Tag: Cold War

How We Could Use Peace and Diplomacy to Break the Cycle of Insecurity

ROGER PEACE – Continuation of the current system of big power competition and rival blocs bodes ill for the future. The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has set its “doomsday clock” at 100 seconds to midnight, closer than it has ever been, based on nuclear and global warming threats, an indication of how close humanity is to “destroying our world with dangerous technologies of our own making.” Moving toward mutual security and cooperation will set the clock back and allow humanity to move forward. 

The Illusion of Military Dominance

KEVIN MARTIN and BRAD WOLF – We posit no sexy title for our strategy. Peace, and only peace. That’s it. We can split the atom and rocket to the stars. Surely we can resolve our disputes without incinerating each other. We need set our minds, money, and resources to it. Dominance is for tyrants. It must fall and humanity must prevail. Peace is everything.

Weapons Are Not Helping: How Do We End the War in Ukraine?

CHRIS DE PLOEG – International aggression has major consequences and can lead to massive loss of human life: 2.4 million dead in Iraq, 1.2 million dead in Afghanistan and Pakistan in the U.S. war against the Taliban. Senior American defense officials claim that Russia is still holding back and that its bombers are primarily focused on military targets. These same officials also warn that civilian casualties could massively spike if Russia does decide to enact an Iraq- or Chechnya-style bombing campaign. Can that kind of fate still be prevented in Ukraine? That is the primary question that should concern all commentators. That and the prevention of further escalation, nuclear war. Where do we go from here?

The Inevitability, Tragedy and Opportunity in the Invasion of Ukraine

JIM GARRISON – What would it take for NATO and Russia to embrace the obvious? The only way for the current crisis to be truly solved is to create a process in and through which all the former antagonists can come together around the creation of a common security and economic zone that brings Russia together with Ukraine as partners in a larger zone of peace. It is possible.

Bob Dylan and the Ukraine Crisis

NORMAN SOLOMON – Desperately needed is a new European security framework, to demilitarize and defuse conflicts between Russia and U.S. allies. But the same approach that for three decades pushed to expand NATO to Russia’s borders is now gung-ho to keep upping the ante, no matter how much doing so increases the chances of a direct clash between the world’s two nuclear-weapons superpowers.

Biden Promised Nuclear-Policy Reform. He’s Not Delivering.

JOSEPH CIRINCIONE – On the campaign trail and in strategy documents, President Biden committed to a new focus on arms control — and to a reconsideration of dangerous policies. News reports suggest his review of the U.S. nuclear posture will be disappointing. So, what can be done to alter this outcome, and who is working toward changing decision makers’ minds ?

Common Security: Essential Component of a New World Order

ALEXEY GROMYKO – Next year we mark the 40th anniversary of the Report of the Independent Commission on Disarmament and Security Issues under the Chairmanship of Olof Palme. The Report introduced the concept of Common Security and contributed to the end of the Cold War. However, these days the ideas behind Common Security are almost forgotten in spite of the fact that we again live in extremely perilous times.

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.

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?

“Usable Nukes” – Our Government’s Latest Security Fantasy

ROBERT KOEHLER – We must free ourselves from the mindset of militarism, which is perpetuated not merely by politicians and generals but, inexcusably, by much of the media, which compliantly speaks their language. In militaryspeak, civilians may be bombed but they’re never murdered, at least not by us. If we can’t avoid acknowledging their deaths, then they become collateral damage, necessary for “the restoration of strategic stability.”

Yes, It’s Time to Come Home—Now

ANDREW BACEVICH – As Americans learned in Vietnam, the only way to end a war gone wrong is to leave the field of battle. If that describes Trump’s intentions in Afghanistan, then we may finally have some reason to be grateful for his service to our nation. With time, Joe Biden and Mitch McConnell might even come to see the wisdom of doing so.

A Wake-Up Call: The Nuclear Threat!

KATRINA VANDEN HEUVEL – Americans know how to engage. In the past four years alone, we’ve seen a groundswell of grass-roots activism on threats from climate change and gun violence to racial injustice and gender inequity. Today, we must add one more to the list: the threat of nuclear weapons. As Collina said, “Nuclear disarmament must be part of the new mass movement.”

Can We Achieve Nuclear Adulthood?

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.

After this Pandemic Passes, America Needs a Reckoning with its National Security

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.

Why Those “Endless Wars” Must Never End

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).

Why the West Has Historically Feared Russia

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.

Rotary International as a Model for Statecraft

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.

Pelosi and McConnell Are Inching Us Closer to Nuclear War

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.

US Cold Warriors Escalate toward Actual War with Russia

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.

Congress Should Begin Impeachment, But Not the Way You Think

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 . . .

War With Russia?

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.

Safety Eroding Further in the US Nuclear Weapons Complex

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.

NATO: Time To Re-Examine An Alliance

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.

Russia Madness on the Eve of Destruction: Hegemony Trumps Survival

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.

A Russian View of Re-Igniting 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.

Re-imagining Russian-American Relations: A Pragmatic Business Perspective

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.

Needed: A Public Plan for Peace

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.

Be a Citizen Diplomat in 2017

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.

U.S. War Machine Continues Bush Policies

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.