From Westphalia to World Domestic Policy

By Johan Galtung

Talk at the Federation of German Scientists – Berlin, Germany

We honor a great German and world citizen, Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker, born 100 years ago, and his path-breaking motto, World Domestic Policy, Weltinnenpolitik. What might it look like?

But before that, some words about CFvW in meetings around the world of WOMP, the World Order Models Project, brilliantly conceived and organized by Saul Mendlovitz, who sends warm greetings, and Richard Falk, the European representative with CfvW (and me as non-territorial). And as a board member of the Max Planck Institut; close to 20 years older, a father, brother and colleague.

We discussed epistemology, wanting to know how the other thought, not only the thoughts. Western aristotelian-cartesian epistemology, with atomization and deductive theories from axioms in steep pyramids, often mathematized. And one contrast, the daoist approach, holistic and dialectical, everything yin-yang, true and false, good and bad. Different worlds and different ways of looking at the worlds. CFvW was working on a pyramid with one axiom on top, das Ur, the origin, the 0,1 dichotomy. An opening eastward, like the Dao de ching Dao is that which is and is not. The world needs both, no regional monopoly.

The world as a state-system, the Westphalia system of 24 October 1648, is coming to an end. A holon filled with contradictions. Thus, war was a right – if declared – and the pursuit of the interests of the dominant nation in each state the rule. European conquered others, as colonies, land and people; and as empires ruling through local elites. A major contradiction with many collapsing after WWII, the Soviet empire in 1990-1, and now there is only the declining US empire left.

There are 193 states in the UN today, maybe 200 in total. And maybe 2,000 nations: cultures with the same language and religion, shared history and a geographical attachment. The state is a piece of territory; the nation is idiom and faith, time and space. Identity.

Inter-state wars are fading away with the state system. The violence of nations wanting a place in the sun is increasing. With only 20 nation-states and 180 multi-national states the contradiction is eating at the states. The obvious solutions, federations inside with national autonomy an confederations, communities, across open borders are coming with glacial speed, and much blood. Only four states are multi-nation federations with reasonable equality between the nations: the mother of them all, Switzerland, Belgium with doubts, India with its linguistic federalism, and Malaysia.

But local authorities also want a place in the sun and there may be two million of them. So do the NGOs; and a world accommodating human diversity will recognize clans and tribes, not only Western voluntary organizations. Many of them stand up for human groups and their rights, others for nature and her rights to survive.

From above, regionalization is absorbing the states except for the largest ones: Russia, India, China; maybe USA and Indonesia. But the latter is already in the growing ASEAN – Association of Southeast Asian Nations, with SAARC- South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, AU-African Union, and the EU-European Union. Latin America with the Caribbean is coming quickly, the OIC was upgraded from the Organization of the Islamic Conference to Cooperation, and East Asia will find its form with or without Japan.

Very strong, as are the transnational corporations, above all the financial ones, speculating with other people’s money. Not so strong the United Nations, crippled by fading Anglo-American imperialism, but with much to build on if the veto is abolished, a UN Peoples’ Assembly by free and fair elections is added, and the UN moves from Manhattan to a more representative environment like Hong Kong for example.

Contradictions are important; they identify the actors moving the world, the momentum for a world domestic policy. The message: respect national identities if they respect each other, build on the local and NGOs, respect regions as building blocs, improve, strengthen the UN.

And, tame speculation by making it illegal while continuing the UN-guided work for corporate social responsibility. And that makes us ask, is there a country that could serve as a model for the world?

There is: Switzerland. Four nations on an equal footing, direct democracy linked to the local communities, 2,300 of them, 26 cantons in-between like the states will remain a world in-between. Reasonable equality. The proof is her longevity: more than 700 years.

But world domestic policy demands creativity, not imitation.

For the economy we should start thinking in terms of a minimum living wage for all 7 billion of us – easily financed by money wasted on the military and speculation–as subsidized necessities and money, liberating humans from misery and death to more spiritual pursuits.

For the military we should think of disarmament and world police, and of a conflict resolution culture, like hygiene culture. Violence is a monument over unresolved conflict and un-reconciled trauma. The way is dialogue; empathy, creativity, nonviolence the driving forces.

For culture we face a wonderful challenge: select boldly the best from all cultures, and eclect boldly in many, diverse, symbiotic ways.

And for the politics of decision-making: democracy, adding dialogue-enrichment-consensus to Western debate/voting-majority.

Adding collective human rights of nations, local authorities and NGOs to the Western human rights. Adding to Western Rule of law a concern for acts of omission equal to acts of commission. And combining world decision-making (in a United Regions if the UN is unreformable?), with the old state system, with direct democracy at the local level.

The level where people live, know where the shoe pinches, can handle environment problems directly with localization, not only globalization of the economic cycles.

Challenging, but feasible.

By 2048 an Weltinnenpolitik-Weizsäcker system, for instance on 24 October, the UN birthday?

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