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The Military and Politics: The End of the Old Certainties?

The twenty-fifth colloquium of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Friedens- und Konfliktforschung e.V. (AFK: German Association for Peace and Conflict Research) took place at the Protestant Academy, Iserlohn, from 21 to 23 February 1997

Presentations at this year's AFK colloquium, on the overall theme of `Changes in Institutionalized Violence and the Critique of the Military', dealt with the blurring of boundaries, concepts, and positions within peace research following the end of the Cold War. Discussion of conflicting approaches to peace-research, and analysis of the (increasingly differentiated yet ambivalent) fields in which the military operates, occupied centre-stage on all three days.

In an introductory talk entitled `Making Peace--with Weapons?', Dr Ulrike Wasmuht (lecturer at the Free University of Berlin and researcher at the Federal German Armed Forces Institute for Social Science in Strausberg) discussed the ambiguities of the debate about `bellicism', `belli-pacifism', and `pacifism'. She was of the opinion that peace research was currently undergoing its third bout of factional wrangling. She dated the first bout to the beginnings of institutionalized peace research and the attempts to draw a distinction between the `critical' and `traditional' approaches. The second bout centred on the `debordering of the notion of violence'. In both cases, the call to `Make Peace without Weapons' had enjoyed a basic consensus within peace research and the peace movement, even though what was essentially meant was `without nuclear weapons'. In the 1990s, this basic consensus could no longer be taken for granted, hence the third bout of factionalism. Alongside the basically critical attitude towards the military within peace research--the scholarly literature defined it, amongst other things, as the embodiment of `(governmentally) organized peacelessness'--a degree of military logic had become widespread even in peace research, which no longer fundamentally questioned the institution of the military, but regarded it as an ultimate recourse in the settlement of conflicts.

The ambivalences were thus laid down in advance. The dispute about whether to endorse or reject military violence, so Dr Wasmuht believed, was not an academic one: a clear answer to the problem could not be obtained by honing research questions or improving methods or tapping the sources more effectively. This was, rather, a `question of basic premises', which each person could only answer for themselves, on the basis of ethical judgements. Hence, the second factional dispute and the third (about the `debordering of the notion of violence') were, like the first (about the distinction between `critical' and `traditional' peace research), `open-ended' debates. And the debates within peace research would, she said, become further polarized between the adherents of `military logic' on the one hand, and of `civil logic' on the other--or between `bellicists' and `pacifists'.

Dr Wasmuht's talk was followed by a debate between Professor Ekkehart Krippendorff (Free University of Berlin) and Professor Klaus-Jürgen Gantzel (University of Hamburg), during which two opposing viewpoints emerged. Speaking to the theme `Standpoints on the Critique of the Military: Continuity or New Beginning?', which was also intended to embrace the speakers' own academic contributions over the past twenty-five years, Professor Gantzel expounded his view that there had been a steady historical development of the military towards `civilization',[1] and he explained `blurrings of boundaries' as resulting from this. He believed the cause of the increasing number of armed conflicts lay in the disparate rates of socialization across the world. The world was not prepared for this, and there were no adequately differentiated concepts of world peace to deal with it.

Professor Krippendorff was also of the view that there was continuity, but in quite a different sense. He cast doubt on the notion that the military was becoming increasingly `civilized' and worked on the assumption that his previous analysis of the it still held good--namely, that it is a means by which the state preserves its power. He charged peace research with having failed to develop a well-defined identity in its critique of the military; it was therefore all the more important that it should now address this issue in a thoroughgoing manner. Subsequent discussion was dominated by criticism of Professor Gantzel's idea that the military was undergoing a constant civilizatory process. Whether or not the participating peace researchers shared Professor Krippendorff's assumption about the logic of the military being an inherent part of the system remained unclear.

Professor Andreas Buro (Grävenwiesbach) spoke on `Military Violence and the Process of Globalization' as part of an open evening session. Like Professor Krippendorff, he works on the assumption that, as well as pursuing goals specific to its own organization, the military operates in accordance with an underlying logic: there was a close connection between the military and the globalization of the exploitation of capital. The developed capitalist industrialized countries, with their characteristic forms of society and methods of production, had, he explained, emerged as victors in the East-West conflict, . They were now engaged in creating a joint global military intervention-system, under the clear hegemonic leadership of the United States, for the purposes of jointly safeguarding global power-interests.

On the Saturday, the central aspects of the critique of the military were presented and discussed in three work-groups. The first dealt with the theme of `Security Policy and Military Violence in Times of Ambivalence'. In his introductory talk, entitled `What Does Security Mean in a Climate of Ambivalence?', Dr Michael Berndt (University of Kassel) concluded that there was a `security jigsaw'. The way in which the concept of security had been extended to include non-military threats--a process which peace research itself had fostered--had led to the military's being legitimized as a universal instrument of security policy. What followed from this was that peace, not security, should be the central concern of peace research.

Professor Ulrich Albrecht (Free University of Berlin) agreed that the extended concept of security had been accepted politically and was being translated into security planning. As an illustration, he cited the reorganization of military structures (`bottom-up review') that had followed the end of the Cold War. This took into account new security-threats, but the means of dealing with them remained the same.

In her contribution, Christine Schweitzer (Minister-President's Office, North-Rhine Westphalia) broached the question `Intervening in Conflicts: A Humanitarian or an "Imperialist" Undertaking?' She rejected the bias in favour of non-military intervention in third countries, justifying her view, on the one hand, by reference to the problematic effects such intervention had on the civilian population, and, on the other, by pointing to the fact that almost all current forms of non-military intervention exhibited `imperialist' traits. At the same time, she rejected the idea of combining military and non-military components of intervention, on the grounds that there were irreconcilable differences between military and civilian strategies for action, and that a combination could, in the long term, lead to people's trust in civilian organizations being undermined.In the second work-group--on `Armament and Disarmament in Times of Dual Use'--the critique focused on arms control and on the present disarmament process, which, despite quantitative reductions in arms, had by no means led to a diminution of military options, but had actually rationalized the potential for violence and rendered it more effective. As an example of this, Dr Wolfgang Liebert (IANUS, Technical University, Darmstadt) cited German and European research-programmes, highlighting the deliberate political blurring of the boundaries between military and civilian investigation.

The contribution by Dr Annette Schaper (Peace Research Institute Frankfurt) examined obscurities in regard to armament, using the example of the Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). By drawing a distinction between prohibited and permitted activities, said Dr Schaper, the CTBT sought to sanction continued basic research into nuclear weapons whilst halting investigation at the engineering level.

Michael Dedak (Bonn International Center for Conversion) analysed the fall in world-wide military spending following the end of the Cold War. This fall, he said, was not motivated by considerations of peace; it had multiple causes.

Demobilization was the theme addressed by Colin Gleichmann (Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit--Society for Technical Co-operation, Eschborn). This, said Mr Gleichmann, did not involve merely seeing to the practical needs of former soldiers and guerrilla fighters; it also had a bearing on internal security and the balance of power, and it involved the psychological processing of experiences of military violence.

The topic of the third work-group was `The Monopoly on Violence between Internationalization and Privatization'. In the view of Dr Roland Kaestner (Führungsakademie der Bundewehr--Federal Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Hamburg) one thing that militated in favour of the formal internationalization of conflicts was the fact that, following the end of the East-West conflict--in contrast to the time before it--much military intervention was legitimated by UN mandate. What remained unclear was whether this situation pointed to a growth in the UN's legitimacy or whether the nature of the interventions it sanctioned actually harboured the danger that it would itself be delegitimized.

Dr Martina Fischer (Berlin) illustrated this particularly vividly by pointing to the nature of so-called `humanitarian interventions', the number of which had increased rapidly since 1990. The mere selectivity with which conflicts were tackled, and, in particular, the nature of the interventions, demonstrated that these were interest-led, and that humanitarian grounds were being used as a pretext. Such grounds had less to do with the conflict itself than with securing acceptance. This was particularly true in Germany, where the quest to militarize foreign policy did not have the tradition of the classical intervention-powers to look back to. The way in which German foreign policy was being renationalized and militarized was most evident in the creation of rapid-response forces and of freely chosen national objectives for these.

Much discussion was aroused by Professor Sybille Tönnies (University of Bremen) with her Hobbesian thesis that the economy needed territorially inviolate spaces in order to ensure that the capitalist economy had room to develop. Professor Tönnies summed up this argument in the claim--sharply criticized by some--that a unipolar international system also needed a strong military enforcement-potential in order to establish this kind of inviolability. The interest factor should be disregarded to begin with, because the rule of law in any case only developed when inviolability was established primarily by those who were in a military position to do so (Pax Americana). Only after this could the military be transformed and could there be a shift in the ethos of the armed forces of law and order from military objectives (capacity to kill) to police ethics (protection of the individual).In all the work-groups, there was unanimous agreement that demilitarization could only be brought about by strengthening civil structures as an independent entity. On the other hand, there was no clear view as to whether the logic inherent to the military, and the latter's function as a pillar of the state, could continue to assert their dominance in the face of all the efforts at reform and disarmament.

The colloquium ended on Sunday afternoon with an open panel discussion entitled `Putting the Critique of the Military into Practice: Abolition, Transformation, Modernization?', between Ludger Volmer (member of parliament for Bündnis 90/Die Grünen), Dr Regine Mehl (Arbeitsstelle Friedensforschung Bonn), Dr Götz Neuneck (Institut für Friedensforschung und Sicherheitspolitik--Institute of Peace Research and Security Policy, University of Hamburg), and Dr Lutz Unterseher (Studiengruppe alternative Sicherheitspolitik--Study-Group on Alternative Security Policy, Bonn). All the participants were agreed that the civilization of the military which it had been hoped would occur after 1989 had still not taken place, and that instead, there had been changes within the military structures themselves, leading to a strengthening of specific military functions. As far as the path to be taken in order to transform, and ultimately do away with, the military, was concerned, however, the participants favoured different models.

Götz Neuneck described the European Security Community (ESC) model developed by the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy. In this, the option to use force, as a final recourse, would be entrusted to the international legal community.

Lutz Unterseher presented the country studies compiled by the Study-Group on Alternative Security Policy. These envisaged a substantial reduction in the military apparatus and a strengthening of civil mechanisms for dealing with conflict. As part of this, there should be a bolstering of the role of the OSCE as the leading organization here, as opposed to NATO.

Ludger Volmer once again described the various currents in the parliamentary party of Bündnis 90/Die Grünen, and in the party at large. The majority view was still to be found in the realms of demilitarization, but the realization of powerlessness within the parliamentary party and the party at large was bringing an increasing number of members round to a position of `political realism'. He called for peace research to adopt a more offensive approach to the critique of the military.

Regine Mehl, the only woman to take part in this session, advocated--as she herself described it--a `resolutely unilateral' pacifist-cum-feminist position. The mainstream, she said, was dominated by four basic justifications for the existence of the military, and these provided the most convincing reasons for doing away with it. She also rejected the notion of transformation or modernization, since an anti-democratic and anti-emancipatory institution such as the military could not really be structurally altered/transformed/modernized without there at the same time being a loss of the prime function which, precisely, marked out the military as the military.

In the open evening session on the Friday, the AFK's Christiane Rajewsy Prize for up-and-coming peace-researchers was awarded to the `antimilitarismus information' authors' collective. In his laudatory address, Professor Werner Ruf (University of Kassel) praised the unflagging critique of the military in which successive collectives had engaged for over twenty-five years. An AFK commendation for outstanding academic achievement went to Cornelia Zirpins (University of Münster) for her paper on `Rape: Analysis of a War-Crime', which was warmly praised by Dr Karlheinz Koppe, chairman of the panel of judges.

Margitta Matthies

(using reports by Hartwig Hummel,

Christiane Lammers, Martin Grundmann,

and Werner Ruf)

Contact: Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Friedens- und Konfliktforschung e.V. (AFK), c/o Christiane Lammers, Sülzburgstraße 162, D-50937 Köln, Tel./Fax: +49 (221) 419656.

Non-violent Intervention in Crisis and War: Project Findings Tested

A meeting of the Institut für Friedensarbeit und Gewaltfreie Konfliktaustragung (IFGH: Institute for Peace Work and Non-violent Conflict Resolution) took place at the Protestant Academy, Mülheim, from 11 to 13 October 1996

The meeting began with a presentation of the research project's findings. The main focus here was the conflict pyramid, showing a conflict spiral and the paths to escalation and de-escalation. In the discussion that followed, various questions relating to comprehension were raised, but other points were also touched on, and these continued to surface throughout the meeting:

- How can the complex nature of a conflict (differences in escalation, number and variety of actors and interests) be conveyed with the help of the pyramid?

- Can the concentration on de-escalation be justified? Many conflicts have become petrified, or else there are such great asymmetries between the disputants that one would have to intervene in the conflicts in an escalatory way that did not involve the use of violence. What would the various stages of non-violent escalation look like?

- When naming peace strategies, is it sensible to gear oneself to United Nations parlance?

- What role should be played by the `third parties' that emerge from this model, and what qualifications should they have? What should be their relationship to the disputants?

On the Saturday morning, following further inputs on the theme `Segments of a Conflict' and on the identity of actors and their social location (top/middle/grassroots), work-group discussions took place on Peace Brigades International, the Balkan Peace Team International, and the Ecumenical Monitoring Program of South Africa. The groups tried to work through the case-studies described by the chairpersons, and to formulate relevant questions on the basis of the issues presented. Following on from this, the case-experts were given the opportunity to present their view of the conflict and the project. A joint effort was then made to position this analysis on the conflict pyramid. The next task was to identify the differences in relation to the project results.

Two talks on Chechnia formed the basis for the discussion on Saturday afternoon. Dr Peter Lock of Hamburg posited a `debordering' of war and the privatization of the state's monopoly on the use of violence. He singled out individual points from the tangle of real conflict, focusing chiefly on the Russian view of the dispute. Jorgen Johansen (War Resisters International) reported on his trip to Chechnia in April 1996 and described the situation on the ground. One major problem identified by both speakers was the multiplicity of players and the economic instability--which was aggravated by the chaotic state of the Russian army.

On Saturday evening, free discussions and talks took place, in which individual participants exchanged their experiences of various conflict-regions. The evening began with a work-group on `Non-violent Escalation'. After this, David Hartsough reported on his visit to Kosovo. The session closed with Peter Steudtner showing a set of slides on the 1994 elections in South Africa.

Sunday morning began with an attempt to match the South African conflict to the previously defined model. At first, the focus was on analysis of the conflict; this was followed by an identification of the social actors involved; and finally, a list was made of the previously mentioned options for action developed in the regions of conflict themselves. These were then classified under the various peace strategies and transposed onto the model.

Christian Büttner

Contact: Dr Barbara Müller, Institut für Friedensarbeit und Gewaltfreie Konfliktaustragung, Hauptstr. 35, D-55491 Wahlenau, Tel./Fax: +49 (6543) 980096.

Testing the Civilizatory Hexagon

`What Constitutes Peace? Testing the `Civilizatory Hexagon': a meeting at the Protestant Academy Loccum, 13-15 December 1996. (This report first appeared in antimilitarismus information, 27/2 (Feb. 1997), 25-6)

The aims of the organizers were: to test the elucidatory and orientational potential of the `civilizatory hexagon' developed by Dieter Senghaas of the University of Bremen; by this means to break through the polarization between uncritical advocacy and blanket rejection; to advance the theoretical discussion about the civilizatory process and peace; and to provide pointers for peace-based thinking and action. These were huge goals--and at the end of the meeting, there was still uncertainty about the model's theoretical validity and, most importantly, about its practical relevance.

Just to recapitulate: the `civilizatory hexagon' approach aims to identify in detail the preconditions for civilizatory processes, and thus also for peace, to relate these to one another and draw links between them. According to this model, in socially mobile and highly politicized societies, a process of permanent civil conflict-resolution is tied to six conditions, each of which is necessary, but none of which is in itself sufficient. These are: monopoly on the use of violence (properly legitimated and, as a rule, in the hands of the state); the rule of law (as a means of controlling the monopoly); well-developed interdependencies and mechanisms for affective control; democratic participation; social justice; and a well-developed constructive conflict-culture. The hope is that, by further developing this approach, there will be a move away from arbitrariness in the use of various approaches and instruments and away from haphazardness in initiatives on conflict management and civilization, and that a `system of co-ordinates' will be established in the area of operation of peace. To assess the elucidatory potential of the `civilizatory hexagon', it was decided to take a `hexagonal look' at selected past and present events. What form did civilizatory processes take in a medieval (European) town? In the Middle Ages, towns were areas of peace established by civic oath in the midst of a society whose acknowledged means of dealing with conflict was self-help (vengeance, feud). In his talk, Gerhard Dilcher of the Institute of Legal History at the University of Frankfurt managed to match up various structures of a medieval town with the six corners of the hexagon--though not always convincingly: `social justice' in the medieval town, for example, took the form of `less social injustice than in the countryside'. Wolfram Siemann of the Institute of Modern History at the University of Munich described civilization as a project and byproduct of the formation of nations. The early nineteenth-century vision in which the struggle to establish independent nations was seen as ultimately leading to the peaceful coexistence of nations was followed by the sobering realization that the process of transforming this nation-based thinking into the actual creation of nation-states necessarily entailed huge military conflicts.

This historical account was followed by a consideration of current events. Dieter Senghaas himself pointed out possible difficulties in transferring his European-based approach to other regions of the world, but at the same time vigorously rejected the charge of `Eurocentrism'. The European focus was imperative, he said, because the process of comprehensive modernization happened to be taking place for the very first time in Europe, and not in any other part of the world. But this process of modernization would gradually extend to the whole world, and the `civilizatory hexagon' would thus prove valid and explicable for ever-greater parts of the world. According to the analysis provided by Wolfgang Höpken of the Department of History at the University of Leipzig, the points of the hexagon most notably absent in former Yugoslavia were: monopoly on the use of violence; affective control (a lack aggravated by a long tradition and experience of violence); and democratic participation. Lothar Brock of the Peace Research Institute Frankfurt and the University of Frankfurt/M. came to the conclusion that in Latin American societies, the hexagon concepts had totally different contents than here. Thus, social justice, for example, was reduced to a share in privileges, and democratic participation took the form of a swapping of votes in exchange for electoral favours. In the case of Africa too, the concepts included in the hexagon described totally different phenomena than they did here. Rainer Tetzlaff of the Institute of Political Sciences at the University of Hamburg identified rudiments of all six hexagon points in the progressive democratizing states of Africa. However, their further development out of partially pre-modern forms (e.g. in the case of conflict culture, participation, and affective control) was, he said, threatened by the `stresses' of modernization.

The part of the meeting which was meant to deal with the application of the `civilizatory hexagon' to practical peace and development policies turned out, unfortunately, to be extremely arduous and poorly structured, with the result that the meeting produced no satisfactory `results' in terms of practical application. Joachim Garstecki of Pax Christi stressed the highly untheoretical nature of social movements, which meant that the hexagon could not be a model for action for them. Peace movements mostly addressed only parts of the hexagon--such as the development of conflict cultures--and only rarely took a global view of civilization. The civilizatory hexagon was caught in the trap of generalization. Everyday political decision-making did not figure at the abstract, generalizing levels on which it operated. In order to confer practical relevance on this theoretical approach, an analogous hexagonal model for action ought to be developed. One of the major preconditions for this would be that peace researchers would have to endeavour to transpose theoretical findings to practical situations and to extend them instrumentally.

The gulf--if not the abyss--that separates theoreticians from practitioners was made clear, amongst other things, by the fact that those taking part in the discussion seemed often to be operating at different levels. The abstract and theoretically oriented was ranged against the urge to extrapolate theory into practice. In all this, it was never clear whether the hexagon was meant to be a historical model, a political model with normative import, or simply an analytical grid. Disappointment was particularly acute amongst those who were seeking answers to their everyday peace problems. Social agents of the civilizatory process have as little place in the hexagon as do social dynamics. There was radical criticism of the fact that ecological considerations did not even figure, and that, to this extent, the `civilizatory hexagon' uncritically premised existing Western society as a foundation. Unfortunately, it was not possible, finally, to deal in any constructive way with the many questions and criticisms that had been raised.

One particularly satisfying event, both intellectually and aesthetically, was the evening devoted to music with some kind of `peace content'. Dieter Senghaas, together with Jörg Calließ, the conference organizer at the Loccum Protestant Academy, did a comparative presentation of classical music that had either peace or war and violence as its theme. It was disturbing to realize that in this musical excursion too, peace often came across as boring and flat, whereas violence and war were much easier to portray and much more emotionally rousing.

Iris Hunger

Contact: antimilitarismus information (ami), Eißholzstr. 11, D-10781 Berlin, Tel./Fax: +49 (30) 215 10 35.

Spine of Crises: Moscow to New Delhi

The Tenth Winter Session of the International School on Disarmament and Research on Conflicts (ISODARCO) and the Italian Pugwash Group took place from 26 January to 2 February 1997 in Andalo (Triento)

On the occasion of the thirtieth anniversary of ISODARCO, the attention formerly directed at the central and eastern European states and the CIS shifted further towards southern and central Asia. The prime subject of discussion was Moscow's relations with the central Asian republics, Turkey, Pakistan, India, China, and Japan, and the multilateral links between these states.

The meeting opened with a talk on the situation in Russia and central Asia by the British expert on China Peter Ferdinand, of the University of Warwick. He began by disposing of a stereotype about `central Asia'. This region,which is coming under increasing Russian and Chinese domination, did not, according to Mr Ferdinand, constitute a centre; it was more of a `gap'. He described relations with Moscow as ambivalent: one the one hand, the former Soviet Union had invested massive resources in the region, thus bolstering self-confidence there; on the other hand, it had exploited the reserves of raw materials and undermined traditional rural society. The central Asian republics currently faced a number of challenges. First, they were suffering from an identity crisis--i.e. a belated sense of themselves as nation-states; this, secondly, had led to an arbitrary demarcation of boundaries; thirdly, they were having to cope with democratization; and fourthly they were having to deal with the legacy of the communist planned economy. After 1991, Turkey, as a third power, had risen to become a major partner in the region. For the USA too, central Asia, with its oil-reserves and the presence of nuclear weapons in Kazakhstan, had come to occupy a more prominent position. Fifth and last on the list of problems was the fact that, although the region was rich in oil and gas, these valuable resources could not be exploited. In addition, the region was having to cope with the effects of environmental pollution, the earth was infertile, and water was in short supply. This made the region part of a `spine of crises'.

The Russian economist Galina Yemelianova of the Centre for Russian and East European Studies at the University of Birmingham spoke about relations between Russians and Muslims in the CIS. She considered to what extent the multi-ethnic and multi-religious composition of the area might cause regional conflicts to escalate militarily or develop into struggles for independence. Although both options were unlikely, there was potential for conflict on account of inadequate arms-control and unresolved territorial issues.

Relations between Russia and China were the subject-matter of the talk given by Alexei Arbatov, deputy chairman of the Russian Duma's defence committee. As he saw it, geopolitics was still the major driving force in the eastern hemisphere. Russo-Chinese relations were now on a new footing, whereas relations with Japan were currently in an impasse because of the dispute over the Kuril Islands. In this connection, Mr Arbatov proposed the creation of a demilitarized zone under the joint control of the three states concerned. He also described the wretched state of the Russian army on Russia's eastern border, in which a process of `feudalization' was under way. Although China currently constituted the only potential military threat to Russia, the latter was forced to sell arms to it because of the lack of demand for them at home. Mr Arbatov identified three possible conflict scenarios for Russia. In the immediate future, the greatest threat was that of a military conflict with the Ukraine; in the medium term, it was a clash with Kazakhstan; and in the long term, it was a worsening of relations with Japan and China. As a solution, he proposed the creation of a new security-system in the Far East, under the leadership of Russia and the USA.

Tamara Dragadze of the Centre for Caucasian and Central Asian Studies in London described the situation in the Caucasus in terms of two diametrically opposed poles, with Armenia and Russia still natural allies, and an inadvisable union between Turkey and Azerbaijan as a potential counter to them. The corridor between Armenia and Azerbaijan should be overseen by a multinational (peace-keeping) force. Ms Dragadze also called for the term `ethnic group' to be avoided in international parlance, because it was open to political manipulation.

The first round-table discussion dealt with the eastward expansion of NATO. David Carlton, a lecturer at the Department of Politics and International Studies in Warwick, supported the idea of a limited extension of NATO membership to Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary. A further topic of discussion was Russian policy in the Balkans, which, according to Nadia Arbatova of the Institute of World Economy and International Relations in Moscow, suffered from the West's tendency to stereotype it as a continuation of Soviet Balkan policy. The third topic was the START II treaty, which envisages the total elimination of multiple warheads. According to Francesco Calogero of the University of La Sapienze in Rome, the Russian Duma had two objections to the treaty: the planned extension of NATO, and the excessively high ceiling of 3,000 warheads. The main object must be to avoid adopting a hostile stance towards Russia.

Anara Tabyshalieva of the Peace Research Centre in Bishek (Kirghizstan) talked about the fragmentation and polarization in post-Soviet central Asia, where Islam had now become very influential. One should not, however, forget that central Asia was not a monolith: the `more democratic' republics of Kazakhstan and Kirghizstan were open to all religions, whilst in Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Tadjikistan, only Islam was practised. The main danger, thought Ms Tabyshalieva, lay in ethnic separatism.

The British scholar Anthony Hyman addressed the ongoing civil war in Afghanistan, in which, he said, the United Nations had failed. The Taliban movement had emerged mainly in Saudi Arabian Islamic schools in the southern province bordering on Pakistan. The project for a pipeline from Turkmenistan to Pakistan via Afghan territory could not proceed without political stability.

The second round-table discussion, between Professor Gulsham Dietl of the University of International Studies in New Delhi and Sultan Ali Barq of Pakistan, dealt with nuclear weapons in Pakistan and India. India wanted to demonstrate its independence by owning nuclear weapons; Pakistan too had nuclear reactors suitable for building nuclear bombs. This led the discussion on to the question of nuclear proliferation in south Asia. Pakistan was willing to sign the Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty, extended in 1995, or a comprehensive test-ban treaty, provided India was prepared to do the same. But in India, there was still a lobby in favour of nuclear testing.

The third round table dealt with Kashmir, which, according to the Indian constitution, is part of India. Because the Afghan conflict had overflowed into Kashmir, there had, said participants, been a polarization between Hindus and Muslims. There was a grave danger that the dispute about Kashmir would lead to a nuclear war between India and Pakistan. Hence, a `track-two diplomatic approach' was needed--in other words, talks at the non-diplomatic, social level.

In the final round of discussion, there was a review of the situation in Russia and central Asia. According to Mr Arbatov, Russia, which had been weakened above all on its eastern flank, saw itself as being surrounded by potential enemies and was being given too little support by the West, which was pushing ahead with NATO expansion. Mr Arbatov also lamented the basic lack of Russo-American co-operation in the Asian-Pacific area.

Sandrine De Vita

Contact: Prof. Carlo Schaerf, President, International School on Disarmament and Research on Conflicts, Dept. of Physics, University of Rome `Tor Vergata', I-00133 Rome, Tel.: +39 (6) 7259-4560/1, Fax: +39 (6) 204309, e-mail:

[1] German Zivilisierung--not the usual cultural entity, but the process of civilization through international agreements, organizations, law, etc. which it is hoped will ultimately lead to a more peaceful world.

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