John Vessey [JV]: To echo people who have introduced me at a number of after-dinner speeches that I have given, please continue eating your dessert. (Laughs) Thanks for being here. First, an administrative announcement. This session is on the record in contrast for those of you who were at this morning’s session, which was off the record. Welcome to the sometimes annual Conference of the Center for Preventive Action. The regular/irregular sometimes annual Conference of the Center for Preventive Action. The Center’s been in business for eight years now and in dealing with preventive action, I’m reminded of the old saw that after all is said and done, more will be said than will be done. (Laughter) And certainly that’s been true for preventive action but, in fact, a lot has been done. We’ve spent an interesting morning dealing with the facets that Les Gelb charged us to deal with when we organized this center eight years ago, and that is engaging not only governments but international organizations, non-governmental organizations, business, and in the general sense, civil society in the business of preventive action. This noon, we’ll have the wonderful opportunity to hear two of the stalwarts that have been engaged in this activity since it started…David Hamburg, who was at that time co-chairing the Carnegie Commission’s Commission on Preventing Deadly Violence. And Barney Rubin, who was the first Director of the Center for Preventive Action. And they’ll be moderated by Bill Nash, the present Director. We’ll hear from them first and then you’ll have an opportunity for some questions, I think. Right?
General William Nash [WN]: Yes, sir.
JV: Okay, you’re on, William. Go for it.
WN: Okay, thank you, sir. It’s not the first time General Vesey has told me I was on. (Laughter)
WN: Yeah. No, that’s exactly true. Well, General Vesey’s introduction is exactly correct. The fact that we’ve got two leaders in the field of conflict prevention, I think it’s a great privilege for all of us to be with them, hear them talk. The occasion that brings us together is the publication of their two books in most recent months. David’s book, “No More Killing Fields: Preventing the Deadly Conflict.” David, President Emeritus of the Carnegie Corporation in New York, past president from 1982 to 1997, apparently still doing some work at the Cornell Medical School.
And it’s always great to go over there. Barney, of course, is at NYU now. But as a result of he being the first director of the center, he remains my personal hero in all of this and it’s great to be with Barney. His book, “Blood On Your Doorstep: The Politics of Preventive Action,” is just out. You notice that I have a hardback copy, and a softback copy of the books, of the respective books, and I would just tell you that one of the authors gave me a book. I had to buy the other one. (Laughter) And you’ll probably figure out which is which here. (Laughter)
We’ve got a lot to talk about and I want to take the advantage of being here in the middle between the two of you and ask some questions. But as we begin, I’d like to start with some definitions to use as a jumping-off point for our discussion and to bring the audience in here in a few minutes. But, David, you talk about conflict prevention and divide it, as did the Carnegie Commission that you chaired, or co-chaired with Cyrus Vance. And distinguished between operational and structural prevention. And I wonder if you would talk about those definitions and the implications of the challenges of each one of those types of prevention.
David Hamberg [DH]: I will be delighted to do that. It’s really a privilege to be here. So I look around and see so many interesting people in this audience, a number of whom I didn’t expect. I’m tempted to raise all kinds of other subjects which would bring in people like, say, Norton Zinder, on the role of the scientific community in preventing deadly conflict. But I better come back to the task. Let me say first, to begin very quickly with a tribute to Cy Vance. When we started the commission process in 1994, early on Cy said to me, “When this is all done”…it was five years and a two-year follow-up, and we were going to generate, at the time, we thought 30 or 40 volumes. It turned out to be 70 volumes in different sizes. He said, “When this is all done, you allow a couple more years, let the dust settle and you write your own book. You say it personally.” And I said to him then, “Well, I’ll do it, Cy, with you. We’ll do a journey.” He said, “No, (Inaudible) been very conceptual. I want you to do it alone.” I said, “No! We’ll do it together.”
Well, the point is moot. We lost him to Alzheimer’s and what a great loss it was. I’ve spoken about that here before and I’m not going to speak about it again but I do think about him often. I think about him now. And I, whether I would have written this book without his sort of prescient urging, almost a decade ago, I don’t know. But I’m glad I wrote it. It wasn’t easy to write. I had a lot of help.
Now, you know what? I told you this. In the first place, I wanted to call this “The Earth is Not Flat.” And the reason I wanted to call it “The Earth is Not Flat” is that, for a long, long time, for millennia, people did sincerely believe, for obvious reasons, that the Earth was flat. And so, too, people believed that in groups and out groups were, had invidious distinctions to be made. Our group and their’s, us and them. “Our group is for survival. You must belong to this valued group in order to survive.” Probably millions of years of human and pre-human evolution. I was once deeply engaged in first-hand (Inaudible) work on that kind of problem. And I felt that our attitude about intergroup relations has, to this day, largely been in the flat Earth era.
The Earth is not flat we discovered. And I think that we are now beginning to discover that we’re all part of the single worldwide, highly interdependent species. And at last, we must learn to live together. Not easy but doable.
Now we thought that there were a few terms that ought to be clarified early on in the commission, and which I carry over into the book. I should say (Inaudible) although, in general, I found very little to disagree with the commission, m book is not a commission book. The publishers call it the capstone of the Commission Series. And that’s a nice term of art. I did find some things to add that I felt the commission was not able to deal with adequately. One is the role of democracy in preventing deadly conflict.
We had an odd difficulty within the commission that several of our commissioners thought that to speak about democracy has having an important role in the preventing deadly conflict was to speak about fundamentally hegemonic, new imperialistic, either the U.S., probably the U.S., maybe the U.S. with a few Europeans, Japan, didn’t really mean democracy; it meant going back to something else. So we said a few things that were halfway decent about democracy and the commission. But not nearly what the subject deserves.
Here’s another thing. Oddly enough I said more about development in the book than the commission was able to agree upon. Commissions, I think we did extraordinarily well in being able to go beyond the lowest common denominator. But we did not go as far in democracy and development as I believe we should. That’s what I’ll dwell on today. Now you’re right about the, oh, oh, about conflict. All morning long and in this field, people talk about conflict prevention. It’s just a shorthand. We all understand that. In a way, it’s nonsense. I mean anybody who has studied the evolution and history of the human species as I have, and anybody who studied the biological machinery in the brain and the hormones that mediate aggressive behavior as I have, and not maintained there’s going to be a conflict-free species.
Even with the advances in genomics, I do not foresee ever this being a conflict-free species. On the contrary, it’s a highly contentious species, characterized even in comparison to many of the other higher primates as having a higher incidence of fights, and serious fights, and certainly more destructive, thanks, in large part, to our quote “advances in technology” than other primate species for the most part.
What we’re talking about, I wanted to originally call the commission The Deadliest Conflict…to really make the point. The operative word in there is deadly. The Carnegie Commission on Deadly Conflict and Preventing Deadly Conflict. The operative word was not conflict. Conflict is ubiquitous. The operative word was deadly. I lost the argument to Cy and (Inaudible) because they said, “You’ll (Inaudible) right,” Jane Hull is one of those who said, “Deadliest sounds like you’re only talking about weapons of mass destruction.” And I said, “But I am talking about weapons of mass destruction.” But they said, “You don’t want to only talk a little bit about weapons of mass destruction.” Oh, no, God, no. I’m obsessed with the danger of the euphemism, of the small and light weapons. Tremendous, you know, bazookas, and automatic rifles, and machine-guns, and so on. Light weapons, small weapons…exceedingly dangerous. Most of the killing in the nineties was done that way. And then a few machetes thrown in.
So I backed off from deadliest and left it at Deadly Conflict. But I do want to make that point. There is no illusion here. No pacifist Utopia…no illusion of a conflict-free world. You know, I just have a new grandson and I’d be very happy if my grandson lived in a conflict-free world. But I don’t think he or anybody else is going to live that long. I do hope he’ll live out his full life-span. And the path we’re on now, I’m not sure he will, frankly.
Now what we meant by operational prevention was prevention when a crisis is imminent. Danger is looming on the horizon. And you’d better get in there fast to do something when there are just a few sparks before we have a tremendous conflagration. And the principal example of that came to be preventive diplomacy. And I hope to say a word about that in just a minute.
And I think most of us, and most people in the field, then tended to think of conflict prevention in those terms. But we kept asking ourselves, Yeah, but is there a chance that people could…we’ve learned an awful lot of things. We exist as a species because of our learning capacity not because of our strength or speed or any of that. But because of our learning capacities. Is it conceivable that we could learn what are our conditions that are highly conducive to peaceful living over the long term? Is that beyond human capacity? Is that the most complex problem ever to come before us? As Murray Gelmont said, “Is that tougher than a quark?” (Laughs)
Well, so we call that structure a prevention. What are the structures. That implies some durability. It would have long-term significance for maintaining the likelihood of peaceful living. Now one of our assumptions also is that we had to challenge complacency or inevitability about war. As Jane Hullude(?) is fond of saying, “A war is not like the weather.” That’s an obsolete attitude. In fact, I personally believe the destructive capacities of humanity are the prime problem in the 21st Century. I do not know whether this species will get through the 21st Century.
At Hiroshima, one little old bomb, a 100,000 deaths. They now are commonly called “suitcase bombs,” they’re so much smaller. That’s nice and convenient for terrorists. It’s not quite a suitcase. It takes two or three people to lift it. But still, you could bring it into New York in a fishing boat, in a small airplane, or a big airplane, if you wish. In a “Vanity Fair”. You don’t need a big truck. All kinds of ways you can get attacked from nuclear weapons. A 100,000 in Hiroshima. I don’t know what it would be in New York. It would depend on exactly where it hit in New York, and so on and so on. But thousands of those. And many of those in the Former Soviet Union, well, in Russia, really. As far as I know, all in Russia. There may be a sprinkling elsewhere in the Former Soviet Union.
We’re not just sure how vulnerable they are to theft and bribery. Biological and chemical weapons are easier to make than nuclear, and therefore, attractive to terrorists. The small arms and light weapons cover the world wall to wall. We have to understand that. Wall to wall. I, in a hostage case, in 1975, four of my students were taken hostage by a distinguished African statesman. Not so well known, that Laurent Kabila, who had his moment in the sun a little later. Now his son has a moment in the sun. And in that hostage case, I learned that they could get, in the interior of Central Africa, they could get an impressive array of light weapons with a little money on a week’s notice, no problem.
So what I’m saying essentially is we’ve got a greater capacity to do destruction. There’s still thousands upon thousands of nuclear weapons out there, in addition to all the rest of that I’m talking about. And we have a greater capacity to incite hatred and violence than we ever had before. We so what Hate Radio did, simple as that is in Rwanda and Yugoslavia. But we now…there are lots of hate sites on the Internet. There are sites on the Internet that’ll tell you how to make any kind of weapon of mass destruction or lesser weapon that you’d like to make. So that there is this paradox of technical capacity that we could do more harm, and we could do more incitement to harm.
WN: Let me turn to Barney on some definitions because I want to get back to some of the issues that you’re about to talk to.
DH: Please do.
WN: Barney, you also talk about operational and structural prevention. But you group it under another title that’s says “targeted.” And then you add a third category, systemic prevention. Could you talk about why you group those two under targeted and explain to us what systemic prevention is.
BR: Sure. I don’t want to get too hung up on definitions. But there’s a political point behind these distinctions. And the political point is that we tend to, certainly I did when I first started this job, and for those who were here this morning, forgive me for repeating myself, tended to look at the problem of prevention or conflict resolution, or other forms of intervention and conflict as being action by uninvolved outsiders to try to set things right and improve things. I found in doing missions for the center, and other work I was doing, that nobody in the regions of conflict actually believed that the outsiders were uninvolved, or objective. They thought we had political, economic and other interests. And that one way or another, we and our institutions were already involved.
And that proved to be the case through some of the things David was talking about. Through drug trafficking, which finds its markets here, money laundering, through developed country banks, which pays in turn for armed purchases. Of course, those arms are manufactured in developed countries, and then exported to the area of conflict through various strategic or political alliances that countries like the United States and others may make in some of these obscure areas almost in an offhand way. But the (Inaudible) have tremendous local impact. And in addition to which, they’re also positive policies that are not precisely targeted at a particular conflict. But that would have overall effect of reducing incentives to engage in conflict or the capacities to engage in conflict.
So for instance, among the types of prevention that people talk about now are, as I said, measures aimed at global institutions to reduce capacities to engage in armed conflict. Those would include things that come under the rubric of preventive action but also actually many of them are similar to things that come under the rubric now counterterrorism. That is much better surveillance of international and financial transactions. Much better control of the international arms markets. Not only weapons of mass destruction, but also those so-called small and light weapons, which also produce mass destruction, and applied massively as they have been.
Markets in either legitimate or illegitimate commodities that are siphoned off in some way to pay for conflict. Diamonds has received the most attention. But there are other forms of smuggling as well. Then there are global institutions, or regional institutions that can provide the systemic incentives or disincentives to engage in violent conflict behavior.
Here we see the international criminal court, which is quite different from the special courts that have been set up for either Rwanda or the Former Yugoslavia, because it is not responding to a specific situation. It is set up a priori so that those who might be thinking about engaging in such acts of violence, crimes against humanity in the future, will know that there exists something which has greater legitimacy and cannot be accused in the same way of being politically partial because it is not set up specifically against them. It is expressing an international norm.
On the other side, there are kind of systemic incentives. Now these are much more powerful, of course, in Europe, and the area around it where the big incentive to join NATO or the European Union provides countries with a very strong incentive to resolve conflicts and prevent them from breaking out. We can see the effect of that right now on the conflict in Cyprus, which is making unprecedented progress precisely because of that region. And the relative peace in many areas of Eastern and Central Europe is largely due to that as well. And its absence, the absence of such systemic incentives is one of the things that explains the persistence of conflict and the difficulty of settling them in other areas of the world.
So I grouped the other kind, what David was talking, well, actually what he called, what I call systemic prevention is part of what David and the commission grouped under structural prevention. I kind of separate it and talk about types of action that are focused on particular conflict areas, countries or regions which can be either devoted…you know, aimed at systemic factors like governance or development, or specifically intervening when there’s a crisis, as he said, to prevent escalation.
DH: I think the identification of a simpler category of systemic though adds to the ability to establish international norms, if you will, both positive and negative and gives a group of non-specific carrots and sticks to the world at large that, over time, can help, even if you’re not paying attention to (Inaudible) particular (Inaudible).
BR: Yes, because ultimately the prevention of violent conflict will have to reside in some institutionalized processes. You can’t always rely on trying to get the President’s attention for a few minutes and get him to decide something.
WN: Both of your books also talk about the nature of conflict and address the issue of early warning. And Barney, would you start us off on a discussion of what you term transnational conflict, which is really a continuation of your 21st Century environment, if you will. And also your analysis response aspects of early warning concerns. Or warning concerns.
BR: Well, I kind of resent your referring to the 21st Century, since I wrote this book during the 20th Century. (Laughter)
WN: I tell people at the Center For Preventive Action “I’m the Barney Rubin of the 21st Century.” (Laughter) What a shocking thought.
BR: I was looking at the nature of conflict. I noted, of course, I’m sure everyone here is familiar with the observation and analytic result that the primary form of armed conflict in the world has changed from being interstate conflict between states with armies to being what people usually call, I think without much reflection, by default intrastate conflict. There’s some problems with this because it kind of excludes colonial wars, which have a different character and which many, many people were killed. But leaving that aside for a moment, looking, and the work that I was doing at CPA, in the mid- to late-90s, I noted that virtually every conflict or potential conflict area we were looking at, we ended up looking up at sets of conflicts that were contiguous or linked in a certain way. The most common way of discussing this is to talk about the spill-over of conflicts across borders. But what I think what we found, and which I’ve later followed up on a project I’m doing where I’m working now is that it really goes beyond one conflict spilling over. What happens is very often these are post-colonial regions where the state borders lack both legitimacy and also are not patrolled very well, where there are identity groups on both sides of the border, economic transactions that go across borders that predate the establishment of states. And the groups that are engaging in armed conflict really think and make networks regionally. You know, the case that was most obvious was the Great Lakes where groups from Rwanda and Burundi were present in the democratic republic of Congo where six nations became involved in some way directly, and many other indirectly. Rwandans were fighting in Burundi, Burundi and so on. So there really was a regional conflict formation, a regional structure. Even when you got close to a peace agreement in one area, very often groups would just flee from that country to another country and escalate conflict there. From that example I saw similar things in the area I was more closely acquainted with, Afghanistan and the area around it. That made me think more about regional approaches to conflict formation and prevention.
Now specifically for prevention, the regional linkages has an important implication which is easy to pontificate about, as I shall now do. But much harder to actually implement. And that is it may turn out, it makes it much harder to separate prevention from other types of conflict management. You know, settling an armed conflict or post-conflict peace building because suppose you want to prevent the growth of conflict in one part of a region. The key to doing that may be to settle a conflict in another part of the region. Or to ensure that another state gets rebuilt. So because the things are so closely interlinked. In fact, the collapse of the Burundian elections in a coup in 1993 was one of the key things that led to the genocide in Rwanda in 1994, which, in turn, was one of the key things that led to the civil war in the DRC. So a preventive approach, and to each of those conflicts would have had to take into account to be more successful those regional interlinkages. There are different ways of doing that. Some of them are not as grandiose as trying to solve everything at the same time. And I try to discuss that as well.
WN: David, as you look at the issue of early warning, you look at the list that you started the proper (Inaudible) with respect to the wide variety of potential dangers, how do you prioritize? How do you try to ...
DH: Let me try to come back to your initial question and provide as quickly and simply as I can an (Inaudible) structure for the approach that I take to prevention. You know, I talked about all the dreadful things, the challenges, what can we do, and I think a very heartening thing is…that we have a wider array of organizations and institutions alert to prevention now than ever before, as we heard this morning. We have governments and (Inaudible) government organizations and regional organizations, and NGOs all over the place and institutions in civil society. We heard some. We could have heard a lot more. We heard a very good statement about business this morning. We could have heard about the scientific community, religious institutions and so on. There is an array there and sensible people within and outside those communities were asking “What could we do to prevent a catastrophe?” And I think that when you get bright, dedicated people asking those kinds of questions, knowing their community strengths and limitations, it offers…on a time scale, as I said this morning, decades or generations, not year to year. Now on the operational prevention, the prime case is preventive diplomacy. And on structural prevention, the prime case is demographic development. Let me give you a bumper sticker for this.
Take home that bumper sticker, please. It’s International Cooperation for Democratic Development. If we could do that, we can go a long way towards solving this problem. Now that’s a very hard thing to do (Laughs) to catch it. (Inaudible) International Cooperation in there. I just don’t say democratic development because I don’t see any realistic possibility that any single country like as big and strong as the United States could do that.
Or any single institution, even one as universal as the U.N. could do that as a practical matter, not as a theoretical preference. There has to be a lot of international cooperation of different kinds of organizations and institutions to make that happen. And it’ll be different in different cases but I do think we’ve got to get it through our heads, International Cooperation for Democratic Development.
Furthermore, democratic development doesn’t mean only political. It means political and economic. Or, if you prefer, socioeconomic development. It means building institutions of a market economy with sufficient regulation. And it’s not a devil take the high and most Wild West kind of economy. Is there some sense of equitability in it? Some structures that protect, that really offer the maximum opportunity to the widest number? That’s a very difficult thing to do. But on the other hand, it hasn’t been given a great deal of thought in an awful lot of the development that has gone on.
So what I’m trying to say, a civilized market economy is a vital part of it. But to think of it that way without democracy, without political democracy is also a mistake. Political democracy is not like some members of the commission thought, a kind of luxury of rich people. Poor, or rather Rich White Man’s Club, as one of our members said…politely. No, it isn’t. It has built into it capacities for nonviolent problem solving. At least below the threshold of mass violence.
All kinds. Kids grow up in democratic societies without idealizing them. They grow up learning mediation and negotiation, not called by those names, give and take, sharing, etcetera, etcetera. All kinds of informal beliefs and practices in democratic societies, as well as structures like our Constitution and independent judiciary that are meant to deal with conflict. And so I think that the independent, the International Cooperation for Democratic Development has got to be international and it’s got to be both political and economic. And that’s what simplifies, very simplified, goes under the rubric of structural prevention.
BR: I wanted to say that it’s not that…I wouldn’t call democracy a luxury, and it’s certainly something that people want. They want to have an accountable government. A government that is accountable to them. But they cannot have an accountable government if they don’t have a government. And I think what international actors often lose sight of in dealing with the types of conflicts that we are largely talking about, and no doubt I am perhaps exclusively influenced by my obsessive involvement with Afghanistan, but is the need for a state, and to try to push countries to have democratic institutions when they do not have administrative institutions, when they do not have police force, single army roads and so on is a recipe for pushing them into conflict. Because democracy is conflict. Democracy is making conflict the way to determine who is in power. It only works if you have strong enough institutions to regulate that conflict legally, and it only constitutes self-government if the democratically chosen leaders then are in control of a law-bound state to which they can govern. And I think there’s a lot of, I see in Afghanistan today, every country in the world wants to write the Afghan constitution. And they’re going to have to parcel it out article by article to different donors. But nobody wants to pay the salaries of the civil service. That if you don’t have a civil service to administer the country, it doesn’t matter how the leaders are elected.
WN: Well, I (Inaudible) democracy building. You absolutely have to have. For example, people have been talking a lot after the Cold War about you’ve got to give them private sector skills. You do have to give them private sector skills in countries where they’ve had communist governments. But you’ve also got to have an honest public sector. And institutions that can administer the vital functions of the country. But it seems to me that that is a step, and a vital step on the path toward democratic government in much the same way that in the Human Rights field, it’s very satisfying to take it case by case. One of the most satisfying experiences of my life, when I was involved on and off for a number of years, in the sophomore office of fate(?). And you know, I felt awfully good that we were able finally, successfully, to have a hand in what happened to Sal Harafa(?). I had the great opportunity of hosting him on his very first visit to the United States, indeed, the very first visit out of the Soviet Union. Great. Wonderful. But what difference does it make if you have even sophomore(?), someone so great as him and a handful of others in the Soviet Union, if you can’t move through institutions that can really protect and promote Human Rights? That’s a democracy. So I see the Human Rights cases, wonderful as they are, as steps toward building a democratic society. And if you can’t do that, I think the Human Rights efforts will fail. And I think the same way about civil service. And it can be argued, you can build a civil service toward a dictatorship and get a benign dictator, I’ll post a reward for a dictator that reigns benign more than 15 years.
WN: Well, Barney, thanks for this response. Those of you who would like to ask the question here and now, I think we’ll have microphones ready to come around in just a moment. When you want to ask a question, raise your hand. I’d be glad to recognize you. If you’d stand please, identify yourself and your affiliation. And either direct your question to somebody specific or the panel, in general. Let’s start with Fred right here. Fred. Fred Tipson.
FT: Thank you. Fred Tipson, The Markle Foundation. Let me ask the obvious 9/11 question. You wrote this book, Barney, in your case, and David, too, I think, primarily before 9/11. How does what happened last year change the way you think about prevention?
DH: Well, you’re right, Fred. Most of it was written before. I had references to terrorism all through the book because I’d been involved in different kinds of terrorism, like this hostage case in Zaire, Tanzania, and presidential assassinations and other things like that. So I had terrorism scattered through it. But I decided to pull it together into one chapter. And I don’t want to go on at great length about that. One point about that that Barney touched on this morning. He didn’t use my bumper sticker for it. My bumper sticker for that one is the Morass Problem. What I mean by that is that brought home to us, 9/11, to us in America, that there is no group so small or so remote that it can’t do immense damage to people everywhere. That’s a slight exaggeration but in another ten years, it won’t be an exaggeration at all. Any small group, anywhere, will be able to inflict immense damage on people anywhere else. So these sad countries about which some tender hearted people worried out there in Asia-Africa, or Latin America, all of a sudden, have enemy status. Or at least have elements within them that are enemy status. Put it a little more generally that if the rich countries allow a good number of poor countries on the path they’ve been on to a state of degradation, extreme poverty, maybe with a very thin layer of rich elite falling away to a huge majority of abject poverty, and virtually no education, at least for women, and no health care to speak of. So you have a really degraded society.
And you say, “Well, it’s too bad. We’re sorry about that.” I think that was a widely prevalent attitude in Europe and the United States. Maybe, I regret to say, even more here than in Europe until 9/11. But I don’t think it’s a tender-hearted proposition to say what happens there has a great bearing on us.
There is a gestalt in those countries that is highly susceptible to international terrorism. For that matter, to pandemic diseases that don’t recognize international borders. For that matter, to mass refugee flows that are highly disruptive, at least in the region, or even in the world. For that matter, to severe environmental damage. There are a lot of very bad things that are likely to happen under those conditions of severe poverty and degradation and repressive government or no government. And we could say in the past, I think previously, “That’s (Inaudible) going on far away and it doesn’t really concern us. It’s certainly nowhere near vital interests.” I think we have to rethink a national interest concept in light of the morass problem. It is not in the national interest of the rich countries to let a lot of poor countries slip into that kind of morass situation. There’s much to be said about it but that’s a fundamental lesson for us in 9/11, I think.
BR: Well, the first thing I did I rewriting, fortunately, my book was still not finished when (Laughter) September 11th happened. Well, actually it was but I thought but it hasn’t been published yet. So I was able to make some changes. The first thing I did was I took out the comparisons of the number of people killed by terrorism and the number of people killed in the civil and transnational wars. Although the comparison is still just about the same. But I thought it was insensitive in the current environment. The argument that I made…well, let me just go back. This is not just, you know, 20/20 hindsight on my part. I wrote in a book I published about Afghanistan in 1995 that if the international community did not find a way to rebuild Afghanistan, we would all be in a lot of trouble. Although I didn’t know much at the time. And, of course, that turned out to be true. And there’s a broader implication to that which is that what affects our interest is not as simple as we tend to think. And that this is what David is referring to as the morass problem, particularly, as we move much more toward a network globe with, you know, all the things you know about. I’ll just summarize them. You know, organizations like al-Qaeda can exist and it’s useful for them to have these unpoliced areas where they can extract resources, escape surveillance, organize and so on.
Now you may say Afghanistan’s a special case. There’s nothing like that going on in the DRC. I don’t know. Who knows who’s profiting from the diamonds there. Al-Qaeda was profiting from the diamonds in Sierra Leone. They’re organizing in Somalia, and so on.
So there is an argument waiting to be made that…and you don’t have to make an argument about we should care more. It’s all true. But you don’t have to say we should care more, or we shouldn’t have such a hard-hearted idea of our national interests. No, you say, “We made an intellectual mistake in analyzing what our national interests was” You know, “And we didn’t pay enough attention to this type of problem. And we shouldn’t make that mistake again.” Now that doesn’t tell you exactly what to do or how much resources to shift from one place to another. However, I would say what is happening is something that, which is quite different from that, and which I find potentially dangerous, which is that antiterrorism, which is a very legitimate goal, just as containment, and so on, was a legitimate goal of the Cold War, is being over generalized into an overall optic, or, you know, lens of analysis for a lot of situations in the world, as anti-communism was, for which it does not fit. Which means that end up with the wrong analysis in some places, and we end up doing precisely the wrong things that may help to promote it rather than stop it. I’m concerned about that sort of thing in Central Asia, in Southeast Asia, and some other areas. And I think there’s an alternative analysis waiting to be made, which does not challenge the national goal but challenges the analysis that links it to specific situations around the world.
WN: All the way in the back.
SM: My name is Steven Mukamal, Barston, Mukamal and while I have been listening to both of you colleagues, learned colleagues, tell us about this issue of conflict, what do you do with the economics of the situation where you have a state, whether it’s a rogue state or a democratic state decides to create conflict around the world, 1) either to take attention away from itself, and what it’s doing, or for its own economic or political purposes? You basically, it’s like putting out fires and the fire never goes out. How do you deal with that?
WN: Bernie, why don’t you go first.
BR: It’s hard to answer in the abstract. Did you have a particular state in mind?
BR: Iran. Well, I see very little evidence that Iran is doing that actually. But we don’t want to get into a discussion of Iran. But I’ve seen Iran collaborating very closely with the United States on making peace in Afghanistan and also, to some extent, on Iraq. It has different interests in other areas of the world. In particular, in Lebanon. So I don’t have a general answer. I mean to take one state that obviously would fit your case would be Nazi Germany. And probably we should have acted…I’m sure we should have acted much more proactively to it. I suppose the bigger debate would be whether Iraq today is doing that or not. I think, you know, most countries in the world do not accept the view of Iraq that the United States is now putting forward, or at least one of the views of Iraq that the United States is now putting forward. But if Iraq were, in fact…well, when Iraq invaded, and not just invaded, annexed Kuwait, then that is annexed a member state of the United Nations, then there was a broad consensus for reversing that militarily. But on a more…maybe what you’re getting at, prevention of violent conflict is a goal. It is not the only goal. It tops everything else. I mean because the reason you want to do that, to prevent violent conflict is to, God help us, you know, improve human welfare. And it may be that sometimes, in order to do that, you have to take violent action for other goals justice, whatever, which might be the case in the case of an extremely destructive and aggressive state, such as you mentioned, where trying to prevent violent conflict will only amount to appeasement and postponement of violent conflict. I think that is probably a rarer case than sometimes appears, as witnessed by my disagreement with you about the case of Iran.
WN: (Inaudible) that question?
DH: Well, I’ll just get in an ad. Since Nazi Germany clearly fits that, I wrote a chapter earlier in this book “Could World War Two and the Holocaust Have Been Prevented?” It was not a subject the commission took up at all. Mr. Churchill that so. I look at it two ways. One is could it have been prevented with the tools and strategies available to them then? If not, could it be prevented, the same kind of thing be prevented, with the tools and the strategies available to us now? The organizations and institutions. I conclude that in both cases it could have been. I’m happy to agree with Churchill that it could have been.
But it’s interesting. I look at some of the reasons why it wasn’t, and I don’t want to dwell on that. I missed at the end of that chapter about 12 or 13, which I’d be happy to read to you. But that take a while. But there are two or three things that just stand out. One was an immense amount of wishful thinking. Never underestimate the power of wishful thinking and high leadership levels as well as in the general public. Another is the failure of international cooperation.
Even the two major democracies, France and Britain, even the three major democracies, France and Britain and United States, just pitiful to see, even at the time of Dunkirk how, at that late stage, anyway, I make the case that basically it would have been rather easy to get rid of Hitler up until he went into the Rhineland. Once he went into the Rhineland, it still could have been done but it would have been much harder. But it would have most likely required some military action, so that this point of view does not say that you never take military action. If you see any enormous danger out there, which can be prevented with a modest amount of military action, take it. But I do think that you’re much likely to have an ethically-based decision if you’re not taking it alone, if there’s no one country alone.
I think if we and France and Britain had really worked closely together, we could have made a correct, ethically sound tactically effective decision and got rid of Hitler either before he came to power or shortly after he came to power. We would have had allies in the German military among others but this is an important point to make that this is not an anti-military or pacifist doctrine, this business of preventing deadly conflict, and I agree with Barney that the ultimate aim is some broader concept of human well-being, but let me tell you that the extinction of humanity in the biological sense is not consistent with human well-being.
HB: Henry Breed, United Nations. Precisely on the question of the tools now available, there seems to have been a recent constellation of situations which would be of interest in this context. At one point within the last few years, the situation in Cyprus was particularly perilous. At the same point in time, Turkey was applying for membership in the E.U.
WN: Is from a structural or systemic perspective would that suggest to either of you.
BR: Well, I mean, one rule, of course, is that before making analyses of particular cases, you should know them very well, which is not my case. So, I’m not going to make any specific recommendations. I would say, though, that to the extent that it is clear to Turkey that one, it will not get into the E.U. if it continues to occupy part of Cyprus and two, that it will get into the E.U. if it stops occupying part of Cyprus, that makes it more likely, other things being equal, which they are not, that Turkey will cease to occupy part of Cyprus. But both of those things are necessary, not just one. And I think that the fact that Turkey has not really believed has tended to view the former, that is, you won’t get in, if you don’t get out, as a pretext, given that it has lacked confidence that it would get in any way has reduced the effect of that so-called incentive, for various reasons, having to do with, I think, partly with the war on terrorism and the role that Turkey is playing in that and the role that Turkey will need to play in any war on Iraq, that situation is changing, and my impression is that that is being reflected in the developments on Cyprus now. I stand to be corrected by those who know better.
WN: The Secretary-General’s plan calls for continued presence of foreign forces on Cyprus, and that means Turkish forces in Northern Cyprus. But the questioner’s point, I think is entirely appropriate that we have a chance in the next few days to do what I guess Dick Holbrooke called the Trifecta, to try to get the E.U. to make clear that Turkey is not forever excluded from membership, try to get the Turks to lean on Mr. Dengtash(?), which they’re doing. Mr. Erdogan is in Washington today. I was meeting with him last night, and he’s a tough guy. But he clearly understands what side his bread is buttered on, and they are trying to pressure Mr. Dengtash, and basically it’s a game of musical chairs. But the question of protecting both communities on Cyprus is still very much at the heart of the whole issue, and, as I said, Secretary-General Anan has made clear in his plan that for the foreseeable future at least, foreign military presence in Cyprus will continue.
WN: We’ll take that as a comment, not a question (Inaudible Portion) I’m sorry. Okay. Yes, ma’am. Excuse me, David.
PR: Pat Rosenfield, Carnegie Corporation. It’s a pleasure to hear both Barney and David talk about this issue, and I’m also delighted to hear the focus on the really intractable issue of the morass that’s been facing development of difficult economies, and I wanted to ask for more discussion on that point mainly from the perspective of the limited opportunity that people who have really worked for years on issues of economic and social development have to interface with expertise on conflict resolution and military insecurity issues that’s a part of the gap and part of the chasm in coming up with and challenging coming up with sensible policies is that there isn’t a very effective mechanism either nationally in this country or internationally for bringing together the people who are most knowledgeable both from the region of the country and outside on issues of economic development and the people who are most concerned about conflict prevention. And so, I’m wondering, what are mechanisms, and thinking about David’s somewhat gloomy projection of the future of this century, how can we, what are the best mechanisms for bringing together these really quite diverse strands of analysts, policy researchers and policy makers?
Unknown:(Inaudible) at the end of this morning’s session made a very cogent statement about the many different kinds of tools and strategies and the many organizations and institutions that came together in the Baltics to avoid what could have been a disaster there. We now sort of take it for granted. But it could have easily bee a disaster. Now, the Baltics were not in as desperate a condition as most of the morass countries that I have in mind. But I do think we, as you say, have to find ways, which we don’t have very well-established now, of getting people from different countries and different disciplines and across even adversarial barriers to learn how to work together to build a, first of all, a capable government, and, in due course, a democratic and economically viable government.
One thing that has come up repeatedly on this point would be the fact that it’s been so attractive to the post-Communist countries and to some other countries around Europe to be drawn into NATO, to be drawn even into the Council of Europe. And then, of course, to the European Union. And it’s been said in passing, and I note in my book, you know, essentially, why in the hell can’t we have similar regional structures elsewhere? are we doomed forever that Asia, Africa, Latin America would fail to have similar structures.
It’s worth bearing in mind, and in my judgment, that the belonging in a valued group is a fundamental part of human motivation. I think it is that because we evolved in small groups where you had to belong to survive. If you didn’t belong, you were very likely to be dead in the morning, or next month, anyway. That’s certainly true of baboons and chimps, and I think it’s true of early humans as well.
Now, from the most fundamental level on up to these regional continental situations, if people in a poor situation have reason to believe that there are others nearby who found their way out of the morass, that’s very attractive. And isn’t it possible that from the European experience some lessons can be learned, let’s say, over the next, I don’t know what, 30, 40 years so that Asia, Africa, Latin America could have roughly comparable spheres of attraction. Wouldn’t have to be as rich as Europe is today to be attractive to countries or non-countries in desperate condition. I really think the world (Inaudible) community has to work at that fostering regional cooperation that involves both economic and political considerations and with a lot of incentives coming initially from outsiders.
WN: I think you put your finger on maybe the major problem in the area. But I don’t think the solution is in figuring out how to bring experts or practitioners in different fields together better. The problem which I hear articulated all the time by people in Africa, certain parts of Asia, not others, parts of Latin America, not others, is the feeling that there’s one development model only that now has legitimacy, the so-called Washington Consensus, which is working very well for part of humanity and not working for another part of humanity and that the gap is widening. And the previously existing alternative, you know, Communism, was not satisfactory either.
And there is a search for finding some method of development that will, yes, not turn Central Africa into the United States but at least create a way of life where young men who are by and large the direct actors in these conflicts have more attractive things to do than pick up guns, kill people and loot things. And at the moment there really isn’t such a model in sight. And people ask me about Afghanistan, you know. What would a prosperous economy of Afghanistan look like? And because one is obliged to give an answer, I have an answer. But it’s not entirely convincing that it actually can be brought out. So, I think there is a huge underlying problem. That doesn’t mean without finding some global solution to this vast problem, nothing can be done. A lot of things can be done and that is what we have written about. But this is an underlying problem which is a cause of many crises in the world today in different days.
DH: Barney, in my development chapter here, I also knock the Washington consensus. I mean, I have some good things to say about it but considerable criticism and criticism emanating from very thoughtful people in the developing world, like, for instance, Cosa Gasti(?), for example. But I don’t think it’s quite fair to say that there are no other alternatives. I think you’re right that there’s no fully-fledged development model. The Washington consensus has some strengths and some serious limitations. But to be a little bit idiosyncratic, let me say that I come back to the fundamental point. It’s about human learning capacities. It’s about humans learning how to operate a market economy with some sense of equitability. It’s about humans learning how to operate a democratic society, not perfect but more nearly fair and decent than what they have now. So, that, if you wanted to boil it, by the way, learning how to participate in a modern technical economy has got to be done. Whether it’s good or bad, it’s there.
Another bumper sticker. KSF model of development. It’s my version of the human capital emphasis that has come into this field through people like Marcus San and O’Hawke and more recently Stieglitz. I think that you get knowledge mainly through research and development, and that means that there has to be at least a small scientific community plugged into the international scientific community that can interpret, can make use of at least a decent minimum of the technical advances that are required in a modern economy.
The ’s’ part is ’skill.’ Skill comes mainly through education and training. And it has to be really serious. By the way there are several components to that that I would emphasize, because it tripped swimmingly off the tongue, education. Yeah. Right. I agree. Absolutely. It ought to be conditional in aid to have the high priority in education. It ought to be strongly encouraged by private investors to develop education. But education, or what? There are at least four elements in that. Education for math, science and technology for a modern economy; education for conflict resolution, peace, democracy, the kind of stuff we’re talking about today. That has to be learned. Education for health.
The main weapon in the fight against AIDS is education, although I noticed last week former President Clinton doesn’t agree with that. I think he’s wrong. Any rate, put it this way, education is a powerful instrument for health. And then the fourth point is: all of the above applied equally to men and women. I mean it’s simply, totally unrealistic, not a question of equity, even…it is equality. but it’s so unrealistic economically to think that you can in effect tie the hands and feet of half your population and then have a thriving society. And the final point, KSF, the half(?) part, is freedom. Development of KSF.
The freedom part is building democratic institutions, both political and economic. So, I think there is a kind of a human security, human capital approach that is emerging. Gareth Evans recently reported on human security with Axworthy(?) and others, I think, is a very important contribution The human capital, human security approach that modifies the Washington consensus. I don’t think it kills it. But it modifies it in what I think are actually very practical and also more humane ways than the present application.
WN: Last word.
Unknown: I think we’ve spoken enough.
WN: Okay. To both of them, thank you very much (Applause). Thanks for doing this very much but more importantly thank you for your time, energy and wisdom in producing these two great books. Order forms for discounts on these two books are available on your way out. Let’s go.
Leslie Gelb [LG]: Just a moment more. (Inaudible) going to be on the microphone (Inaudible) I find when I do so, I talk longer. My remarks (Laughter) bad for you guys.
WN: That adds five minutes, Les.
LG: After you guys. My remarks will be cryptic because the shortness of the hour and the thinness of my knowledge. The non-cryptic part of what I have to say is: Thanks. First and last to Jack Vesey who knows war and is committed to conflict prevention. He is our indispensable man at this center. I want to thank our three directors since we started this. Barney Rubin, who was given the task of bringing this institution into the conflict prevention era and did so successfully; Fred Tipson who was given the job of giving us context and a better sense of follow-through and did so successfully. And now, Bill Nash, almost forgot your name, Bill.
And now, Bill Nash who was given the job of making something happen as a result of all this. And when you give the list of thanks, you can never leave out David Hamburg, because David really is the father of preventing deadly conflict, this new subset in the post-Cold War world of the conflict resolution subject matter, and to David we owe ultimate thanks. The very cryptic part of my remarks. This conference in the spirit of all our episodic past conferences is about what worked, what didn’t and why in preventing deadly conflict.
And I think the answer now is most things did not work. But enough worked that we can look back on it now and give ourselves some hard-headed lessons and look hard at the situation we’re dealing with. Let me make some quick points about it. First, in many ways, it’s harder for people like you all to do your business today than it was when David kicked this all off a number of years ago because there’s less interest on the part of our government, United States government, and secondly, there’s less interest by the foundations. The foundations that help to jump start this process through their funding and the foresight are backing away from this business. We can’t continue it without their support.
Secondly, we’ve got to look very hard at our effectiveness. As one of the explanations why this has been so. Fred Tipson said earlier this morning that we’ve got to be less…well, let me just put it this way. We’ve got to be more critical of how we’re doing our business, ask tougher questions, be more demanding of others and of ourselves. And I think that’s exactly right. We’ve got to see what has worked and what hasn’t. We’ve got to do a far better job of cooperating. There’s simply not enough money and enough talent to do our jobs, and there’s a reluctance to do the cooperation that’s essential in getting our work done.
Third, we’ve got to focus more beyond the written product and beyond the conference. Our job doesn’t end when we’ve done a report or brought you all together. Our job begins there. We’ve got to be much more conscious of impact and how to get people to pay attention. The smartest things we do will die on the vine unless we know how to mobilize press attention, Congressional attention, our government, international organizations to act and to give them something to act upon, something practical beyond analysis, beyond questions, helping them figure out how to get the job done. And last, not least, my thanks to you all for staying with this field and keeping trying. We need to fight harder and smarter and together. Thank you all for joining us (Applause).