage. The proliferation of social networks and their amplifying effects on good and bad news only
Magnanimity is viewed as critical for creating and sustaining a competitive advantage. The proliferation of social networks and their amplifying effects only make sharper the accent on reputation. make sharper the accent on reputation. Even Milton Friedman alluded to this possibility, stating that “it may well be in the long-run interest of a corporation that is a major employer in a small community to devote resources to providing amenities to that community or to improving its government. That may make it easier to attract desirable employees, it may reduce the wage bill or lessen losses from pilferage and sabotage or have other worthwhile effects.” But what role for governments here? Is the trend toward CSR a reflection of voluntary actions by companies or a response to tougher laws – such as Sarbanes-Oxley in the US? Perhaps the move toward CSR has been driven by a self-defence strategy. Companies and their executives know what happened to the tobacco companies in the US as they were forced to pay fines in the billions of dollars. Hence, fearing class-action lawsuits, or legal actions by government, a company’s senior management may point to its CSR policies as a legal defence. If this be so, then this once again speaks to the import of rules and laws and their enforcement; and, of course, the import of governments and public authorities. And so we observe that companies can
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Companies may well cross the line in order to engage in illegal activities for advantage. Frank Easterbrook and Daniel Fischel classically argued that there might be circumstances in which it is rational for a company to break the law. In simple economic terms, if the expected value of breaking the law exceeds the expected value of abiding by the law, then a rational person will break the law – no moral principles involved; just greed. Consequently, companies might entertain breaking a law or two as a means of creating or sustaining their competitive advantages. Milton Friedman, recognized as one of the all-time leading neoconservative economists, disagreed. In 1970, he wrote: “In a free-enterprise, private-property system, a corporate executive is an employee of the owners of the business. He has direct responsibility to his employers. That responsibility is to conduct the business in accordance with their desires, which generally will be to make as much money as possible while conforming to their basic rules of the society, both those embodied in law and those embodied in ethical custom.” In other words, the senior managers who run corporations have the obligation to make a profit within the framework of the legal system. Both intellectual positions – rational law-breaking and duty-based adherence to the law – and, to be sure, the practical actions of companies highlight the importance of rules and laws; or, in other words, the importance of governments and public authorities. For if markets – and hence ‘capitalism’ – are circumscribed and defined by the rules and laws in place at a particular point in time and in a particular country, then governments use laws and regulations to point business behaviour in what they perceive to be beneficial directions. Naturally, as mentioned, this does not necessarily mean that companies always abide by the rules, or that they will move in the desired direction. Indeed, given the diversity of goals among different governments, there are often conflicts among the laws of different countries. This causes tensions and uncertainty for companies, and makes it more difficult for any one country to enforce its rules and laws on global corporations (although the US and the EU are evidently best placed to do so in virtue of the size and importance of their domestic markets.) Enforcement is oftentimes more critical than the rules themselves. But enforcement can be a tough slog. Exacerbating the difficulty of winning cases in the courts and thus strengthening enforcement are the political pressures on regulatory agencies to go easy on companies. It was not, after all, a dearth of regulations as such that contributed to the financial crisis in 2008. Rather, it was, arguably, weak enforcement. In the US, financial service companies have invested heavily in lobbying, and have been major contributors to political campaigns. It is conceivable,
China Institute’s mission is to forge linkages between China-related initiatives and scholarship at the University of Alberta, to enhance and support new teaching and research activities between Canada and China, and to develop an enduring friendship and promote cultural, c, and business exchanges.
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CIUA’s vision is to become renowned in China and internationally as a unique Canadian enterprise that stimulates outstanding China-related teaching and research initiatives and interdisciplinary collaboration with the University of Alberta. Spanning a wide range of disciplines, the Institute will encourage the participation of undergraduate and graduate students, post, and faculty from the Unie Institute will bridge university and community activities to encourage cultural understanding, c and business ventures between the two nations.
well be compelled to behave more ‘ethically,’ and in the process to also act more magnanimously by considering the welfare of a much larger number of stakeholders. But governments cannot count on the goodwill of companies. They must work together – at least the governments of the G8, if not the G20 – to harmonize their rules and laws. For any single government acting alone will face opposition, as special interests align to argue that tougher measures or enforcement will place their domestic companies at a competitive disadvantage. For example, tucked into the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 (see the Tête à Tête interview with Eliot Spitzer at p. 46) is a provision requiring US-listed oil, gas and mining companies to reveal what they pay to governments around the world for permission to tap resources. Not surprisingly, oil companies have been lobbying to have this provision removed – claiming that it is ‘excessively burdensome’ and places them at a competitive disadvantage, as there are no comparable requirements in other countries. The Dodd-Frank case study highlights a more serious problem confronting governments: even minor provisions requiring some transparency do not sit well with major companies that make enormous profits by collaborating with corrupt and ruthless despots. Indeed, while companies may not necessarily be ruthless according to the exact meaning of the word, many companies have shown no hesitation to engage in commercial activities with despotic and truly ruthless regimes. The pursuit of profit is integral to capitalism, and profits are pursued wherever they can be found. If governments – particularly those in the West – are to adopt new rules and enforce them in order to push companies and capitalism in a more magnanimous direction, then magnanimity must extend beyond the borders of these countries. The new rules should not tolerate bribery, corruption and collaboration with despotic regimes. Governments should cooperate to harmonize and strengthen their enforcement of these rules. Penalties should be prohibitive. And to level the competitive playing field, foreign companies that operate in countries without comparable rules should face prohibitive trade barriers. Transparency should play an important role in all of this. The Dodd-Frank Bill was on the right track. Light does act as a disinfectant – a disinfectant that can go a long way in this age of the Internet and Twitter. An active and involved citizenry can play a major role in keeping companies honest. Boycotts can be organized quickly and on a large scale with today’s technologies. One need look no further than North Africa this past year to see the potential. We can tolerate and possibly even encourage hypercompetition – Schumpeter’s “creative destruction.” And while there is scant evidence of true ruthlessness (properly defined) among today’s companies, governments across borders ought to work to stamp it out where it exists, and to push these companies – slowly and surely – toward a magnanimity that is increasingly, and in any event, in their reputational self-interest. | GB
Nation-building is in America’s DNA “‘Nation-building can only work when the people own it.’
Jeremi Suri argues that the United States has too often forgotten this truth over the course of its nation-building history— including the American Revolution and Reconstruction as well as efforts in the Philippines, Germany, Japan, and Vietnam. Suri draws lessons from all these efforts that are particularly valuable today.” —Anne-Marie Slaughter, Bert G. Kerstetter ’66 University Professor of Politics and International Affairs, Princeton University
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NEZ À NEZ R2P, Corruption and Noble Causes National interests necessarily corrupt humanitarian interventions PROPOSITION:
KYLE MATTHEWS vs WOLFGANG KRIEGER
Kyle Matthews is the Lead Researcher at the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies. He is President of the Montreal branch of the Canadian International Council and a member of the New Leaders program at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs.
Wolfgang Krieger is professor of the history of international relations at Marburg University, Germany. He has taught at Princeton, the University of Toronto and
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Sciences-Po in Paris.
Matthews (against): Intervening militarily to interdict mass-atrocity crimes or to break the back of a famine remains one of the most controversial and divisive issues in international politics. This is unfortunate, given that in 2011 alone we have witnessed multiple crises morph into full-scale humanitarian disasters. From the streets of Tripoli and Damascus, to the backwaters of South Sudan and Al Shabab-controlled areas of Somalia, civilians the world over are calling out for help and protection. Unfortunately, only a small number will have their prayers answered. While despotic regimes will regurgitate the same line to the effect that the ‘Responsibility to Protect’ doctrine is nothing more than a tool for neo-imperialists to interfere in their domestic affairs, the people living under their rule know better. The American-led UN intervention in Somalia in the early 1990s remains a classical textbook case for humanitarian intervention. Washington’s decision to engage in the Horn of Africa had very little to do with national interests. Rather, successful lobbying by large international NGOs – including CARE and Oxfam – influenced an outgoing US president (George H.W. Bush), who was sympathetic to the plight of Somalis and saw an opportunity to leave office on a positive note. Early success in opening up humanitarian aid convoys saved the lives of an untold number of people, who would otherwise have perished from malnutrition. The only thing that ended up corrupting this particular intervention was the killing of 18 US Army Rangers. If national interests had been at play, President Clinton would not have made the immediate decision to pull all US combat troops out of the country. Examining the state of Somalia today raises the question of whether preventing state failure through humanitarian intervention is in every country’s national interest. President Clinton’s short-term political calculation to abandon the UN mission in Somalia now appears to have been detrimental to America’s and regional countries’ national interests. After less than two decades, Somalia is once again
confronted by famine, and desperate Somalis have taken to the seas and transformed themselves into the globe’s biggest piracy threat – while a radical Islamist group has asserted its authority over a significant portion of the country, and is openly collaborating with Al Qaeda and other transnational jihadist groups. (See the Feature article on terrorism by Daveed Gartenstein-Ross at p. 20.) Meanwhile, countries bordering Somalia are beginning to suffer the consequences of a lack of humanitarian intervention. Krieger (for): Traditional international law, as we all know, was based on a concept of national sovereignty that did not allow any foreign interventions for the purpose of settling domestic conflicts. This basic rule of modern international relations was written into the Charter of the UN, but was never universally respected. Arms, money and ‘volunteer’ fighters were sent in ways that would obscure their real origins. During the Cold War, each camp supported ‘freedom fighters’ and ‘liberation movements,’ among other movements and parties – even if some of these and their leaders were often dubious. But such support served certain national interests or the good cause of freedom or the progress of socialism – depending on the perspective in play. Since then, we have seen all sorts of armed interventions – most of them with sordid or at least questionable results. In addition, the ‘international community’ created what would come to be known as the ‘Responsibility to Protect’ doctrine – the logic of which led us into the wars in the former Yugoslavia (to protect its Muslim population), in Iraq (to protect the Kurds and others), and in various places in Africa (with Libya being the latest example). None of these interventions lends itself to an easy calculation of overall benefits. None has come to a complete and happy ending (see the Feature article by Michael Cotey Morgan on the tragedies of humanitarian intervention at p. 14). Therefore, we need to ask ourselves how this new thinking can be sold to Western democratic publics over the longterm. Will it become more and more necessary to emphasize the national benefits for participating countries? Or to tailor such interventions to the whims of those publics, as well as to their collective – national – interests? Will these interventions increasingly become selfish manoeuvres based on expected economic, strategic or cultural gains? National governments across Europe have already abandoned the military draft in order to make their forces more easily deployable overseas; that is, beyond the classical task of national self-defence. The US has dramatically increased contract soldiers and even contract intelligence agents for the same purpose. NGOs and the media – mostly the privately-owned media – have specialized in finding
places where ‘humanitarian catastrophes’ can be repackaged into urgent cases for interventions – in part, perhaps, to divert our attention from those previous cases wherein such interventions failed to produce anything positive – to put it mildly. In other words, our affluent, liberal societies are increasingly sucked into a ‘need to act’ all over the world. We are increasingly made to feel guilty if we do not send our soldiers and our money. At the same time, we corrupt the new leaders of civil wars or revolutions by giving them weapons and money without asking for much in return. And we refuse to become colonial powers in the good sense of the word, because we preserve the fiction of national sovereignty.
PHOTOGRAPH: THE CANADIAN PRESS / JEROME DELAY
Libyans protest as they stand in the rubble of a home in Zliten that was destroyed by a NATO bomb, allegedly killing two children and their mother, August 2011.
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Matthews: It is true that the international system favours non-interference, which is codified in the UN Charter. However, that same Charter expresses clearly that sovereignty belongs to the people living within the countries seated at the UN – not to the governments or authorities that rule over them. Furthermore, there is the Genocide Convention, which
obligates all signatories to take immediate action to interdict mass killings – through intervention, if necessary – when these occur. With great power comes great responsibility. Sadly, the ‘Permanent Five’ who make up the UN Security Council have a horrible track record of leadership in enforcing this convention. History records that only two genocides were halted unilaterally in the 20th century: India’s intervention in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) to stop a mass slaughter that was producing massive refugee outflows, and Vietnam’s invasion of Cambodia, which ended the Khmer Rouge’s crimes against humanity. The great standoff between the West, led by the US, and the Soviet Bloc clearly did produce suffering and misery through the proxy wars that were unleashed across many continents. This is not debatable; it is a fact. It needs to be noted, however, that the nature of conflict has changed dramatically since the end of the Cold War. The 1990s witnessed a decrease in inter-state conflict and a rise in civil wars. Internal displacement and ethnic cleansing are just some of the new trends for which the world grappled to find solutions in order to better protect
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There can be little doubt that the new Libyan regime, once it becomes firmly ensconced, will favour France and Britain in relation to rebuilding the Libyan economy – including its oil industry.
civilians – just as civilians found themselves increasingly the targets of deadly violence. The failure of national governments to give the UN the tools and capacity that it needed to be more effective in protecting civilians in the Balkans and to halt the 100-day killing frenzy that took the lives of close to one million Rwandans in the spring of 1994, produced new thinking on humanitarian interventions. While at the Brookings Institution, Francis Deng, an African diplomat who now serves as the UN Secretary-General’s Special Adviser for the Prevention of Genocide, developed the concept that would go on to form the backbone of the ‘Responsibility to Protect’ doctrine; that is, that national sovereignty entails responsibility. Witnessing firsthand that when atrocities were being committed, most national governments demonstrated a will not to intervene, then-UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan tried to form a new consensus. Alas, to date, many countries – and the West in particular – have not given serious thought to the transnational threats that mass-atrocity crimes produce in far-away lands – especially through the creation of more failed states.
for corruption – potential that is as hidden as it is obvious. Just as we cannot ignore the bureaucratic selfinterest lurking behind the UN’s call for more “tools and capacity […] to be more effective in protecting civilians,” as my opponent has phrased it. For all of its importance as a source of legitimacy in dealing with international conflicts, we must not lose sight of the UN’s staggering cost and inefficiency, its failures in dealing with economic development, and all of the rest – mostly due to thousands of incompetent and overpaid officials and their Byzantine bureaucracy. Does anyone in his or her right mind believe that such a body can effectively handle modern armed forces – a task that is often poorly managed by the best of Western democracies? The latter at least get the job of humanitarian intervention done. Sometimes too late and with unintended consequences – due to Clausewitz’s ‘fog of war,’ which Bob Gates recently evoked in the Libyan context. And surely under the lurking suspicion of having national interests that may corrupt noble humanitarian causes. Indeed, it seems obvious that there is no such thing as an innocent humanitarian intervention.
Krieger: Our subject is ‘humanitarian intervention’ and its relationship with ‘national interests.’ It is therefore not helpful to narrow down the argument about the uses and limits of state sovereignty to the issue of genocide and the Genocide Convention. For in a clear case of genocide, it matters little whether it is stopped by a foreign intervention with a hidden agenda of selfish benefit. Humanitarian intervention in the broader sense, however, is inevitably linked to the pursuit of national interests. Take the case of Libya, where the governments of France and Britain are eager to demonstrate to the world – and to their voters at home – that North Africa will not be left to the whims of local dictators, to the Arab world or to that ill-defined assembly of states called the ‘international community.’ Together, Paris and London spend nearly half of the EU members’ combined defence budget. That alone shows that this pair wishes to be seen as global players (alas, smaller than the US). Does this corrupt their humanitarian intervention? Not perhaps in the obvious, Mafia-type way. But there can be little doubt that the new Libyan regime, once it becomes firmly ensconced, will favour France and Britain in relation to rebuilding the Libyan economy – including its oil industry. In fact, the Transitional National Council (TNC) has said so publicly. Who can blame them? But the message will nevertheless be clear: get involved in the process of regime change if you wish to enhance your international prestige, as well as your share of international big business. Is this an argument against humanitarian intervention? Perhaps not. But we cannot ignore the potential
Matthews: I beg to differ. At the UN Global Summit in 2005, all member states made a political commitment to do more to prevent and interdict mass-atrocity crimes (genocide, crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing and war crimes). It is these specific human rights abuses that open the door to humanitarian intervention should a government not refrain from abusing its people. This is what we witnessed at the earliest onset of the Libyan crisis when Muammar Gaddafi’s soldiers used deadly force against civilians. Gaddafi then followed this up with the threat, broadcast over the country’s airwaves, to go house to house to hunt his political enemies down like “rats.” Is this not why so many Libyan diplomats across the globe resigned en masse – in disgust – at what was happening to their brothers and sisters back home? This is also why the Arab League called for the enforcement of a no-fly zone and the creation of an arms embargo, which the UN Security Council then authorized. Yes, France and the UK might have ‘mixed motives’ (i.e. to avert massive refugee flows or to dislodge a lunatic who cannot uphold commercial contracts), but let us not forget that the importance of any humanitarian intervention is that its objectives are primarily humanitarian and geared toward the protection of civilians. We should not wring our hands if a country contributes its national resources (blood and treasure) to free a people from tyranny and oppression, simply because at the end of the day, after the job is done, it walks away with some new political or economic guarantees. Although the Libya crisis is
by no means a closed chapter, the real story is that a massacre in Benghazi was avoided. In Western countries, there was no artificial humanitarian argument advanced like that witnessed in the lead-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. It appears that the real ‘national interests’ that tried to corrupt this humanitarian intervention came from China, whose state-controlled arms industry sold weapons to Gaddafi long after UN Security Council Resolution 1973 was passed. Also, it must be noted that South Africa played an important role as the devil’s advocate for the Gaddafi regime, which has since been explained by the embarrassing fact that President Jacob Zuma previously accepted funds from Gaddafi for his presidential campaign to unseat Thabo Mbeki. Observers of history will find many more examples of the ‘national interest’ being invoked to justify inaction – or worse, to block humanitarian intervention.
Matthews: While it is easy to dismiss the rhetorical support given to the outcome paper of the 2005 World Summit, it is difficult to take the position that progress is not being made. Since 2005, a whole series of civil society-led umbrella groups, think tanks, university research centres, celebrities, student-led anti-genocide groups and indeed new offices within the UN itself, have come into existence. Even if governments are reticent to support ‘humanitarian intervention’ when it is warranted by actual human suffering on the ground, the coalescing of these new non-state actors is having an impact.Think of George Clooney’s Satellite Sentinel Project that uses space-based technology to monitor the border region between North and South Sudan, or the Global Center for the Responsibility to Protect in New York that engages members of the UN Security Council and issues timely press releases and policy briefings to showcase what is really taking shape in the halls of power and on the ground. You now begin to see that national governments are being challenged publicly to change the way that they do business. Yes, the African Union was uncooperative over Libya, but this was mostly because Gaddafi was the organization’s financier. While governments will no doubt continue to deny their responsibilities or stymie action, a new cadre of actors has emerged. They will make it increasingly difficult for governments to sit on their hands and feign ignorance, or ignore the pleas of the people calling for protection. (continued online) To read the rest of this debate, visit the GB website
History records that only two genocides were halted unilaterally in the 20th century: India’s intervention in East Pakistan, and Vietnam’s invasion of Cambodia, which ended the Khmer Rouge’s crimes against humanity.
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Krieger: In thinking about the problems of humanitarian interventions – including their potential for corruption – it seems of rather limited use to evoke the 2005 World Summit and its outcome paper, which mentions mass-atrocity crimes rather briefly on page 30 of a 38-page document. This kind of UN and summit prose does pitifully little to prevent the crimes that interest us in this debate. Just look at how the African Union failed to support the UNmandated intervention in Libya, and how the Arab League only supported the no-fly zone – but nothing else. To speak of an ‘international community’ being in agreement on the protection of civilians from mass violence carried out by their own governments is simply not in accordance with the facts. While some progress may have been made on this issue since the war in Kosovo, we are still far from having a workable consensus in this field. Indeed, the elites in Africa, in the Middle East and in quite a few other parts of the world still have precious little respect for human rights. We should not yield to any illusions on this matter. If we are to understand the problems that may arise in the near future, we need to take a broader perspective on humanitarian crises and foreign interventions. The Arab revolutions are far from over, and still have frightening potential for turning ugly. Many parts of sub-Saharan Africa are still mired in conflict and by enormous prospects for human catastrophe – to say nothing of other parts of the world, such as South Asia. This is why we need to think carefully and from all different angles about these issues, and not simply follow the trail of pious international promises. My opponent quite rightly points to the potential for corruption on the part of those countries that do not send their soldiers – that seek to prevent coercive measures and UN Security Council resolutions
authorizing armed foreign interventions. We all remember the ugly bargaining with China and Russia in the context of the wars in Yugoslavia and in Iraq. But who was willing to offer such deals? Surely the powers that wished to go ahead with their military operations! Of course, not all of those interventions by ‘the international community’ were strictly humanitarian or launched to prevent mass atrocities in the narrow, legal sense of the term. But in terms of Realpolitik, those differences do not always matter much. If Germany, for example, refrained from supporting the UN Security Council Resolution 1973 in support of the Libyan operation, it did not do so in order to permit Gaddafi’s atrocities. It acted for domestic electoral reasons. Do we call this corruption in a political sense? Was it done because one expected the operation to fail and to produce advantages for those who had stood aside? Surely Berlin expected some kind of advantage from that decision. We still have not learned all of the facts. And that goes for the whole issue at hand. We should approach our subject with an open mind, but also with a good deal of scepticism. It remains to be seen whether humanitarian intervention will truly make the world a better place.
THE DEFINITION What is the principal near-term consequence of the Arab Spring? Shortly after the overthrow of Hosni
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A new global spotlight has been directed at dictatorial regimes. All of these regimes are scrambling to buy off popular discontent with salary increases, new state subsidy packages, and fake promises of political reform.
Mubarak, Aluf Benn, the editor-in-chief of Haaretz, wrote a column entitled: “Mubarak’s departure thwarted Israeli strike on Iran.” His argument was that the Arab Spring had transformed the geopolitics of the Middle East, ushering “in a new era of uncertainty for the entire region, and for Israel in particular.” His observation is an astute one, as it both draws attention to linkages between different conflicts in the Middle East and highlights how the Arab Spring has forced a reassessment of the national security priorities of countries across the region. The Arab Spring has also overturned a binary view of the political divisions in the Middle East. Long-standing assumptions about a regional order defined by a pro-Western ‘moderate Arab’ and Israeli bloc versus an anti-Western axis comprised of Iran, Syria and Hezbollah/Hamas is analytically distorting today. What the Arab Spring has done is help to clarify what Middle East scholars have known for a long time: that the fundamental political chasm in the Middle East is not between pro-Western and anti-Western forces, nor between Shi’a and Sunni or Arab and Jew, but rather the enormous gulf that separates authoritarian regimes from the people over whom they rule. The principal near-term consequence of the Arab Spring, therefore, is that a new global spotlight has been directed at dictatorial regimes. All of these regimes are now scrambling to buy off popular discontent with salary increases, new state subsidy packages, and fake promises of political reform. Simultaneously, new recognition has been given to democratic movements and the aspirations of millions of Arab and Muslims who seek hurriya (political freedom), adala ijtima’iyya (social justice) and karama (dignity). Prior to the Arab Spring, it was long assumed that the voice of people of the region did not matter to Western policy. There was a tacit assumption that this voice was too fractured, too politically immature (or incoherent) or too radical to be taken seriously. Nader Hashemi teaches Middle East and Islamic Politics at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver. His latest book is The People Reloaded: The Green Movement and the Struggle for Iran’s Future.
For Southeast Asia, as for many other parts of the world, the principal near-term consequence of the Arab Spring is economic. Political unrest has contributed substantially to rising oil prices, which in turn have affected global food and commodity prices (see the Query article on Southeast Asian terrorism by Arabinda Acharya and Tom Quiggin at p. 26). Large segments of Southeast Asian populations are finding it harder to make ends meet. The unrest in the Middle East and North Africa poses particular economic and unemployment consequences for Southeast Asian countries, as they rely more heavily than countries in most other regions on remittances from their nationals employed overseas. Southeast Asian nationals working in the Middle East and North Africa have lost their employment and income: they are now returning to Southeast Asia and attempting to resettle – with little possibility of easily finding employment at home. With approximately three percent of GDP being contributed by Filipinos registered as working in the areas affected by unrest, the Philippines is perhaps most affected in all of Southeast Asia. Indeed, a significant number of Filipinos work overseas without registration, and so lost remittances may well be even greater than currently estimated. Rebecca C. Lunnon is a research analyst at the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, and a research assistant at the Asian Law Centre of the University of Melbourne.
Arab autocracies and monarchies backed by the US are no longer stable political forms. Arabs have disproved that they have any cultural propensity for autocracy, and raised their political voices in several different registers. Even if it is not fully realized, popular sovereignty with a certain pan-Arab cultural dimension has become the regional ideal. In Tunisia and Egypt, autocracy will not return. But the extent to which former ruling classes, leading personnel and also the practices of the ministries of interior (the police) and justice, and of the internal security apparatus will be purged is uncertain. Although autocrats have been removed, there has been no bona fide revolution (yet). Surprisingly, the demise of the Gaddafi regime in Libya has been the only proper Arab revolution to date – insofar as much of the old state apparatus has been destroyed, and must now be rebuilt. Although the army may continue to be the final arbiter of politics in Egypt – as it has been since 1952 – old and new political forces – Islamists, liberals, leftists of various sorts, and repackaged elements of the old regime – will have more room to manoeuvre in parliament and the public arena than under the Mubarak regime. The first new
PHOTOGRAPH: THE CANADIAN PRESS / TARA TODRAS-WHITEHILL / AP
ment somewhat more than Mubarak’s did. This has enhanced Iran’s regional influence. Egypt’s ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces permitted two Iranian warships to traverse the Suez Canal in February, and also proclaimed that Egypt will reestablish diplomatic relations with Iran. Of course, Iran’s regional stature would be somewhat diminished by the collapse of Syria’s Assad regime (see the Query article on Syria by Fady Fadel at p. 34). But this would probably not affect Iran’s relationship with Lebanon’s Hezbollah. Continuing unrest in Bahrain, and potentially among Shi’a in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, may or may not benefit Iran, as Arab Shi’a tend to look to Iraq’s Ayatollah Sistani – not Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei – for religious guidance. Joel Beinin is the Donald J. McLachlan Professor of History and Professor of Middle East History at Stanford University. He was formerly the Director of Middle East Studies and Professor of History at the American University in Cairo.
For more answers from Akbar S. Ahmed, Saeb El Kasm, Alon Ben-Meir and others, visit the
Customers watch the trial of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and his sons in a downtown Cairo café. Mubarak is charged with corruption and complicity in killing protesters during the mass uprising that ousted him from power.
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institution to emerge after January 2011 was the Egyptian Federation of Independent Trade Unions – the first federation independent of the state since 1957. (There were three independent unions before 2011.) It has 90 affiliates and over 250,000 members, and it is growing rapidly. Its continued success may set limitations on Egypt’s neoliberal economic project. The Tunisian General Union of Labour has also grown rapidly this year. Anxieties about the future of US-backed Arab authoritarianism will diminish US regional political clout. This will mean less capacity to cajole Arab states into accepting the manifestly unjust Palestinian-Israeli peace that the Netanyahu government envisions, and no capacity to move Israel toward accepting the international consensus on resolving the conflict. The ‘peace process’ – on life support for a decade – is likely dead. No Egyptian government likely to be formed after the parliamentary elections this fall will seek a diplomatic or military confrontation with Israel or the US. Egypt will remain a member of the pro-American Saudi-Egyptian-Jordanian-Israeli axis. But it will no longer be a reliable ‘yes man.’ Its foreign policy is already reflecting popular senti-
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STRATEGIC FUTURES “The European of the year 2030 will be… … living in an oasis of prosperity and security in an increasingly turbulent world. The economic and financial upheavals of 2008-2012 will have been a serious wake-up call for Europe. After witnessing the precipitous decline of the US – unable to tackle its massive debt load – and the inability of the BRIC countries to promote sustainable development, the EU will have launched a twin programme of cutting debt and promoting green innovation. There will have been problems along the way – with a number of countries leaving the Eurozone – but the tough policies of the powerful European Central Bank will have proved successful, and the Euro will have taken over from the US dollar as the world’s top reserve currency. The 2030 enlargement of the EU to include Turkey, Ukraine and the Western Balkans will not only have given the bloc a significant economic boost, but also have coincided with the establishment of a European Security Council that will have further enhanced the growing foreign policy role of the Union. Indeed, the resolution of outstanding bilateral issues (as, for instance, between Turkey and Cyprus) will have been one of the success stories of the Union in the 2030s. And the perennial debate over widening and deepening of the Union will have almost been resolved. The one remaining country outside of the EU – Switzerland – will be in the final stages of its accession negotiations. In 2030, the European is a most fortunate citizen, whose identity is shaped by the growing success of the continent, as well as by the melting pot of cultures and nationalities that together form the expanded European family.” Fraser Cameron is Director of the EU-Russia Centre in Brussels, a Senior Fellow at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin, and author of several books and articles on European affairs.
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...secure in his or her fundamental
human rights. The creation and development of an advanced and robust system for safeguarding human rights and fundamental freedoms throughout Europe’s states stand out as a signal achievement of the continent’s oldest regional organization – the Council of Europe. Its many and diverse human rights bodies and procedures form a cohesive and protective infrastructure – at the heart of which
stands the European Court of Human Rights. A unique international institution, the Court allows individuals to call governments to account for human rights violations via the due process of law conducted by independent and impartial judges. Taking an avowedly dynamic approach to its mission, the Court has interpreted and reinterpreted the European Convention on Human Rights so as to ensure its enduring impact and continuing relevance to the immense population within its scope. Europeans, 20 years hence, will be the beneficiaries of many decades of international judicial action to uphold and consolidate their basic human rights. It has never been the purpose – nor has it been the effect – of European human rights law to impose uniformity on European states in this regard. And it is to be expected that the same spirit of pluralism will prevail well into the future. At the same time, the continuing harmonization of minimum, core human rights standards throughout the community of Convention states is also to be expected – giving increasing truth to the notion of a Europe of human rights. Virtually every decade in the history of the European Convention system has been marked by adaptation and reform. Further change over the next two decades is more than likely, with the Court that we know today entering a new phase of its existence. A highly desirable scenario is surely one in which the Court retains a role that is pivotal, but not all-embracing. Systematic adherence by domestic courts – as well as other state bodies – to Convention norms would allow for a more sustainable balance to emerge between the national and European components of the Convention system – to the greater benefit of all. If the states of Europe keep faith with the ideals of the Convention’s authors, and continue on the trajectory of the past half-dozen decades, then there are grounds for looking forward to a future in which Europeans will be secure in their human rights, and proud inheritors of one of the richest bodies of human rights work in the history of mankind.” John Darcy is an official of the European Court of Human Rights, currently acting as adviser to the Court’s President and Registrar.
…confident in her European identity – the result of living in an ever more integrated political system. And this confident European identity will be bolstered not only by tightly interwoven governance practices and institutions, but also by social ties fostered by a range of mobility programmes, and by the simple sociological processes of interaction and adaptation. This hypothetical European of 2030 will find it perfectly normal that her parents are from Poland and Portugal, and that they are currently living in Germany, but may soon
ILLUSTRATION: ADAM NIKLEWICZ
In 2030, the European is a most fortunate citizen, whose identity is shaped by the growing success of the continent, as well as by the melting pot of cultures and nationalities that together form the expanded European family. A fixation with, and adulation for, national identity helped to cause or exacerbate the two most destructive wars in Europe in the 20th century. Though virtually everyone with personal memories of those wars will no longer be alive in 2030, Europeans appear to have learned the lessons of history. They have designed institutions and fostered processes that, already today, make wars between EU states seem as likely as armed conflict between Manitoba and Saskatchewan, or between Florida and Alabama. By 2030, such intra-European conflict will be even more unthinkable, allowing Europeans to focus on the challenges of exporting their respect for rights and celebration of diversity.” Willem Maas, Jean Monnet Chair and Associate Professor of political science and public and international affairs at Glendon College, York University, is author of Creating European Citizens.
For more answers from Ismail Ertug, Lousewies
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move to France or perhaps Italy. She may start her university studies in Scotland, but spend a year or more in Spain and then Sweden – while her siblings have similarly mobile educational and professional careers. All members of this family are multilingual, of course, in a continent where French and German remain important secondary languages to the effective lingua franca of English. All higher education institutions throughout Europe offer courses in English – both to facilitate mobility and to keep up with the best scholarship. And children throughout the continent learn English from an early age. As more and more Europeans study and work elsewhere in Europe, they develop and deepen personal relationships, making moving between EU member states akin to moving between provinces in Canada. This type of prediction is not new. In 1882, for example, in his famous «Qu’est-ce qu’une nation?» lecture given at the Sorbonne, nationalism scholar Ernest Renan declared: «Les nations ne sont pas quelque chose d’éternel. Elles ont commencé, elles finiront. La confédération européenne, probablement, les remplacera». The question arises: how can we be confident that the prediction sketched above will come true, rather than plausible alternatives signalled by the current rise of populist and traditionalist parties that combine a fear of the other with misplaced patriotism?
Van Der Laan and others, visit: www.globalbrief.ca
On Magnanimity & Ruthlessness
And why the first refines, or needs, the second BY DOUGLAS GLOVER
M Douglas Glover is a Governor-General’s Award-winning novelist and short story writer. His last book was The Enamoured Knight, a study of Cervantes and
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agnanimity heals the rift; ruthlessness seeks to erase the opponent. Both are tools of what we nowadays call conflict resolution. Yet history abounds with cautionary tales. In 1836, Santa Anna was ruthless at the Alamo and Goliad, raising the red flag signifying No Quarter, only to inspire the rag-tag Texians at San Jacinto. After the Second Punic War, Scipio Africanus was surprisingly magnanimous toward the defeated Carthaginians, which only led to the Third Punic War (after which the Romans ruthlessly sowed the ruins of Carthage with salt, and resolved that conflict for good). Ruthlessness means without pity – without those second thoughts about the feelings of others that plague the well-brought-up human. Mexican drug lords popping victims into oil drums filled with acid are ruthless. Pol Pot was ruthless, as were Hitler and Vlad the Impaler. Andrew Jackson sending the Cherokees on the Trail of Tears was ruthless. Harry Truman bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki was ruthless. But Gandhi was ruthless, too, in his own way, and maybe even Martin Luther King Jr. (a case could be made). Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses Grant were ruthless (George McClellan, in contrast, was beloved by the Union troops, chary of risking them in battle, and had to be sacked; oddly, we do not think of Robert E. Lee as ruthless, though he must have been). But Stalin and Lenin were ruthless. And the Old Testament Jehovah was ruthless: he sent that Flood to clean out the rat’s nest of humanity gone awry, and Abraham (also ruthless) to sacrifice Isaac. Stock market short-sellers seem ruthless (oddly again, investors who go long do not). Business is often ruthless: strike-breaking, monopolies, mass layoffs, price-fixing and insider-trading are ruthless activities. Ryan Bingham, the George Clooney character in Up in the Air, is ruthless (his heart is as empty as his apartment; but, as Kierkegaard suggested, it is a sentimental fantasy to think that ruthless people cannot also have happy home lives). The striking thing about ruthlessness is that it can imply a spirit of renunciation to a higher purpose (as in the case of Abraham), just as it might equally imply the psychological mechanism of denial (it is easier to lynch a black man, enslave Africans or send Jews to the gas chamber if you do not actually consider them to be human beings). We can admire ruthlessness as conviction, but in the harsh light of history
many ruthless people seem to have been grotesquely and horrifyingly mistaken; in the light of history, one man’s higher purpose is another man’s poppycock. Magnanimity, as Aristotle had it, is greatness of soul. It incorporates pity, but also perspective, taking the long view of things, and the renunciation of local concerns – personal revenge, for example. Magnanimity is stern and visionary. It is not so much about charity – about giving a quarter to a man on the sidewalk – as it is about forgiving a wrong, and giving a hand to the loser. Magnanimity is a gesture, the archaic and sweeping gesture of raising up the vanquished – not to be confused with the saccharine bromides of contemporary party politics and sports, or the faux magnanimity of nation-building. Honour – another archaic word not much used anymore – is inscribed in the gesture. In 1918, at the Treaty of Paris, the Western allies ruthlessly carved away chunks of Germany, diminished its military, and levied huge war reparations that humiliated and impoverished the German people. By contrast, in 1948, a prescient and generous America magnanimously invented the Marshall Plan (ERP, the European Recovery Program, as it is properly called; reminds one of TARP, no?), which allowed Germany to reinvent itself as a powerful democratic partner, and eventually led to the collapse of the (non-magnanimous) Soviet Union. Of course, the allies needed first – ruthlessly – to destroy Hitler and his myrmidons. And, yes, though Harry Truman was ruthless in defeating Japan, he was equally magnanimous in victory – and now Toyota and Honda build cars in Arkansas. Perhaps only the ruthless can be truly magnanimous. Magnanimity, without force, risks descending into liberal piety or Pecksniffery, just as ruthlessness without magnanimity risks turning into psychopathic brutality. Though they are apparent antonyms, each term refines the meaning of the other. History is replete with stories of stumbling examples of both, and of the search for a balance between the two. The ancient category of wisdom often seems lacking in the event (wisdom being personal opinion that is ratified by the consensus of history; if you want to be wise, it helps to be lucky, or to have good PR). And the sad truth is that most humans are neither ruthless nor magnanimous, but merely short-sighted, middling, decent or vicious, as the case may be, and terribly muddled as to motive. | GB
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