A World Security Community of Democratic Nations
Global problems need global solutions. A democratic world federation, or global parliament, would offer an effective structure to deal with the critical global problems which confront us. We propose a first step towards that objective, following the template established in Europe.
We propose the transformation of NATO into a World Security Community (WSC) with a global mission, first to guarantee the security and freedom of all its members, and then to act as their peacebuilding and peacekeeping arm in the wider world, under the aegis of the UN. It should be opened to membership from any nation in the world meeting a set of agreed criteria to qualify as a democracy. Its structure and procedures should be reformed to provide the nucleus for a stronger and more democratic system of global governance in the future. It should establish new mechanisms for preventing conflict and reconstructing failed states, in collaboration with the new Peacebuilding Commission at the UN.
Acting strictly in conjunction with the Security Council, the new Community would form a powerful new force for peace and security in the world, and a bright new hope for the future. In the long run, the WSC could evolve stage by stage towards a fully democratic and universal world federation.
DETAILED POLICY PROPOSAL
The world is confronted by some urgent and intractable global problems, chief among them the persistent threats of nuclear annihilation, and continued global warming. A democratic world federation with a global parliament, where our representatives could sit down and discuss what needs to be done and implement their decisions through binding laws and regulations, would offer an effective structure to deal with these challenges. Achieving that objective is an enormous task, however, and must probably remain a long-term objective for the time being.
The European Union is the most outstanding example of nations willingly surrendering elements of their sovereignty and uniting for the common good. Jean Monnet and his colleagues found the right strategy for Europe, starting from a smaller group of ‘progressive’ states and evolving step by step, and Treaty by Treaty, towards the ultimate goal of a European Federation (still not achieved in full).
Our proposal is designed to be the first step in a similar process at the global level. We propose the transformation of NATO into a World Security Community (WSC) of democratic nations with a global mission, first to guarantee the security and freedom of all its members, and then to act as their peacebuilding and peacekeeping arm in the wider world, under the aegis of the UN. This would be a natural continuation of current trends. NATO lost its original purpose with the collapse of the Soviet Union, and has slowly been adopting a new global role in line with our proposal.
The key elements of our proposal are as follows:
- The WSC should be opened to membership from any nation that qualifies as a democracy according to a certain set of agreed objective criteria as in the European Union.
- The WSC should adopt a new decision-making system, preferably at all levels. A qualified-majority voting system, following the European example, has been proposed by senior military officials previously. The present system of consensus decision-making has become increasingly cumbersome with 29 NATO members.
- The organization should include prototype organs of democratic governance, again following the European example. NATO already has a Parliamentary Assembly, which could serve as the starting point for an eventual elected parliament. A new court should be established to arbitrate any intractable dispute between member states, and to serve as the prototype of an eventual system of binding world law.
- It should channel a fraction of its funds to new peacebuilding facilities, to help prevent future conflicts, and reconstruct failed states after previous conflicts.
- It should also allocate funds to foster development in less developed member states under the principle of ‘solidarity’. The OECD could possibly be included as a second arm of the Community to undertake this role.
- An explicit declaration should be made that the WSC will only undertake military intervention in external states if authorized to do so by the UN Security Council. This is mandatory under international law, and is essential in order that the new Community not be perceived as a threat by non-member states.
NATO is the world’s most powerful defence alliance, but at present it is an exclusive club for North Americans and Europeans. Opening it up to all democratic nations would represent a major improvement in global governance to prevent war.
The WSC would provide an ironclad guarantee of security to its growing list of members. Because it would be open to all democratic nations, it would gradually expand by attraction, not coercion, until such time as all nations choose to join it. At this point war would become unthinkable, just as war between France and Germany has become unthinkable. It would allow members to pool their defence resources and achieve efficiencies, while gaining access to expanding resources as the WSC grows.
Because it would act outside of its borders only with UN approval, it would not threaten non-members. Non-members would indeed have the option of joining WSC once they satisfy suitable criteria. Short of that, they would benefit from the peacekeeping and peacebuilding missions that WSC would provide under the aegis of the United Nations. WSC would provide a powerful means of enforcement for the resolutions of the Security Council, working in collaboration with non-members.
In case China and Russia chose not to join the Community (and meet the required criteria), the WSC would respect them as equal partners in the UN Security Council in promoting peace and security outside of WSC borders.
For a fuller presentation of our proposal, including an account of the history of similar proposals, the likely benefits of the scheme, some of the likely difficulties in its implementation, and references, download the Full Proposal via the link below (PDF Format). For a complete argumentation, including a detailed geopolitical analysis, download the Full Argumentation via the link below (PDF Format).