London, Asharq Al-Awsat- Political and academic circles in Europe and the United States believe that the changes in the world during the past few months, from the economic crisis to the end of the administration of former US President George Bush, provide opportunities similar to those which followed the Second World War and which led to the establishment of a “world order” based on international institutions and specific powers steering most of the world’s events.
British Foreign Secretary David Miliband underlined the importance of dealing with the changes in the world by citing at a debate in London yesterday US President Barack Obama who said “the world has changed and we must change too.” But Miliband urged the United States to work with Europe to deal with these changes and said: “Many among the European foreign ministers feel there is an opportunity, probably the last one, for drawing up a framework for solving the world’s disputes based on European-US values.” He added that there is a European desire to determine the status of the new world on the bases of the “trans-Atlantic” values but without specifying them.
Miliband was the main speaker at a debate held by the “Chatham House” Institute yesterday to launch a book that is considered an important result of the “Managing Global Insecurity Projects” which includes notable thinkers and diplomats and is managed by Britain’s “Brookings” Institute in cooperation with the New York University’s “International Cooperation Centre” and Stanford University’s “International Security and Cooperation Centre.
Commenting on the book and the required steps for the world’s stability, the British foreign secretary said: “There is power and responsibility on one side and order and freedom on the other side.” He underlined the importance of having a balance between the two and listed three essential changes in the world. The first is each country’s dependence on the other in the age of globalization then the shift in power from “West to East and from government to individual” and pointed out that the third prominent change is personified by the economic crisis, saying it led to the emergence of “two different powers with each pulling in a different direction. The first wants more national economic protection and while the second power is pushing towards renewing the multilateral methods and dealing with the global problems within an international framework.” He added that “we cannot tackle the problems if we do not renew the joint action” and reiterated his government’s demand for reforming the United Nations and said: “The UN was established to prevent a strong country from transgressing on the rights of another country because of its global power. It has to use this power responsibly. The international order did not set out to tackle the problems of weak countries and this is what we see now in countries like Afghanistan.” He noted the importance of “action to back the independent Afghanistan government since no-one wants to establish a colony there” and welcomed the decision of “President Obama to focus on both Afghanistan and Pakistan since Afghanistan cannot be stable without Pakistan’s stability.”
For his part, Sandy Berger, the former US national security adviser (in the Bill Clinton administration), said: “The economic crisis is an opportunity for creating the appropriate organizations and institutions for the 21st Century.” He added that “to make progress, we need an American leadership, which we missed during the past eight years but is now back.”
Thomas Pickering, the former US envoy to the UN, proposed a review of the “veto” right which the Security Council’s permanent members enjoy and said: “The time has come for the permanent members to reduce their use of the veto. The better mechanism is probably giving the veto right to two or three countries that agree on a single stand instead of giving one country alone the right to disrupt action.”
The Arab-Israeli conflict was raised during yesterday’s debate. Miliband reiterated his demand for the “23 states” solution for it instead of two only and explained that he remains committed to the two states solution, a Palestinian and an Israeli one, for the conflict but added that “the solution lies in 22 Arab countries having agreement with Israel.”
Pickering said Miliband’s idea is good but noted the need to include Iran and said: “Iran is in the middle. Iraq (crisis) will not be solved without an Iranian role. Afghanistan will not be solved without an Iranian role. Turkey is also important because of issues like water and the Kurds.” Berger seconded this view and said: “We must consolidate the ceasefire in cooperation with the Egyptians, Saudis, and Europeans. The Quartet’s work of strengthening the Palestinian authorities must be bolstered.” But he added that “we cannot negotiate when the house is divided”, which was a reference to the Hamas and Fatah disagreements, and noted that “the Turkish role in the Syrian track is very encouraging.”