Category: Analysis

Small modular reactors will not save the day. The US can get to 100% clean power without new nuclear.

ARJUN MAKHIJANI – We can create a renewable electricity system that is much more resilient to weather extremes and more reliable than what we have today. The thinking needs to change, as the Drake Landing Solar Community in Alberta, Canada, where it gets to negative 40 degrees Celsius in the winter, has shown. It provides over 90% of its heating by storing solar energy in the ground before the winter comes. Better than waiting for the nuclear Godot.

The Renewable Energy Transition Is Failing

RICHARD HEINBERG – We need a realistic plan for energy descent, instead of foolish dreams of eternal consumer abundance by means other than fossil fuels. Currently, politically rooted insistence on continued economic growth is discouraging truth-telling and serious planning for how to live well with less.

Across Africa, Water Conflict Threatens Security, Health, and the Environment

ROBIN SCHER – Water is a finite resource on our planet. We can only rely on what we have, which translates to about 2.5 percent of drinkable fresh water. Of that amount, only 0.4 percent currently exists in lakes, rivers, and moisture in the atmosphere. The strain of this limited supply grows by the day and as this continues, the detrimental impact will continue to be felt in places least equipped to find alternative solutions—in particular, the African continent.

The Need for Global Unity: How World Law Can Save Us All

JACOPO DE MARINIS – Many people will say that a world republic is unattainable. What country would agree to limit its absolute sovereignty? And yes, a country whose political leaders are held captive by special interests like military contractors and the fossil fuel industry might not agree to such an arrangement. Yet if the people unite with conviction to claim their right to live in a peaceful world, free from nuclear weapons, and to enjoy an economically and environmentally sustainable future―birthrights a world federal government is uniquely positioned to protect―this seemingly unattainable dream could become our reality.

How the US Should Respond to Israeli Right-Wing Extremism

MEL GURTOV and LARRY KIRSCH – While it is far from clear precisely how US policymakers will express their opposition to Israeli extremism—whether indirectly, through the FTO list as we have suggested, or more directly through diplomatic or legislative means—most important is that the US government deter terrorism sponsored by entities close to the heart of the incoming Israeli government. And those who rightly decry Palestinian terrorism need to take a hard look at what Israelis have just voted in—a coalition that has prominent advocates of violence against innocent Arab citizens. Doing so would give substance to US support of human rights, not only in Israel but in the Middle East generally.

Our Climate is On the Ballot – Protect It

MICHAEL DOVER – It’s no secret that the extremists who now control the Republican Party are vehemently opposed to ending our addiction to fossil fuels, the main culprits in the climate crisis. Even before the rise of Donald Trump, diplomats who forged the Paris Accords cited the U.S. Republican Party as the most serious obstacle in the world to climate progress. 

If You Value Your Life, Better Vote D

LAWRENCE S. WITTNER – Although, in recent decades, American conservatives have embraced what they call the “Right to Life,” they have certainly done a poor job of sustaining life in the United States. That’s the conclusion that can be drawn from a just-published scientific study, “U.S. state policy contexts and mortality of working-age adults.”

Will Greed and Dissociation from Nature Do Us In?

ROBERT KOEHLER – It’s fascinating how “interests” interfere with survival. We prepare for — and, of course, wage — war with an overwhelming percentage of our resources (to the benefit of the profiteers), but we plead poverty when it comes to helping people or, you know, saving the planet.It’s fascinating how “interests” interfere with survival. We prepare for — and, of course, wage — war with an overwhelming percentage of our resources (to the benefit of the profiteers), but we plead poverty when it comes to helping people or, you know, saving the planet.

Global Existence is Threatened as Long as Nuclear Weapons Exist

LAWRENCE S. WITTNER – It’s been a long time since the atomic bombings of August 1945, when people around the planet first realized that world civilization stood on the brink of doom. This apocalyptic ending to the Second World War revealed to all that, with the advent of nuclear weapons, violent conflict among nations had finally reached the stage where it could terminate life on earth. Addressing a CBS radio audience in early 1946, Robert Hutchins, chancellor of the University of Chicago, summed up the new situation with a blunt warning: “War means atomic bombs. And atomic bombs mean suicide.” 

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. 

Putin, Biden Not Trying Hard Enough to Avoid World War III

BRAD WOLF – We have it within our means to not only “avoid World War III,” but to fundamentally change the world and create an enhanced quality of life for all. We have “weapons” of our own, nonviolent and effective. Hopefully, we will unite and realize the power we have before we all are boiled alive. There is literally no time like the present.

Active Today or Radioactive Tomorrow?

ROBERT MOORE – It’s not too soon to conclude that continued reliance on nuclear energy to generate electricity can be weaponized, as we never know when a plant might become a military target. If a conventionally powered power plant had an accident or became a military base, the area near it could recover. That’s just not the case with nuclear energy.

Nine Stupid Nations

WINSLOW MYERS – “Stupid” is the most harsh and humiliating adjective that can be flung at a person, let alone a nation-state. What’s the usual response to being called stupid? Nothing positive. We just go into reaction and resistance. I’m sorry, but there is no other word to describe the obstinate refusal of the nuclear powers to cooperate to dismantle their nuclear arsenals even as the climate emergency sweeps across the world.

Is Curiosity the New Form of Patriotism?

MELINDA BURRELL – In our dynamic world, we need to get comfortable with complexity. Good solutions to our myriad problems require it. Is that the 21st century version of patriotism? If we love our country and want to help it succeed, is our best tool our choice to be inquisitive about people and issues?

Despite the Cultural Differences, There’s Common Ground Between Boomers and Zoomers

DR. JOSEPH PRESTON BARATTA – Dr. Baratta identifies himself as a member of the Love Generation―those Americans who reached adulthood in the Sixties―and he is sometimes asked what he would tell the young people in Generation Z (born since 1996), who feel that their concerns about climate change and other pressing global challenges are not being heard by their government or the United Nations. He reaches out to Gen Zer’s, and his analysis provides some answers.

Disinformation Threatens Our Democracy

DR. ARNOLD OLIVER – If Confucius were still around he might well have plenty to say about the English language in general, and our political lexicon in particular. A number of the terms commonly used in American politics conceal more than they reveal and seem almost designed to confuse.

Ukraine Crisis: Background of US Involvement

RICK STERLING – There are significant parallels between the international crises in Cuba in 1962 and Ukraine today.  Both involved intense confrontations between the USA and the Soviet Union or Russia. Both involved third party countries on the doorstep of a major power.  The Cuban Missile Crisis threatened to lead  to WW3,  just as the Ukraine crisis does today.

It’s Time to Stop the MAD-ness! 

JOHN MIKSAD – Hiroshima and Nagasaki were destroyed 77 years ago this week. The two bombs the United States dropped on those cities killed some 200,000 human beings, most of whom were civilians. Comparing those bombs to the weapons of today is like comparing a colonial era musket to an AR-15. Now we can snuff out the lives of billions with the push of a button. When you consider the other species we’d annihilate, the number of lives lost “mushrooms” into the trillions. The result would be the destruction of a large portion of life on the planet. 

Limitations on DACA Program Reveal “Constricted Moral Vision”

ANDREW MOSS – A gross injustice against young immigrants is slowly working its way through the courts. It centers upon a federal judge’s ruling last year that the DACA Program (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) was “unlawful,” a ruling that puts in doubt a program that has given tens of thousands of young people brought here as children a temporary, renewable reprieve from deportation. Judge Andrew Hanen’s ruling allowed existing DACA recipients to apply for two-year renewals while the court case moves through appeals, but it prohibits approval of any new applications. 

Manchin Poison Pills Buried in Inflation Reduction Act Will Destroy a Livable Planet

THE CENTER FOR BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY – A proposed climate and energy package would require massive oil and gas leasing in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska, reinstate an illegal 2021 Gulf lease sale and mandate that millions more acres of public lands be offered for leasing before any new solar or wind energy projects could be built on public lands or waters.

The War in Ukraine Underscores the Need to Strengthen the International Security System

LAWRENCE S. WITTNER – The Ukraine war and the response to it are profoundly troubling. Russia’s military assault upon its neighbor clearly constitutes a major war of aggression that shares many features with such wars of the past. Neither the Russian peace movement nor the Western peace movement has been able to affect it—the former because of government repression and the latter because of divisions within is ranks. Consequently, the war has already been immensely destructive and might well become far more so. As in the past, this kind of tragic situation illustrates the necessity for an effective international security system. Although the United Nations is supposed to provide that system, it lacks authority to do so thanks to the crippling control the great powers have exercised over the world organization. Therefore, the Ukraine war highlights the need to strengthen the United Nations as a force for peace.

Weaning the State Department from War-Making

RALPH NADER – Other than being an adjunct booster of overseas Pentagon military operations and refortifying its vulnerable embassies, what does the U.S. State Department stand for and do anymore? Sometimes it’s hard to see much difference with the much larger Department of Defense (DOD). Its more belligerent statements or threats since Bill and Hillary Clinton’s days have made the DOD sound almost circumspect.

Grassroots Organizing Should Dump Biden and Clear the Path for a Better Nominee in 2024

NORMAN SOLOMON – It’s time to create a grassroots groundswell that can compel Joe Biden to give public notice — preferably soon — that he won’t provide an assist to Republican forces by trying to extend his presidency for another four years. A pledge to voluntarily retire at the end of his first term would boost the Democratic Party’s chances of getting a stronger and more progressive ticket in 2024 — and would convey in the meantime that Democratic candidates and the Biden presidency are not one and the same.

Can Biden Make Lemonade out of Lemons on his Middle East Jaunt?

KEVIN MARTIN – This week’s trip by President Joe Biden to Israel, Palestine and Saudi Arabia offers several opportunities to “go big.” With his critical domestic agenda mostly stalled at home, his trip to the Middle East offers potentially historic opportunities for foreign policy breakthroughs that would dramatically increase regional and global peace and security. The president should go big and go bold, and add at least one stop to his itinerary – Tehran. He has several opportunities to make some lemonade out of lemons, if he displays unusual boldness.

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.

European Parliamentarian from Ireland Presents the Peace View on Ukraine

CLARE DALY and JAMES W. CARDEN – [Stunning and invaluable perspectives are presented in the interview you are about to read.] Two weeks ago the European Parliament overwhelmingly voted to approve Ukraine’s candidacy for membership in the European Union. Only days before, the EU- and NATO- member state Lithuania enacted a blockade of Russia’s Eastern European enclave, Kaliningrad. Meantime, Russia’s military gains in eastern Ukraine have been met with ever more promises of Western aid for Ukraine. To discuss these and other developments, on Thursday, June 23rd, I spoke with Clare Daly, a courageous and outspoken member of the European Parliament from Ireland, and a stalwart opponent of the trans-Atlantic militarist consensus that has both Washington and the European Parliament in Brussels firmly in its grip.

Archbishop Wester’s Statement re: First Meeting of State Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

ARCHBISHOP JOHN C. WESTER – The United States and the eight other nuclear-armed states are boycotting the historic First Meeting of States Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons taking place in Vienna June 21-23. The Treaty, banning nuclear weapons just like previous weapons of mass destruction treaties banning chemical and biological weapons, has been signed by 122 countries and ratified by 62.