President of the Instituto de Altos Estudos

of the Academia das Ciências de Lisboa

Professor Emeritus

of the Universidade Técnica de Lisboa

I – Hopes after the 1939-1945 war

The 1939-1945 war, having in memory of its consequences the globalization of the disaster, led to the project, with secular multiple memory and always impossible to carry out, to stablish a structure peaceful of the world order, which was centered on the organization of the UN. Not being just to forget the services provided to humanity by their organizations, it is impossible to be calm when listening to the interventions, addressed to the globe, at the 75th meeting of the UN General Assembly, by the two great powers that are the USA and China. There is a proximity between this General Assembly and the celebration of 70 years of NATO, whose strategic concept, approved in 2010, aimed to collective defense, crisis management, and collective security. The complexity of the situation, which makes the future of this century unpredictable, recalls the vision of John Rawls, (Theory of Justice, 1971), when he emphasized that “legal constructions extend their“ “veil of ignorance” over the reality announced by the war, but unread by “national choice” theories. The challenging fact is that reality has developed a global interdependence of all former supremacies, but the UN Charter has not disciplined that development. Perhaps the conflict in Trump’s speech, in his seven minutes of imputing responsibility for the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic to China, would make Xi-Jinping’s answer that no country can be the “Chief of the World” enlightening. In the Assembly perhaps a delegate present recalled that General Ben Hodges, a former combatant in the American forces, left in 2018 the public warning that “the USA and China will be at war in fifteen years”. It could be yet another global disaster, affiliated, for ample reasons, by the fact that the UN Charter is yet another chapter in the westernization of the world, without the participation of the plurality of ethnicities and cultures that have not globally adhered to either the past or the proposed future. Analysts are not confronted with a ‘’unique world’’ in the sense of the UN Charter, but with the requirement of pluralism from the reality of proposing, not always collectively with peace, to draw red lines over the political globe, which give an explicit and different identity to the USA, Europe, Russia, China, Middle East, Africa, Asia, Latin America, an assumed “world in competition”. And because the UN’s western origin, it is necessary to assess the real consistency, without cuts, of the solidarity that it defined as indispensable. As has been said, “it is not a matter of teaching navigation, while the boat sinks”, but of ensuring that, with participatory changes, the original project to westernize the world is respected, seeking to maintain the basic cultural and scientific definition of occupied Jacques Barzun with his remarkable “From dawn to decay”. It seems that the dominant principle of the “American strategic concept”, is to assume the position of world leader. Perhaps he forgets that President Kennedy was, in his short life, the one who most clearly affirmed the orientation of ethical superiority before the world, to which they should prove that it was a noble task to ensure the lives of men, to support the just lives of men and the organization of societies on human freedom. Show that American democracy solves its problems with the consent of all, within justice and equality: “our democracy must prove that it is so capable of fighting patiently but with clairvoyance and passion for human freedom in Asia, in near east, in Africa and South America, as to face the superiority currently held by the Soviets in the field of artificial satellites “. The current American presidential speech, at the UN General Assembly, hardly had any recollection of this part of the chronicle of its function. Also, unlike the European Union, where Westernism has its roots, it continues to ignore that each state has a duty to respect global cooperation.

The contribution of this speech begins to weaken more deeply the hopeful utopia of the foundation of the United Nations and limits the preaching of hope that they supported in the successive invitation to the successive Popes, Paul VI, John Paul II twice, Pope Emeritus, and finally the Pope Francis, that the Cardinals went to seek the end of the world. The last one mentioned, in one of his famous interviews, said that, when he was a Bishop in Buenos Aires, a mother, with a child on her lap, asked for help because her son was starving. He replied that it was Saturday, and on Monday he would help her. The woman replied – “but my son is dying of hunger this Saturday, not on Monday”. “. There are too many responsible leaders who did not understand the concept. Nor the return to ethnic confrontation, with visible expression in the USA.

II – Examples of ethnic conflicts in the USA

Perhaps the first document that testifies the presence of ethnic conflicts in the USA, which until this century without a compass continue to challenge the growing disapproval of the populations of other States, was Tocqueville’s book (De la democracie en Amerique, 1951) where he left it documented the message that the Iroquois sent to the US Congress, the main text of which reads: Our parents and yours held hands in friendship and lived in peace. Everything that the white man asked to satisfy his needs, was promptly given to him by the Indian. The Indian was then the master, and the white man was the supplicant. Today, everything has changed: the strength of the red man has become weakness, as his neighbors grew in number, his power has steadily diminished: and now, of so many powerful tribes that covered the face of what you call the United States, hardly remain some that the general disaster has spared. The tribes of the North, so often spoken among us by their power, have almost disappeared. Such was the fate of America’s red man. Here are the last of our race: is it also necessary for us to disappear? ” The answer was evident in the American Legend of the Indian Jerónimo, born on June 16, 1829, and died on February 17, 1909. After losing hope for peace with dominant whites, he died in that February 17 combat commanding the Apaches Chiricahua.  It is not possible to forget the principles that became of interest among Westerners, which are especially due to Thomas Jefferson (1740-1826), President of the USA (1801-1809), founder of the University of Virginia, but also a master of democratic constitutionalism , leaving an important Manual in American teaching, and a much cited Notes on The State of Virginia, dealing with the principles of the ideal called Jeffersonian Democracy, reminding the 1789 Constitution to include a Bill of Rights. Unfortunately, the civil war, which lasted from 1861 to 1865, with thousands of dead, came to an end with Lincoln abolishing slavery, a humanist triumph that was perhaps not an acceptable conclusion to the line of thought that maintained cholera against abolition. which led to his assassination on April 14, 1875, maintaining a new form of conflict the following day.

It turns out that social discrimination often prevents the law from being able, from the point of view of interests, to correspond to that those interested in the legal revocation of a system considered unfair, come to face what the most affected consider, alive, not having maintained their “right to life”, so differently defended by Locke: It is this attitude, in the face of identifiable laws, that leads to the struggle for authenticity requiring sacrifice such as the murder of Martin Luther King on April 4, 1968, the less humanist Malcon X was also murdered on February 21, 1965, and even free entry to transportation and universities were rights ignored for serious violations. The recent savage murder by George Floyd by the police again implied the condemnatory clamor of this conflict with the “common law” demanded by “international” and “national” rights, making it evident that the most lucid missionary of ignored, or even constantly violated, values, was the Chief Indian Seattle (1854), in the letter he sent to the President of the USA, Franklin Pierce. It is long, but it is remarkable, and realistic in more than one paragraph, including these distinguishing words: “We know that the white man does not understand our way of being. For him, a piece of land cannot be distinguished from any other, because he is a stranger who comes at night and steals everything, he needs from the land … Maybe, despite everything, we are all brothers. We will see him. We know one thing – and that perhaps the white man will one day discover: our God is the same God … This land is dear to Him, and to offend the land is to insult its Creator. “. USA, also challenged by the Coronavirus, created a new image showing, in the right hand raised, a copy of the Bible. Someone will have to remind him that the book, to be read, must be opened, again reinforcing Western and Atlantic solidarity in favor of eliminating human suffering. The present attitude should not be absent from the concerns of the President of the European Commission, nor of the UN Secretary-General, who have shown themselves to be severe defenders not only of finance, but of human rights without differences in ethnicity or culture, certain that no State no institution, no uninformed government has the capacity to face a desired future for all the inhabitants of the single land. The UN has this duty in its principles. These are a must for statesmen. Unfortunately, the failure of the International Criminal Court to function has instituted what I call Amnesty for Silence.

III – Amnesty for Silence

The European Human Rights Court was an innovation that, for the first time, gave the member states citizens the right to appeal to a transnational instance, even against decisions of his home state. It was an evident conditioning of sovereignty as it is classically understood, but it was affiliated with the “natural justice” that has inspired the Declarations of Human Rights, such as the UN, and before the American and French. The European council, the entity that incorporates the Court, sanctioned Russia in 2014 for its policy towards Ukraine, as the international press widely commented, underlining the stringency of the plea, and not omitting weakening of the Council.

Suddenly, when the parliamentary session of the Council was being prepared, which took place on the 24th of June, Russian Parliament informed that its delegation would be present at Strasbourg. There was a reaction of joy for the so-called reintegration, that was not based on any reparation of the cause of the exclusion, or amnesty decision, but simple for the silencing covered by the joy. The 24th Le Monde highlighted that ‘’if Moscow left the institution, Russian citizens would no longer have access to the European Court of Human Rights. But, unfortunately had to omit that, if the benefit covered 144 million Russian citizens, the Court, in twenty years, had received more than 160,000 appeals from these citizens, but Moscow “rarely conforms to the sentences”. It is nevertheless worrying that among several parliamentarians, the dominant motive is the fear of the consequences of a rupture with Russia, adding to the risk of such a breach infecting Turkey or Azerbaijan, which are often criticized for their disregard for human rights. The most similar fact to the feared contagion is with the US government, the homeland of Jefferson’s First Bill of Rights, itself critical of the omission of those statements in democratic constitutions, and certainly of rulers who have not read Virginia’s 1776.
It turns out that the criminality of the last World War (1939-1945), especially that practiced by the Nazi regime, implied, in the name of natural justice, that the Nuremberg Tribunal was endowed with a “retroactive law” to judge those responsible for government and the military, most of whom were sentenced to death and executed. Once the new peace was organized, the principles of which were enshrined in the UN Charter, an International Criminal Court was set, which has the competence to judge war crimes, which have not ceased to be practiced after the promised and desired peace in the “single world”. Recently this court issued a decision that it will not investigate any war crimes because it has failed to obtain the cooperation of any State. President Trump celebrated the decision as a victory. This unbelievable joy implies support for amnesty for silence: Nuremberg would not have existed.

IV – The courageous replacement of US responsibility

The President and the vice-president election of the USA was a fact that did not only interested the American people, but also the globalism of interdependence in which the solidarity of the USA with Europe stands out, in its current union form. In the American political system, there is an element that serves as a starting point to understand its definition of “conjuncture”, and the importance of presidentialism: as a rule, it is the President who will assume the perception on which international policies will be conditioned, except for moments considered as weak presidencies, when Congress assumes the seriousness of power. The rule seems to lead to the fact that most international US policies and doctrines are named after the President who defined and enforced them. That is how Eisenhower’s mandate, from 1953 to 1961, led the former Commander-in-Chief of the battle for the liberation of Europe to preside over what is often considered the highest point of American power, supporting external interventions of importance to the international order. Kennedy, savagely murdered, had proclaimed that the border of America was where the border of freedom was; President Johnson announces the Great Society, object of the struggle for development. Nixon considered that the richest country’s (USA) agreement was not at odds with the poorest (China); Regan decided to restore his country’s Grand Society to the world; and Bush emphasized the matter of manifest destiny and the Pacific. During the period of Europe’s reconstruction, at the end of the war of 1939-1945, cooperation had the intervention of the Marshall Plan and NATO, but in 1977 Raymond Aron concluded that “there is no global dialogue between Europe as an entity and the States United”. But never predicted the current situation.  This situation led to the disturbing fact of President Donald Trump, when he was a clear winner in the election for President, he quickly felt called to define the relationship with States, whether in Latin America, the European Union, or the Pacific, especially with China and intervenor, not always with due respect, either to collaborators, opponents, scientists, women; NATO and the European Union have seen confidence affected, on the UN he declared not to accept multilateral cooperation, has abandoned the Paris Treaty on limiting the emission of gases, has not hesitated to offend scientists, who are facing the world crisis, has abandoned the World Health Organization and left the pandemic attack free: the numerous deaths in Donald Trump’s presidential past have been noted. One of the voters, who voted democratically in this act, explained to the public opinion that she would not have changed if Trump had assumed his responsibilities on Covid19, adding “his positions against emigrants or the climate, his budgetary policy, and above all, his personality”. The speed with which European leaders congratulated Joe Biden, in addition to showing confidence with the return of a recognized statesman, reinforced the appreciation of the attitude that the elected official took in these words: “the aim of our policy is not total and endless war. And it is not to fuel the flames of the conflict, it is to solve problems “. As for the importance of the only recently American population, it mattered in the democratic triumph that the candidate for Vice President was a woman, Kamala Harris, who refused to be considered a socialist, saying: “A socialist perspective, or a progressive perspective? It is the perspective of a woman who grew up with black belief in America, who was a prosecutor, whose mother arrived from India at the age of 19 “. The current response from the Republican loser Trump is of fidelity to his adoption of the Estado espetáculo model that he always assumed. There is, however, a public statement, which must be evaluated by those responsible, not only Americans, but also Europeans, regarding the rupture of the “West” by this election. General Ben Hodges, a former commander of US forces in Europe, anticipated in 2018 that the “US and China” would be at war within 15 years. On the date of the news about the recent American election, General Nick Carter, chief of the British Armed Forces, declared that “the escalation of regional tensions is a breeding ground for miscalculations that bring us closer to widespread conflict … we can witness an escalation that results in miscalculations, and what I’m saying is that the risk exists, and we have to be aware of those risks “. Joe Biden’s experience and values ​​point to a necessary international ethic that restores the unity of the American people and the duty of international cooperation in trust and peace. The Peace that suddenly has the brutal Pandemic attack.

V – The coronavirus crisis

It is natural that the sudden crisis of the coronavirus affecting the human race by the pandemic has changed the whole panorama of the challenges in a so-called “world without a compass”, for the analyzes, programs, and conflicts that threaten the human interests and the existing state powers, progressively restless with the secondarization of global multilateralism defended by the UN. Studies on the possibility of the violation of peace deal with the new danger of the seas, highlighting the Chinese naval force, the competition between the USA, China, Russia, as well as eventually that of the other emerging calls, the affected Europe by Brexit and assuming the defense of its unity after centuries, with new disturbing facts such as migrations violating the fulfillment of humanitarian duties. Finally, a honorable General, who is General Abel Cabral Couto, effective partner of Revista Militar, publishes a notable study entitled “The coronavirus crisis (Covid-19), war and strategy: a critical reflection”. The study by Soromenho-Marques – After the Fall (2019) had raised a question that became evident in the current environment: Which Armed Forces in the time of environmental and climate emergency? General Cabral Couto’s brilliant essay points to an equal mindfulness of the likely change in the world order, an area that owes him a long life of study and conclusions. We have other demonstrations of this experience of the spirit of the military institution demonstrated in institutional risk without judging the political decisions that decide the action. This was the case of the Air Force paratroopers, who intervened without distinguishing national or adversary injuries, who published a documentary book about each one, including the colleague who died in an airplane disaster, and which they wrote that took care of the body so that it would look as beautiful as when she was alive. And above all, distinguishing the book of Timeless Chronicles – War and Fraternity (50 years), in which fourteen authors, at the end of 2019, making 50 years of the Oath of the Flag, each report their experiences, giving a service to history and knowledge. General Cabral Couto’s remarkable study develops an experiment that seeks to organize knowledge that includes “the possible end of an old world and the creation of a new world”, in the current saying of J. Carpentier and a vast group of scholars, recalling the “black plague” of the years 1347-1352, which implied the war, and destroyed the European population from 80 million in 1300 to 65 million in 1400, continuing the losses, caused by the war, inspired by the control of political and economic spaces born from the previous type of life. The issue is therefore the consideration that the epidemic past implied a serious relationship between peace and war, and between war and the new strategy, aiming today to prevent any inexcusable levity from multiplying the disaster. The intervention of the scholar and highly respected General Cabral Couto, provides a service that may not attract verbalism, sometimes surprising, and closer to the Spectacular State than to the possession of government prudence, a practice that produces dangerous opinions coming from world leaders who have assumed the power by the use of populism. It should be noted that just as the black plague changed and innovated time significantly, Boccace (1348) called the “immortal epidemic”, assuming that part was the work of astral influences, or the result of new iniquities, and that God, in his just wrath, to manifest the punishment of his crimes on men. It is hoped that this is not why, in France, the future of the 42,000 churches in the Hexagon is discussed, when the number of believers falls unexpectedly. Selling the Churches is understood as a sacrilege by Christians, but its maintenance, which is very expensive, sometimes forces the dioceses to make painful decisions (Le Monde, May 31, 2020). But the words and actions that, in powers considered to be of the most powerful, attacked inattentive by the crisis, disrespect or threaten the opponents considered, partially or without it, especially those who govern, it would be hopeful that they would pay attention to the military and academic text of the General Cabral Couto. He, calmly, says that he faces “the failure, in this area, of culture, in most political elites, regarding the security issue”, and adds that he is 90 years old “but hopes to survive the crisis”, and that his grandchildren never forget about the “4 horsemen of the apocalypse”. But right at the beginning, what sustains, and will not be forgotten, is the following: “the theses that I present and defend (facing Covid-19) although they have an abstract and universal character, in reality, I could not fail to take into account the so-called “Western World” and especially the EU and our country “.

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