Ethics/Nonkilling/Regional/Korea

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  • This Course is based mainly on Professor Glenn D. Paige's (University of Hawaiʻi) paper Korean Leadership For Nonkilling East Asian Common Security prepared for the 50th Anniversary Conference of The Korean Association of International Studies (KAIS), “Global East Asia and the Future of Two Koreas,” Shilla Hotel, Seoul, May 12-13, 2006 [Revised April 29, 2007]. The Course is part of the Program on Nonkilling Leadership Development at the School of Nonkilling Studies.


Introduction[edit]

The concept “nonkilling” is not a customary term in political science but there are grounds for confidence that nonkilling human societies are possible and that political science and related disciplines can play a constructive role in bringing them about. This Course suggests that Korean scholars and leaders have a unique opportunity to explore the implications of nonkilling security theory for the future well-being of the united Korean people and for Korea’s transforming leadership contribution to Nonkilling East Asian Common Security1 and a nonkilling world.

Theoretical base[edit]

The theoretical basis for nonkilling security theory is set forth in Nonkilling Global Political Science (2002) 2. Its thesis is that human beings can stop killing each other from homicide to war. There are at least seven grounds for confidence: (1) most humans past and present do not kill, (2) nonkilling religious and humanist teachings evidence transformative nonkilling spiritual power, (3) advances in bio-neurological and other sciences offer means for liberation from lethality, (4) institutions needed for nonkilling societies already have been demonstrated in human experience, (5) public policies such as abolition of the death penalty, and abolition of armies evidence capacity for change, (6) nonkilling elements can be found in the history and cultures of every people, and (7) courageous lives of individuals and groups committed to nonkilling principles demonstrate leadership capabilities for bringing about nonkilling social change.

The thesis that nonkilling societies are possible has two essential features. It is measurable and open-ended, at once finite and infinite. The killed can be counted, and nonkilling social conditions are open to infinite human creativity. Killing is absent and what is present varies in context with values and ingenuity. One way to summarize the concept of nonkilling and its social implications is the following:

Concept of Nonkilling[edit]

Nonkilling refers to the absence of killing, threats to kill, and conditions conducive to killing in human society. The concept focuses primarily upon killing of human beings although it may be extended to killing of animals and other forms of life. In analysis of its causes, nonkilling encompasses the concepts of peace (absence of war and conditions conducive to war), nonviolence (psychological, physical, and structural), and ahimsa (noninjury in thought, word and deed). With respect to psychological aggression, physical assault, and torture intended to terrorize by manifest or latent threat to life, nonkilling implies removal of their psychosocial causes. In relation to killing of humans by socioeconomic structural conditions that are the product of direct lethal reinforcement as well as the result of diversion of resources for purposes of lethality, nonkilling implies removal of lethality-linked deprivations. In relation to threats to the viability of the biosphere, nonkilling implies absence of direct attacks upon life-sustaining resources as well as cessation of indirect degradation associated with lethality. In relation to forms of accidental killing, nonkilling implies creation of social and technological conditions conducive to their elimination.3


Principles of Nonkilling Security Analysis[edit]

  • 1. Since lethal ingenuity overcomes every form of defense, the only sure security from homicide to war is to seek absence of the will to kill.

The history of warfare shows the relentless advance of offensive capabilities over all forms of defense. This is illustrated by contemporary efforts to develop capabilities to penetrate missile defense systems and by development of cyber warfare capabilities to overcome defenses of command and control information systems.4

  • 2. Whereas lethality seeks deterrent security by creating fear through credible readiness to kill, nonkilling security rests upon credible common commitment not to kill.

All parties to nonkilling common security work to make it absolutely credible to each other that they possess neither intent nor capabilities to kill. Nuclear weapons states have sought security by seeking to make it absolutely credible that they will employ their genocidal weapons even if it brings retaliatory annihilation akin to suicidal self-destruction. But fear of overwhelming lethal force fails to deter asymmetrical attacks upon them. And fearful mutual insecurity remains to haunt them because of human irrationality and the possibility of technological catastrophe.

  • 3. Since the pathologies of killing threaten physical, psychological, and economic well-being, nonkilling security measures must remove them.

One pathology is the “pathology of defense,”5 in which bodyguards kill their own heads of state, guns in homes kill more family members than intruders, and in which the world’s greatest military power is in fear of being attacked by weapons it has developed. A second source of pathology is the debilitating psychological effect upon society of the presence of traumatized killers,6 surviving victims of lethality, groups, and generations, nurturing feelings of hatred and revenge,7 or on the other hand celebrating self-subverting lethal triumphalism. A third pathology is economic. It has been powerfully explained by former general U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower:

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. The world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children….This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.8


An example of what has been termed a “colossal waste” of resources is the cost of the United States nuclear weapons program alone from 1940 to 1996 of 5.821 trillion dollars.9

The pathologies of reliance upon lethality for security are well summed up in a statement by General George Lee Butler, former commander of all U.S. nuclear war-fighting forces: “Nuclear weapons are inherently dangerous, hugely expensive, militarily inefficient, and morally indefensible.”10

  • 4. Transition to nonkilling security requires recognition of causes of killing in violation of human needs and participation of all concerned in processes of problem-solving to seek their satisfaction.

In a classic study, Deviance, Terrorism & War (1979)11 John Burton has argued that all violence from criminality to revolution, terrorism and war comes from the violation of universal human needs. He argues that these needs are the same for all parties in conflict, the rulers and the ruled, oppressors and the oppressed. He argues that neither coercion/punishment nor moral exhortation will suppress violence as long as participants whose needs are violated are not engaged in problem-solving processes to seek their satisfaction. Definitions of human needs vary. Burton cites nine.12 Among them are psychological, material, and physical needs for “recognition,” “distributive justice,” and “security.” In conversation he has stressed the importance of denial of need for recognition of “identity” as a factor in political violence.

Support for Burton’s thesis comes from political psychiatrist Jerrold Post’s conclusion that killing political terrorists will not stop terrorism: “One does not counter the vicious species of [terrorist] psychological warfare with smart bombs and missiles. One counters psychological warfare with psychological warfare.”13 Further support is found in advocacy by Heifetz and Linsky of broadly “adaptive” responses versus narrowly “technical” ones to threats. They point out that the initial response of the U.S. Government to the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001 was “to reduce terrorism to a technical problem of security systems, military and police operations and criminal justice,” rather than as an adaptive challenge to solve problems related to the Crusade one thousand years ago.14

Similar non-technical creativity to abolish war has been advocated by General Douglas MacArthur, “We are in a new era. The old methods and solutions no longer suffice. We must have new thoughts, new ideas, new concepts….We must break out of the strait-jacket of the past.”15 From this perspective, the six-party talks on denuclearization of the Korean peninsula should be approached not only as a technical problem but as an opportunity for broadly adaptive, creative, participatory problem-solving processes to meet the needs of all.

  • 5. Transition to nonkilling common security requires research to identify and convert into socially useful forms those factors most conducive to transforming decisions by all parties concerned.

Research is needed to discover nonkilling spiritual forces in all faiths and philosophies (S1), nonkilling contributions from all sciences (S2), nonkilling skills in every vocation (S3), and nonkilling cultural contributions from songs and all the arts (S4). Research is needed on institutions (I) and resources (R) that can be adapted for nonkilling change. The results of findings must be combined (S4) and communicated through the media, education, and training to empower leaders (L) and citizens (C) with knowledge to assist them in achieving nonkilling security conditions (NKSC). These factors can be summed up as: S4 X IR(LC) = NKSC.

  • 6. Nonkilling security requires research to produce useful knowledge on the facts and causes of killing, the facts and causes of nonkilling, causes of transition from killing to nonkilling, and creative thought on conditions for completely killing-free societal and intersocietal relations.

Every case of killing from homicide to war requires causal understanding, just as is needed for cure of any disease. The reasons why people do not kill also must be understood. Furthermore knowledge is needed for every case in which individuals, groups, organizations, and governments renounce killing from individual actions to public policies. Why have 88 governments completely abolished the death penalty for all crimes?16

Finally beyond fact-based knowledge of the causes of killing, nonkilling, and transitions between them, creativity needs to be challenged to envision and evaluate conditions for completely killing-free societies.

Application to Nonkilling Northeast Asian Common Security[edit]

In order to achieve Northeast Asian Common security, the principles of nonkilling security analysis need to be applied to clarify the nonkilling capabilities of Korea (divided and unified), China, Japan, Russia, and the United States. For each of the now six societies in interaction we need to know their nonkilling characteristics, capabilities, and future prospects in the same way as we seek to understand their interacting capabilities for killing.

A suggestive guide for what Korea-centered nonkilling common security analysis could be like is provided in the annual series The Strategic Balance in Northeast Asia produced by the Korean Research Center for Strategy. In these reports, the global geopolitical security context and recent trends in six-party military doctrines, weaponry, points of conflict, and possibilities for security cooperation are reviewed. Analogously we need to know the nonkilling capabilities of all six parties and the possibilities for combining them in problem-solving processes that will produce sustainable nonkilling common security for all.

References to the concept of “cooperative security” in the 2005 Report suggest that there is a basis in present Northeast Asian security thinking for evolution toward nonkilling common security institutions and practices. Although impacted by the divisive legacy of the Cold War, and obstructed by national interest competition for military, economic, and political advantages, the idea is expressed that present experience with six-party governmental talks on North Korea’s nuclear weapons capability might be transformed into the region’s cooperative security consultative body.17 If a strategic paradigm shift occurs in thought and action from killing to nonkilling security, this could ultimately be expressed in the services of a Northeast Asian Nonkilling Common Security Council centered on Korea.

The Rationale for Korean Leadership[edit]

The rationale for Korean leadership for Northeast Asian nonkilling security transformation—and for its global significance—is based upon Korea’s unique knowledge over the past century of four of the world’s most dynamic and violent societies: Japan, the United States, Russia, and China. No other country has been so heavily impacted by all four.

In the 21st century Koreans, North and South, victims of external and internal killing, are faced with the choice of continuing the lethal legacy of the past in readiness to kill each other or of liberating themselves from it so as to become leaders of nonkilling social transformation in Northeast Asia and the world.

Colonized by imperialist Japan, divided by the United States and Russia, and devastated by War that brought American and Chinese intervention, Koreans understand well the languages and lethality of the four cultures that have impacted upon them. This knowledge is asymmetrical. Generally Koreans know more about Japan, the United States, Russia, and China than the interveners know about them.

If this knowledge is supplemented by discovery of Korea’s own nonkilling capabilities and by those of the four intervening powers—and if knowledge is power—then Korean determination to live in killing-free conditions for generations to come can be translated into leadership for Nonkilling Northeast Asian Common Security.

The Challenge of Nonkilling Discovery[edit]

Korean leadership for nonkilling security requires discovery of nonkilling capabilities in both Koreas, the three adjacent neighbors of China Japan and Russia, plus the distant but strategically intervening United States. To them may be added discovery of the transformational contributions of Mongolia. The tasks will require interdisciplinary research. In general East Asian cultural terms, starting points can be found in re-discovery of nonkilling aspects of Buddhism (peace within individuals), Confucianism (peace with others), and Taoism (peace with nature). To this can be added nonkilling Christianity and reverence for life to be found in Islam18 and other faiths and philosophies in the interacting societies.

Skepticism may be expected that significant elements of nonkilling capabilities can be found in all seven societies. Although personal experience is no substitute for systematic research, perhaps brief mention of some scholarly experiences will help to understand why I think that achievement of Korea-centered nonkilling security conditions in Northeast Asia is possible.

  • One Korea. Meeting with revered teacher Ham Suk Hon in Seoul and respected historian Pak Si Hyong in Pyongyang, I asked each if there were any roots of nonviolence in Korea’s cultural tradition. Both responded in exactly the same way. They referred to the peaceful nature of the Tan’gun 2333 B.C. Korean foundation story and emphasized that Koreans have never been aggressors against their neighbors. Every time I read the nonkilling principles of the March 1, 1919 Declaration of Independence I am filled with awe and admiration.
  • South Korea. The extraordinary tolerance of KAIS scholars to accept papers related to “Nonkilling Korea” at the KAIS 50th Korean War Anniversary Conference in 200019 and at this 2006 KAIS 50th Anniversary Conference is remarkable. The founding of the Korea Nonviolence Network is significant (www: nonviolence.or.kr).
  • North Korea. In 1987 when I presented the pre-publication thesis of Nonkilling Global Political Science at the invitation of the Korean Association of Social Scientists (KASS), a professor of philosophy commented, “I am sure that if your vision is philosophically based and argued well in relation to human life and aspirations, then there will be the finest vision and the finest book in the world.”

A perennial question of interest to political scientists is how to define “politics.” When I asked the KASS president this question, he replied, “Politics means harmonizing the interests of all members of society on the basis of love and equality.” :

  • Russia. In the Introduction to the Russian translation of Nonkilling Global Political Science, Professor William Smirnov, Vice-President of the Russian and International Political Science Associations, writes, “The basic ideas in this unique book can and should be accepted as the basis of common values for humanity in the 21st century as well as a program for their realization.”20 Earlier in 1982, invited by the Korean Section, Institute of Oriental Studies, Academy of Sciences, a scholarly group said in discussion of the nonkilling thesis, “The goal of a scholar is to seek the truth. You are seeking the truth. We will follow you.” In Russia, the nonkilling legacy of Tolstoy endures to be rediscovered, re-evaluated, and adapted.
  • China. In 1982 it was remarkable to be invited to visit the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing by a scholarly revolutionary veteran of Yenan who was open to discuss nonviolent alternatives to violent revolution. In 1981 a Chinese scholar had written, “The view that one-sidedly advocates violent revolution without regard for time, place, and situation, and deprecates nonviolent revolution is wrong in theory and harmful in practice.”21 The ancient heritage of Mo Ti, critic of war and philosopher of universal love, invites attention. The implications of the Maoist definition that “politics is war without bloodshed” need to be explored. A senior political scientist has recommended that Nonkilling Global Political Science should be translated into Chinese.
  • Japan. The first invitation to write a paper on “Nonviolent Political Science” came from the Institute for Peace Science, Hiroshima University, directed by Professor Hiroharu Seki, in 1978. In subsequent inquiries into nonviolent aspects of Japanese tradition some surprising discoveries were made. “During the Heian period (794-1192), capital punishment was not practiced abolished for about three hundred and fifty years.”22 Principles of the nonviolent martial art Aikido (Way of Love/Harmony) founded by Morihei Ueshiba, former trainer of military killers, invite nonkilling security development.

In true budo, there are no enemies. True budo is a function of love. It is not for killing or fighting but to foster all things and bring them to fruition. Love protects and nourishes life. Without love nothing can be accomplished. Aikido is the manifestation of love.23


To smash, injure, or destroy is the worst sin a human being can commit.24


  • United States. In research for Nonkilling Global Political Science it was surprising to discover an alternative nonkilling tradition in American history, including resistance to every war and for abolition of the death penalty.25 For example, provisions for the right of conscientious objection to killing in military service were included in the constitutions of twelve of the thirteen original colonies. During the Korean War some 22,500 Americans claimed conscientious objection to killing in Korea. The classic contributions of American political sociologist Gene Sharp to the theory and practice of nonviolent political power for democracy and defense can contribute to nonkilling innovation.26
  • Mongolia. In 1989, when other countries were not receptive to grant visas to all six parties, Mongolia welcomed in Ulaanbaatar an International Seminar on Buddhism and Leadership for Peace with participants from the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia, and the United States.27 In 2005 Nonkilling Global Political Science was published in Mongolian. The translator in his Introduction approvingly quoted University of Hawai’i biography scholar Professor George Simson’s observation: “The greatest warriors of all time may now become the greatest nonkillers of all time.” As Dr. Su-Hoon Lee has noted, Mongolia should be included along with Russia in the “new spatial imagery” of “Northeast Asia.”28

Nonkilling East Asian Common Security Study Group[edit]

To create knowledge and to explore possibilities for Korean leadership to bring about a Nonkilling East Asian Common Security Community, a study group could be organized by Korean scholars with expert research capabilities to discover nonkilling potentials in all seven societies. A minimum startup study group could be seven scholars. The group could be doubled to include men and women scholars for each society to seek comprehensive understanding of nonkilling needs and capabilities. Expansion could follow according to interests and competences of contributors as well as problems to be solved. Naturally the core Korean study group would seek cooperative relations with similarly concerned scholars in China, Japan, Russia, the United States, and Mongolia. Parallel cooperation would be sought with scholars seeking Northeast Asian Economic Cooperation.29

An appropriate source of sponsorship and support would facilitate the study group’s service.

After a period of preliminary research, shared results, and consultation, one service of the study group would be to produce periodic reports on Korea-centered East Asian nonkilling common security conditions along the lines of the KRIS series The Strategic Balance in Northeast Asia. In this way nonkilling capabilities and prospects with appropriate translations could be brought to the awareness of leaders and citizens of all seven societies. A way would be shown for other regions to join in steady progress toward a killing-free world.

The common goal should be clear: No more killing in Korea, Northeast Asia, and the world.

References[edit]

1.The concept of “common security” was introduced in the Independent Palme Commission Report Common Security submitted to the Second UN General Assembly Special Session on Disarmament in 1982. A variation is the term “cooperative security.”

2.Glenn D. Paige, Nonkilling Global Political Science (New Delhi: Gandhi Media Centre and Philadelphia: Xlibris, 2002; 2nd ed., 2007). Full text online at www.globalnonviolence.org. Translations are being made into 26 languages. Already published: Arabic, Hindi, Urdu, Tamil, Sinhala, Mongolian, French, Galizan, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. The first exploration of the nonkilling thesis in an entire society is reported in Jose V. Abueva, ed., Towards a Nonkilling Filipino Society: Developing an Agenda for Research, Policy and Action (Marikina City: Kalayaan College, 2004). The book has led to establishment of nonkilling affiliates of the Center for Global Nonviolence in Haiti, Nigeria, and Great Lakes Africa (DR Congo, Burundi, and Rwanda).

3.Glenn D. Paige, “Nonkilling Global Society,” UNESCO Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems (EOLSS), Peace Section, Article 1 39 A 24. 2005. This article cites convergence of the nonkilling political science thesis with the conclusion of the first worldwide public health study of homicide, suicide, and other forms of violence that human violence is a “preventable disease.” See WHO, World Report on Violence and Health (Geneva: World Health Organization, 2002). Interestingly both books were published in 2002. WHO takes a similar position on the preventability of deaths by traffic “accidents.” See report on Youth and Road Safety (2007).

4.Korea Research Center for Strategy, The Strategic Balance in Northeast Asia 2005 (Seoul: Research Institute for Strategy, 2005), pp. 49-52.

5.Craig Comstock, “Avoiding Pathologies of Defense,” in Nevitt Sanford and Craig Comstock, eds., Sanctions for Evil (Boston: Beacon Press, 1971).

6.Rachel MacNair, Perpetration-Induced Traumatic Stress: The Psychological Consequences of Killing (Westport: Praeger Publications, 2002).

7.Rajmohan Ramanathapillai, “The Politicizing of Trauma: A Case Study of Sri Lanka,” Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology, Vol. 12, No. 1 (2006), pp. 1-18.

8.Speech to the American Society of Newspaper Editors, April 16, 1953.

9.Stephen D. Schwartz, ed., Atomic Audit: The Costs and Consequences of U.S. Nuclear Weapons Since 1940 (Washington: Brookings Institution, 1998).

10.Speech at the National Press Club, Washington, D.C., December 4, 1996.

11.John Burton, Deviance, Terrorism & War: The Process of Solving Unsolved Social and Political Problems (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1979).

12.Burton, pp. 72-3. The nonviolent Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement of Sri Lanka cites ten basic human needs for: “a clear and beautiful environment; a clean and adequate supply of water; a minimum of clothing requirements; an adequate supply of food; basic health care; a modest house; energy requirements; basic communication; total education; and spiritual and cultural needs.” A.T. Ariyaratne, Collected Works, (Ratmalana: Sarvodaya Lekha Publishers, 1999), Vol. 7, p. 170.

13.Jerrold M. Post, Leaders and Their Followers in a Dangerous World (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2004), p. 161.

14.Ronald A. Heifetz and Marty Linsky, Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive through Dangers of Leading (Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 2002), p. 19.

15.Speech to the American Legion, Los Angeles, January 26, 1955, quoted in Norman Cousins, The Pathology of Power (New York: W.W. Norton, 1987), pp. 67-9. See also Nonkilling Global Political Science, p. 156.

16.Amnesty International, The Death Penalty, ACT 50/002/2007, April 27, 2007.

17.The Strategic Balance in Northeast Asia 2005, p. 5.

18.Glenn D. Paige, Chaiwat Satha-Anand (Qader Muheideen), and Sarah Gilliatt, eds., Islam and Nonviolence (Honolulu: Center for Global Nonviolence Planning Project, Spark M. Matsunaga Institute for Peace, 1993).

19.Glenn D. Paige, “Nonkilling Korea: Building a Peace Structure on the Korean Peninsula,” in Dong-Sung Kim, Ki-Jung Kim, and Hahnkyu Park, eds., Fifty Years after the Cold War: From Cold War Confrontation to Peaceful Coexistence (Seoul: The Korean Association of International Studies, 2000), pp. 311-40. Korean translation by Dae-Hwa Chung in Chung-Si Ahn, ed., Pisalsaeng chongch’ihak gwa chigu p’yonghwa undong [Nonkilling Political Science and the Global Peace Movement] (Seoul: Jimoondang, 2004), pp. 215-46.

20.Glenn D. Paige, Obshchestvo bez ubiistva: Vozhmozhno li eto? [Society without Killing: Is it Possible?], (St. Petersburg: St. Petersburg University Press, 2005), p. 10.

21.Zhang Yi-ping, “Dui feibaoli zhuyi ying jiben kending” (We should positively affirm nonviolence), Shijie Lishi (World History), Vol. 16, No. 3 (1981), pp. 78-80.

22.Hajime Nakamura, “Basic Features of the Legal, Political and Economic Thought of Japan,” in Charles Moore, ed., Philosophy and Culture East and West (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1968), pp. 633.

23.John Stevens, Abundant Peace: The Biography of Morihei Ueshiba (Boston & London: Shambala, 1987), p. 112.

24.Abundant Peace, p. 94.

25.Nonkilling Global Political Science, pp. 59-65. See also Staughton Lynd and Alice Lynd, eds., Nonviolence in America: A Documentary History (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1995).

26.Gene Sharp, The Politics of Nonviolent Action (Boston: Porter Sargent, 1973; Gene Sharp, Civilian-Based Defense: A Post-Modern Defense System (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990).

27.Glenn D. Paige and Sarah Gilliatt, eds., Buddhism and Nonviolent Global Problem-Solving: Ulan Bator Explorations (Honolulu: Center for Global Nonviolence Planning Project, Spark M. Matsunaga Institute for Peace, University of Hawaii. 1991).

28.Su-Hoon Lee, “A New Initiative on Peace and Prosperity in the Era of Northeast Asia,” in Building a Northeast Asian Community: Challenges and New Visions (Jeju: The 2nd Jeju Peace Forum, 2003).

29.Youngmin Kwon, Regional Community-Building in East Asia (Seoul: Yonsei University Press, 2002).