Imagining a Golden Age: dialogue amongst nations
I want to imagine a Golden Age. And I want other people to imagine a Golden Age, too.
We live in a time where there is little imagination about how the world might be a better place.
Our government officials, corporate CEOs, spiritual leaders and mass media have largely failed to imagine and describe to other people what a better world looks like.
So instead, we are all caught in terrifying visions of doom and catastrophe. The world slouches towards environmental ruin, runaway climate change, and a neo-feudal future where human rights are a thing of the past, and the masses are controlled by a small elite through behavioral technologies, open and blatant propaganda, and demonization of others.
We see this future ahead of us, being built for us, being imposed on us -- and we don't know how to fight because we can't imagine anything else.
So let's put those ugly visions aside. Instead, let's imagine what a Golden Age would look like. I want to do that on this website and my hope is that over time, people will start thinking and talking about a true Golden Age.
Here is one important component of my imagined Golden Age: in the Golden Age, countries will resolve disputes with dialogue, not with war.
Sound unrealistic? This was actually the vision of many dedicated people in the 20th Century, who created an important international legal infrastructure to accomplish just this -- one that still exists, waiting to be used.
In 1899, every major world power (including the United States) signed the Hague Convention of 1899, which created the Permanent Court of Arbitration to help countries solve their disputes through dialogue. The Hague Convention treaty was expanded and reaffirmed in 1907.
In 1928, the United States and France co-sponsored the Kellogg-Briand Pact, a treaty which created a legally binding obligation for countries to resolve their disputes using dialogue and "pacific means." The United States is still a signatory to the Pact.
In 1945, the countries of the world entered into the United Nations Charter, which requires member countries to "refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state."
In 1946, the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg passed judgment on German leaders for waging wars of aggression in Europe. The Tribunal declared that waging aggressive wars was the "supreme international crime" and condemned those leaders to death.
There is wide consensus amongst international lawyers and scholars today that the waging of aggressive war remains a heinous international crime and that countries are bound to resolve their disputes through dialogue.
In many ways, the hard work to create a world where countries resolve their disputes peacefully is already done.
So what remains to be done?
- We must all have the will and the courage to call on our leaders to honor these obligations.
- We must all have the insight to avoid falling under the spell of propaganda and demonization that government officials often resort to, in order to justify a war against other countries.
- We must all support the efforts of those who are building peace, and denounce the efforts of those calling for unjust and unlawful wars.
Dialogue amongst nations is not just a dream. It is actually the law. With just a little effort, it could be a reality, and play an important part in the Golden Age.
I'll keep writing more here about my imagined Golden Age. Keep checking back to see how I imagine what a Golden Age could look like.