Since 2019, the United Nations has celebrated the International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace on 24th April.
For much of human history, distance increased the isolation of cities, nations, and states, and it was promoted as a synonym for security. Foreigners were considered inferior, their fate being servitude, slavery, or death.
The development of “the envoys” was a great advance in the peaceful relationship between peoples. The oldest recorded experiences date from the world of ancient Egypt, China, Asia Minor, and the Hindustani peoples. In the western world, the Greek civilization is the pioneer in giving diplomacy a frequent use. The writing “History of the Peloponnesian War” by Thucydides, is considered the first methodical study, which addresses diplomatic relations (between Sparta and Athens).
In much closer times, around the year 1700 in the West, in full transition from feudal European society to capitalism, there was talk of “external power”, differentiating it from power in the territory itself. A power based on the interests of the dominant groups of the invading and conquering states, which were imposed through war. The treaties constituted the final instrument of the negotiations and diplomatic conferences. The Peace of Westphalia (1648); the Congress of Vienna (1815); the Paris Peace Conference (1856) and the Hague Conferences (1899 and 1907) paved the way for the progress of multilateral diplomacy for peace.
At the beginning of the 20th century, diplomacy developed within the framework of inter-imperialist relations. We understand imperialism as “…the policy of a state that tends to place populations outside that state and other states, under its political, economic and military dependence. Political annexation is the clearest case of imperialism.” (Dictionary of the New Humanism-1996). European countries (England, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Portugal) and the US exercised colonial power worldwide at highly concentrated levels. The percentage occupied was eloquent: 98.9% from Polynesia; 90.4% from Africa; 56.6% from Asia; 27.2% from America and 100% from Australia.
The First World War revealed the failure of diplomacy between the different empires. Once it was finished, the proposal for the creation of a new international order arose, with the appearance of the “League of Nations”, which was later unsuccessful and the international condemnation of secret diplomacy. Studies on international relations were born on the one hand, with Woodrow Wilson’s chair at the University of Wales and his “14 points on peace in Europe and in the world” (1918). From another point of view, a year before, Vladimir Lenin’s “report for peace” (1917) was widely distributed. Capitalism and socialism had in these productions the main references of both paradigmatic positions.
The Treaty of Versailles (1919) after the end of the First European World War, will show how through diplomacy humiliating conditions can be imposed on the defeated that do not guarantee peace. In the Germany vexed in Versailles, Nazism will emerge in the following years. At the end of the great massacre of the Second World War (1938-1945) the agreements in Yalta and Potsdam will impose the division and ordering of the world. The leaders of England, the US, and the USSR delimited areas of influence, agreed to the creation of countries bringing together peoples and nations that did not want to be integrated, they practically did it by looking at maps on their desks.
That same year the most representative multilateral organization in the world to this day will be born: the United Nations (UN), in response to the devastation of war with the main mission of peace and international security.
The post war will order the world into two large blocks led by the US and the USSR. International relations and diplomacy will be governed by the so-called “cold war”. In this bipolar world, they will not directly confront each other militarily, but they will be on the verge of doing so, endangering the entire human species on several occasions, as occurred in 1962, in the so-called “missile crisis or Caribbean crisis”. “. This bipolarity will lead the wars to the so-called “third world” (Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Afghanistan, among others). Trapped in these two great blocs, numerous nations rallied to demand political equality on the world stage. The Afro-Asian meetings in Bandung (1955) and Cairo (1961), the creation of the “Movement of Non-Aligned Countries” in Belgrade (1961) and the Tricontinental Conference in Havana (1966) served the purpose of developing a “ third world movement”, which allowed common positions in the UN, on issues such as: the redistribution of world goods, the demand for better conditions for workers within the international division of labor, the common recognition of the scientific, technological and cultural legacy.
In the 90s the world will stop being bipolar with the fall of real socialism. Unipolarity arises, within the logic of the so-called Washington consensus (so called because the White House, the Capitol, the State Department, the Treasury Department, the headquarters of the World Bank and the IMF, are all gathered in that city, within a radius of approximately one kilometer). The unipolar world with the US as a planetary gendarme favored the permanent dispatch of troops for all kinds of invasions, wars, and occupations. They even came to propose “preventive wars”, or invoked human rights, peace, and humanitarianism as pretexts for military intervention. As of September 11, 2001, they added the false argument of “the war against terrorism”.
We have summarized and synthesized the relations of the leaders that exercise power throughout the historical process, and we have pointed out the main milestones in interstate relations, diplomacy, and multilateralism, since the emergence of nation states. Processes and events that have in common the absence of the leadership of the peoples in decision-making.
The current world elite has a different structure compared with the one at the beginning of the millennium. Now we have multiple poles of elite’s power, with the US in dispute with China and Russia within processes of strengthening and regional rearticulations. Conflicts that cover the economic, the commercial, the technological, and that include the war conflict in Ukraine that pits Russia against a NATO commanded by the leadership of the United States. and the tensions in the Far East between China and the United States in Taiwan area.
The advance of the private para-state has made non-state organizations have enormous influence and question the real weight of multilateral relations. The power that Large Private International Financial Capital is stronger than the UN itself or other State Groups such as the G7, G20 or G77. Networks of the global corporate elite drive the world economy and politics with groups such as: the International Chamber of Commerce (affiliated with the WTO); the Bilderberg Conferences (diplomacy and secrecy multilateralism); the Trilateral Commission (multilateral secrecy between the US, Europe and pro-Western Asia-Pacific); the Davos-based World Economic Forum (multiplicity of strategic issues and adherent to the UN), the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (a member of the UN “business eco-efficiency”).
For the humanists, the world of the domes that concentrate power in very few hands, must be overcome by the project and the government of the peoples. The survival of the human species and the humanization of the world require it. Private international finance capital and the military-industrial complex must be both directly dissolved as soon as possible. The bank must be a tool exclusively for the public good and the armies must be progressively and proportionally dismantled. The complexity of the political, social, cultural, economic, and technological problems of today’s society can be overcome by directing all tangible and intangible resources towards comprehensive health, comprehensive education and quality of life.
We humanists propose that international relations be governed by the principles of human integration, solidarity, non-violence and convergence of cultural diversity.
If we want a real change in multilateral relations, we must start from accepting the absolute failure of the current order, assuming that we cannot get closer to real international cooperation if we do not distance ourselves from the ego-nationalisms of the local ruling classes, in countries with greatest international power. It is necessary to change the current direction, advancing towards processes of personal and social change that generate self-governing peoples, towards the construction of a Universal Human Nation.
Some of our main proposals in terms of international and multilateral relations for peace and non-violence are the following:
Re-found the UN, beginning with the democratic election of the security council through a vote of all nations, without permanent members with veto power.
Prioritize the existence of peoples over the existence of states.
Respect for the self-determination of peoples and the principle of non-intervention, as an affirmation of the intentionality and freedom of human groups.
Practice international solidarity militancy with the peoples who fight for their liberation and against all forms of imperialism and authoritarianism.
Promote the peaceful solution of all conflicts between countries.
Denounce the arms race as a central instrument of economic wars at the service of exploitation and oppression.
Progressive, accelerated and proportional demilitarization, beginning with nuclear weapons.
Immediate agreements to prohibit the research, production and use of lethal autonomous weapons with the application of artificial intelligence and nanotechnology. The same criteria for chemical and biological weapons.
Establish international economic relations based on solidarity and well-being, promoting the development of cooperative, co-management and self-management systems.
Strongly promote international cooperation for development and technological and scientific transfer based on reciprocity and the democratization of knowledge.
International ecological policies that promote the change in the productive, energy and consumption matrix, a true fundamental proposal to reverse the global environmental catastrophe.
Training of the diplomatic corps as public officials who must be accountable to the citizenry, overcoming the elitist and isolated formation of society.
Policies and legislation that allow the free movement of people.
We humanists observe that the historical process is progressing with advances and setbacks, towards an integration of countries into regions and that regions are advancing towards a growing globalization. The sign of the paradigm that will prevail in this globalization cannot be the current one characterized by the absurd and destructive violent concentration of financial, political, economic, cultural, and military power.
The International Humanist Party believes that the humanization resulting from non-violent convergence among peoples will ultimately prevail. We humanists promote the creation of regional federations and a multi-ethnic, multicultural, and multi-denominational world confederation, based on a system of real democracy, which opens the way towards a true Universal Human Nation, governed by personal freedom, solidarity, for equal rights and opportunities, for non-discrimination and for non-violence.
International Coordination Team – Federation of Humanist Parties