Lawrence Wittner: Despite the vast rivers of blood and treasure poured into wars over the centuries, the nations of the world continue to enhance their military might.
Lawrence Wittner: Despite the President’s rhetorical support for nuclear abolition, it looks like the United States and other nations are on a very slow track to ridding the world of the nuclear menace.
Lawrence Wittner: Are we safer with more firepower or less? Despite the propaganda of the gunslingers, the arms manufacturers, and the military enthusiasts, it does seem that the world would be a lot safer with fewer guns and fewer nuclear weapons.
Lawrence Wittner: And so it appears that the “Golden Rule” will resume the long journey it began more than half a century ago. Rebuilt by U.S. military veterans, it will “renew Bigelow’s and Veterans for Peace’s mission — to abolish war and promote peaceful diplomacy.”
Lawrence Wittner: As the U.S. Senate prepares to vote this December on ratification of the New START Treaty, Republican legislators appear on the verge of producing an international disaster.
Lawrence S. Wittner: One of the ironies of the current international situation is that, although some government leaders now talk of building a nuclear weapons-free world, there has been limited public mobilization around that goal—at least compared to the action-packed 1980s.
Lawrence Wittner: When it comes to military appropriations, the U.S. government already spends about seven times as much as China, thirteen times as much as Russia, and seventy-three times as much as Iran.
Lawrence Wittner: At this point, we might well wonder if it was such a good idea to overthrow a democratic, secular nationalist like Mossadeq to preserve the profits of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (now renamed BP). Indeed, given the sordid record of BP and other giant oil companies, we might wonder why we tolerate them at all.
Lawrence Wittner: Reflecting on the contrast between the Obama administration’s nuclear abolition rhetoric and its record, Kevin Martin, executive director of America’s largest peace organization, Peace Action, concluded that supporters of a nuclear-free world needed to wake up to the reality that the administration’s nuclear disarmament activities were going to be quite limited without very substantial movement pressure.
Lawrence Wittner: In one way, Rand Paul is quite right. Anti-discrimination laws do turn the tables on businessmen, who find that they can no longer mistreat employees and customers on the basis of race, religion, national origins, or gender. And isn’t that ban on discriminatory behavior a good idea?
Lawrence Wittner: So why should humanitarian aid be extraordinary? Why not make it routine? Long before the earthquake, Haitians were the poorest people in the hemisphere, suffering from widespread hunger, disease, and illiteracy. Could not the United States — the richest nation in the world with a public whose major anxieties (to judge from the vast attention given to weight loss) seem to result from over-eating — manage to share a bit of its affluence by regularly providing food aid to starving Haitians?
Lawrence S. Wittner: The ongoing danger of nuclear terrorism provides yet another reason to rid the world of fissile material and its final, terrible product, nuclear weapons. Let’s not forget that.
Of course, a case can be made that it is better for a nation to win a war than to lose it. But perhaps it is time to learn from the world’s tragic, blood-stained history that there is a third alternative: using our intelligence and creativity to resolve conflicts without war.