In the face of mounting human suffering and crisis — both geopolitical and ecological — with escalating wars, our responses continue to be at the same level: polarized protests, non-binding resolutions, geopolitical camps of supporters of opposite groups… The blame game continues because each perspective speaks to an aspect of reality. Yet, there is hardly any recognition in the public space of the root mindset that keeps reproducing these irreconcilable clashes — an old paradigm of politics that exploits different historic ethnic identities and wounds to create factions and ideologies that separate and dominate us. The only entities that gain from this approach are the military-industrial cartels and the governments that rely on them to stay in power. And we are led to believe that there are no viable alternatives.
Who and where will model a thoughtful mature approach to stopping violent atrocities and working toward lasting solutions?
I am not suggesting here that military methods have no place in a mature approach. The question is what may be a reasonable and thoughtful way to use military methods to assist humanity’s transition out of them and into lasting peace?
As always, it begins with mindsets. And to be clear, the militaristic mindset is not just manifested by the United States or Israel as is often the accusation. Militant Islam, which even in a country still traumatized by war, such as Syria, just some days ago raised the banner “God is our aim and jihad is our way”, is equally the problem.
That is why in the video above, Irish singer and song-writer Luke Slott has dedicated his concerts this year to 10 young Iranian women, hung by the ayatollahs in 1983 for the spiritual commitment of their faith to the liberation of the human spirit. His dedication with the hashtag #OurStoryIsOne suggests that violent methods anywhere are the concern of people everywhere. We now see the rise of authoritarian police states in Europe, Africa, and Asia because the concept of domination through military violence is alive and well and still is the prevalent method.
It is not that efforts have not been made to work out alternatives. Many teams have attempted to mediate a Russian-Ukrainian solution and a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine. But these efforts are typically not based on a clear-minded, comprehensive, and principled, new-level approach to human relations, and so they keep falling short. In the words of the song above, they still reveal one hundred thousand veils.
In the meantime, significant global efforts have been under way for decades now to articulate a detailed alternative for global governance — one that actually attends to human security and planetary life. In 1991, after 30 years of work by many organizations and international legal scholars, the Earth Constitution was published, proposing integrated principled, non-ideological governance through a five-person, rotating Presidium (one from each major continent), a House of Nations, a House of Peoples, a House of Counselors (academics and wise elders), and a binding World Judiciary. The work continued and strengthened into the 21st century, and the 2021 Global Symposium on The New Paradigm in Politics outlined the key characteristics of a new political mindset capable of governance that protects life.
The consciousness shift that underlies such a transition to a new paradigm in politics has been the subject of research, publications, forums, and grassroot efforts for many decades now. And each of us play a part in this process. We either choose to replay the old mechanistic, dualistic, winners-and-losers zero-sum paradigm, and become part of the problem, or we find the courage to awaken to the reality of our interdependence and vote with our actions for a new ethic.
The militaristic mindset, as it currently exists, is the ultimate expression of a zero-sum approach to life that has brought us to the precipice. This mindset, which does not recognize interdependence, and serves the greed for power over others, is different than the military approach to solutions which has been with humanity for so many centuries as part of the evolution of human civilization. When people lived in separate communities, relatively remote from and foreign to each other, they understandably perceived other groups as a potential threat. But in the age of global mobility and internet accessibility, we are exposed to realities of life for most people on the planet and can easily recognize our common needs and aspirations, and our common suffering.
In this global context, geopolitical solutions that protect human security need to address in a principled way the core evil — militarism as a mindset. This residue from earlier stages of evolution of human communities, when groups and countries could still perceive themselves as independent entities, often fearful of other independent entities, reveals itself as a monstrous anachronism in an age of profound global interdependence.
So why then are we protesting the atrocities in Gaza now and the war crimes in Ukraine, without addressing the fundamental global issue that keeps reproducing horrific human suffering? And how would we address the core issue?
The military approach to solutions cannot be suddenly eliminated but can be gradually phased out. A big and critical step would be the creation of a truly international body which is endorsed by the global community to stop tyrants and violent extremists and to protect civilians. Such a body with teeth and muscle to carry out the task, and built by the best forces of every country, answerable to a World Parliament, can realistically stop and prevent violence and protect innocent lives. It can be the beginning of humanity’s movement from punitive to unitive methods of justice.
To be clear, a detailed blueprint for creating a World Parliament has been developed and presented to the United Nations in recent years by the NGO community. The idea is to create a governing body that represents the people of every country, in contrast to current governing bodies that represent only governments with their political agendas. The feeling of a rapidly growing number of people and organizations worldwide is that only a World Parliament can really stand for human security.
Such an approach to global governance can protect and open space for healing, reconciliation, and unitive justice among communities otherwise torn apart and traumatized. Given the experience of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa, and of other peace and justice commissions attempted in a number of countries, and given the existence of well-developed processes for moving from a punitive to a unitive approach in addressing grievances, we can well imagine spaces where Jews and Palestinians, Russians and Ukrainians can come together and share their stories of historic injustices, suffering and betrayal, of loss and anger, and begin to find common ground, to heal, and to move toward a shared justice — one that unites and therefore is sustainable in the long term.
Is that not a step for which the time has come? Is it so hard to imagine, given the existing military capacity in the world, as well as the precedents that global institutions such as the United Nations have already set?
The choice is ours — to keep protesting and bemoaning current realities, or to coordinate and collaborate toward a fundamental shift.