war debt chinese superpower department of peace nonviolence

A US Department of Peace introduced
libyan pilots gene sharp gun ownership

Libyan Pilots Refuse Orders, Flee to Malta

Since Americans have a hammer, world problems look like nails. But just as some Libyan colonels reject violence, so do a Congressman and a Harvard researcher. We trim, blend, and append four 2011 articles from: (1) MarketWatch, Feb 8, on China by Paul B. Farrell; (2) Do Peace, Feb 21, on a new act posted by Ted Nunn; (3) The Guardian, Feb 21, on pilots by John Hooper and Ian Black; and (4) one on nonviolence by Joel S. Hirschhorn.

by P. Farrell, by T. Nunn, by J. Hooper & I. Black, and by J. Hirschhorn

Americans would rather attack with a macho battle cry like “damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!” than listen to a warning from historian Kevin Phillips: “Most great nations, at the peak of their economic power, become arrogant, wage great world wars at great cost, wasting vast resources, taking on huge debt, ultimately burning themselves out.”

The GOP wants to cut America’s massive debt. But “off-the-charts” military spending is “off the table.”

Nobel economist Joseph Stiglitz estimates Iraq war debt at $3 trillion, with $2 trillion for future costs, like VA medical. The Afghan war, maybe another $3 trillion.

America talks peace. But we’re little kids who love playing war. Age 10 I had a collection of model fighter planes, played air wars. Age 15, owned three guns for hunting. Then the Marine Corps.

History tells us wars are never “normal,” always unpredictable. Is this how WWIII starts? Between an aging America that loves war, won’t surrender without a fight, and China, the world’s rapidly emerging superpower, predicted to have a population one billion larger than America’s by 2050. Plus an economy 40% of the world’s GDP, dwarfing America’s GDP predicted to fall to just 14%.

War may happen when new neocons, a future Rumsfeld/Cheney team, gets the same paranoia at the same time as China’s generals, all driven by inflated egos, irrational obsessions, and a propensity to make the same kind of misjudgments that launched the Iraq War.

The Iraq-Afghan Wars were supposed to make America stronger. Wrong. The Iraq/Afghan wars have not only weakened our economy and weakened our ability to fight future wars, they weakened America’s superpower status by indirectly handing the war-game victory to China.

Worse, our irrational, neocon war brain is now demanding Americans “double down,” insisting defense cuts are “off the table.” In that mindset, we will take on trillions new debt, even go down in flames.

To see the entire article, click here .

JJS: Against that tide swim Americans promoting a basic and better way to resolve disputes.

In a timely response to recent budget slashing that included eliminating financing for the US Institute of Peace, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) has re-introduced legislation to establish a cabinet-level Department of Peace, HR 808.

The Department of Peace would develop policies that promote national and international conflict prevention, nonviolent intervention, mediation, peaceful conflict resolution, and structured conflict mediation.

Rep. Kucinich has introduced this legislation in each of the past four sessions of Congress and has gained grassroots support from across the country, mostly via the Peace Alliance. The investment in nonviolent conflict resolution now would provide years of positive returns to US taxpayers, both financial and humanitarian.

To see the entire article, click here .

JJS: If that effort fails, then maybe Sharp’s idea will succeed.

Gene Sharp’s book From Dictatorship to Democracy is credited for empowering many actions around the world to overthrow dictatorships, including recent actions in the Mideast. Can his ideas, strategies, and tactics be applied to the US?

Unlike places like Egypt and Libya where there are highly visible dictators, in the US there is no such glaringly visible target. Hence the mostly invisible American elite is more secure. The recent article, “Why Isn’t Wall Street in Jail?”, showed that “when it comes to Wall Street, the justice system not only sucks at punishing financial criminals, it actually protects” them.

As in countries with traditional dictatorships, in the US there is an upper class that does not suffer. Just 5% of earners account for 35% of all consumer spending. What is different here is that most of this large wealthy class, probably 50 million or more Americans, does not directly participate in the corporate dictatorship.

Widespread gun ownership is itself a form of distraction and delusion. Americans keep their guns, while the rich elites keep most of the money and wealth of the nation. Gun ownership makes nonviolent revolution more difficult in the US.

Sharp’s nonviolent tools for overthrowing a dictatorship require a small fraction of the population; there are more than enough Americans to achieve true and deep reforms.

JJS: What Sharp writes about, some Libyans do.

As Muammar Gadaffi's ambassadors and most of Libya's UN mission resign, two high-ranking Libyan air force pilots have fled to Malta in their aircraft rather than carry out orders to bomb civilians.

The two Mirage F1 jets touched down in Malta after the pilots said they urgently needed to refuel and sought emergency clearance to land. The Times of Malta reported on its website the pilots had told officials they flew to the island after being ordered to bomb protesters occupying Libya's second-biggest city of Benghazi.

One report said they had also brought with them two other members of the Libyan armed forces. The pilots -- both colonels -- said that, after taking off from Okba Ben Nafi base, they flew low through Libyan air space to avoid radar detection.

To see the entire article, click here .

JJS: Respect for life undergirds an outlook that could be receptive to proposals for an economic system based on the right to life, to a piece of Earth, and a share of Earth’s worth, in order to live in peace and prosperity. As such a system gains attention -- call it geonomics -- just the discussion itself of human rights helps advance both economic justice and nonviolent conflict resolution. People must see the goal and how to reach it in order to arrive.

---------------------

Editor Jeffery J. Smith runs the Forum on Geonomics.

Also see:

More weapons, Less security?
http://www.progress.org/2010/overrun.htm

US outspends everyone on arms, funding enemies, too
http://www.progress.org/2010/zewail.htm

Great Man Theory?
http://www.progress.org/2010/zinn.htm

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