Mary Kaldor: The whole world is divided into green and red zones

From a speech by the director of the Centre for the Study of Global Governance, given at the LSE
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The Independent Online

Iraq today is divided into a green zone and a red zone. The green zone is where the Americans and their coalition partners are housed. It is a suburb of Baghdad, heavily guarded, with fountains and palaces, palm trees and grass. The rest of Iraq is known as the red zone. It is full of activity - people, shops, meetings, kidnappers and bombs. It is a mixture of debate and self-organisation, extremism and crime.

Iraq today is divided into a green zone and a red zone. The green zone is where the Americans and their coalition partners are housed. It is a suburb of Baghdad, heavily guarded, with fountains and palaces, palm trees and grass. The rest of Iraq is known as the red zone. It is full of activity - people, shops, meetings, kidnappers and bombs. It is a mixture of debate and self-organisation, extremism and crime.

In [our yearbook] Global Civil Society 2004/5, we use the green zone and the red zone as a metaphor to describe the gulf that exists on a global scale between the global green zones, where the political élites live and occasionally meet in summits, and the global red zone - a heterogeneous complex world characterised by wealth and poverty, debate and violence, ideas, prejudice, good and bad values.

The war in Iraq revealed the gulf between the green and the red zone, in particular, the gulf between those governments that went to war and global public opinion. The gap between the global green zone and the global red zone overshadows the more publicised cleavages between the "West" and global Islam and between North and South.

Security depends on consent and legitimacy. The insurgency is spreading in Iraq because the coalition and the Iraqi government lack legitimacy, not because there are not enough soldiers or policemen. Generating legitimacy and consent requires an active civil society - debate, discussion and public pressure.

During the past year, the war in Iraq has brought global politics into the domestic arena in nearly all countries. It has lead to renewed efforts to overcome the green-red divide through democratic accountability. It is this multi-faceted debate, not war, that is needed if we are to deal with the new global sources of insecurity.

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