The most important role of government is to provide security and maintain stability. Significant changes occurred in the perception of global threat especially after September 11. People no longer need a government to declare war. Communities with indefinite identities, borders, and power (namely terrorists) start a war against a nation who has the most powerful military force.
Organized crime networks gain global dimensions in traffic of drugs, arms, humans, and organs. Mankind is under threat of chemical, biological, and nuclear mass destruction weapons. In the future, mankind may have to protect itself from spatial threats.
Globalization of threats has common root causes:
(i) Ease of attaining technology. Big governments started to lose their monopoly in many areas as a result of technological developments (like biological weapons), and they are trying to preserve their superiority in other areas through international agreements.
(ii) Imbalances on earth. About one-fifth of people living on earth are trying to survive with $1 a day income, whereas nearly half of them manage with $2 a day. Developed countries spend $600 billion for military expenditures; provide agricultural subsidies of around $300 billion, while their foreign aid budgets do not add up to $60 billion. Furthermore the proportion of humans living in developed countries is decreasing every year.
Another imbalance example arises on use of water, which form the basis of life. An average person needs 5 liters of water daily in order to survive, and need 50 liters of water when other vital activities such as cooking and washing are taken into consideration. However, while an American citizen consumes 250-300 liters of water daily, one of five people around the world are not able to attain safe water. Each year more than 5 million people die as a result of diseases caused by lack of access to water (ten times the number of people lost in wars.) A similar situation is relevant on world energy utilization. The refusal of the highest per capita user of energy to participate in the Kyoto Protocol causes reaction. The US is seen as the most important contributor to global warming and is one of the countries with the cheapest energy utilization.
(iii) Developments in communication technology. Developments in technology is bringing the dictum of “God sees everything” into reality by enabling “The global society to see everything.” Information not given through CNN, reaches people through El Cezire; information not provided there, reach wide communities through the internet. Consequently, all personal, corporate, and social secrets disappear. Era of superiority, gained by those with information shortens. Whether we want or not, technological developments and democratic way of life increases transparency in all aspects of life. Increased transparency directs communities to be consistent in both internal and external principles.
In summary, governments, no matter how much power they have, will not be able to deal with globilized threats on their own. Consequently, it is essential to organize on a global scale to deal with global threats.
Today, individuals’ urge to shape their future collectively is greater than ever. Their quest for new ways of governance is leading to fundamental changes whereby individuals, private and public institutions try to harmonize their diverse interests through complicated interactive decision making processes. New governance mechanisms involve new, variable partnerships, and networks whose rules of engagement are yet to be formalized.
Today, protection of free trade and clean environment, fight against terrorism and international crime organizations, and issues such as celestial property rights require supra-national governance structures. As important powers and functions are transferred away from the nation-state through consensual delegation of sovereignty, governance is inescapably becoming multilevel, as we can observe from the case of the European Union. And the key issue is becoming the inclusion of the masses into these multi-level governance structures.
We should be aware of the main threat originating from the nature of globalization-localization dualism and its potential for both integration and exclusion at the same time. This threat is the ethnic, national or religion based conflicts which display a tendency to spread, and in some cases turn into ethnic cleansing. Stopping that nightmare will doubtlessly be one of the top priorities of a new global governance structure committed to the vision of democracy and equity.
If we are successful in including rather than excluding all the communities into global governance structures, we have to improve our ability to manage diversity. The past experiences of the mankind can meaningfully contribute to the refinement of diversity management. Let’s take the example of Turkiye, the proud custodian of the land and the civilizations flourished on Asia Minor throughout thousands of years. When we look at the history of the Ottoman and Anatolian civilizations what we see is great fluidity between religions and communities. Just to give an example, the Seljuk Sultan Izzeddin Keykavus II, whose mother was a descendant of the Byzantine aristocracy, routinely organized in his palace theological discussions between Christian priests and Muslim religious leaders. This tradition, particularly highlighted in its Sufi variant, embodies a philosophy of great tolerance and accommodation. Poets and thinkers like Yunus Emre, Haci Bektas Veli, and Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi are inseparable parts of the cultural make-up of the inhabitants of Turkiye. We learn from the historical records that Mevlana Celaleddin, the Sufi religious leader, poet and thinker of the 12. Century, regularly visited the monasteries to exchange views with Christian and Jewish religious people. Prominent Christian clergymen came from Istanbul to discuss with him certain theological issues. It was Yunus Emre, the great Sufi poet and thinker of the 13th century, who preached in one of his poems: “Regard the other, as you regard yourself, this is the meaning of the four Holy Books, if there is any.”
Just as in new movement of alternative medicine where the old traditions of eastern cultures are providing the keys to healing of the body and the mind as a whole, the new developments in management thinking can benefit from the traditions of old civilizations. For example, our tradition of accommodation and tolerance is the reason why until late 19th century the Ottoman political order did not experience ethnic discrimination.
What marked the Seljuk and Ottoman experience in this field was a very specific definition of the “self” and the “other” and an associated administrative form of social organization considerably different from that in the Western world. In this form of organization, the so-called “Millet” (Community) system, different communities enjoyed a considerably high level of autonomy. This system also allowed non-Muslims to be appointed to administrative positions which required a high level of political and financial trustworthiness.
In the 19th century the rise of race based nationalism in the West had its echoes in the Ottoman territory as well. The course of events proceeded in a chain of reactions, paving way to the great sufferings at all parts of the society. History nowhere in the world proceeds along a straight line. Despite the inevitably irregular advance of history, the fundamental context of life in Anatolia is one of coexistence between different groups. In that sense Anatolia’s legacy to the world is one of great diversity management full of rich experiences. These experiences have, therefore, the potential to make significant contribution to the international process of furthering the progress towards better governance of the world.
Can NATO, who is organized during the cold war time, renew itself in this environment and transform itself into a global security system? For this, we need an important change, especially in our minds and social processes.
1. Security is no longer a service that can only be provided by defense forces. In an environment where interdependencies of people increase, the security of networks is a responsibility of those who are a member of these networks. Therefore, threat consciousness and defense responsibility of each member of the society should be increased rather then keeping threat and defense strategies confidential and in the realm of few who are assigned to protect us.
2. For this reason, different governmental units should share the security responsibility. For example, ministry of health, municipality service providers, and regulatory agencies in critical areas such as telecommunication services should start working as a team in providing security.
3. A healthy security system needs business world and support of civil society organizations. For this reason, we have to restructure our processes to increase the understanding of security issues by unconventional parties, from strategy development stage to implementation stages.
4. To deal with global threats, we need legitimate, global institutions that work with globally consistent principles.
To be globally consistent will mean that mankind should start implementing common values in all aspects of life. This is not as easy as it sounds. For example, can the world accept “one man – one vote” principle which is the practiced within national boundaries to be applied in global affairs. Would this bring global legitimacy? Or, should each country’s vote be equal on global system regardless of its size? Or, should countries be able to vote according to their military power? Or should governments and/or companies and/or people be given voting rights according to their economic weights? In that case, how should changes in these weights over time be managed in order to secure the legitimacy of a global system?
Can another approach be to accept the US, which has established a clear superiority in military capabilities, to decide and implement global issues on its own? If so, to gain global legitimacy, should a portion of the votes, say 20%, for US Presidency be given by citizens of other countries?
If international organizations formed after World War II, United Nations, World Bank, IMF, World Trade Organization, and NATO, would be able to restructure themselves around world’s new needs, without losing their decision making and implementation skills and legitimacy, these issues should be solved in a transparent process. Similarly if it is going to be sustainable global example, the new EU constitution should be established through an open and transparent process based on universal principles, not with a view to protect current political balances.
NATO; with its past experiences, decision making infrastructure, common language tradition, powerful investments, and its experience in providing peace and stability, is a candidate for constituting a legitimate base for global security. Meanwhile, for NATO’s mission to gain global dimension, its decision mechanisms should also gain global dimension. For example, an institution, where India and China are not involved on decision mechanisms, will have significant weaknesses on achieving global legitimacy.
In summary, as topics about our daily life gain global characteristics our vision, organizations, and management systems should also gain a global perspective as well. As the world gets smaller and more interconnected, we have to understand that others problems are also our own. Therefore, we have to make sure that good governance principles are applied throughout our management structures and systems.
Good management is building mutual trust with consistent behavior. Good management requires a wisdom, which reflects real justice. “Sufism” philosophy, which has an important place in Anatolian tradition, gives us important clues on this issue. This philosophy based on “tolerance” and “harmony” defines good management as managing ourselves. Good management is to free ourselves from our fears, opening our eyes and hearts to new perspectives and means “regarding others, as we regard ourselves.”
The real legitimacy will be gained only if people have a say about shaping their own future, to contribute in the global decision making process. The content of modern age human rights and democracy is this. This transformation is also in the basis of change from “management concept” to “governance concept”, which means involvement and mutuality.
For sustainable development and world peace, we should understand how our decisions affect others and reach a wisdom level, which will purify us from selfishness. Individuals, civil society organizations, statesman and managers of international organizations will have critical roles in accomplishing a sustainable world order that is just and based on the universal principle of “regarding others, as we regard ourselves.”
If we are successful in bringing democratic principles to the solution of global issues, in inclusion of all the interested parties in global decision making, we will be helping achieve a secure world. Next NATO conference in Turkiye could be a milestone in such a development.