Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search

 


If the Defense Department's not defensive, what would be?

By David Swanson

Militarism has made us less safe, and continues to do so. It is not a useful tool for protection. So, what is?

Studies over the past century have found that nonviolent tools are more effective in resisting tyranny and oppression and resolving conflicts and achieving security than violence is.

Wealthy militarist nations like the United States think of their militaries as global police, protecting the world. The world disagrees. By a large margin people all over the world consider the United States the greatest threat to peace.

The United States could easily make itself the most beloved nation on earth with much less expense and effort, by ceasing its "military aid" and providing a bit of non-military aid instead.

The momentum of the military-industrial complex works through the hammer-nail effect (if all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail). What’s needed is a combination of disarmament and investment in alternatives -- alternatives like diplomacy, arbitration, international law enforcement, cultural exchange, and cooperation with other countries and people.

The most heavily armed nations can help disarmament in three ways. First, disarm — partially or fully. Second, stop selling weapons to so many other countries that don’t manufacture them themselves. During the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, at least 50 corporations supplied weapons, at least 20 of them to both sides. Third, negotiate disarmament agreements with other countries and arrange for inspections that will verify disarmament by all parties.

The first step in handling crises is to stop creating them in the first place. Threats and sanctions and false accusations over a period of years can build momentum for war that is triggered by a relatively small act, even an accident. By taking steps to avoid provoking crises, much effort can be saved.

When conflicts inevitably do arise, they can be better addressed if investments have been made in diplomacy and arbitration.

A fair and democratic international system of law is needed. The United Nations needs to be reformed or replaced with an international body that forbids war and allows equal representation to every nation. The same goes for the International Criminal Court. The idea behind it is exactly right. But if it only prosecutes tactics, not the launching, of wars. And if it only prosecutes Africans, and only Africans not cooperating with the United States, then it weakens the rule of law rather than expanding it.

Pakistani victims and family members who have charged the CIA with murder in their courts, and whose courts have declared U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan illegal, are charging the U.K., Germany, and Australia through the ICC with the crime of assisting in U.S. drone murders. But if the U.S. cannot be charged because it's not an ICC member, and if U.S. allies will end up walking free because the U.S. has a U.N. veto, justice is not being done -- the alternative of the rule of law to the rule of force is not really being tried. Reform or replacement of our international bodies, not abandonment, is needed.

Here's a list of approaches that could move us in the right direction, from a movement working to advance them.

And here are a few specific projects:

Set up conversion commissions.

Get free money for transition.

Participate in the Global Day of Action on Military Spending.

Spring Days of Drone Action.

Support peace in Syria.

Oppose push for war on Iran.

I recently had the opportunity to speak about this movementat an event in Portland, Maine, where people turned out in the middle of a snow storm to discuss ending all war forever.

You might find the next video more interesting, as it includes both me and Shenna Bellows answering questions about militarism and peace making. Bellows is the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate challenging Republican incumbent Susan Collins.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Review: “Salute” By Royal New Zealand Ballet In Wellington

The Royal New Zealand Ballet performed “Salute” for a final time in Wellington on Sunday night, and it was nothing short of spectacular. More>>

ALSO:

NZ on Air: More Funding For TV Captions To Increase Access

More funding for TV captions to increase access NZ On Air has increased funding to provide more captions and audio description on television programmes for the hearing and sight impaired. More>>

Music: So Laid Back Country China Album Release

On Friday night, So Laid Back Country China held a gig at Meow for the release of their new album With Knees of Honey in Goodbye Canyon. I briefly spoke with Harriet lead vocals, keyboard) and Michael (lead vocals, guitar) before the gig More>>

Art: Wellington Region Celebrates Matariki

Eight Wellington museums and galleries have joined forces to present a major programme of exhibitions and events to celebrate Matariki 2015, the Māori New Year. The Wellington Matariki Festival will host more than 60 free events and activities between Saturday ... More>>

Wellington: TEDxWellingtonWomen Speakers Unveiled

The lineup is announced today for the highly anticipated upcoming event TEDxWellingtonWomen. Speakers include local women and men who have lived extraordinary lives and have ideas worth spreading. More>>


Books: Witi Ihimaera To Address ‘State Of NZ Literature’at Festival

6 May 2015 MEDIA RELEASE Witi Ihimaera to Address ‘State of NZ Literature’ at Dunedin Writers and Readers Festival The New Zealand Book Council has chosen the 2015 Dunedin Writers and Readers Festival as the stage for its annual address, which ... More>>

Culture: Historic Māori Portraits Travel To The Czech Republic

Image credit: Gottfried Lindauer, Wahanui Reihana Te Huatare, oil on canvas, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of Mr H E Partridge, 1915 More>>

Art: Something Felt, Something Shared - Enjoy

Gabrielle Amodeo, Ruby Joy Eade, Clare McLean, Kalya Ward Curated by Emma Ng May 7 – 30, 2015 Opening: Wednesday May 6, 5.30pm Strange frequencies are channelled through personal narratives and poetic placeholders in Something felt, something ... More>>

Culture: Pukeahu Park ANZAC Day Commemoration 2015

Pukeahu Park ANZAC Day Commemoration 2015 Images from New Zealand Defence Force Click for big version A bugler plays The Last Post Click for big version A View from the top of the Carillion Click for big version Faces old and young Click for big ... More>>

Television: MediaWorks Announces Dancing With The Stars Hosts

MediaWorks and BBC Worldwide ANZ are delighted to announce host Dominic Bowden alongside co-host Sharyn Casey for the hit series Dancing with the Stars. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Education
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news