Dr Hubertus Hoffmann - Photo: 2013

Towards World 3.0 with a New Security Policy

By Hubertus Hoffmann* | IDN-InDepth NewsViewpoint

BERLIN (IDN) – What elements should a new, promising foreign and security policy – which I would like to call World 3.0 following Microsoft’s developing steps – include in order to make it capable of deterring enemies, strengthening the forces of freedom and making the world safer and more peaceful?

A policy corresponding with the national interests of 21st century freedom-loving, democratic nations while also meeting the needs of billions of people in impoverished and underdeveloped countries for food, jobs, and human dignity.

A smart and effective policy capable of mastering the global challenges and changes. Moreover, a policy we can afford as highly indebted nations with limited financial means.

A smart foreign policy meeting the desires and dreams of the new Facebook generation, the new young and active elite from Cape Town to Seattle or Beijing.

An active foreign policy which does not remain stuck in administrating the status quo and defence of national interests through deterrence as does World 1.0.

One which does not continue the weakness of our current mainstream World 2.0; a foreign policy which fails to offer coherent and creative action plans for crisis management, with little deeds and much talk which does not deliver feasible results and staggers from one media-friendly conference to the next.

A better foreign policy shaping the globe for our children – Networking a Safer World 3.0.

World 3.0 is the upgrade of World 1.0 and World 2.0. The historical maxims and wisdom of the importance of power and national interests as described by Cardinal Richelieu or German Chancellor Bismarck and the needs of Realpolitik a la Hans J. Morgenthau and Henry A. Kissinger are still the solid base of World 3.0, but these are no longer sufficient for a successful foreign policy in the 21st century.

World 1.0 and Word 2.0 are no longer enough to serve our national interests in the new atomized, non-polar world where there are many more new players, instant mass communication tools, demand from billions of people for quick improvements, and limited resources.

What kind of priorities, double-strategies, and actions do we need in our globalized world to promote peace, stability, and human rights in our time?

How can our foreign policy in this fragmented world, with many of its seven billion individual inhabitants struggling for food, shelter, and human dignity, achieve positive change?

What can it achieve in the fight against terrorism, nuclear weapons in the hands of mullahs, famine in East Africa, pirates and greedy politicians pillaging their impoverished countries and installing themselves comfortably in authoritarian structures?

Have we reached the limits of what is possible, but are unwilling to admit it?

Are we not just puffing ourselves up like a vain rooster unable to lay eggs?

Dozens of books could be and have been written about different good ideas, concepts, and problem-solving approaches. Admirable suggestions are to be found in experts’ periodicals, books, and speeches.

I would like to outline just a few ideas prompting the reader to further discussions and publications. It is up to everyone to join this important discussion process with creative ideas. Sometimes a young student in Cairo has a better idea than Henry Kissinger in New York. [Kindly address your own ideas to president@worldsecuritynetwork.com or to the Facebook site of the World Security Network Foundation.]

A Tool-Box and many craftsmen

Let me start with a simple metaphor.

Think of yourself as a plumber with a tool-box full of hammers, screwdrivers, and twenty other different tools. As a good craftsman you will first look at what you have to repair and then choose the tools which serve you best – job done – quickly, easily, and effectively.

This is not the case in foreign policy as yet. We must address this weakness and change it.

Many “craftsmen” are on hand to address hot spots in foreign policy. Politicians in parliaments and parties with different views, the media, public opinion, the foreign office, the defense ministry, the UN, as well as many actors from other countries. That amounts to several dozen people with strong egos, national perceptions and sometimes arrogance and ignorance. Sounds like chaos and a big mess – and it will almost certainly start like that. Fritz Kraemer used to say “Great interests are at stake, but small interests govern.”

In the end action comes too late, it is mostly uncoordinated, and costs the tax payer a lot of money. This is the negative experience of Iraq and Afghanistan.

No foreign minister, ministry, or respected institute predicted the Arab Spring, nor the fall of the Berlin Fall and re-unification of Germany, or the collapse of the USSR. How embarrassing if you compare this with the strong egos and pompous speeches of many diplomats and politicians who were involved. The track-record of World 2.0 is frustratingly poor after the Cold War and the golden times of the European Spring.

Libya as a test of World 3.0

One of the best and most successful U.S. ambassadors and member of the International Advisory Board of the World Security Network Foundation is J.D. Bindenagel, who negotiated the two most creative international treaties of the last decades. He was appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1999 as U.S. Ambassador and Special Envoy for Holocaust issues and reached agreements on World War II-era forced labor with Germany. From 2002-2003, Bindenagel was special U.S. negotiator for “Conflict Diamonds”, leading a U.S. government negotiation which resulted in a worldwide ban on the sale of illicit, rough “conflict” diamonds.

“Colonel Gaddafi’s threat of genocide immediately called to mind his principles of showing strength and avoiding ‘provocative weakness’ against anti-democratic forces, while emphasizing the importance of power in foreign affairs as a backup for diplomacy.  As Friedrich the Great admonished his critics: ‘Diplomacy without arms is like an orchestra without instruments’; certainly, the searing experience of the Second World War, the lessons of the Holocaust and the ethnic cleansing in Kosovo have had a profound effect on foreign policy principles. The forceful action the United Nations, NATO, and Arab leaders took to end the Libyan dictatorship in 2011. Reliability and commitment to Western values came after a long political struggle”, Ambassador J.D. Bindenagel noted.

As a rare exception Libya proved in 2011 that political hot spots can also be dealt with effectively. There were no Western boots on the ground, the local rebels in Benghazi occupied the driver’s seat, and the push came not from the United States but from France and the United Kingdom. The tiny and wealthy Gulf state of Qatar and the United Arab Emirates supported the air campaign with 18 jets from the Muslim world side by side with European allies like Norway and Italy. This first joint NATO-Arab military campaign conducted more than 20,000 air strikes in support of the rebels. This confirmed Dr Fritz Kraemer´s doctrine that nothing works without power. Surprisingly the UN Security Council passed a resolution with Russia and China abstaining. The Arab public as well as the Qatar-owned TV station Al Jazeera supported NATO. The intervention aimed to protect human rights and prevent slaughter by the mad colonel. Minimum input resulted in maximum output. Suffering a minimum of casualties among rebels and civilians, no losses of NATO jets or soldiers, and without burning huge amounts of money, a new post-dictatorship government was established in Libya. The mission was accomplished with a globally networked and innovative World 3.0 approach.

Our bureaucracies are our main adversary – endless diagnosis replaces therapy

We should never merely blame the bad guys, jihadists, or dictators for what they do. We must instead be self-critical, examining what needs to be improved to make us smarter as well as stronger than our enemies. We need a continually adapting decent foreign policy avoiding any ignorance or arrogance.

Our own bureaucracies, including weak politicians in cabinets and parliaments, constitute our main adversary. Experience shows that at the end of a frustrating, grinding decision-making processes we usually burn too much money for little output and are too slow, uncoordinated, and inefficient. This red tape monster is harder to fight than any enemy. It is our main Achilles Heel in foreign affairs, causing us to win on the battle field but lose in the end and produce one “lost victory” after another. Our enemies do not constitute the main threat, but rather our system´s inability to deal effectively and creatively with them.

Worlds of difference lie between the dynamics of the actual movers and shapers of today’s world, such as the young Egyptian bloggers, the young Palestinians and Israelis or Syrian and Libyan activists willing to risk their lives for freedom on the one hand, and the planning staffs of the State Department, the Foreign Office, or the Auswärtiges Amt on the other.

On the whole the foreign policy establishment is unable to keep up with such rapid developments, barely understands the complex new world, and hardly exerts any influence on the course of events. Foreign policy officials have become onlookers.

The powerful are attempting to shape the world with pep talks, international conferences, and state visits, but mostly end up splashing in their own bathtubs.

Political rhetoric carries the day, while actual plans and deeds are rare.

A year ago, the ousted rulers in Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt were openly courted. No foreign minister predicted what would follow so soon.

Almost all of the much vaunted international conferences produce nice TV images for the electorate but no concrete options, proposals, and plans at all. They consist of exhaustive speeches with many buzz words, but an “action vacuum”.

Today, a nearly endless diagnosis replaces therapy.

The usual discussions and international meetings dealing with foreign policy mostly end with the demand “We ought to do something”, but without considering consequences, plans, and precise implementation.

Hardly a single politician or leading civil servant asks the hard questions about the where, when, and how. But this is where effective work starts. Success or failure will be determined in this realm of plans and options.

Listening to politicians conveys the impression that they confuse their speeches with implementation according to the platitude: “But that is what I said.”

Proactive policy is the missing asset in the foreign affairs of the mainly bourgeois politicians and diplomats who are pleased to have a nice position and title but avoid fighting for values and a better future of our children.

We need proactive White Revolutionists for World 3.0 – otherwise we are destined to fail.

The subjunctive has taken over.

Foreign policy is no longer shaped and conducted; instead it is geared toward the media saying what should, could, and must be done.

A growing number of problems are being merely described, even by research institutes, but none are being processed and mastered. The books published by well known foreign affairs institutes describe the different positions and problems but almost never dare to make any clear proposal with options.

This creates a huge traffic jam and pileup of too many problems on the foreign policy motorway.

We are leaving the initiative to a few radical activists – who represent a tiny minority of around one percent of the global population – and through our passivity we are creating an action vacuum full of provocative weaknesses.

We are not acting, but instead becoming the object of action.

We are not shaping, but instead reacting to new developments.

We are not actively stimulating and effectively supporting the silent majorities of 99 percent plus in specific countries, but remaining passive bystanders.

We are not helping with deeds, only advertising our interest with empty words.

Thus we lose influence and reputation.

In view of today´s paradigmatic shift in foreign policy, what is needed is a new preventive stabilization policy, transcending traditional deterrence.

We must systematically neutralize the numerous time bombs large and small, before it is too late and they get out of control. Pure crisis management no longer suffices.

We must address the roots of tensions such as ethnic conflicts, hunger, poverty, population growth, water shortage, or underdeveloped agriculture.

We must collect, evaluate, strengthen, and implement best practice on a global scale. Until now this learning process appears overly bureaucratic, slow, unprofessional, and lacking in dynamism.

We must analyze well beyond the existing limits of military thought, and begin to deliberate in new international networks and coalitions as exemplified in Libya.

In an age of towering debts and limited budgets, we are obliged to calculate precisely what we can afford and which funding mix will enable maximum output with minimum input.

We must convince the affluent oil countries in MENA, as well as new powers like China and Brazil, to join more active as our partners the development process particularly in Africa and take over a part of the global burden.

Brilliant foreign secretaries and talented foreign policy personnel – where are they?

Fritz Kraemer´s demand for a brilliant foreign secretary as a mover and shaker in foreign affairs with a touch of musicality and talent is permanently and systematically ignored in most countries. This damages the quality of foreign policy enormously, because it remains anaemic.

Most Foreign Offices do not care who serves as their foreign secretary. This prestigious position is part of a political bargain and a candidate is not selected on the basis of specialized knowledge, experience, or qualifications. Tactical political power and a minimum consensus favor smooth personalities lacking charisma and vision dominating the field in too many countries.

Do we not require personalities with more experience and vision, as the world becomes more complex and their tasks more difficult?

The present results of this personnel policy are mediocre and disappointing, remaining stuck in old-style crisis management.

Foreign policy cannot be learned in a few weeks, just as flying a jumbo jet cannot be learned quickly by someone used to driving a car. Extensive experience, solid specialized knowledge, and real talent are indispensable. Consequently, foreign policy frequently lacks the necessary personal foundation. This makes it incapable of shaping new facts, but able only to administer problems.

Must we allow this to continue or are there still heads of government heeding the quality of foreign secretaries in their respective cabinets and members of parliament assuming responsibility for suggesting the best?

Worse, in most countries foreign policy is reduced to an insignificant area for very few specialists, avoided by politicians striving to reach the top. It promises no credit in public, because the area ranks low in public opinion polls. In an exemplary survey in the German Bundestag (federal parliament) of 2005, 109 new Bundestag members were asked about their preferred areas of politics. Only one chose foreign policy. Do we not require more and better foreign policy experts in parliaments? Who recruits and supports them?

This foreign policy amnesia is an alarming sign; foreign policy expertise is dwindling while a growing number of challenges are emerging in our atomized world order. Simultaneously foreign policy is undergoing a brain-drain, preventing the creative, entrepreneurial conduct customary in private business.

A possible solution could lie in politically independent and influential personalities fostering the careers of selected young, passionate, and qualified politicians in the field of foreign policy over many years. This would enable paving their way into parliaments from outside the existing, stultifying system of partisan politics.

*Dr Hubertus Hoffmann is President and Founder of the World Security Network Foundation (www.worldsecuritynetwork.com) and www.codesoftolerance.com Project. He is also author of “True Keeper of the Holy Flame” (www.worldsecuritynetwork.com/fritzkraemer). For a complete version of this article please click here. [IDN-InDepthNews – July 23, 2013]

Photo: Dr Hubertus Hoffmann

2013 IDN-InDepthNews | Analysis That Matters

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