Hans Blix: If we were listened to, there would be no ISIS* (Svenska Dagbladet, Sweden)

The crisis is due to the coronavirus, it seems, has benefited the nationalist flanks. But, according to Hans Blix (Hans Blix), protectionism will not last long. “In the future, I think we will begin to enjoy the benefits of globalization,” says a senior diplomat who now writes a new book.

This conversation took place on Monday, April 28, 1986. At the end of the phone was the then environment Minister of Sweden, Birgitta Dahl (Birgitta Dahl), who anxiously asked what happened. On the Swedish nuclear plant Forsmark recorded increased radioactivity. Why? Maybe he knows something about this?

It turned out that we are talking about a disaster that neither Hans Blix (then Secretary General of the International atomic energy Agency in Vienna), nor anyone else could predict. After a few days, flying in protective equipment over Chernobyl, he saw firsthand the scale of the tragedy: a column of smoke rising into the sky, devastation.

In his mouth it sounds very simple, as if he had no doubt, when he was invited to go to the place of events.

Svenska Dagbladet: were You not scared?

Hans Blix: not at All. I was completely absorbed in thinking about how to solve the problem. At that moment there was no time to shake in fear. In addition, I relied on the Russian and was sure that they take all necessary security measures. With me in the helicopter were two experts, Russian and American, whom I really trusted.

Well, what about your family, wife Eva? She quietly let him go?

Oh, my wife is much cooler than I am. Her nerves are much stronger. I’ve realized during various travel adventures that we both loved, when I was more active.

But now lead a more relaxed lifestyle is necessary not only to spouses Blix — all of us in one way or another socially limited due to the pandemic, which is still no end in sight. And no one knows what life will be like after it.

Hans Blix is not a fortune teller, not a psychologist and not an economist. But he has many other professional accomplishments and a great experience. He saw the disaster, and recovery.

We talk on the phone, as both sit in isolation, for us it is the only method of communication. It starts with the recognition — albeit a cheerful voice — “the first 90 years was better.” To this number he may add two years — in June he turns 92. Now watching the development of events through different news sources from his apartment in Central Stockholm.

He talks about the “terrible and turbulent” time. Likely to have unpredictable consequences in the form of suffering, death, fear, unemployment, and economic disasters. The conclusion he makes in a very serious voice: “we Now face a colossal task all this is mitigated”.

But immediately adds that he personally with his wife is incredibly lucky.

— We are two pensioner, we have the wings slightly clipped, but we are doing a great job. Our everyday life is not so changed. I myself continue to write the book, which has been for several years. Then we cook, take care of each other. Yesterday I made patties of grated carrots and beets, mixed with mashed potatoes and egg. They should be fried in sunflower oil and serve with sour cream. I did this dish come up.

Every day he walks in Humlegarden and enjoys the spring. On the earth are restricted Bluebell, Crocus and daffodils. This must also be able to see and enjoy, he recalls.

— I think in this situation, the spring helps a lot. Light becomes larger, the day increases, and this gives hope, inspires optimism. A love of nature, which I have since childhood, brings great joy.

But wait, let’s back to what happened after the flight over Chernobyl in spring 1986.

© RIA Novosti, Vitalii ANEC | go to photobacteria the consequences of the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant

So, in Moscow, organized a press conference, which pushed many journalists. He believed that his main task is to provide information to the world…

but the most important thing was that the Soviet people listened to us, people know what happened. Because they are not used to openness from the authorities. And then came some foreigners, which seemed reliable and which they dared to believe. What we could tell, was slightly less terrible than they feared.

It’s been 34 years. How this event affected the lives of Hans Blix?

It became a “constant driving force”. Reinforced his belief in critical thinking.

— In fact, my life is controlled by the three of compass. This rationalism, humanism and liberalism. Perhaps, you should add also internationalism which in my case initially had a distinct romantic aura. I grew up during the Second world war, when all the borders were closed, and about other countries and cultures I could only read in books.

Of course, he wanted someday to visit all these exotic places. His dream came true in full. As an added bonus you can find that in 1978, Hans Blix was appointed Minister of foreign Affairs under the government of the people’s party (now the Liberal — approx. transl.). About this he never dreamed even in my wildest fantasies, especially when he received the “Troika” of behavior.

What about rationalism? Yes, in times of crisis it is especially important to keep your head cool. To talk clear. To gather knowledge.

Now I just need to have the helm were people with common sense, wide experience, ability to act decisively and the understanding of how a person thinks and feels. But in terms of specific decisions about plan of action — for example, in healthcare, and I would personally relied primarily on experts in this field. The task of politicians is to monitor the situation and intervene only when something seems wrong or when something is missed.

We all must now gather data. A huge number of them, reminiscent of Hans Blix, can be obtained simply by pressing a button on the computer. He compares the situation with past pandemics, for example, plague in the XIV century. They say that French king Philip VI wanted to know about its causes at the medical faculty of the University of Paris and received from the scholars reply that the thing in an unusual location on the sky of Saturn, Jupiter and Mars. “No wonder everybody’s confused. Went to Church and prayed, standing in close quarters, next to each other in the crowd…”

But one of rational thinking is not enough. Hans Blix speaks to his second life-the compass — humanism. Society to function, there must be feelings and compassion.

— Now we see people in different ways Express solidarity, neighbors help each other, the government improved the conditions of the hospital and supports the enterprise. But there is also the opposite reaction when someone demands to close borders, not to let foreign citizens or send them home. The crisis seems to have benefited the nationalist flanks. But I guess it is long. In the future we will begin to enjoy the benefits of globalization and free trade. After all, the coronavirus will go, but technical progress, which means so much to people around the world, will remain.

In his youth Hans Blix learned: liberalism implies that the person takes responsibility. This thesis remains with him as a life position. He had a long talk about it, but I’m not very well hear it, we both recognize that hearing we have no matter. But is it an idea to what is sure to prevent abuses of power, only dividing it among many. And this applies not only to political power but also religious and economic.

His arguments sound very convincing. So much so, that I can not help but ask: is a former member of the people’s party, Hans Blix never felt the desire to go out and support her again because in her situation a long time unstable?

He laughs, and then says that it still shares the basic values of the party. But not all issues, he agreed with her position.

For example, he doesn’t like her look on defense. And especially in these times of crisis it disturbs the allocation of economic resources.

— The world spends more than $ 1.7 trillion — Yes, we are talking about dollars — in preparation for possible military operations. And compare the sum with what is spent on preparation for pandemics. And here we come to the coronavirus, and we even have protective plastic aprons is not available in sufficient quantity.

He translates the spirit and speaks more clearly.

— Billions and billions are spent on the purchase of weapons needed in case of very unlikely events, while we don’t even have normal storage facilities for protective medical gear. It is needed for the same unlikely events — but it has now become a reality.

Looking to the future, Hans Blix sees the greatest danger is not in the new viruses. He was more worried about what will happen to the world’s Arsenal of nuclear weapons and ecology.

During the winter of 2002-2003 he was the center of attention, when, as head of the UN inspectors on weapons, had to figure out a fair suspicion the US and the UK against Iraq. Whether in Iraq lab to create chemical and biological weapons and large secret cache of weapons of mass destruction? And if he is trying to create its own nuclear weapons?

© AP Photo, Mary Altaffer30 June 2003. The head of the Commission of the UN inspectors Hans Blix works in an office in new York on the report about the likelihood of the presence of nuclear weapons in Iraq

When Hans Blix in his speech to the UN security Council reported that they came, the world stopped. And what did he say? Nothing found! However, the one who gave the inspectors job, the result did not want to listen to them. In March 2003 the U.S. invaded Iraq.

He talks about it without bitterness. Quietly says that if he listened better, perhaps, the invasion would have suffered in the fall. And then, maybe, have been able convincingly to prove how unlikely it is that Iraq is hiding weapons of mass destruction.

The complexity of the task was associated with his wording.

— Quite difficult to prove that something does not exist. But if we listened, waited… Then I think USA would have never entered Iraq. So probably ISIS would never have arisen.

Can’t help thinking that if he shouted louder, all political development could go a different path.

— Of course, I myself wondered why they didn’t listen to the speakers. After all, they were present right there, it was not only talking on the phone. And those who collect facts for the UN to scream not used. Yes, and we’d be criticized if we started doing it. I would advise to do their work. We had to put the facts on the table, and not turn into megaphones. So work officials.

He sits in his apartment on the other side of Humlegarden, and I can’t see his face, but his voice heard that he is very serious. These are the words of a senior diplomat. Someone who knows that diplomacy is not only a neat and stylish clothing. First and foremost is the humane approach, the desire to prevent disputes, and if this is not possible, then flatten them or allow.

All require sensitivity and imagination. I’m not saying that everything can be solved through diplomacy, as at the global level and at home at the kitchen table. But there are principles that can’t and don’t want to sacrifice any weight. Then you have to try to stand your ground and be firm.

The belief that conflicts can be resolved with words, he considers Swedish quality.

— Now of course we are trying to avoid unnecessary controversy. But it’s not just politicians. We all need to pull myself together and try to better understand each other, to learn to listen.

He is not a therapist, but his words sound very similar… this is my comment, Hans Blix, meets with a soft chuckle and one of his bright short phrases, which over the years has accumulated a lot: “False modesty is better than none”.

— It ought to take into account Trump. But if without jokes, Karin, from the height of his knowledge of diplomacy I will say, that no one can not be humiliated. Take the contradictions between Iran and the United States: in my opinion, they are at least partly grew out of the humiliation that the United States experienced when, after coming to power, Khomeini American Embassy was seized for the whole year. Americans will never forget.

And if you go back to the topic of the sources of joy in life? He mentioned cooking. Jams and juices it cook stopped when I learned that they have elevated insulin index. But in fact he loved it. To such an extent that even during his meeting with the then leader of Libya Muammar Gaddafi in his tent in the suburbs of Tripoli on the question of what he wanted, admitted that with pleasure would take a few oranges with abundant fruiting wood. After a few days of 60 kilograms of oranges arrived at the IAEA in Vienna and the head of the Agency of subordinates turned them into jam.

— Many years later we reminisced jam Gaddafi.

Outside our Windows the sun shines. Soon Hans Blix wife will go for a walk unless he decides to catch up with lost time and not sit behind his book. In a nutshell, the book is about how to prevent violence between countries and people. He believes that peace can be achieved soon through de-escalation, and not through military deterrence.

— If we solve the climate problem and the issue of nuclear weapons, I think in the future we will be able to establish more powerful international cooperation, will make more joint decisions, because this is the main condition in order to move forward and make changes.

He willingly follows the advice of the Danish poet Piet Hein (Piet Hein) rulers of the world: the noble art of sacrifice prestige might someday save the human race.

Hans Blix

June 28, 2020-he will be 92 years old.

He lives in an apartment in Central Stockholm and each summer from 1939 goes to the house on the island Grace.

Since 1962 married to Eva Kettis (Eva Kettis), which was formerly Ambassador. Two sons, each with his own family.

Briefly about career: lawyer, politician and official. An expert in international law at the Ministry of foreign Affairs, state Secretary, Minister for foreign Affairs (1978-1979). He held various positions in international organizations, for example, was Secretary-General of the International atomic energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna (1981-1997) and chief of the UN inspectors in Iraq (2000-2003).

Main dream: to become an actor or Director. In the student theatre in Uppsala he put a voice and taught to catch the essence of the texts.

Awards and decorations: Medal of His Majesty the King size 12 in the ribbon colors of the order of the Seraphim (1998), honorary doctor of law the University of Gothenburg (2004), the medal “Illis quorum” 18 size (2018).

Now writing a new book on international law.


* a terrorist organization banned in Russia