About Aylan and your 10EUR T-shirt. What this refugee crisis is really telling us

Aylan Kurdi, a 3 years old Syrian refugee boy, who was found dead on Wednesday, September 2, laying on the beach near Bodrum, in Turkey and whose picture has gone viral shocking millions of people around the world, managed in an impressively extraordinary and stark way to tell and remind the developed world what it normally prefers not to see: people – a lot of innocent men, women, children, who dream and hope for happy, fulfilling lives, just like me and you – die every day as a result of war, conflict, insecurity, drought, famine, extreme poverty.

In the 21st century, when with wealth of information we wake up and go to sleep, Western world has developed and institutionalized a high degree of self-protection and self-censorship. Warning signs such as “this article/video contains images that readers/viewers may find distressing” have been introduced and considered as a norm to prevent people from being too disturbed, provoked, upset. If we don’t see things like suffering, pain, misery, hunger or death, we don’t know about it and do not feel connected or in any way responsible for what we see.

But, Aylan’s picture did not have this warning. And he was probably also white enough.

Its bluntness hit even the biggest cynics and sceptics. Mr Cameron, British Prime Minster, who has been trying very hard to reduce the number of refugees and immigrants coming to the UK, had to acknowledge that Aylan’s picture ‘deeply moved’ him.

But, before and after Aylan there have been many more children dying like this. Right in this moment there are about 60 million refugees worldwide escaping suffering, uncertainty, hunger, poverty and death. Many of them are refugees in their own countries. About 350,000 people, most of them from Somalia fleeing conflict and drought, currently reside in Dadaab, Kenya, the world’s biggest refugee camp. Lebanon with 4 million inhabitants is giving shelter to more than 1.5 million refugees from Syria and Palestine, which means – 27% of its total population are refugees. Also, Pakistan hosts about 1.6 million Afghan refugees. And, last but not least. Turkey is now hosting about 2 million refugees – half of total Syrian refugees.

In contrast, in 2013 28 EU countries together hosted less than 500,000 refugees and the USA was the only Western country, which made the list of the top 10 refugees’ hosting countries. This year more than 370,000 refugees arrived in Europe, which is about the same size as the total population in Dadaab camp.

Though many Western people have been deeply touched by Aylan’s death and have felt compassion for all the people searching safety, equally many people and governments have expressed concerns about the massive influx of refugees with wrong skin color, religion, and ethnicity, clothing, language, work ethics and moral values.

Moreover, dramatization or even criminalization of refugees seeking escape in Europe has transformed the initial ‘refugee crisis’ into ‘Europe’s security and economic crisis’, questioning refugees’ vulnerability and safety at home and presuming that many refugees together with many more economic migrants (about 20 million non-EU migrants currently living in EU) just come to Europe because they want to live as good as Europeans.

And, here are few important questions we all need to ask:

  • why a Syrian, Sudanese or Afghan girl or boy does not deserve to live as good as a European boy or girl?
  • Let’s think further – why Syrian, Sudanese or Afghan girl CANT live as good as European girl in their home countries?
  • If they could live at home as good and safe as they can in Europe, would they leave their home country?

I will not discuss here ‘common sense’ things such as – on the basis of the international law, refugees have the right not to be penalised for illegally entering a country if they request asylum and if their safety cannot be assured in their home country. Each country can come up with their own policies and programmes to ensure adequate solutions, which meets refugees’ basic needs and takes into account host country’s context with regard to social integration, employment, social benefits, eventual repatriations etc. But, there is no question that refugees should not be given shelter. Criminalization of refugees is against any humanitarian principles and human rights.

But, there are much more fundamental things which Europeans need to understand when thinking about this migration phenomenon in a broader context and with longer-term perspective.

For centuries Europe particularly has been the lead driver of the globalization and internationalization on all levels. Europe together with the USA have been passionately spreading the uber-liberal ideology arguing that’s the magic door to wealth, wellbeing, never-ending growth etc. Moreover, especially since 1980s international trade, foreign direct investment, open societies, privatization, single markets, financialization of economy, global competitiveness and ‘race to the bottom’ have been the main tools developed and advanced by the Western countries to liberalize inter-state relations and bring the promised economic benefits.

However, as we all know, there is no such thing as free lunch. That development, high living standards and welfare, which western societies have experienced during the last decades, has a price. Somebody is paying for that.

Just stop for a moment.

Look at the t-shirt or top you are wearing, for which you probably paid 10EUR or 10GBP or even less if you bought it in Primark. Ok, some of you may have paid even 50 or 100 EUR but probably it is only because of the label or a bit better quality fabric. We probably all think, that paying double or triple price for that T-shirt would be too expensive, but from the other side – think about the person who made that 10EUR T-shirt. He might very likely be a 12 years old child working 10-14 hour long work day in a factory, which would not meet normal health and safety standards, and who gets paid few dollars a day for that. And, he does that because 1) we love ‘race to the bottom’ so therefore – he is the most competitive one selling his time and skills for the most competitive price, 2) he has essentially no other choice (his parents may not be able to send him to school) and 3) the western societies love buying things at the lowest possible price. But, we would not, of course, make those T-shirts in our own countries ourselves, because we have labour unions, labour rights, and we would not accept such a low pay as it would not allow us to normally survive and live. But, you see, for some reason we think that it is ok for that child in the developing country to do that. It is ok for our western companies to move all their production to the developing countries so they can utilize this cheap labour to satisfy us – greedy consumers who love bargains and 10EUR T-shirts.

How much of the things you wear or eat or otherwise consume are actually produced in the western country where even the lowest-paid staff could relatively well survive? Think about how much your wellbeing depends on the people who work, produce all these nice goods but still live in poverty?

(p.s. Those who love KitKat chocolate should read this article)

Where next

It is not about compassion and charity what these thousands and millions of refugees and migrants ask or deserve. Though in short term indeed they need shelter, food, safety, protection and opportunities to support themselves (and yes, this is why Europe has to demonstrate its solidarity and open its borders to those who search refuge), what is required more than ever is acknowledgment that the current economic system designed and advanced primarily by the rich countries is fundamentally reliant on poor countries and societies essentially subsidizing wealthier countries and lifestyle of Western societies via liberalized economy’s principles – race to the bottom/ competitiveness on global level, cheap labour, import of cheap raw materials, liberalization and internationalization of domestic markets, unfair and unsustainable tax system. There are more than 230 million migrants, which is more than 3% of the world’s population, who leave their home countries for better living. Nowhere near that number would have been that high if it was not for the unbalanced, unfair international economic system we have, deteriorating environmental situation and inhumane political regimes. We need to support refugees today, now, but tomorrow we need to rewrite the international rules to make them more progressive, fair and just.

Moreover, the foreign aid politics and business (135 billion USD a year) should be revamped and reorganized to ensure that it does not become as one of the cornerstones of the donor countries’ national export and foreign policy strategies. For example, USA is the biggest food aid donor, but all food has to be produced in USA. Who this food aid is helping more in the long term – American agriculture mega-businesses or developing countries? Also, UN Office for Humanitarian Affairs this year has received only 35% of the required funds to help those in need. Why we then feel surprised that certain humanitarian crises escalate to a level, which gets out of control?

It does not matter at which level – municipal, regional, national, European, international – we look, but we all know the truth – human capital will always follow resources. global wealth distributionLiberalization promotes centralization of these resources. Therefore there are only 2 options: either we accept that we need liberalization of movement of people to make it compatible with liberalization of movement of capital/ resources; or we reform our international trade/ tax/ investment laws embedding fair and just redistribution mechanisms, allowing countries around the world to develop and flourish. If we want to build walls for people, we will need walls for resources as well.

Some of the liberals would also argue that obviously many of the developing countries have failed to develop because of corruption, money laundering, waste of public funds etc. But, if you ask then Western countries to carry out progressive tax reform, which would end tax avoidance, evasion and dodging and terminate the harmful, massive network of tax havens, thus making it so much more difficult for corrupt politicians and large companies to do their dodgy things, then somehow enthusiasm to fix the problem disappears.

Maybe Aylan’s picture will become an alarm bell awakening the conscious of the Europeans to make them realize that the West is shaping both directly and indirectly the conditions how people live across the world and therefore their misery is often a consequence of our own decisions/ actions and choices. So, maybe it is guilt what we need to feel not compassion? Or if we can feel compassion for Aylan, can we also feel compassion for all those right now sewing jeans and 10EUR t-shirts we will buy tomorrow, or harvesting bananas or coffee beans, or working in horrible conditions to get those shrimps for our seafood sandwich? Jamie Oliver recently said if it was not for workers from abroad “every one of my businesses would close tomorrow”. And, how many Western businesses would close tomorrow if they could not produce their goods for cheap in China, India, Bangladesh, Ghana, Nicaragua, Mexico etc?

We need to understand that our wellbeing and our life style is largely based on the poverty, insecurity, vulnerability of other people. Even if we don’t know them and don’t see them, they are there. But you see – you never know, one day they may knock on your door because you never cared what they deserve for making your life so comfortable, so safe and so good.


Western hypocrisy

“European leaders and the West in general are criticising Greece for their failure to collect taxes. One of the points of our commission [Independent Commission for the Reform of International Corporate Taxation] is that the West has created a framework for global tax avoidance, but the US is opposing the creation of a UN framework and [even] discussions among all the countries to do something about it. Here you have advanced countries trying to undermine a global effort to stop tax avoidance. Can you have a better image of hypocrisy?”

Joseph Stiglitz, 13 July, 2015, Addis Ababa

Walmart – master of tax avoidance

Walmart is the second biggest employer in the world (after army of China). Walmart is one of the most active multinational-companies lobbying for TTIP (EU-USA trade agreement) and TPP (Trans-Pasific partnership between USA and Pacific countries). And, Walmart, as the brand new, hot off the press research by Americans for Tax Fairness shows, it is also a very big and smart tax dodger. Make your own conclusions about Walmart, about how and why rich are rich, and who the real beneficiaries of TTIP/ TPP will be.


era of dynasties in the USA

If Hillary Clinton will be elected and assuming that she serves one term, out of 32 years (1989 – 2021) for 24 years US politics will be led by 2 families.

I just wonder, are these the only 2 families in the USA which can offer winning candidates for the President’s post? And, if so, what makes them so special and unique? Or simply because not every family could feel confident enough about their capabilities to raise billions of US dollars for running their election campaigns?

Maybe some of the hints are hidden in this new book written by the ex-Financial Times reporter?

Inequality for all

To recognize the World Day of Social Justice which was on 20 February, I watched this great documentary produced by Robert Reich, renowned US economist who has advised several US presidents and governments. Though this documentary is focusing on USA, it brings into light the danger of inequality anywhere; danger to people, to living standards, to democracy. In the film Mr Reich suggests to address the challenges of inequality through:

  • middle-out economy (opposed to trickle-down economy which is a pure myth),
  • investment in education (if anything, education can be a Troyan horse to reduce inequality);
  • putting the people first;
  • strict policy on tax justice and stopping tax breaks to ensure fair contribution by the rich to the society (higher concentration of money in fewer hands creates power and ability to influence politics and democratic processes).

He is calling for bigger social change which should should be triggered by society. Complacency won’t work. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0NdDupITDv8

Rejošie suņi un (ne)caurspīdīgā karavāna. Otrais pastāsts par TTIP.

T.T.I.P. Gribas domāt, ka pēdējo nedēļu laikā TTIP akronīms (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership = Transatlantiskās tirdzniecības un investīciju partnerības līgums) ir kļuvis atpazīstamāks Latvijā. Gan Dienas bizness turpina rakstīt, gan biedrība Progresīvie ir pauduši savu viedokli, gan Latvijas radio šonedēļ bija sarīkojis tiešraides diskusiju (bija prieks par A.Babra pragmatismu un dziļāku izpratni par šo jautājumu).

Kopš mana iepriekšējā raksta par TTIP latviski ir notikuši vairāki interesanti notikumi, par kuriem tad es arī padalīšos savās pārdomās.

Vācija, kas ir ES dzinējs, kļūst par vienu no ES anti-TTIP protestētāju centriem. Aizvadītajā nedēļas nogalē Berlīnē 120 dažādu organizāciju alianses vadībā aptuveni 50 tūkstoši vāciešu protestēja pret šo tirdzniecības līgumu. Vācijas protestētāji uzskata, ka TTIP aizstāv pamatā rūpnieciskās lauksaimniecības un ĢMO ražotāju intereses, tādejādi sekmējot vēl lielāku lausaimniecības sektora industrializāciju un apdraudot mazos lauksaimniekus. Neskatoties uz to, ka kopumā Vācijas ražotāji saglabā augsto konkurētspēju Eiropā, tirgus liberalizācijas rezultātā pēdējo 10 gadu laikā ap divas trešdaļas cūkaudzētāju, piemēram, ir pārtraukuši savu saimniecisko darbību vai pārprofilējušies, jo nav spējuši konkurēt ar lielajiem lauksaimniecības ražotājiem.

Vēl, interesants fakts, kas mani galīgi nepārsteidz, ir tas, ka Eiropas Komisija beidzot publiskoja 2014. gada publiskās aptaujas rezultātus, kurā noskaidrojies, ka no 150,000 respondentiem, 97% ir pauduši negatīvu nostāju pret investoru aizsardzības mehānismu (ISDS), kas dotu tiesības kompānijām iesūdzēt tiesā valstis par peļņas zaudēšanu kaut kādu likumdošanas izmaiņu rezultātā. ISDS tādā mērogā un saturā tiek uzskatīts par antidemokrātisku, paceļot tirgus intereses augstāk par sabiedrības interesēm.

Bet, pats nozīmīgākais fakts janvāra pirmajā darba nedēļā bija Tirdzniecības komisāres paziņojums par lielākas caurspīdības ieviešanu un zināmu TTIP dokumentu publiskošanu, tādejādi reaģējot uz skarbo kritiku par līguma slēgšanas procesa slepenību. Jāteic, iepazīstoties ar šiem materiāliem, lietas īpaši caurspīdīgākas netop. Turklāt, publicēti ir tikai ES puses sākotnējie pozīcijas dokumenti (īsās versijas un ne visi) un skaidrojumi ‘vienkāršajiem ļaudīm’ un nespeciālistiem. ASV puses pozīcija nevienā no līgumā ietvertajiem punktiem nav zināma, līdz ar to, ir neiespējami zināt, cik stingra un stabila ir ES pozīcija vienā vai otrā jautājumā. Šie dokumenti arī neatspoguļo nekādā veidā līdz šim veikto sarunu rezultātus, tikai ieskicē ES puses toni sarunu sākumā.

Taču, neskatoties uz šo , kopsavilkums ir sekojošs. Tātad šis līgums attieksies uz pakalpojumu sektoru (kas ir 60% no ES ekonomikas un darba vietām), preču tirdzniecību (kosmētika, pārtika, inženierizstrādājumi, tekstilizstrādājumi, medikamenti , auto utt), publisko iepirkumu procedūrām, tirdzniecības kontroles un uzraudzības mehānismiem, tehniskajiem tirdzniecības šķēršļiem (dažādu standartu atšķirības), izejmateriāliem, mazajiem un vidējiem uzņēmumiem un viņu eksport/ importspēju, muitas kontroli, investoru aizsardzību, konkurences stiprināšanu.

Galvenie kritiskie punkti, ko ES cenšas panākt, ir:

  • ES un ASV firmas ir pilnīgi vienlīdzīgas gan ES un ASV un bauda vienus un tos pašus nosacījumus attiecībā uz nodokļiem, investīcijām, iepirkumu utt.
  • Ciešāka finansu sektora regulācijas saskaņošana (nekas gan netiek minēts par regulācijas stiprināšanu, lai novērstu 2008.gada krīzes atkārtošanos), kļūstot par šī sektora regulēšanas pasaules līderiem, un pozīcijas saskaņošana attiecībā uz jaunām iniciatīvām ārpus šī līguma ietvara (nākamā finansu krīze nesāksies ASV, un tā būs vēl lielāka – tas ‘too big to fail’ kļūs vēl lielāks);
  • Tādi pakalpojumu sektori kā tv, filmas, veselības aprūpe, izglītība, sociālie pakalpojumi un ūdensapgāde varētu tikt aizsargāti (nav gan teikts, ka ASV tam piekritīs);
  • Muitas/importa nodokļu atcelšana (ardievas vietējā tirgus aizsardzībai);
  • Publiskajā iepirkumā nedrīkstēs būt otras puses firmu diskriminācija; galvenais – ekonomiskākais piedāvājums, lielāka izvēle (tātad tam Latvijas zemniekiem, par kuru rakstīju iepriekš un kurš gribēs lauku skolai notirgot kartupeļus, nāksies konkurēt ar importa kartupeļiem);
  • Tehnisko šķēršļu novēršana un prasību saskaņošana attiecībā uz jaunu produktu sertifikāciju, testēšanu, pārbaudēm, markēšanu utt, tiesa gan negarentējot vides un patērētāju tiesību aizsardzību un standartu nevājināšanu (nav gan teikts, kura puse pielāgosies kurai);
  • Nebūs izmaiņas attiecībā uz ĢMO (tā mēs visi gribam domāt);
  • Auto nozares tehnisko parametru saskaņošana, kas tādejādi varētu palielināt tirdzniecību nākamo desmit gadu laikā 70-350% apmērā (ietekme uz vidi te netiek apspriesta);
  • TTIP ies roku rokā ar sociālo attīstību, ilgtspējību un vides aizsardzību, veicinot arī sociāli atbildīgu uzņēmējdarbību un iesaistot pilsonisko sabiedrību (skan kaut kā pārāk skaisti, lai tam noticētu);
  • Tā kā Pasaules tirdzniecības organizācijas ietvars nav pietiekami liberāls, tad attiecībā uz piekļuvi izejmateriāliem un to ieguvi, tirdzniecību, TTIP ļaus ES un ASV uzņēmumiem vienlīdzīgi konkurēt (ES cer uz enerģētikas avotu diversifikāciju, piekļūstot ASV dabas gāzei);
  • ASV tirgus atvēršana, atvieglojot tirdzniecības procedūras, 20 miljoniem ES mazo un vidējo uzņēmumu, kuri nodarbina divas trešdaļas ES darbspējīgo cilvēku un kuri pēdējo 10 gadu laikā ir radījuši 85% no jaunajām darba vietām;
  • Investoru aizsardzības mehānisma izveide, kurš eventuāli aizstātu 1400 ES valstīs esošos divpusējos investoru aizsardzības līgumus; jautājums par valdību spēju saglabāt regulēšanas tiesības un cik lielā mērā – tiks apspriests;
  • Tīras konkurences apstākļu nodrošināšana, panākot valsts un privāto uzņēmumu vienlīdzību;
  • Valsts subsīdiju samazināšana/ izskaušana vai pilnīga caurspīdība par tās saņēmējiem; valsts iejaukšanās tirgū ir kaitnieciska;

Ko tas viss nozīmē globāli, es jau rakstīju iepriekšējā rakstā, bet, ja suņi rej un karavāna iet tālāk, tad Latvijas pusei ir jābūt spējīgai nodefinēt savu pozīciju šādos jautājumos un to aizstāvēt TTIP sarunās:

  • kādas un cik ilgtspējīgas investīcijas un kur Latvija grib saņemt un piesaistīt (ne visas investīcijas var būt labvēlīgas LV attīstībai)?
  • vai un kur Latvija grib investēt ASV (kam ir kapacitāte un interese)?
  • kuri sektori vai uzņēmumi ir stratēģiski aizstāvāmi un paturami valsts kontrolē/ īpašumā, ieskaitot monopoluzņēmumus (vai LV ir interese saglabāt kaut kādus vietējā tirgus aizsardzības mehānismus un kontroli pār zināmiem ekonomikas sektoriem sabiedrības interešu/ vietējās ekonomikas vārdā);
  • kādu ietekmi TTIP atstās uz valsts budžeta ienākumiem ilgtermiņā (importa, muitas nodokļa un dažādu citu administratīvo ienākumu samazināšanās) un kādus attīstības scenārijus var tas radīt?
  • kādu ietekmi importa preču cenu samazināšanās atstās uz vietējiem ražotājiem? Kā tie spēs konkurēt un izdzīvot?
  • kāda ir pašreizējā publiskā iepirkuma ietekme uz vietējiem ražotājiem un uzņēmējiem un kādas sekas TTIP var atstāt, liberalizējot šo iepirkumu;
  • kādu ietekmi uz vietējo uzņēmumu attīstību un eksportspēju atstās subsīdiju un valsts atbalsta samazināšana tīrās konkurences vārdā?
  • vai un kādi sabiedrības pakalpojumu un ekonomikas sektori būtu aizsargājami un atrunājami TTIP līgumā (tie, kuri nevar tikt pakļauti privatizācijai, liberalizētam iepirkumam utt)?
  • kā šis TTIP nodrošinās nekaitniecību tiem daudzajiem mazajiem uzņēmumiem, kuru profils, specifika, kapacitāte neļaus apgūt pasaules tirgus? Kā tas ietekmēs šo uzņēmumu dzīvotspēju savās mājās?

Ko citi eksperti saka?

Latvijas ārpolitikas institūta pētniece uzskata, ka Latvijai šī ir augsta politiskā (nevis ekonomiskā!!) prioritāte, kas nozīmē praktiski tikai to, ka diskusijā par šī līguma praktisko labumu Latvijai ekonomiskie, saimnieciski un sociālie aspekti ir mazzsvarīgi. Ja TTIP ir aukstā kara ‘versija 2’ viens no ieročiem, tad Latvija uz cenu neskatās. To mēs mākam.

Eiropas parlaments, izrādās, jau 2013.gadā ir pasūtījis ekspertu pētījumu par TTIP ietekmi uz ES un jāteic – pētījuma secinājumos nekāds optimisms nav jūtams un EP deputāti tiek brīdināti par dažādiem TTIP negatīvajiem aspektiem.

Jā, un visbeidzot ietekmīgais ekonomists Džefrija Saks šo līgumu neatbalsta nemaz, uzsverot, ka tas pilnīgi ignorē lielos ilgtspējīgas attīstības izaicinājumus – vide un pieaugošā nevienlīdzība un šī līguma ‘bīdītāji’ nav veikuši nekādu visaptverošu analīzi par līguma ietekmi uz nodarbinātību, dažādajām saimniecības nozarēm, ienākumu sadali, ekonomisko izaugsmi. Viņu satrauc globalizācijas attīstības virziens, kuru dzen nevis humānisma gars, bet gan lobiju kontrolētas valdības.

Bet, suņi rej un visās Eiropas valstīs, tā ka karavānai varētu neiet tik viegli, kā bija iecerēts..


What if financial sector, military industry and tax havens have serious impact on global security?

NATO is changing and the world is changing. 65 years ago, when NATO was established, its key defined objective was to “safeguard the freedom and security of its members by political and military means”. However, over these years, not only security concept has expanded significantly, but the content and relevance of political and military means available to NATO to address the security challenges also has changed. If the threats change, weapons and tactics should be changed accordingly too.

Military aggression and threats is not the one and only security problem anymore. National governments and security experts have identified several new security challenges we face in the 21st century; as the most common ones are: cyber attacks, terrorism, energy security and environmental challenges.

However, in my opinion, one of the most overlooked security challenges by the transatlantic community is the liberalized financial sector and commercialized military/ defense sector. Many of the NATO members are strong proponents of free market economies, financial liberalization and host some of the largest financial centres in the world. Therefore, one may even argue that my statement contradicts with the Alliance’s values and spirit of freedom.

But let me highlight just some of the most detrimental aspects of liberalized financial sector and commercialized defense sector and their impact on the global security:

  1. Comparatively unregulated banking sector with the tax havens at the forefront nurtures abusive, undemocratic, corrupt regimes allowing political leaders and elite to carry out corruptive, money laundering as well as tax evasion activities; sooner or later this leads to destabilization of the country or the region and due to negative effects on society and legitimacy of political leadership, it can create security risks within particular country and abroad. Moreover, ability to hide millions and billions of USD in bank accounts of Western banks make such leaders fearless and untouchable. No matter what they would do, their bank accounts would remain safe (think about Gaddafi or Putin, for example, or 35billion USD which leave Africa each year as a result of tax evasion and other illicit financial transactions via tax havens).
  2. The same tax havens and secrecy jurisdictions (Switzerland, Lichtenstein, Cayman islands etc) facilitate, promote and profit from illicit money flows which can allow terrorists, rebel groups and extremists directly or through under-cover organizations to accumulate and transfer funds which can be then used to purchase weapons, carry out terrorist attacks etc.
  3. Commercialization and liberalization of military industry over the last decades offers only two incentives – to produce more arms, to sell more arms and to make greater profits. Military industry, which is one of the biggest lobby groups in the USA and UK, is probably one of the most subsidized business sectors and has developed a very asymmetric and dangerous demand/ supply relationship with the state. Outsourcing of defense services to the military industry, which cant exist without conflicts and problems, may per definition mean that conflicts remain unresolved. Moreover, business/ profit interests of military industry may jeopardize political and diplomatic efforts to solve conflicts. Just recently, only because of massive international pressure, French military company stopped delivery of military equipment to Russia, which had just occupied Ukraine. How effective NATO campaign defending its ally Ukraine and its sovereignty can be, if one of its members is selling arms to the aggressor?
  4. Since the governments have been required to commit to military spending at 2% of its GDP, the less important aspect has become the quality of spending. Afghanistan is one of the examples where practitioners from the field have openly been questioning the cost-effectiveness and impact of the military spending.

It’s not a rocket-science, what is required from the current and future global political leaders; it is 1) long term thinking and 2) courage to compromise their own individual country interests (boosting GDP through billion-worth military industry business and keeping tax havens going as a result of massive lobbying from the financial industry) to achieve global peace. Growing GDP through arms manufacturing is inhuman. Praising boosting global financial centres in London, New York, Frankfurt etc which may contribute to world’s instability and insecurity, is cruel.

Security should not be viewed only as a defense and preparation for the attack. Security should equally mean prevention and proactive mitigation of risks. Security should mean peacebuilding not only manufacturing of more weapons. No innocent human being should die as a consequence of misused freedom of liberalized market.