Shared Security

by Shan Cretin and Diane Randall

Shan Cretin and Diane Randall at the consultation on Shared Security at Pendle Hill in April, 2013

Shan Cretin and Diane Randall at the consultation on Shared Security at Pendle Hill in April, 2013

Peace is possible.  For more than three and a half centuries, Friends have sought to demonstrate the truth of that simple statement.  In a world wracked by violence and war, environmental crises, hatred and injustice, poverty, disease, and human suffering, peace can often feel like a distant possibility at best.  As Friends’ organizations working today to build a more peaceful and just world within the context of US foreign policy we believe that to reclaim the possibility of peace we must help our country find a new path, a way to engage in the world that truly promotes peace and justice.

Over the past year, FCNL and AFSC have been working together to envision a new role for the US in the world, one grounded in our Quaker understanding that the Divine Light lives within each person and our belief that we are called to “try what love can do” to heal a broken world.  After many months of discussion, writing, reflection, and consultation with many Friends and partners, we are pleased to share the initial results of this effort in our new joint publication, Shared Security.

What is shared security?  It is a way of thinking and acting based on the interconnections of our human family, the interdependence of our world, and the acknowledgement that global problems of conflict, poverty and climate change require cooperative solutions.  Our human family faces a critical moment of great opportunity and profound challenge.  Shared security is our way of offering a new vision for how the world community can live together more peacefully and justly, with greater care for our common planetary home, and with respect for the human dignity of all.

Shared security is also our way of envisioning a new role for the United States in the world.  We seek a new U.S. foreign policy grounded in a deeper, clearer understanding of the complex challenges that our highly interdependent global community faces. We believe in strategies for our own government, for nongovernmental organizations and for multinational corporations that reflect a cooperative, shared search for solutions to the common threats we face. We understand that security in any one  country, including the United States, depends on advancing global security for all.

A new US global policy designed on the basis of shared security would be both ethical and effective.  It would help keep our communities and our world safer for generations to come.  It would be far less costly than current approaches that rely on military intervention or domination strategies for security, and it would strive to match peaceful means with peaceful ends. It would reduce human suffering and advance human dignity for all.

In our work with communities, policymakers, and partners across the United States and the world, we encounter many people already pursuing shared security – working together to overcome problems without war and damage to the earth.  Many people understand clearly how interconnected our world is and that new approaches are needed.  We find a deep longing and inspiring commitment to building a more peaceful and just world, together.  We know that this will require dedicated effort and, at times, difficult change, but we also know from experience that it can be done.  Our faith calls us to act.

We hope you will explore our Shared Security publication and website, and offer your feedback and ideas as we continue this effort to envision a new world and work together to bring it into being.  We are grateful to all those who have been part of this project over the past year, and to all of you who join us in promoting a new path for US foreign policy—a path for ensuring that peace is indeed possible.

About the authors: Shan Cretin is the General Secretary of The American Friends Service Committee. Diane Randall is the Executive Secretary of the Friends Committee on National Legislation.


One thought on “Shared Security

  1. Would simply note that Gorbachev developed and used the concept of “cooperative security” back during the late 1980’s. He was doing so, however, in the bilateral context of U.S.-Soviet relations.

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