Observer Review: Sheriff And Outlaws In The Global Village By Dan Plesch Essay, Research Paper
Nuclear, unclearSheriff and Outlaws in the Global VillageDan PleschMenard Press ?5, pp47This is the latest in a series of pamphlets by experts such as Joseph Needham, Martin Ryle and Solly Zuckerman. Dan Plesch has long been a leading figure in British strategic studies: he founded Basic – the British American Security Information Council – and is now senior research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute for Defence Studies.He is concerned here with the importance of political co-operation, between and inside states, in fighting terrorism, through intelligence, trade and investment. It will often be necessary to intervene inside sovereign states, but this should always have an explicit mandate from the United Nations and the International Criminal Court should always be involved as soon as possible.Plesch is rightly uneasy about using the word terrorist – indeed one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter. Both Irgun in Israel and the African National Congress in South Africa found it necessary to use terrorist tactics – as did Robin Hood in medieval Britain and John Brown in the American Civil War. But it is difficult to justify the bullet when the ballot is available, so terrorism should have no role inside a democracy.His opposition to President Bush’s proposals for missile defence against ‘rogue states’ is fully justified; America’s own missile forces are a deterrent against enemy missiles and a missile defence force might appear to hostile regimes as designed to make possible a US first strike. The real problem is how to protect America against nuclear, biological or chemical weapons in a boat moored off Los Angeles or New York – a threat that cannot be ignored.Unfortunately, Plesch’s solutions are unconvincing. Global disarmament is a worthy goal, but it is difficult to imagine an agreement on having no new military production contracts after 2010. Moreover, the direct election of national representatives to the UN General Assembly is scarcely conceivable, given the low and falling participation in national elections.While I support the Non-Proliferation Treaty, the abolition of nuclear weapons would make conventional war much more likely. It is difficult to imagine a Third World War while all the Great Powers have nuclear weapons. If neither India nor Pakistan had the Bomb, they might embark on a much bloodier war over Kashmir.