A third consideration is the power and sway of the TNCs in limiting decision making by the elites in developing countries. Unless they are controlled by the host’s slate, they may foster environmental pollution, create economic disparities, flout labour laws, social legislation and be a cause for increasing Constitutional and social unrest. However, a positive move can be taken towards building an alternative security system.
Already we have several success stories, the articulate responses belong to global environmental problems, which have spurred the greatest advances to date in international cooperation. The Law of the Sea Treaty, signed by 119 nations in 1982 established an important globalist principle namely that the planet’s under sea wealth is the “common heritage of mankind”. Similarly, signing of the Montreal Protocol in 1987 heralded another global consensus against the build-up of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).
There are about 70 important international instruments signed by more than one hundred states for human rights protection in the world. If a movement towards durable peace is to begin, foremost requirement is the change of the mind-set or what Karl Deutsch calls, (after a close examination of yet another successful story of European Union), “a sense of community”.
What he meant by this is a shared belief that “common security problems must and can be resolved by processes of ‘peaceful change’.” As long as security perceptions are there and the arms build-up continues, fostering such a sense of community is unavoidable for effective steps towards disarmament.
But this fostering can be done not only by the government leaders who alone in their turn actually need to be sensitised towards many aspects of the justice question; it is also possible on the part of NGOs and some concerned citizens.
A determined Indian government could seize the Union Carbide’s top officer after the Bhopal gas tragedy or a determined Brazil decides not to toe the line of the pharma multinationals and makes available the HIV/ AIDS drugs at their national/local rates (affordable) to their patients.
Similarly, we have well-established transnational NGOs who are prepared to take on the cause of the people against state repression/ discrimination/deprivation. Most prominent examples include Amnesty International, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, Medicines sans Frontiers, Human Rights Watch, Survival International and Green peace among others.
Similarly, some concerned citizens have inspired major transformations. The movement to ban land mines was started by two Americans (though America did not sign the Treaty).
What is needed is a positive frame of mind to oppose repression, denial and discrimination. Done fearlessly, they yield enormous ‘peace dividends’ in terms of social impact necessary for peace building.
We may recall here two separate instances: (1) Mohandas Gandhi was thrown out from a train (1893) for having dared to travel in a first-class compartment and (2) Mrs. Rosa Parks refused to “vacate a seat she had occupied in a public bus in Montgomery (1956) and expressed her readiness to be ‘fined’ for this ‘crime’ she had committed.
These two instances gave birth to two movements led by Mahatma Gandhi (non-violent, non- cooperation struggle for independence of India) and Martin Luther King Jr. (Civil Rights movement in USA). Global peace would considerably depend on such moral courage from each one of us to contribute to a peaceful change. Let us work towards a global society of equality and peace in the current conflict ridden and unequal world.