The role of the United Nations System as a collective security system.

Meeting organized by the Indianapolis University

Athens, Greece

20/10/2005

Draft Notes – oral intervention 10-15 minutes[1]

“The role of the UN in modern times as a Collective Security system”

Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. International anarchy is a corollary of the claim of sovereignty and independence
  3. Ontological foundations of the international system, international law and international institutions.
  4. The fundamental features of the interstate system and the causes of war
  5. Political judgment and national interests as a moral criterion for conflict resolution
  6. Some conclusions

Table: DIACHRONIC STRUCTURE AND FUNCTIONS OF THE INTERNATIONAL SYSTEM AND ITS ONTOLOGICAL FOUNDATIONS

__________________________

  1. Indroduction

In adverse days one should stick to fundamentals even if for many they are self-evident.

Collective security in an interstate system does not mean supreme hegemony over and above the states. It means security for each state provided by collective institutions effectively empowered to do so.

In this respect, Article 2 of Chapter I of the Charter of the United States System is its most fundamental characteristic.

Collective security, moreover, is not collective defense which is conceivable only in the context of alliance politics.

Collective security, it should also be stressed, is of an essentially anti-hegemonic character. That is, its target are not the peace loving nations but the revisionist states and the states acting against the Charter of the United Nations.

To understand the problems, prospects and dilemmas of collective security in historical and contemporary context one has to look into the nature and the problems of international politics. Lets do it briefly.

  1. International anarchy is a corollary of the claim of sovereignty and independence

At the outset, one should stress two essential points: Firstly, political sovereignty for each society inevitably means absence of legitimate supreme international authority which could, if it existed, exercise authority in the internal affairs of sovereign states[2].

International anarchy in that sense, therefore, is an essential characteristic of the system. It basically means that each sovereign society should be independent and that its society could practice internal self-

DIACHRONIC STRUCTURE AND FUNCTIONS OF THE INTERNATIONAL SYSTEM AND ITS ONTOLOGICAL FOUNDATIONS

3000 P.C-1648 μ.Χ.

Þexistential social alterity ( among the many societies at the world levelÞ

Empire claims versus claims of collective freedom-sovereigntyÜclaims for collective freedom-sovereignty (ontologically categorem)Ü

 

¯

1648 P.C. – 19TH-20ΤΗ CENTURY: BALANCE OF POWER SYSTEM, RISE INTO EXISTENCE OF THE NATION-STATE SYSTEM AND INTERNATIONAL LAW – INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTIONS.

  1. Empire claims checked –possibly crashed for ever.
  2. Struggles for collective freedom-sovereignty – adaptation of the worlds political structures to the world’s social structure.
  3. Collective freedom claims establish distinct world views (weltanschauung) on the foundations of which the new sovereign nation-states constructed their moral systems, normative structures and compatible political institutions.
  4. Αccent of nation-state as the collective freedom institution and as the anti-hegemonic instance of the sovereign societies.
  5. Accent into prominence of the fundamental principles of international law:  Non intervention, interstate parity, internal sovereignty and collective security as anti-hegemonic means against revisionist and hegemonic claims.
  6. International regime of modern times: α) state sovereignty, β) High Principles of international law, c) collective security, δ) on-going process for international conventions regarding human rights, war crimes and crimes against humanity, international penal justice.

 

¯

CAUSES OF WAR AS INTERVENING VARIABLES BETWEEN INTERNATIONAL LAW AND PEACE/STABILITY

Þ

Implementation of international law

Respect of international rule of law

Resort to use of violence

Þ

Û

  1. Uneven growth in all its versions at both interstate and interregional level: economic, military, ideological, demographic, technological, territorial, discovery of world-producing resources.
  2. Unequal distribution of power in combination with uneven growth cause hegemonic claims, hegemonic antagonisms, security dilemmas, revisionist claims or just claims for international change insusceptible to peaceful settlement often leading to threads to use violence and war.
  3. Conflicts of the nation-building epoch.
  4. Revolutionist claims and their supportive cosmopolitan utopian ideas which by definition run contrary to the ontologically founded –to the claims for freedom and alterity– nation state system and its international law. Causes inputs of irrationalism in intrastate and interstate politics
  5. Revisionist states: those refusing to resort to international institutions for the interpretation of the differences over Treaties.
  6. Transnational actors: terrorism, criminals, etc

 

Ü

peace and stability, effective international institutions, international rule of law, growth of interstate conventions which strengthen the acquisitions of human political civilization at the international level

Ü

 

Source: Π. Ήφαιστος, Οι διεθνείς σχέσεις ως αντικείμενο επιστημονικής μελέτης στην Ελλάδα και στο εξωτερικό. Διαδρομή, αντικείμενο, περιεχόμενο και γνωσιολογικό υπόβαθρο (Εκδ. Ποιότητα, Αθήνα 2004) σ. 114.

determination in conditions of internal and external sovereignty. Certainly, internal and external sovereignty does not mean absence of international commitments.

International anarchy does not mean, as it is wrongly believed by some analysts, the absence of a community of states let alone a society of states if certain prerequisites were to be fulfilled. If fact, if the causes of war could be eliminated, the system of states could turn into a “community of states” whereby agreements and conventions are respected. It could even turn into a “society of states” if to this we add solidarity[3].

Robert Gilpin[4] rightly observed that analysts of international relations need a common ground. He pointed to certain fundamental characteristics of human life which though undisputable facts many insist to challenge them on metaphysical basis:

First, the building blocks and ultimate units of social and political life are not individuals as some liberals support, nor the classes as Marxists believe. It is the group and at the international level what Dahrendorf called “conflict groups”. Loyalty to the tribe, the Polity, to the empire or to the state always ranked over other loyalties.

Second, the essentially antagonistic and often conflicting nature of intergroup relations over the distribution of scarce resources, by and large, interprets the fact that international affairs are of conflictual nature.

Third, in all kinds of political life, international relations included, power and security are primary motivations of political behavior. Honor, greed, and fear go along with noble goals such as beauty, truth and goodness. All noble goals, concludes Gilpin, are lost unless one makes provision for once security in the power struggle.

Antagonism and conflict over scarce resources, it should be stressed, is practically impossible to be avoided owing, first, to the existence of the causes of war and second to the absence of a world distributive justice system.

Lets makes fully clear the latter point: Given the absence of a world society the world does not possess an international distributive justice system among states let alone a distributive justice system among individuals at the world level.

Given these realities in international life, peaceful resolution of differences over the distribution of scarce resources[5] and peaceful resolution of conflicts arising over claims for changes in of the status quo in sovereignty become difficult[6].

  1. Ontological foundations of the international system, international law and international institutions.

International law, collective security and contiguous international institutions or conventions should be compatible to the ontological features of the international system. Foremostly, it should be compatible to the fundamental character of social alterity which lies at the roots of the claim of each distinct society for political sovereignty. To put it otherwise, societies struggled for freedom as sovereignty for long. This strife for freedom, sovereignty and rejection of alien[7] hegemony is a diachronic characteristic of all distinct societies. It should therefore be paradoxical if commitments and obligations in international relations compromises its collective freedom.

In this respect, it is one thing to accept international institutions and other international commitments in order to promote international life in a peaceful and cooperative approach and another to accept normative structures which compromises a society’s collective freedom in the face of arbitrary and hegemonic political claims. Incorporation of such claims in international institutions on the one hand undermines their historic mission and on the other hand it could only be of ephemeral character.

The ontological foundations of all Polities on the basis of which national normative structures are constructed refer to the aforementioned ontological characteristics of collective life all along known human history. More specifically:

First, over five thousand years of known human history the planet was inhabited not by one but by many societal building blocks[8] characterized by “alterity” (ετερότητα). Second, for over five thousand years this history was marked by a merciless strife between, on the one side those distinct societal groups claiming collective liberty-freedom and on the other side those (stronger) groups claiming a materially-administrative and spiritually uniform-united world state. This strife is the root cause for a twofold “cosmogony”: a) On the one hand it gave rise in the 20th century to almost two hundred distinct sovereign nation states and b) on the other hand it caused theactual crashing of empires, empire plans, internationalist plans and broadly speaking of all internationalists or cosmopolitan endeavors. In addition, the perpetual struggle for collective liberty-freedom configured the states’ moral-philosophical features and moral-normative structures, as well as the approaches regulating relations amongst them.

The ontological feature of humans as individuals or collectivities to claim liberty-freedom[9], that is for spiritual, material and political alterity through distinct political sovereignty is what we nowadays call national independence in the context of which each distinct society developed its own system of distributive justice matching its own particular moral-philosophical and material conditions. In terms of international law, these ontological features are incarnated in the aforementioned fundamental principles of international law, namely, interstate parity, non intervention and internal self determination.

It follows that the concept of sovereignty is not a mere administrative arrangement that could easily be reversed by artificial hegemonic normative structures or be swept away by technological development and by globalization that as some expect could equalize the world spiritually and administratively thus establishing legitimate authority structures of cosmopolitan nature at the world level[10]. Each sovereign collectivity constitutes a distinctly evolving –spiritually and materially– normative structure perpetually intensifying internal homogeneity and consequently, at the same time, intensifying alterity amongst the sovereign collective entities at the international level. In other words, the evolving alterity of each collective normative structure is fostering heterogeneity among the sovereign collective entities of the international system.

Lets emphasize the intersubjective historical fact that this is a millennium long process. Going deeply back into history, claims for political sovereignty by distinct collective human building blocks led to struggles for liberty-freedom, to decisions for secession and consequently to the multiplication of “separations” creating many independent polities. The subsequent long grim struggles for survival hammered the societies’ collective identities and their members common strategic orientations, determined the boundaries of “allies” and “enemies” and constructed idiomorphic sociopolitical moral-normative structures for each one state underpinning their political sovereignties and their systems of distributive justice, spiritual world, strategic orientations and collective identities[11].

In short in course of the long nation-building process emerged a multitude of distinct collective cosmotheories[12] (“weltanschauung”) and the politically sovereign sociopolitical structures nowadays number almost two hundred.

The conclusive historical phase which brought human relations beyond return was the post-Westphalian era (1648 until WW1) when the balance of power system a) allowed the emergence of the sovereign state, b) the establishment of sovereignty as the governing regime among sovereign polities, and c) the emergence of the principles of non-interference, interstate sovereign equality and non intervention as the governing normative “rules” of international life. Again, alltogether these facts and criteria form the “achievements of human civilization” at the international level and give rise to a still incomplete “international political civilization” incarnated in the normative structures of collective security organizations (which, owing to the causes of war are also incomplete and ineffective).

Between the above evolving but imperfect international normative structure and a peaceful stable world in the context of which all societies will exercise self-determination, sovereignty without interference and enjoy undisturbed prosperity and peace-stability, lay the causes of war.

  1. The fundamental features of the interstate system and the causes of war

The continuous reference to the causes of war warrants further elaboration regarding their nature and specific characteristics. To achieve this let try to recapitulate the “achievements or political civilization at the interstate level” and the intrinsic problems of the international system: The interaction of societal alterity («ετερότητας”) and the claims for liberty-freedom, both of ontological content, shaped the international moral-philosophical and institutional morphology of the international system. However, peace and stability is prevented by the causes of war as well as by the very nature of the interstate system owing to uneven growth[13]. More specifically:

First, the logic of societal alterity-diversity and the claims for collective liberty-freedom gave rise to the moral-philosophical and institutional structures whereby the nation-state systems are the fundamental building blocks as well as the independent variables of international political interactions[14], whilst the international organizations are the dependent variables designed to serve these interstate interactions, to safeguard sovereignty[15] and to mediate in conflicts[16].

Second, the “nation-state” as a societal and institutional building block and “sovereignty” as the principle allowing collective liberty-freedom to be fulfilled, are both achievements of civilization because they allow the emergence of normative systems of distributive justice –both of spiritual as well as material character– allowing therefore the exercise of internal self-determination in accordance to each distinct society’ s collective moral-philosophical system. They are moreover achievements of civilization because, as already stressed, they symbolize the accomplishment of the “ontological claims” for collective liberty-freedom against the opposite hegemonic claims referring to the Darwinian logic (founded on racist criteria).

Third, both sides of the aforementioned historic strife, that is, the “winning side” of the smaller societal building blocks that struggled for liberty-freedom and eventually won their political sovereignty[17], and the “defeated side”, that is, the strongest groups that aspired hegemonic dominance only to see their claims eventually pulverized, are “in principle” acknowledging the aforementioned achievements of political civilization incarnated in the “principles” of international law (interstate equality and non intervention) founded on national sovereignty. Accordingly, on the basis of these “socially defined purposes[18]” among the sovereign states they proceeded to the “historic bet” of creating a security system over and above their national security systems, that is, the collective security systems[19].

The common aim, apparently, is to fulfill the common objective of stability, peace, cooperation, prosperity and the perpetual unimpeded exercise of “internal self-determination” by each society. Although altogether they constitute a significant advance of political civilization, these collective endeavors are, as already argued, variously imperfect.

Forth, because of the demise of internationalist-cosmopolitan –as well as hegemonic– claims for a uniform-unified world state, the historic mission of the collective security systems lies not in the fulfillment of hegemonic aspirations through the abusive-complacent privileges of the permanent members of the United Nations but in the success of their historic role in applying non intervention and interstate sovereign equality.

Likewise, the other dimension of collective security, that is, mediation to solve the remains of the nation-building conflicts is failing because it is covered in the political mud of the hegemonic competition during the Cold War period, as well as afterwards during the 1990s.

Moreover, regarding the single most important cause of war, that is, inter-regional uneven growth owing to hegemonic strategies of the recent past, the collective security systems lack means to deal with it and consequently lack effective jurisdiction whatsoever.

The proceeding comments necessitate sketchy references regarding valid scholarly assessments of certain central issues related to the causes of war.

Causes of war at the regional level are directly linked to the causes of war at the broader international level. In his monumental masterpiece War and Change in World Politics[20], Robert Gilpin, following Thucydides steps, inter alia, concluded that principal causes of war relate to the distribution of power in the system and hegemonic competition over territory, resources and markets.

As he concludes pessimistically in one of his chapters,

“the conclusion of one hegemonic war is the beginning of another cycle of growth, expansion and eventual decline. The law of uneven growth continues to redistribute power, thus undermining the status quo established by the last hegemonic struggle. Disequilibrium replaces equilibrium, and the world moves toward a new round of hegemonic conflict. It has always been like thus and always will be, until men either destroy themselves or learn to develop an effective mechanism of peaceful change”[21].

Gilpin therefore, like Thucydides and many other analysts thereafter, identifies hegemonic conflict as the single most important cause of war of modern international relations.

Derivative causes are a) “divide and rule” practices in the context of strong powers’ strategies,

b) inter-regional uneven growth owing to the exploitation of resources which spillovers to uneven growth among regional states, to balancing practices and to security dilemmas,

c) regional problems most often originated or exacerbated because of strategic competition,

d) alignments and re-alignments which redistribute power and foster security dilemmas,

e) revolutionary doctrines which if espoused by a strong power turns into a conflict for the dissolution of the interstate system, and last but not least,

f) differences among neighbors owing to remains of their nation building phase such as claims for sovereignty adjustments and irredentism by ethnic groups.

Careful scrutiny of these causes of war commonly accepted by most scholars as principal sources of interstate strife could probably permit us to better comprehend the evolution and intrinsic problems of the United Nations and collective security in general.

5. Political judgment and national interests as a moral criterion for conflict resolution

In a world constructed on the foundations of independent-sovereign states as outlined above, the key word to conflict resolution is “national interest”. The reasoning is simple:

First, the basic sociopolitical units of the international system are the sovereign nation-states each one of them gifted with a society, a normative structure and a legitimizing system of distributive justice.

Second, because all these factors –homogeneous society, distributive justice and normative structures– are absent at the international level, the only way to identify socially defined moral criteria is to trace them in the collective will of each society separately as expressed in their definitions of their national interests.

Third, peace, stability, mutually beneficial exchanges and cooperation are also common interests among sovereign states. However, this is so only if and when the causes of war are absent and if the one or both parties do not aspire changes of the status quo.

Fourth, international institutions are there to confirm these facts:

a) International institutions forbearance from jurisdictions on matters of distributive justice is reflected both in their constitutional chapters as well as in their performance[22].

b) The regime governing interstate relations as well as the operation of international institutions is sovereignty, both internal and external. This is another way of saying that all states acknowledge as fundamental and commonly acceptable the historic fact of decentralization at the nation-state level of both the systems of distributive justice and the jurisdiction to define normative purposes which guide each society’ s (national) collective action.

Fifth, the just made points regarding the dialectics of national-international normative structures lead us to conclude that international institutions are there to coordinate, mediate by bringing the conflicting parties together and facilitate international governance regarding transnational phenomena, trade agreements, and other matters related to inter-state “commerce”. Beyond that, namely as regards questions of peace, war (that is, inter-state distributive justice) and domestic distributive justice, international institutions are consequently either impotent[23] or dependent variables to great power politics.

Sixth, one national interest to which all states are attached and for which most of them are ready to go to war is their survival interests. Conversely, they have common interest to compromise or respect the status quo if a protracting conflict or an imminent total war endangers their very existence and their long-term prosperity[24].

In such an international system one could only search for international moral criteria which are socially defined, by definition, thus, for the criteria as socially defined by each society in the context of is own system of distribution justice. The sum up is what each society defines as national interest in its international interactions.

The detection of conflicting interests should then be filtered through the lenses of the aforementioned causes of war:

a) In cases whereby owing to tragic historical situations the survival interests are in conflict[25] –such as the Palestinians or the Kosovars–, it is rational to observe that only detached judgment –if, certainly, such a thing exists– by actors who are not involved in the conflict could moderate it and create chances for arrangements which could prove viable and lasting[26].

b) Those interests of the states in conflict which are secondary and which are created in order to serve external strategic expediencies are dispensable and candidate for compromise[27].

c) In contrast, those interests that are vital and at the same time are in conflict with corresponding vital interests of the other side should be examined as to how they relate to both sides survival interests. In that case, needless to point out that when both sides’ survival interests are beyond doubt endangered, the way out is a compromise that will safeguard their existence as integral and prosperous states. However, true as it might be such a view, one should not generalize because each particular conflict should be examined in its own merit.

  1. Some conclusions

One could conclude that the historic mission of the UN could not be fully fulfilled unless the causes of war as outlined earlier are either swept away or substantially moderated. This is also a precondition of a reform of the UN along lined that would perpetuate and not undermine the historic mission of the United Nations as a collective security system.

This said , lets stress that a major issue is the role of the permanent members of the  Security Council and their ability to take decisions amounting what one may call “international distributive justice”. This decisions, many argue, should be extended to include internal issues of the member states if and when certain criteria are not met.

            To my understanding, it was never defined satisfactorily when “international peace and security” is in danger, much more so when at issue are “matters essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any states” (Article 2 of Chapter I of the Charter of the UN).

            John Rawls in his masterpiece The Law of Peoples[28], gave a full range of preconditions which create a Society of Peoples in the context of which intervention could be imaginable. Rightly so, considered international intervention a very exceptional act, he explained the moral criteria which should be met and he explained that aid foregoes should  a possible intervention in the affairs of misfortuned sovereign societies (whose social structure collapses in catastrophic circumstances).  

Certainly, the community of states and their societies are occasionally faced with tragic human situations, especially when civil war of new and/or non viable states causes hecatombs.

            Intervention however of a collective security system in such cases could only be exceptional, the “criteria of exception” should be defined with precision by the United Nations and to be viable should not undermined the fundamental historic mission of the United Nations as described above in a purely objective historical basis:

1)     Protection of the collective freedom-political sovereignty of the civilized nations against aggression and revisionism. The fundamental character of the collective security, it is stressed once more time, is by nature anti-hegemonic. Acts and behavior of the Permanent Members, in that respect, could not possibly reverse this role without consequences for the future of the United States system.

2)     Initiatives for the peaceful resolution of conflicts in line with the High Principles of international law and with the Chapter of the UN.

3)     Acts and behavior of the Permanent Members of the United Nations in line with the right of self determination of sovereign societies (respect of internal-external sovereignty of civilized and peace-loving states).

Lastly correctly some observe that in the imperfect real world the role of the Security Council is precious because it could –unlike the League of Nations– make UN effective. The following observations should condition this realistic observation:

            First, the role of the Security Council as arbitrary actor is absurd if and when the very permanent members are the responsible states for the dangers of international peace.

            Second, during the Cold War hegemonic antagonism overshadowed an imperative necessity, a real deficit when the Security Council: Its decisions should be someway checked by the General Assembly and/or an objective judicial authority.

            Third, never an act could be justified on incompatible to the acquis of human civilization at the international level, that is,  rationalistic-hegemonic arguments[29] such as the following:

“end justifies the means”,

“this or the other societies are barbarian and therefore have no rights”,

“Right of the stronger”,

“presumption against small powers”

“the right of the stronger”,

“Divide and rule”,

“right based on “fait accompli”

“preventive war”

“Double standard: expediency versus morality and rule of law”

“Justification by necessity” and last but not least

“Justification by success”

Post Cold War international politics, as we all Know, are increasingly building up postures on such criteria by definition incompatible to the political civilization acquired at the interstate system during modern times. Those postures not only are major sources of causes of war but are in addition the major subverting factors of the United Nations system.      

____________

[1] NB. owing to practical reasons I was not able to be present and deliver the paper orally.

[2] Civilized states are those applying human rights. They are gifted with a homogeneous society able to produce political outcomes and thus socially defined collective purposes embodied in their normative structures.

[3] Spermatic analysis of high standards in this respect could be found in John Rawls, The Law of peoples (Harvard University Press 1999 – in Greek by Poiotita Publishers 2002)

[4] See «The Richness of the Tradition of Political Realism», in Keohane R. (ed.), Neorealists and its Critics (Columbia Univ. Press, NY, 1986), σελ. 304-5.

[5] A typical example is hegemonic antagonism over energy resources after World War Two, the regional conflicts which this created and owing to this facts the inability of the United Nations for peace making.

[6] At this point one should make a crucial distinction among peace loving and revisionist states The first are ready to observe international rule of law and the latter refuses to so, resorts to threads to use force and uses force to cause international changes or acquire hegemonic position in the system.

[7] One could possibly make a distinction between hegemony of a class in a viable state whereby its society struggle for social justice and human rights in a homogeneous social context and hegemony of another state which hits straight and deep the freedom of all members of a sovereign society. Internal hegemony leads to political change or even revolution in order to change the regime. Still, the does not touch upon the claim for sovereignty which characterizers all distinct societies irrespective political regime or social structure.

[8] See Robert Gilpin op.cit.

[9] As already stressed, “collective claims for liberty-freedom” are an ontological feature of humans and their fulfillment (in the sense of political sovereignty) is an achievement of civilization.

[10] One should be fully aware that this theoretical posture implies a stern admonition of most normative and revolutionary theorists of international relations. This author holds the view that, with the probable exceptions of authors such as Carr, Aron, Morgenthau, Bull, Wight, Waltz and Gilpin, the salvation of international relations theory depends on academic decisions to revert to the basic and fundamental value free theoretical insights of Thucydides and to our ability to think and theorize on international relations in terms of classical political philosophy. It could be added that such a decision by scholars is anyway of marginal importance: The international system as a whole and each sovereign state individually evolve in accordance with domestic as well as international social dynamics which deepens each polity’s distinctiveness and foster the heterogeneity of the international system. In other words, the world evolves irrespective international theory. It is up to IR scholars to stick to politically and socially relevant approaches.

[11] The interested reader could retrace this social ontology interpretation in the formidable theoretical statement of late Panayiotis Kondylis,Macht und Entscheidung. Die Herausbildung der Weltbilder und die Wertfrage (Klett-Cotta, Stuggart 1984), translated in Greek as Ισχύς και Απόφαση, Η διαμόρφωση των κοσμοειkόνων και το πρόβλημα των αξιών (Στιγμή, Αθήνα 1991)

[12] The term “cosmotheory” is rendering into English the term of classical philosophy “κοσμοθεωρία” which encompasses, inter alia, each society’ s distinct collective material and spiritual world, its collective moral-philosophical structure and its members collective world view or (in Greek) “κοσμοεικόνα”].

[13] For those familiar with the writings of leading scholars of the British school such as Hedley Bull (especially the Anarchical Society, Macmillan, London 1984 – in Greek by Poiotita publishers, Athens 2000), could well think that my approach is identical to theirs. This not exact. First, I do not share their optimism about the elimination of the causes of war in the foreseeable future. Second, my theoretical statement is much more sharp and uncompromising as regards the anti-hegemonic character of the collective security idea and of the fundamental principles of international law. Third, I go further than them as regards questions of political philosophy of international relations by adopting the aforementioned dual ontological characteristics (societal alterity and the claim for collective liberty-freedom) as the basis for moral-political judgment and as the driving forces of international politics.

[14] Owing to their persisting claim for sovereignty that implies rejection of an “international hegemon”.

[15] Owing to the ill-conceived right of veto of the five permanent members of the Security Council of the United Nations this fundamental historic mission of the collective security systems is often conspicuously forgotten. However, if one may well understand the reasons why leaders of hegemonic powers ignore this fact, it is difficult to comprehend the reasoning of many politicians and scholars do the same. No one should ignore that the difference is between international politics based on hegemony and international politics based on the aforementioned ontologically founded criteria of freedom and alterity.

[16] As already stressed, they can only mediate, because collective security systems are not endowed to decide on questions of justice, hence the fallacy of the controversial role of the Security Council decisions and the General Secretary’ s successive plans for Cyprus which pointed to a monstrous and divisive state structure constructed on national and racial basis not reflecting the ontological-social and political characteristics of the people inhabiting the island. It should be noted that the notorious Anan’ s plan included provisions regarding to internal distributive justice which go beyond any conceivable role of the United Nations as it stands fifty years after its creation. The plan was rejected by the Cypriots on April 24 2004. For a comprehensive critique –in fact a crashing and fully substantiated critique regarding the violation of international rule of law by the GS of the UN.

[17] As already noted, the struggle for liberty-freedom crashed the internationalists-cosmopolitan claims for world uniformity-unity.

[18] I do adopt the position implicit in the writings of some scholars of the British school, namely Wight, Carr and Bull, that the relations amongst independent polities could form a “society of sovereign states”. However, as I already observed, one could not possibly foresee the elimination of the causes of war.

[19] I refer to the consecutive international decisions that created the League of Nations during the interwar period and the United Nations in 1945.

[20] Robert Gilpin, War and Change in World Politics (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1981).

[21] Ibid p. 210

[22] In the past, as well, institutions were not designed to take decisions as regards questions of internal distributive justice. This was the case, for example, as regards the institutions of the cities system in classical Greece.

[23] Most notably, this impotence is seen even in simple cases when international institutions are called to adjudge on rather simple issues relating to the implementation of Treaties signed by the states in conflict.

[24] This is particularly true in nuclear relationships.

[25] That is, those interests are of intrinsic-vital value for the parties involved and relate to their very independent existence as collective entities.

[26] In most cases, however, we witnessed exactly the opposite. If we take Palestine as an example, a) the conflict was created by hegemonic powers, b) it was accentuated due to hegemonic-geopolitical competition, c) it was accentuated due to many and multifold regional problems owing to hegemonic competition, d) it was perpetuated due to alignments and re-alignments, e) it was overlooked by international institutions which were neutralized due to hegemonic competition and f) it its solution was wrongly conceived because of naïve idealistic rhetoric –as well as due to many other misconceptions– during the post-cold war era.

[27] In IR bibliography a useful distinction is between interest of “intrinsic value” (related to vital interests and the survival of the state) and “power interests” which relate to marginal increases of one’ s boundaries, to prestige and to emotional pressures of internal elites and other groups.

[28] Harvard University Press, 2000 (In Greek 2002 Poiotita Publishers)

[29] For an excellent sum up see Martin Wight, International Theory (Leicester 1992 – in Greek Poiotita Publishers 1998), the appendix at the end of the book.

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