Let’s get one thing straight to begin with. Trade is good. We do it all the time. Trade has been pretty much part of recorded human history and evidence reveals prehistorical trade routes in many parts of the world. It becomes a little bit trickier when we look at large-scale international trade agreements. The question as to whether foreign trade promotes peace and development or destructive conflict has been debated for a long time.
The cycle of violence. When will it be interrupted? The attack on Charlie Hebdo was another incident of “Terror in [fill in the blank]… attackers part of [fill in name of terror network]”. It was an incident of home-grown terror, since the attackers were French-born second-generation immigrants. It is time to shift away from ineffective, reactive tactics and strategies of dealing with this kind of terror toward conflict transformation, by transforming the structures leading to terrorism.
Did you notice? Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel just announced plans to massively “upgrade” the US nuclear arsenal. It might have been swallowed by other breaking and ongoing news: ISIS and another beheading, Ebola, Ferguson, or the historic comet landing of Philae – at least one positive story. In addition to local news, stories in my own community of Hood River, Oregon include the transport of coal and construction of coal terminals, blast zone determination for oil trains, or the legacy of the Hanford nuclear production complex, which was part of the Manhattan Project.
Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus was in Portland last Friday to announce the resurrection of the USS Portland and USS Oregon names for two new warships. I am offended that this is being done in my name and in the name of all other Oregonians who have for decades consistently professed values of non-violence and peace
A little leak can be quickly fixed by stuffing it. Large leaks, however, often require more structural repairs or completely different solutions. Bradley Manning’s and just days ago Edward Snowden’s leaking of classified information demonstrates just how big our structural repairs need to be. What they exposed are further indicators of the faulty framework of the national security debate.
“The War to End all Wars” never achieved what H.G. Wells implied with this term. On the contrary, World War I not only resulted in the death of more than 16 million humans, it also resulted in a victor’s peace directly setting the stage for World War 2 where an estimated 60 to 100 million people died. I like to believe that no World War is on the horizon, but I was quite surprised to read the headline of a Wall Street Journal opinion piece “To Secure Peace, Be Ready for Battle. The surprise not so much was the title itself. This language—promoting ‘peace’ by amassing more military—has been all-too-familiar and all-too-common in the twenty-first century perpetual ineffective and counterproductive war on terror and other misguided relics like humanly insane nuclear deterrence or the offensive, war-waging North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
“Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far” was a trademark description of Theodore Roosevelt’s foreign policy. To no surprise the current electoral season turns politicians into stick-carrying hunters – only now it does not seem necessary to speak softly.
The red line was crossed; let’s fire a shot across the bow. It sounds so easy, so clean, so surgical. Splash! A harmless shot landing in the water to make the enemy compliant. Since the American public – and for that matter the entire world – is rightfully doubtful of yet another U.S. military adventure, the administration is trying to play down what indeed are the preparations for going to war with another country.
Bringing the aircraft carrier USS Ranger to Fairview as a museum and memorial, a proposal reported in The Oregonian’s July 5 article “Carrier on the Columbia,” is not a good idea. What is being memorialized? The Ranger’s extensive engagement in the Vietnam War and Gulf wars?
In 1951 the US government’s Civil Defense Branch produced the film Duck and Cover. Bert the Turtle reached millions of school children and adults as part of a national campaign to prepare the population in case of a nuclear attack. Even at that time the usefulness of the proposed duck-and-cover maneuver in the face of the utter annihilation arising from a nuclear blast was questioned. Today’s advanced, larger, and far more numerous nuclear weapons have made the chance of surviving a nuclear attack with the ‘duck and cover’ tactic as hallucinatory as chatting with Bert the Turtle. The threat posed by nuclear weapons is still grave and the only true security for our society lies in their elimination worldwide.