Foreign Minister Tuomioja: Security problems and new challenges, speech in Vaasa, February 11

Erkki Tuomioja unofficial translation
Minister for Foreign Affairs

Vaasa Paasikivi Society, 11 February 2002

Security problems and the new challenges

The terrorist attacks of September 11 in the United States have changed the world in many ways, but we are still unable to envisage all their reprecussions. Many people’s uppermost feeling is that the world has become more dangerous and insecure than it used to be. On the other hand, in spite of the horror of the terrorist attacks, they have also opened up the prospect of a world that would be a more secure and better place to live in.

For this to happen we need to draw the correct conclusions from the September attacks. They dramatically underlined the fact that security and the threats against it in today’s world are different from what we and the entire international system of cooperation have traditionally prepared us for.

Since the end of the Cold War, it has become increasingly clear that the biggest and most likely threat is neither a war between the superpowers nor any other kind of traditional war between states. Security and threats against it have to be seen as a broader challenge.

The new security challenges include long-term, continuing deterioration of the environment and sudden environmental crises, the spread of HIV/AIDS and other contagious diseases, international crime, drugs, human rights violations, internal conflicts, disintegration of organized societies, terrorism and uncontrollable population movements and refugeeism that are linked to all these phenomena.

These new security threats are characterized by, first of all, the fact that in the majority of cases they emerge and develop as internal problems, which can, however, without timely intervention, rapidly expand into international or even global problems. Another characteristic of the new security challenges is that even if they often involve the use of armed force, there are very limited possibilities, if any, for containing or combating them using the means traditionally employed in armed conflict. Even in cases where military force is necessary and justified - as in the case against al-Qaida and the Taliban - it is never on its own an adequate solution.

In Afghanistan, therefore, long-term commitment is required not only to some kind of peace-keeping operation but also to the use of civil crisis management tools - reconstruction and development cooperation - which help stabilise the country and create a foundation for democracy and the establishment of human rights - especially improvement in the status of women - and for economic development and public welfare without drug cultivation.

The international community, including the EU as the principal financier, has to prepare for a reconstruction programme worth 10 billion euros over the next five years. Doubts have already been expressed about the adequacy of this sum.

It is not possible to finance this kind of programme by reducing transfers to disadvantaged countries in other parts of the world, where a host of similar needs remain unattended.

The third and probably the most significant fact that needs to be remembered when responding to the new security challenges is that we cannot protect ourselves against them by isolating and entrenching ourselves behind higher barriers at our frontiers. On the contrary, they call for increasing international commitment and multilateral cooperation at all levels.

The countries of Europe have understood this. Two World Wars and numerous other conflicts in Europe, the most recent one in the Balkans, have forced civilian populations to undergo all the agonies of warfare. This has gradually led to an understanding that stability, security and peace, and the growth of welfare and prosperity, require that we prepare ourselves to relinquish part of our traditional national sovereignty for the benefit of stronger trans-national cooperation. This has been a fundamental premise in the European integration process and holds true also now that the European Union is enlarging.

The situation in the USA is different. Even though the country has participated in a decisive role in two world wars, Americans have never experienced a war on their own territory. This is why the US has, from time to time, intensively sought to keep apart from international cooperation by adopting a policy of isolation. This being no more a realistic alternative, the country has often tried to act one-sidedly, relying on its own power only, being unilaterally selective and setting its own terms for the international cooperation in which it participates itself.

Since the Second World War, the USA has been involved in extensive wars only in remote Korea and Vietnam, and its latest war experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan have been based on minimization of its own losses through neat state-of-the-art air-attacks, which are eminently suitable for television and cause losses only to the enemy. The unreality and false security of this use-of-power model were revealed on September 11 when it became evident that the most powerful war machine in the world had been incapable of preventing – and this would have been the case even if the missile shield had existed - the devastating blows to the very heart of America.

We all hope that the attacks can lead to a greater interest among Americans for multilateral cooperation. The Europe to declare itself in solidarity with the US was necessary not only because the crime was directed towards all humanity but also because it was important to show how multilateral cooperation brings results.

It is still too early to assess whether these expectations have been met or not. On the positive side the United Nations has reassumed its position as the main arena of international policy and cooperation. The US debt to the United Nations has been paid now, and up to now, the US has asked for and obtained the UN’s approval for the use of force in the fight against terrorism. The US has also recognized the value and significance of the agreements against terrorism that the UN had been preparing earlier.

Another positive development is Russia’s rapprochement with the USA and NATO, which seems able to weather even such an unnecessary blow as Washington’s unilateral withdrawal from the ABM treaty (Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty).

The positive side is also the decision reached at Doha, whereby the WTO (World Trade Organization) will start an extensive new round of negotiations. Furthermore, the developing countries’ expectations are taken more specifically into account in its objectives as are the relationship between the environment and trade. And in Marrakesh agreement was reached on finalising the Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol, so that it is now possible to proceed to ratification.

On the other hand, the USA has not yet returned to any of the several multilateral negotiation processes and treaty projects from which it withdrew at the beginning of the Bush administration. The Climate Convention is moving forward without the USA, but everybody understands that a country that is responsible for a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions has to enter the convention, preferably sooner than later.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) treaty is advancing, too, which is important for the consolidation of the international legal order in the world after the terrorist attacks. However, the US has not joined the treaty but has, on the contrary, established special closed military courts of its own to judge the suspected terrorists that it has detained. As long as the leaders of al-Qaida and the Taliban remain unaccountable for their acts, one of the key objectives in the fight against terrorism has not been met. Taliban and al-Qaida fighters who are suspected of terrorist acts and have been caught must be handled in independent courts in accordance with the norms of international law, paying due respect to the Geneva Conventions, thus strengthening the international legal order. Failure to achieve this objective may, in the long run, erode the unity and credibility of the coalition against terrorism.

The military presence of the US in Afghanistan and its vicinity may turn out to be a long-term process. Moreover, President Bush has made it clear that the war against networked international terrorism and its supporters in its various forms, pursued by the US, will continue wherever this kind of threat becomes evident. The US has declared that efforts to get hold of weapons of mass destruction together with support for terrorism in certain countries pose a special threat. But there is still a long way from accusations to measures supported by international recognition and a UN mandate.

One of the most terrifying threats is the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in general and the possibility of their ending up in the hands of terrorists. That is why it is particularly difficult the understand the US opposition to the adoption of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC).

The fact that the whole world explicitly condemned the terrorist attacks opened up prospects for ending many other regional conflicts and renouncing the cycle of violence. If, at best, this has happened in Northern Ireland and the Balkans, the opportunity has not been grasped in the Middle East. This is another reason why Europe and the US should work more closely together to effectively pressure the parties to abandon violence and enter the peace process.

At the beginning of 2002, avenues are still open to both favourable and discouraging prospects. In Finland, we have to work for the former in cooperation with our EU partners.

Decisions on NATO’s next enlargement are expected in 2002, and Finland does not have problems with this and neither do we see it as somenthing which would call for new conclusions about our position. The development of relations between NATO and Russia is more significant, as is the question of whether decisions will be made concerning expansion of NATO’s role and/or area of activity. For the present, the decision to apply Article 5 as a response to the September terrorist attacks has remained without any practical significance.

The European Union has continued to build its military and civilian crisis management capacities. At the Laeken Summit, it was possible to note that the Union is capable of independent operations, to be gradually improved by the year 2003 when the headline goal, set at the Helsinki summit, of a rapid reaction force of 60,000 personnel, together with equipment and command systems, should be met. The important question of final agreement on cooperation between the EU and NATO still remains unresolved, and as a whole, progress has been, to say the least, moderate. On the civilian side, the Union has assembled a force of 5,000 policemen.

The Union’s executive powers in crisis management operations and related tasks have been determined by joint decisions. The Union will decide about any operation case-by-case, based on its capability and objectives. The Member States will decide about their own military participation in accordance with their national procedures.

The EU’s common security and defence policy has developed rapidly with Finland by proactive participation. This work has strengthened the Union’s international position, allthough no crisis management operations have yet been launched. Together, the Union’s Member States constitute a significant actor, even though the Union does not aim, nor should it aim, at challenging the role of NATO or at becoming a military superpower.
Modalities concerning EU-NATO cooperation so far hindered by the conflict between Turkey and Greece, but supported by the other Member States of the organizations, including the US, show that the Union has become an increasingly significant contributor to security policy. It will meet heightened expectations in the future when the international community has to take up or resort to crisis management tasks.

The Union’s strength lies in its ability to use tools and resources from the entire domain of security policy and thus promote the creation of sustainable solutions. This is Finland’s point of departure and opinion. Determined development and operationalisation of civilian crisis management capabilities play a major role here, and Finland is pro-active in promoting them. We are developing cooperation between various authorities and our readiness to participate in the EU’s and other international civilian operations.

Parliament requested a more detailed evaluation of what impacts the deepening of the common security and defence policy would have on military non-alignment. In the Treaty on the European Union, the possibility of common defence is mentioned as a distant goal which can only be taken up after consensus has been reached at the European Council after it has been accepted by all member countries according to their commissional procedures. In our opinion neither the common security of the Union or international security calls for such a solution at present or in the foreseeable future.

Ladies and gentlemen,

One of the paradoxes of our time concerns democracy. Throughout history, democracy has never been as widely spread as it is today. At the same time, we have probably never witnessed the same degree of disillusion regarding democracy.

The key to understanding this paradox is globalisation. Internationalisation and growing economic and political interdependence are nothing new as such. What is new is the combination of internationalisation and the spectacular development of new technologies, information and communication technology in particular. This passes well for a shorthand definition of globalisation.

Globalisation is not only something inevitable but is, on the whole, a line of development that opens up positive prospects; positive because an enhanced international division of labour and more effective use of scarce resources help create prosperity.

Globalisation is positive also because of the increased scope for individual freedom to blossom and because it is conducive to more open societies. Repressive governments find it increasingly difficult to censor or control the use of new information technologies. The latter have made it more difficult to cover up human rights violations, and for others to ignore them without reacting.

But the qualifying adverb potentially is needed, because the increased wealth and prosperity created by globalisation are being distributed more unequally than before, both within countries and regions as well as globally.

The word is needed also because globalisation, which is based on neo-liberal free-market values, can intensify environmental damage. It can also threaten core labour standards and weaken trade unions and jeopardise national and minority cultures.

Globalisation can also be socially damaging, when it destroys sustainable traditional communities and threatens established welfare systems, which can never be replaced by purely market-based solutions.

"All that is solid melts into thin air" is how Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels characterized the world more than 150 years ago, but the phrase describes our own time even more aptly. The threats and challenges identified in the Communist Manifesto were dealt with successfully because the labour movement managed to harness capitalism and lay a foundation for the welfare societies of today's developed world.

In spite of the internationalism of the labour movement, this was essentially a national project realized through the democratic institutions of independent and sovereign nation states. The same would not be possible in today’s world. We live in a world where global market forces - even more threatening than earlier because of their anonymity - undermine or dilute the instruments that we have historically employed to steer our economies, guarantee social security and redistribute wealth.

Thus globalisation calls for democracy that works at a global level and is able to deliver effective global governance.

The new threats to security require multilateral and global solutions. This is not always understood as applying equally to the economic and social challenges of globalisation. There are people who see the solution in less integration and interdependence and more nationalism and protectionism.

It would be nice to be able to say that the institutions we need for democratic global governance are already in place. Unfortunately, many people see organizations such as the European Union, the World Trade Organization and the OECD, which has remained the last bastion of neo-liberalism, as being the problem rather than the solution. People with these views are by no means all narrow-minded nationalists or protectionists. Similar opinions are held by some genuine democrats and internationalists. That is why their concerns should be taken seriously.

The EU, the WTO and other international organizations are ultimately only instruments that can and must be used to bring about better global governance, based on democracy and solidarity, and for ensuring that the fruits of globalisation will be distributed more equally than today.

What would be the components of better global governance? I will look at under the following headlines: disarmament and crisis management, democracy and human rights, and economic and development, althoug making a distinction between these is rather like drawing a line on water.

- While the prospect of major military conflicts has become less likely, issues related to disarmament have remained too much in the background. Work has to be continued with a view to preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons, missile technology, and biological and chemical weapons, and to reducing and destroying the capacity of existing storage facilities. The USA and Russia have to reduce the number of their nuclear weapons, too, and not only transfer them from missiles to storage.

- Conventional weapons disarmament processes have to be continued with particular emphasis on the limiting of small arms and light weapons.

- Restrictions have to be imposed on the arms trade, including a possible international tax on arms sales.

When the UN was founded over 50 years ago, the idea was to establish collective security as a response to the threat of traditional warfare. In the face of new, broad-based security threats, the world community is now seeking a crisis management model that would not always find military force a practicable tool and would never find it an adequate or indispensable instrument.

Military crisis management is needed too. Now that it is being developed regionally, primarily in the European Union, it is important that the work is carried out multilaterally, making use of the principles set out in the UN Charter and in harmony with UN operations. Finland participates in peacekeeping operations under a UN or an OSCE mandate, a good habit for other countries too to abide by.

The capabilities and resources of civilian crisis management are more limited than those of military crisis management today, and resources have to be invested in their development both nationally, in the EU and within the framework of the UN system.

Crisis management tools have to be deployed early enough. No potential crisis, however small and limited it may seem, be it a military conflict, a human rights violation, an ethnic conflict, a failed state or an environmental or humanitarian catastrophe, should be left unattended. Apart from the fact that turning a blind eye on such problems equals indifference and the condonation of human suffering, there is also the risk of crises escalating and ultimately affecting global security.

Every effort has to be made to strengthen the principles of democracy, human rights and
the rule of law.

International financial institutions need to undergo reforms to become more transparent and democratic and to help bury the outdated neo-liberal, so-called Washington consensus.

Capital movements have to be made subject to improved monitoring and control, the instability and susceptibility to speculation of the financial markets need to be restrained, with due regard to the possible use of a currency transaction tax. The use of tax havens for tax evasion and money laundering must be prevented.

The current WTO round of negotiations has to be a real development round, which strengthens the position of the developing countries in world trade. The rules of global economic cooperation and trade have to be developed, on the basis of multilateral free trade, in cooperation between the WTO and the ILO and other international organizations so that the concerns related to the environment and consumer protection, the materialization of core labour standards and human rights, the position of national and minority cultures and balanced treatment of intellectual property rights are taken better into account. Regulations concerning investments and the service industry have to be based on respect for the needs of the environment and welfare services and on an establishing the proper balance of obligations and rights between multilateral companies and governments.

As concerns development financing, all developed countries have to reach the goal of 0.7% of GNP, using such instruments as the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) to generate new funding.

Transfers of money to developing countries do not, however, help much without the recipients’ own efforts and without specific investments to improve the position of the most disadvantaged.

We have to recognize that the world has only a few decades to adopt sustainable energy solutions and a balance between man and his natural environment according to the principles of sustainable development. Ratification of the Kyoto Convention is thus only a limited but necessary first step in efforts to stop the man-induced climate change.

It is not difficult to present lists such as this of all the good things that should be done to bring about a safer and better world, and even to get general agreement on them, at least in principle. The real question is how to make them happen.

Assuming that we can get a European agreement on a global governance programme, how do we get it accepted and implemented globally, when we all know that the real challenge is how to get the United States involved in the process? I have no better answer than the one we give when talking about the future of Russia. We must continue to try and engage such countries in multilateral cooperation, whatever the difficulties, without giving them the right of veto. We must move forward, where possible, on a more limited basis and work on those who do not immediately join to do so later, as with the Kyoto process or the International Criminal Court.

In contrast to many programmes for better global governance, my ideas are not based on examination of institutional issues and their need of reform. Whereas some people propose a global government and a global parliament and others advocate a direct ballot to elect the President of the EU Commission, I consider that we have to work with the present institutions, whatever their shortcomings. At the end of the day this approach too will, sooner or later, call for institutional reforms. But they will meet less resistance if and when they are clearly understood as being necessary for the implementation of widely accepted proposals needed for better and more equitable global governance.

Development and strengthening of the European Union’s common foreign and security policy is one way of working towards to better governance of globalisation. However, this does not mean we would like the EU to become a new superpower. On the contrary, it is more important to try and create a world where there is neither need nor opportunity for superpowerposturing.

We should also bear in mind that the EU’s common foreign and security policy should not mean that the Nordic countries have abandon their common identity and constructive role as pioneers in the development of better global governance.

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