Fourth Freedom Forum (FFF) is an Indiana-based nonprofit group that takes its name from a Franklin Delano Roosevelt speech in which he called freedom from fear “the fourth freedom.” The organization was established in 1982 by businessman Howard Brembeck. At that time it was called the Alternative World Foundation, which was an outgrowth of World Without Arms. It took the name Fourth Freedom Forum in 1987. FFF states that it “[is] dedicated to nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation, and pushes non-war alternatives to international conflict.” “Believing that economic power is greater than military might,” Fourth Freedom Forum “advocates the effective use of economic incentives and sanctions in creating a more secure and peaceful future.” It views the United States as the chief source of international conflict around the world today.
FFF’s program areas include the following:
Center on Global Counter-Terrorism Cooperation (CGCTC): This program seeks to influence the policies of governments and international organizations toward terrorism around the world by providing them with research and analysis on that topic. Between 2002 and 2006, CGCTC’s assessments of counter-terrorism efforts influenced the work of United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan’s task force on UN reform.
Nonproliferation: “The danger presented by the existence of nuclear weapons has been a central concern of the Forum for over twenty years. … Through research and public education, we advocate efforts to reduce and control nuclear weapons and materials. Our work focuses on nuclear policies, particularly U.S. and NATO …”
Sanctions and Security: “Since 1990, the United Nations Security Council, the European Union, and the U.S. government have imposed sanctions frequently for a variety of purposes. Sanctions are most effective when combined with incentives, as part of a carrots and sticks bargaining process designed to resolve conflict and encourage compliance with international norms.” FFF and the Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame have jointly produced several books and dozens of articles and reports on sanctions and incentives, most recently a 2004 piece in Foreign Affairs magazine titled “Containing Iraq: Sanctions Worked.”
Nonviolent Social Change: FFF President David Cortright, who helped establish the Win Without War coalition, teaches a course titled Nonviolent Social Change: Strategy and Tactics at the University of Notre Dame. In this class, Cortright “examines the nonviolent philosophy and method developed by Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Cesar Chavez, Barbara Deming, and others, while exploring strategies and tactics for effective social action.”
Immediately after the September 11th attacks, Cortright and FFF were vocal proponents of dealing with terrorists through legal channels and police actions rather than with the military. “As we mount an effective attack against terrorism, we must also re-orient our foreign policy toward justice,” Cortright said. “… Our response must use two hands, one seeking to eliminate terrorist networks, the other re-examining our own policies to find more equitable and even-handed approaches toward Arab nations. We must ask ourselves why these attacks have occurred, and what the United States has done to incur such wrath. Could it be our unyielding support for Israel at the expense of Palestinians; our large-scale and seemingly permanent military presence in and around the Arabian peninsula; our constant bombing and draconian sanctions against Iraq; our support for repressive governments in Egypt and other Arab states?”