In order to save huge costs, governments would be wise to fund the global popular movement for disarmament

Many nations get by just fine without an army at all. One argument used for keeping a standing army despite the incredible costs is that you are more likely to have peace if you are prepared for war. The truth is, many of the best armed nations wind up having many more armed conflicts than less armed nations. One reason for this is that military strategists argue that in order to be ready to fight wars, one must actually fight them – that drills and mock battles cannot replace combat experience.  Of course, since the nuclear nations and their allies are far too dangerous militarily to be attacked without risking a nuclear conflict (and all of humanity’s future, for that matter), in order to get combat experience they attack or force a conflict with weaker, nonnuclear opponents. This is one reason why military strategists in countries with little to gain from the invasion of  another small nation may push to fight alongside the US Armed forces. And it means humanity will only live in peace when we do away with armies for good.

So ten of millions of dollars are being wasted every day on this endless nightmare, which will never bring safety or national security. Indeed, it will guarantee that wars perpetuate themselves. If the goal is safety, why not spend some of this money on the peace movement? These are the people who are most likely to reduce the power of the military in the countries of potential enemies. There are already popular initiatives for military reduction in almost every country, with financial support they could push for a far safer world for future generations. We pay for spies who operate in foreign nations, isn’t it a bit suspicious that military advisers do not allocate funds for peace activism in enemy powers?

The answer is of course that armies and weapons manufacturers are NOT interested in the safety of the people they have the duty to protect if it conflicts with their own economic interests. They are far more interested in swelling military spending, a greed which endangers all of us. We must demand reductions of the armies worldwide, especially  in those countries addicted to war.  A few nations are waking up out of this nightmare because the military is an unbearable economic burden, others have long moved down the path of peace. One of our demands even for those willing to reduce their arsenals should be that a portion of military spending should go to redirected to financial and logistical support to popular movements for peace in those countries where militarism is more deeply ingrained. Campaign to reduce militarism in every nation will save us all a fortune and countless lives.


“Mommy, Daddy, what was war?”

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?”