Thursday, December 28, 2006

Indonesia : The alternative to war - A landmark in the peace process

From The Economist print edition - AFP

INDONESIA'S province of Aceh, once a byword for the intractability of conflict, is witnessing one of the world's most successful peace processes. That process passed an important milestone on December 11th, when voters went to the polls for the first direct elections for the provincial governor and 19 of the 21 district chiefs.

Sixteen months ago the region on the northern tip of Sumatra was mired in a 29-year-long separatist conflict that had claimed 12,000 lives. And it was reeling from the massive earthquake and tsunami the previous December that killed some 170,000 people across the province and left 500,000 homeless.

The disaster opened the eyes of both the government in Jakarta and the rebel Free Aceh Movement (GAM) to Aceh's war-weariness. A peace deal was struck in August 2005. Since then, events have unfolded more hopefully than anyone could have predicted. Under the supervision of monitors led by the European Union, GAM disarmed and Indonesian troops returned to barracks. A law was passed granting Aceh generous autonomy.
Held amid unprecedented traffic jams, the optimism surrounding the election was palpable. Official results will not be declared until January. But two separate and reliable counts from several hundred sample polling stations predict the next governor will be Irwandi Yusuf. He is a former Gam commander, who escaped from prison when the tsunami knocked down the front wall. He went on to help negotiate the peace deal and then became GAM's representative on a joint security commission with the government.

Mr Irwandi and his running mate, Muhammad Nazar, another veteran independence activist, are forecast to have won about 39% of the vote. The second-placed pairing also included a Gam representative. So the movement in effect won 55.5% of the popular vote. This rejection of the Jakarta establishment was much more comprehensive than most observers, let alone the government, had foreseen.

It is not, however, a mandate to renew the war for independence. One credible exit poll revealed that protecting the peace process had three times more weight in determining voting decisions than did any other factor. Though he has no administrative experience, Mr Irwandi is expected to respect the popular will and cement the peace process rather than seek ways to dismantle it.

How the government in Jakarta will react is harder to predict. The army has matured enormously as an institution since it engineered widespread bloodletting in 1999 after East Timor voted for independence. But undisciplined individuals, not to mention disgruntled politicians, might hope to destabilise the province, especially with a view to the 2009 general election, when Gam should run for the first time as a reincarnated political party.

What, strangely enough, will probably help reduce political foul-play is the parlous state of Aceh's economy. While the traffic congestion may be a heartening sign, no one pretends that the apparent boom is anything other than temporary: one aspect of a huge bubble inflated by the post-tsunami reconstruction aid blowing into the province.

Some $2 billion has entered the local economy this year. But two years after the disaster, a sustainable recovery has yet to take root. That, however, may be a reason for optimism. Reconstruction should keep Mr Irwandi and other politicians with an eye on 2009 fully occupied. Until last August, ending the conflict and recovering from the tsunami were two distant and very separate dreams. The successful election means they have now fused into a single task, albeit a massive one.

Banda Aceh, Dec 13th 2006

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Thursday, November 02, 2006

Perlukah Peranan Deplu di Daerah?

Oleh: Perry PADA

Berbagai bentuk perwakilan lembaga internasional telah cukup lama beroperasi di berbagai pelosok daerah di tanah air. Sebagai contoh, sebut saja, badan-badan UN, kantor-kantor NGOs Internasional dan LSM-LSM nasional yang didanai institusi asing. Belum lagi proyek-proyek bantuan asing dalam rangka kerjasama internasional, atau perusahaan-perusahaan multi nasional seperti Freeport, Exxon, Mobil Oil, ataupun P.T. Ali baba dan lain sebagainya.

Persinggungan langsung antara kepentingan daerah dan proyek asing tampaknya kurang mendapat perhatian para penyusun kebijakan nasional terutama dampaknya terhadap proses perubahan kehidupan sosial ekonomi dan politik masyarakat di daerah. Sebenarnya dengan semakin maraknya unsur asing di daerah merupakan tantangan dan kesempatan positif bagi pelaksanaan Politik Luar Negeri kita. Namun sayangnya upaya menuju kearah itu masih terus dalam ranah diskursus dan masih terbentur oleh arogansi sektoral dan birokrasi.

Kita sadar bahwa globalisasi menuntut penyusaian kebijakan dan program pembangunan dan hal tersebut merupakan suatu kebutuhan nasional guna mengantisipasi berbagai perubahan yang terjadi di berbagai level kehidupan masyarakat. Namun, persoalannya adalah sejauh mana kita mampu menyusun suatu kebijakan dan program guna memperdayakan masyarakat, khususnya di level daerah/provinsi sehingga diharapkan mampu meraih kesempatan dan menghindari kerugian akibat globalisasi. Berangkat dari pemahaman tersebut maka dibutuhkan suatu sinergi yang integrated antara pusat dan daerah dalam rangka mencapai tujuan pembangunan ekonomi nasional secara menyeluruh.


UU Otda da Hublu

Dalam rangka mengantisipasi, mengakomodasi perubahan pola hubungan luar negeri disamping sekaligus menyelaraskan arus global dan berbagai kepentingan nasional dalam setiap level of interst, Indonesia telah mengundangkan UU No. 37/1999 tentang hubungan luar negeri. UU Hublu tersebut juga memberikan justifikasi bahwa pemerintah bukanlah lagi satu-satunya lembaga pelaksana hubungan luar negeri. Pasal 1 ayat 1 menyebutkan bahwa :”Hubungan luar negeri adalah setiap kegiatan yang menyangkut aspek regional dan internasional ynag dilakukan oleh pemerintah di tingkat pusat dan daerah, atau lembaga-lembaganya, lembaga negara, badan usaha, organisasi politik, organisasi masyarakat, lembaga swadaya masyarakat, atau warga negara Indonesia.”

Dilain pihak UU No 22/99 dan UU no.32/1999 tentang Otonomi Daerah Khusus mengenai hubungan Luar negeri, pasal 88 (1) menyebutkan bahwa daerah dapat mengadakan kerjasama yang saling menguntungkan dengan lembaga/badan di luar negeri, yang diatur dengan keputusan bersama, kecuali menyangkut kewenangan pemerintah di bidang (1) Politik Luar Negeri, (2) Pertahanan Keamanan, (3) Peradilan, (4) Moneter dan Fiscal, (5) Agama, serta kewenangan bidang lain.

Terlepas adanya diskursus mengenai definisi “hubungan luar negeri” dan “kebijakan luar negeri”, namun jelas dari kedua UU diatas telah memberikan jaminan konstitusional dan peran yang sangat besar kepada daerah–daerah dan para pelaku hubungan luar negeri di daerah dalam menentukan bentuk kerjasama dengan negara dan atau lembaga-lembaga luar negeri. Dengan kata lain diplomasi tidak lagi monopoli pemerintah pusat tetapi merupakan pekerjaan berbagai elemen di daerah. Dengan UU tersebut maka pelaksanaan hubungan luar negeri telah dibagi rata dengan seluruh komponen bangsa.

Perlukah Peranan Deplu di Daerah?

Dalam rangka melaksanakan hubungan kerjasama Daerah dengan pihak asing, Deplu di tahun 2003 telah menerbitkan buku ‘Panduan Umum : Tatacara Hubungan Luar Negeri oleh Pemerintah Daerah”. Disamping itu Deplu juga telah menempatkan seorang stafnya di kantor Pemerintah Daerah masing-masing di Pemda Yogyakarta, Aceh dan Papua sebagai tugas perbantuan.

Penerbitan aturan petunjuk dan tugas perbantuan di Daerah merupakan perkembangan yang postif namun tidak cukup sampai disitu. Pemerintah Pusat Perlu dipertimbangkan untuk melembagakan kehadiran Deplu di daerah-daerah melalui suatu kebijakan nasional. Kebijakan ini sangat signifikan guna mendukung pelaksanaan hubungan luar negeri di daerah-daerah sebagai pelaksanaan kebijakan “one door policy”. Disamping itu Deplu dapat berperan sebagai kantor konsultan bagi para pelaku hubungan internasional di daerah baik itu local maupun asing. Ada banyak keuntungan nyata yang dapat diperoleh apabila Deplu membuka “kanwil” didaerah-daerah otonomi. Secara konsep antara lain manfaat yang dapat dicatat yaitu:

(1)Terdapat peta pemahaman yang komprehensif mengenai kebutuhan daerah yang bisa diatasi melalui kerjasama dengan pihak asing.
(2)Tercipta sinergi koordinasi kinerja antara Deplu, Pemerintah Daerah dan Perwakilan Indonesia di luar negeri sekaligus meningkatkan kinerja Perwakilan RI di luar negeri.
(3) Mencegah terjadinya ‘kesalahan’ kerjasama internasional yang dilaksanakan oleh daerah yang akan berdampak negative.
(4) Mempermudah penyusunan kebijakan hubungan luar negeri yang lebih akurat dan membumi.
(5) Pejabat Dinas Luar Negeri Indonesia lebih membumi yakni mampu melihat berbagai potensi daerah yang dapat “dijual” di pasar internasional sebelum ditempatkan di luar negeri.
(6) Menciptakan mesin-mesin diplomasi yang tersebar di seluruh pelosok daerah sebagai bagian dari total diplomasi.

Deplu membuka perwakilan di daerah bukan hal yang aneh, mengingat Departemen teknis lainnya seperti Hankam, Agama, Hukum, Keuangan telah memainkan peranannya di berbagai daerah. Atau kita bisa menengok bagaimana negara lain yang telah melakukan strategi membuka Kemlu di daerah – daerahnya, salah satu contoh adalah Kemlu China.

Sebaiknya kita lebih melihat politik luar negeri dengan kaca mata yang lebih “sederhana dan membumi” namun fokus yaitu sebagai instrument meningkatkan kemajuan pembangunan ekonomi nasional yang dimulai dengan promosi kepentingan daerah ke luar negeri dan bukan sebaliknya melihat hal-hal yang besar untuk kepentingan pencitraan diri namun tidak mendatangkan keuntungan ekonomi yang nyata. Akhirnya dengan lebih memperhatikan daerah kita berharap definisi kepentingan nasional semakin dapat dimaknai dan dimaterialkan dengan jelas.



Citayam, November 2006

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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

North Korea and the Limits of Multilateralism

By George Friedman
One of the main criticisms of the Bush administration's approach to Iraq has been that the United States undertook the war unilaterally, without consulting or working with allies and the international community. The criticism always overstated the United States' isolation among traditional allies: France and Germany opposed the 2003 invasion, but the United States had more support in NATO than did Paris and Berlin. Nevertheless, there was a principle embedded in U.S. policy that was real and could be challenged. George W. Bush took the view that the United States had to craft its own strategy after the 9/11 attacks -- and that, while it welcomed support, its actions would not be constrained by such considerations. The justification for a coalition was that it would enable U.S. policy; U.S. policy did not have to be justified by recourse to a coalition.

This was a conceptual shift in U.S. foreign policy. Alliance as Solution

A generation ago, there was a consensus about why World War II had happened, why the United States and Allied powers had won and how the Cold War should be prosecuted. In this reading, World War II was caused by the unwillingness of the international community to take action against Hitler early enough to prevent a war. The British and French, pursuing their own separate policies -- unwilling to join with the Soviet Union against the greater threat of a Nazi Germany and unable to use the moribund mechanism of the League of Nations -- failed to lead a decisive coalition against Hitler.

With war impossible to prevent, a coalition was created to fight Hitler and the Japanese. The coalition, under the rubric of the United Nations, involved a range of nations that were prepared to subordinate their particular national interests to the broader interest of defeating the Axis powers. Military success in the war rested on the ability of the coalition to hold together. And reading backward, had this coalition existed prior to the rise of Munich, World War II likely never would have happened. Maintaining global stability required a coalition of states that shared a mutual interest in stability and would suppress, as soon as possible, nations that would want to upset that stability.

The Cold War was fought on the same basis. Having accepted that the Soviets were a destabilizing power, the United States focused on creating a system of alliances to contain them. The Americans saw the rapid creation of an alliance against the Soviet Union as the foundation of a successful foreign policy; without it, the Soviets would be victorious.

Rhetoric aside, this made a great deal of sense. The Soviet Union emerged from World War II as the pre-eminent land power in Eurasia. The United States, by size and geography, could not unilaterally contain the Soviets. At best, it could engage in a catastrophic nuclear war with them. In order to have an effective conventional option, the United States had to have allies on the periphery of the Soviet Union. The alliance system made superb geopolitical sense.

Alliance as Stability

But the United States emerged from all of this with an obsession for alliance systems independent of purpose. The World War II coalition had a clear purpose: the defeat of the Axis powers. The Cold War coalition had a clear purpose as well: the defeat of the Soviet Union. However, what emerged in the 1990s was the idea of alliances as ends in themselves. The basic idea was that the system of alliances over which the United States presided during the Cold War would continue to exist -- not with the purpose of opposing the Soviets, but to maintain global stability. The only challenge this system would face, it was presumed, would be rogue powers -- which would be dealt with by an international community (a term extended to include Russia and China) that shared an equal interest in stability. Instead of opposing an enemy, the goal was in the positive: maintaining stability. If the goal was stability, and if everyone shared that goal, then simply having a coalition became the solution rather than the means to a solution.

The central assumption behind this approach was that all significant powers now shared a common interest -- stability -- and that the only destabilizing powers would be rogues, against which the international community would pool its forces. Desert Storm was the model: A broad coalition re-conquered Kuwait, with even nonparticipants in the war giving at least tacit approval. This principle was maintained until Kosovo.

Bush's policy on Iraq, therefore, became a battleground for those who argued that maintaining the alliance system had to take precedence over the unilateral pursuit of national interests. Leaving aside the important question of whether the invasion of Iraq made sense from the American point of view, one argument was that anything that alienates the coalition -- regardless of whether it is a good or bad idea -- is extremely dangerous because this alienation undermines international stability. More to the point, it undermines the foundations of what has been U.S. foreign policy since 1941 -- a foreign policy that was successful.

North Korea and Multilateralism

The counterargument, of course, is provided by history: Successful alliances are built for the purpose of dealing with threats. Alliances built around principles such as stability are doomed to fail, for a number of reasons. First, over time, the status quo appeals to some powers and not to others. Stability is another way of arguing that the international order should be maintained as it is, ignoring the fact that some powers are thereby placed at a great disadvantage. Apart from any moral argument, it follows that, with a universal commitment to stability, subordinate powers will permanently accept their positions, or leading powers will give up their positions quietly, without destabilizing the system. Thus, the idea of maintaining alliances for purposes of stability is built on an unlikely assumption: Stability is in the universal interest of the international community.

Which brings us to North Korea. The U.S. approach to North Korea -- and this includes that of the Bush administration -- consistently has been the polar opposite of its approach to Iraq. North Korea has provided the classic example of multilateralism in pursuit of stability as an end in itself.

The United States does not want North Korea to get nuclear weapons because this could destabilize the international system. Whatever its rhetoric, however, Washington has taken no steps to try to destabilize North Korea, focusing instead on changing its behavior through a multilateral approach.

On North Korea, then, the United States has scrupulously followed traditional U.S. foreign policy. First, Washington has consistently accepted the idea that it has a primary responsibility to deal with North Korea, even if there are regional powers that are in a position to do so. The United States has followed the principle that, as the world's leading power, it has unique obligations and rights in dealing with destabilizing powers. Second, the United States has used its position not for unilateral action, but for multilateral action. Washington has been pressured by North Korea for talks, and criticized by others for refusing to engage Pyongyang directly. Rather, the United States has insisted on the principle of shared authority and responsibility, working within the framework of regional powers that have an interest in North Korea: South Korea, China, Russia and Japan. Finally, the United States has made clear that it will not take unilateral military action against North Korea.

However, the multilateral approach pursued under both the Clinton and Bush administrations has failed, if we regard the detonation of a small nuclear device as constituting a failure. This is an important event because it is the complete counterpoint to Iraq, where it has been argued that failure resulted from the Bush administration's unilateral approach. In one case, we wind up with an unmanageable war; in the other, with the potential for a regional nuclear threat.

Shared Responsibility and Inaction

The driving assumption in the case of North Korea was that all of the powers involved were committed to regional stability, understood the risks of inaction and were prepared to take risks to maintain stability and the status quo. But that just wasn't true. There were very different, competing ideas of stability; the idea of inaction seemed attractive and the assumption of risks did not. There was no multilateral action because the coalition was an illusion.

Let's go down the list:

South Korea: Seoul does not want Pyongyang to have a nuclear device, but it also does not want the slightest chance of a war with North Korea -- South Korea's industrial heartland is too close to the border. Nor does Seoul want the regime in Pyongyang to fall; the idea of the South taking responsibility for rebuilding a shattered North Korea is not attractive. The South Koreans didn't want the North to acquire nuclear weapons, but they were not prepared to act to stop Pyongyang, or to destabilize the regime.

Japan: Japan does not want North Korea to have a nuclear device, but it is prepared neither to take military action on its own nor to endorse U.S. military action in this regard. Japan has major domestic issues with waging war that would have to be worked out before it could make a move, and it is no hurry to solve those problems. Moreover, Tokyo has little interest in posing such an overt threat that the Koreas, its traditional enemy, would reunify (as an industrial giant) against Japan. The Japanese don't mind imposing sanctions, but they hope they won't work.

Russia: Russia is about as worried about the prospect of a North Korean nuclear strike on its territory as the United States is about a French strike. The two countries may not like each other, but it isn't going to happen. Russia would smash North Korea and not worry about the fallout. But at the same time, Moscow wants to keep the United States tied up in knots. It has serious issues with the United States encroaching on the Russian sphere of influence in former Soviet territory. Russia is delighted to see the United States tied down in Iraq and struggling with Iran, and it is quite happy to have the Americans appear helpless over North Korea. The Russians will agree to some meaningless sanctions for show, but they are not going to make the United States appear statesmanlike.

China: China has major internal problems, both economic and political. The Chinese do not want to anger the United States, but they do want the Americans to be dependent on them for something. The North Korea test blast gave China an opportunity to appear enormously helpful without actually doing anything meaningful. Put another way, if China actually wanted to stop the detonation, it clearly has no influence on North Korea. And if it does have influence -- which we suspect it does -- it managed to play a complex double game, appearing to oppose the blast while taking advantage of its ability to "help" the United States. China, along with Russia, has no interest in serious sanctions.

The issue here is not the fine points of the foreign policies of these nations, but the fact that none has an overarching interest in "doing something" about North Korea. Each of these states has internal and external problems that take precedence, in their eyes, over a North Korean nuclear capability. None of them is pursuing stability, in the sense of being prepared to subordinate national interests to the stabilization of the region. The result is that the diplomatic process has failed.

Multilateralism: Promise and Limitations

In this case, multilateralism was the problem. By bringing together a coalition of nations with enormously diverse natures and interests, the United States was guaranteed paralysis. There was no commitment to any overarching principle, and the particular national interests precluded decisive action both before and after the nuclear test. Multilateralism provided an illusion of effective action in a situation where inaction -- including inaction by the United States -- was the intent. No one did anything because no one wanted to do anything, and this was covered up with the busywork of multilateral diplomacy.

It is not that multilateral action is useless. To the contrary, it was the foundation of U.S. success in World War II and the Cold War. When a clear and overwhelming interest or fear is present, multilateral action is essential. But invoking multilateralism as a solution in and of itself misses the point that there must be a more pressing issue at stake than the abstract notion of stability. Neither unilateralism nor multilateralism are moral principles. Each is a means of attaining the national interest. The U.S. disaster in Iraq derived less from pursuing unilateral ends than from catastrophic mismanagement of a war. The emergence of a nuclear North Korea results not from inherent weakness in a multilateral approach, but from using multilateralism as a substitute for a common interest.

If, for some, Iraq made the case against unilateralism, North Korea should raise serious questions about the limits of multilateralism.

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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Red Alert: North Korea -- Is There a Military Solution?

By The Strategic Forcasting. Inc (STRATFOR)

Whatever the political realities may seem to dictate after a North Korean nuclear test, an overt military strike -- even one limited to cruise missiles -- is not in the cards. The consequences of even the most restrained attack could be devastating.

Analysis

The reported detonation of a nuclear device by North Korea on Oct. 9 raises the question of potential military action against North Korea. The rationale for such a strike would be simple. North Korea, given its rhetoric, cannot be allowed to have nuclear weapons. Therefore, an attack to deny them the facilities with which to convert their device into a weapon and deploy it is essential. If such an attack were to take place, it is assumed, the United States would play the dominant or even sole role.

This scenario assumes that North Korea is as aggressive as its rhetoric.

But what about North Korea's well-armed neighbors -- Russia, China, South Korea, Japan? Would they not be willing to assume the major burden of an attack against North Korea? Is the United States really willing to go it alone, even while engaged in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan?

Leaving these obvious political questions aside for the moment, let's reverse the issue by posing it in military terms: What would a U.S. strike against North Korea look like?

The USS Kitty Hawk is currently sitting in port at Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan. The USS Enterprise is operating in the Arabian Sea, while the Nimitz and the Stennis are conducting exercises off the coast of California. All are an ocean away, and none is less than a week's transit from the region. Nevertheless, naval cruise missiles are readily available, as are long-range strikes by B-2A Spirit stealth bombers and B-52H Stratofortresses and B-1B Lancers currently supporting NATO operations in Afghanistan out of Diego Garcia. A more robust strike package would take longer to deploy.

When U.S. military planners have nightmares, they have nightmares about war with North Korea. Even the idea of limited strikes against the isolated nation is fraught with potential escalations. The problem is the mission. A limited attack against nuclear facilities might destabilize North Korea or lead North Korea to the conclusion that the United States would intend regime change.

Regime preservation is the entire point of its nuclear capability. Therefore, it is quite conceivable that Kim Jong-Il and his advisors -- or other factions --might construe even the most limited military strikes against targets directly related to missile development or a nuclear program as an act threatening the regime, and therefore one that necessitates a fierce response. Regime survival could very easily entail a full, unlimited reprisal by the Korean People's Army (KPA) to any military strike whatsoever on North Korean soil.

North Korea has some 10,000 fortified artillery pieces trained on Seoul. It is essential to understand that South Korea's capital city, a major population center and the industrial heartland of South Korea, is within range of conventional artillery. The United States has been moving its forces out of range of these guns, but the South Koreans cannot move their capital.

Add to this the fact that North Korea has more than 100 No-Dong missiles that can reach deep into South Korea, as well as to Japan, and we can see that the possibility for retaliation is very real. Although the No-Dong has not always been the most reliable weapon, just the possibility of dozens of strikes against U.S. forces in Korea and other cities in Korea and Japan presents a daunting scenario.

North Korea has cultivated a reputation for unpredictability. Although it has been fairly conservative in its actions compared to its rhetoric, the fact is that no one can predict North Korea's response to strikes against its nuclear facilities. And with Seoul at risk -- a city of 20 million people -- the ability to take risks is limited.

The United States must assume, for the sake of planning, that U.S. airstrikes would be followed by massed artillery fire on Seoul. Now, massed artillery is itself not immune to countermeasures. But North Korea's artillery lies deep inside caves and fortifications all along the western section of the demilitarized zone (DMZ). An air campaign against these guns would take a long time, during which enormous damage would be done to Seoul and the South Korean economy -- perhaps on the order of several hundred thousand high-explosive rounds per hour. Even using tactical nuclear weapons against this artillery would pose serious threats to Seoul. The radiation from even low-yield weapons could force the evacuation of the city.

The option of moving north into the North Korean defensive belt is an option, but an enormously costly one. North Korea has a huge army and, on the defensive, it can be formidable. Fifty years of concerted military fortification would make Hezbollah's preparations in southern Lebanon look like child's play. Moving U.S. and South Korean armor into this defensive belt could break it, but only with substantial casualties and without the certainty of success. A massive stalemate along the DMZ, if it developed, would work in favor of the larger, defensive force.

Moreover, the North Koreans would have the option of moving south. Now, in U.S. thinking, this is the ideal scenario. The North Korean force on the move, outside of its fortifications, would be vulnerable to U.S. and South Korean airstrikes and superior ground maneuver and fire capabilities. In most war games, the defeat of North Korea requires the KPA to move south, exposing itself to counterstrikes.

However, the same war-gaming has also supposed at least 30 days for the activation and mobilization of U.S. forces for a counterattack. U.S. and South Korean forces would maintain an elastic defense against the North; as in the first war, forces would be rushed into the region, stabilizing the front, and then a counterattack would develop, breaking the North Korean army and allowing a move north.

There are three problems with this strategy. The first is that the elastic strategy would inevitably lead to the fall of Seoul and, if the 1950 model were a guide, a much deeper withdrawal along the Korean Peninsula. Second, the ability of the U.S. Army to deploy substantial forces to Korea within a 30-day window is highly dubious. Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom both required much longer periods of time.

Finally, the U.S. Army is already fighting two major ground wars and is stretched to the breaking point. The rotation schedule is now so tight that units are already spending more time in Iraq than they are home between rotations. The idea that the U.S. Army has a multidivisional force available for deployment in South Korea would require a national mobilization not seen since the last Korean War.

It comes down to this: If the United States strikes at North Korea's nuclear capabilities, it does so placing a bet. And that bet is that North Korea will not respond. That might be true, but if it is not true, it poses a battlefield problem to which neither South Korea nor the United States will be able to respond. In one scenario, the North Koreans bombard Seoul and the United States makes a doomed attempt at shutting down the massive artillery barrage. By the time the guns are silenced -- even in the best-case scenarios -- Seoul will be a mess. In another scenario, the North Korean army executes an offensive of even minimal competence, which costs South Korea its capital and industrial heartland. The third is a guerrilla onslaught from the elite of the North Korean Army, deployed by mini-subs and tunnels under the DMZ. The guerrillas pour into the south and wreak havoc on U.S. military installations.

That is how a U.S. strike -- and its outcome -- might look. Now, what about the Chinese and Russians? They are, of course, not likely to support such a U.S. attack (and could even supply North Korea in an extended war). Add in the fact that South Korea would not be willing to risk destroying Seoul and you arrive at a situation where even a U.S. nuclear strike against nuclear and non-nuclear targets would pose an unacceptable threat to South Korea.

There are two advantages the United States has. The first is time. There is a huge difference between a nuclear device and a deployable nuclear weapon. The latter has to be shaped into a small, rugged package able to be launched on a missile or dropped from a plane. Causing atomic fission is not the same as having a weapon.

The second advantage is distance. The United States is safe and far away from North Korea. Four other powers -- Russia, China, South Korea and Japan -- have much more to fear from North Korea than the United States does. The United States will always act unilaterally if it feels that it has no other way to protect its national interest. As it is, however, U.S. national interest is not at stake.

South Korea faces nothing less than national destruction in an all-out war. South Korea knows this and it will vigorously oppose any overt military action. Nor does China profit from a destabilized North Korea and a heavy-handed U.S. military move in its backyard. Nevertheless, if North Korea is a threat, it is first a threat to its immediate neighbors, one or more of whom can deal with North Korea.

In the end, North Korea wants regime survival. In the end, allowing the North Koran regime to survive is something that has been acceptable for over half a century. When you play out the options, the acquisition of a nuclear device -- especially one neither robust nor deployable -- does not, by itself, compel the United States to act, nor does it give the United States a militarily satisfactory option. The most important issue is the transfer of North Korean nuclear technology to other countries and groups. That is something the six-party talk participants have an equal interest in and might have the leverage to prevent.

Every situation does not have a satisfactory military solution. This seems to be one of them.

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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Our Next Secretary General : The Washington Ally ?

By Perry PADA


In my previous article regarding the identity of the next UNSG titled “It’s Time to Show Ambition” (Why not Indonesia Run for UNSG Office), I was convinced that it would be easy to predict the identity of the next person to occupy the position, that is one of the Asian candidates. I clearly stated that “it must be a candidate from among the Superpower’s friends or allies or at least from a country not ill disposed to US Global policy in the region” (The Academia Chronicle, June 2006).

In that observation, I was right, the closest friend and ally of USA in Asia from among other UNSG contenders is of course the South Korea Foreign Minister, Mr. Ban Ki Moon (62). He would be the second Asian UNSG after Mr. U Thant from Burma (1961-1971). While the UNSG contest is still to be finalized by the U.N. General Assembly, he has formally been nominated for the post by the Security Council. Therefore, South Korea outmanoeuvred the other six candidates from India, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Jordan and Latvia. The six rivals had already signalled their withdrawal and support for the South Korea candidate.


My earlier analysis was a contrary one. I argued that South Korea would not be a good candidate to win. My argument was largely based on South Korea’s deficiency rooted in the protracted conflict on the Korean Peninsula. Traditionally, a UNSG candidate was thought to come from a country which was not engaged in either internal or external conflict. This unwritten precondition was thought to be very important in order to maintain the candidates objectivity in a crisis. I was further assuming that it was unlikely that the Korean candidate would gain enough support from both Europe and Asia and clearly not from its South East Asia Neighbours in ASEAN. The ten members of ASEAN had already caucused and formally announced their support for Thailand. Unfortunately, the ASEAN candidate lost support following the 19 September 2006 Military Coup in Thailand. It would appear as if there was an unpredictable miscalculation.

What made Ban Ki Moon – South Korea’s candidate successful? It is an interesting issue since it would entail much geopolitical analyses particularly over the nuclear security issues in the region. This has become even more acute since North Korea’s detonation of a nuclear device at Gilju, Hamgyong Province on Sunday. I assume it is not solely Ban’s profile that contributed to his success, but the country profile of South Korea, and its potential regional role. Ban’s personal profile is more or less comparable to the other candidates. Therefore, one can conclude that the candidates personal capability is not the only prerequisite for victory. The candidate’s country profile is a determinant one and the most advantageous element to the victory. It is a state contest and not a personal one. To this point, we might begin to ask why South Korea? And could Korea promote the interests of developing countries? There are some logical points in responding to the above question.

First, there are some advantageous points in Ban’s personal background, Ban was Educated at Harvard University which familiarized him with the American school of toughness. In addition, he was twice assigned to the South Korean Embassy in Washington and is a former director general of American affairs in the South Korean Foreign Ministry before being appointed as FA Minister. According to some journalists (The New York Times) personally, Ban has the firm backing of the Bush Administration and is known as an ally of Washington. One might further speculate that Ban has been groomed by Washington for some years. To this ‘Washington ally’ issue, Ban denied that his relations with the U.S. would impede his efforts to resolve the burning issues of the Iranian and North Korean nuclear programs. (The Agence France - Presse)

Second, historically, South Korea and the USA have been close allies throughout the post Second World War period. Since the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950 South Korea has become a US military zone in protecting its security interest in the region. Therefore, since the cold war era in 1950s South Korea has been the American backbone in its containment strategy against China and North Korea. The military alliance has also successfully contributed to the economic progress of South Korea. According to some studies, the South Korea – USA mutual security Treaty creates a climate of stability favourable for foreign trade and investment and for preferential treatment by USA. The 30.000 US force presence also provides an economic subsidy to South Korea by enabling Seoul to maintain a much more formidable posture that it could afford on its own. However, this policy also has proven to be an impediment to North/South reconciliation. (Policy Forum on Line 06-28A, 11 April 2006).

Third, one may also question China’s position in support of South Korea’s candidacy. North Korea and China have been in a long alliance since the Korean War. Moreover, according to some reliable sources China is now a stakeholder in North Korea’s economy. China has repeatedly blocked UNSC resolutions against North Korea, including some threatening sanctions. China also hosts the six party talks (North Korea, South Korea, Japan, China, Russia and the USA) to prevent punitive sanctions from the UNSC, the USA and its allies. China is seen as a buffer between North Korea, the USA and Japan. (Council on Foreign Relations, July 2006). The decision to support South Korea’s candidate does not mean China is turning its back on the North. It is to support its own strategy. Since for China, stability and the avoidance of war are the top priorities. The clear worry, according to some, of Beijing is that the collapse of North Korea would lead to chaos on the border creating hundreds of thousands of refugees flooding into China (Stanford’s Asia-Pacific Research Centre) while endangering China huge investments ($ 2 billion /year) in the country..

Therefore, for China it is better to maintain the status quo on the Korean peninsula. Continuing of the US - South Korea alliance will serve China’s strategic regional objective. It is quite diplomacy with a big gain, politically and economically. I assume the “same analysis” can be given to the Russian position to support South Korea. In addition China’s economic and political relationship with South Korea has dramatically transformed in recent years, with the ballooning of trade and investment. To this point, China has replaced the US as Korea’s largest trading partner. China has also been the beneficiary of the rising tensions between Seoul and Washington over the behaviour of US troops stationed in the South Korea.

Finally, regarding the question of promoting (less) developing countries, I am not sure our new UNSG will focus more on third world humanitarian issues, since I am assuming he will be overwhelmed by security’s issues. To this, Ban stated that South Korea can understand the pains and difficulties of developing nations because she has risen by over coming them (Newsweek, October 16). Let us hope our new UNSG meets with success.

Jakarta, 10 October 2006

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Sunday, October 08, 2006

Demonstration or Social Crowd?

By Perry PADA


Was it the “May 1998” demonstrations that made the most powerful Indonesian President Soeharto step down from office? There are a range of political views surrounding that question. To some, the answer is best sought in the fact that the decision to step down at that crucial moment was solely Soeharto’s. The accumulation of power accrued over the 32 years he reigned in Indonesia (1966-1998) provided him and his cronies with sufficient raw power to easily crush the dissidents. The immediate and clear example was the termination of almost half million the so called member of Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) in 1965 – 1966, plus a substantial number of one of our racial minorities. Finally, the famous demonstration in May 1998 yielded a lifetime social security guarantee for Soeharto and the crony families as a result of the “demonstration”

Eight years have now passed since Soeharto’s fall (1998-2006), during which time Indonesia has experienced four Presidents. They are consecutively (1) President Habibie 1998 -1999; ( 2) President Abdurrahman Wahid 1999–2001; (3) President Megawati Soekarno Putri 2001 -2004, (4) President Yudhoyono 2004 to the present. All of these administrations have been colored by demonstrations demanding the upholding of law and justice. To date, however, the reality is that that Soeharto has remained a powerful and untouchable man in Indonesian politics. Amidst the crowded demonstrations and the vacuous political statements, he is fully regarded as a “Guru” by many politicians. However, it is not my intention to discuss the above since we can easily find many clichéd views on the issue.

The interesting issue is that most Indonesians since then have come to accept a new praxis that demonstrations are a powerful tool for bringing about change. It is no wonder, since May 1998 until very recently in 2006, demonstrations followed by others of any size and forms have flourished in the country raising a wide variety of themes. Since earlier this year demonstrations have become the most popular means able to bring about elite changes in the broadest sense. But are those demonstrations able to contribute to a social change, in term of economic, social and political life?

In this short article it is impossible to fully elaborate these social movements but one can question if these demonstrations on many occasions are merely a social fallacy and have become a political commodity. Massive demonstrations have been conducted by the people in Indonesia particularly in many big cities since 1998 and certainly they can be identified as one of the elements of the development of democracy. But in the final analysis they are meaningless if they do not bring about significant social change. To this, I am tempted to raise the fundamental question as to why with so many demonstrations have we seen so little real improvement in peoples lives? Unfortunately, they remain laborers marginalized in society. If we look at the rural areas the situation is even worse, with famine, illiteracy and suffering from all other manifestations of poverty.

On the basis of limited and ongoing research, I must admit that it is difficult to fully understand the distinction between demonstrations which produce a solid public opinion resulting in change and demonstrations which merely whip up a crowd and result in no meaningful change at all. For this purpose, a crowd can be defined as “a sporadic mass action without any collective political consciousness while its connective action occurs is limited to the result of its temporarily needs and interests”. The crowd is just contributing to the stagnancy of the evolving of democracy itself. Some precise criteria are needed to judge whether growing demonstrations in all of their forms in Indonesia are gradually and steadily mounting symmetrically to the growing of peoples political consciousness of a democratic life.

Demonstrations, however, are not always identical with social movements that lead to an authentic democracy. Demonstration, I assume, can be an initial step or a prelude to a social movement. Theoretically, any kind of social movement is supposed to ultimately result in the creation of four consecutive levels of an autonomous movement according to some western social scientists, they are; (1) systematic social pressure followed by (2) formation of the public sphere and further to (3) formation of strong public opinion. And the last but not least, the existence of (4) a strong and decisive social class as a peoples guarantor. The development of each level is necessary supported by “good” and “autonomous” NGOs, Media and “People Parliament Representatives”. Of course a series of social, political and economic measures are needed to empower any movement.

It is unfortunate that in reality freedom of expression transformed into demonstrations do not significantly exhibit the essence of democracy that enables people to express their own genuine will. The quantity of demonstrations in Indonesia is numerically significant but the quality remains poor. Demonstrations have turned into street shows with ‘smart’ politicians utilizing them as a forum to increase their public performance. Therefore, rather than the development of a policy for improvement of social and political conditions, demonstrations are empowering the elite to increase and consolidate their privilege. To this point, it is very important to carefully examine whether peoples resistance and support or both of demonstrations, can be defined as a reaction against injustice or are they being manipulated? It is a fact that demonstrations can be easily engineered by some vested groups for their own ends.

In evaluating the effectiveness of demonstrations it is most important to examine the extent to which these events have provided the people with instruments of socio-economic and political empowerment. The easiest way to measure it, is to explore to what extent demonstrations are able to be the influential tool for the changing of reality or to the making of public policy seen by and felt by the people. The end product of public policy after all is that it has to clearly lean to peoples needs and interests.

What concerns us is the possibility that all recent demonstrations have merely been a euphoric psychological release after the experience of three decades of pressure. The worst case outcome would be that demonstrations have, unconsciously or not, been commoditized by a certain elite group. Should this be the case it would be a setback for the democratic process in Indonesia, as the demonstration would merely be a gathering of the crowd. The crowd will never contribute to the development of democracy.

Theoretically, within a society that is neither economically or educationally advantaged the people have not developed the foresight to be able to see beyond their immediate limited material interest. They unconsciously tend to give up their individual wills to powerful economic interests. These circumstances are exploited by fortune hunters to gain their goals through massive demonstration.

It is a fact that desperate people are very easy to be prodded in any direction and therefore, groups can easily be formed within days, and finally a resultant demonstration. Actually, there are current rumors that nowadays, some people have established a “company” specializing in providing masses of people ready to demonstrate on order on any issue as long as they are paid an hourly fee. The companies recruit and train unemployed people in street demonstration techniques. Demonstrations have become a profitable business in Indonesia. For the needy, being a demonstration participant is a shortcut to fulfill their basic needs that cannot be provided by the government. Political issues can be easily promoted, and have been, in this way.
With a population of 222 million, 70 percent under educated with little economic opportunity, Indonesia has faced great difficulty in bringing about significant social change.

It was formally noted by the Indonesian Statistical Bureau in March 2006, that 18 percent or almost 40 million Indonesians, live under the poverty line. Additionally, it is deteriorating with the increase of bourgeois-ism and the lack of “good people” within government circles. Under such circumstances, I have to be very frank that it is difficult to have a good quality of life, at least in the short run. The “fortunate people” who hold a position in the elevated social class are tending to be self centered pursuing their own material greed. Therefore, it is extremely difficult to clearly identify or to control those who usurp their elite position as part of the capitalist bourgeoisie who have come to enjoy profit from the misery of others.

To conclude, yes, the development of pluralism, formal/informal local democratic institutions and the growing of NGOs through demonstrations may be a prelude for the development of a democratic agenda. And yes, some demonstrations are successful in bringing about changes, but there is no single guaranty that they will lead to the creation of an open and democratic society. To this end, the core meanings of our social movements are clearly depending on the quality of the freedom measured by its success in improving the condition of the majority of our fellow citizens.


Jakarta, 28 September 2006

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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Rethinking Mao's World Conception


By Perry PADA

It is difficult to have completely Mao’s thought; however, the center of Mao’s view can be comprehended through his epistemology. At the core of Mao’s epistemology lies the notion that there have been two concepts concerning the law of development of the universe, the metaphysical and dialectical. To Mao, Metaphysical or idealistic play a dominant role in human though. But, Mao argued that metaphysical outlook is seriously flawed. This is because it has too static a conception of social change and it ascribes the motive force of change to factors external to society. Therefore, Mao also held to a dialectical method down from Marxist’s notions.

The Marxist or dialectical world outlook sees the fundamental cause of social development as internal: the primary cause of change lies in the internal contradiction of nation. External causes are the condition of change, while internal causes are the basis of change. In the words of Mao, the dialectical world outlook “teaches us primarily how to observe and analyze the movement of opposites in different things and, on the basis such analysis, to indicate the methods for resolving contradictions”. In its development, Mao’s theory of contradiction becomes the most important elements of Mao’s strategic thinking.

In its application to international affairs, the theory was used to identify the major contradictions in any given situation and time. The central application of Chinese foreign policy in what ever period has been the theory of contradictions. As outlined by Mao in 1937 in his essays “On Contradiction”, this central dictum defines the crucial role played by conflict in political affairs, going beyond the principle of pragmatism evident in any state’s foreign relations. Therefore, Central to the implementation of the theory is the ability to identify the main contradiction of any given time. All other issues (contradictions) may then be subordinate to policies aimed at solving this main contradiction.

Mao’s dialectical analysis of the international system followed the law of unity of opposites by first identifying and etymologizing the system’s major actors into enemies and friends, and then formulating appropriate strategies. The two camp theory view the world was a logical corollary of his dialect based on this theory; Mao divided the world into two camps that is socialist and imperialist. Further more, his contradiction conception identify three contradictions among nations in the world. (1) Contradiction between socialist and imperialist camp. (2). Contradiction between colonized nations and imperialist nations (3). Contradiction among the imperialist nations. In Mao’s image, the peace between socialist and imperialist will never exist. Imperialism is seen as the trigger of modern war. Therefore, as long as imperialist exist there will no peace.

This attitudes are manifestoes by China through their foreign policy which integrally supporting all soviets position regarding international affairs, and also build strong relationship to all socialist countries. Based on the commitment to combat imperialist and to support socialist, Beijing created linkages to communist movement in all over the world and supporting them to make a communist revolution in their countries. For example, in the late 1940s and early 1950’s, Chinese influence contributed to insurrection in several Asian states including Myanmar, India, Malaya, Philippine, and Indonesia.

Mao’s ‘three worlds’ theory: China geopolitical strategy

The three worlds theory is a simplify model for defining and assessing the main contradiction in the international system. It functions as geopolitical compass for seeking China’s proper place in world politics. This theory as Mao’s stated above make a tripartite division of the globe; into the first world of superpowers in predatory competition or collusion; the third world of developing countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America ; and the second world of Northern developed countries. (Kim. China in 3rd world p.183). Thus, trough this theory Chinese perceived themselves in the third world categories.

China assumed that poorness and superpowers aggression in the third is imperialism exploitation. In Chinese view, both superpowers became a threat for the world and sources of problems. To this point, we may conclude while it is arguable that the three world theory, for contemporary China, mainly to claimed and strengthened their position as a “leader” of the third world against super powers hegemony. Does modern China change it’s foreign policy attitude and abondon Mao’s thought?

Jakarta, 1 September 2006

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Monday, September 25, 2006

Making Globalization Work

By Joseph E. Stiglitz

I have written repeatedly about the problems of globalization: an unfair global trade regime that impedes development; an unstable global financial system that results in recurrent crises, with poor countries repeatedly finding themselves burdened with unsustainable debt; and a global intellectual property regime that denies access to affordable life-saving drugs, even as AIDS ravages the developing world.

I have also written about globalization’s anomalies: money should flow from rich to poor countries, but in recent years it has been going in the opposite direction. While the rich are better able to bear the risks of currency and interest-rate fluctuations, it is the poor who bear the brunt of this volatility.

Indeed, I have complained so loudly and vociferously about the problems of globalization that many have wrongly concluded that I belong to the anti-globalization movement. But I believe that globalization has enormous potential – as long as it is properly managed.

Some 70 years ago, during the Great Depression, John Maynard Keynes formulated his theory of unemployment, which described how government action could help restore full employment. While conservatives vilified him, Keynes actually did more to save the capitalist system than all the pro-market financiers put together. Had the conservatives been followed, the Great Depression would have been even worse and the demand for an alternative to capitalism would have grown stronger.

By the same token, unless we recognize and address the problems of globalization, it will be difficult to sustain. Globalization is not inevitable: there have been setbacks before, and there can be setbacks again.

Globalization’s advocates are right that it has the potential to raise everyone’s living standards. But it has not done that. The questions posed by young French workers, who wonder how globalization will make them better off if it means accepting lower wages and weaker job protection, can no longer be ignored. Nor can such questions be answered with the wistful hope that everyone will someday benefit. As Keynes pointed out, in the long run, we are all dead.

Growing inequality in the advanced industrial countries was a long-predicted but seldom advertised consequence of globalization. Full economic integration implies the equalization of unskilled wages everywhere in the world, and, though we are nowhere near attaining this “goal,” the downward pressure on those at the bottom is evident.

To the extent that changes in technology have contributed to the near stagnation of real wages for low-skilled workers in the United States and elsewhere for the past three decades, there is little that citizens can do. But they can do something about globalization.

Economic theory does not say that everyone will win from globalization, but only that the net gains will be positive, and that the winners can therefore compensate the losers and still come out ahead. But conservatives have argued that in order to remain competitive in a global world, taxes must be cut and the welfare state reduced. This has been done in the US, where taxes have become less progressive, with tax cuts given to the winners – those who benefit from both globalization and technological changes. As a result, the US and others following its example are becoming rich countries with poor people.

But the Scandinavian countries have shown that there is another way. Of course, government, like the private sector, must strive for efficiency. But investments in education and research, together with a strong social safety net, can lead to a more productive and competitive economy, with more security and higher living standards for all. A strong safety net and an economy close to full employment provides a conducive environment for all stakeholders – workers, investors, and entrepreneurs – to engage in the risk-taking that new investments and firms require.

The problem is that economic globalization has outpaced the globalization of politics and mindsets. We have become more interdependent, increasing the need to act together, but we do not have the institutional frameworks for doing this effectively and democratically.

Never has the need for international organizations like the IMF, the World Bank, and the World Trade Organization been greater, and seldom has confidence in these institutions been lower. The world’s lone superpower, the US, has demonstrated its disdain for supranational institutions and worked assiduously to undermine them. The looming failure of the Development Round of trade talks and the long delay in the United Nations Security Council’s demand for a ceasefire in Lebanon are but the latest examples of America’s contempt for multilateral initiatives.

Enhancing our understanding of globalization’s problems will help us to formulate remedies – some small, some large – aimed at both providing symptomatic relief and addressing the underlying causes. There is a broad array of policies that can benefit people in both developing and developed countries, thereby providing globalization with the popular legitimacy that it currently lacks.

In other words, globalization can be changed; indeed, it is clear that it will be changed. The question is whether change will be forced upon us by a crisis or result from careful, democratic deliberation and debate. Crisis-driven change risks producing a backlash against globalization, or a haphazard reshaping of it, thus merely setting the stage for more problems later on. By contrast, taking control of the process holds out the possibility of remaking globalization, so that it at last lives up to its potential and its promise: higher living standards for everyone in the world.

** Joseph Stiglitz is a Nobel laureate in economics. His latest book is Making Globalization Work.

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Sunday, July 30, 2006

Iran Nuclear Issue: Lonely Iran Vs Hegemonic Nuclear State

By Perry PADA


The approach to end Iran’s nuclear program has indeed once again proven that the new world order has been characterized by a hegemonic ideological mindset. To date, the on going contentious debate over Iran’s nuclear program is an uneven one, as it is heading toward the predictable conclusion imposed by the existing nuclear states that Iran must “abolish” its nuclear program or accept punishment. After so many years struggling for its rights while stressing the peaceful nature of its nuclear program, Iran now is forced into isolation for what it rightful believes is the acquiring of nuclear technology for the sake of Iranian future prosperity. Viewing this issue through an objective lens, the development of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes is in fact in line with the International Atomic Energy Agency -- IAEA Comprehensive Safeguard Agreements and it is an “inalienable right” for NPT member states. Regrettably, this protocol arrangement for nuclear technology acquisition has been distorted by the leading nuclear technology state.


Coincidently, it is Iran, which has been characterized by the US as among the “axis of evil” and as a state with nuclear weapons ambitions. Therefore, the US has made its position eminently clear that it will not tolerate a nuclear armed Iran. As an initial approach, the US urged the UNSC to act against Iran. Being embarrassed by Iran for rejecting its development aid packaged, in exchange for abandoning its enrichment program the EU3 (United Kingdom, France and Germany) followed US direction and orchestrated an international echo of this policy. The last fortress for Iran at the UN Security Council, China and Russia, on the other hand, both of who initially supported Iran’s peaceful nuclear program in defiance of the US and the EU, have modified their position. Iran’s refusal to accept the Russian compromise of enriching uranium on its soil on behalf of Iran has to date been rejected by the Iranian side. This accumulated pressure most likely has made Iran reconsider its strategic position in light of changing circumstances.

P5+1’s Carrot and Stick Package

Even though, there are multiple interpretations as to why both China and Russia have joined the three other SC members plus Germany (P5+1) in pressuring Iran to abandon its enrichment program, the fact is that they have coalesced. P5+1 have been pressuring Iran to accept its ‘carrot and stick incentives proposal’, or be ready for further action. The nature of that further action remains unclear with Russia and China arguing for enhanced diplomacy, while the US and its allies urging harsher sanctions. All diplomats gathered in Vienna at the International Atomic Energy Agency echoed the same tune that the incentives to Iran would be in return for Iran giving up its nuclear enrichment program. The Vienna meeting also set a deadline for Iran to positively respond to the offer by July 15, 2006 when the G-8 was to hold its meeting in St. Petersburg. Iran opposed the deadline and set August 22, 2006 as its date of response. With this brief sketch, it is reasonable to state that Iran is a lonely singer facing a large and antagonistic audience.

The role of EU 25 in the Iranian nuclear issue was also clearly marked by the mission of Dr. Javier Solana, EU Secretary General to Tehran on the 2nd of June 2006 as an official (P5+1) messenger carrying with him the new incentive package (the old EU package has been rejected by Iran August 2005). The new incentive package while its full contents remain unclear, contain among other points (1) Nuclear program cooperation and assistance, specifically to provide for a sophisticated technology light water nuclear reactor; further, Nuclear countries would support Iran with enriched nuclear material. Accordingly, it would not be necessary for Iran to enrich uranium by itself; and (2) Economic and political cooperation, at the broadest level (emphasis added)

Now, comes the interesting part, that should Iran give up its enrichment right and accept the incentive package it would prove to be a unique global phenomenon in the year of 2006. To date, Iran has not given a definitive response beyond indicating the package was worth considering by the Iranian people. Haunted by the probability of an Iranian negative response, the nuclear states led by the US might be prepared to organize a coalition force through the ‘legitimate’ arrangement of Chapter 7 of the UN Security Charter as its instrument of multilateralism action. For the US, the position is initially clear that ‘you are with me or my enemy’ as clearly echoed by the previous US Ambassador to the UN Negroponte, who had targeted Iran as the prime supporter of International terrorism.

Iran, China and Russia: a new reminisces collaboration?

Historically, Iran has good strategic partnerships with Russia and China for many years not only in the field of trade and commerce but also for military cooperation. Therefore, it is worth wondering why both countries who previously stood with Iran and opposed other UNSC members - US, UK, and France have changed their position. Russia and China for the long haul shared the same perceptions on the issue of global security. According to the media, Russia through Gazprom (state company) is also ready to support the development of a natural gas pipeline linking Iran, India and Pakistan with the length ranging around 2600 km. The US strongly opposes the plan, on the pretext that it would strengthen Iran. Nevertheless, what made their change of attitudes from active support to less support? While it is a speculative argument, the signal given by Iran that it might accept the incentive package with some modification might be a part of a Russia/China strategic partnership in the future. There would be some negotiations between Russia, China and Iran itself to find a way of winning the battle without an open confrontation. Confronting the US might make Iran another Iraq or Afghanistan. The stumbling block may still be Iran’s insistence on independently carrying out even a limited enrichment program

It is interesting to identify the full bilateral relationship between Iran and China. Both countries have a strong foundation in the area of economic cooperation, particularly for energy - gas and oil cooperation. China for many years has been sourcing Iranian gas and oil resources. It is revealed in the media that China recently has made a major purchase of 250 million ton of natural gas from Iran under a 25 year contract valued at 100 billion dollar. In terms of arms sales between the two countries, The US Federal Register Notice claims that nine Chinese Companies have exported material to Iran, which has “the potential to make material contribution to the development of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) or cruise or ballistic missiles system”. (New York Times, January 18, 2005 – The significant of the People’s Liberation Army White Paper - Noumoff)

Moreover, Washington more recently criticized the June 2006 meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) - attended by leaders from China, Russia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan and Iran, India, Pakistan and Afghanistan as an anti-US organization. The US concern is not without foundation since those countries are by its ‘clear and presence danger’ definition, concomitantly; first, they are obviously outside the US alliance terminology [except Afghanistan] , second they are embryonic of an ideological threat and third, In terms of the current energy crisis, they are abundant in natural oil and gas resources. President Putin denied that the group meeting is top heavy with an ideology of anti Americanism. However, according to the media, some speeches made by the Iranian, and Uzbekistan Presidents clearly conveyed an ideological message by alerting the SCO to the possible involvement of superpower hegemony into the organization, without mention of any specific country (Kompas, Juni 2006).

Where is the ‘third world camp’ position?

For Iran, the hope of gaining support from other Moslem Middle East countries is likely impossible as their own state strategies are disinclined to oppose the US Therefore, for many Arab countries, it is preferable if the Iranians abandon their nuclear ambitions. In addition, it is not a secret that for a long time Arab countries have gained benefit by leaning to the western camp. If we factor in other groupings– OIC, the Non Align Movement (NAM) and The Group of 77, can Iran gain any significant support? Apparently, not. While, the NAM refused to support bringing the Iran Issue to the UNSC it asked all parties to solve the problem peacefully. However, this response is too obscure and vague. This type of ambiguity is always expressed by many third world countries within NAM or The Group of 77 when their own national interests so dictate. The immediate examples coming to mind are Iraq and Afghanistan, which resulted in a great deal of talk and no action; they are indeed powerless giants.

What ever the result what is important to identify is the central issue, which led to the current situation. I suggest it is Iranian ‘success’ in the sense that Iran never conceded its rights, a rarity in today’s world. The ability of Iran to stand firm courageously for what it believes in, amidst huge pressure from EU countries and the US and its allies is remarkable. Therefore, it should be acknowledged by many nations that Iran has displayed great courage. In addition, Iran’s standing firm improves its leverage within the region, as well as globally. The strategy and tactics in dealing with western countries to its advantage has to be acknowledged by the rest of the world. Viewed from the loss and gain theory of International Relations, it is obvious that Iran, at least so far, has won the game.

Finally, while it does not have any direct connection with Iran, I am reminded of the bold and aggressive statement made by the first President of Indonesia, Soekarno. His famous statement “go to hell with your aid” and immediately acted to establish a Conference of New Emerging Forces (CONEFO followed by GANEFO) as a balance to western domination. While what he did was controversial and counter productive in the view of many, including the Indonesian elite, he did exhibit a bold leadership style. For how long are we to be dictated to by the super power menu? Is a big question for this short paper. What Soekarno reacted against was the arrogance of the superpower some decades ago. When we look at the contemporary era, there are few leaders with comparable courage with the possible exceptions of Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez and now President Ahmaddinejad.

Depok, 8 July 2006

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Tuesday, July 04, 2006

It’s Time to Show Ambition (Why not Indonesia Run for UNSG Office)

By Perry PADA*

With the approaching end of 2006 discussions have begun to heat up over the issue of the next Secretary General of the U.N. Who would make the ‘ideal’ candidate? As a fixed yet informal rule of geographical rotation, this is the year for Asia. The U.S.A opposes this rotation tradition, and to date has not indicated its preference. Should the US not get its way, it is easily to predict that it will cast its support for a candidate from among its Asian friends or allies or at least from a country not ill disposed to US global policy. On the other hand, China is clearly insisting that the next Secretary General be an Asian.

Measuring the possibilities of an Asian candidate

There is an unwritten understandings among the big 5 countries or the permanent member of UNSC namely, USA, Russia, China, United Kingdom and France that there are some preconditions for a successful candidate: country profile and ability to stand firm in balancing and seeking a solution to the current global key issues such as globalization, terrorism, Weapons of Mass Destruction, social and global change, poverty eradication, global and human security, human trafficking, human rights and other key issues such as UN reform. Apart from those traditional preconditions, however, the most important precondition is obvious; ability to reflect issues as seen by members of the Security Council. In this sense, the clear support or blessing from USA is absolutely essential. Who are the potential UNSG candidates from Asia who can gain the recommendation of the Security Council to the General Assembly? Is Indonesia as the largest Asian country after India and China among the contenders? It does not seem to be. Why not is an interesting question?

To date there are only three Asian candidates: Thailand, South Korea and Sri Lanka. Other Asian countries, presumably, are playing a wait and see strategy while calculating the possible support from UNSC permanent members and the largest General Assembly groupings. The support for the three candidates remains fluid and may change at any time.

According to many sources within the UN diplomatic corps the above three Asian candidates have failed to garner clear support from the “Big 5” countries. These candidates apparently are distanced from the key global issues and the key countries. Among them the Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand claims to have the support of the nine ASEAN members, however, Thailand’s role within the global context is too limited. The reason is clear and simple, in the eyes of European and American countries; Thailand is not able to handle global issues given its insignificant contribution to those key issues. South Korea’s as well has a deficiency, as the Korean peninsula issue remains a big hurdle for the Korean candidate. It is unlikely that the Korean candidate will gain enough support from the European countries or China. The same comment can be made of the Sri Lankan candidate given its global profile and its alienation from the key issues at this point. If we assess the three candidates based on their global profile and their relations with the key countries, they do not display a strong and convincing prospect for success.

Other potential Asian candidates who are not yet in the running are India, Afghanistan and maybe Japan. Politically, India is not an attractive candidate owing to its protracted dispute with Pakistan. Afghanistan has very small chance owing to its unstable internal politics. Japan on the other hand is quite a strong Asian candidate, but China, for its own reasons, would likely oppose a Japanese candidature. In addition many Japanese currently hold high positions within the UN structure. Thus, given this brief analysis, Indonesia apparently is in a good position to make a successful run at becoming the next UNSG.

Why not Indonesia?

To the issue of an Indonesia candidate, Indonesia with the other 9 ASEAN member countries has already endorsed the Thai candidate as announced by the spokes- person of the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs months ago(15/2/06) The support was offered as an act of ASEAN solidarity.

Regardless, Indonesia has the perfect profile for putting forward its own candidacy, should the Thai candidate falter. There are many good reasons why it could work politically. Examining the regional landscape, Indonesia’s geopolitical position by default is crucial to the stability of the region. Furthermore, the USA confronted with its present challenges needs to show that it is not anti Muslim; Indonesia is a perfect partner for the USA in addressing Muslim society and terrorism. The unfreezing of Indonesia-USA military cooperation and the current visit of the US Foreign Minister followed by US Defense Minister within the same month has shown the USA support for Indonesia’s international role and has paved the way for Indonesia to play a bigger role in the Middle East peace process. The visit of the British Prime Minister to many Muslim institutions in Indonesia is also a clear indication, that Indonesia remains an important actor within the global context of balancing religious Issues with temperance, which remains at the top of global agenda.

Indonesian relations with European Union countries are in excellent shape due to its involvement in the Aceh peace process as well as emergency Tsunami aid. The EU with many western countries donated more than 200 billion Euros to help solving the Aceh problem. Apart form EU, France and Germany individually will ago along with other key countries decision of the UNSG candidate as long as their interests are secured. For China, in addition to its traditional relationship with Indonesia, it does not have any objection as long as Indonesia supports its one-China policy. Indonesia never displays support for Taiwan independence. Further, the growing bilateral relationship between the two countries and particularly China’s large investments would be more secured and protected if it supported an Indonesian candidate. Russia would not be opposed as there is no hostility between the two. Actually bilateral relations between Indonesia and Russia are good due to recent military cooperation and military equipment procurement. Therefore, Indonesian relations with the 5 key countries on many key issues are quite positive at this moment.

Given the above sketch, it is clear that Indonesia has an excellent chance as a potential contender from Asia. Beside the above reasons, there are a long list of straight forward and logic reasons; First, Indonesia is a founding father of the non aligned movement, therefore it is neutral on many issues, secondly, as the largest Muslim country and the third largest democratic country in the world Indonesia obviously has leverage within both a regional and a global context, particularly when dealing with Muslim societies, thirdly, its geographical and demographic position has to be counted for regional security, fourthly, its relatively positive image due to its successful political transformation, from military authoritarianism to a Civilian regime is hailed by many western countries, and fifthly its success in arresting terrorists while empowering the moderates and sixthly, its good relations with key Middle East countries could permit her to play the role of mediator in the region for all interests, and finally the most important one its good relations with other group of 77 member countries who have come to dominate the General Assembly. Those all indeed are advantageous factors. The current Indonesian Foreign Minister , DR. Hassan Wirayuda or former Minister Ali Alatas are both experienced international figure who are outstanding candidates. Given its advantageous position, the question remains, why Indonesia has not put forward its own candidature?

The reason has not yet been made clear, as we have not seen any official statement, but what is clear is that there is some pessimism over the fact that we might not win. It can be assumed that Indonesia’s reluctance is due to its calculated balance sheet which has tilted to the negative. This conclusion to some measure may be due to internal problems namely, among others; firstly the separatist movement in Papua province, secondly, the residual problem on human rights in East Timor, and thirdly, the horizontal conflict in certain areas. Another reason which is very clear is that Indonesia apparently has been investing great effort into being elected to be a non permanent member of UN Security Council which is viewed as a more successful possibility. Given these two alternative positions {SGUN or non-permanent member of the SC}, at this point, it depends on Jakarta’s understanding of which option will more adequately serve the national interest.


Depok, 16 Juni 2006

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Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Islam and Democratization in Southeast Asia: Challenges and Opportunities


By. Dr. Hassan Wirajuda

First [- red] Indonesia is home to the world’s largest Muslim population—90 percent of a total of 220 million or some 198 million. It is a Muslim population that is by and large moderate. Most of the Muslims of Southeast Asia are, of course, moderate and there are moderate Muslims everywhere else. It just happens that international observers take a special view of this huge concentration of moderate Muslims in Indonesia. Perhaps it reassures them that the largest part of Islam is not a threat but a friend and contributor to civilization. At any rate, we are happy and proud that our country is considered the home of moderate Islam.

The second of the two dominant realities in our national life is the fact that Indonesia today is considered the world’s third largest democracy.It is important to note that following last year’s successful direct elections for president and vice president, the first in our history, local direct elections have started to take place for governors, regents and mayors this year.We are very much aware of the fact that democracy in Indonesia is still very much in need of further consolidation. We are further enhancing our political institutions and processes, amending laws and passing new ones in order to release the creative energies of our people and to make our system of governance more attractive to our foreign economic partners.

In sum, we have achieved a large measure of stability and we are poised for growth—socially, economically and politically. In this process of transition, Islam, as a moral force in support of reform, played a strong and positive role although it must also be said that there were times when Muslim militants and extremists loomed as part of the problem we were grappling with. This is not a new role for Islam. Muslim intellectuals and religious leaders have always participated in the political dynamics of Indonesia since our struggle for freedom and sovereignty. The debate about the relationship between Islam and the State already took place before we became an independent country, especially when our Founding Fathers drafted our constitution. However, when we finally won our independence in August 1945, our Founding Fathers reached a consensus that Indonesia should not be an Islamic state based on Shariah, and Islam should not become the religion of the state.But this is not the secularism that the West is well known for, in the sense of a constitutional separation between the state and religion. Instead, by constitutional mandate, the state has the obligation to promote the religious life of the people. Hence, the Ministry of Religious Affairs was established in the early years of the Republic.

The state treats the five recognised religions as on an equal footing with one another. One simple but important and unique feature of Indonesian life is the inclusion of the most important holidays of the recognized religions among our national public holidays. Human history has taught us that religious intolerance often comes from ignorance, either of our own religion or those of others. Here, another important feature of the Indonesian system is the inclusion of religious studies as a compulsory subject in our national education system. Early in their education process, our children are obliged to learn about their own religion as well as some basic knowledge about other religions. The idea is to build a tolerant, civilized and harmonious society.

On the ideological front, our Founding Fathers introduced Pancasila. It is an affirmation of Indonesia as a pluralist society, which accommodates diversities in religion, ethnicity, customs and traditions. As an ideology, it served as basis for the cultivation of the habit of consultation and consensus building as well as harmony among a widely diversified population. Pancasila helped in the building of a sense of national identity during the time of our first President, Sukarno. Under the “New Order” regime of our second President, Soeharto, this state ideology was elaborated and used in ways that were not anticipated by the Founding Fathers. Its connotation became so broad that it covered and justified just about every act of government. With Pancasila unchallengeable, advocacy on the adoption of Shariah was muted during the three decades of the New Order. The dynamics between Islamic organizations and the Government kept shifting on the basis of political developments and President Soeharto’s personal calculations.

In the 1980s and early 1990s, the New Order became more accommodating to the aspirations of Muslim organizations, including the institutionalization of political Islam through the establishment of the ICMI. With the fall of President Soeharto in the crisis of 1998, a new era of reform was launched and fresh democratic space was created for all—including Islamic politicians. Some 100 political parties, 40 of them with an Islamic character, blossomed during that period.

It is important to note, however, that there has also been a convergence between “Islamist” and “Nationalist” political orientations. On the one hand, a good number of significant Muslim leaders formed political parties with nationalist attributes and platforms—such as Partai Kebangkitan Bangsa and Partai Amanat Nasional. While, on the other hand, nationalist parties have embraced the influx of noted Muslim leaders, intellectuals, and activists. Thus, the classical dichotomy between Islamist and Nationalist is getting more and more blurred. This will help strengthening our national integration process. Political Islam by itself did not make any headway in the country’s transition to a more fully democratic system. In the 1999 general elections, all the 40 Islamic parties could get no more than 17.8 percent of the votes cast. Subsequently, the proposal for the adoption of the Shariah, initially planned to be tabled by two parties, was graciously withdrawn in the Parliament.

Over the years, Muslim intellectuals who advocate reinterpretation of Islamic teachings in the context of contemporary realities, although they seldom make headlines, have always been a real moral force in Indonesian society. It is to these intellectuals that the mass of Indonesian Muslims gravitated at the turn of the century.

In the elections last year, one Islamic party performed well i.e. the Justice and Prosperity Party (PKS). But it brought up no religious issue. It campaigned on the issue of corruption and governance, the same reformist issue that catapulted President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono into power. Once again, moderate Islam in Indonesia spoke through the ballot.

Not every Indonesian Muslim is a moderate. There are a small number of extremists in Indonesian society—and they are not all Muslims—who have resorted to violence to advance their respective agenda. Thus, for many years, Indonesia grappled with terrorist activities—some of which were motivated by religious intolerance, others by separatist ambitions. These terrorist activities were at the outset purely homegrown but eventually acquired regional and international linkages in the early 1990s. At that time, Indonesia was already advocating within ASEAN a strengthening of regional cooperation to fight terrorism. When terrorists struck in the United States on 9-11, Indonesia, naturally, was among the first countries to condemn the carnage in the strongest terms. Immediately after 9-11, Indonesia urged the international community to form a global coalition involving all civilizations and religions to wage a struggle against terrorism.

In October 2002, Indonesia itself suffered a massive terrorist bombing attack in Bali, which killed 202 persons. Since then, terrorists have struck with murderous effect, twice in Jakarta—at the Marriott Hotel in August 2003 and at the vicinity of the Australian Embassy in September 2004—and once again in Bali last October. In the wake of each of these attacks, Indonesia responded in the way a democracy should: balancing security needs, democratic process, and respect for human rights. Our police authorities brought the perpetrators to justice through patient investigation and without any violation of human rights. We could not have done less than that, as it was demanded by our people. Because of our recent past experience, the Indonesian people are very sensitive to the way our police or and the rest of the security apparatus works.

At the same time, we stepped up cooperation with other governments within ASEAN and in the Asia-Pacific region, to deny terrorists the financial and other kinds of support that makes them so effective. But in the long run, our success in the fight against terrorism would depend on our efforts to empower the moderates—the overwhelming majority of our people. There is a need to strengthen their voice of moderation. Hence, Indonesia has been very active in sponsoring dialogues on interfaith cooperation at the regional, inter-regional and global level. The Government is working closely with such Islamic organizations as the Nahdlatul Ulama and the Muhammadiyah in promoting these dialogues.

Indonesia has convened the first ever International Conference of Islamic Scholars in February 2004, the Asia-Pacific Dialogue on Interfaith Cooperation in December 2004, and the Asia-Europe Intefaith Dialogue in July 2005. We opened up avenues for dialogue so that we can effectively fight the terrorists on ideological grounds for the hearts and minds of the people. In fact, Muslim clerics and intellectuals are today leading the ideological war against terrorism, having formed a task force to rebut extremist ideas being propagated by terrorists and their supporters. While the police are bringing terrorists to justice—or killing them if they resist lawful arrest—the government and Muslim leaders are working together to kill terrorist ideas through peaceful and democratic debate.

This, then, is the sum of Indonesia’s experience with Islam and democracy: true Islam is moderate and enlightened. Not only can it flourish side by side with democracy, it can also work together with a democratic government to defend society from its attackers, and to reform society. There is no debate about that any more—not in Indonesia and not in various other Muslim countries.

The Indonesian experience confirms the fact that democracy is not an exclusively Western value that may sometimes be transplanted to the Orient—it is universal. It belongs to all civilizations. It belongs as much to Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists as to Christians. For there is a pattern in history that wherever human beings begin to take a passionate view of their own dignity and the equal dignity of all their fellowmen, they will find no other acceptable form of governance than democracy. That is why the number of democracies in the world today is inexorably increasing—in Asia, in Africa and even in the Middle East.

It was Winston Churchill who told the British House of Commons, “Democracy is the worst form of government, except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.” Jawaharlal Nehru of India meant the same thing when he said, “Democracy is good. I say this because all other systems are worse.” The debate on the merits of democracy and its compatibility with Islam is over. The challenge in Indonesia today is how to make Islam and all other religions an even more effective force for reform and democratization. It is a pragmatic challenge that demands a pragmatic response. Democracy, too, has its pragmatic challenge: how can we make our democracy an effective one? To my mind, the answer to that challenge lies in an earnest effort at capacity building—such as the capacity for free and fair elections, the capacity to pass just and wise laws, the capacity to mete out justice. In sum, we have to make democracy work for the welfare of our people.

I also believe that this national capacity building for democracy becomes more effective when complemented with a parallel effort at the regional level. That is why political development, especially the promotion of a just, democratic and harmonious environment, is one of the most important activities in realizing the concept of an ASEAN Security Community—as proposed and championed by Indonesia. It is an important part of our efforts to transform ASEAN into a community of nations, working together for peace, progress, and prosperity. The democratic impulse is alive and vigorous in many countries of the Asia-Pacific and there is much that we can learn from their experiences and best practices. There is also much from our own experiences and the insights derived from these experiences that we can share with them.

Each democracy is the product of a country’s unique history, culture, geography and other realities—as well as universal values. It is said, and I agree, that democracies never look alike, but there is always a family resemblance. But even after such capacity building, there are no guarantees that a country’s attempt at democracy will succeed. The infrastructures of democracy are not unlike physical infrastructures: they are useful and indispensable but they do not work by themselves. It takes human beings to make them work. In the final analysis, it takes good citizens—good men and women—to make democracy work. Decent men and women who are imbued with civic discipline and high values—such as the discipline and values of Islam.


Jakarta, 6 December 2005

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Thursday, May 25, 2006

The EU and the US: a declaration of interdependence

By Manuel Barosso
Washington
, 18 October 2005 SP/05/622

Ladies and gentlemen,

Let me start by thanking the School of Advanced International Studies, its Dean, Professor Jessica Einhorn, and Professor Dan Hamilton for inviting me to speak to you all. Through his distinguished career, Professor Hamilton has done much to promote transatlantic understanding. So it is fitting that he has become the Director of the EU Centre of Excellence Washington DC.

Today, I am proud to join you in inaugurating this centre of excellence, part of a network of ten such centres across the US which are supported by the European Commission. Its research and activities, particularly its successful outreach to the Washington policy community, will be invaluable in drawing Europe and America even closer together. This is an important goal which I want to look at more closely with you.

I’ll begin by quoting a - slightly modified - document which you may be familiar with:

When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for two peoples to strengthen the political bands which connect them to each other, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to this co-operation.

Of course I am not the first to try my hand at an EU/US ‘Declaration of Interdependence’. President Kennedy did an excellent job back in 1962. But it is important to ask: what are the causes impelling us towards closer co-operation?

I could start with the usual self-evident truths: our deep historical links; our shared respect for freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law; our two-way direct investment stock, worth almost $2 trillion; the 14 million jobs on both sides of the Atlantic which depend on our commercial ties. This is indeed an impressive list. But today there is an even greater cause impelling us to tighten our relationship, and I will return to this in a moment.

First of all, though, a word or two about events back home. There has been a lively market for euro-pessimists recently, thanks to Europe’s sluggish economic performance, the double ‘no’ to the European Constitution, and the ongoing failure of Europe’s leaders to agree on the next financial perspectives.

However, Europe has gone through many difficult periods in the past, and emerged stronger as a result. And it is important, at times like these, not to discount the more fundamental achievements of the European Union.

Sixty or seventy years ago, battles were being fought across the continent which killed millions of Europeans. Attempted genocide lead to the horrors of the Holocaust, a mass murder of Europeans by Europeans. Thirty-five years ago, dictatorships were still ruling many European countries, including my own. Just fifteen years ago the countries in Central and Eastern Europe recovered their freedom. And this year is the tenth anniversary of the massacres of Srebrenica. So when we talk about the power of Europe to spread peace, stability and prosperity, we are not talking about ancient history. In other words, if the EU didn’t exist, we would have to invent it. But the EU does exist. So let me outline how we are renewing it.

First of all, we have refused to allow the current difficulties over the Constitution, regrettable as they are, to become an excuse for paralysis. The world will not stop while Europe engages in a bout of introspection. And there are pressing challenges to tackle in the meantime.

Chief among these is the urgent need to boost growth and jobs, by injecting new vitality into Europe’s flagging economies. The renewed Lisbon Strategy for growth and jobs is not some empty marketing slogan, it is the main priority of my Commission. That is because everything flows from this. More growth and more jobs are the surest way of restoring our citizens’ confidence in Europe. A stronger European economy is also crucial to face up to greater international competition. Growth will make reform of Europe’s economic and social models easier, while at the same time laying strong foundations for our social and environmental ambitions.

We are also agreed on the importance of Europe remaining open to the world. As the largest trading bloc in the world, this is in some ways just enlightened self interest. But there is an element of moral responsibility, too.

Having stumbled across such a successful formula for spreading peace and stability on our own continent, it is only natural to offer our know-how and experience to encourage peace and stability elsewhere in the world. And while the EU’s foreign policy architecture could hardly be described as streamlined, we have nevertheless been chalking up an increasing number of successes in recent years. Let me highlight one or two.

The EU’s commitment to rebuild and stabilize the Indonesian province of Aceh since the tsunami is a good example of our work in post-conflict and post-disaster situations. It has contributed 85% of funding for the Multi-Donor Trust Fund, which is co-chaired by the European Commission. Following an invitation from the Indonesian Foreign Minister, the EU has also played a key role in monitoring the ongoing Aceh peace process.

Now the Commission is putting together a support package to sustain that peace process. One component of this will support reintegration of former fighters of the ‘Free Aceh Movement’. The other component will support the government and local authorities in implementing all aspects of the peace agreement related to governance, the judiciary and consolidation of democracy in the province. This means building up capacity in local and provincial administrations, training police, prosecutors and magistrates, and supporting preparations for local elections scheduled for next April.

Another example is our action in Afghanistan. Obviously, a lot of our activities there are carried out shoulder-to-shoulder with our American colleagues. Some 80% of the troops in the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force come from EU Member States. But we are doing a lot of work independently as well, to help with the reconstruction and political transition process in Afghanistan - albeit in close harmony with the US.

The EU paid half the cost of last year’s Presidential election, and made a substantial contribution to the recent parliamentary and provincial elections. The European Commission is delivering on its €1 billion pledge for 2002-2006, supporting a combination of visible reconstruction, like a major road from Kabul to Jalalabad; tangible benefits for the population, like health services and rural development; and the building up of lasting administrative capacity. In fact in 2004 alone, we rebuilt 120 clinics which treated 400,000 people, built 50 schools and kindergartens, and de-mined 8 million square metres of land.

So if America is now listening to Europe more, I think it is because we have worked hard to be worth listening to. If America is increasingly defining EU/US relations by what we can do together to promote democracy and freedom, it is because we have shown we can deliver results on the world stage. And notwithstanding the referendum results on the European Constitution, there is consistently high support among Europe’s citizens for the EU to play an even larger role in foreign affairs.

In this context, it is not surprising that Europe and America’s bilateral political relationship has led to a lot of good co-operation recently – on Iran, where our co-ordination of policy has been exemplary; on China, with the setting up of a strategic dialogue on East Asia to address economic and security challenges; and on Ukraine and Lebanon, promoting democracy.

Our close co-operation on the broader Middle-East is also a major success story. We have common interests there and a shared vision of where we want to get to. The EU strongly supports the G8 BMENA initiative and the Forum for the Future. And that is above and beyond our unique contribution through the Barcelona process, which is now in its 10th year. The EU spends $3.6 billion in grants and loans to the region each year. From 2007, our spending in the area will include a 10% governance bonus, to reward progress in good governance and human rights. We must ensure that BMENA and the Barcelona process are complementary and mutually reinforcing. But we must not let this new-found focus on our bilateral political relationship distract us from our equally important bilateral economic relationship. It is important to keep a balance.

As books like Deep Integration - edited by Professor Hamilton and Joseph Quinlan here at the Centre for Transatlantic Relations – show, the increasing integration and cohesion of the transatlantic economy is a key feature of the global economic landscape today.

But there are still many obstacles which prevent us from realising the full potential of the transatlantic market. By pushing forward the economic initiative which we agreed at the EU/US Summit in June, we will help prepare ourselves for the economic challenges coming from China and India. Our citizens also need to see that the EU/US partnership works for them.

A couple of priorities I raised with President Bush this morning were the need to finalise the open aviation area agreement, which will benefit both the industry and 40 million annual transatlantic passengers, and the issue of visa-free access to the US for the new EU Member States. All our citizens and businessmen and women need to travel freely to benefit from, and contribute to, the transatlantic market place.

Ladies and gentlemen,

With such a deep and broad partnership holding us together, with our long ties of shared history and kinship, what could I possibly have been referring to at the start of this speech when I spoke of the ‘even greater cause’ impelling us to tighten our relationship today?

Well, it is no exaggeration to say that this cause is the greatest political and economic phenomenon of our generation. It has already lifted millions of people out of poverty and it is changing the geopolitical map. It is, of course, globalisation. It is important to remember that this is not the first wave of globalisation the world has ever witnessed. But it is by far the broadest and the deepest. It is sustained by accelerating technological progress, and its transformation of the world is only just starting.

People standing on the threshold of social and technological revolutions should never make predictions. The chairman of IBM proved this at the dawn of the IT revolution when he said: ‘I think there is a world market for maybe five computers’. So I will not be so rash as to make any forecasts about the type of world which will emerge from the ‘globalisation revolution’.

But one thing I am sure of. The changes it is already generating are profound, rapid and, short of some catastrophe which no-one would wish for, irreversible. Look at China and India, which I mentioned earlier. China is increasing its energy production capacity at the rate of a new power station every two weeks. In 1999, its foreign trade was equivalent to that of the Netherlands, one small EU Member State. In 2002 it overtook the UK. Now China ranks third in the world in terms of its volume of foreign merchandise trade, after the EU and the US. How many of you think it will remain in third position?

If China’s new dynamism is driven by manufacturing, then India’s comes from services. I read recently that there are 2 million new GSM subscribers there every month. India is tapping into a European, indeed, global demand for efficient services.

What does all this mean? It certainly isn’t something to fear. Globalisation is being driven by a very simple human desire – the desire of billions of people to take advantage of new-found freedoms to create a better life for themselves and their families. Who could criticise that?

And if some of our citizens fear globalization, perhaps it is because they think that wealth creation is a zero-sum game. That if someone else is now getting a slice of cake, their slice must be getting smaller. But globalization is a chance to increase the size of the whole cake.

We must challenge those who do not – or worse, will not – understand this. Did the emergence and rise of the USA since 1776 diminish Europe’s prosperity? Of course not! On the contrary, it fuelled unrivalled prosperity on both sides of the Atlantic. There is no reason why China, India or Latin America cannot reap similar rewards from what is going on today.

But globalisation does make the future more unpredictable. It makes it harder for any one country to go it alone. In these circumstances, it is in everyone’s interest to strengthen and support the international community’s multilateral, rules-based architecture. The stability and continuing economic development of the world could depend on it.

The EU and the US, working in partnership, are uniquely placed to offer leadership here. In these times of rapid change, we have a greater interest than ever before in stepping up our relationship in order to provide that leadership. As President Bush said at his inauguration: ‘All that we seek to achieve in the world requires that America and Europe remain close partners’.

We should start with the WTO’s Hong Kong Ministerial in December. The Doha Development Agenda is the most important challenge we face in international economic co-operation. The days when deals were struck in the wings of bilateral EU-US agreements are over. But we do still have a crucial role and responsibility in responding to the aspirations the Round has aroused. And we need a success for multilateral co-operation.

The main area where the EU and US must show leadership is agriculture. In this respect, I very much welcome the recent, constructive steps by the US on agricultural domestic support, and the readiness to match the EU's own willingness to eliminate all export subsidy programmes. Of course, any ambitious deal on agriculture is also subject to improved and substantive new market access opportunities in industrial products and services, in developed and emerging markets. Together, the EU and US must push for this and lead by example.

The Hong Kong Ministerial will also have to show to the developing world that we are serious in addressing their specific concerns. I therefore call on the US to take up a firm commitment to grant duty and quota free access to products from least developed countries. This would be a strong gesture in terms of development and faith in market openness. But the cornerstone of the international community’s multilateral architecture is the UN, which owes its existence to the far-sightedness of the Roosevelt and Truman administrations.

In the report of the bipartisan Task Force on the United Nations, Newt Gingrich and George Mitchell recognised how important it was for the UN to ‘reconfirm its place in today’s transformed international environment’, stating explicitly that ‘an effective United Nations is in the interests of the United States’.

The UN Summit in September was the best moment for that to happen. Unfortunately, the summit can at best be described, as I said at the time, as a ‘mitigated success’. The establishment of the Peacebuilding Commission was evidently a good outcome, and the progress made on development was more or less satisfactory, but the results clearly fell short of our ambitions regarding the Human Rights Council and the environment. Nevertheless, it is important to see the Summit as part of a process and not as the end of one.

The ultimate success of this process will depend on our actions in the months to come, including in the IMF/World Bank annual meetings this autumn on debt; at the WTO Hong Kong Ministerial as I mentioned earlier; and in the UN itself, during the follow-up on - among other things - the Human Rights Council and the Peacebuilding Commission. Once again, joint leadership from the EU and the US could make all the difference.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Strong, multilateral institutions, while more important than ever before, are not an end in themselves. They are simply tools for promoting peace, stability and economic development.

Without them, however, the world would unquestionably be a poorer and more dangerous place. It would also be much harder to deliver effective solutions to those problems that transcend national borders. Problems like climate change. Like transmissible diseases and pandemics. Like international terrorism.

That is why I would argue that while independence from the Old World must have seemed so attractive to Josiah Bartlett and his friends back in 1776, today it is our interdependence that promises so much.

Thank you.

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