Policy follows power. Whether the policy of the United States is to rely more on weapons and war for its population’s security than on preventing war and enforcing law, depend on who holds power.
For sixty-five years the United States and other nations have talked about ending reliance on nuclear weapons. Their policy, though, has been continued reliance. Destructive power has increased and more nations have obtained the weapons. The day approaches when non-deterrable terrorists will acquire the weapons.
Some of the power holders who have insisted on a policy contrary to common sense and contrary to announced intentions have been military strategists convinced that fire power creates security and law cannot be enforced. Some of the power holders have judged the United States exceptional in moral correctness and ability to run the world for the good of the human race. Some power holders have been managers, stockholders and employees of the arms industry, obtaining power by selling weapons around the world and sharing that money with political power holders. Some obtain their power from an ideological embrace of beliefs, hopes, and fears that make people prefer supremacy to order under law.
Power in a democracy is the fruit of either money or politics. Both buy policy. If you do not have millions of dollars, politics is the only route to power. Here are questions to ask candidates for public office, from your Board of Selectmen or Board of Aldermen or City Council (many of whom rise to higher office), to your statehouse Representatives and Senators and Governors, to Congress and the President. Who you elect determines power and policy. If you can elect and then influence those who hold office, you will have power. Ask:
Are you confident that the President and Congress put the security of populations ahead of political, economic, and ideological concerns?
Do you think that the United States could win a nuclear war?
How many nuclear weapons are required to deter terrorists?
If nuclear weapons will not deter them, what will?
What do you think motivates terrorists against Americans, and could these motivations be dissolved consistently with pursuing essential U.S. interests?
What might influence the minds of children growing up in places that have spawned terrorists?
What Americans might have more influence communicating with places that spawn terrorists - soldiers, or civilian representatives elected in American cities and towns?
Do you think that the technologies of communication and travel now make it possible to experiment with people-to-people cooperation across national borders, with the long-term aim of creating the global democracy that will justify experiments with global law enforcement as the alternative to war?
Will you go out on a limb to support such experiments, and encourage your constituents to join in the initiatives?