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Peace & Nonviolence

A Year Of U.S. Militarism

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Here is a rundown of U.S. foreign policy in 2016.

Marjorie Cohn, Huffington Post

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http://img.huffingtonpost.com/asset/scalefit_630_noupscale/58669e751500002f00e9db82.jpeg A AV-8B Harrier II from the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit launches from the USS Boxer (LHD 4) during its first day of striking ISIS held positions in Iraq from the Arabia Gulf, June 16, 2016. Hamad I Mohmmed / Reuters 

12/30/2016 | One of the most alarming developments in U.S. foreign policy in 2016 was the ratcheting up of the new iteration of the Cold War. Looking back at U.S. foreign policy in this last year of Barack Obama’s presidential tenure, other weighty developments include the ongoing proxy war in Syria, the U.S.-supported Saudi-led bombing in Yemen, U.S. use of drones and manned bombers in Libya, U.S. bombing in Iraq and Afghanistan, unprecedented U.S. military aid to Israel, U.S. special operations in Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Yemen, U.S. saber-rattling against China in the South China Sea, and steps toward normalization of relations with Cuba.

The intensification of Cold War dynamics became particularly apparent in March, when the U.S. government announced it would significantly increase the number of troops stationed in Eastern Europe, a direct provocation of Russia. Reuters called the expanded positioning of NATO troops and military equipment in that region the “biggest military build-up on Russia’s borders since the Cold War.”

Marjorie Cohn: Professor Emerita at Thomas Jefferson School of Law. Her most recent book is Drones and Targeted Killing: Legal, Moral, and Geopolitical Issues

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The Real Nuclear Threat, by Mistake

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Part 1: World War Three, by Mistake 

Harsh political rhetoric, combined with the vulnerability of the nuclear command-and-control system, has made the risk of global catastrophe

Part 2: The Real Nuclear Threat 

The “Titanic Effect” is a term used by software designers to explain how things can quietly go wrong in a complex technological system: the safer you assume the system to be, the more dangerous it is becoming.

Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest 

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Part 1: World War Three, by Mistake 

Harsh political rhetoric, combined with the vulnerability of the nuclear command-and-control system, has made the risk of global catastrophe.

Eric Schlosser, the New Yorker

 

Thanks to Evergreene Digest reader/contributor Jay Kvale for this contribution.

http://www.newyorker.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Schlosser-OnNuclearWarfareByAccident-2-690.jpgA dilemma has haunted nuclear strategy since the first detonation of an atomic bomb: How do you prevent a nuclear attack while preserving the ability to launch one? Photograph by Andy Cross / the Denver Post via Getty 

December 23, 2016 | On June 3, 1980, at about two-thirty in the morning, computers at the National Military Command Center, beneath the Pentagon, at the headquarters of the North American Air Defense Command (norad), deep within Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado, and at Site R, the Pentagon’s alternate command post center hidden inside Raven Rock Mountain, Pennsylvania, issued an urgent warning: the Soviet Union had just launched a nuclear attack on the United States. The Soviets had recently invaded Afghanistan, and the animosity between the two superpowers was greater than at any other time since the Cuban Missile Crisis.

U.S. Air Force ballistic-missile crews removed their launch keys from the safes, bomber crews ran to their planes, fighter planes took off to search the skies, and the Federal Aviation Administration prepared to order every airborne commercial airliner to land.

Eric Schlosser is an American journalist and author known for investigative journalism, such as in his books Fast Food Nation, Reefer Madness, and Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety.

Full story … 



 

Part 2: The Real Nuclear Threat 

The “Titanic Effect” is a term used by software designers to explain how things can quietly go wrong in a complex technological system: the safer you assume the system to be, the more dangerous it is becoming.

Lawrence M. Krauss, the New Yorker    

http://www.newyorker.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Krauss_Nuclear-Weapons-320.jpgThe first test of a hydrogen bomb, on Enewetak Atoll, in 1952. Photograph by Los Alamos National Laboratory / the New York Times / Redux

October 13, 2016 | Donald Trump’s candidacy has been a source of anxiety for many reasons, but one stands out: the ability of the President to launch nuclear weapons. When it comes to starting a nuclear war, the President has more freedom than he or she does in, say, ordering the use of torture. In fact, the President has unilateral power to direct the use of nuclear weapons under any circumstances. Cabinet members may disagree and even resign in protest, but, ultimately, they must obey the order of the Commander-in-Chief. It’s all too easy to imagine Trump issuing an ultimate, thermonuclear “You’re fired!” to China, Iran, or another nation—and perhaps to the whole human race.*

Richard Nixon, famously, conducted his foreign policy according to the “madman theory”: he tried to convince enemy leaders that he was irrational and volatile, in an attempt to intimidate them. But this was a potentially useful approach to foreign policy only because it was an act. Trump, on the other hand, genuinely seems to be a man who speaks and acts without significant forethought. He’s also someone who—as his debate performances have shown—responds to slights by lashing out against adversaries irrationally and without thinking about the consequences. And Trump has done little to reassure us about nuclear weapons specifically. He has expressed an affinity for massive bombing, proposing to “bomb the shit” out of oil fields in Iraq to counter isis. During a March interview with MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough, he said that he would consider using nuclear weapons in Europe, of all places. More generally, he’s disengaged from the realities of international affairs. In August, Trump vowed that, as President, he would prevent Russia’s Vladimir Putin from invading Ukraine—“He’s not going to go into Ukraine, all right? You can mark it down. You can put it down”—apparently not knowing that Russia is already there. He’s also announced a plan to back out of our current nuclear-weapons accord with Iran without any stated replacement for it. Trump’s ignorance is already dangerous; it becomes even more so with nuclear weapons in the mix.

Lawrence M. Krauss is an American theoretical physicist and cosmologist who is Foundation Professor of the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University, and director of its Origins Project. 

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The US Government Is Literally Arming the World, and Nobody's Even Talking About It

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Why do other major US exports—from Hollywood movies to Midwestern grain shipments to Boeing airliners—garner regular coverage while trends in weapons exports remain in relative obscurity? Are we ashamed of standing essentially alone as the world's No. 1 arms dealer, or is our Weapons "R" Us role so commonplace that we take it for granted, like death or taxes?

William D. Hartung, TomDispatch / Mother Jones 

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http://www.motherjones.com/files/hartung_0.jpg Jul. 30, 2016 | When American firms dominate a global market worth more than $70 billion a year, you'd expect to hear about it. Not so with the global arms trade. It's good for one or two stories a year in the mainstream media, usually when the annual statistics on the state of the business come out.

It's not that no one writes about aspects of the arms trade. There are occasional pieces that, for example, take note of the impact of US weapons transfers, including cluster bombs, to Saudi Arabia, or of the disastrous dispensation of weaponry to US allies in Syria, or of foreign sales of the costly, controversial F-35 combat aircraft. And once in a while, if a foreign leader meets with the president, US arms sales to his or her country might generate an article or two. But the sheer size of the American arms trade, the politics that drive it, the companies that profit from it, and its devastating global impacts are rarely discussed, much less analyzed in any depth.

William D. Hartung, a TomDispatch regular, is the director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy and a senior advisor to the Security Assistance Monitor. He is the author of Prophets of War: Lockheed Martin and the Making of the Military-Industrial Complex.

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Veterans for Peace | We Have Work To Do

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Veterans for Peace 

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November 9, 2016 | Veterans For Peace calls for all of our members and those who believe peace is possible to remember that  peace is not found in elections, it is found in the work we do to create it. This election season has been one of the darkest and disappointing in recent history. Peace was missing from all the debates. Now that we know who will be the next president, we have a lot of work to do and it begins now!

Soon President-elect Donald Trump will take office. While he does not have a foreign policy record to examine, there are a few things we know. Candidate Trump condemned the nuclear agreement Iran made with world powers. He claims he will renegotiate the deal, calling for a “double up and triple up of sanctions.” Trump is not only committed to keeping nuclear weapons, he seems unfazed by the possibility of more countries becoming nuclear powers and talks casually about using nuclear weapons. Candidate Trump constantly claimed that the U.S. military is depleted and called for increases in military spending beyond the 2013 sequester levels. Perhaps his best known foreign policy positions that bridge directly into domestic policy are his call to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. and building a wall along the border of the U.S. and Mexico.  

 

Donald Trump made positive observations when he questioned the need for NATO. However, his position is not about making peace. Trump’s questioning  NATO was about funding and doing U.S. bidding instead calling for the alliance to forward peaceful global conflict resolution.

 

  https://riseuptimes.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/if-war-is-the-answer.jpg?w=540On the domestic front, we know President-elect Trump provides great momentum to many of the most repressive and dark social tendencies our nation has struggled to discard. Trump’s campaign ran on the toxic energy of hate. It began with calling Mexicans criminals and rapists. It revved up by calling for a ban on all Muslims entering the United States and it completed its triangle of xenophobia and misogyny by defending sexual assault. The Trump campaign has put on a facade of reaching out to the Black community, however his words make it clear that he is hostile to people of color when he characterizes Black and Hispanic communities as “hell” and called for law and order and stop frisk. His hostility is clear enough to White supremacists that many endorsed him as their candidate. 

The peace movement must stand strong against policies that call for more violence and war. We must resist all forms of hate and xenophobia. We must stand in solidarity with domestic struggles that move forward women’s rights, immigration reform and all forms of racial, economic and social justice. With our allies across all struggles, we must build a full spectrum movement to create peace at home and abroad. Peace is possible if we make it so. It will happen if we build it together. The work begins now!

Two Ways to Take Action Today!

 

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Hillary Clinton: The Major and Deadly Dangers to Come

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Image by r2hox via Flickr

  • Journalist John Pilger tells Paul Jay that the very real prospect of another World War is not being taken seriously by the American media. 
  • Nothing can stop the drive to war except the mobilization of the international working class.
  • Part 1: John Pilger | Hillary Clinton May Well Turn Out To Be One Of The More Dangerous Presidents
  • Part 2: The “major and deadly” wars to come
  • Related: Why American Military Doctrine Is Doomed for Failure

Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest 

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Part 1: John Pilger | Hillary Clinton May Well Turn Out To Be One Of The More Dangerous Presidents

Journalist John Pilger tells Paul Jay that the very real prospect of another World War is not being taken seriously by the American media. 

John Pilger, Dandelion Salad

http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/evergreenedigest.org/files/US%20Aircraft%20Carrier%20Fleet%20at%20Sea.jpg02 Nov 2016 | Whether Clinton or Trump, tensions will escalate with China and Russia.

John Pilger is an Australian journalist and documentary maker. One of only two to win Britain's Journalist of the Year Award twice, his documentaries have received academy awards in Britain and the US. Based in London, he is known for his polemical campaigning style: "Secretive power loathes journalists who do their job, who push back screens, peer behind façades, lift rocks. Opprobrium from on high is their badge of honour."

Full story (Video; Transcript available later) … 


Part 2: The “major and deadly” wars to come

Nothing can stop the drive to war except the mobilization of the international working class.

Andre Damon, World Socialist Web Site

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor John Stoltenberg

https://riseuptimes.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/if-war-is-the-answer.jpg?w=540 3 October 2016 | The Atlantic Council, a leading US geopolitical strategy think tank, published a report on September 20 titled The Future of the Army. The document outlines the far-reaching preparations that are underway for the United States, in the report’s own words, to fight “major and deadly” wars between “great powers,” which will entail “heavy casualties” and “high levels of death and destruction.”

The report confirms the warnings made by the World Socialist Web Site and the candidates of the Socialist Equality Party in the 2016 US elections that the world stands closer to war than at any time since 1939.

Andre Damon: national secretary of the International Youth and Students for Social Equality (US)

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Related:

Why American Military Doctrine Is Doomed for Failure, Federico Pieraccini, Straight Line Logic

  • Notwithstanding the rather odd use of the word “Fail” in the title, this is a very good article about America’s military shortcomings, which do not in any way stem from a failure to spend money.
  • Related: You Must Be Kidding! 

Why American Military Doctrine Is Doomed for Failure

  • Notwithstanding the rather odd use of the word “Fail” in the title, this is a very good article about America’s military shortcomings, which do not in any way stem from a failure to spend money.
  • Related: You Must Be Kidding! 

Federico Pieraccini, Straight Line Logic

http://www.strategic-culture.org/images/news/2016/10/02/or-37982.jpg October 3, 2016 | An analysis of US generals’ growing dissatisfaction with the political leadership in Washington sheds new light on the direction in which the American military machine is heading. In particular, it is interesting to observe the military planning for the future of the sea, air, space, cyberspace, and land forces.

At the end of the Cold War, the US armed forces found themselves without any real peer, causing them to gradually alter their strategy and investments in war and conflicts. They transitioned from being a large numerical force geared toward fighting opponents of a similar caliber (the USSR) in accordance with a specific military strategy, to a force focused on hybrid adversaries (regular or militia forces) or foes that were not their equal (Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, and Libya). The US military accordingly proceeded to change its planning and tactics to satisfy the demands of the new tenants in the White House, the notorious Neoconservatives. What resulted was a military doctrine centered on the concept of a unipolar world and aimed at global domination.

Federico Pieraccini: Independent freelance writer specialized in international affairs, conflicts, politics and strategies

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Related: 

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You Must Be Kidding! Tom Engelhardt, TomDispatch

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  • War, Peace, and Absurdity
  • Adventures in an American World of Frustration
  • Related: Why the US Can’t Break Its Addiction to War 

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