T F F P r e s s I n f o # 9 3
Lund, Sweden - May 15, 2000
6 LONG-TERM GOALS
- to abolish war as an accepted social institution, precisely as we
have done with slavery, cannibalism, child labour, rape,
- to provide survival, security and protection without causing an arms
race and threatening other societies;
- to deal with conflicts and create peace by peaceful means, in
accordance with the UN norm;
- to permanently secure the existence of the Earth and humankind,
never put it at risk;
- to enable present and future generations to live in a world where
the norms of the UN Charter are implemented;
- to preserve pluralism in all aspects of life, unity in diversity,
respect for life, and
- to live in partnership with Nature.
Lesson 1 to implement:
In the militarised world system and the nuclear age, we can not afford
to wait until war breaks out and then react with military force. We
need an active peace policy that seeks to avoid violence and resolve
conflicts long before they lead to war.
Lesson 2 to implement:
We can't disinvent nuclear and other technologies, but neither have we
disinvented cannibalism, we abhor it. It should be perfectly possible
to develop an equal, universal abhorrence against incinerating our
4 RELEVANT TYPES OF THREATS
There are four types of threats against any society: internal and
external, direct and structural. Examples of Type 1, outside and
direct: invasion, occupation, extinction, sanctions, nuclear warfare.
Examples of Type 2, outside and structural: embargo, economic warfare,
ecological breakdown, global crisis, poverty, maldevelopment,
inequality. Examples of Type 3, inside and direct: state and private
terrorism, warlords, civil wars, minority repression. Examples of Type
4, inside and structural: alienation, social disintegration, Mafioso,
corruption, black markets, normlessness, drugs.
Lesson 3 to implement:
Only a fraction of these threats can be met with military means. Over
a certain point, military means will add to the threat-production in
one or more of the four categories. We must introduce limits to the
role of the military and to destructive potentials. It's like
medicine: up to a certain level it may be useful, beyond it has
Lesson 4 to implement:
In principle, there are no limits to what can be done for peace and
security. It is possible to develop a culture of peace and nonviolence
- but not if one element dominates over all the others, in this case
the military in world security affairs.
Lesson 5 to implement:
There is far too much talk about social security, human security and
environmental security that does not challenge the supremacy of the
violent sectors. As long as this is so, these types of security will
remain residual, complementary and war as an accepted institution will
10 PRINCIPLES OF ALTERNATIVE DEFENCE
1. Good only for defending ourselves, not able to attack others.
2. Shorter range and less destructive power, but denser.
3. The defensive capacity is bigger than the offensive potentials of
4. It is adapted to the needs and features of each unit, be it a
municipality, a country or a region.
5. Shaped to not create excessive dependence on foreign deliveries
(energy supplies, military components), i.e. reduce other-reliance.
6. Does not promote arms exports, has no economic profit motives
attached and can thus be dismantled - or expanded - depending on the
7. Has no connections with mass-destructive weapons or strategies.
8. Co-functions with a variety or other defence and security measures,
including preventive diplomacy, peace-keeping, peace-making and
9. Its leaders and staff (men and women) are trained in conflict
understanding and -resolution.
10. Its tasks, structure and statutes are in compliance with the
provisions and norms of the UN Charter, including UN peacekeeping
Lesson 6 to implement:
By threatening someone else, we increase the threat against ourselves.
It is wiser not to threaten anybody but be extremely difficult for
anyone to control or subdue, should they try.
Lesson 7 to implement:
If others do harmful things, we are not helped by paying back in kind.
If others cross red lights, we are not better off by imitating their
folly. Small countries will remain weaker if they choose to defend
themselves with the same weapons which bigger ones have plenty of, but
can become stronger, more resistant, if they choose alternative means.
That's why the U.S. lost in Vietnam and the Soviet Union in
Lesson 8 to implement:
There are two types of power: a) offensive power where we try to
control and bully anybody around, effects well-known when it hits
ourselves... and b) defensive power, power over ourselves and our own
destiny, self-determination and making it impossible for others to
rule over us.
3 BASIC COMPONENTS
A. Armed forces
B. Civil defence and protection
C. Nonviolent resistance
(A) Defensive military and civilian components must be separated in
space. Military forces can not defend modern cities with dense
populations. For urbanised areas, there are only civilian means; any
use of destructive means will make a mockery of the word "defence".
So, the military is only for area defence, in the countryside. Cities
and town should be declared open according to international law, thus
not defended militarily and not being attacked with military means.
Women and men participate equally.
(B) Civil defence and protection is employed in urbanised areas which
is also where refugees and wounded people will seek protection. It is
about shelter, but much more. It is prepared in peace time and aims to
help the population under most difficult circumstances; it is reserve
stores of basic foodstuffs, the ability to switch to domestic energy
sources, keep hospitals functioning etc. It is to make sure that
public administration can survive computer sabotage etc.
(C) Nonviolent resistance is everything - some hundred methods, big
and small - that prevent an aggressor from gaining access to and
utilising the territory: go-slow, sabotage, deception, ridiculing,
moral appeals, demonstrations, refusing to co-operate, acting
defiantly, using culture, gaining moral support abroad - it's the
utilisation of Internet, videos etc.
B and C are particularly suitable for those who want to defend their
society but do not want to carry guns. Alternative defence offers a
role for all - it does not punish conscientious objectors nor those
who think military defence is best.
Lesson 9 to implement:
While a society may well need military defence, it can not survive in
the long run unless civilian
preparedness is much upgraded from what we have today - where little
investments have been made to secure the population's survival. So,
military and civilian components each have their role, can co-function
but must be separate in space.
Lesson 10 to implement:
This defensive defence mode is able to function as a deterrent. It
makes occupation and control, utilisation of resources virtually
impossible. It boosts social cohesiveness and any occupier will think
twice. In addition, all the world's sympathy will be on the side of
the strong and defensive, not on the (morally) weak, militarised
Lesson 11 to implement:
Legitimate defence means to protect oneself and be strong and powerful
but NOT to threaten anybody else. With alternative defence there will
be no doubt who "began" it all or who violated international norms and
laws. The party with defensive defence simply can not commit
8 SECURITY MEANS
1. Military - conventional, paramilitary, guerrilla, home guard,
techno-commandos, module defence etc, small mobile units. That depends
on the society, and models are plenty.
2. Economic - the self/other-reliance problem should focus on what a
society should be able to do on its own if cut off in a crisis or war.
Equal interdependence, trade and openness is great,
dominance-dependence or asymmetric relations are not. To be strong in
the defensive mode, each society should be able to stand on its own
feet and satisfy its citizens' basic needs when the going gets rough.
3. Political - the relations between citizens and the state operating
security means, the problem of legitimacy, law and order, of
democratic decision-making about defence and security. The above mixed
civil and military model allows pacifists as well as those who want to
carry arms to serve their country.
4. Civil defence - shelters, evacuation plans, caring for victims and
5. Civil preparedness - making society operate under the crisis
conditions, energy storage, hospitals, mass communication, schooling,
production and distribution.
6. Nonviolent defence - non-cooperation with enemy, persuasion,
strikes, moral pressure, political "jiu-jitsu," social boycott,
teach-ins, refusal to pay tax and fees, parallel society, civil
disobedience, alternative economics, dual sovereignty, symbolic
7. Society's invulnerability level - decentralisation, robust
technology, infrastructure, self-reliance in basic needs categories
such as food, water, shelter, and basic health.
8. Community, human beings - cultural identity, morale, belief in the
future, crisis and problem-solving orientation, solidarity, civil
society, participation, freedom and reliable media.
Lessons 12 to implement:
There are many means, one military and 7 civilian. Traditionally, only
1 and 3 are used; we need to re-conceptualise defence and security to
integrate the rest. The more means we have developed, the safer we
are. While arms cannot be exported to crisis areas, many of these
other means will also be qualified to serve in UN and OSCE missions -
civil affairs, police, monitors, reconciliation workers etc.
Lesson 13 to implement:
Defence is an all-society matter, not the monopoly of elites. Being
protected by elites is potentially dangerous and undemocratic. The
comprehensive, democratic 'mixed defence' outlined here opens up for
public participation and the creation of strong, resistant - but
non-threatening - societies.
7 LEVELS OF SECURITY
1. Inner human being (psychological security)
2. Individual citizens (human security)
3. Municipality/local society (local)
4. Nation-state or state-nation (national)
5. Region (regional)
6. Inter-national (international)
7. Global - or world order - level (world order, transnational)
Lesson 14 to implement:
The dominance of national security is outdated. States are too small
to handle the big conflicts and problems and too big to handle the
small ones. From contemporary history we know now that the
all-pervasive national security paradigm can co-exist with insecurity
at virtually all other levels. We need a security thinking across
these levels. The world cannot be sure if individuals feel insecure
somewhere - and individuals can't be secure when regional or global
security needs are neglected.
Lesson 15 to implement:
Security is multi-dimensional, multi-level, multi-cultural and
multi-intellectual. Neither pacifists nor military should be allowed
to monopolise it. This model offers them co-operation and thus
legitimacy throughout society.
It's not enough to have a system aimed at deterrence or military
balance. What if deterrence fails - which it is likely to in a system
where there are no rules agreed upon by all actors? Contemporary
military defence may deter many from war, that is true. On the other
hand, if it fails and war breaks out - thousands or millions may
perish. This must never happen. A genuine security system must
function well through the following five phases:
1. Prevention of violence and dissuasion from attack
2. Crisis, tension, threats
3. Defence, struggle, if need be
4. Conflict-resolution, regulation - towards:
5. Normalisation, prevention, dissuasion (full circle).
Lesson 16 to implement:
The way we are 'protected' today means that if deterrence fails and
some fool starts a larger war, it could be the end. No state has
invested enough in surviving a period of fighting or reducing the harm
an opponent can inflict.
Lesson 17 to implement:
Security is not a linear function, but one of cycles. It is not about
extinction if...but about survival and permanence. A strong,
defendable society has various means to use through the entire
conflict cycle. And it cares about protecting people - both in the
countryside and in urban areas.
Lesson 18 to implement:
Alternative defence and security are means to surviving crises without
being killed having your society totally destroyed. Thus, alternative
defence embodies the HUMAN RIGHT to live without the fear of
annihilation, a right to peace. A right for future generations,
although they cannot voice that right here and now. Alternative
defence is fundamentally responsible vis-a-vis a sacred value: that
there shall be something rather than nothing, that the world shall
Lesson 19 to implement:
There is a fundamental contradiction between the modern industrial
society and modern military technology: if used, it will destroy that
society because its destructive power is out of proportion with
defence and because modern society is extremely vulnerable. (Even a
computer love message can paralyse it...)
Lesson 20 to implement:
Stop believing in all the 'threat' assessment, refuse to let somebody
play on your deep fear. Security and defence - and peace - is not
about death and destruction, it's about life and development. Of
course there are threats, challenges and worries. We are not taking
the easy line and saying that everything is fine and we should just
love one another. In fact, there are so many serious challenges to our
survival and well-being that it is absurd to let
military-industrial-bureaucratic complexes create even more for the
sake of their own elitist benefits. Civilian and military leaders of
virtually every state have built shelters for themselves and their
families , but not for their citizens.
WHAT IS SECURITY?
Says Jan Oberg, "So,it looks like alternative defence is more or less
the opposite of what is preached today! Here is a definition by TFF
associate Johan Galtung from 1984:
'Security is simply here defined as one's own invulnerability minus
the capacity of the other Party to destroy. I think it is a fairly
reasonable definition of security: it means the capacity to come out
of a conflict unscathed, in other words the probability that human
beings, society, nature and also one's own defence system will
survive. One may later on decide to change them, but then out of one's
own will. If the invulnerability level is insufficient, then one is
In contrast, today's 'security' could be defined somewhat like:
'Security is one's own vulnerability plus our capacity to inflict
destruction on the Other. If actually used, it will destroy what
should be defended. Only when we have more destructive and offensive
power than the opponents or can intervene far away, can we be safe.'
Because the alternative defence model - and many other thinkable ones
- will reduce the threat and fear levels everywhere, resources can be
devoted to improve the living standards of those most in need. Thus,
it reduces both direct and structural violence to much lower levels.
You may see this and similar models as defence and security in
transition: after some time when the arms race and the
threat-psychology has declined, some countries may think it much safer
to go on and switch to purely non-military defence and security - we
thus get a kind of disarmament race leading in the longer run to a
nuclear-free and weapons-free world where the skills of
conflict-management and dialogue are as natural and highly developed
as are the skills today in computer management.
VIOLENCE AND NON-VIOLENCE: WE NEED A CULTURE OF PEACE AND A NEW
DEFENCE WITH IT
There is a violence of the underdog - of the disadvantaged,
humiliated, victimised, hopeless. And there is a violence of the
topdog - of the arrogantly powerful, the privileged who want more, the
empire-builders, those who need to be the judges of everybody else,
those who see themselves as God-chosen to fulfil a mission. There is a
violence with those who obsessively have to mould, force, engineer and
control their surroundings and fellow human beings.
Violence CAN be justified when used as the last resort by those who
have tried everything else - or by the dispossessed who have no other
way to be heard. But in nine of ten cases violence is an indicator of
disorder, it's a disease. It is anything but mastery of the situation,
it's the negation of leadership and statesmanship.
In contrast, there is no violence of the happy, the balanced, those
who feel they live a rich, meaningful life, those who have seen
through propaganda, who let go of fear. There are few violent impulses
with those who have some kind of inner harmony and can enjoy the here
Violence is the life not lived. The world military system is the
future not perceived. Non-violence opens opportunities in individual
and social life. It's the only means to protect pluralism.
Isn't it time we create a global dialogue - over Internet, for
instance - about what makes a healthy defence and security for the
whole human being and all human beings, sustainable over time and in
tune with the existential challenges facing us all in the 21st
century? Isn't it time to let citizens have a say in how we want to
achieve security instead of letting elites play on our fears to accept
militarist 'protection' offers-you-can't-refuse?
There are many alternatives, not only the one presented above. In
fact, given the wish for us and future generations to live in peace, I
believe there are only alternatives to the present militarist,
nuclearist system. And those alternatives are compatible with the
global campaign for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence. We shall only
achieve such a culture of peace if we kill two things: the ability to
harm and kill and the perverted belief that our security lies in that
You are hereby invited to brainstorm, explore and discuss democratic,
alternative defence. Sooner than you think, alternative security even
for big powers may be the theme of a CNN Q&A..," ends Jan Oberg.
Please also read the articles on TFF's site by our associate Dietrich
Fischer, one of the world's leading thinkers on alternative defence
© TFF 2000
Please reprint, copy, archive, quote or re-post this item, but please
retain the source.^
Dr. Jan Oberg
Director, head of the TFF Conflict-Mitigation team
to the Balkans and Georgia
T F F
Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research
Vegagatan 25, S - 224 57 Lund, Sweden
Phone +46-46-145909 (0900-1100)