The first decade of the 21st Century has been one that is riddled with callous injustice, malevolent hate, brutal violence, and perilous political volatility. Therefore, it is no surprise that the broad-based perception of the future is: if the first decade of this new century is a sign of what is yet to come, we are in for a bloody ride. Moreover, this attitude, needless to say, would only set the stage for a militaristic rat race in a maze of religious and secular extremism.
So, can world peace be achieved in such daunting conditions?
Of course, by “world peace” I do not mean the total eradication of wars and violence in general…for that is as realistic as a campaign to eradicate crime or terrorism. I simply mean envisioning a world in which maintaining international relations, economic cooperation, collective security, and the right of all nations to claim their sovereignty and territorial integrity is possible. A world that embraces its collective responsibility to address the rights of the oppressed and the voiceless; a world that is mindful that justice cannot be selective, and that it must be for all, the weak and the powerful alike.
Conversely, such a vision may not be foreseeable without the cultivation of a collective conscience, mind, and goodwill to change the conditions that fostered the hate, violence and volatility of the past decade.
First: Appointing a high level international commission made of credible peace-minded figures to review the causes of the major conflicts of the 21st century- identifying fault lines and ways and means to steer clear of the dangers ahead. Their findings could provide a platform for intra and international debate and critical analysis that could lay the benchmarks toward world peace.
Second: Cultivating justice-minded culture that inspires generations across the world who embrace the fundamental reality that lasting peace is only possible through justice. Gradually eradicates double standard dealings in political and the economical fronts. In other words, countries–”especially those who are recognized as super powers and others with considerable military powers–”should set the standard for promoting justice-driven foreign policies that treats other countries as they like to be treated. What they set as a standard would, in due course, inspire others to emulate and at the same time will alienate rouge nations.
Third: Cultivating peace competence: Here, weaving peace culture into national curriculums could be a starting point. Furthermore, under-developed nations could be provided incentives to revive their cultural or grass-roots peace-making systems, thus making indigenous peace-building achievable.
Fourth: Demilitarization: This could start with the systematic reduction or elimination of all types of weapons of mass destruction followed by across the board legal enforcement of anti-occupation laws.
Fifth: Promoting diplomacy and “soft-power”: Now, more than ever, the hearts and the minds of the people are won by the goods, culture and peaceful gestures provided rather than the power of authority imposed. Instead of military force, countries could increase the use of economic investment towards capacity-building in education, economic infrastructure, etc. to achieve goals in a win/win approach. In this post Cold-War era, the world is starving for soft-power; a power that, needless to say, is less costly than the hard-power of the military option.
Sixth: Religious tolerance and deinstitutionalization of hate: Governments, especially those with declared state religions, should institute policies that protect people of other faiths against persecutions and allow them to practice their respective faiths freely.
Seventh: Resource negotiations: To do away with the culture of economic exploitation where the stronger nations simply grab what they want even if that meant the total destruction of the owner country. Natural and human resources should be gained through negotiation. And, fair play, fair access, and fair labor should be the motto that rules the economic sphere.
Eighth: Cultivation of the creative and ethical leadership: Many consider this as one of the key factors that made the world less stable. In virtually every sector, the world is suffering from a severe deficiency of visionary or transformational leadership. Thus, international collaboration to cultivate such leadership for the world is imperative.
Ninth: Intra-national introspection: A serious introspection and critical analysis that digs deep into the conscience of the world leadership is a prerequisite to the establishment of any sustainable system that eliminates all that is ailing us today.
Tenth: Empathetic interconnectivity: Since social networks such as Facebook are attracting millions of global subscribers, it is not at all far-fetched to start a global network of virtual Samaritans willing to help fight poverty by spearheading sustainable humanitarian projects and extend helping hands to different people in remote places.
World peace would be attainable when we–”the human race–”accept that our current collective course is propelling us into collective danger; a condition in which peaceful survival becomes impossible even for the militarily and economically fittest nations.