2017: Vienna. Disarming the bomb

May 2017, Vienna, Austria. United Nations. 

Sound of risk

In a draft of my dissertation I write: "The art of change for a risk entrepreneur then could be to be an amplification station that receives, encodes and translates all available signals in order to form a message and to send the signals that best represents the existing information of the present (individual) ignorance system. The hypothesized abilities to listen to the sound of risk go beyond -- as far as I know -- scientifically accepted evidence and empirical testing. The sound of risk might also only be a metaphor that helps to describe the integrating power of risk for individual, social, and (if existing) higher order life on Earth. Risk in my opinion hence is not only solved by technical solutions, but by communicative processes and by creating a space of ignorance that itself shapes the decision making processes. The space of ignorance can best shape a risk's sound if all existing knowledge is incorporated in the process. The balance of the aggregated signals, the final sound, then is the `best available risk sound' (BARS) at time 't' for risk 'i' (BARS_ti). Risk can be also a vector of different risks. A risk entrepreneur then is a conductor of an illustrious orchestra playing the risk symphony of the 21st century -- a drunk dreamer who desperately tries to balance the misery of a terrible headache." 

The headache, I describe, is the real problem that we created an arsenal of nuclear bombs, with immense efforts and our believes in its need and controllability.  We lack the political will to disarm and we still do not know how to safeguard the technology for further generations. Too many voices in an orchestra that never needed to learn to listen to each other. Who is conducting? Do we really want to wait till God comes to us to teach us how to talk and to listen to each other? 

When joining the  First Preparatory Committee on the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) in May 2017 in Vienna, I realized that the drunk conductor is real. In order to justify the need of nuclear weapons and its risks in the 21st century, we need to keep the narratives and the political order of the 20th century alive. In one of the side events, a man from the U.S. delegation said that nuclear accidents are unlikely. This is not true as empirical evidence in the history of nuclear accidents shows us. I was tempted to city from Psalm 78: " Then the Lord awake as one asleep, like a mighty man recovering from wine.  And He smote His adversaries backward; He put upon them a perpetual reproach.  Moreover He abhorred the tent of Joseph, and chose not the tribe of Ephraim;  But chose the tribe of Judah, the mount of Zion which He loved. And He built His sanctuary like the heights, like the earth which He hath founded for ever." Are we able to build a sanctuary today with our words and thoughts, a shared place we can accept without doubts? 

Interesting to say that the crucial element in the ongoing disarmament process is to establish a zone free of nuclear weapons in the Middle East. Maybe mount Zion will become an important voice in this disarmament process. A clear voice. 

Again, the drunk conductor. God as a listener of dialogues, resting near mount Zion, a master in managing and balancing ignorance. An source of truth. There is a lot to do. How to make peace in the region and to overcome the idea of nuclear deterrence is the question, nuclear partners need to address till 2020.  I enjoyed listening to diplomatic talks for two weeks. It is so difficult and needs so much attention. I like it.  At the end, the main message I took is: We need to "trust" (American delegation), all is said, we need political "will" (Iranian delegation) and we want to bring people together hosting talks (Russian delegation). It was also recommended to build more mixed teams with women and men working together. It was good to see how diplomats want to work together but do not know how to do it without falling back into traditional patterns of blaming each other. I did not hear the word love in any of the talks. I missed it.  

I felt honored to be part of the PNND delegation, the Parliamentarian for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament. The global coordinator Alyn Ware organized a side event where I could present a civil-society initiative called Détente Now!  History of the Cold War has shown that in order to build trust among actors you start with topics that are not controversial. It need time to build trust. A policy of diplomacy and détente you do with your enemies not with your friends. And it is not a sign of weakness if you try to reach out to an enemy instead of just demonstrating a strong shoulder. Building trust is what we strive for.

I want to see a Middle East free of nuclear weapons happen. How can redemption work when the shield of David is based on nuclear deterrence? This is one question I took from Vienna. How can we build a tent of peace in Jerusalem and to bring peace to the world if the idea prevails to use nuclear weapons to either protect or to attack the Holy City? We have time till 2020 to work on trust and mutual recognition as a basis of a peaceful solution. 

Psalm 78 reminds all of us to keep working.