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  • Position : Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Sri Lanka to the Russian Federation
  • Affiliation : Embassy of Sri Lanka to the Russian Federation
  • Affiliation : Director of OSCE Academy
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International Security Index iSi increased to 2760 points. Dunay, Jayatilleka comment events of the week.

14.11.2012

12-11-14_iSi_Table_Kommersant.jpgMOSCOW, NOVEMBER 14, 2012. PIR PRESS - “More due to the fact that the five nuclear-weapon states is clearly reluctant to use nuclear wepons and some of the others (declared or not) are dependent upon one of the P5, the U.S.A. or China in a variety of ways. Some time the dependence is related to nuclear release, some time it is due to a much broader array of matters that create dependency. Accidental use has also become less likely since the high-flying concerns of loose nukes in the 1990s”, - Head of the International Security Program of the Geneva Center for Security Policy, Pál Dunay.

The new weekly International Security Index iSi was published in Kommersant (in Russian). 

During the week of November 5-12, 2012, the International Security Index iSi increased to 2760 points. In Syria, the army attacked the opposition forces in the outskirts of Damascus. On the Golan Heights an Israeli patrol was attacked from the Syrian side. The Syrian rebels at a meeting in Qatar signed an agreement on creation a united opposition group - the National Coalition. In the southeast of Turkey, the army is conducting a major military operation against Kurdish rebels. In Bahrain, a new wave of Shia demonstrations against the rule of the Sunni royal family broke out. Iranian Air Force attacked American drone in the air over the Gulf. In Sri Lanka prison inmates’ riot broke out, during the shootout with police 27 people were killed. Major terrorist attacks occurred in Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq. The incumbent President of the USA democrat Barack Obama won the presidential election. In Greece, due to the anticipated adoption of austerity measures violent clashes between the police and left radical demonstrators took place; there are victims. In Poland, on the Independence Day clashes between right-wing conservative forces and the police broke out. Euro exchange rate fell to a two-month low as a result of the overall tensions in the global economy. In Guatemala, a strong earthquake killed more than 50 people.

Comments on the week's events by members of the International Expert Group of the PIR Center

Pal_Dunay.pngPál Dunay, (Hungary), Head of the International Security Program of the Geneva Center for Security Policy - by e-mail from Budapest: I think the main lesson from the Cuban missile crisis is two fold. On the negative side one can conclude that it is easy to get into the spiral of nuclear confrontation and once in it the escalation potential is huge.

On the postive side, however the good news is that reason prevailed in 1962 and there is no reason to assume it would not again. Both in Washington and Moscow the decisions of the political actors prevailed that demonstrated that at the time the superiority of politics was not only unquestionable in Washington but also in Moscow. There is no shared view on the matter further. For the realists it was the good news that a bipolar structure was clear and calculable whereas one with more major actors is less predictable. Not to mention those realist thinkers who are also of the view that it was due to nuclear weapons that the long peace was with us during the Cold War.

We may indirectly owe the Non-proliferation Treaty of 1968 to the Cuban missile crisis. Without the life threat of the use of nuclear weapons mankind could have remained more hesitant as far as rapidly going for a legally binding arrangement to ban the horizontal proliferation of nuclear weapons. The likelihood of the use of nuclear weapons is relatively low. Not that we would not have an abundant number of nuclear weapons in the arsenals of some nuclear weapon states. More due to the fact that the five nuclear-weapon states is clearly reluctant to use nuclear wepons and some of the others (declared or not) are dependent upon one of the P5, the U.S.A. or China in a variety of ways. Some time the dependence is related to nuclear release, some time it is due to a much broader array of matters that create dependency. Accidental use has also become less likely since the high-flying concerns of loose nukes in the 1990s. The world of a few nuclear powers may be more stable than a world without nuclear states. However, further extrapolation from the earlier point would be totally wrong. More nuclear states with acute interstate conflicts would not further increase stability. It would increase the risk of nuclear escalation.

Jaytilleko.pngDayan Jayatilleka, Sri Lanka's Ambassador to France and Permanent Delegate to UNESCO – by e-mail from Paris: Today nuclear war seems as illusory threat specially invented by politicians to intimidate the enemy. Twenty years after the Cold War, the world has indeed become more stable and sometimes it seems that it has been and always would be in such conditions. But this is not true. The mankind could only achieve the level of security that we have today and truly appreciate it after understanding and feeling the horrors of war. Cuban missile crisis, when the world was on the threshold of nuclear war, has really help to feel the value of such concepts as stability and security and to realize that the repetition of the crisis should be avoided. But how long can mankind maintain the current level of security? The strategic equilibrium that was more or less ensured by the presence of the USSR has been replaced by instability and global impunity.

Departures from the doctrine of deterrence could encourage adventurism, insecurity, attempts for pre-emption and even the phenomenon of asymmetrical tactical nuclear attacks. In such circumstances the role of the rational-minded politicians and those people who are responsible for adopting important military and political decisions are especially high. One of such prominent leaders who have made great contribution to the world without war was the UN Secretary-General U Thant, who during the Cuban missile crisis helped John F. Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev to find a compromise and avoid a war. The leaders of the two superpowers during the whole conflict tried to avoid the impression that they were going to make concessions. Then U Thant offered Moscow to cut off any weapons supplies to Cuba, but the United States to remove the naval blockade of the island. The solution was found, and the initiative of UN Secretary General has helped ease tensions and became the basis for further negotiations between Washington and Moscow. Searching for a compromise, government leaders should always try to find it even in the most desperate and conflict situation.

The iSi index is calculated weekly and monthly. A weekly iSi value is published on Tuesdays in Kommersant Daily (www.kommersant.ru) accompanied by brief comments explaining Index fluctuations. Results of the monthly iSi calculations are published on the first working day of each month at the PIR Center website at www.pircenter.org

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