CCI representatives meeting with local government and NGO representatives in Simferopol, Crimea.
By Roger Kotila
DWF Vice President
National governments and the United Nations stumble along, generally unable to make the world a safer and better place to live. The Middle East, for example, has become a cauldron of war and chaos causing a refugee crisis in Europe, and bringing with it ever more terrorism.
US/NATO appears to be provoking Russia at its European border raising concerns that a military conflict might erupt, perhaps even nuclear war. Crimea and Ukraine are also geopolitical hotspots. The Western press appears to be adding fuel to the fire by demonizing Russia and its President, Vladimir Putin.
Private citizens have taken notice with a sense of alarm. One group of American citizens, Center for Citizen Initiatives (CCI) takes action to reduce tensions with Russia by directly meeting with ordinary citizens in Russia. Democratic World Federalists (DWF) goes to Brussels, capitol of the European Union, to discuss with European federalists a plan to instigate UN Charter review in order to fix the UN so it can do its job.
The San Francisco Promise now underway
With a vision for a peaceful, just and sustainable world, DWF based in San Francisco has launched a campaign to demand a review of the UN Charter and make good the promise that was made to the nations that signed the Charter in 1945, but was never honored.
The UN, although it does many good things, is unable to do one of its primary jobs–ending war and eliminating nuclear weapons. One reason for its failure is the Charter itself, written over 70 years ago but with fatal flaws, such as being profoundly undemocratic and lacking enforceable world law.
A contingent of world federalists from Canada and the US went to Brussels with a mission to develop support for a review of the UN Charter–dubbed “The San Francisco Promise.”
A number of meetings were arranged to discuss UN Charter Review with European federalists who work closely with the EU and the European Parliament.
Opening the door to a safe and secure world
Because the UN is not a democratic world federation and lacks a proper constitution, the UN could not prevent the regime change invasions that caused the wars in the first place. Europe and the US are now victims of their own making– vulnerable to the blowback from the military invasions in the Middle East which have resulted in the refugee crisis in Europe, and increased acts of terrorism in the West.
UN Charter review could be a key means to open the door to a safe and secure world for all. For example, because it lacks a proper governing structure, the UN has been unable to prevent the wars for regime change launched by US/NATO which have devastated Iraq, Syria, and Libya, and made Ukraine and Crimea targets of contention.
Our contingent meets with Mr. Ioan Bucuras, Secretary General of Young European Federalists. Left to right: Roger Kotila, Vivian Davidson, Bob Hanson, Ioan Bucuras, Shahr-Yar Sharei.
Citizen diplomats to Crimea and Russia
Nation to nation friendship exchanges between private citizen diplomats can be an important vehicle both to reduce tensions, and for fact-finding. CCI leads the way in this type of peace activism.
Twenty American citizen diplomats under the auspices of the Center for Citizen Initiatives traveled to Russia to meet with ordinary Russians in 5 different cities. The purpose? A friendship exchange to reduce tensions, and for fact-finding because Western mainstream media appears to paint a false picture of Russia, Crimea, and Russian leaders.
Rather than take establishment press at its word that Russia is bad and the “aggressor” in places like Crimea, CCI went to Crimea, a center of contention between the United States and Russia. Time and time again western media claims that Russia “took over” Crimea against its will–a Russian “land grab.”
Is Western media falsely making Russia an enemy?
But CCI President Sharon Tennison felt that the media’s negative portrait of Russia was wrong. Tennison is uniquely qualified when it comes to Russia, having made “hundreds of trips” to Russia over the last 33 years.
She is alarmed that Western media falsely labels Russia and President Vladimir Putin as “enemies” of America. Demonization leads to military build-ups, and could result in nuclear war.
As Tennison suspected, CCI’s findings in Crimea differed markedly from the negative picture presented by media. The majority of Crimeans themselves do not see Russia as the villain; they prefer Russia and want to stay out of the grasp of Ukraine.
For the world community nuclear war is not acceptable, and citizens are not waiting for the politicians to make the changes that will be required if the world is to be safe.
CCI’s website includes two insightful articles by retired U.S. Army Colonel Ann Wright who warns us about slanted media reporting, and who also describes how Russians compare themselves to Americans.
A new level of citizen diplomacy aims for a “new UN”
Democratic World Federalists are taking private citizen diplomacy to an entirely new level with a campaign whose goal it is to create a popular and political demand for fundamental changes to the UN itself.
While CCI’s citizen diplomacy works on a nation to nation level, DWF looks to impact all 193 nations by working towards global system change — a “new UN” which can benefit all nations and peoples.
History of “The San Francisco Promise”
It is well known by world federalists that the failed UN Charter has been holding back the UN from doing its primary job — ending war.
It is not well known that a number of nations objected to the undemocratic design of the Charter at the original time of its signing in 1945 in San Francisco, or that it was promised that a review would be held in ten years, a review that has never happened.
The door to the possibility of a “new UN” has opened by the findings of a former DWF Board member Shahr-Yar Sharei whose doctoral research in international law uncovered the fact that a Charter review is legally required by the UN.
Making good on “The San Francisco Promise”
Through The San Francisco Promise, concerned citizens from the Bay Area and nationwide are invited to become members of DWF.
The citizen demand for Charter review may spark an uprising in the UN General Assembly which has long played second fiddle at the UN — treated as second class citizens without a meaningful vote in global affairs.
Citizen diplomats are calling for a World Parliament. Earth Federation activists are lobbying for the outdated and fatally flawed UN Charter to be replaced by the Earth Constitution (aka, Constitution for the Federation of Earth).
It is time for the UN General Assembly to step up, the undemocratic UN Security Council to step down, and for a “new UN” to emerge, one that is capable of meeting the needs for which the UN was originally established.