FRED WEIR – In less than a year, the world could enter a period free of nuclear arms control treaties for the first time in more than a half-century. Is such a state of affairs sustainable?
FRED WEIR – In less than a year, the world could enter a period free of nuclear arms control treaties for the first time in more than a half-century. Is such a state of affairs sustainable?
ROBERT kOEHLER – In the linear world of geopolitics, militarism and mysteriously determined “national interest” rule and security means — though it is never put this way — playing games with Armageddon. This is called realism. And those who claim to be realists never — ever, ever — allow a word like “disarmament” into the conversation, much less into the realm of political choice.
CENTER FOR CITIZEN INITIATIVES – The Covid-19 pandemic shows that governments that think of security in mostly military terms are simply wasting money, Mikhail Gorbachev has said. Defense spending must be cut globally to fund things that humanity actually needs.
KATRINA VANDEN HEUVEL – After this pandemic passes, there must be a profound reckoning. I’m not referring to President Trump’s abysmal performance in the crisis; the election in November will render citizens’ judgment on that. No, there must be a reckoning with the profound failure of the United States’ domestic and foreign policies and priorities, a failure that was apparent even before covid-19 revealed the catastrophic bankruptcy of our national security strategy.
ANDREW BACEVICH – Deferred for far too long, Judgment Day may at long last have arrived for the national security state.
DMITRI TRENIN – Russian influence is coming to a region near you.
ROBERT C. KOEHLER – Veterans For Peace, an organization that speaks truth to war like nobody else, is attempting to reclaim Armistice Day, the Nov. 11 holiday that was flipped on its head 65 years ago when it was renamed Veterans Day — and became a celebration not of the end of war but of its perpetuity.
ANDREW BACEVICH – Here’s the strange thing for the self-proclaimed greatest power in history, the very one that, in this century, has been fighting a series of unending wars across significant parts of the planet: if you exclude Operation Urgent Fury, the triumphant invasion of the island Grenada in 1983, and Operation Just Cause, the largely unopposed invasion of Panama in 1989, Washington’s last truly successful war ended 74 years ago in August 1945 with the dropping of two atomic bombs on Japanese cities. Every war of even modest significance since — and they’ve been piling up — from the Korean and Vietnam wars to the ones in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Libya, and elsewhere in this century (and the last as well, in the cases of Afghanistan and Iraq) has either ended badly (Vietnam) or not at all (see above).
E. MARTIN SCHOTZ, MD – Once the US and Russia see each other as partners in survival, they would be in a position to work together to help other nations join in the process. This is the way an international ban on nuclear weapons can eventually be achieved.
NATYLIE BALDWIN – Russia’s vast size – the largest country geographically in the world – and its prodigious resources are present for all to see. But now, having overcome its historical issues with poor agricultural policies, it also has the ability to feed itself, a highly educated citizenry, and the industrial infrastructure to support a space program as well as a sophisticated nuclear and defense system. It has the ability to build cars, trucks, and airplanes completely within its own borders. Unlike many countries in the world, it has very little external debt and major gold reserves. It is weathering the sanctions against it better than Iran or Venezuela.
WINSLOW MYERS – The United States is strong enough to lead the way into a new paradigm of self-interest, where dominance is replaced by a global network attuned directly to meeting human and ecosystem needs. Anything less threatens everyone’s survival. If we can offer help to our adversaries because we see it as self-interest, a different world is possible.
NORMAN SOLOMON – When Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell teamed up to invite NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg to address a joint session of Congress, they had every reason to expect the April 3 speech to be a big hit with U.S. media and political elites. The establishment is eager to affirm the sanctity of support for the transatlantic military alliance. But huge reverence for NATO is matched by how dangerous NATO has become. NATO’s continual expansion — all the way to Russia’s borders — has significantly increased the chances that the world’s two nuclear superpowers will get into direct military conflict.
STEPHEN F. COHEN – Heedless of the consequences, or perhaps welcoming them, America’s Cold Warriors and their media platforms have recently escalated their rhetoric against Russia, especially in March. Anyone who has lived through or studied the preceding 40-year Cold War will recognize the ominous echoes of its most dangerous periods, when actual war was on the horizon or a policy option. Here are only a few random but representative examples.
DAVID SWANSON – Back before Donald Trump was inaugurated, I wrote an article called “Fantasies About Russia Could Doom Opposition to Trump.” Perhaps it is less quixotic, or perhaps it is more, to hope that, after more than two years of being barraged with those fantasies, but with their main focus having publicly flopped, more people will now be open to trying something else. That pre-inauguration article read: “Trump should be impeached on Day 1, but the same Democrats who found the one nominee who could lose to Trump will find the one argument for impeachment that can explode in their own faces. . . . Meanwhile, we have a man planning to be president later this month whose business dealings clearly violate . . .
STEPHEN F. COHEN – War With Russia?, like the biography of a living person, is a book without an end. The title is a warning—akin to what the late Gore Vidal termed “a journalistic alert-system”—not a prediction. Hence the question mark. I cannot foresee the future. The book’s overarching theme is informed by past and current facts, not by any political agenda, ideological commitment, or magical prescience. This article is adapted from the concluding section of Stephen F. Cohen’s War With Russia? From Putin and Ukraine to Trump and Russiagate, just published, in paperback and e-book, by Skyhorse Publishing.
GEORGE LAKEY – The midterm election brings activists both good news and bad news, but one thing is certain: Reactivity lost.
ROBERT ALVAREZ – Though the Cold War is long over, the Energy Department’s antiquated, contractor-dominated management system—in which safety goal posts are easily moved behind closed doors—continues to endure and, in some cases, thrive. Without the meaningful oversight of the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, the nuclear weapons complex will predictably march back to a time, in the not-so-distant past, when public and worker safety was an afterthought—with serious consequences.
STEPHEN F. COHEN – For nearly 100 years, Russia has been under US sanctions, often to the detriment of American national security.
CONN M. HALLINAN – It is finally time to re-think alliances. NATO was a child of the Cold War, when the West believed that the Soviets were a threat. But Russia today is not the Soviet Union, and there is no way Moscow would be stupid enough to attack a superior military force. It is time NATO went the way of the Warsaw Pact and recognize that the old ways of thinking are not only outdated but also dangerous.
PAUL STREET – Given the current state and rate of environmental destruction, the continuing advance in the destructive power of nuclear weapons systems, and the likelihood of pandemics in a warmer and more globalized world, there are good reasons to wonder if a human civilization with historians will exist a century from today. We may well be standing near the “end of history,” and not the glorious bourgeois-democratic one that Francis Fukuyama imagined with the end of the Cold War.
SERGEI KARAGANOV – The problem between Russia and the West is really a problem among Westerners themselves. If there is a new cold war, it is only because established elites have not come to terms with reality: the balance of military, political, economic, and moral power has shifted too far away from the West to be reversed.
P.N. LOUKIANOFF – 2017 represented the centennial of the communist takeover of Russia, which indelibly marked the transition from Tsarist Empire to the Soviet Union. The U.S.S.R. was a menace not only to the free world, but also to its own people. Despite its collapse and Russia’s independence over 25 years ago, many in Washington still cannot allow themselves to imagine, let alone manifest, a productive relationship with Russia. This article provides useful historical context for events and actions affecting U.S.-Russia relations to this day and argues why there’s hope for the future with the new generation of Russians – the kind the Center for Citizen Initiatives will be bringing to the U.S. as part of CCI’s Russians Meet Middle America (RMMA) program.
LISA FULLER – Dear Baby Boomers: Your children and your grandchildren need you right now- their lives may depend on it. I know, because I am one of them.
JOHN LAFORGE – The US public wants to know why North Korea is so paranoid, militarily hostile and boastful. LaForge answers.
ROBERT C. KOEHLER – The American will to wage war — endless war, pointless war, total war — is, I fear, impervious to public opinion and even political action. It remains alive deep in the underground bunker of American militarism, protected from sanity. This goes beyond the staying power of our loser generals, who have ever freer rein in the Trump administration to expand the war games of the 21st century. There is a quiet determination among those who serve the god of war — or so it seems — to engage in, and presumably win, a nuclear war.
SHARON TENNISON – For the whole of 2016, we have been actively deliberating how best to use the Center for Citizen Initiatives’ 33-year experience in the US-Russia field––since Russia is increasingly being declared America’s enemy #1––which we totally reject. We’ve concluded that our successful programs of the ’80s are precisely what is needed again in today’s baffling environment.
RAMESH THAKUR – Are the increasingly frosty relations between the United States and Russia going to turn into all-out war? Former United Nations Assistant Secretary-General Ramesh Thakur weighs the evidence.
NICOLAS J S DAVIES – The world faces huge problems that must be addressed and resolved in the next few decades. The question facing us is this: will the allocation of increasingly scarce resources and the necessary transformations of the 21st century be directed by international cooperation for the benefit of all and the survival of human civilization? Or will our world be torn apart by a desperate scramble for dwindling supplies of precious resources as the most powerful countries use military force to try and grab what they can at the expense of everybody else? Our country’s current war policy offers only one answer to that question. We must find a different one – and an effective political strategy to impose it on our deluded leaders while there is still time.
JON QUEALLY – Worries of ‘New Cold War’ intensify as United States suspends bilateral diplomatic channels for Syria conflict.
MEL GURTOV – Will the real China please stand up? In the US media, most stories about China raise questions that amount to threat-mongering. How can China’s “aggressiveness” in the South China Sea be stopped? Is China forming a new alliance with Putin’s Russia? Has China hacked its way into the most sensitive US industrial and military secrets? Is China on the verge of displacing the West from Africa and even Latin America? Are the Chinese about to become a military rival of the US in terms of naval and air power?
PETER BERGEL – As some of you know, I’ll leave on June 15 to join a citizen diplomacy peace delegation to Russia for two weeks. I will take with me a peace message from the mayor and mayor-elect of Salem, OR and will, I hope, bring back peace messages from Russian citizens, decision-makers, academicians and journalists. I will also listen carefully to the Russians’ concerns, especially those that concern our own country.
DAVID SWANSON – In the early 1980s almost nobody from the United States traveled to the Soviet Union or vice versa. The Soviets wouldn’t let anybody out, and good Americans were disinclined to visit the Evil Empire. But a woman in California named Sharon Tennison took the threat of nuclear war with the seriousness it deserved and still deserves. She got a group of friends together and asked the Russian consulate for permission to visit Russia, make friends, and learn.
MEL GURTOV – How should we evaluate Obama’s foreign policy record? Right-wing critics will of course excoriate Obama for all the usual things—weakness against adversaries like Russia and China, negotiating with instead of subverting Cuba and Iran, eviscerating the US military, undermining relations with Israel. On the left, Obama is already being cast as another liberal leader whose actions failed to deliver on his promises, from Guantanamo to the Middle East. Historians will have plenty of things to quarrel about, but we need not wait.
FINIAN CUNNINGHAM – The monstrous US military budget is a classic illustration of the proverb about not seeing the woods for the trees. It is such an overwhelming outgrowth, all too often it is misperceived.
CONN HALLINAN – “Aggressive,” “revanchist,” “swaggering”: These are just some of the adjectives the mainstream press and leading U.S. and European political figures are routinely inserting before the words “Russia,” or “Vladimir Putin.” It is a vocabulary most Americans have not seen or heard since the height of the Cold War. The question is, why?
DAVID SOLEIL – What if instead of living in reactive fear of death, that we engaged in the pro-active, life-affirming love of building a caring community?
JOE CIRINCIONE and TOM Z. COLLINA – Under Pope Francis the Catholic church is moving away from Cold War nuclear acceptance faster than Congress and the Obama administration; some people are not going to like this key shift in church doctrine on nuclear weapons.
IBRAHIM S. BAHATI – Since Osama bin Laden’s death 2 May 2011, the official account of the Navy Seals’ raid has been challenged, most recently and cogently by journalist Seymour Hersh, alleging that “Washington’s official account of the hunt for Bin Laden and the raid that led to his death was a lie.” In fact, there have been more “conspiracy-factual theories” about this event than there are on Illuminati. Was OBL there? Was he even alive then? Is he still?
ANDREW J. BACEVICH – Policy intellectuals — eggheads presuming to instruct the mere mortals who actually run for office — are a blight on the republic. Like some invasive species, they infest present-day Washington, where their presence strangles common sense and has brought to the verge of extinction the simple ability to perceive reality. A benign appearance — well-dressed types testifying before Congress, pontificating in print and on TV, or even filling key positions in the executive branch — belies a malign impact. They are like Asian carp let loose in the Great Lakes.
ROBERT F. DODGE, M.D. – The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has just announced its latest nuclear Doomsday Clock moving ahead the minute hand to three minutes till midnight. The clock represents the count down to zero in minutes to nuclear apocalypse – midnight. This significant move of two minutes is the 22nd time since its inception in 1947 that the time has been changed.
LAWRENCE S. WITTNER – A quarter century after the end of the Cold War and decades after the signing of landmark nuclear arms control and disarmament agreements, are the U.S. and Russian governments once more engaged in a potentially disastrous nuclear arms race with one another? It certainly looks like it.
DAVID SWANSON – The U.S.-led NATO war on Afghanistan has lasted so long they’ve decided to rename it, declare the old war over, and announce a brand new war they’re just sure you’re going to love.
DENNIS KUCINICH – Late Thursday night [December 11], the House of Representatives unanimously passed a far-reaching Russia sanctions bill, a hydra-headed incubator of poisonous conflict. The second provocative anti-Russian legislation in a week, it further polarizes our relations with Russia, helping to cement a Russia-China alliance against Western hegemony, and undermines long-term America’s financial and physical security by handing the national treasury over to war profiteers.
DAVID SWANSON – Imagine a letter co-signed by former presidents, former representatives from both sides of the aisle, House speakers, former governors, attorneys general, cabinet members, ambassadors, CEOs, movie stars and directors, writers, astronauts, religious leaders, mayors, academics, mainstream media correspondents, and more — all united in stating “Nobody wants war.” Imagine the New York Times publishing this letter. The equivalent happened in Germany just a few days ago.
WINSLOW MYERS – Few people remember them today, but there were significant global leadership initiatives in the 1980s against the proliferation of nuclear weapons. The dawn of the nuclear era had coincided with the beginning of the Cold War. People in the United States and their leaders viewed the world through the lens of East-West cold war superpower tensions, reinforced by the rigid dualistic convictions of officials like John Foster Dulles, U.S. Secretary of State from 1953 to 1959. A quarter century further into the cold war era, nearly 200 less powerful nations came to realize that a superpower nuclear exchange was potentially just as life threatening to them as to the superpowers themselves.
IRA HELFAND and ROBERT DODGE – As physicians we spend our professional lives applying scientific facts to the health and well being of our patients. When it comes to public health threats like TB, polio, cholera, AIDS and others where there is no cure, our aim is to prevent what we cannot cure. It is our professional, ethical and moral obligation to educate and speak out on these issues. That said, the greatest imminent existential threat to human survival is potential of global nuclear war.
JON RAINWATER – When people hear “the Army is being cut to pre-World War II levels,” they are thinking about military forces as a whole. But the Air Force didn’t even exist in 1940. The Marine Corps has grown exponentially since that earlier era. After the post- 9/11 spike is trimmed, a force far larger than before World War II remains. But the bigger problem with the reduction narrative is that the proposed $496 billion for the Department of Defense represents historically sky-high spending.
LT. GENERAL ROBERT GARD (Ret.) – Instead of engaging in political gamesmanship to raise the debt ceiling or enacting periodic government shutdowns, we should be focused on eliminating waste and allocating government expenditures more efficiently. Unnecessary defense spending that detracts from security instead of improving it is at the top of the list.
LAWRENCE S. WITTNER – Nearly a quarter century after the disappearance of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, the U.S. government is still getting ready for nuclear war.
WINSLOW MYERS – Eric Schlosser’s hair-raising new book about actual and potential accidents with nuclear weapons, “Command and Control,” sharpens the dialogue, such as it is, between the anti-nuclear peace movement and nuclear strategists who maintain that these weapons still enhance the security of nations.
ERIN NIEMELA – About a week ago I had the unfortunate experience of being followed off a bus on a dark corner. The man who followed me made it clear that he intended harm – even growling at me as I hastened into a nearby open market. The experience was benign compared to many others I’ve had, but it compelled me to revisit my understanding of and beliefs in feminism.