From an email by Tom Atlee:
Dr. Robert Muller, former assistant secretary general of the United Nations, now Chancellor emeritus of the University of Peace in Costa Rica was one of the people who witnessed the founding of the U.N. and has worked in support of or inside the U.N. ever since. Recently he was in San Francisco to be honored for his service to the world through the U.N. and through his writings and teachings for peace. At age eighty, Dr. Muller surprised, even stunned, many in the audience that day with his most positive assessment of where the world stands now regarding war and peace.: “The only fault I find with what’s reported here is that Dr. Muller allegedly said that ‘not one
shot has been fired. Not one life has been lost. There is no war.’ This is demonstrably false, at the very least because of greatly increased bombing sorties by US and UK pilots in the Iraqi no-fly zone to “soften them up” for the invasion. See, for example:
Stepped-up air campaign marks ‘start’ of Iraq war
Allies bomb key Iraqi targets
Pre-war action already under way
I was there at the gathering and I myself was stunned by his remarks. What he said turned my head around and offered me a new way to see what is going on in the world. My synopsis of his remarks is below:
“I’m so honored to be here,” he said. “I’m so honored to be alive at such a miraculous time in history. I’m so moved by what’s going on in our world today.”
(: I was shocked. I thought — Where has he been? What has he been
reading? Has he seen the newspapers? Is he senile? Has he lost it?
What is he talking about?)
Dr. Muller proceeded to say, “Never before in the history of the
world has there been a global, visible, public, viable, open dialogue
and conversation about the very legitimacy of war”.
The whole world is in now having this critical and historic dialogue–
listening to all kinds of points of view and positions about going to
war or not going to war. In a huge global public conversation the
world is asking-“Is war legitimate? Is it illegitimate? Is there
enough evidence to warrant an attack? Is there not enough evidence to
warrant an attack? What will be the consequences? The costs? What
will happen after a war? How will this set off other conflicts? What
might be peaceful alternatives? What kind of negotiations are we not
thinking of? What are the real intentions for declaring war?”
All of this, he noted, is taking place in the context of the United
Nations Security Council, the body that was established in 1949 for
exactly this purpose. He pointed out that it has taken us more than
fifty years to realize that function, the real function of the U.N.
And at this moment in history–the United Nations is at the center of
the stage. It is the place where these conversations are happening,
and it has become in these last months and weeks, the most powerful
governing body on earth, the most powerful container for the world’s
effort to wage peace rather than war. Dr. Muller was almost in tears
in recognition of the fulfillment of this dream.
“We are not at war,” he kept saying. We, the world community, are
WAGING peace. It is difficult, hard work. It is constant and we must
not let up. It is working and it is an historic milestone of immense
proportions. It has never happened before-never in human history-and
it is happening now-every day every hour-waging peace through a
global conversation. He pointed out that the conversation questioning
the validity of going to war has gone on for hours, days, weeks,
months and now more than a year, and it may go on and on. “We’re in
peacetime,” he kept saying. “Yes, troops are being moved. Yes,
warheads are being lined up. Yes, the aggressor is angry and upset
and spending a billion dollars a day preparing to attack. But not one
shot has been fired. Not one life has been lost. There is no war.
It’s all a conversation.”
It is tense, it is tough, it is challenging, AND we are in the most
significant and potent global conversation and public dialogue in the
history of the world. This has not happened before on this scale ever
before-not before WWI or WWII, not before Vietnam or Korea, this is
new and it is a stunning new era of Global listening, speaking, and
In the process, he pointed out, new alliances are being formed.
Russia and China on the same side of an issue is an unprecedented
outcome. France and Germany working together to wake up the world to
a new way of seeing the situation. The largest peace demonstrations
in the history of the world are taking place–and we are not at war!
Most peace demonstrations in recent history took place when a war was
already waging, sometimes for years, as in the case of Vietnam.
“So this,” he said, “is a miracle. This is what “waging peace ” looks
No matter what happens, history will record that this is a new era,
and that the 21st century has been initiated with the world in a
global dialogue looking deeply, profoundly and responsibly as a
global community at the legitimacy of the actions of a nation that is
desperate to go to war.
Through these global peace-waging efforts, the leaders of that nation
are being engaged in further dialogue, forcing them to rethink, and
allowing all nations to participate in the serious and horrific
decision to go to war or not.
Dr. Muller also made reference to a recent New York Times article
that pointed out that up until now there has been just one superpower-
the United States, and that that has created a kind of blindness in
the vision of the U.S. But now, Dr. Muller asserts, there are two
superpowers: the United States and the merging, surging voice of the
people of the world.
All around the world, people are waging peace. To Robert Muller, one
of the great advocates of the United Nations, it is nothing short of
a miracle and it is working.
From an email by Tom Atlee: