When I talk of strategies for peace within a generation, some skeptics raise the question:
What makes you think world peace is possible? People have been fighting wars for thousands of years!
Similar arguments were heard in the 19th century to argue that the abolition of slavery was impossible.People argued that slavery was natural, that it had always existed, that every society had slavery, that it was in the slaves’ best interests, that freedom would bring misery and low birth rates leading to extinction, that freedom would result in bloodbaths and chaos, that abolition was foolishly utopian or impractical, and that improving enslavement was the best way to deal with the problem.
Much like slavery, war has no moral or biological basis, and the fact that it has been an institution for thousands of years is no reason not to end it. If we resist defeatist and simplistic arguments, future generations of children will likely be gifted with peace. This question will be music to the ears: “Mommy, Daddy… What was war?”
We the people of the world are fed up with war and the economic, ecological, and social costs of maintaining a military. Since the main argument for having armies is that you need one if your neighbors have them, by the same argument, it makes good sense for every country to simultaneously downsize and eventually do away with its military, as long as all of the other countries play along. Until we are free from are organized groups of armed men, powerful leaders, generals and war profiteers who stand to gain from sending others to fight but risk nothing themselves, war is inevitable. And civilians, children, and future generations get the worst of it, often the same civilians these armies have sworn to defend. We need to make sure that no-one gains from warfare, and the strategy we are proposing is the simultaneous and gradual dismantling of each and every one of the armed forces and arms industries in the world over a decade, if possible, as soon as 2025.
- Almost every sane person wants peace, and we will show broad support for the idea that peace is possible, by collecting a thousand million signatures by 2015. With at least the participation of 10% of the people in every country of the world. This will include children, since they have not been spared the horrors of war. The goal is to show once and for all that standing armies are no longer necessary or wanted, and that nations can and must for the good of all humanity find nonviolent means to solve their conflicts. Large-scale support will also make the strategy proposed to achieve it possible
- All of the governments of the world will have six months to sign an agreement which will insist on gradual demilitarization over the decade from 2016-2025, in cuts of at least 10% of ALL of the following in all of the branches of the military:
- Military personnel must be retired, and given reasonable compensation, such as 60% of their pay rate for the same number of years they have been in the service. Armies may continue to recruit at reduced rates, the combined total of servicemen and women must not exceed the percentage for any given year. Overseas bases must be the first to close and soldiers stationed overseas must be the first to be retired.
- Defense spending must be reduced by percentage of GDP. For example in a country, where 10% of the GDP is military spending, in 2016 defense spending must not account for more than 9% of the GDP, in 2017 they will receive a maximum of 8%, and so on. The military must not sign any new contracts for weaponry and reduce its existing contracts for weaponry by at least 10% per year. Defense contractors’ employees who are laid off should also be given early retirement.
- 10% of all weapons need to be destroyed and delivered for inspection to independent observers each year, until there are no weapons left by the end of 2025. Ships, trucks, and other forms of transport must be provided for public transport.
- Exports of weapons must also be reduced by at least 10% per year to all parties.
- The entire budget of the country must be transparent by the end of 2016, so that any weapons hidden in nonmilitary governmental budgets are also reduced every year.
- Intelligence services must release all of their documents, including strategic documents, to signing neighboring powers by the end of 2016. Once all of the nations which have a standing army have signed, it must also be released into the public domain.
- Governments which do not sign the treaty by january of 2016 will be subject to large-scale civil disobedience until they concede to the planet’s desire for peace. We will demonstrate via peaceful marches on the bases of power, the parliaments, the congresses, the military bases, embassies, and demand military downsizing, and refuse to pay taxes and support any government which does not agree to peacefully disarm. Tax payments will instead be given directly to schools, hospitals, and other peaceful organizations doing good things in the society, with documentation. Over the next decade, any government or military which does not cooperate with the agreement will be subject to civil disobedience. For example, if at the end of the 5th year, any government which has not reduced its military to 50% its original size will be subject to tax strikes, and other types of civil disobedience until they comply with the will of the world’s people.
- Governments which do not sign the treaty by january of 2016 will be subject to external pressure from other governments until they concede to the planet’s desire for peace. Cooperating governments will work together by peaceful means to ensure that the rest of the world’s governments cooperate by refusing to trade anything other than essential supplies with neighbors refusing to follow the agreement.
- An independent commission with representatives from over 10 countries will be formed in every country to make sure no-one is hiding weaponry, documentation, or cheating on the agreements.
If you think world peace is a good idea, and agree with our strategy to get there, then please sign the petition (it’s still not created yet, we need to check in with change.org and avaaz.org to make sure they have the infrastructure necessary for a campaign of this size).
Because there is no greater gift we can give our children and grandchildren.
The typical argument to have a standing army is because your neighbor has the same. But having large organized groups of armed men has not led to a peaceful society. It’s like everyone keeping a bomb in your home because there are bombs in the neighborhood and insist that you are safer for it. Let’s get these bombs out of our homes, all of them.
Because it’s possible, practical, and can benefit of almost everyone on the planet. Peace and military downsizing is:
- Good for the environment. Far from their intention to protect, the world’s armed forces are some of the biggest polluters on the planet. They are responsible for huge amounts of carbon emissions, nuclear and depleted uranium contamination, superfunds sites, and many other environmental problems.
- Good for the economy. Huge amounts of the worlds GDP goes to military spending. Militaries waste huge amounts of money. Even mercenaries who recieve huge salaries can safely outbid the army, due to its ineffeciency.
- Good for art, cultural heritage and architectural treasures. War and military conquest have destroyed many of history’s greatest artworks.
- Good for children. War is an everyday reality for millions of children. They are killed, disabled, left homeless, or orphaned by civil war, guerrilla insurgency, or ethnic cleansing. They become refugees or displaced persons, often separated from their families. Many die or suffer from starvation, malnutrition, or lack of medical care. Many children are traumatized by witnessing brutal deaths and by being surrounded by violence, fear and hardship. Let’s give future generations the greatest gift they can know – world peace!
- Good for mental health. Mental and substance abuse disorders are prevalent among veterans.
- Good for racial and gender equality. Genocide and systemic rape has often occured during wartime. Militaries have a poor record of prosecuting rapists within their ranks during peacetime as well.
- Good for democracy. The military is the most important, most violent and most influential organization in the modern world. If people are to have more say in their lives, the military must be downsized. Historically, the military has been the greatest threat to freedom and democracy; for every revolution by liberals there have been five coup d’etats by a military or general.
Human kind can do so many more interesting things than fight! We can find adventure in nature, in poetry and song, and in making love, not war! Most people support the idea of peace, but few viable strategies are proposed for achieving it. That is the goal of this blog, to propose and highlight practical strategies that over the next decade, can make human wars obsolete.