Mission Statement

This blog is dedicated to tracking current events and developments that exemplify, support or discredit the
themes of City, Save Thyself! Nuclear Terror and the Urban Ballot.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

How to Lobby for START

The Senate must ratify START by a two-thirds vote. Arms control advocates are being urged to lobby their Senators, but Senators would listen to city and town governments much, much faster than to individual voters. Hundreds of cities around the world remain targeted by ICBMs, twenty years after the Cold War ended. Cities are therefore the logical entities to demand de-targeting. They can speak on behalf of their populations, not to mention their targeted hospitals, libraries, parks, office buildings, and city halls.

A Mayor, City Councilor, Alderman, or Town Selectman is readily accessible for an appointment, especially for an appointment of a group three or six or ten, or representatives of a neighborhood organization. Ask your governing body to hold a public hearing. Local media will be there.

160 American municipalities belong to Mayors for Peace, started by the Mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, numbering 4144 communities in 144 countries. Go to the Mayors for Peace website and see whether your municipality belongs. If it does belong, that will give you a leg up in getting your state’s Senators to vote to ratify START. Mayors for Peace has adopted the 20-20 Vision Campaign, calling for eradication of nuclear weapons by 2020. START is just the start of that.

In my state, Massachusetts, fifteen cities and towns belong to Mayors for Peace, and Republican Senator Scott Brown’s vote is in doubt. Brown should receive resolutions from all those communities, and many more besides.

What you are asking your local governing body for is a resolution addressed to your two Senators, making these points:

1. 65 years have passed since Hiroshima.

2. Twenty years after the Cold War, some one thousand Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles remain targeted at cities around the world, on fifteen minute alert.

3. START is the next step in universal, progressive, verifiable nuclear arms reductions. Slowness in ratifying the Treaty is blocking further progress.

4. This city (or town), on behalf of its targeted population, says ratify START now!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Eisenhower's Goals for Americans - Fifty Years Later

Fifty years ago, as his second term was ending, Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower appointed a bipartisan group of the country’s smartest people to tell Americans what goals they should pursue. It goes without saying, of course, that Americans are not advice takers and not long term thinkers.

Export more than you import, Goals for Americans advised. Since then, for decades we’ve run trade deficits. Avoid too great concentrations of economic power. The rich have gotten richer and now the richest 1% enjoys a quarter of the income and 44 million live in poverty. Avoid impractical and unnecessary military projects. Reagan’s Star Wars has cost over $100 billion and remains a steady drain without having improved security.

Plan roads, rapid transit, housing, parks, and urban renewal regionally. With some exceptions, urban sprawl prevails, with home foreclosures rife and affordable housing falling ever further behind the need. Extend medical insurance through public and private agencies, and control health costs. Today 46 million are uninsured, and the 2010 battle to take the Commission’s advice 50 years later may have destroyed Obama’s presidency.

Support and strengthen the UN, International Court of Justice, and world law. We’ve treated all of these with disdain, withholding UN dues, limiting ICJ jurisdiction, and refusing to join the International Criminal Court. Create an informed public through better newspapers and television. Newspapers are going out of business and television is a wasteland. Above all, above all, control nuclear weapons by ensuring no nation is in a position of significant advantage, and imposing universal inspections. The world is on the brink of expanded nuclear proliferation and nuclear weapons are seen by many as a standard part of national arsenals.

Interestingly, the first section of Goals for Americans is entitled The Individual and the last is entitled The United Nations. The Commission thus framed the goals, looking forward from World War II, in the context of citizens on the one hand and the world on the other. The nation fell in between. One reason so few of the goals have been realized is that Americans glorify their nation, denigrate the UN, and deny personal responsibility. They endow a disembodied construct, their nation, with all responsibility, and relieve themselves of any responsibility.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

War, Limited War, and Nuke War

Americans are being revved up for war on Iran. The strategy may be to increase pressure on Iran. Or it may be to see what kind of opposition develops. Or it may be for real.

As one example of many, Republican Senator Scott Brown returned from a Congressional tour of Israel and Jordan to tell journalists at a 9/11 gathering, according to The Boston Globe, that terrorists and Iran are the two big dangers. Iran with nuclear weapons would start a nuclear arms race similar to the U.S./U.S.S.R. Cold War race.

The Atlantic September edition carries a dramatic cover illustration with Jeffrey Goldberg’s article title, “Israel is Getting Ready to Bomb Iran.” Scarier yet is the piece that follows Goldberg’s, by the incendiary Robert D. Kaplan, “Living With Nuclear Iran.”

Kaplan starts out sounding like a cautious alternative to Goldberg, urging containment of a nuclear Iran. He goes on, though, to parade out Henry Kissinger’s Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy, and conclude, “We must be more willing, not only to accept the prospect of limited war but, as Kissinger does in his book a half century ago, to accept the prospect of a limited nuclear war between states.”

Wow, but what he is saying is that when Iran has nuclear weapons, nuclear war with Israel may follow, or that if Goldberg is right and Israel bombs Iran and follows that up as it would, by telling Iran, “Don’t retaliate for our bombing or we will nuke you,” the U.S. must be ready to accept the possibility of limited nuclear war.

Kaplan is a barn burner from way back. In City, Save Thyself! I quote this from Kaplan’s 2001 The Coming Anarchy: “Peace, as a primary goal, is dangerous because it implies that you will sacrifice any principle for the sake of it. A long period of peace in an advanced technological society like ours could lead to great evils, and the ideal of a world permanently at peace and governed benignly by a world organization is not an optimistic view of the future but a dark one.”

You won’t find the media, whether mainstream or other, permitting exploration of globally enforced law as the alternative to the war system, even as a new war draws closer. The threatened populations hear no constructive proposals, because the media keeps them off limits and anti-war protesters, who trumpet “Peace!” and “Out of Afghanistan!” seem afraid to voice the radical shifts that ending the war system must entail. Kaplan is left free to posit dark global enslavement as the only alternative to glorious war.