To a New World Order

A former CIA chief analyzes four areas for concrete steps by the global community toward a world in which conflict is resolved peacefully

NO one has defined what "new world order" means. President Bush and his advisers are shying away from the term lest it raise undue expectations. But it is a very apt term, indeed."New world order" should be employed as a shorthand for increased efforts to solve world problems by peaceful, orderly means. How do we encourage the world in this direction? There are four levels on which we want to avoid conflict: between the United States and the USSR; between the members of the developed world - Western Europe, the US, Canada, Japan, and, perhaps, the four "tigers" of Asia; between the underdeveloped nations; and between terrorists and the rest of us. * Superpower relations, as we observed in the Gulf war, have already become less adversarial. How can we perpetuate this? First by actions that will substantially reduce military capabilities, especially on the Soviet side. In view of the immense uncertainties about internal stability in what has been the Soviet empire, the less military capabilities they have the better. Fortunately, it is in the Soviet economic interest to drastically reduce expenditures on military forces, but we can encourage that by making it as easy as possible for them. In the area of nuclear weapons, President Bush is leading the way with unilateral reductions in our arsenal. There is, of course, a limit below which we cannot safely go without an ironclad agreement on verification, but we are very, very far above that. On conventional forces, NATO could announce an accelerated and nearly total withdrawal of US forces from Western Europe and, thus, make substantial decreases in Soviet conventional forces more palatable. NATO can easily afford the withdrawal of American forces because the prospects for a Soviet assault on Western Europe have diminished substantially with the partial pullback of Soviet forces from Eastern Europe, plus the doubtful loyalty of former Warsaw Pact allies. Next, when it comes to providing aid to the Soviets, let's help speed the conversion of the Soviet military-industrial complex to civilian purposes. We could interact with Western firms to provide the management talent and the hardware to do the conversions: for instance, an automobile manufacturer to transform a tank factory into one for trucks, and a chemical company to convert a chemical-weapons plant into one for pharmaceuticals. While the Soviets might balk at falling behind in military productive c apacity, their economic plight will make it difficult for them to turn down such an offer. Soon they would find NATO doing the same. * Second on our agenda for promoting a new world order should be actions to encourage continued peaceful relations between the developed nations. The threat here is less military than one of economic competition turning into economic warfare. We already have the G-7 process as a marvelous start toward promoting constructive cooperation within a competitive environment. It should be encouraged. We must hope that the mechanism of democracy will bring pressure on our leaders to balance national and world in terests. * Third, within the under-developed world we are at a time when national, ethnic, and religious fervor is endangering peaceful relations. Nations are fracturing, and widespread economic disparities aren't helping. Nations of the more developed world will want to play different roles in tempering these conflicts, usually by a coalition approach. We can be encouraged by recent examples: the grand coalition against Iraq's conquest of Kuwait; the European Community's valiant efforts to rein in the conflict i n Yugoslavia; and the Economic Community of West African States' peacekeeping efforts in Liberia. Every available mechanism, be it the EC, the United Nations, NATO, the G-7, ad hoc groups, or simply bilateral ties, needs to be employed according to what turns out to be feasible in a given situation. We also need to pay more attention to the fundamental economic problems of these underdeveloped nations, encouraging them to worry less about building military machines in order to attack their neighbors and more about improving the lot of their own people. An organized system for limiting the sale of weaponry to underdeveloped nations would be a highly desirable goal, perhaps one for the UN to organize. * Finally, an area that calls for attention is the use of terrorism by weaker nations or sub-national groups against the more developed world. The most effective answer to this challenge is cooperative efforts by the more responsible nations. For instance, Saddam Hussein's threat of August 1990 to unleash terror against those nations participating in the embargo against his country has not come to pass. There is evidence that it was the cooperative, legal efforts to restrict the movement of terrorists th at made the difference. Is it unrealistic to hope for a new world order based on greater cooperation? There have been utopian schemes before for a world government or a universal language; and World War I was considered "a war to end all wars." The League of Nations that came out of that war lasted less than 20 years. Yet the UN has survived twice that long and is proving increasingly effective. Nations are becoming more interdependent today in what is becoming a single international marketplace. And the worldwide revolution in communications has meant that peoples all over the world are better informed. The road to a new world order will not be either smooth or instant. How wonderful, though, that we can define the term "new world order" as a world that attempts to solve its problems in orderly, peaceful ways.

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