Author: Oregon PeaceWorks

Biden Restores Bears Ears and Grand Staircase–Escalante National Monuments

WES SILER – Today [Oct. 8, 2021], President Biden announced that he’s restoring the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase–Escalante National Monuments in Utah, as well as the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument in the Atlantic Ocean to the areas and protections that were in place before Donald Trump massively cut them. The move fulfills a campaign promise, protects sensitive historic sites and fragile ecosystems, preserves air and water quality for local communities, keeps coal and oil in the ground, and listens to the voice of Indigenous people on the eve of Indigenous People’s Day. 

What Kind of a Threat Is Russia?

JAMES W. CARDEN – In his latest book, The Stupidity of War: American Foreign Policy and the Case for Complacency, American political scientist John Mueller demonstrates that since the end of World War II, American policymakers have developed a kind of addiction to threat inflation by “routinely elevating the problematic to the dire… focused on problems, or monsters, that essentially didn’t exist.” And with regard to the American foreign policy establishment’s current twin obsessions, Russia and China, Mueller, ever the iconoclast, counsels complacency.

NRC Conducting “Open Investigation” into Allegedly Counterfeit, Substandard US Reactor Parts, & Impossibility of Evacuating Seabrook – CounterPunch.org

JOHN LAFORGE – The Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) Office of Inspector General (OIG) has confirmed that it is investigating allegations that counterfeit, substandard parts are currently being used in scores of nuclear reactors across the United States, and further that emergency responders in New Hampshire’s National Guard and the Massachusetts State Police have been gagged by orders not to reveal that it is impossible to conduct a safe evacuation of the Seabrook reactor during an emergency.

Two Parties: Two Countries

TOM H. HASTINGS – In my field of Conflict Transformation, one of the things we study is the lingering effects of a conflict. How that conflict was resolved is key. If it’s done peacefully, very little legacy of resentment persists. If it’s done destructively, there is often a burning desire for revenge, often handed down inside the defeated tribe, nation, or people. It is the collective version of the passive-aggressive individual problem with being harmed and humiliated. 

So Long, CENTCOM, and Good Riddance!

ANDREW BACEVICH – Recognizing that the safety and well-being of the American people do not require sustaining a regional U.S. military command that fancies itself called upon to determine the fate of 560 million inhabitants in 21 different countries might just offer a path toward regaining sobriety. After all, recovery begins with taking that first step.

Afghanistan: What Went Wrong? What Have We Learned?

MARC PILISUK – For years, military preparedness and war itself have been granted extensive support in the United States. At the current moment, public opinion is questioning whether this support has added to Americans’ security or placed it in greater danger. Indeed, the termination of a failed war in Afghanistan has brought into question, whether that war was wrong from the start.

Meet the Biden Advisor Who Wants a Cold War with China

KOOHAN PAIK-MANDER – President Joe Biden called President Xi Jinping of China on September 9, 2021, to work toward rapprochement as tensions in the western Pacific had reached a fever pitch. The very next day, Biden’s call was undermined by inflammatory information provided on September 10 to the Financial Times by anonymous officials from his own administration. It drew immediate ire from Beijing.

Why America Goes to War

ANDREW COCKBURN – Sometimes the naked pursuit of self-interest is unabashed, and certain policies or war is pursued, but even when the real object of the exercise is camouflaged as “foreign policy” or “strategy,” no observer should ever lose sight of the most important question: Cui bono? Who benefits?

Congress Will Consider Immigration Reform. Will It Act?

ANDREW MOSS – It’s easy to say, “our immigration system is broken.” Or to declare: “we are a nation of immigrants.” But neither description goes very far to explain the realities of immigration and immigration policy in America. To get closer to the reality, you need a more sharply focused statement – something like the following: “we are a nation in a long-standing struggle over immigration, a struggle that reaches back to the founding of this republic.”

How to Fight Microplastic Pollution with Magnets

ISABELLE GERRETSEN – Fionn Ferreira says he has encountered skepticism throughout his journey as a young inventor and hopes that inventions such as his will help change that attitude. And as his generation inherits problems created by those that came before them, the world is likely to need more imaginative solutions.

Building Social Solidarity Across National Boundaries

LAWRENCE WITTNER – Although there are no guarantees that social movements and enhanced global governance will transform our divided, problem-ridden world, we shouldn’t ignore these movements and institutions, either. Indeed, they should provide us with at least a measure of hope that, someday, human solidarity will prevail, thereby bringing to birth “a new world from the ashes of the old.”

A ‘Strategic Apocalypse’ in Afghanistan: A Seismic Shift, Years in the Making

ALISTAIR CROOKE – A huge geo-political event has just occurred in Afghanistan: The implosion of a key western strategy for managing what Mackinder, in the 19th century, called the Asian heartland. That it was accomplished, without fighting, and in few days, is almost unprecedented. As a consequence, among other “seismic shifts,” China is more determined to shape the region than many analysts realize.

‘We owe them a huge amount’: March to Honour Greenham Common Women

ALEXANDRA TOPPING – Forty years ago a small group of women, along with a few men and children in buggies in tow, left their homes in Wales to protest against the arrival of US nuclear warheads at RAF Greenham Common. The steps they took that day would lead to the establishment of the Greenham women’s peace camp, which at its height gathered more than 70,000 women for direct action and became the biggest female-led protest since women’s suffrage.

How “Moral Disengagement” Permits War Atrocities

ROBERT C. KOEHLER – Agent Orange, the most powerful of the herbicides used in Vietnam in Operation Ranch Hand, begun on August 10, 1961, contained dioxin, one of the most toxic substances on the planet. We dropped 20 million gallons of this and other herbicides on Vietnam, contaminating 7,000 square miles of its forests. Half a century later, we are fully aware of the consequences of this strategic decision, not just for the Vietnamese, the Laotians, the Cambodians, but also for many American troops.

Legacy of Failure in Afghanistan Started in 1979, Not 2001

JAMES W. CARDEN – Hawkish US officials overstated Soviet gains in the third world in the 1970s, and “exhibit A in the case that the USSR was inexorably expanding…was Afghanistan.” And after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, “Washington believed Russia’s objective was the Persian Gulf.” Yet, it is argued by John Lamberton Harper, that the hawks within the Carter administration, led by Brzezinski, “were misled by their schematic conceptions.” 

Hold the Generals Accountable This Time

RAY MCGOVERN – There must be accountability for Afghanistan. The more so since generals and admirals, active duty and retired, are going off half-cocked. Some of them, like Admiral Charles Richards, head of US Strategic Command, are saying nuclear war is possible. Earlier this year Richards wrote that the US must shift from a principal assumption that nuclear weapons’ use is nearly impossible to “nuclear employment is a very real possibility.” And retired Adm. James Stavridis, former commander of NATO, is already talking about war with China “perhaps ten years from now.” Accountability and effective civilian control of such general officers can prevent the next March of Folly.

Corporate Liberalism Is No Match for Trumpism

NORMAN SOLOMON – A vital challenge for progressives is to not only block Republican agendas but also to effectively campaign for policy changes that go far beyond the talking points of current Democratic leaders offering to tinker with the status quo. Merely promising a kinder, gentler version of grim social realities just won’t be enough to counter the faux populism of a neofascist Republican Party.

Jesse Jackson, William Barber Among Dozens Arrested While Demanding Filibuster Repeal Outside Sinema’s Office

KENNY STANCIL – Thirty-nine people, including civil rights champions Revs. Jesse Jackson and William J. Barber II, were arrested Monday, July 26, during a sit-in outside the Phoenix office of Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, a conservative Democrat whose opposition to filibuster reform is enabling Senate Republicans to obstruct the passage of progressive legislation on voting rights, the minimum wage, immigration reform, climate action, and more.

The Savage We Need to Civilize is Within Us

ROBERT KOEHLER – Robert Koehler asks questions of the United States’ history not in regard to individual, but rather collective — governmental — behavior. He fears that as we unite, we diminish our ability to respect, and understand, the complexity of the universe, and of our fellow humans. We unite around simplistic certainties, and these certainties seem always to involve an enemy, or Other. And empowerment means being able to kill, rather than understand, embrace and learn from — or hear the music of — that Other.

Intensifying the Threat of Nuclear Devastation is not a Security Strategy

DR. MARC PILISUK – After a war has ended, historians, elected officials, and faith leaders, no less than the people involved, often raise doubts over whether the outcomes were worth the many horrific costs. But mourning diminishes over time and life for the survivors goes on. Such a recovery from destruction is no longer assured or even likely in the age of nuclear weapons. World leaders, however, continue to play the game of war in ways that risk the war that could end life on earth.

As DA Rejects Charges, Bayou Bridge Water Protectors Vow ‘We Will Not Stop Our Work’

BRETT WILKINS – “Louisiana’s ‘critical infrastructure’ law is an attempt to take away our personal freedom along with our constitutional right to protest,” Annie White Hat continued. “I stand proud of our work and am grateful for the countless allies who bravely stepped forward to support the first direct actions to stop oil and gas in the swamps of south Louisiana.”

Peace on the Korean Peninsula Needs to Be a Priority

KEVIN MARTIN – This year marks the sixth annual edition of coordinated advocacy days calling for peace in Korea. When it first started in 2015, just 12 people participated; the effort has now grown to include more than 200 people. Korean-Americans, the fifth largest Asian-American population in the U.S., are leading the effort and have become more politically engaged than just a few years ago, but everyone in this country, in Asia and around the world, would benefit from a more peaceful, less militarized Korean peninsula.