Do The Freakin Math

Liberals and conservatives alike frequently rely on limited evidence, personal experience, religious beliefs or gut emotions to determine solutions for complex problems. From immigration to global warming - taxes to terrorism - or health care to free trade - analytical study is rare. Science based policy making isn’t the way of Washington. And the consequences are catastrophic. Change is urgently needed. Just do the freakin’ math.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Preventing Lone Wolf's will require a New UN.



The chickens are coming home to roost!
The  "fight them there so we don't have to fight them here" strategy in our ‘global war against terrorism’  didn’t work so well.   Somehow they found out where we live.   Using predominately military and intelligence resources predictably backfired.    But some on the right still believe we need to “crush” them over there to ‘win’ this war.
Pre 9-11 efforts to stamp out terrorism were mostly police work and a few cruise missile strikes.   Post 9-11 our military and intelligence agencies were lavished with unrestricted spending to bring ‘terrorists’ to “justice”.    President Obama did ratchet back the military invasion/occupation approach which had morphed into “clear, hold and build” that appeared to succeed.  But, our military capacity for ‘hold and build’ (especially the ‘build’) was lacking in money, expertise, and public/political will.   
As violent extremist attacks increase on our ‘home land’ there are a few important factors to consider.  First, nearly twice as many Americans have been killed on US soil post 9-11 by White supremacy and American anti-government devotees than so called Islamic extremists.  Unfortunately, ISIS’s talented use of the internet to infect and recruit Americans with their poisonous and violent ideology may likely change that.
The four Marines murdered in Tennessee last week is America’s future.   There will be an increase in lone wolf attacks.   It should now be self-evident that ‘killing them over there’ will only increase the number of attacks here.   Dramatic increases in intrusive intelligence collection on Americans will only be mirrored by loan wolf efforts to avoid such data drag nets.  It was recently reported that all of the NSA data collection since 9-11 detected zero domestic ‘terrorist’ plots while New York City’s finest policing efforts detected and stopped over 20 such home grown plots.
After NSA, FBI, and CIA surveillance efforts were unable to detect the murderous intent of Mohammad Youssef Abdulazeez it should be clear to every American that we must find a better way to address this metastasizing threat.   Ask two questions.   “Why are they doing this?” And,  “How do they do it?” Given the increasing and unstoppable number of “hows” (means of mass murder), perhaps its time to seriously consider the “why”.   And then formulate a new “how” to minimize the growing global and domestic threat.
An organizational sign on letter released today offers profound insights (http://www.allianceforpeacebuilding.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Statement-FINAL.pdf)
And a Commission report released last month offers a profound ‘how’ to move forward on this and other inevitable national security risks. A brief review of this report offered this week  (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tad-daley/an-aging-united-nations-i_b_7814386.html
By now there should be no doubt that it a ‘war’ response to the ‘terrorists’ threat is a primary source of committed souls willing to commit heinous acts of mass murder on American soil.  And, both our ‘war’ efforts apologetic response to ‘collateral damage’ (the murder of innocent Muslims) and the lethal insecurity that our war machine has brought to their cities and country sides would be inherently unacceptable to any culture, society, religion, nation or clan.   
We must stop using the words “terrorism” or “terrorist” to describe a target.  The first is an emotional observation.  The second is an accusation label with no universally agreed upon definition. 
Technically, the attacks on the Tennessee recruiting station were not ‘acts of terrorism’.  Military targets are legitimate targets in ‘war’.  Our ‘war’ waging on what we believe to be ‘legitimate’ targets over there, using drones to target suspected Islamic terrorists (who see themselves as warriors) is actually delivers the emotion of terror to the hearts and minds of many peaceful Muslims.  When their loved ones become collateral damage, the survivors become warriors.    
In a civilized world those who murder intentionally or by accident are called ‘criminals’ or ‘mass murderers’.  Labels like warrior, soldier or terrorists are meaningless for ending the killing.  Those suspected of murder should be treated as suspects.
And “bringing them to “justice” should not mean assassination by drone, drowning, or beheading by explosive cord.  It should mean a legal process established by a democratic process enforcing ‘just’ laws  equally on all with the primarily goal of protecting individual rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
This ideal was originally offered after the horrors of World War II in the unanimously approved Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  It was ignored because nations refused to give up their sovereign power to do as they like, anytime they like, to whomever they like.   Now that extremist religious ideologies, corporations and nation states all claim the same autonomy/sovereign right, there needs to be a universal project to limit such power/freedom of abusive actions. 
A world government should be rightfully feared.   But a World Federation should be given a chance.  Achieving it will likely be bloody.  But so has our collective failure to act on this obvious need over the last  70 years since the UN was created.  Now with the exponential growth of increasingly powerful and affordable means of mass murder we must find a way to undermine the desire to kill.   We need to put our faith in justice and the universal protection of human rights, that even our founding fathers agreed belong to all humanity, not just White American males. 
Time is not on our side.  I’m really hoping we are not too late.  

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Bloody Friday: Transforming the UN to defeat terrorism.



On Friday (June 26, 2015) the day of celebrating the 70th anniversary of the creation of the United Nations, multiple mass killings occurred in various UN member nations around the world.  Most were carried out by religious extremists.  Day’s earlier respectable reports documented the annual acceleration of terrorist acts in both their quantity and lethality.  News stories this same week report the direct connection between this expansion of violence and an increase in refugees flows not seen since World War II.  It is inevitable that this increasing stream of refugees will carry with them an even greater destabilizing effect on health, economic and political factors that no one in the world will be immune to.
So why are these murderous acts of extreme violence accelerating?  A strong case can be made that they are largely fueled by several factors that individual nations have unintentionally caused or been unable or unwilling to intentionally stop.  The alarming fact is that this horrendous trend in mass murders will only accelerate until the real causes are clearly identified and structures for prevention and effective responses are institutionalized, financed and comprehensively and universally supported.
The number one rule in Sun Tzu’s ancient book “The Art of War” is to ‘know your enemy’.  This profound rule was missed from the start after the World Trade Towers fell on 9-11.  “They hate us because of our freedoms” was the rallying call then.   And a global war against an unbeatable tactic was the chosen strategy.  We fundamentally failed to understand what precisely motivated the mass murder of Americans, not Swedes or South Americans, and gifted Al Qaeda with the US invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003 which only boosted the credibility of their narrative.  Then even after routing them from Iraq we only set the stage for the emergence and evolution of ISIS, a far more murderous group and organized threat to Middle East regional stability, US interests in the region (oil and Israel), and our own homeland security.   Some still believe war is the answer.
US policy makers committed to effectively destroying the roots of ‘terrorism’ must first understand what nourishes the roots to destroy them.  Even the most efficient killing of the branches and leaves of this religiously framed invasive crop only nourishes it roots.  
So what are the roots?  First, would be the obvious injustices that the current global system of international law has inadvertently allowed to persist.  Collateral damage, torture, genocide, war crimes, repression, hunger, illiteracy, lack of access to health care, clean water, sanitation...  These persist primarily as a result maintaining the United Nation’s designed incapacity to effectively outlaw them.
Another is the selfishness innate in most people.  Right wing Americans want security at any cost.  Lefties want peace at any cost.  Neither population has accepted the profound truth offered seventy years ago by Emery Reves in his then acclaimed book “The Anatomy of Peace”.  He alleged ‘security is not a function of armaments or disarmament. It is a function of justice.  And justice is a function of law.  And only world law can bring lasting peace.  Mr. Reves was not referring to holy law, or the law of dictators, kings or Ayatollahs.  He was referring the ‘rule of law’ where laws are created and enforced by a democratic process, applied equally to all, and (most importantly) ‘protective of a certain set of rights that all people have because they are born’.  Not because they are American.  Not because they are Christian, Jew or Muslim.  Not because they are male or wealthy.  But because they are human.  These three fundamental factors were offered by Supreme Court Justice Antony Kennedy in the late 1990s when asked, ‘what makes the rule of law effective?’. 
The most comprehensive and useful list of human rights were derived after the horrors of World War II.  In this context the Universal Declaration of Human Rights may now be the most profound document in human history.  It was drafted and unanimously passed after the triple horrors of a world war, a planned genocide and the first use of an atomic bomb. It was painfully clear to all then that future generations must be spared these threats and that the best hope was in ensuring the most fundamental human rights for all.  President Franklin D. Roosevelt offered similar wisdom in shorthand at the beginning of World War II with his ‘four basic freedoms’ speech in his State of the Union address.  He insisted all humanity deserves the freedom of expression and religion, and freedom from want and fear.  These must be enforced today if we are to ever ensure maximum freedom, security, peace and sustainable prosperity for all.
Within this enlightened view of human desire it’s easier to understand some of the most powerful motivations for human attraction to ISIS aside from the ‘jihad cool’ factor (ISIS’s skilled social media soldiers offering privileged but disenfranchised youth a global purpose).  ISIS web narratives and videos vividly display real and perceived injustices done to their Muslim brothers and sisters across the Middle East and other less developed, corruptly governed or ungoverned nations.  This narrative has power.  Privileged and disenfranchised youth anywhere gravitate to the freedom to brutally kill those who have caused or supported such repression or insecurity for those they identify with. Once new recruits arrive and witness the repressive rules and barbarity of ISIS itself however, some defect and regret their ‘jihad cool’ seizure.  The more gullible or delusional become the cannon fodder for expanding ISIS territory or suicide bombers for spreading the chaos required for further ISIS expansion elsewhere beyond Iraq and Syria.
Conventional military and counter-terrorism efforts that use war (the law of force) to defeat ISIS only fuel this narrative given war’s inherent collateral damage and inevitable alliance with unsavory forces.  Any unmerited deaths only feed both the Al Qaeda and ISIS narratives.  And, while a heavy US ‘boots on the ground’ offensive could shrink or eventually eliminate the ISIS control of territory, such ‘progress’ would only fuel and mutate their murderous ways. 
War is the path of their advantage given the next critical factor.  A key factor often ignored by old-school warriors and drum circle peace nicks. It is the exponential growth and increasing affordability of dual use technologies. 
Nearly all ubiquitous everyday technologies can be combined into unprecedented WMD killing capacity. A power formerly restricted to nation states.  Any serious effort to try and stop any individual’s abuse of these technologies will now require a ‘Nazi-like’ intrusive police state.  And even it would have great difficulty in pre-empting every mass murder before it happens.  This intrusive attempt to preempt mass murder will most likely incentivize more mass murderers.  Preventing the inspiration of more mass murderers will require a far different approach.  Winning hearts and minds.  This will require establishing a global social, economic and political environment that cripples the motivation for mass murder. While this path may seem impossible, it will be far more effective, affordable and acceptable than trying to eliminate the ubiquitous means of mass murder.  A reliance on the education of progressive ideas such as democratic governance, transparency, justice, and freedom from want; fear, repression and indoctrination for all is a narrative that will generate far more allegiance to a promising global future.  It won’t create heaven on earth but it could save us from a living hell.
If one doubts this hypothesis, consider the evolution of weaponry now before us.  With all the attention on Iran’s possible nuclear threat, far too many national security experts are ignoring the evolution of biological, chemical, cyber, energy, conventional, robotic and even consumer devices that can easily be converted to WMD. 
Examining just one category (drones) should be transformative.  Drones can be combined with almost any other destructive technology (explosives, chemical, bio…).  According to a recently published report by the Center for a New American Security titled “A World of Proliferated Drones: A technology Primer”, “over 90 countries and non-state actors operate drones today, including at least 30 that operate or are developing armed drones.” While most people are concerned about “the proliferation of high-end military-grade systems, in reality, a far wider range of drones is already being used for disruptive purposes.”  The White House, conceivably the most secure building in the world, has already been breached by hobbyist drones.  Alarmingly, it’s best air defenses were unable to detect or stop a manned gyro-copter capable of carrying a 50 lb payload (that could have been a missile instead of letters).  The CNAS report’s final chapter states “hobbyist drones are often less discussed within a security context, though they perhaps hold the greatest potential for achieving overmatch against the United States in the near term.”  ‘Over match’ being the catch phrase for defeating our nation’s best defenses. Cyber and biological threat experts believe the same is true about their technology concerns even without drone involvement.  It should now be clear that security is largely an illusion.  If someone is highly committed and half way cleaver, stopping a mass murder or major disruption is virtually impossible. And our freedom loving, complex and interconnected society only exacerbates our vulnerability.
The key point is that no nation alone can govern the use or abuse of any of these rapidly evolving and increasingly dynamic, ubiquitous and affordable technologies.  We must top making enemies, and work far more diligently at making more friends.  Even good government can’t make all people good friends. But it can provide means of making far less internal enemies.  And, there is one form of government that does this better than most others. It’s called a federal system.  A relatively good case can be made that the United States’ 260 year experiment with it may offer humanity with our best chance of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all’.  Our federal system works to the degree it puts human rights above states’ rights. That’s what the UN design has backwards.
A world federation with human rights superior to the rights of nation states is almost unimaginable today.  But, primarily because of its unexamined potential.  Americans fear world government more than the continuing world chaos that is insured by the current UN system.  But, with dual-use technologies putting more and more power into the hands of ‘we the people’ – it is they who will decide if their new found powers will be used to democratize global freedom and security policies or to destroy or disrupt any or every level of civilization that stands in the way of their freedom and security.
This profound value of inalienable human rights is not new.  It was officially recognized over 800 years ago by the Magna Carta. Some historians believe it was documented elsewhere centuries before ‘western civilization’ existed.  Maintaining abusive national, religious or corporate powers to do as they please will never yield a freer, more secure, prosperous and sustainable future for humanity.   The current UN system maintains this status quo.  “We the people” are only represented in words in the UN preamble.  Nowhere within the UN charter are people outside of governments given any real power.  A strong case can be made that a transformation of the UN system is essential for it to fulfill on its original mission and ensure our species survival on this increasingly troubled planet where intentional mass murder is not the only threat we all face.
Logical steps toward, and structures for, such a more workable world are painstakingly detailed in a new book “Transforming the United Nations System”.  Joseph E. Schwartzberg has dedicated most of his life to studying this noble global agency, its inherent structural flaws and the changes needed to transform it into a manageable, transparent and effective global body.   A body capable of maximizing freedom, security and sustainability for all human kind.
Woody Allen once said “Humanity stands at a crossroad. One road leads to utter hopelessness and despair. The other, to complete annihilation.”  He hoped we had “the wisdom to choose the right path.”
Many Americans believe working toward a democratic world federation is hopeless yet they remain in deep despair about the deterioration of world events they see, read, hear about, or experience each day.   A grand majority remains unable to see that it is our collective unquestioned faith and reliance on unenforceable international law that is the surest path toward annihilation.  But certainly, more people each day, are moved by the growing hopelessness of continuing down the same lawless path, and are seeking new pathways.   Some find the path of mass murder under global Sharia law.  Others see a more promising path of mass human rights, under a democratic world federation.


Sunday, June 21, 2015

Mission Impossible for Dept of Homeland Security



David Ignatius correctly stated “This imbalance needs to be fixed” (“The security point man” David Ignatius, Washington Post, 6-17-15).  From his list of vulnerabilities in airline, cyber and Whitehouse security, it should be obvious to all that Jeh Johnson, the new Secretary of the US Department of Homeland Security has an impossible mission.
It’s mission impossible because in reality his effectiveness is ‘dependent’ on other individuals, agencies, technologies, corporations and even those in other nations to being effective 100% of the time.  And, those wanting to do great harm to our so called ‘independent’ nation have increasing global access to increasingly powerful, affordable, miniaturized, robotized and anonymous dual-use technologies -- technologies relatively easily convertible to WMD.  And, these potential mass murderers only have to be effective one percent of the time.  Knocking airplanes our of our skies, hijacking our governments computers or bringing our nation to its knees economically or biologically is virtually inevitable.
Our so called ‘exceptional’ nation will remain increasingly vulnerable to terrorists because we actually believe we are the exception to a trilemma that governs reality with its own “code of accountability”.   
Americans expect without question three things; freedom, security and independence.  In reality we can only have two at a time.  Our persistent reliance on ‘independent’ agencies, systems and governments in an irreversibly interdependent world ensures we will continually be trying to seek a ‘freedom/security’ balance; a balance that cannot be achieved with independent policies. 
We create this unresolvable real world dilemma because we accept without question the illusion of independence; an illusion that forces us to sacrifice freedom for security or security for freedom, but will inevitably result in our sacrifice of both in a futile attempt to retain our independence.
When our original 13 independent states decided to form a federal government some 260 years ago each state sacrificed some sovereignty (independence) to a federal government that promised to put human rights above states’ rights - and resolve state squabbles with laws (the rule of law) instead of arms (the law of force).  Inevitably, a civil war between those states arose because one group of states insisted on putting states’ rights above human rights and chose independence from the federation.
If the United States continues to insist on a confederation of nation states globally with over 200 independent government system to exist peacefully in an entirely interdependent world without sacrificing human rights our future is dim.  As long as human rights remain subordinate to the rights of nation states in our interdependent world, our nation and all Americans will never again see a rational balance between freedom and security.  With the 4th of July quickly approaching our celebration of ‘independence’ needs to reexamined.  Our highly valued human desires of freedom and security are impossible to achieve using independent agencies, policies and corporations in a confederated world where other so called ‘independent’ nations are allowed to do anything they want, especially if they are armed with nuclear weapons.  Our current UN system of global governance and unenforceable ‘international law’ supports this insanity.  As Mr. Ignatius concludes “This imbalance needs to be fixed”.

Monday, June 15, 2015

“Magna Carta? Time for global rule of law to limit the power of national governments”


 
Eight hundred years ago today (June 15, 1215) humanity was enriched by a Western document containing enlightened ideas that our nation’s founding fathers eventually leveraged some 560 years later in the “Declaration of Independence”.  The Declaration, a profound document in itself, led quickly to our nation’s constitutional protection of a set of self-evident rights.  Some scholars today say these basic principles of granting rights to individuals as a protective shield against abusive rulers existed centuries before the Magna Carta.  Whatever its origins the concept that humans could agree to a certain set of rules to limit the abusive power of rulers was genius.  Intended to yield peace between the rich and poor, the powerful and the weak, the chosen and the largely common, remains a grand idea today adopted by some governments as the ‘rule of law’ and ignored by others.   History proves that individuals or powerful armies making and enforcing their own rules often birth excessive brutality, repression, injustice and out right mass murder or bloody rebellions.  This leveling concept should have universal appeal today given that increasingly powerful nation states wield such disrespect for the protection of human rights.   After 800 years perhaps it’s time we apply this limiting of power to all nation states. With the protection of human rights superior to the right of nation states to wage war, commit genocide, allow hunger, ignore disease, instigate revolutions, torture, pollute and commit other crimes against humanity and nature, we might finally know peace on earth.

Most Americans rightfully believe that the world would be better off if all governments ruled by the moral logic that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is endowed to all Human beings.  It even has universal human appeal but too many governments reject this application.  Nations like Saudi Arabia and Iran enforce laws established by narrow interpretations of ancient religious texts.  Nations like China, Russia and India rely more on laws derived from tradition, fear or the intellect of previous rulers.

Today, largely as a result of the permanent global war against terrorists even America’s ‘rule of law’ government is gradually shrinking away from safeguarding our inalienable rights. It is doing so in hopes of ensuring both individual and national security.  Too few understand that that this tradeoff cannot be balanced.  Eventually, we will lose one , and then the other. 

Independent agencies within our government working with independent national governments beyond our shores will almost always be torn between completing interests.  Only once has all of humanity come together for a common cause and it proved magnificent.  The global eradication of smallpox, a disease that killed more people in the last century than all of the wars, revolutions and genocides combined.  This is arguably humanities greatest achievement saving hundreds of millions of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars. All with a universal one time investment of less than billion dollars.  It’s vital to note that if just one nation, one county, or even one village had chosen freely, not to participate, that global campaign would have failed.  We have the capacity to today to eradicate other diseases and other threats… but each will require universal cooperation and a wise investment of limited resources.   

Unfortunately, today’s political parties within the US can’t unanimously agree on anything, let alone agreements between nation states. And, as the threat of terrorism increases we will increasingly be forced to choose between preserving our freedoms or protecting our security.  There is a profoundly simple resolution to this persistent and troubling dilemma but it will require a firm grasp of the real world.  Not the political world that inhabits our minds.  In the real world our government says it stands for “freedom” and the “rule of law”.  And then it allies with repressive regimes and too often ignores the need for an effective global police force for protecting all of humanities fundamental human rights.   Until we correct this real world inconstancy, our freedom/security dilemma (do we trade our freedom for more security or risk our security to retain our basic freedoms?) will not go away.  The grand news is that it could go away if we acted on the reality that we face a trilemma, not a dilemma. 

We create a dilemma when we chose to believe without question that we are ‘independent’ from the rest of the world.  Our error is in believing that we are, or should be, free from the consequences of our actions and inactions beyond our sacred shores.   We value our national sovereignty that ensures our nation’s freedom to act as our government sees fit in any global affair.  Other national governments do the same.  Unfortunately, this long cherished ideal of national sovereignty cannot keep us free of the consequences of our own choices or those of other nations.  Not even with the command of the most powerful military in the world.  Commanding nearly 25% of the global economy and energy consumption our nation’s actions and inactions have multiple consequences, helpful and harmful, on the lives of people the world over. We often don’t feel those consequences, until it crosses our borders, infects our lungs, steals our jobs, steals our identity, or turns airliners into WMD.

So in reality, we face a trilemma, not a dilemma.  We want freedom, security and independence (national sovereignty).  Reality will only let us pick two. 

Before choosing the two we want most, we must keep in mind the real-world distinctions between these three concepts.  1) Freedom is real.  We can choose to do anything we want to do. And so can everyone else.  But, no individual or nation is free from the consequences of their choices.  2) Security is largely an illusion.  If someone is determined destroy or kill and is also willing to die doing so, stopping them may require uncivilized actions with very costly consequences.  Given our inherent human vulnerabilities, the increasingly complex and vulnerable technological systems that our multifaceted civilization depends on, and our irreversibly interdependent world of economic, environment, health and communication factors, living by the golden rule would be a wise choice.  3) Independence is nothing but a mental political construct.  It does not exist in the real world.  Biological weapons, pandemics, computer viruses, nuclear winter, global warming, economic recessions, cyber criminals, asteroids…are not affected by mental constructs with no real world applications.

If however, we accept our global interdependence and apply the grand idea of ‘the rule of law’ (justice) to all people, regardless of their nationality, religion, sex, income level, age or ethnicity, we have a far better chance of maximizing both our freedoms and our security. 

Instead, today’s governments, particularly the American government, insists on retaining its national sovereignty believing this freedom of action can protect is people’s rights and it’s national security.  More and more people are starting to realize it can do neither.  With each nation retaining the freedom to make any law (related to domestic or foreign policy) as long as it has the police and military power to back it up, national interests will clash -- often violently, and with no respect for the human rights of individuals within or beyond its borders.  

That’s real government freedom.  A potentially abusive freedom.  And, in practice a very dangerous freedom.  One that must be limited.  That is what the Magna Carta, the Declaration of independence and the US Constitution intended to do.   To limit government power.   Today, exactly eight centuries after the Magna Carta, nearly 200 unlimited governments are now the first order threat to human security, global sustainability, economic prosperity and all of our most cherished human freedoms.   

The local impact of varying national laws on the health of individuals, the environment or national economies is rarely considered until a consequence is felt at home.  Tragically, in the face of Ebola, ISIS or climate change, powerful nations insist on keeping this insane national paradigm in place.

The current UN system with its institutionalized unenforceable ‘international laws’ essentially enforces the supremacy of the national sovereignty paradigm. This has a heavy toll on human rights for nearly half of humanity.  Fortunately, this paradigm is not set in stone.  Transforming it is a prerequisite for consistently protecting human rights and maximizing human and national security.  For now, governments can continue to chose to gas, torture, behead, imprison, or assassinate individuals within their border, with nothing short of war or sanctions (which can be more deadly than war), to effectively deter them.  And, if a nation is not afraid of war or sanctions, human rights everywhere can suffer.

US drone strikes within other sovereign nations are considered ‘lawful’ by our government, even when we don’t have the other nation’s approval.  When our drone strikes kill innocent people and their children in those countries while targeting ‘suspected’ terrorists Americans should not expect to remain free of the consequences.  Standing by as school girls are kidnapped by the hundreds in Africa will have consequences.  Our sophisticated weapons systems sales to the Saudi kingdom while their officials behead dozens of its citizens each month for minor offenses will have consequences.  Dozens of suspected terrorists in Guantanamo imprisoned for over a decade without charges, trials or access to their relatives will have consequences.  Allowing these violations of human rights without redress will have consequences.  Any time we ignore the inalienable rights of others there will be consequences. And, rarely will these consequences be good.

There are authoritative reasons the US and other powerful nations insist on keeping this national sovereignty system (that allows the abuse of human rights) in place.  The primary reason is maintaining political power and the short term benefits and profits that accumulate with such power.  The rights of citizens ruled by powerful governments are too often a second or third tier priority if a priority at all.  Even US federal workers, elected officials and military personal that are sworn to protect the Constitution see Eric Snowden as a criminal for his effort to expose our governments violation of their own constitutional rights.

If ‘we the people’ and our government officials who actually care, calculated the human, economic, environmental, health and national security costs of failing to change this profoundly outdated Treaty of Westphalia ‘national sovereignty’ construct they would quickly see the solution to our budget deficit problem.  The national sovereignty construct has enabled the unrestricted power of nation states for the last 400 years to ring up the costs in blood and treasure of war after war after war.  And now an endless war against terrorism, a tactic anyone can use, will prove enormously expensive in dollars and human rights.  

It’s clear that this dysfunctional global paradigm will not be flipped over night.  But our social and cultural addiction to its destructive freedom and false protections must end soon.  A mental transformation is essential if we are to begin creating new global institutions that will limit states’ rights and outlaw wars before the evolution of unprecedented weaponry reaches a level of destructiveness our minds are unable to comprehend.  We are dangerously close to that point now.  Some believe we crossed it with the invention of the nuclear weapon.  Other’s believe today’s potential for the creation of specially targeted biological weapons puts us there.  The fact is, the dual-use nature of incredibly powerful technologies (bio, cyber, nano, robotics…) is growing exponentially as our government’s capacity to deal with this difficult to comprehend factor is flat lined at best and at worst, politically dysfunctional.  Any effective global capacity to limit access or development of destructive technologies is nonexistent.  And worse yet, creating it would mean the creation of a global  police/inspection force, most nations and many people would violently reject.   Meanwhile WMD precursors are increasingly affordable to anyone with a grudge and a desire to mass murder.  Progressively, coordinated or loan wolf attacks will result in the loss of more lives and then the loss of more of our freedoms.

Other global threats like MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome), natural disasters or solar flare induced electromagnetic pulse (EMP) events should also spur rapid creation of a global prevention and rapid response capacity.  Without which these and other threats, will inevitably result in the loss of freedoms, security and any chance of a sustainable and prosperous future for our children.  Independent governments cannot by definition deal with these interdependent threats. 

What would a world look like if human rights were dominant over the rights of nation states to do as they please?  It would look much like the US after the civil war.  A war largely fought to ensure the protection of human rights over states’ rights.  We need not learn this same lesson on a global battlefield.  We need a global federal government capable of protecting human rights over the rights of states or prejudiced majorities.  We need to firmly limit the unlimited global reach and power of national sovereignty – the freedom of national governments to do as they please, without considering the cost in human rights.

The world could easily and affordably start with the global enforcement of the fundamental human rights to clean water, sanitation, education, basic health care services and adequate nutrition.   For less than 2% of what the world now spends on wars we could lay the foundation for the prevention of disease outbreaks, nation state failures (meaning fewer opportunities for extremist influences), and future wars.  This investment would create meaningful jobs, boost global prosperity and increase human motivation for protecting the environment.  More importantly, a well-funded, trained and equipped global army of educators and health care workers would prevent costly crisis saving more funds than they would consume.

ISIS mass murdering of innocent people would immediately draw a well-equipped, highly trained, all-volunteer global police force capable of effectively engaging ISIS criminal forces with both lethal and non-lethal force.  The avoidance of collateral damage would be its top priority while offering human rights protection zones as an alternative to extremist zones or the zones of constant vulnerability that exist now.  The global police force’s secondary mission would be blockading extremist forces thus limiting their resources and unfettered expansion.  ISIS cannot be defeated with military tactics that allow collateral damage.  Military alliances of a few states, political parties, ethnic groups or religions are no improvement.    The loss of innocent lives would be outlawed as they are within our own nation’s collection of 50 unique states, array of political parties and thousands of individual religious differences.  This golden rule of ‘do unto others what you would want done to you’ is shared by most religions and should be applied in war as well as economics, health, and environment policies globally.  Such a code offers a sound foundation for building a better world where freedom and security are everyone’s fundamental right. 

Adequate funding for these initiatives would be a vital task.  A global financial transaction tax could be levied and collected for such war, pandemic, climate change and natural disaster prevention/preparedness/reactionary measures.  Economic cost savings from the prevention of so many costly but preventable crises would soon yield sufficient sustainable resources for other human rights endeavors.  Cost effective investments in human capital instead of preserving the increasingly costly status quo of national sovereignty and the inherently unfair/virtually unregulated global capitalism is a fundamentally wise economic and sustainable choice.  Is there any doubt that free trade would best flourish on a level, clean, healthy and well educated playing field?  A field where business contracts were reliable and enforced equally in every corner of the world.

Territorial disputes between great and small nations (South China Sea, Ukraine, Kashmir, West Bank, Outer space…), ethnic groups (Kurds, Chechens…)  or religions (Sunni/Shiite, Islam/Hindu, would be settled in courts not on battle fields.

U.S. leaders often speak about ‘defending freedom’ but our foreign policy usually protects national interests.  We have not yet realized that our best interests are in protecting the inalienable rights of all mankind.  Albert Einstein once said “Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind.”  In that context, national sovereignty is a virus -- a lethal infection that has kept the grand ideals of the Magna Carta from being applied globally.

Chances are June 16th will pass and then the 4th of July.  And most Americans will remain ignorant of this fundamental American calling … of “liberty and justice for all”.  A world federation with powers limited by a constitution and a global bill of rights is the best chance we have of reaching that goal.  And time is running out.