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Global Responses to Global Threats John Sloboda Adapted and presented by: Richard Parncutt University of Graz 7 November 2006.

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Presentation on theme: "Global Responses to Global Threats John Sloboda Adapted and presented by: Richard Parncutt University of Graz 7 November 2006."— Presentation transcript:

1 Global Responses to Global Threats John Sloboda Adapted and presented by: Richard Parncutt University of Graz 7 November 2006

2 Oxford Research Group (ORG) An independent British NGO since 1982 – 13 staff and advisors – many trustees, patrons, associates Research areas: – UK and global security policy – policy decision-making processes – nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation Roles: – fostering dialogue with policy-makers – promotion of accountability and transparency

3 Authors of this presentation Chris Abbott – BSc. (Hons.) in Psychology, M.Litt in Social Anthropology – articles in Open Democracy, Int. Herald Tribune, Global Dialogue Paul Rogers – Professor of Peace Studies, University of Bradford – 20 books, e.g. Losing Control: Global Security in Early 21st C. – regular media commentator on global security issues John Sloboda – Executive Director of ORG since 2004 – Prof. of Psychology at Keele Univ.; Fellow of British Academy – Research: civilian effects of war, psychology of anti-war movement – Co-founder of Iraq Body Count

4 The biggest threat? “Terrorism is the greatest 21st Century threat, and there is only one rational response - to stand up to it with an "unshakeable unity of purpose" until the world is free of this evil". Tony Blair, London, November 2003 (on the occasion of the State visit of George W Bush)

5 Terrorist attacks in the USA

6 US deaths from terrorism

7 World deaths from terrorism

8 20 causes of death in the USA

9 Terror versus climate change "I think we still overestimate the danger of terror. There are other things that are of equal, if not greater, magnitude, like the environmental global risks." (Hans Blix speaking on UK TV – March 2004)

10 US military in Persian gulf US was self-sufficient in oil until the 1970s CENTCOM in Persian Gulf since 1970s Primary aim is oil control Permanent US bases in Iraq: near oilfields

11 Iraq – a case study in failure Civilian deaths since May 2003 Year 1=6,33120 per day Year 2=11,31231 per day Year 3*=12,61736 per day Source:

12 Iraq – a case study in failure US “counter-terrorism” – e.g. Falluja: 50 bombing raids per day – kills, mains and makes homeless Iraqi civilians Iraqi security forces  sectarian hatred  recruits for terrorism

13 Iraq – a case study in failure living standard was better under Saddam – child nutrition – health and education – income and employment – basic services: water, electricity

14 The main threats to global security 1. Climate change 2. Competition for resources 3. Socio-economic divisions 4. Global militarisation 5. Terrorism Each point interacts with the others E.g. nuclear power contributes positively to 1, negatively to 2, 3, 4, 5

15 1. Climate change: Coastal effects Melting ice-caps  rising sea levels  highly populated coastal regions  mass displacement of populations  social and economic consequences

16 1. Climate change: Rainfall Less rainfall over tropical landmasses  drought and desertification Mainly in Africa, China, India – Mediterranean also affected Food shortages  social unrest, migration

17 1. Climate change: Deaths “In my view, climate change is the most severe problem we are facing today, more serious even than the threat of terrorism…" “… based on the number of fatalities that have already occurred … global warming has already killed more people than terrorism”. Sir David King, UK Government’s chief scientist, 2004

18 1. Climate change: Remedies Less fossil fuels – coal, oil, gas More renewables – wind, solar, hydro, biomass Energy conservation – more efficient cars, more public transport – improve efficiency of electricity production, batteries – energy taxes, public awareness

19 1. Climate change: Nuclear energy Limited resources of high-grade uranium Toxic waste for thousands of years Not carbon free: 30% CO 2 emission of gas-fired electricity Link to nuclear weapons (e.g. Iran) Power installations are vulnerable – terrorist attack – nuclear theft Security and MOX fuel – transported on open seas – can make crude nuclear weapons

20 1. Climate change: Sellafield An aircraft flown into the Sellafield nuclear plant in Cumbria could cause "at worst, several million fatalities“. (“Assessing the Risks of Terrorist Attacks on Nuclear Facilities”. Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology, July 2004)

21 1. Climate change: Nuclear energy Nuclear not the answer, say UK Government advisors (7 March 2006) Nuclear power is too costly and dangerous to justify its expansion in the UK, even if it cuts carbon emissions, the Government's own advisors said in a new report. Source: Sustainable Development Commission

22 2. Competition for resources: Oil 5 Gulf countries have 2/3 of reserves – Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, UAE World’s major economies import oil – USA and China: rapid growth in demand

23 2. Competition for resources: Oil

24 2. Competition for resources: H 2 O One billion have no safe drinking water (UN Report, “Water and Development” March 2006) Population of Nile basin will double in 25 years Israel and Palestine share declining resource

25 2. Competition for resources: H 2 O Avoid water wars multilateral water management strict observance of international water laws

26 3. Socio-economic division: Trend The rich get richer, the poor get poorer within countries between countries

27 3. Socio-economic division: Poverty One in five people have less than $1 a day Half the world’s children live in poverty  organised crime, social disorder, cultural tensions

28 3. Socio-economic division: Processes International trade and aid rules impede economic development of poorer countries – Western agricultural subsidies; “free market” Western corporations take natural resources of poor countries with little local benefit – e.g. Nigerian oilfields Perception of injustice & marginalisation increased by education communications technology

29 3. Socio-economic divisions: AIDS “Worst catastrophe to hit the world” (UNICEF) Far less spent on AIDS than on Iraq war Loss of working adults  collapsing social structures  children to criminal and paramilitary groups

30 3. Socio-economic division: Discrimination Affects 1 billion members of persecuted ethnic, religious, or linguistic groups Discontent and marginalisation  violence and terrorism

31 How to “fight terror” Do not treat the symptoms (short-term) Do not fight violence with violence Do not exacerbate local grievances  Both increase the number of terrorists Identify and treat the causes (long-term) Encourage dialogue – intercultural, interfaith – even with those who advocate violence (cf. Northern Ireland) Address grievances and respect differences Rectify wealth disparities

32 4. Global militarisation: Cold war massive investment in military technology at the expense of civil programmes Conflicts worldwide from killed 25 million people

33 4. Global militarisation: 1990s Some nuclear disarmament Chemical Weapons Convention ratified US developed “global reach” to fight limited wars at a distance

34 4. Global militarisation: G. W. Bush Reject multilateralism – Comprehensive test ban treaty – Anti-ballistic missile treaty – Biological and Toxins Weapons Treaty Develop “usable” nuclear weapons – B61-11 “bunker buster” Encourage nuclear proliferation! – through aggression and threat (Iran, North Korea)

35 4. Global militarisation: Solutions Diplomatic resolution of international disputes International law, UN security council Military forces – non-provocative defensive posture – peacekeeping, humanitarian missions Control nuclear and biological weapons – Biological and toxic weapons convention – Non-proliferation of nuclear weapons treaty Stop developing and upgrading nuclear weapons

36 Instability: The control paradigm Counter-terrorism – indefinite detention of terrorist suspects without trial – restriction of democratic freedoms Counter-proliferation – against non-state organisations and state ‘sponsors of terrorism’ – strategy of pre-emptive military strikes Irrational belief that technological advances and free markets will solve global problems such as – resource depletion – climate change – disease – poverty

37 Addressing the ladder of instability Global threat Control paradigm Sustain paradigm ClimateNuclear powerRenewable energy ResourcesCENTCOMReduce consumption PovertySocial controlReduce poverty MilitarisationThreatenDisarm TerrorismDeclare “war”Political dialogue

38 The main global threats Growth affects climate and causes war – growth in population + per-capita consumption is straining eco-system – competition over scarce resources, particularly oil, but also water – increased intensity and frequency of hurricanes, floods, droughts Poverty produces migratory pressures – away from highly populated coastal regions – from tropical to temperate regions – to escape downward spiral of poverty and disease Frustration and desperation cause terrorism – recruits for terror – WMD proliferation (also to terrorists)

39 Sustainable Security Energy – replace fossil fuels with renewable sources – phase out nuclear energy Nuclear and biological weapons – multilateral disarmament – no new developments Conflict – encourage dialogue, address legitimate grievances and aspirations Trade and aid – reform global systems of trade and aid to reduce poverty Democracy – improve education, human rights, political transparency

40 Summary of talk Key points in Open Democracy article

41 Contact

42 Titles on sale £5.00 each Iran: consequences of a War Iraqi Liberation Secure Energy Briefing paper A dossier of Civilian Casualties in Iraq £10.00 Iraq and the War on Terror. Paul Rogers

43 Richard Parncutt’s afterthoughts Why academics? Academic strengths A strange but common logic A rational alternative Evolutionary psychology Implications for governments

44 Why academics? Politicians can’t do everything – limited information and intellectual resources – limited time window (  next election) Academic training costs taxpayers They should get direct returns  Academics should devote 5% of academic work time to politics  Academics should feel responsible Prerequisites for democracy – equal rights  political basis – freedom of speech  academic role – access to accurate information  academic role

45 Academic strengths Rational, logical, detached thinking – evidence  conclusion  implications Intellectual resources – academic and popular literature – reconciling contrasting viewpoints Communication and networking – international colleagues, interdisciplinary approaches – opportunities to inform the general public Imagining the unimaginable – physicists imagine quarks – academics imagine future scenarios

46 A strange but common logic Observation: Crazy people predict the end of the world Irrational conclusion: There is no danger of an “end of the world” Implication: Don’t worry about it Maintain distance from those crazy people

47 A rational alternative Massive catastrophes are possible They would be caused by humans  Take responsibility  Who else will?  Work towards realistic solutions  Concrete projects rather than talk and agreements  Focus on the big picture  Detail is important but don’t get lost in it

48 Prioritisation: A quantitative approach 1. Estimate probability p of a catastrophe 2. Estimate number of deaths N (or equivalent suffering) 3. Prioritize political projects according to pN Example A nuclear war could kill 10, 100 oder 1000 million  rough estimate: N = 100,000,000 Probability is less than 100% and more than 1%  rough estimate: p = 10%  pN = 10 million will die if nothing is done Implication: Act now! Nothing is more urgent

49 Evolutionary psychology The science of human nature – Selfish gene  protect self and biological family – We have not changed much in 100,000 years Altruism is reciprocal – Genuine altruism is rare Men appear altruistic to attract females …who believe they will care for the children

50 Implications for governments Healthy self interest: – invest in own future, don‘t pretend to be altruistic Local versus global security: – no long-term difference!

51 Implications for federal budgets Global expenditure: 30%* – aid, development, poverty reduction: 10%* – renewable energy research and promotion: 10%* – defense, conflict res., peace research, cultural exch.: 10%* Domestic expenditure: 70%* – administration: 10%* – education: 10%* – transport: 10%* – research: 10%* – benefits: 10%* – health: 10%* – other: 10%* * Order of magnitude estimates

52 Danke! John Sloboda – For permission to use and adapt this file GRAS – For promotion of this talk Grüne Akademie – For financial support University of Graz – For promoting freedom of speech and diversity of opinion


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