In the nuclear weapons issue – and the issue of weapons of mass destruction in general – the main stage is the field of international politics. It is kind of like a play: We have the actors which are divided in different roles. The main roles are represented by the states and their actions and interactions form the plot, in this case the politics. But different to a play there is no director who leads the performance. One could think of the United Nations as an international governmental organization to do so but in reality the range of its power is fenced by the willingness of the actors to perform the way it recommends.
The interplay of states takes many variable dimensions. There is the national level, the inner state of the actor. How is the psychological demand of the role? How are the conditions inside its own sphere? For states that would mean how is the nation economy, the civil welfare, its functionality, its political system in general. And of course its own perceptions of foreign policy where the interplay of acting begins.
So the next level would be the international sphere where the actors meet and form the interplay of acting. Who is acting in which way – and how to the others re-act on these actions? Who is teaming up with whom for what benefits? And as in most plays there are more and less important roles to catch. And because a state is conceived as a sovereign with a certain independence inside and outside the common way to perform a protagonist role is to build up power.
The main themes in the play of international politics are not that way far from the ones in theatre or movies. Love, hate, compassion, revenge, moral concerns or obligations or just blatant missunderstandings with unexpectable impacts find political equalities. In politics, all above it is about power and assertion of interests. Unfortunately some states think their weapons of mass destruction could help them to get better roles (morally objectionable as sleeping with the producer). But armament race does not lead to more security – rather to the contrary.
What is often forgotten at this point is that a play is nothing without an audience. The whole interplay of acting is officially done in the name of the people who came to entertain themselves. But politics it is not about entertainment – even in an entertainment-used to and consume-oriented audience as some nowadays. It is reality not a play. And what other audience is sitting in front of the big play of international politics than the civil society itself? It is ourselves sitting in the audience! We need to realize that the plot is not given – we all are actors with a possibilty to interact the political roles.
There are many ways we can reclaim an own voice or creating a public discussion about disarmament. Besides our approach, here is one more example: The Berlin Sessions on Humanitarien Disarmament 2014.
The Berlin Sessions will gather European NGOs for an exchange on the concepts, the challenges, and the practice of humanitarian disarmament. In the last two decades, civil society organizations, working with governments and international organizations, have achieved remarkable progress in this field. The humanitarian justification led to the successful adoption of the Mine Ban Treaty, the Convention on Cluster Munitions and most recently, the Arms Trade Treaty. The cooperation between humanitarian practitioners and disarmament advocates saves lives.
Important challenges remain: from implementing existing obligations to assessing new technologies, from weapons of mass destruction to small arms. Civil society actors from the fields of development, international security, humanitarian assistance and international law will need to work together effectively in order to address them. The Berlin Sessions aim to enable this by strengthening the emerging humanitarian disarmament community in Europe, and by providing an introduction to humanitarian disarmament for interested professionals from adjacent fields.
In Shakespears play Hamlet in the end all die because of intrigations, politics of interests and inconvenient missunderstandings: Lets take action to not let the finale of the world play take the same end.