Background Briefing - 21/7/2002: Global Morality [abc/net.au] - At the London School of Economics earlier this year, a panel of speakers and members of the audience (at a seminar at DEMOS) addressed the question of whether there is, or could be, or even should be, a new global morality. The question was posed: Could a globally accepted morality prevent the world hurtling towards terrible wars in the name of religion, or a particular culture, or political system? [...]
John Gray, Professor of European Thought at the London School of Economics - [...] What was unanticipated is that the period of globalisation would be a period of weak States in large parts of the world and collapsed States in some parts of the world. What was still less anticipated was that new types of conflict would emerge in which organisations sometimes strategically or tactically for periods of time, based in collapsed States or regions where States had collapsed, would use the technologies and liberties which go with globalisation in order to wage a new kind of war.
Joan Smith, author and columnist - Pinochet seems to be an exemplary husband and father, and a devout Catholic, but he is also a mass murderer. My reason for taking this as my starting point is that I want to challenge the notion that religion has any monopoly at all on morality. I'm not, and never have been a Christian, just as many, if not most of my Arab friends are entirely secular. Religion is only one strand in the way human beings construct their identity, and frequently a very divisive one. It actively encourages exclusivity, encouraging people to think in terms of their difference from the rest of humanity, rather than what we all have in common. It's because of that divisive tendency in religions that I think the most urgent task facing us is to ensure that that framework is based on secular values. What I advocate is a shift away from the kind of collective and coercive moral structure associated with religion, to one that combines modern individualism with a human rights framework.
Mary Kaldor, Professor of Political Science - [N]ew wars are fought not by States, but by networks. These networks (and here I would disagree with John) are not non-State actors. They're a combination of States and non-State actors. If you ask, for example, who undertook the massacres of Rwanda, indeed it was militias, but militias armed by the State. And what you find in many of these killings is that curious division of labour between regular forces and irregular forces in which irregular forces kill at a distance so that they can still act with impunity.
[...] A second characteristic of these new wars which is very important is the fact that instead of being wars in which you mobilise people to achieve military objectives like capturing territory, the point of the violence is political mobilisation. The point of the violence is to create the kind of fear and hatred which rallies people to the ideology or the narrative. [...] The third characteristic is the link with the criminal economy. What I want to make clear is that the implications of these characteristics is that these are wars that are profoundly difficult to end, because the power of the networks depends both on sustaining fear and hate, their ideology depends on sustaining fear and hate, and also their economic sources.
Dr Robert Cooper, formerly a senior member of the British Diplomatic Service, from the United Kingdom Foreign Office - The story that I want to tell is the story of liberty, equality and fraternity, which seemed to me to be the governing virtues of the order today. I think of globalisation as being about the triumph of the market, it's up to you whether you like it or not. On the whole I prefer the market to the military which is the other alternative form of organisation. I don't think that there's as much in between. And for all that one may dislike some of the manifestations of the market and the global market, it does bring with it certain values, notably it brings with it the values of liberty and equality. ... [T]he market evaluates people purely on the basis of how useful they are, which is not very uplifting but it is the governing set of values that we have today.