46th ACADEMY ASSEMBLY
Global Governance: The Role of States & International Organizations
KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Ambassador Thomas Pickering
3 FEBRUARY 2004

CADET : Superintendent of the United States Air Force Academy, Lieutenant General John W. Rosa and the Commandant of Cadets, Brigadier General John Weida and I would like to elcome you to this evening's keynote address of the 46th Academy Assembly. The Academy Assembly is a premier and international conference held annually by the Department of Political Science.
My name is Cadet Third Class , Executive Clerk of the Academy Assembly. This evening we are honored to have with us former United States Ambassador Thomas R. Pickering. Also joining us this evening as members of the official party are Colonel Douglas J. Murray, permanent professor and head of the Department of Political Science and Colonel Raushkolb and his lovely wife, Marilyn, representing the Association of Graduates. This evening Ambassador Pickering will be speaking on global governance. Ambassador Pickering is a Fulbright Scholarship. In a
diplomatic career spanning over five decades he's received such awards as the Distinguished
Presidential Award in 1983 and 1986 and a Distinguished Service Award in 1996. He's received
the highest rank given to anybody in the U.S. Foreign Services, the rank of Career Ambassador.
He has served as U.S. Ambassador to places such as the Russian Federations, Israel, the
Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Nigeria, and El Salvador. Ambassador Pickering has also been the United Stated Undersecretary of State of Political Affairs. Currently Ambassador Pickering serves as the vice president -- Senior Vice President for the Boeing International Relations and on the Boeing Executive Council. Please join me in welcoming Ambassador Pickering.
AMBASSADOR PICKERING: Thanks very much. Thanks. Thank you very much for your warm reception and that very nice introduction. It's a pleasure to be here and escape the vicissitudes of Washington weather. It's also wonderful to see such sartorial diversity as I see out there in the cadet group. Tonight I want to do several things. I hope to set the stage for your meetings on
international and global governance by talking about the role of the states in the international community and particularly our own, the United States, and start by speaking to you a bit
about the present state of the international community with a focus on the role of the United
States. Then I want to discuss the United Nations and its capabilities and weaknesses and a little bit on another international organization, NATO, which we all know well, and then perhaps wind up with some challenges for us all for the future and then turn to your questions, if you will, to fill out the rest of the time. I hope to enliven the conversation and keep you all from the clutches of insomnia. Our world today is more closely linked than it's ever been in world history. We have the firm bonds of technology and communication and the information revolution all to pull that together. As a result we are more interdependent than we've ever been. The U.S. is the undoubted world leader and probably will remain so for the foreseeable future. We have the strongest military, the largest and most vibrant and responsive economy. We are a democracy. We're a federal political system that works reasonably well, although, there are times during election year that one can doubt that. We have a judiciary which functions effectively. It is
reliable and responsive within our own system and serves as the balance wheel of our democracy. This unrivaled American position is truly that. There are few, if any countries now
that in any way can stand up to us given our tremendous capabilities. If we were to look down the road in the future I think one would have to begin to think about China, perhaps, sometime between 2010 and 2025, a uniting Europe, particularly if the present European objectives of
both a deepening in the quality of their uniting Europe and an expansion in quantitative terms of the number of states, continues to move ahead reasonably well. Sometime between 2015 and 2025 they may too be a rival. Russia, is a little more murky. Still the largest storehouse of world wealth in mineral terms, it might become a rival from 2025 on and perhaps something else. There's always something you haven't thought of. But at the moment those seem to be the obvious ones and the ones that could catch up over a period of time particularly if the United
Stated remains static. Now, what's the trouble with all of these conclusions? If we are the biggest and the best of everything why isn't everybody doing everything we want them to do?
There are a number of reasons for this and I think they're worth looking at. But certainly in this day and age even given our strength and our power we aren't able to guarantee that our every whim and every desire as a country will always be accepted by everyone else. One of the critical factors is trust and over a period of years we have begun to build trust back but it takes time and it takes efforts and it isn't always easy. We are, in many ways, a non imperial democracy, something that we haven't seen out there before although a lot of academic friends and colleagues are writing books these days about the new American imperium. I am not persuaded that we have interests similar to those of Britain, France and others in the 19th Century and before. The world is much more likely to be multilateral, that is to engender cooperation and
indeed cooperation along with trust is probably the second item that we can count on as being part of the coin of the realm. The problems we face these days are much more complex than they have been before. An old friend and colleague of mine, later Secretary of State, Larry Eagleburger, at the end of the Cold War said that we would not be too wrong to think that in a few years we would long for the predictability of the Cold War and to some extent Larry was right.
For those of us who lived through that period we never thought that it was very predictable
or very easy and don't have a longing to return despite the fact that the world, these days, is more
chaotic and more kaleidoscopic than we had ever seen. The world these days, in fact, is showing bigger divisions between rich and poor, is characterized by more prevalence of failed states, failed states too that are bedeviled with intrastate and interstate conflict. Terrorism, we all know, is perhaps the watchword these days. If there was a kind of defining impulse in the Cold War, that is the struggle against Communism's effort to dominate the world, there is growing a sense that perhaps the struggle against terrorism assuming something of the same roportions, is potentially at least, a new defining element. But we aren't there yet in my view. It's a world that's afflicted with many new and different problems that in the Cold War we barely paid attention to. Health issues. HIV, AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis and what one now sees as the malign interactions between these diseases. There are people who get one that are much more susceptible to becoming victims of another. Technological change we've all seen and you have grown up with it. Certainly I mentioned earlier the I.T. revolution, communications and looking ahead not too many years, the tremendously interesting contributions that nano technology,
biology and genetics will make among many others. We will in fact be looking, I think, at marriages between biology, I.T. and nano technology. So our role isn’t perfect even if we're
dominant. One of the questions that I'm frequently asked and that you too should be thinking about in terms of our position in the world is why is it that increasingly we have a sense that people out there don't like us? My answer to that is fairly simple. As a memory device I think four words beginning with S can summarize it: Size, Substance -- or for those of you who are not aficionados of foreign policy, substance means the stuff of foreign policy -- Style and Success.
Size is an important one. I've already dilated a bit on our unrivaled size and strength.
This, of course, makes us the biggest kid on the block; the target, the object of everybody else's
interest. The country where the old saying, that when the elephants play the grass gets broken, has a role, obviously, in defining some of the concerns about our size. And obviously if we chose, in stylistic terms, to play a lone ranger role the size becomes even more significant for many people who look out there at us. On Substance, that means differences over foreign policy. The primary one, the one that's most often thought about, is the Arab/Israeli dispute and the constant theme among many in the Arab world, if not all, that the United States has always been traditionally closer to Israel and therefore is either unwilling or unable to play an even-handed role as the moderator and facilitator of peace. But it works the other way around. If our relations with Israel are so good then we're the only likely state to be able, in the long run, to influence them when it comes to hard choices and tough compromises for peace. And there are
differences, I don't need to remind you, over Iraq, Iran, North Korea and trade and that only begins what would be a rather large list. I don't think the United States, as a country committed to its foreign policy, is going to go around changing its foreign policy because other people don't like it and I certainly would be the last to advocate that. But I do think that how we present our foreign policy counts and that's Style. We have to be careful as we pursue our foreign policy, particularly in the area of the War on Terrorism, to follow the first principle of the Hippocratic Oath, which all doctors take; Do No Harm. For us it's extremely important, I think, if we think about this little facet of this particularly large issue that we think about the consequences, if we are not careful, of turning the War on Terror into a war on Islam; something I have long been concerned about having spent a lot of my career in that part of the word. And so, I believe at least one lesson in that department is that paying more attention to these issues, even in an election year when they are traditionally seen to be unaddressable from the American point of view, is significant. Now let me turn to Style. As a diplomat that means to me how we present and explain our point of view, how we conceive of making it clear to others what's on our mind and conceptually why we're thinking that way. If you look in American history you find a long record of what I would call, in something of an understatement, tensions between those who wish to be at home quietly here in America and forget the rest of the world and those who want to play an international role in the traditional tensions between isolationist foreign policies and internationalist foreign policies. And, in today's world, hermit-like policies are highly unlikely to be effective because in fact so much happens in the world which impacts upon us. The old debate, between isolationism and internationalism has moved in a slightly different direction. It has become the debate between unilateralism and multi-lateralism with the unilateralists being perhaps the inheritors of the isolationist doctrine; the multi-lateralists being much more comfortable with internationalism. The truth is here that no single American administration, as it plays its role in the world, can be a hundred percent captive of one or the other of these extremes but they exist on a continuum of how we deal with problems and where we come out on the scale with respect to explaining and portraying and arguing for a particular set of foreign policy issues will not be the same from administration to administration. The balance won't be the same, and it may not be that an administration will come out on the same place on every issue. But it does help to condition how others see us and how others respond to us. The way in which we present a proposition is quite critical and that of course, is a lot about what diplomacy itself is about and it tends to impact on global governance issues. A major case is what we in the jargon of the profession have come to call public diplomacy. You would call it public relations, some more cruel would call it propaganda, but others would call it selling your policy, explaining your policy. Here, particularly post-9/11, we've seen a critical need for knowledge in these areas, for language competence and cultural understanding, for the ability to relate in local terms what American interests are as best we can. And I have to say we still have a large mountain to cross in that area, despite the fact that throughout the Cold War many of these same techniques and many of these same skills were used, perhaps more successfully, to explain American foreign policy and interests. And the final S is Success. We've been enormously successful as a country, both at home and abroad. To imagine that this has brought about jealousies is in itself an understatement and it has also raised the specter of competition. Countries all around the world who have seen what they consider to be the danger of the strength of the United States have sought for counteracting policies. Much of this has died out in the aftermath of 9/11 but before that it was not unusual for the Russians and the Chinese and even the Europeans to be talking about a doctrine of multi-polarity; that there would be, not one leading super power, or as a French foreign minister once said, a hyper-power, but that there would be many and that they would counterbalance each other and that those countries would have strength in this balance and strength in numbers. The problem is that they didn't have the strength and therefore the balance. But it puts a great deal more responsibility on our back not only because of our success and our role but because we become automatically, in the eyes of many, responsible for everything that happens, whether it happens with our help or without our help. So it's a funny,
different, competitive, unusual and tough world that we live in. Governance comes through the roles of states in many different ways and one of the most interesting is the cooperative role in
internationalism organizations. So let me turn for a few minutes to the UN and to NATO as examples of that. Let me take you back, just for a moment, 300 years to the 17th Century when at the end of the 30-Years' War at the peace of Westphalia in Germany the idea of state sovereignty was crystallized. It was imagined to be absolute and unrivaled. The state had free reign to do anything it wanted in its own territory. Interestingly enough, because states have to live together, one of these absolutely unrivaled rights was the right to make treaties and agreements with other states. That in itself, in a very simple way, led to the creation of obligations and reciprocity. I scratch your back, you scratch mine. It's a deal. We keep it. We have mutual interest in keeping it. It's better to observe those agreements than it is to break them. By the 19th Century this began to lead to organizations. Some of them were put together to meet regular needs. Somebody invented postage stamps to make sure that what used to be mail carried by couriers was fully paid for. And somebody else invented an international agreement so that postage stamps issued in one country would be honored in another and indeed that there would be financial offsets on the volume of postal trade. This is just one of many of these kinds of arrangements which interestingly enough lead to a stand-alone international organization which then got absorbed into the League of Nations' system and the United Nations' system and continues to this day. It works in aviation, in telecommunications and almost everything you can think of and indeed if someone comes to me and said what's the major use to us all around here in this
country of something like the United Nations one of the more interesting answers to that is, well, if you fly internationally, if you're interested in what the weather is going to do to you, if you have
problems in your health, if you want to know about shots or India, all of that is worked and
coordinated through the specialized agencies of the United Nations and without them we certainly would have to create them. This has moved ahead but many in the post-World War II period even thought of global government, not just global governance. That's a long way away in my view and as you know there are people who feel very strongly, that the United Nations, in this country, feel very strongly the United Nations is already too powerful. It's the crowd, I suppose, that somehow believes that United Nations' black helicopters are out there daily stealing lawn furniture. The critical issue for the United Nations is one that you will face in your lives on an every day basis: Peace and security. The League of Nations failed and by 1939 were in a world war. The rogue states of the '30s, fascist Germany and Italy, Imperial Japan, defied the League of Nations and got away with it. So the victors of the second world war thought that they had to take the organizing and organizational impulse and experience of the pre-war period and the war itself into account and created a charter for the United Nations. Many people do not realize that the name United Nations preceded the charter and indeed was used to describe those countries working closely together, which we later joined as a coalition against the axis.
The charter was created in 1945. It was signed in San Francisco and one of its principal
preoccupations coming out of the great conflict of the middle of the 20th Century was peace and
security. It created a United Nations security council to deal with that. It was the smallest of
the legislative bodies of the United Nations. It's since been enlarged from nine to 15. It has always had five permanent member states; the United States, the United Kingdom, France, China, and Russia, although the Chinese membership changed in the '70s from Taiwan to Beijing, and it has always had in its latest form, 10 rotating members; five elected each
year for two-year terms from various regions of the world. The preeminent members were essential if the United Nations were ever to take any action to deal with disruptions to peace and security because they represented the strongest states at the time and the most significant powers. They were given a veto. Not only because they were essential to make things happen but because none of them would join if they thought the Security Council could gang up against them and actually, by majority vote, take action against one of the permanent members.
It's a council of difficulty as well as reality because it led the United Nations' Security Council to stagnate for most of the Cold War. An interesting, almost trivia kind of fact, is that all of the states in the world that have signed up to the United Nations' charter have signed up to legal articles which allow the Security Council to make binding rules on us. So under certain circumstances the Security Council can make rules which in international law are binding. Not all states
observe that binding quality, while all the resolutions passed against Iraq, all the 17 were of
that particular character and the consequences for Iraq among many reasons for the use of force against that country was that it was a consistent violator of that binding aspect of United Nations international law-making through the Security Council. The Security Council is the one United Nations body that can authorize the use of force and give it legitimacy. Interestingly enough if you're a strict constructionist and you think about international governance or global governance and you think about the use of force you can only find two ways in the United Nations' charter that the particular document will permit the use of force. One of those is self-defense. In Article 51, in individual or collective self-defense, states are given carte blanche, automatic authority to use force. Until 9/11 that was very narrowly interpreted. You, in effect, had to suffer an attack on your soil and against your people before that article became operative to give you that authority. That's now changing. Our National Security Doctrine speaks about pre-emptive or preventative war but it has no clear test yet with respect to how that's applied. My feeling is that it's most closely related to self-defense and that over time we will have to seek
some kind of standard for the application of preventative or pre-emptive war, such as clear and
present danger. Certainly I don't think anybody in this country in his right senses would deny the president has the right and authority to protect us under conditions where we expect an imminent attack with a high degree of confidence. Iraq has added to the concerns of the application of the present National Security Doctrine without close definition. On the one hand if we have devised this as a doctrine exclusively for ourselves no other state in the world will accept that kind of particularism. On the other hand, if a very loosely defined doctrine of pre-emptive war has become, in effect, applicable to all states without any formula to judge precisely when that doctrine can be applied then it's an open invitation for all states to settle their quarrels by the use of force having recourse to that particular doctrine whenever they like.
The second issue in the use of force in the United Nations charter is the fact that the Security Council, as I said earlier, can authorize that use of force. They have to do it with nine of the 15 votes and no veto. Kosovo was one of the important circumstances that showed the inadequacies of the Security Council in the application of that particular approach. We had on the one hand a genocide occurring in Kosovo. We had on the other hand the United Nations charter that said thou shalt not intervene in the internal affairs of states and even more importantly the Security Council which was stuck by the possibility, indeed the probability of a Russian veto, over any authorization of use of force. The Secretary General said it best when he said, this is a clear problem for us in international governance that we need to get at and to which we need to find an answer. Certainly the charter of the United Nations was never put into place to protect genocide and the authors of genocide. Many have thought about this. The answer, in the immediate term was to ignore the charter; to operate in NATO and to bring about an end to the genocide and I think for the future we'll want to be thinking about in cases of humanitarian disaster, an
intervention perhaps on issues of non-proliferation, on a different kind of formula. Some have talked about requiring a two- or three-state veto to sustain a blockage of the use of force on those occasions. The Security Council was also, in terms of governance, looking at the
issue, and has been for more than a dozen years, years of its own enlargement. The UN has grown from 40 to 191 and more states would like to serve on the Security Council. The danger there for anybody who has ever worked on it is that it becomes unworkable if it becomes too large. Let me say a word or two about NATO. NATO's perhaps the most successful of international organizations set up, in fact, to provide us with partnerships in security, particularly in the face of a Cold War threat in Europe. It's changing. But I have to say that I think that all of the work that we did in NATO provided the basis for the kind of collaboration and the coalition put together to deal with both the first and the second Gulf War. It was an essential and important element. NATO is enlarging and NATO has increasingly moved its activities into dealing with these fractious intrastate and interstate conflicts that take place all around the world.
NATO is the one place in the world, short of going to a single state, where you could mobilize up to 60,000 troops on a short period of time, able to operate in close conjunction with each other, with common doctrines, if not yet common weapons and logistics. A very, very important achievement. NATO, as you know, is not only playing a huge role in Kosovo and in Bosnia but now in Afghanistan and I would believe, in not too distant future, probably in Iraq. Challenges for the future I've listed and I won't repeat them, but it's true that no one state, not even the United States, I believe, can take all of the burden. Cooperation is essential. Cooperation brings many benefits to us. There's a sharing of financial responsibility and indeed of troop contributions. It brings new ideas to the fore. It takes advantage of experience and institutional knowledge spread out around the world. It provides legitimacy. It helps to use that alphabet soup list of agencies that are part of the United Nations to help us run the world as a more orderly place.
We're condemned, certainly at your age and for the rest of mine, to live in a complex and changing world. Man is certainly a cooperative and social and perhaps organization-prone animal. We are unlikely, I think, for the foreseeable future, if at all, to have global governance set in the guise of a single state or authority but we're much more likely to continue the sporadic and somewhat backward and forward process toward a more multi-lateral future. We remain in the unique position to lead. The UN and NATO are but a few of the big opportunities that are out there for us and both organizations are a reflection of member-state interests. Neither of them have a totally independent existence. There is not some kind of institutionalized imperative just as the doctors tell us that what we are is what we eat, so internationally what we want depends upon how we lead. So, thank you for your time and attention and I now hope very much that I can talk to you about some of the questions that are on your mind. (Applause.)
MALE SPEAKER: If you have any questions just raise your hand. Yes, Bill.
CADET : Sir, my name's Cadet . I'm reading an interesting book right now for one of my classes that's called the Iraq War Reader and it does an excellent job of pinpointing historical evidence regarding many regions of the world and especially leading up to the Iraq conflict. My question is: Seeing as how, in the fallout of World War I and World War II, there were a lot of boundaries drawn that should not have been there do you see countries working towards redrawing those boundaries or do you think they'll always remain?
AMBASSADOR PICKERING: It's a very interesting question. My feeling is the following: That we're probably in a position in this day and age to think that the processes and pressures of further subdivision and creation of more national units, that process is running down just as certainly in Europe, but interestingly enough not too long ago in Africa, the creation of the new African union, you have countervailing processes and pressures to build up regional cohesion. The European union is like seeing the evolution of the United States in the '80s of the 18th Century in super-slow motion. But nevertheless it's moving ahead and it's moving ahead with a lot of support from the United States because we, I guess, are impressed by the fact that imitation is the highest form of flattery. It's also moving ahead because we have very little interest in being drawn again into conflicts in Europe and the European union based on Franco German repro rapprochement
seems to be a wonderful way to overcome that. There, parts of the world are less lucky but it's been interesting. Since the 1960s there has been an almost ironclad pact in Africa that, as
unhappy as the colonial borders are, Africans will not seek to redraw them as between hemselves. The one exception was the separation of Eritrea from Ethiopia which led to a bloody conflict not too many years ago over where the separation line should actually be drawn.
My hope and my feeling is that the Balkans, this disintegration of Yugoslavia and the emergence of small, separate entities on an ethnic basis will not proliferate but will become more rapidly, than I think many of us now think possible, absorbed into a European union where, in fact,
particularly economically speaking, but increasingly political and security terms, Europe is becoming borderless inside. Where the sublimation, if you like, of the nationalist interest is a major wave of activity even while, as the Europeans did in the western part of Europe, a creation of new regions of cooperation can occur without borders. Basques in Spain are not there yet but
Catelans are. Bretons in France and other minorities in Europe have much more, I think, opportunities to deal for their own future, as I think will Albanians in the Balkans, Serbs, Croats, Bosnians and Macedonians. These are interesting experiments but they seem to be moving and I think that those will play, as an optimist at least, the stronger role than the proliferation, if you like, of many states which could go on almost endlessly but always brings huge pain particularly with intermixed populations. And we're seeing right now in Iraq, with the Kurds, a particularly salient example of that problem. What will be the right balance between Kurdish autonomy in a new Iraqi state, on the one hand, and Kurdish long-term needs and feelings about creating their own independent state out of parts of Turkey and Iran and Iraq, something that seems, at the moment, highly unlikely to happen. Do I pick people or do the guys with the microphones -- right down here, please.
CADET : Mr. Ambassador, Cadet Second Class from CS 32. Sir, I'm curious about your opinion on the increased involvement of U.S. military in diplomatic matters and the implications that will have for global governance and coalition building?
AMBASSADOR PICKERING: Yeah, increased involvement and I missed it. Increased nvolvement
in what?
CADET : Of the U.S. military --
AMBASSADOR PICKERING: Yeah.
CADET -- in the diplomatic matters.
AMBASSADOR PICKERING: Diplomatic matters. I have always thought that diplomatic questions without a proper understanding and interest in the use, when necessary, of the military were imperfect. It doesn't mean always that we have to be out threatening but it means that we ought to know, diplomats and military, enough about each other's business to have an understanding of what works and doesn't work and how it fits together. I think, secondly, that's a consultative
and cooperative relationship, not a replacement relationship. I have always admired the military
and because after the Civil War they decided that the election of officers rather than the professional education of officers was a bad system. In U.S. diplomacy we still have the emnants of that old system in a sense that we have outside appointments to leadership positions in American diplomacy often not based on professional accomplishments but on
party contributions. I'm not sure that I could argue that the military are any less qualified to be good diplomats than those people are and some over the years, George Marshall in particular, turned out to be superb, particularly in his period of Secretary of State. But I believe, in fact, that each of us pursues our own careers, our own building of professional knowledge and then I have long been an advocate that we must know a great deal more about each other and how we operate. We have to be able to take, what you in the military have created in the area of jointness among the services, and find ways to bring together those civilian activities that take place particularly in times of humanitarian disaster and post combat situations. I would have to tell you that what's happened in Iraq is, I think, the greatest impulse to that to making those steps and changes that I've ever seen. And I hope, in fact, that it's taken seriously. I spent my last four years as Under Secretary of State speaking frequently to both military and civilians in various courses from Capstone on down about what I felt was this imperative and now I have, I think, I hope adequate facts to prove my case. But I don't think, in fact, that we should turn diplomacy over to the military just as I don't think that the military, particularly if not prepared in planning for it, are
the right folks to take total control of the post combat situation in countries like Iraq. But, thank you for your questions and thank you for the opportunity to be with you. (Applause.)
CADET: Ambassador Pickering, sir, on behalf of the United States Air Force Academy we'd like to present you with this special token of our appreciation.
AUDIENCE: Bird.
AMBASSADOR PICKERING: Thank you, very
much.





 

 

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