Mr. Bush’s Win-Win Option, September 2001

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© Hazel Henderson, September 2001, and
in the USA, FEATUREWELL 2001 (all rights reserved)
(819 Words)

“Mr. Bush’s Win-Win Option”
Hazel Henderson

Many policy pitfalls have been pointed out to President Bush as his team crafts a response to the terrible attacks of September 11, 2001. They include the need to avoid any rapid retaliation with the use of force, which might kill more civilians. Afghanistan is already a wasteland of poverty, drought and suffering – while Osama bin Laden’s camps are mobile and hard to detect. Recruiting allies and NATO could lead to another set of “us versus them” divisions that could further alienate many other countries – and risk further terrorist acts.

President Bush can learn from his father and avoid such traps by uniting the whole world to participate in curbing terrorism. President Bush now has $40 billion of discretionary funds granted by Congress. He could take $500 million of this and pay the rest of the USA’s arrears owed to the United Nations and to our allies for past UN peacekeeping actions, which were fully approved by the USA. The US Congress voted to pay $582 million of these US arrears a few days after the terrorist attacks, but this money may not arrive at the UN immediately. The US still owes over $500 million more and is racking up more arrears daily. Mr. Bush can properly bypass the Congress and cite our national security in an Executive Order to pay the UN what we still owe.

Why is this so necessary? Because, like his father during the Gulf War in 1991, President Bush needs to create the very broadest coalition of support for the US in dealing with terrorism. Only the UN can deliver this: the support of every country in the world via a UN Resolution. Even our approaches to Pakistan will need to be strengthened by support of all countries – through a UN Resolution.

Such UN action will be swift and supportive of the US – since it can invoke the power of international law and precedent. Then a UN Summit on Terrorism can be quickly convened – with the willing help of our European and NATO partners and include every country wishing to be free of the scourge of terrorism.

The new “war,” as we are learning, is different. The old cowboy West “guns blazing” models belong to the last century. The USA has been the key player in today’s technological and economic globalization. Such technological innovation created the tightly-wired interdependent world we now share with all peoples – rich and poor, industrialized or still pastoral. We took all the firewalls down between national economies and we are now learning how to deal with the consequences: massive flows of “hot money” and the crises and contagion as all economies now move up or down in synch.

Similarly, the world’s 2 billion people surviving on less than $2 per day can see on global media our affluent, often wasteful consumption. The result of this global interdependence is resentment, anger, desperate immigrants seeking better lives for their children – and inevitably, greater risks of terrorism. We in the USA are called to a greater maturity – matching our power and wealth. We lost our innocence on September 11th.

Today’s current economic, technological globalization could end in another global recession and war as the previous globalization did in the 1930s. Therefore, to prevent this, we must help shape a more just and ecologically sustainable global economy. The myriad of international agreements needed to shape this healthier, more balanced globalization, must reinforce those already achieved on human rights, workplace core labor standards and the treaties to protect our global environment.

These accords were brokered over 55 years by the United Nations – and today, many more need to be ratified by the USA, from the Kyoto protocols on global climate change to the International Criminal Court. We need INTERPOL and many other international agencies to help catch Osama bin Laden and his accomplices. Then these criminals can be tried before the International Court in the Hague – along with Slobodan Milosovic and others who commit crimes against all humanity.

President Bush’s first months of unilateralism, during which he abrogated no less than six international treaties, including his missile defense threat to the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, caused deep anger, even amongst the USA’s closest allies. Mr. Bush needs them now – as well as all other countries fighting terrorism.

Only the United Nations has a big enough tent to bring all countries to a Summit on Terrorism, where all – including many sympathetic Muslim countries can shape a worldwide strategy to combat terrorists wherever they are in our wired, global village. Such win-win strategies will become more prevalent as we all learn the lessons of global interdependence.


HAZEL HENDERSON, author, futurist and consultant on sustainable development.  Her latest book is Beyond Globalization: Shaping a Sustainable Global Economy.  The Calvert-Henderson Quality of Life Indicators were partnered with the US based Calvert Group of socially-responsible mutual funds are at  Click on the National Security Indicator for background information.