(Moscow-Baghdad, February 2003)
The Manifesto in neither favouring Arabs nor the USA. It is in defence of humanity, reason, tolerance and the Organisation of United Nations.
All humans are now in great danger as our planet is engulfed by violence and conflicts committed in the name of "good fighting evil". People face a dilemma – how to proceed in life: quietly and obediently or with all the energy to defend their families, homes, countries and societies.
In international relations the rule of law gives way to the rule of force. Almost every state is acting in the spirit of "our national interests come first" and "in this world everyone looks after himself".
With optimism men can solve any problem. Recent events by no means fortified the spirit of optimism, it was eroded by the cult of force in world affairs. Constant wars and international terrorism destroy the natural feeling of optimism. The nerves of people are strained to the very limit. Anarchy, especially in the Middle East, is looming ahead.
The present state of the world did not come by itself. It is the product of politics, especially in foreign affairs. At the time when politicians are elected to high offices they never speak of war as a means to settle international problems. Never. How come that after they are elected war often becomes a reality and many people are maimed and killed, including women and children?
The answer is obvious – many political leaders are unable to understand and control events, they fall pray to demands of different economic and military establishments.
In the 21st century humans will either survive or perish. It is impossible to live in peace if war is still regarded as continuation of politics. In order to avoid wars they are to be totally prohibited from the face of the Earth. Wars resemble a fortress that inhibits progress, it should be assaulted and destroyed. To achieve this end the world awaits the appearance of political Titans. There is still time to overcome militarism. All is not yet lost. The fate of the world is in the hands of one person. And that person is each of us.
Are there means and institutions to achieve peaceful world for everybody? There certainly are. The first among them is the United Nations Organization (UN) founded in 1945. Its Charter is the Bible of international relations, heads of state and foreign ministers should keep it on its desk, learn by heart and follow its letter and spirit.
In the Preamble of the Charter the main aim of the UN is stated with all clarity:
"We the people of the United Nations determined to save succeeding Generations from the scourge of war. Which twice in our lifetime brought untold sorrow to mankind… to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person… and for these ends to practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbors… and to unite our strength to maintain international peace and security…
Have resolved to combine our efforts to accomplish these aims."
The first aim of the UN is to save people from the scourge of war. States must practice tolerance and live together in peace.
Let me quote another passage from the Charter:
Article 1 reads: The purpose of the UN is "To maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace, and to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace".
Article 2 states: "All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered… All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state…".
Article 24 states:
"In order to ensure prompt and effective action by the United Nations, its members confer on the Security Council primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, and agree that in carrying out its duties under this responsibility the Security Council acts on their behalf".
Article 25 we read:
"The members of the United Nations agree to accept and carry out the decisions of the Security Council in accordance with the present Charter".
We see that in 1945 a strong institution – the UN was established due to cooperation of such states as the USA, the Soviet Union, Great Britain, France and China. Washington, Moscow and London played the main role in creating this unique international system of legality. To declare today that a state or a group of states may go to war, attacking another member of the UN without a proper decision of the Security Council, is to destroy this system and endanger the very existence of humanity.
When leaders of such a state or states declare that going to war without support of the Security Council makes the United Nations "irrelevant" they are right but only to a certain extent. This "irrelevance" puts them into position of acting illegally.
In international relations such unlawful behavior creates a big "black hole" that will destroy international stability and influence the course of events for the worse. No amount of oil can compensate for the brake down of established security system and spread of anarchy in the Middle East.
The only right way for any state to behave is to refrain from warlike actions and stop exciting itself and others with desire to make the UN weak. The world without international law being observed will become the worst place then it is now.
Why do loud crunching sounds of militaristic hysteria come from within our societies? Part of the answer is clear. Everybody is afraid of terrorism. But people, especially leaders of strong nations, who possess weapons of mass destruction, should be careful not to freeze their senses to an extent when their wisdom disappears and a mentality of war takes an upper hand.
Militaristic mentality and policies undermine human civilization. Some states use all kinds of excuses to wage war. The circle of violence gets bigger. Declarations are made that in order to do away with wars countries are allowed to wage "preventive wars". A pattern is clear. Strong states wage war against smaller and weaker. Decline of moral standards is there for all to see.
There exists a dangerous gap of knowledge and understanding between the West and Islam. As a member of several academies, including in countries of Islam, I learnt a lot about this faith. It calls for peace among all peoples. It is easy to mistake Islamic extremists for representatives of Islam. Images of the evil West and islamophobia are equally bad for humanity. There must be "meeting of minds" on how to end hostilities between Christians and Muslims. This job can be done with the help of social science. These efforts must receive support of the governments.
The word "reason" has many meanings. It may reflect a motive, cause or justification. Politicians often speak of "good reasons", justifying their actions in foreign affairs. But reason is also the intellectual faculty on the basis of which conclusions are drawn from premises. Today intellectual faculty of political elites is used insufficiently.
Usually leaders of nations receive advice from top placed assistants, national think-tanks, prominent scholars, even friends and close relatives. On certain matters it may be good and excellent. Such advice often reflects lop-sided view of a problem. It is especially irresponsible to rely on isolated sources of advice. Right answers are lost in the sea of uncertainty.
The path of reason on complex international problems is collective wisdom achieved through "meetings of minds", the power of mutual adjustment and compromise. Easy to say, difficult to achieve.
Regional and local conflicts can be avoided through conflict management and confidence-building measures. Preventive diplomacy is also an important tool of avoiding a war. But it must be diplomacy and only diplomacy. Its aim is to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction, the use of force by states against each other, to curb arms proliferation, world poverty, underdevelopment and to ensure environmental protection.
Effective inspections help to avoid immediate threats to peace and security of the UN members. And only when peaceful means fail and a visible threat to the security of a given country arises its government has a right to use force in conformity with the UN Charter. No other way, no matter how easy it looks, brings positive results. "Go it alone" policy is full of dangers. It undermines international law and instead of confronting terrorism fuels the clash of civilizations.
No colorful language about "axis of evil", "crusades", "rogue states" helps to focus on real problems, including regional and local conflicts. And when strong language goes hand in hand with the policy of double standards the results are counterproductive.
Today Russia strives to prevent dichotomy, new division of the world into two camps. Binary classification does not reflect complexities of the present world, instead it fuels hostilities. We witness a "clash of two fundamentalisms" and both use force to achieve political aims.
Russia is not only a European country but also a part of the world of Islam. 20 million of its citizens are Muslims. They are fond of their country – Russia – and condemn separatism. No country nowadays may afford separatists to dismember its territory. Preservation of territorial integrity of nations is a must for a viable and just world order.
A new social and political activism should take into account that all human societies are diverse, each has both positive and negative tendencies, religious, cultural and political differences. Both the West and the East have segments of societies that are radical and extremist. But extremists constitute a small minority. Demonization makes everybody believe that confrontation is the only way to prevail over the "other side".
If instead of the path of reason strong states embrace pre-emptive wars as their objective, hostilities will make the Third World War a reality. Is this the only way for humanity to develop? Who can prove that the path to war will defeat terrorism? Such developments will end the period of cooperation and respect for state and international law. People will face the consequences, which threaten to spin out of control.
Political leaders must rely on political will accompanied by efforts of diplomats, the authority of the UN, the use of special forces to fight terrorists. Terrorists' aim is to see an apocalyptic war between Islam and the United States. The USA may walk into the trap set for it by terrorists and extremists of all kind whose mentality is locked in stereotypes of "holy wars".
A just world order can be based only on observation of the international law. It must not be pushed aside in favor of "national interests". International relations consist of many "national interests". Parliaments are elected by people and governments appointed to build a peaceful world. All politicians are to remember the fate of the League of Nations, demise of which was followed by the Second World War.
Common people suffer most from war. That is why they want to know how the fight against terrorists turned into a battle against sovereign states and civilians.
Grave danger of terrorism is real, its face is ugly and horrible. Criminal attacks against Russia, the USA, Indonesia, Palestinians and Israel prove that terrorists should be resisted with persistence and vigor. A net of terrorism can be destroyed only by an antiterrorist net.
The war on terrorism needs a clear direction. It is necessary to understand the roots of terrorism. Besides stressing the importance of international law, international community should address long-neglected problems of social and economic nature. Only through "meeting of minds" nations can work out the new ideology of the world order. Politicians and diplomats alone, without scientists, are unable to do it.
Just and Human World Order will appear and take root only when all nations without exception abide by international law, embodied in the UN Charter, and forsake any desire to use force to impose their wish on others. A nation cannot claim to be a great nation if it doesn’t know what does it mean to act fairly and generously.
War is the choice of the reckless, peace is the choice of the wise.
The world is close to a point when we witness the end of the international law and of tolerance. At the same time people are told that it is done for their sake. That makes me say: "The world for us must not be created without us."
The guard of the Russian emperors – kavalergardy – used to say: "We do not want to be the first, but will not allow anybody to be better then us". A new 21st century movement for peace in Russia should not lag behind other countries and peoples in their desire to defeat the scourge of war.