"We will always need policemen, peacekeepers, and peacemakers to provide security and order within nations and globally. We will always need our military men. But we can keep peace without waging war."
Author of Women, Power, and the Biology of Peace
Questpath Publishing, 2003
It's widely understood that to win a fight you should act from a position of strength. When negotiating to resolve differences so that your side secures a favorable outcome, the same principle holds.
The United States of America is the world's only superpower. Her strength is second to none. America can do pretty much whatever Americans decide to do. This gives her the opportunity to lead a determined campaign to end war and thereby leave a positive legacy for the entire world. Her power can also be misused and lead to tyranny if she pursues a future aimed at world dominance. But if America chooses to participate, as a great power should, in the campaign to end war, the United States of America and her allies must likewise pursue this goal out of strength, not weakness.
It is also widely understood that the first responsibility of government is to provide security and order for its people. This includes
- security from external threats
- order with justice within the society
A society that is too weak to resist threats from without or to resolve disorder within is not a strong society.
So the United States and her allies in this campaign must:
- Protect their borders
- Secure their infrastructure (e.g., dams, roads, ports, power plants, water supply, food supply, communications, financial institutions)
- Maintain internal social order
- In the case of the United States, maintain a military force second to none, one that is able to mount a defense against any enemy
This is not necessarily an inclusive list. Others might include other essentials as necessary to secure a country. What is certain is that America can afford whatever she needs (see Shift our Economies, Examples of War Expenses, and The Vision Thing). Moreover, in providing security, countries can also provide jobs for young men and women (soldiers, police, border guards, airport inspectors, shipping yard inspectors, infrastructure inspectors, military strategists, linguists—more workers in all of these areas are needed).
What the United States and her allies should NOT allow is the expenditure of precious resources—money or manpower—foolishly or haphazardly. For example:
- Stop spending resources on non-workable weapons systems like Star Wars (SDI). Everyone will finally need to admit that the program will not work and is a financial waste that will not make us more secure.1,2
- Stop funding obsolete or unnecessary weapons systems solely to generate employment or to provide pork-barrel rewards. Instead, fund projects that create employment in projects that contribute to ending war (see The Vision Thing). Reward politicians who support the larger goal to end war by funding projects from their districts that serve the overall mission; this will help further the goal to make everyone truly secure.
- Stop funding the development of exotic weapons that are the dreams of DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) and similar agencies that plan future wars that we might fight against as yet non-existent enemies. Robot warriors will not win the war on terrorism (see The Vision Thing). We don't need faster and stealthier jets to protect us from North Korea or Iran or any other nation. Not only do we not need to put lasers or any other potentially offensive weapons into space, treaties should be established immediately to prevent such a disastrous, short-sighted, wasteful and immoral crossing of the Rubicon, no matter how much money contractors stand to make.
What else is required?
- The level of support for international peacekeepers, under the auspices of the United Nations, should be vastly increased. We must ensure that no more Rwandas occur because of a lack of funding or manpower for the global community's peacekeepers.
- In order to encourage combatants in countries in the throes of long civil wars to lay down their weapons—for example, Shri Lanka or Sudan—we must provide negotiators, mediators, and assure combatants there will be generous financial support in rebuilding when compromise is reached. The support must be so generous that even dictators or warlords will find it hard to say no for fear of triggering mass insurrection. It must also be so well planned and the results so well monitored that our investment is not squandered but provides essential resources (see Insure Essential Resources) and at the same time demonstrates to other warring factions everywhere that negotiation and compromise are superior to battle.
No one nation, not even one as wealthy as the United States, can do all this. But all of the world's democracies, in concert, if committed to such an effort, do have sufficient resources (see Shift Our Economies). Despite the claims of many politicians that we are so deeply in debt we are on the brink of poverty, claims intended to keep us alarmed, the problem is actually poor management or inappropriate allocation of private and public money. And in the end, providing peacekeepers and resources is cheaper than going to war (see Examples of War Expenses).
"A people living under the perpetual menace of war and invasion is very easy to govern. It demands no social reforms. It does not haggle over expenditures on armaments and military equipment. It pays without discussion, it ruins itself, and that is an excellent thing for the syndicates of financiers and manufacturers for whom patriotic terrors are an abundant source of gain."
Finally, we must be wary of politicians and corporate heads who use scare tactics to keep power or make profits instead of ending war.3 It is the duty of free citizens to curb such ambitions of the powerful in order that the grander ambition to end war can be achieved.
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