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, October 31, 2010

Rules of War

I see the Geneva Convention on the Rules of War is up for revision. Rules for war was a great idea - throw a little humanity at Armageddon. It is time, though, to try something more ambitious and prevent war! Time was, in 1918 and 1945, after each World War, when to prevent war was the preeminent objective of nations. Why is it off national agendas? Today’s marvels of communication and transportation make global law enforcement, war’s alternative, finally, blessedly, feasible.

The missing ingredient is political feasibility. Activists by the millions are available to create the feasibility, but they mill around instead of going after political power. As the result, Presidents and Prime Ministers get boxed in by arms makers, profiteers, and assembly line workers at the missile factories, not to mention generals, patriotic yahoos, haters, revengers, and pessimists.

Try an experiment. Imagine that a brief fifty years have passed and you live in a secure world - no war - no nuclear weapons - no national fighting arsenals. Jot down the necessary components of that world. I come up with two:- first, global institutions of law enforcement, with administrative, judicial, and policing branches; second, democratic oversight to keep the enforcement accountable. Where is a proposal or plan to achieve this, never mind how long it might take to achieve. Where is our survival instinct?

Saturday, October 30, 2010

End Time or New Beginning?

Mass delusion seldom approaches reality as closely as today’s religious/sci-fi End Time enthusiasts approach nuclear holocaust. Given nuclear proliferation and the prospect of terrorists with WMD, wild imaginings and history are converging.

Would that End Time fervor prompted more effective effort to prevent nuclear holocaust. Consider that war and law always have been history’s opposing alternatives for controlling events. Problem is, the nation system, which evolved to provide populations with a first-line military defense, is a war system, unable to achieve reliable law enforcement because it’s always, you go first, and my sovereignty is sacred. Nations are hopelessly enmeshed, politically, ideologically, and economically, in preparing for and fighting wars.

Populations, millions of living, feeling, individual humans, are the beginning and end of values, purpose, and existence. All of our institutions, theories, and habits are directed to conserving and carrying on human life. Humans have lost control of the nations, and now need alternative, or additional, institutions through which to conduct public business on the global scale to which science and technology have brought them. With the nation configuration for human endeavor and security enmeshed in an uncontrollable web of private greed and group antagonism, it is time for supplemental configurations.

Sixty-five years after Hiroshima what are the alternatives to the crippled nation system?

International law’s enforcement power is beyond reach because of economic protectiveness, racial biases, chauvinism, greed, pride, and sovereignty concern. In the nuclear age the survival of civilization and avoidance of unimaginable suffering depend on some sizable number of individuals in many nations self-selecting themselves to employ a power configuration that works across national borders and pressures all nations to switch from the war system to enforced law.

The new political configuration must be both sub-national and supra-national. It must give the targeted populations access to political power, and at the same time work across national boundaries. The configuration that meets this test is the municipalities of the world, united for mutual security and able to pressure all their nations at the same time.


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Life Span - Our Glory and Curse

The human glory and curse is life span - too short to gain enough wisdom, short enough not to lock in mistakes. Life span kills us off, but two redeeming qualities ennoble the species - intellect and social instinct. Every newborn is endowed with inventive potential and a collective instinct.

Democracy was invented to make the most of these twin endowments, but the instinct for common cause has been collectivized into group think that defeats the intellect. Intelligence gets overwhelmed by the torrent of entertainment and information that usurp time and attention.

Group think also breaks the chain of empathy, compassion, and cooperation, the hallmarks of social instinct.

The hope remains that, destructive as the past has been, new folks will do it differently if even a few think hard enough about what to do instead of surrendering to what’s wrong. It can go the other way, though, if in any generation too few lay the groundwork for the doing that takes generations.

John Adams once wrote: “I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture in order to give their children a right to study paintings, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain.” (McCullough, p. 236)

I doubt Adams meant that politics, war, and mathematics ever would be dispensed with. The necessity for generations to build on one another is the point. We have lost sight of what the Founders saw so very well.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Doctrine of (unrealistic) Realism

Security for the United States is taken to mean winning wars. To the limited degree we take security to mean preventing war, it means intimidating opponents by arms superiority, and diplomacy based on weapons and wealth.

What security no longer means is in fact the only possible source of authentic security, which is enforced law. Authentic security is not sought, because the United States does not want to submit to law. The curse of super power is to rely on power solely.

MIT’s Security Studies Program displays a six panel announcement about its mission, in the first paragraph of which one finds, “...the avoidance of war where possible, and the achievement of victory when necessary.”

MIT is the heart of the war establishment’s academic arm. We see in this sentence how security and war are inextricably bound, regardless of history, logic, creative intelligence, and any life sustaining survival instinct. The sentence denies authentic security in every word. War is to be avoided, not prevented, i.e., its eternal and unpreventable menace is taken for granted. The only alternatives are victory or defeat, not prevention. It is a militarized view of human existence, depending on contentions of force, violence, and cruelty to the exclusion of enforced law and the global democracy that would make enforced law accountable and feasible.