NORMAN SOLOMON – With 2023 underway, Democrats in office are still dodging the key fact that most of their party’s voters don’t want President Biden to run for re-election. Among prominent Democratic politicians, deference is routine while genuine enthusiasm is sparse.
MELISSA GARRIGA – Budgets like the NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) are moral documents. What this $858 billion “defense” budget (includes $50 billion for nuclear weapons; $25 billion for missile defense) is saying to every person in this country is that the people in power do not care about us. Bought by the war industry, they ONLY care about their own profits. They would rather give almost a trillion dollars to death, destruction, and war profiteers than meet the needs of the people.
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.
MEL GURTOV – Ending military ties with the Saudi Arabian Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) regime is long overdue.
ROBERT KOEHLER – The U.S. military needs more than just money (a trillion dollars or so) in its annual budget. It needs access to America’s young people as well — their wallets, their bodies, and their minds.
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.
VETERANS FOR PEACE – In an Open Letter to President Biden, Veterans for Peace is requesting that he take a look at their Nuclear Posture Review before issuing his own. The letter is prompted by the escalating war in Ukraine and the growing possibility of nuclear war.
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.
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.
NORMAN SOLOMON – Gun control is a great idea. For the small guns. And the big ones.
MEL GURTOV – During World War II, US sailors were warned: Loose lips sink ships. A similar warning should have gone out to all US officials in recent days—and the President should have been the first to acknowledge that the warning included him. Because thanks to loose lips in Washington, the US is contributing to Vladimir Putin’s propaganda, and possibly still worse, to a direct confrontation with Moscow.
RICHARD HEINBERG – When it comes to maintaining energy flows, there is a closing window to avert both climate catastrophe and economic peril.
BOAVENTURA DE SOUSA SANTOS – When armed conflicts take place in Africa or in the Middle East, Europe’s leaders are the first to call for a cessation of hostilities and to declare the urgent need for peace negotiations. Why is it then that when a war occurs in Europe, the drums of war beat incessantly, and not a single leader calls for them to be silenced and for the voice of peace to be heard?
VETERAN INTELLIGENCE PROFESSIONALS FOR SANITY (VIPS) – Mainstream media have marinated the minds of most Americans in a witches’ brew of misleading information on Ukraine – and on the exceedingly high stakes of the war. On the chance you are not getting the kind of “untreated” intelligence President Truman hoped for by restructuring intelligence, we offer below a 12-point factsheet. Some of us were intelligence analysts during the Cuban missile crisis and see a direct parallel in Ukraine. As to VIPs’ credibility, our record since Jan. 2003 – whether on Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, or Russia – speaks for itself.
ERIKA SHELBY – Pointing fingers wonâ€™t helpâ€”an attitude shift is what the world needs now.
DR. ANN FRISCH – Kenneth Boulding, professor, philosopher, poet, economist and peace researcher, is lookingÂ Â on, almost 30 years after his death. Leaders of the Russian Federation, Ukraine, and US are locked intoÂ what Boulding called the ‘sacrifice trap’: their identities and images of who they are leave aside the realities of the real cost of war. Â
PRABIR PURKAYASTHA – The possibility of theÂ Joint Comprehensive Plan of ActionÂ (JCPOA)â€”or the Iran nuclear dealâ€”being revived, though difficult,Â seems to have brightened in February 2022. The U.S. may now also believe that the potential loss of Russian natural gas and oil due to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war needs to be offset by Iran returning to the global oil market.
JOSEPH CIRINCIONE – On the campaign trail and in strategy documents, President Biden committed to a new focus on arms control â€” 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 ?
MASSACHUSETTS PEACE ACTION – The US has just managed to extract itself from a 20-year war in Afghanistan. Does our government seriously want to embark on another war? Since 2001, our long, bloody, fruitless interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and Pakistan have cost thousands of US lives, hundreds of thousands of civilian lives in those countries, andÂ $6.4 trillion.
RAY MCGOVERN – Fourteen years ago today, when then-ambassador to Russia William Burns, in an IMMEDIATE cable titled “Nyet Means Nyet: Russiaâ€™s NATO Enlargement Redlines,” reported Moscowâ€™s warning that NATO membership for Ukraine would cross a red line, the Russians could do little more than grouse. Enter from left stage Chinese President Xi Jinping last year with the shot of adrenalin Putin needed to make “Nyet” stick. Under-Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and her protÃ©gÃ© Antony Blinken seem to be in the dark about the close ties between Russia and China represented by such give and take between the two countries.
MEL GURTOV – Cobalt is a valuable mineral that is the subject of intense international competition. Not a new subject: In past times copper, uranium, and rare earth metals have had center stage. Recall the controversy over â€œblood diamondsâ€â€”diamond mining that helped fund civil wars in Africa. More recently we have lithium in Bolivia, where Chinese, American, and other countriesâ€™ firms are seeking to gain the upper hand on a mineral that is vital in electrical products. Thereâ€™s still another battle, this one over cobalt, which is also an essential mineral in cell phones but especially in electric car batteries.
KATRINA VANDEN HEUVEL – Before America chose to lead any kind of â€œSummit for Democracy,â€ and before â€œAmerica is backâ€ to a new Cold War, the country urgently needs a more serious discussion about its real security prioritiesâ€”and the real challenges it faces.
DANNY SHAW – Vladimir Putin is considered a threat because he restored Russian sovereignty, erased the humiliation of the Boris Yeltsin era, and championed Russiaâ€™s national interests. But that is just what the U.S. elite could not tolerate.
SONALI KOLHATKAR – A better takeaway from our current economic situation is that there is nothing natural about being at the mercy and whims of an economy designed by corporate profiteers for corporate profiteers.
SONALI kOLHATKAR – Those seeking to squeeze Americans while boosting corporate profits and the wealth of the richest few have for years poured resources into shaping a false narrative that people donâ€™t want tax revenues to be used to pay for things that people need. Itâ€™s time to expose and upend such a regressive theory.
WES SILER – Today [Oct. 8, 2021], President Biden announced that heâ€™s restoring the Bears Ears and Grand Staircaseâ€“Escalante National Monuments in Utah, as well asÂ 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 Peopleâ€™s Day.Â
RALPH NADER – Both the Republicans and the Democrats vote as if the nation’s middle-class taxpayer is a sleeping sucker.
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.
WIM LAVEN – Now, more than ever, it is necessary for the U.S. to be smart about our narrative and the appraisal of our role in the world.Â
BRIAN TERRELL – All of us in the U.S., the politicians, voters, tax payers, the investors and even those who protested and resisted it, are responsible for 20 years of war in Afghanistan. We are also all responsible for ending it.
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.
NORMAN SOLOMON – When President Biden announced late Friday afternoon that he will nominate Rahm Emanuel to be the U.S. ambassador to Japan, the timing just before the weekend was clearly intended to minimize attention to the swift rebukes that were sure to come.
JEREMY SCAHILL – Drone whistleblower Daniel Hale should be pardoned and released, and the government should pay him restitution.
ALYN WARE – By paying lip service to the Fukushima disaster and the nuclear bombs dropped on Japan, these games are downplaying the growing danger of nuclear catastrophe.
NICK MOTTERN – On July 2, fleeing questions from reporters about U.S. plans in Afghanistan, President Joe Biden sought refuge behind the July 4th Independence Day holiday, yet obliquely acknowledged that the U.S. will use some level of â€œover the horizonâ€ air attacks to prevent the Taliban from taking power, attacks that will include drones and manned aircraft, possibly even B-52s.
JESSICA CORBETT – Dozens of youth activists with the Sunrise Movement were arrested by Secret Service agents on Monday, June 28, while blockading all 10 entrances of the White House to demand that President Joe Biden and federal lawmakers deliver an infrastructure package that invests in job creation and combats the climate emergency.
JESSICA CORBETT – Indigenous and environmental activists fighting against the Line 3 tar sands pipeline were outraged Thursday, June 24, after the Biden administration filed a legal brief backing the federal government’s 2020 approval of the project under former President Donald Trump.
RAY MCGOVERN – Whether or not Official Washington fully appreciates the gradual â€“ but profound â€“ change in Americaâ€™s triangular relationship with Russia and China over recent decades, what is clear is that the US has made itself into the big loser. The triangle may still be equilateral, but it is now, in effect, two sides against one.
NORMAN SOLOMON – If Joe Biden fully meant what he said after meeting with George Floydâ€™s family in the Oval Office on Tuesday, he wonâ€™t nominate Rahm Emanuel to be the U.S. ambassador to Japan. But recent news reports tell us thatâ€™s exactly what the president intends to do.
MICHAEL CARRIGAN and PETER BERGEL – Our country continues to expend nearly half its discretionary budget on its military might. That leaves only half for everything else. The perennial explanation given to defend this lopsided priority is that the military guards our national security. If only that were true!
ROBERT C. KOEHLER – What a world this is. I fear far less â€œaidâ€ is given, and far less profit is envisioned, to promote â€œthe right of all people, regardless of their faith, to have self-determination and equal rights.â€
NORMAN SOLOMON – AP president, Gary Pruitt, said â€œwe are shocked and horrified that the Israeli military would target and destroy the building housing APâ€™s bureau and other news organizations in Gaza.â€
MEL GURTOV – â€œThe problem with the Middle East is that you can try to turn your back on it, but it wonâ€™t turn its back on you,â€ said Martin S. Indyk, former US ambassador to Israel. And it hasnâ€™t: once again, Israelis and Palestinians are at war.
JOE CIRINCIONE – The panel with no diversity of views was meant to reinforce a forgone conclusion: more money for more weapons.
ROBERT C. KOEHLER – Are we transcending the religion that gave us slavery?
DR. MARC PILISUK – In a world increasingly threatened by nuclear annihilation, there is need for a new vision in which adherence to the values of peace with justice and environmental sustainability are prominent. This goes with support for the international institutions supporting them like the World Health Organization, UNESCO and the International Criminal Court. The outmoded world of aggressive gamesmanship will need dramatic U.S. reformist initiatives if it is ever to change.
NORMAN SOLOMON – The U.S. war in Afghanistan wonâ€™t end just because President Biden and U.S. news media tell us so. As countless Afghan people have experienced, troops on the ground arenâ€™t the only measure of horrific warfare.
NATYLIE BALDWIN – There have been recent reports of intensified fighting near the line of contact in the Donbass area of eastern Ukraine between Kiev forces and Donbass rebels who are supported by Russia. The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Special Monitoring Mission reported a rise in ceasefire violations at the end of the week before last from 89 to nearly 500. There are accusations back and forth of new attacks by Kiev forces on Donbass and a military buildup in Russia near the border with eastern Ukraine.
JACK GOLDSMITH and SAMUEL MOYN – If President Biden really wants to end the ‘forever wars’, he must work with Congress and go well beyond narrowing old permission slips for conflict.
JEFF COHEN and NORMAN SOLOMON – Rahm Emanuel has never been associated with the word â€œdiplomatic,â€ but news reports say that President Biden is seriously considering him for a top position as U.S. ambassador to Japan or China. Naming Emanuel to such a post would be an affront to many of the constituencies that got Biden elected. The saga of Emanuelâ€™s three decades in politics is an epic tale of methodical contempt for progressive values.