By P. Soma Palan*
COLOMBO | 11 November 2023 (IDN) — A world without armies would seem to the vast majority of people fanciful, impracticable, unrealistic, idealistic and unattainable a proposition in our present existential world. This is on the presumption that the existing world order is fixed and unalterable.
But, if all the countries get together, with will, determination, and consensual unity, they could establish a New World Order, where armies and wars can be banished permanently—and a new utopia can be created irretrievably with everlasting peace and harmony.
I do not claim to be a scholar, intellectual, or a philosopher. I only have a mind, which is the common possession of humankind.
Evolution of Human Society
The present modern human society evolved from the primordial different Tribes. The urge to fight and conquer other Tribes and subjugate and enlarge their territory was an inborn instinct. However, their methods and modes of fighting were primitive, using crude weapons like bows and arrows, spears, sharpened blades, etc.
But their warfare was more civilized than our modern warfare. The fighting was face-to-face with the rival combatants. The non-combatants were untouched. The modes, methods, and intensity of fighting increased in feudal times when more organized and settled life during the times of kings and kingdoms came into being.
The escalation of intensity, methods, modes, and weapons of warfare increased, and kingdoms had standing armies and battleships from the time of the Holy Roman Empire. The strength of armies and navies increased from the time of the Napoleonic Wars. With the beginning of the First World War in 1914, the Air Force came into operation, and bombardment of enemy territories by fighter aircraft began.
After the 2nd World War, countries had the three wings of the Army, the Military, Air Force, and the Navy, to secure and defend national territories. This is the summarized history of armies. The rationale for having armies being deterrence against any invasion by other countries—to defend one’s territorial borders because when countries have armies, it poses a potential threat to your national security. Thus, an army in one country breeds armies all over the world.
Place of Armies in the Modern World
The human civilization of our Planet Earth, called the world, has been a progressive development from primordial tribal times and has presently reached the pinnacle point in every aspect of life and living, that is, in social, economic, industrial, scientific, and technology, so much so that humankind is bestowed with ultimate comforts and conveniences of living, as never before. However, pockets of poverty and underdevelopment persist.
We are a highly civilized world. However, it is ironic that we still carry with us relics of tribal instincts and thinking, which is not compatible with the civilized standard of culture. We are a settled world with almost all countries having defined territorial boundaries with a few negligible disputed ones, which need to be settled by international arbitration in the light of our civilized norms rather than by recourse to primordial tribal norms of warfare between the disputant countries.
Armies and armories of weapons of war are incompatible with a civilized world. Why do nations/countries need armies and weapons? To me, armies are symbolic of aggression, conquest, subjugation, and domination of other’s territories, if not imminent but potential. Because of this potential threat of invasion, every nation/country is equipped with an army-backed by destructive weapons.
The power of a country is measured by its military strength and the lethality of its weapons. The country that has the greatest military power is deemed to be a Superpower. I consider this thinking an instinct of tribalism, and uncivil. Such a notion is abhorrent to civilized and cultured humans.
Since the end of the last World War in 1948, a period of peace of 75 years has elapsed now, except for limited regional wars, like the Vietnam and Afghanistan wars and, the current Russian-Ukraine war, and the Israel-Palestine war. For the most part, armies worldwide are hibernating and out of action.
Armies are meant to wage Wars. If not, armies become redundant and superfluous. But countries have armies, and the cost of maintaining them and updating weapons and their maintenance cost erodes their GNP. Isn’t it ridiculous to clamor for World Peace and at the same time have armies and weapons of mass destruction (WMDs)? We can see the killing of civilians and the vast destruction of cities taking place in senseless wars in Ukraine by Russia and, Israel and Palestine today.
It is pertinent to draw an analogy between the World and its components- countries, and countries with its components- the people. In almost all countries, people cannot have a private armory of weapons, which law prohibits. Weapons and duels do not settle disputes between people like in primitive times. Judicial courts settle disputes. Because of this, there is peace and harmony amongst the populace.
Similarly, suppose International Law prohibits individual components of the world called countries from having standing armies and armaments. The need for armies for defense and territorial security does not arise in that case. It is as simple as that. Without armies, the threat of invasion, conquest, and subjugation of countries worldwide can never exist.
Simultaneously, with the banishment of armies, dismantling all military infrastructures, installations, and armaments-producing facilities in the world is necessary. Armaments-producing countries are another hidden cause of wars, stirring conflicts and wars between nations for the business interests of selling weapons. Some countries, for example, the USA, are liberal, with private citizens carrying weapons. We read news of deranged minds, particularly in the USA, opening fire and killing groups of people, even children, for their sadistic fun.
With the closure of firearms production in the world, the conduits that supply firearms to criminal elements in countries will also cease, and crimes of murder will greatly diminish, enhancing law and order and peace in all countries. When this happens, every country will mind its internal affairs and be content with its established territorial boundaries.
Restructuring United Nations Organization
If and when armies are effectively outlawed in the world, restructuring World International Organizations is a logical necessity. The power of nations was based on military might. Powerful nations controlled, and manipulated the outcomes of International Organizations, the United Nations, and its affiliated agencies.
The UN was crippled and dominated by the Security Council comprising a few superpowers. When armies are banished, the power equation of superpowers with all other countries will diminish, leading to equalization of the status of all countries. Thus, the elimination of the Security Council is a logical step.
The current World Organization, the UN, which was born after the end of the 2nd World War, primarily for prevention of wars in any part of the world and bring peace and harmony, has miserably failed in its prime and important task. It has failed in its main task to bring about settlements between belligerent nations. For example, the immediate case in point is the ongoing wars between Ukraine and Russia and the Israeli and Palestine war.
The UN is complacent and not proactive in causing a ceasefire and bringing the belligerent countries to the negotiation table for a peaceful settlement because the US is a proxy partner to both Ukraine and Russia and Israel and Palestine in the ongoing wars. The UN is the mouthpiece of the US.
So, the way the UN is structured now, it cannot act proactively, equitably and independently engage in peace-keeping efforts. UN is a talking shop where leaders of the world gather periodically to give lengthy speeches of platitudes.
A World Parliament
The United Nations should be supeceded by a World Parliament, where all countries of the world, big and the powerful and the small and the weak, have Permanent Representatives engaging in discussion and deliberations on international affairs and seeking solutions to disputes on an ongoing process. Every country must have their Permanent Representatives in the World Parliament.
When necessary, international disputes should be referred to the International Court of Justice for Arbitration and settlements, which would be final and conclusive. If any country disobeys the court orders, the World Parliament should impose economic sanctions against them. All other existing agencies of the UN can continue as those of the World Parliament. Democratization of the world body, as the World Parliament, will lead to greater effectiveness, Independence and efficacy of its working.
Demobilization of the Armies, Dismantling of Military Infrastructures & Weapons
It will be argued that the banishment of armies will result in vast displacement of human resource. The displaced army personnel, after retraining, can be absorbed into civilian employment in various sectors, in industry, agriculture etc and contribute more productively to the countries’ GDP than before. Likewise, military infrastructures like fighter planes, bombers, and helicopters can be reconverted to civilian use for passenger travel and cargo transport. Similarly, battle ships and aircraft carriers can be reconverted for civilian purposes; ballistic missiles reconverted as space rockets; tanks for construction uses, demolishing and leveling, etc. Human ingenuity can salvage redundant things for productive use. In any case, for higher goals, unavoidable losses are inevitable.
Civil Defense Force for Law & Order Enforcement within Countries
The withdrawal of armies in countries will not include the police forces, which is not within the definition of a military force. It is the arm of a State for internal Law & Order administration. Police Force is not a combative force. It will be without firearms, but have supportive devices like batons, tear gas, water cannons to control mob violence. In fact, the displaced army personnel can be absorbed into the Police Force and strengthened. Further, they can reinforce the Natural Disaster Management Body in vulnerable regions.
The above proposition is based on conceptualizing ideas rather than any in-depth study. Therefore, it is bound to contain frailties, as it is just a broad framework of a fundamental idea, which experts, higher minds, and intellects need to develop to meticulous detail.
The goal is to forge a new and ideal World Order without armies, whose inherent nature is to wage wars of mass killings and destruction and wipe out global civilization. If humanity claims to be civilized and not tribal, World peace and harmony without wars is a realizable goal.
*The writer, who describes himself as a world citizen, is a peace activist with an abiding interest in the preservation of Planet Earth; and a votary of total disarmament and abolitiosxn of armies and wars. He has been influenced by spiritual celebrities like Swami Vivekananda, Sadh Guru, Jiddu Krishnamurti and others. He can be reached at: email@example.com [IDN-InDepthNews]
Image source: Colombo Telegraph
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