Peace and justice are inextricably linked

Europe, Peace, Security - Ethical Discourses

The volume is the result of a peace ethic discourse project that is dedicated to the "Just Peace", based on the EKD peace memorandum of 2007. The research center of the Evangelical Study Community (FEST) has started a research and consultation process over several years, which was carried out by the Council the EKD, the Evangelical Peace Work and the military chaplaincy are supported. Peace researchers and practitioners from the church and church-related context meet regularly in the rooms of the Heidelberg Institute to discuss violence, peace and law, as well as political and ethical challenges. Further volumes are planned as part of the publication series "Political-Ethical Challenges" and some have already been published.

Global challenges

In the now published third volume (edited by Ines-Janine Werkner, FEST, and Martina Fischer, Bread for the World), global challenges and threats to peace are analyzed. The hopes for a "liberal peace" formulated since 1990 have not been fulfilled and strategies to create peace through transformation based on the Western model have often failed. The conflicts in the Middle East are unresolved. War was once again a means of foreign policy in Europe, and geopolitics is experiencing a renaissance. Ines-Jacqueline Werkner describes the threatening "saber rattling" that develops between the great powers USA and Russia, and the relapse into a "thinking of nuclear escalation dominance". There are also conflicts in the Mediterranean region and the war in Syria, which developed into a proxy war between eastern, western and Arab powers, as well as open and frozen conflicts in and around Europe, for example in the Ukraine, the Caucasus and the western Balkans. On the question of how these can be contained and dealt with constructively, the following articles do not provide clear policy recommendations, but rather conceptual food for thought. They present different concepts and discuss their strengths and weaknesses.

"Peace Logic" vs. "Security Logic"

Sabine Jaberg examines the differences between the logic of peace and the logic of security. It shows that a logic of peace has considerable advantages over a logic of security. Thinking in terms of security categories leads to arming oneself primarily in the event of confrontation, to ward off dangers, and therefore tends to escalate conflicts. To avoid this, a “peace-compatible security” should be designed and placed in a “partner-friendly reference system”. Anyone who approaches the subject in this way thinks of peace and not of the exception (the violent confrontation). This presupposes that “boomerang effects” are avoided (for example weapon aid) and that a narrow understanding of security is followed in order to prevent the “securitization” of broad policy areas. Accordingly, it makes "a difference (...) whether peace is wrought from a security perspective or security is developed from a peace perspective". According to the author, a strong peace requires “to understand nonviolence as an inevitable dogma” (p. 37).

Cooperative security systems

Most of the authors of the volume assume that cooperative security systems and interaction are more suitable for avoiding violent escalations of conflicts than foreclosure or confrontation. An exception is Matthias Dembinski's contribution to plural peace, who can imagine that under certain circumstances “dissociation” (“successful demarcation”) can secure peace - in the narrow sense of the absence of violence - rather than intensified cooperation; this applies if value conflicts prove to be too deep or if strategies of cooperation and rapprochement have been tried and have obviously failed. However, so far there has been a lack of empirical studies to support this assumption.

The role of "trust" in international cooperation

Pascal Delhom deals with the role of trust in a security policy of cooperation and Ines-Jacqueline Werkner with the concept of "common security". Both see as a prerequisite for peaceful international relations the ability not to set one's own security needs absolutely, but also to take into account the needs and interests of the other. Both emphasize the need to build trust and the reliability of expectations as a prerequisite for cooperative (i.e. non-confrontational) ways of dealing with security issues between states. As Werkner shows, the concept of common security contributed significantly to easing the tension and building confidence in Germany and Europe during the East-West conflict. A renaissance would be desirable in the current situation. However, it is not yet clear how it can be transferred from a bipolar to a multipolar world order or to the tense relationship between the USA, the EU and Russia. According to Delhom, trust in the other side is always a “risk” because it is based on a “double asymmetry” or may even involve considerable unilateral preliminary work (such as Michael Gorbachev's decision to unconditionally withdraw all medium-range missiles Europe 1997). However, from a peace policy perspective, it is necessary to take this risk.

Empathy: a prerequisite for solidarity politics

Following on from these considerations, Martina Fischer suggests in her contribution to the synthesis that “empathy” should be added to the categories “trust” and “cooperation”. Empathy is an essential prerequisite for a civilized handling of conflicts in the world of states and society. In order to successfully manage their internal and external conflicts without resorting to violence, states or groups need the willingness to compromise-oriented conflict management and the ability to put themselves in the shoes of others. A policy based on "just peace" also needs empathy so that norms such as solidarity and justice can be developed at all. Only on this basis can measures to prevent violence, to deal with the causes of war and to support people seeking protection be credibly designed. The article points out that in Christian ethics, peace and justice are inextricably linked. Justice is understood not only as a norm, but also in the sense of a “social practice of solidarity”, which “primarily addresses the weak and the disadvantaged” and fulfills itself “in the commandment of neighborly, even enemy love” (see EKD peace memorandum “ Live from God's peace - ensure just peace ”, Hanover 2007, point 77).

The EU: A peace project with great need for reform

Martina Fischer shows in her contribution to EU politics that the Union is increasingly lacking empathy in important political areas, especially at the interface of migration, development and security policy. The EU, which stood up as a community of values ​​for democracy, peace and human rights, betrayed the responsibility to protect refugees and thus also the liberal norms in the course of a policy of isolation and shifting borders. As long as the member states are not prepared to establish fair trade relations with African countries and a changed agricultural policy and as long as they equip devices of violence with the aim of preventing migration and trample on human rights, this policy runs counter to the claim to a just peace. There are many indications that the EU is increasingly saying goodbye to the "logic of peace" and is instead being guided primarily by a "logic of security" that is primarily understood by the police and militarily. The European Union (EU) has often been characterized as a "peace project", including in the EKD's memorandum on peace. It has undoubtedly contributed significantly to the peaceful integration process of sovereign states. The current challenge is not only to consolidate their internal cohesion and defend their previous integration efforts against extremist and populist attacks, but at the same time to strengthen their ability to make peace internationally and to enable them to deal appropriately with tensions and prosperity gaps in their neighborhood .

Expansion of the international legal system

As a system of collective security, the United Nations (UN) has created important international legal foundations and agreements for securing peace. Compared to their predecessor, the League of Nations, they represent a clear step forward, as the contribution by Hans-Joachim Heintze shows. He comes to the conclusion that the statements in the EKD memorandum on the importance of the UN for a global peace order continue to prove to be absolutely relevant. He analyzes both the successes as well as the dilemmas and limitations of the UN system and provides numerous well-founded arguments with which one can counter the widespread trend towards "UN-bashing". Heintze recalls that the UN Charter obliges the member states to settle disputes peacefully and expressly provides for diplomatic channels (good offices and mediation) and legal means to do so. Sanctions and military coercive measures are at best considered as a last resort - i.e. in exceptional cases. With regard to the - often criticized - veto position of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, Heintze concludes that the system is not wrong, because it arises from the knowledge that world peace cannot be secured against great powers, but only with them. One problem, however, is that they do not use the system - as promised - in the interests of world peace but in many cases to enforce their national interests. In doing so, they accepted to violate the UN Charter and acted contrary to the system of collective security.

Reform the United Nations

The special status of the five great powers as permanent members of the Security Council was historically justified, according to Heintze. Today, however, this must be adapted to the changed global constellation of forces. It is no longer acceptable that an entire continent, such as Africa, is not represented as a permanent member of the Council at all, just like India, which represents more than a billion people, and Latin America. Despite all its shortcomings, the UN formed an indispensable system of collective security. As an organization of states, however, they can only be so active in promoting peace as the states allow. Civil society is therefore all the more important, as it has to remind states time and again of their promises made in the founding treaty in order to protect future generations from wars.

Strengthen UN regional organizations

At the same time, the UN system has generated various regional organizations (such as the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, OSCE) (Heinz Gärtner deals with these in the volume). As a regional organization recognized by the United Nations under Chapter VIII of the UN Charter, it assumes important functions in crisis management, for example in early warning, election observation, establishing the rule of law, as well as in the fight against extremism and organized crime and in building up the police force. Indeed, since the early 1990s, the OSCE has provided impressive examples of violence prevention and civil conflict management, e.g. by supporting the peaceful separation of the Baltic countries from the former Soviet Union. During the Ukraine crisis, too, it played an important role in creating confidence-building measures and arms control. The EKD's 2007 peace memorandum also recognizes the OSCE's role in a European peace order. The capacities of the OSCE would have to be massively expanded within the framework of a European peace order, because after all, together with the Council of Europe and the EU, it forms an essential pillar for early warning and post-war consolidation. The memorandum also sees Europe's responsibility as inseparable from the norms and principles of the UN (EKD 2007, No. 139).

Strengthen civil approaches to prevention and peacebuilding

The basic elements of the Christian understanding of just peace include protection from violence, a life in dignity, the promotion of freedom, the reduction of need and justice. This motif can also be found in the EKD peace memorandum from 2007 with the link between peace and law / justice as well as human security. The EKD memorandum understands peace as a social process of decreasing violence and increasing political and social justice (EKD 2007, No. 80). Just peace in the globalized world presupposes “the development of a legal order” which is “committed to the priority of civil conflict management” and “must bind the use of coercive measures to strict ethical and international legal criteria” (EKD 2007, No. 196, emphasis d . Ed.). It is particularly important to note that state security and peace policy must be thought of in terms of the concepts of “human security” and “human development”. (EKD 2007, No. 197) From this model, the political peace tasks of strengthening the UN and its regional organizations and cooperation with non-state, civil society actors emerge.

Peace policy resolutions of the EKD synods

In the past few years, the EKD Synods have passed important European policy decisions aimed at expanding civilian crisis prevention and peacebuilding. The 10th Synod in Würzburg proposed in November 2006 to the German Council Presidency that all EU policy areas should be examined to determine “what significance they have for an integrated concept of crisis prevention and management”, to ensure “the independence of civilian from military means” and to ensure the "coherence of the instruments for crisis management" (EKD 2006). The EU Commission was called upon to “push ahead quickly with the development and institutionalization of an effective instrument for the coordination of civilian funds” (EKD 2006). However, the momentum for the expansion of these instruments is currently far behind the investments in military cooperation. If the EU Commission has its way, the new "Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-27" is intended to withdraw their independence from tried and tested financing instruments that have been set up for civilian crisis prevention and human rights policy. A defense fund worth 13 billion euros is to subsidize the armaments industry, and NATO is to be relieved with 6.5 billion euros for “military mobility”. European NGO networks are still trying to counteract this dynamic. Their efforts must be supported by dialogues with parliamentarians and governments in the member states. At the same time, it would be important to specify and substantiate the proposals for expanding civilian instruments for crisis prevention and peacebuilding. Ecclesiastical dignitaries and aid organizations with experience in peace work can make a significant contribution to preparing such a discussion. The synodal resolution of 2006 therefore remains highly relevant and can continue to provide a clear framework for the assessment of the Union's policies.