Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Authoritarianism and SDG 16.

Why the rise of authoritarianism is a global catastrophe
By Garry Kasparov and Thor Halvorssen, Washington Post. February 13

An opinion piece of great value.  Below is a"Letter to the Editor" to the Washington Post that is unlikely to get printed. 

Dear Editor,

Kasparov and Halvorssen (“The Rise of authoritarianism is a global catastrophe” 2-14-17) are correct.  Authoritarianism “is one of the largest – if not the largest--challenges facing humanity”.  Unfortunately they didn’t mention the specific Sustainable Development Goal (#16) that works against tyranny.  That’s a problem.  
Their commitment to protection human rights could make a monstrous difference for humanity if they made achieving Goal  16 and all the other SDGs their primary call to action.  Only a comprehensive approach could eliminate most of the human sufferings they listed.  

They were correct that there is “no Army of activists” working to change that.   But one is being mobilized.  As founder of the ‘435 Campaign for Global Justice” five organizations now form a nucleus of what we hope will become a ‘movement of movements’.   Initially we are seeking leaders for a ‘Hill Corps’ of individuals willing to mobilize proactivists within each of the 435 US Congressional Districts. Their goal will be to move the SDGs to the top of the US foreign policy agenda by creating the missing “political will” to achieve all of the 17 SDGs by the year 2030.  Our tactic is to document by each Congressional District, a variety of specific local impacts from the array of global forces that horrific human suffering and criminal authoritarian regimes create in so many nations.  Most of these global forces such as pandemic diseases, terrorism, climate change, failed states, WMD proliferation, and economic instability are serious national security threats to our nation and we intend to document how US investment abroad in preventing these crimes is far cheaper in lives and dollars than addressing them here.  

We were warned of these threats decades ago by President Jimmy Carter’s 1980 Presidential Commission on World Hunger.   It mentioned such links to our own national security fourteen times, and summarized, “In the final analysis, unless Americans -- as citizens of an increasingly interdependent world -- place far higher priority on overcoming world hunger, its effects will no longer remain remote or unfamiliar.  Nor can we wait until we reach the brink of the precipice; the major actions required do not lend themselves to crisis planning, patchwork management, or emergency financing... The hour is late.  Age-old forces of poverty, disease, inequity, and hunger continue to challenge the world.  Our humanity demands that we act upon these challenges now...”

Our intent is to salvage the best aspects of civilization globally.  This can only be done as you have both asserted if the protection human rights is held as a higher priority than the protection of Authoritarian states that have little or no respect for them.  Our loyalty needs to be to maximizing the freedom and security of all people.  Not to the domination of national leader over their people.

That was actually the ideal that created the United States.  The "self-evident" "Truths" that all people are created equal….and the purpose of government is to protect the natural rights of all people.  Until we establish this fundamental principle into a democratically authorized world federation focused on a bill of rights mirroring the Universal Declaration of Human Rights -- massive human suffering will continue, and chaos will reign regardless of the style of leadership of any nation state.  And it won't end well for our species. 

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