“TAMING WAR” UPDATE – February 2020:
THE NONLETHAL SECURITY FOR PEACE CAMPAIGN
“Taming War – Culture and Technology for Peace” was published in 2007. The book needs some updating but its main conclusions still stand.
Many of the suggested steps for action (see below) are already being promoted by peace agencies around the world, but one major focus of the book, the development of nonlethal technology, is still receiving almost no attention.
A few military and police agencies have invested in nonlethal technology, but there is little awareness in the general community of the potential of this approach to peace.
In order to address this issue, The Non-Lethal Weapons Campaign was launched in 2009. The name was expanded to ‘The Non-Lethal Weapons for Peace Campaign’ in June 2011.
It was realised that this title was not completely satisfactory. The term ‘weapon’ has significant connotations of violence. As well, the campaign was concerned with the whole range of technology beyond ‘just weapons’.
As a consequence the campaign again changed its name and ‘The Nonlethal Security for Peace Campaign’ came into existence on 17 May 2013.
The Nonlethal Security for Peace Campaign is based on the concept that, in the immediate future at least, warfare – physical conflict between nations or equivalent groups of people – is likely to continue, but that this conflict can be managed without killing or injuring people.
Such an approach requires a radical change in our approach to military action. Currently, once a conflict is under way, military forces focus on killing aggressors, as well as on destroying their weapons. The new approach obliges the military to resist aggression but do everything possible to minimise killing or injuring the opposing forces (and of course, non-combatants).
The aims of The Nonlethal Security for Peace Campaign are to:
- Reduce death and injury in warfare by promoting the use of non-damaging technology in conflict resolution
- Influence peace-keeping agencies (such as the UN) to move progressively from lethal to non-lethal weaponry
- Subsequently influence defence forces in nations around the world to make the same transformation to non-lethal defence
- Over the course of time, change world culture from lethal to non-lethal conflict resolution, with the result that the nuclear weapons that threaten our species will finally be eliminated
- By removing lethality from conflict resolution, help to lower the overall level of violence in society, promoting a more peaceful and just world.
The Nonlethal Security for Peace Campaign is only one element in the global movement for peace. It works cooperatively and positively with the many excellent organisations and individuals who are campaigning for peace with justice for all the citizens of this planet.
At this stage (February 2020) the Nonlethal Security for Peace Campaign has no formal structure. It is an informal movement which encourages the involvement of people and organisations that support its aims.
Steps for Action outlined in ‘Taming War’
A number of Steps for Action are outlined in ‘Taming War’. The Nonlethal Security for Peace Campaign supports all these steps. It gives particular focus to the fourth step: Use non-lethal weapons to limit the damage.
- Study the origins of war
War is much older than humans. We must continue to explore why and how it has permeated our biology and our culture.
- Study what drives humans to make war
We need to analyse and understand the powerful drives that, to date, have ensured our survival, but which also propel us into warfare.
- Design a scientific strategy for peace
We have to treat war objectively and without moral judgment, just as we would treat a disease. By doing this we can design a rational effective plan for dealing with war, based on fact and not emotion.
- Use non-lethal weapons to limit the damage
Armed conflict is likely to be with us for a while at least. If we can use non-lethal weaponry to repel or constrain aggressors, we may be able to minimise immediate pain and grief and also reduce the long-term risk of revenge. We can start by using non-lethal weapons in United Nations peacekeeping.
- Control guns domestically
We need to greatly reduce the number of firearms in the community, except those used for sport shooting. We also need to give our police officers non-lethal protection instead of handguns.
- Increase United Nations peacekeeping
UN peacekeepers play a very important role in preventing conflicts and in halting and resolving those that start. We need to give peacekeepers much better support.
- Redirect the military into community work
While for the moment supporting their role in defence, we need to change the military into becoming for the most part community workers.
- Create useful challenges to satisfy aggressive drives
Society already redirects our competitive aggressive war-making drives into such activities as commerce, sport and adventure. We need to deliberately increase this involvement, concentrating particularly on designing challenging experiences for all our young people. There are many needs in the world such as reducing poverty, arresting global warming and repairing the environment, which can provide any amount of challenge.
- Share satisfying employment
Unemployment is dispiriting and disempowering as well as being a factor in social unrest. Repetitive mindless jobs can dull the senses as well as wasting skills. We need to share employment opportunities across the community. In addition, we need to share the tedious and unpleasant tasks that have to be done.
- Develop a culture of peace
Because war has been so central to human existence, our culture is very much imbued with the symbols and language of war. While honouring the warriors of the past, from now on we need to develop a culture which expresses a non-violent approach to life. This will include strong support for human rights and ending capital punishment.
- Better manage our political leadership
We need to improve the way we select and manage our political leaders so that we are less at the mercy of psychopathic, incompetent or just misguided individuals.
- Reform the United Nations
The United Nations needs strengthening and supporting, but it also needs reform. We must establish a more democratic governance which is not so controlled and manipulated by the Great Powers. At the same time we must ensure that the UN bureaucracy becomes more efficient, effective and accountable.
- Eliminate nuclear weapons
There must be no more proliferation of nuclear weapons. Those nations possessing nuclear weapons must together start progressively to dismantle and destroy their weapons until no more remain.
- Reduce world poverty
We must keep to the commitment of Making Poverty History (which aims at halving world poverty by 2015). We must aim to eliminate world poverty as soon as possible after that date.
- Improve the world environment
We must work together to improve the environment, reducing carbon emissions and arresting global warming. Our long-term goal must be of world-wide sustainable development.
- Promote world citizenship
We need to promote the concept of world citizenship. We have to encourage the development of democratic structures which transcend national boundaries.
- Break up super powers into smaller states
We must gradually, peacefully and naturally dismantle our super powers into smaller more equal-sized states, so that there is consistent representation and responsibility around the globe.
- Establish a World Parliament
Finally, we need to establish a world parliament. This parliament would not enforce conformity and blandness. In contrast, it would support the diversity and self-determination of individuals and of small communities. Indeed its main role would be to protect individuals and communities from being damaged or destroyed by what at present we call sovereign nations. As one ‘sovereign nation of the world’ we would have no excuse to go to war with anyone.
For further information about the Nonlethal Security for Peace Campaign go to
Post: Box 724, Avalon Beach, NSW 2107 Australia
Phone: Please email email@example.com for a phone contact number.