Chris is an Honorary Associate Professor in the School of Physics at the University of New South Wales. He obtained his PhD at the California Institute of Technology in 1972 and pursued a career in theoretical physics. He was formerly National Secretary of Scientists Against Nuclear Arms (SANA) in Australia and is currently President of the Coalition for a World Security Community. Chris joins us from Australia (Sydney), where he is based.
The major challenge he would like to address is the threat to democracy from a rising tide of autocracy in some quarters of the globe. He believes that the democracies of this world must unite to meet this challenge, and he argues that the formation of a World Security Community of democratic nations would be a logical and forward-looking response.
The major challenge I would like to address in this dialogue is the threat to democracy from a rising tide of autocracy in some quarters of the globe. This is illustrated in particular by the escalating threat of China against the flourishing democratic government of Taiwan and has been accentuated by the recent invasion of Ukraine by Russia.
It is clear that the democracies must unite to meet this challenge, and we believe that the formation of a World Security Community of democratic nations would be a logical and forward-looking response. The first steps towards such a community could be taken at President Biden’s Summit for Democracy.
Going back one step, as noted by Reboot2030, humanity faces some catastrophic risks to the future well-being of our society. Foremost among them are the alarming dangers posed by unchecked global warming, the ongoing threat of nuclear annihilation and the recent rise of an Orwellian surveillance state in China. It is clear that all of us as world citizens must work together to counter and remove these risks, and for this purpose we need stronger institutions of global governance.
Democracy must be a fundamental principle of any such system, in order to uphold basic human rights and to guard against the danger of tyranny or autocracy. Up until now, however, all attempts to reform the United Nations in this direction have failed.
We propose as a first step towards a safer world that democratic nations around the globe should join together to form a World Security Community (WSC), embracing various existing alliances such as NATO, ANZUS and the Quad. In conjunction with the UN Security Council, this Community would form a very powerful new force for peace and security in the world. Firstly, it would be able to guarantee the security of all its members; secondly, It would form a very powerful deterrent against any further aggression by the autocracies; and thirdly, it could provide strong new facilities for peacebuilding in the wider world in collaboration with the UN. As a united democratic community, the WSC would enhance the incentives for all nations to adhere to the rules-based order necessary for peace and security.
Our proposal for a World Security Community (WSC) of democratic nations then consists of the following basic elements:
For the members of our proposed Community, the scheme would provide some major benefits. Firstly, it would provide a virtually ironclad guarantee against external attack for its members. Its membership would comprise around two-thirds of the world’s GDP, and two-thirds of the total world military expenditure. The autocracies would hardly dare challenge the Community directly.
Next, it would enable them to share the responsibility, and pool their resources, in providing for the common defence and carrying out peacekeeping and security operations. And finally, it would provide a new legal framework for settling international disputes between members.
Acting in tandem with the UN, the new Community could bring important advantages for the entire international system. Acting strictly at the behest of the Security Council, the Community would provide a powerful means of enforcement for the resolutions of the Council. It could play a role much like the one originally envisaged for a standing security force under Article 47 of the UN Charter, in collaboration with other countries volunteering their resources. It would provide a strong right arm to back up any security actions of the UN.
Thus, the UN and the Community together would make up a greatly strengthened and more effective system of common security and international governance.
Looking to the Future
In summary, the new Community would bring many benefits. It could cure some of the major problems within the present NATO system. It would produce a powerful new global security community, which acting in tandem with the Security Council would be a strong force for peace and freedom in the world.
Spokesmen on both sides of politics in the US have put forward similar schemes in the past, so there is a good chance that a plan of this sort would be acceptable to the USA. The Europeans would most likely be happy to follow, and so the proposal should have a good chance of being implemented.
This scheme is envisaged as only the first stage in a process of global integration. If the Community is open to new members, subject to suitable criteria of democracy and peaceful relations with their neighbours, then one can envisage many new members joining up, attracted by the assurance of guaranteed security, together with the prospect of new structural adjustment funds coming their way. The membership could soon include the majority of the world’s nations, as more countries become democratic. Eventually, one may hope that membership in the Community would become universal, and the Community would evolve into a full-blown democratic world federation, led by a global parliament.
The global parliament would provide a proper forum for making decisions on how to prevent further climate change and preserve the global common environment, while sharing the financial burden in a just and fair manner. It would enable us to address other global problems in a much more effective manner. In fact, it would open up a whole new and bright future for humanity, as prophesied long ago by H.G. Wells in his great work The Outline of History:
“There can be little question that the attainment of a federation of all humanity, together with a sufficient measure of social justice, to ensure health, education and a rough measure of equality of opportunity to most of the children born into the world, would mean such a release and increase of human energy as to open a new phase in human history.” (Wells 1922)
Notes and References
Biden 2020. Joseph R. Biden, Jr., 'Why America Must Lead Again: Rescuing U.S. Foreign Policy After Trump', in Foreign Affairs, March/April issue 2020, see https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/united-states/2020-01-23/why-america-must-lead-again
Wells 1922. H.G. Wells, ‘The Outline of History’ (George Newnes, London), p. 754