Kamala Sarup:War Is Hateful But Is Peace Possible?
War Is Hateful But Is Peace Possible?
By Kamala Sarup, PhD
On the abolition of war, the 20th century was the bloodiest ever. Then why think that peace loving efforts will make it any better in the 21st or 22nd century? From all the evidence, Game Theory, the League of Nations, the Declaration of Human Rights, the Einstein-Russell Manifesto, etc., have done nothing to prevent or ameliorate war to this date. We can continue making declarations and manifestos, we can continue sending bills to the government or Parliament, but aggression and war will continue. Also, we can hope to think that establishing Ministries of Peace will accomplish anything.
But we also have to think, how can we than prevent war? Will they publish regulations to prevent warlike behavior or propaganda to persuade more peaceful behavior? Can spending money on research into the causes and consequences of war produce anything that has already not be researched for centuries by pundits and sociologists? Finally, becoming "mystic activists" might prevent war, if there were lots of them, but it is highly unlikely that most people will aspire to this kind of life. A more likely scenario is that the mystics will be exploited by the realists for their own materialistic purposes.
It is a serious danger, that human civilization will self-destruct, possibly before the end of the twenty-first century is alarmist talk supported by the people. Therefore, let us consider what it is? It is an strong appeal for a better world as we want it to be.
An argument is a series of definitions and statements buttressed by logic and evidence to prove a conclusion.The likelihood of achieving our aspirations are to be found in an analysis of human behavior, which is a combination of genetic and environmental causes, including the behavior patterns called aggression and war, the latter being aggression on a grand scale. We have evidence for aggression from infants at birth, before any socialization. Who exhibit aggression when their immediate needs are not met. Also, we have plenty of evidence from primitive and modern societies that aggressions is promoted or inhibited by different cultures, so that some are relatively pacific while others are warlike.
Spartans were taught to be aggression, athenians less so. Among Amerindians, Iroquois were aggressive, while Algonquins were less so. Thus, the problem of making more peace and less war amounts to societal restructuring of an environment that promotes peaceful behavior patterns rather than warlike ones. We shall see if our preferences for a peaceful world are likely to achieve our goals.
On the Global Marshall Plan, which is a scheme to transfer money gratis from the rich to the poor, no doubt the poor will like this, but not the rich. At present, the rich prefer to send token amounts to the poor in a way that the lives of the pleasure-seeking rich are minimally disturbed. It seems utterly naive that the rich will send huge amounts of money to the poor just for the sake of human kindness. And they will never buy into a Tobin Tax, Terra Tax, or any other kind of tax. Best that can be done is to continue with globalization, which takes money from the lower classes of rich and gives some of it to the poor (the remainder to the rich upper classes) in a way that is palatable to the upper classes of the rich who rule the rich countries.
Finally, there is absolutely no logic or evidence that promoting sustainable world economic growth will close the gap between the rich and poor countries because the rich will see to it that they get the lion's share of the growth, as they have always done, so that the poor will be as poor as ever.
But, still we can work hard and hope collectively for the peace. On the role of people in constructing a more peaceful world, they have held lots of conferences and written lots of words on the subject for many years, but the result is not persuasive, since wars are still waged. True, since people are, aggressive wanting more political power will probably promote more peace, on the average. However, since people promotion to positions of influence and power will take a long time to achieve.
It is true, the present culture of violence – not only of physical, but also mental and spiritual violence – must be made to disappear, replaced by a culture of peace. This should be our hoping, supported by logical or factual. In fact, cynical environmentalists prefer that more peace is to be encouraged, because they will make the world a better place.
If we see the U.S. Civil War was fought between the populations of the 11 southern states and 1 territory (Arizona) comprising the Confederate States of America and the 24 northern states and 8 territories comprising the United States of America. The predominant cause of the war was the slavery issue, 15 states having slaves and treating them as legal property, the other states having outlawed slavery earlier at different times. Other differences between these two populations were over states' rights, tariffs, and state secession rights.
Officially, the war itself began with the firing on Fort Sumter, South Carolina, on April 12, 1861, by southern forces, although southern belligerent acts were performed before this date and after the Presidential election of Abraham Lincoln in November, 1860. The major fighting ended with the formal surrender ceremony between Generals Lee and Grant at Appomattox, Virginia, April 12, 1865, although sporadic fighting occurred after that date. The war might be considered officially ended with President Johnson's August 20, 1866, declaration that Texas is no longer in the state of insurrection, the last of the 11 confederate states.
Considering the ongoing battles over civil rights, however, some people think the war never ended. This history describes the main events leading to the fighting war, the war itself, and the period following the fighting, called Reconstruction. The chronology ends with the withdrawal of federal troops from the last of the 11 confederate states, Louisiana, on April 24, 1877.
But logically, I believe, Peace is an essential aspect of human civilization. It allows societies to use existing resources and infrastructure to improve the quality of life instead of destroying them in communal violence. Peace implies the progress of the political, economic, social and cultural rights by all. Without peace ordinary people cannot have a voice in the distribution of resources.
Peace also promotes nonviolence. But if people are deprived of employment, it is a danger, as they are likely to be recruited into the armed bands of warlords and political extremists. So, achieving a non-violent world are mutually interdependent and inseparable goals. Having painfully to repair the devastation war leaves behind, and, to fill up the measure of evils, load themselves with a heavy national debt that would embitter peace itself and that can never be liquidated on account of constant wars in the future.
Widespread starvation and political powerlessness add to global insecurity terrorist organization are increasing. The arms trade makes weapons more available to violent groups, drug traffickers and other violent factions around the world. The focus of war is the destruction of the other the ideologically, and ethnically.
Policy makers and program planners who are serious about a commitment to improving the situation of peace in the world must begin efforts to understand these issues.
Until the Government eliminates the poverty, overpopulation, national economic decline, fear, deprivation, people's ignorance, war will remain. Any party involved in violent conflicts should take special measures to protect civilians. Socio-economic development and employment promotion policy would help those jobless youths to resolve their problems and would never join the violent forces. Thus, political, socio-economic, corruption and ideological factors that must be addressed for the war to be finally resolved.
(Kamala Sarup is editor of http://peacejournalism.com/ )