Dear Saxena ji,
Thank you for inquiry.
West facing windows can be a big source of heat, first measure which you...
Why all these are not applicable to Tuticorin port or the one planned in AP or WB ?
What an eye opener! As an environmental engineer,disposal of sanitary napkins has always been a concern during waste...
THE end of 1992, there was no dearth of Western libk vwring to the view that sovereignty, as a concept
mming the interpersonal behaviour of nations, must be limited.
For instance, Jan Tinbergen, the eminent Dutch
nowist who won the world's first Nobel Prize for economists and who has been a staunch supporter of his
Labour Party, points out in a paper published
pal in USA: "Great problems in today's world can
on longer be solved by decisions of sovereign national
terconnections among nations have grown to
extent that such decisions inevitably affect the
of other nations. Too often, national decision
processes fail to consider the welfare of other
Today, many countries, especially large ones,
don't accept interference with internal affairs', because
ider themselves 'sovereign' nations. A necesessary
crucial step in the creation of a peaceful world
of each nation's sovereignty be surrendered to
level of government. In principle, such transfers
al sovereignty are needed for the welfare of
modons to be taken into account."
It is obvious that the environment is one issue
ations seeking to
the welfare of their
zens often &m.
account the welfare
But what is to be done
a nation is unable to
the needs and welfare citizenry?
This issue was raised by
economist John Kenneth
Galbraith in a recent lecture in New Delhi. "In the worst cases of internal disorde and cruelty," "we must have a new and internationally sanctioned suspension of sovereignty. Where there has been human cruelty and slaughter, as recently for long years in Lebanon,
Mozambique and Ethiopia and now disastrously in
Somalia and Bosnia, there must be effective action to
arrest it. There must be a United Nations mandate for
governing countries that do not and cannot govern themselves. No longer can domestic conflict and the associated starvation and death be protected by sovereign authority. Sovereignty must be suspended until peace is
restored. This involves no slight change in public attitudes, but the change is now overdue."
That change in public perception is already beginning to take place, especially in Western nations. A highlevel group of world leaders, chaired by Helmut Schmidt
of Germany and including UK's Lord Callaghan and
Canada's Pierre Trudeau, stated its case as follows:
"Universal standards and principles of democracy exist,
but there is no uniformity or commonality of democratic
practice. Democracy is inconceivable without pluralism.
Yet, there is a universal dimension to values, first and
foremost to the sanctity of human rights. It is the individual - and not the state or relations between states who ought to be fully recognised as the subject of international law. To protect human rights, a right to intervene is indispensable in the
case of massive and sustained violations (emphasis
Willy Brandt's Foundation for Development and
4 Peace in fact hold dmeeting in November in "Towards Global
Governance: From the
Principle of National
Sovereignty to the Necessity
of Interference". The background paper for the meeting listed a number of areas
where the protection provid
ed by national sovereignty
must take a back seat.
This is precisely the
ation in Somalia: hungry
and desperate peoplo aiul no
semblance of a government
in charge. It was undoubtedly an excellent setting to
justify foreign intervention. With the UN's
authorisation, USA sent in its troops to
pave the way for speedy food distribution.
India, too, has joined the effort to assist
As a case, this may be acceptable. But
where does this take us? When George
Bush despatched 28,000 US troops to
Somalia, he said his purpose was to "help
them live", and added, "We do not plan to
dictate political outcomes. We respect
What does this mean? When is
sovereignty to be respected and when not? When is interference justifiable and when not? Who will decide when
to intervene and when not? Are there any mechanisms to
control the hidden agendas, if any, of powerful nations?
After all, the purpose of rules is to ensure the weak are
protected against the powerful and to ensure consistency
in the actions of nations.
Immediately, the question is raised: Why Somalia,
and not Bosnia? The answer given by a commentator in
the International Herald Tribune is that "Bosnia is not
doable". The commentator goes on to argue: "Television
pictures of starving Somalis summon an instinctive
desire to do something. A government that is not reckless
with the lives of its soldiers must enunciate some logic
beyond instinct for risking those lives in a situation that
does not remotely engage the national interest. Principle
One of humanitarian intervention is: It must be doable.
Bosnia is not doable. The mountainous terrain, the heavily armed factions, the history of prolonged guerilla war
- all promise not just large losses but military failure.
The US will not stand by if another people is dying and
there is a way to save it. This may not be the loftiest principle of humanitarian intervention, but it is better than
So much, therefore, for consistency.
What about hidden agendas, and the fear that the legtimisation of intervention may once again bolster this
faith of the powerful in their cultural superiority?
A researcher from the University of Oxford says in a
letter to The Independent in London: "Since the origins
of modem international law in the 17th century, interna-
tional lawyers have provided the legitimating principles
for Western intervention in its various forms, invoking
such lofty principles as the Christianising mission, the
spread of civilisation and the expansion of trade and
wealth to terra nullius (empty land)..." But in reality, as
the writer himself points out, these interventions were
governed more by self-interest and a questionable faith in
the West's 'better knowledge' of other peoples' best interests and idealistic principles. Will this current exercise
of 'humanitarian intervention' not prove to have the
same contours? An editorial in the Asian Wall Street
journal, in fact, emphasises precisely this superiority as
the reason behind the intervention in Somalia. The paper
says that Somalia must be governed by the
West until it is put on the road to a civil
society. "We are not - repeat not -- pining for the return of colonialism," the
paper assures. "We are, however, quite
eager to repudiate much of the theory that
the system erected after World War II capitalist, democratic, American-led,
grounded in British traditions of contracts
and property rights - was somehow 'not
right' for the indigenous groups and cultures of what came to be known as the
Third World. These theories failed,
crushed mainly by Third World kleptocracies and international pirates such as Saddam Hussein, operating
within no rule of law. Capitalism, American leadership
and property rights look to be precisely what the starving
people of Somalia want. The question is whether
American officials - now or in the new presidency have enough confidence in the rightness and value of
their own system to offer its best elements to others who would be eager for the offer."
So much, therefore, for the talk of 'pluralism' by
Helmut Schmidt's group.
What then of a case where intervention is necessary,
but the economic interests of powerful nations are
Environment throws up numerous such examples.
The carbon dioxide, for example, emitted by one country
is likely to affect the sea coast or the climate of another.
Who should reduce this carbon dioxide and by how
much? Will the reduction be done in a way that
gives property rights to all people in the atmosphere,
and thus generate market forces that will provide disincentives to the polluters and incentives to the
abstemious? Will there be a system of democratic checks
and balances so that Bangladesh can block the entry of
American cars because their emissions could drown half
The Western nations have steered clear of such
issues, even though markets, property rights and democracy are of what they are most proud. They have taken
positions that essentially get them off the hook for their
past production and consumption patterns and now seek
to ram an inequitable system for future global environmental management down the throats of less powerful,nations.
Clearly, there is a need for the international community to intervene - collectively and humanely - in the
interests of the weak and the poor and for the survival of
all of us. But if the old order of sovereign nations is to
give over to a new order of a more sovereign 'global community', then the new rules of the behaviour of nations
must not only be crystal clear, but they should also protect the rights of less powerful nations and be enforceable against the powerful ones. Till then, the arguments for sovereignty must continue to rule.