By David Swanson, World BEYOND War, March 16, 2021
I need to thank David Hartsough for having just mailed me a 12-page pamphlet published in 1959. It’s miles ahead of most people’s thinking in 2021 and largely up-to-date, though in a certain way will give a superficial impression of being dated. As I’ve been invited, along with a large list of terrific speakers, to be part of a Cold War Truth Commission this Sunday, this pamphlet may serve as an appetizer, and an indication of how relevant the events and the thoughts of the supposedly over (and supposedly cold) Cold War can be today. Also relevant may be: When We Are All Musteites.
As this essay begins, it seems to me to just need tweaking, to replace the Soviet Union with Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, and scary foreigners in general. But I realize that many will view the USSR as having been an equal partner in madness in 1959. Mad it was, indeed, mad as hell, indefensibly loony, destructive, and sadistic, but an equal partner never. We know by now how the arms race worked. The U.S. pretended to be losing, built more weapons, watched Russia try to catch up, pretended to be losing again, and so forth, rinse and repeat. I realize some people’s view of the causes of the Cold War has been utterly untouched by historical research or by the failure of the collapse of the USSR to seriously impact U.S. militarism. But, then, the case made in this essay has been much stronger in the 32 years since 1989 than it was in the 30 years prior, not weaker. Read on:
The danger of nuclear apocalypse, judged by the Doomsday Clock, the lack of any buffer in Eastern Europe, the rhetoric, the power of the weapons dealers, and the growing social unrest has increased, not decreased, but the fact that we’ve known about it and survived it for some 0.001 percent of human history has conditioned people to believe it was a false alarm and/or is a thing of the past. This may have even conditioned them to fail more severely in their response to the threat of environmental collapse:
There are now 9 nuclear nations and others knocking on the door, but the U.S. and Russia still have most of the nukes and still have enough to destroy all life numerous times over. Yet there is an increased problem with equating the U.S. and Russia as Muste does below, namely the increased dominance of the United States in military spending, weapons dealing, proxy training, foreign basing, foreign wars, sabotage of international agreements, imposition of deadly sanctions, coup attempts, and hostility to the rule of law or disarmament efforts.
Here Muste debunks “defense” lies, something needed now more than ever:
Here Muste debunks “deterrence” lies, something needed now more than ever:
This remains the key: Someone needs to end the madness. The collapse of the USSR had very little to do with ending the madness, though it was brought about by the level of Soviet madness, some lessening of the level of U.S. madness, and the development of nonviolent activism in Eastern Europe as a sane alternative. The madness did not end. Neither did the military industrial complex, the CIA, NATO, NSC, war budgets, war taxes, bases, nuclear stockpiles, or permawar propaganda.
Here’s an idea that remains necessary: unilateral disarmament, voluntarily walking out of the asylum even if someone else is still in it. But nowadays, the U.S. military is universally acknowledged to be so much more expensive than any other, that it could unilaterally disarm and virtually guarante that the resulting reverse arms race would keep it in a distant first-place among militaries as it went about disarming.
Understanding that militarism is counterproductive on its own terms is not new:
Here we see a trend that has only continued and expanded, namely (retired) respectable establishment figures rejecting the insanity of nuclear arms:
Here’s the conclusion those establishment figures almost never get around to acting on: We must each refuse to support war and do everything we can to end it.
As Muste liked to say, there is no way to peace. Peace is the way.