I often wonder what Gandhi would have thought about modern United Nations military peacekeeping operations. This is a use of military force that he never saw and probably never imagined. When hostile armed forces in a civil war are separated by lightly armed UN troops, whose presence has been approved by representatives of all nations, does this operation fall within ahimsa or not? Quite likely it does, based on the premise that if the United Nations is not sufficiently developed spiritually to be able to go into such a situation unarmed, then it is better to go in lightly armed. But what about heavily armed "peace enforcement" operations, taken under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, by order of the Security Council? This is quite another matter! I am not at all sure what Gandhi would have said, but I am certain that psychological and spiritual development is still the key. As the world community matures spiritually and heals psychologically from centuries of war trauma, it will require less and less military force to resolve conflicts. Perhaps we can then allow the resources currently spent on military might to diminish as the institutions of global society strengthen the very institutions whose present weaknesses are the direct and immediate cause of outbreaks of war. This means that the international system of justice could gradually grow to include binding arbitration between nations, and deliberative bodies like the Security Council could gradually shoulder the responsibility for enforcing decisions taken by majority vote.
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