This lecture was given in a conference in Luther King House, Manchester on the 11th March,2017 to the Anglican Pacifist Fellowship, the Fellowship of Reconciliation and the Methodist Peace Fellowship. It seeks to honour Colin and Margaret Scott, peacemakers, and suggests the strategy we might follow to bring about world multilateral disarmament.
1. George W Bush and the defeat of evil.
George W. Bush had a strategy to end war. As he stood on the Aircraft Carrier USS Abraham Lincoln with the banner “Mission Accomplished” behind him, he thought he had won a big chunk of the War Against Terror, the war against the Axis of Evil, the War against War, which would usher in freedom, democracy and peace. Now we tend to laugh at this event, but ignore the fact that this was, and is, the dominant strategy to end War throughout the world. The mantra is: the way to end war is to defeat those who are evil and would attack others and take away their freedom. We need to be armed for and fight for freedom and peace. That is what we mainly think and do.
Bush’s view at the time was shared by much of what we call “the West”, both then and now. Tony Blair and New Labour, David Cameron and almost all of the Conservatives were for war, and the majority of the UK population and media had the same view; it was passed in the Commons by 412 votes to 149 on 18th March, 2003, a 73% majority. Bush had a similar following in the States. Some in the UN and elsewhere said the Iraq War was illegal and wrong, but most throughout the world saw Saddam Hussein as an evil dictator who needed to go. If those who are evil are defeated, then war is defeated. The strategy to end war is to defeat evil, or deter evil, by might. Not only George W. Bush, but the Clintons, George Bush Senior, Reagan, Nixon, Johnson, Kennedy, Eisenhower and the whole American tradition back to Cowboys and Indians conveyed the same. It is the British position of May, Fallon, Cameron, Brown, Blair, Major, Thatcher and all the way back to Churchill. Most British people are Churchillians: appeasement is dangerous and we, note We, must meet evil with strength until the good guys win. It is the established view in most of the world; most governments are militarised to meet their evil from strength like the US and the UK. The same view is present in popular culture, in thousands of films, war games, in the Express, Mail, Sun, Times, Telegraph and the BBC. Of course, these days, the position is no longer stated so baldly, but much of the time is presupposed, at least until Trump came along. He actually says what most people have been taught to think. The Strategy To End War, the STEW, is to fight it with superior strength. To end war we must be the strongest. This is the STEW we eat, day in day out.
- The Biggest Failed Experiment in History.
Yet, bring this “strategy” out into the open and look at it, and it fails. Since 1914, the first War to End War, wars have failed to end war. WW1 was followed immediately by wars against the USSR, China and Iraq, then in the longer term by WW2. WW2 was followed by the Cold War, the Korean War, Suez and many others, and the Eyraq War of George W Bush and Tony Blair was followed by the Afghan War, more Iraq War, and the Syrian War. Notice by way of truthfulness that we call the wars, not after the aggressor, but the victim. The Boer War is the British War, Vietnam is the American War and so on. History is one damned war after another, partly because one war helps cause another. Perhaps they are all linked by a deeper history. Now we have clocked up two hundred million people killed in war-related deaths since 1914, a similar number seriously injured and a third similar number traumatized and brutalised by PTSD; it is time to rethink out of respect for these six hundred million people. These one-damned-wars-after-another eat up 5-10% of world GDP in weapons, funding the military, in waging wars and repairing the effects of wars. They are responsible for most world poverty, harm the international economy, have currently produced 50 million refugees/migrants and made half the world’s population insecure from attack. Perhaps we have got it wrong, and Militarism and War are the world’s biggest failed experiment.
The “strong” argument fails in practice and in principle. In practice, each war for “good” has ended in other wars, because the act of war does harm, destruction, the birthing of enemies, the hardening of hearts, the strengthening of the military; they set up predation and destroys everything for some people. War is not a strategy to end war but produces dangerous chaos. Let us give one trivial but poignant example. Hitler suffered gas attacks in WW1 and showed the long-term signs of PTSD which he then carried into his later Second World War barbarism; in 1945 he was still really fighting the First World War. But wars are much bigger than single people. Germany rearmed in the 30s, as France had rearmed after 1870, as Russia was rearming in the 1900s, 1930s and after 1990. Without peace defeated countries rearm. Enemies can last for centuries and certainly for a generation. More than this, when millions learn war and killing, it continues, finding another enemy. The military must win; that is their job. The consequence of one war is another. Wars cause wars. The Korean War in the 1950s is linked to Kim Jong Un now. The Sudanese Civil War was sadly linked to the South Sudanese Civil War now – the same weapons are being used. The acts of war – destruction, killing, injury, invasion, predation cause further bad things because they are bad. That is not difficult to work out.
But the falseness of the argument is deeper than this. Basic Christian teaching shows us what is undeniably true, namely that all people and leaders sin, including western leaders. There are no goodies and baddies, but the bad and good are on both sides. In the First World War, the Second, the Cold War, the Syrian War the good and bad will not neatly divide. The winners are not good, though those who take the sword do perish by the sword – as with the Nazis, Japanese Fascists, Italian Fascists, ISIS and others, but usually all contribute to war. The British started the Second Boer War. They contributed lies and militarisation to the First World War. They undermined the Geneva Disarmament Conference in 1932 which could have prevented Hitler coming to power, and they have invaded most of the countries of the world. And that was before Blair. So, the British are at the dark end of history. We must all look to ourselves and our problems. Moreover, sin is not just “moral failure” but failure in understanding, self identity, strategy, international relationships and the lust for wealth; nationalism, colonialism, cultural hate, spreading lies and hypocrisy. “Great Britain” of empires and anthems is national egotism. Hypocrisy is rampant among us. For example, we who proclaim the principle of “freedom” now practise slavery in demanding vast, enforced, relentless labour extracted from other countries to give us “cheap” goods. The Western demand for oil has motivated conquest, as we know. Thatcher is doing badly at home and gratefully accepts a patriotic war in the Falklands. The so-called goodies are bad and so the wars still come when they are in charge.
Third, the supposed goodies, the big boys – the Roman Empire, the Spanish Empire, the British Empire, the USSR, the American Empire – have repeatedly fought gratuitous wars because actually they believe in conquest. Far from being the answer, they are often the problem. The British Empire did not arise through dozens of countries saying, “I’m sure you can govern us better; please come and take over.” We invaded. The Spanish took on South America. The USSR walked into Hungary, Poland, Czechoslovakia and many other countries. The United States has intervened in Central and Southern America, Africa, Korea, Vietnam, and other countries, often where its transnational companies were threatened. “Civilisation”, the Roman big-boy term, is often barbaric control by a self-promoting colonial power, and, as a African friend recently reminded us, the Belgians chopped off the arms to the elbow of those who did not collect enough rubber each dayin the Congo. All of those with military power are corrupt, even, though he does not believe it, Donald Trump.
Fourth, arming to prevent war is futile, because everybody does it, as we see throughout the world today, when almost every state is armed and arming more. Some are a bit absurd. So, Australia, which is a thousand miles away from any country except New Zealand and mainly desert, buys advanced fighters when no one has remotely looked like invading them. Perhaps NZ is dangerous, but most New Zealanders would not be seen dead in Australia with or without invasion. So, almost all countries have learned to be armed antagonistically against their neighbours when they trade, holiday, bank, work and play with them every day of the week. When all sides are armed, and distrust builds, then accidents happen, and most modern wars are “triggered”, as we say, like the Great War at Sarajevo with the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand. The parable for our times is American gun law. Is everyone safer, I hear you ask, with a gun or two under their pillow, or are all of us safer without guns? You know the statistics. Because guns kill, we are safer without them.
Fifth, weapons lead to military dictators and away from democracy. Here, we must deconstruct the Saddam/Gaddafi/Hitler/Examine My Armpit military dictator model and recognise it is wider than that. Bush, Blair, De Gaulle, Eisenhower, Putin, Thatcher and Teresa May were, or are, in part military dictators. May dictated that the Trident Replacement scheme motored through without real debate. Blair did the dodgy dossier. All over the world arms are compromising democracy. The Arab Spring failed in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States and elsewhere. Iran is, in part, a military dictatorship, as is Pakistan, India, China, and most of the states of the world. And sooner, or later, the military have to justify their existence, because they produce nothing except war, or this inanimate something called security. “Security” is largely what the military state needs to make us feel grateful. Military dictatorship is present in some measure in every state, predisposing towards war.
So, wars cause wars, we are part baddies, the empires fight gratuitous wars, arms destroy democracy and arms eventually need using. The Armed Strategy To End War is a failed STEW. It fails, and fails and fails. Really, we know it does not work, but it persists, because it is promoted, and promoted and promoted and we are not allowed to think, or talk about, anything else. It would be disloyal, letting your country down, disloyal to the armed forces, it means you are a Communist, a leftie, or, even worse, an idealist. We are not allowed to think or talk about an alternative. We have to be strong on defence. We cannot consider an alternative, except, we will. First, we must reflect on Winston Churchill and the simple view of him which lurks behind most British views of armament and war.
- A Look at Churchill.
Most British people mentally refer to Winston on war and arms. The Churchillian mantra we are all expected to recite is that evil must always be confronted with military strength, and we must be on our guard, armed, against whatever evil may arise. Remember Hitler and then remember Stalin. The danger was appeasement. This is the great statesmanlike conclusion of the great statesman, and it is pinned to the image of Chamberlain waving a bit of paper on the 29th September, 1938 after seeing Hitler at Munich saying, “Peace in our time.” He was agreeing to the transfer of the Sudetenland from Czechoslovakia to Germany. Churchill opposed this appeasement in his own party and pointed out the danger Hitler posed from 1932 onwards. Then in 1940 as Prime Minister he stood against the Nazi onslaught in the Battle of Britain and was one of the three leaders to win the Second World War, a great contribution.
But we must see Churchill and his complex contributions in the round. He was a young war correspondent in the Second Boer War, was captured and escaped and became a kind of hero. He entered Parliament as a Conservative, but opposed the Government’s proposed military expansion, fell out with his own party and moved over to the Liberals. With Lloyd George, he tried to prevent the build-up to the First World War, but failed. At this stage he was working for peace and some disarmament. When the War came, he became an enthusiastic member of the War Cabinet and promoted the Dardanelles Campaign, which turned out to be a disaster, not necessarily because of Churchill, and then he had to resign for the rest of the War; his military contribution then did not seem too great. At the end of the War he was made Minister of War to clear up the remaining areas of conflict. During this period, he waged an intense war against Russian Red Communists, “to murder the Bolshevist baby in the cradle” as he said, using the surplus WW1 weapons to arm White Russians and attack the Communists on three fronts. He had no democratic justification for this personal vendetta and it helped poison USSR-Western relations for the next seventy years. Eventually he failed and was called to account. He also bombed the Kurds – in the first civilian bombing ever – to show the British were in charge in Iraq, for he believed in the British Empire and its continued power.
In the twenties Churchill moved back to the Conservatives and fought against Socialism and the moves to disarmament like his Conservative colleagues. He had a rather dated economic policy when Chancellor of the Exchequer, returning to the Gold Standard. The Conservative Party in this period was hardly principled in its opposition to Socialism; they bought and used the fake Zinoviev telegram in the second election in that year and it took them back into power. They slowed progress to disarmament, promised to Germany in the Treaty of Versailles. Churchill during this period was pro-militarist and pro-empire, especially opposing the moves towards Indian independence and hating Gandhi. When the great Geneva Disarmament Conference arrived in 1932, with massive, world-wide support, Churchill was against it. It aimed at multilateral disarmament backed by tens of millions of signatures. President Hoover proposed, and was willing to carry out, cuts of more than a third in all weapons and more in offensive weapons. Almost all other countries backed it, except Japan, who was fighting in Manchuria, and Britain, where the Foreign Secretary, Sir John Simon, prevaricated to protect the British Navy. Churchill at the time was a supporter of Japan and Mussolini in Italy as bulwarks against Bolshevism, hardly a wise position. He was against disarmament, spending much of his time studying his ancestor the Duke of Marlborough and his military strategies. If the Geneva Disarmament Conference had been successful in early/mid 1932 Hitler would almost certainly not have come to power and the world-wide hope for peace would have moved forward. But it was not. The defeat of the moves to disarmament was partly caused by the arms companies and their agents. The failure of the Conference angered a lot of people, not least the students at the Oxford Union who voted resoundingly not to fight for King and Country in January, 1933. The British failure in this Conference has been written out of our history, and also out of Churchill’s history, because it did not reflect well on us.
But the after-effects of that Conference are not now understood. The British people did not see why it failed, understandably so, since the civil servants Maurice Hankey and Robert Vansittart and the arms companies helped to strangle it. They felt let down. Moreover, the peace leaders, Lord Cecil and Philip Noel-Baker tried again. They organised a massive nation-wide peace ballot in 1934 and the results were announced in June 1935. It showed a large national majority in favour of collective disarmament and was so popular that it was obviously going to sway the following election. Just to get the vote Baldwin talked peace saying, “ I give you my word that there will be no great armaments”, when it obviously was not true. Baldwin and Chamberlain won the election of November, 1935 and directly attracted Churchill’s wrath, for Germany (and Britain) were now rearming fast. The Nazis were getting American money from the Harriman Bank leading a consortium of banks with Fascist sympathies. Prescott Bush, George W. Bush’s Grandfather was part of this Hitler funding web. Churchill bitterly and understandably was appalled by Chamberlain’s “Peace in our Time” move at Munich. It was false prophets saying the biblical “peace when there is no peace.”
Churchill then became the War leader, and a good one. Yet, he and others downplayed the central role of the USSR in defeating the Nazis. The USSR lost twenty five million and bore the brunt of the War against the Nazis, while we and the United States lost half a million each. Churchill was against opening a second western front to take the pressure off the USSR in the long period before D Day. He also refused to help in the Bengal famine when some three million died. At the end of the War he lost the election partly because of intemperate attacks on Attlee and his erstwhile colleagues in the War Cabinet and also because he was not seen as a good peace leader. He also quickly turned on the USSR in his Iron Curtain speech at Fulton Missouri, helping to put the Cold War in place with some right-wing American collaborators and President Truman. In summary Churchill’s judgment was awry at many periods of his life. His opposition to disarmament in the twenties and thirties helped the Nazis and he was often quite bellicose and generated enemies including the Boers, Irish, Conservatives, Kurds, the USSR, the unions, Gandhi and India, the Baldwin Government, Stalin and the USSR after WW2 and quite a few others along the way. He got Hitler right, but enemies on this scale need some explaining. Perhaps, the “appeasement” theme of the late 30s was a particular issue at one period and certainly not a general principle for addressing how nations should treat one another. Churchill also wrote up the history of his times to favour his own views, as David Reynolds has shown fully, and it is time we stopped giving this fallible and limited leader the last word, because arming to fight “evil”, as a general principle has, on many counts, been a catastrophic failure, and Hitler might not be a good general model for international relationships.
- Fighting and Fighting.
Let us look briefly at fighting and fighting. Wars are fighting, but the Apostle Paul suggests they may be more to fighting than meets the eye. He sets up a different model in the letter to the Ephesians, written when he was a prisoner in Rome two or three years before the persecution of Christians under Nero. He talks about a fight fought with the armour of God which is remarkably different from Roman armour.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armour of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.13 Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness with justice in place,15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Ephesians 6)
This fight is not conquest or domination. It is not against people, but it is against principalities and powers, and the rhetoric suggests that Paul had partly in mind the Roman military system, what we now call militarism. The fight was real, strategic and big and it could be a fight against fighting.
The Romans were a military power. Their legions and war machines subdued country after country by conquest, cutting opposition down with sword and spear. In Israel they were conquerors. Their main base at the time of Christ was Caeserea. They collected taxes from their victims into a centre at Jericho. If people rebelled, they strung them up on crosses. Indeed, the dominating event of Jesus’ young childhood was the crucifixion of some two thousand by Varus after a revolt mainly in the Galilee area by Judas son of Hezekiah and others in 4AD. Everyone lived under the knowledge that this is what Romans did to remain in military control. Romans ruled by fear and militarism. This is one of the principalities the Christians were to fight against, a big one.
Jesus put the same point positively. We are to be peacemakers. It is an active thing, a purposeful activity which goes deeper than opposition. Christ was crucified by this system, insisting on God’s rule by truth, not by power, and with a deeper perspective on humankind. We are to pray for the other side, to reconcile, to love enemies. “Father, forgive them. They know not what they do.” There is a fight against militarism in the name of the Gospel of peace. It involves unseating the false principle on which militarism was based, as well as justice, faith, peace, salvation from sin, and reconciliation. It puts the lamb on the throne rather than the dictator. This war, the fight not against enemies, but for reconciliation is represented by the Christian community world-wide of some two billion and more.
- There is an Enemy and it is militarism, the Military-Industrial Complex.
Yet, there remains an enemy, the Military-Industrial Complex, which continually steers towards war. It has grown especially over the last two hundred years into a vast industry. During two world wars and other confrontations it has been the biggest industry on earth. At other times its demand in insecure. The end of the Cold War saw conventional arms sales cut in half. Its demand is insecure. Absence War, or the Rumour of War, it declines. These companies therefore set out to encourage demand. They need war, fear, arms races, the escalation of weapons, arms in the hands of unreliable people to generate their raison d’être. Without war, they do not exist. They profit from the business of War and when a War actually occurs, their profits climb tenfold. They are the main enemy – the power system. To them can be added the “security” services, as we call them, the “defence” departments of the state, and the military, although many in the military have an awareness of the acute costs of war, and are far less militarist than they might seem. In addition, often military personnel are involved in peacekeeping and policing difficult areas, and think more about the conditions of peace than most other people. The engine, the power house of the operation, is the arms companies promoting their trade.
An important part of this picture occurred in the 1930s. The arms companies were exposed in a number of books and by the Nye Commission as the “Merchants of Death” because it had been shown how their dealing to promote war was done before and after the First World War. They even tried to organise a Fascist coup against President Roosevelt in 1934. Rossevelt and others met them with exposure and companies like Du Pont, Singer and others were deeply damaged. From that time onwards, they have gone clandestine. They operate quietly, preferably within government, and eschew all publicity for their trade. The last thing they want is to be noticed.
You cannot fight War without confronting the Military-Industrial Complex and its allies. These include some politicians, media people, bankers (providing loans for weapons), arms dealers and companies dealing in oil, minerals, land, metals and so on who have vested interests in military outcomes. They also include companies which now do the business of war, like the US company Haliburton, formerly chaired by the US Vice-President Dick Cheney and the UK company BAe Systems which actually runs parts of the military. One picture says a lot. Many of you may have seen the 888,246 poppies of remembrance at the Tower of London in 2014. Days after the Memorial closed 200 arms industry sellers and their potential buyers had a £240 a head champagne dinner in the tower to do deals while the sea of poppies were outside. The history of the First World War shows four arms races generated by the arms companies Armstrong, Vickers, Krupp, Schneider, Skoda, Nobel through scaremongering, lying and bribery which sparked the War. No repentance there then.
They lie behind most wars. Saddam was armed, especially through “aid” brought by a young Donald Rumsfeld from Reagan and then he invaded Kuwait (because he was short of money to pay for his arms) and we attack our “ally”. He should just have played with his weapons, not used them. The world was then persuaded that Saddam was dangerous, when he was weak, and the Second Iraq War takes place, of which Dick Cheney was a major advocate and Rumsfeld the prosecutor.
American, French and British arms companies and Governments supplied weapons to the Argentinians who then attacked the Falklands.
Mussolini was funded by the arms company Ansaldo who were duly rewarded when he came to power and helped his African wars.
Hitler was mainly funded by Fritz Thyssen, who had built Germany biggest company in metals and munitions in the First World War and shortly after looked to Hitler. Later Krupp, American arms companies and banks helped create the Nazi war machine when Germany had been in a deep economic depression.
The CIA spent $2-3 billion training Afghans in terrorism to fight the USSR and supplied them with suitable US weapons. Al Qaida was part of this training programme and when the USSR had withdrawn, 9/11 happened and the “war on terror” started.
Blair and Berlusconi concluded an arms deal with Gaddafi arming him, as it happened, for an attack on his own people in the Arab Spring. Then the arms companies encouraged intervention against Gaddafi to show off their weapons.
US and British arms sales to Saudi are now being used in Yemen to produce a blitzed refugee state with some ten million under threat.
ISIS has been armed mainly with American weapons either sold to Iraq in the “good old days” and then looted, or captured directly from the Iraq Army after having been supplied by US arms companies more recently.
So constantly, through sales pressure, bribery, influencing politicians, scares and weapon promotion these companies go about their business of generating war and the fear of war. Recently, there have been strong attempts through NATO and other agencies to demonize China and Russia, so that there are enemies to arm against. All of this is a far bigger story than we can fully tell here, but it keeps the show on the congested road of fear and conflict. We now have a militarised world in which every state is persuaded that other states are its enemies which it must guard against. There are some fifty million soldiers marching up and down doing little productive, a vast industry creating equipment which can destroy the world, or part of it, and states are regularly devastated creating millions of refugees. They now number perhaps 65 million, the highest figure ever, including the Word Wars. MIC has won. It is driving the agenda without having to steer.
- Yet, the Military-Industrial Complex is weaker than it seems.
These groups have several million professionals working for them or linked to them. They control the present system, keeping it in place. Yet they are weaker than they seem. First, they have been playing the fear game for more than a century and it has worn thin; now we know and like the Huns. Second, they are anti-democratic and operate through a range of insider contacts which are not easy to keep in place, and democracy can easily break out again. Third, they lie and propagandise and have been caught out with the “dodgy dossier” and many other false claims. Fourth, wars fail. Was Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Libya or Syria a success? Even the question is obscene. Fifth, they have a product problem. What do your weapons do? “Well, they kill and maim people” does not go down well. So the whole industry is dressed up in pseudo efficiency talk. Fifth, militarism denies our values of respect for human life, democracy and property. Soon several billion people might wake up to the fact that militarism is the biggest failed experiment on the planet, and then the merchants of death are doomed.
So, this group is not as strong as it seems, although a couple of million well paid employees can create a passable impression. It all depends on holding the illusion that there is no alternative. Our thinking has got to stay in the black box of fatalism. Of course there is no alternative to selling weapons and war. Anything else is idealistic and unreal. Here we hit the ultimate in unthought. Listen to it carefully. Militarism and war are real; peace is unreal and idealistic. This silly mantra holds the edifice in place. Peace is unreal and idealistic although it is the way all the good economies work and states insist, in their basic laws, against militarism. Peace is unrealistic, although Yorkshire and Lancashire sorted out militarism five hundred years ago. Peace is unrealistic, although it saves trillions of dollars, billions of years of labour and allows people to make things rather than destroy them. Peace is unrealistic, although the old reasons for war like slavery, invasion, tribute are now unacceptable in a complex, inter-related world. Peace is unrealistic though the rich insist it should happen for them. Peace is unrealistic, though disarmament and monitoring of disarmament are now possible as never before.
Meanwhile, War is realistic, though millions of people are displaced by it, on the move looking for a home. War is realistic though it wipes out decades of good constructive work to no purpose. War is realistic and practical though no one can win a war any more, because it destroys all sides. Militarism is realistic because the two states denied weapons and armies in 1945 became the world’s best economies because they were not wasting money on militarism. Weapons are realistic, because we can now destroy the planet in order supposedly to defend ourselves. Arms are realistic and strategic, because the other side will be sold them as well. So, the balloon is blown up, and soon, filled with hot air, it will burst, and people will see there is nothing there.
Peace works. Weapons and war should have been banished long ago, as indeed, peace makers have tried to do, but been thwarted by the arms companies. Swords into ploughshares, aircraft carriers into bulk water carriers, and tanks into earth moving equipment works for all of us. Indeed, the planet cannot survive without disarmament and peace, because the military system and wars are producing some 10% of total world CO² and heating the planet. From every which way this madness of selling weapons for war must cease between nations as it has largely ceased within them.
- People will overwhelmingly support a Plan to clear the world of weapons.
So, we need a disarmament plan backed by big democratic majorities. Already biological and chemical weapons, land mines and cluster bombs have been banned internationally from production and sale. A plan to disarm the world needs to be clear and workable. It also needs to be democratic, to mobilize ordinary public opinion on a global scale. Fortunately, we can do this now. In the 1932 Geneva Disarmament Conference signatures for petitions were collected laboriously by the millions and even tens of millions for world disarmament and presented in Geneva. One way and another, and through affiliated organisations, the Conference had the support of nearly half the then world population. The same is easily possible now. When it becomes clear that national populations around the world want world multilateral disarmament, then pressure for an ordered process will be inescapable because we want it.
General Eisenhower, a wise man who warned about the Military-Industrial Complex, said nearly seventy years ago, “I believe that the people in the long run are going to do more to promote peace than any governments. Indeed, I think that people want peace so much that one of these days, governments had better get out of their way and let them have it.” We need none of this debating Unilateral Disarmament. If everybody disarms, nobody has even a potential problem. People decide that disarmament is necessary and unilateral armament is unacceptable according to clear rules an implement it through the United Nations.
Of course, there will be opposition. The arms companies and the full military-industrial complex will create a massive scare. National governments will try to stall the process. The world’s most heavily armed countries which are also those on the Security Council of the United Nations, will try to make the issue complex. Worst of all, they will try to put the military interests in charge of the process, so that it can be snuffed out, as it was in 1932. But now we know turkeys do not vote for Christmas and the process must not be run by the military. The scares will come. This is a Communist plot – reds under the bed; not many Communists about now. An Islamic plot; they want to disarm too. A threat to the free world; not killing people is a threat? A United Nations plot to take over the world; actually, UN policing de-escalates as disarmament proceeds. What will all the unemployed workers and soldiers do? Hey are highly trained, useful people. With wisdom, cunning and large scale awareness world disarmament can happen. We can make peace. World multilateral disarmament is so obviously a good thing that it will have mass support. All it requires is a CLEAR PLAN, fully policed, which will produce the result. We can win the war against War.
- The Ten Year Plan for Full World Multilateral Disarmament.
The plan centres around two measures – a 10% a year cut in military expenditure a year for a decade, until military spending effectively ends, and the immediate subsidised end to manufacturing weapons.
- When the United Nation’s measure is passed, all states agree to refrain from aggression and cut their military expenditure, personnel and stocks of weapons by 10% a year until they are all gone.
- Arms Companies cease production immediately and move to useful production and services. They are given 100%, 80%, 40%, 20% and then no subsidies by their national governments from the savings in military expenditure while they transfer. Arms production is illegal under international and national law. Some military will transfer to disaster, resourcing, aid and international transport facilities.
- Non-state arms holders will be offered payment for their arms for destruction. All arms not surrendered immediately can be seized by the UN arms policing force without payment.
- The United Nations, national governments, security systems and ordinary people have open access to any potential military and weapons facilities at any time to monitor that no arms are being clandestinely produced. It is a criminal offence so to do.
- The United Nation’s will have a policing facility composed of 10% of the remaining military to root out and destroy all illegal weapons/military holdings. It will decline with disarmament.
- International law will require all military damage towards persons, land, livelihood and property to be subject to full financial reparations with the backing both of national and international courts.
- All national disputes are to be agreed, arbitrated or taken to the International Court with the understanding that nation shall speak peace unto nation and we will not learn war any more.
8. Peace is more than Disarmament.
To bring this about requires a growing group of people of faith seeing this war can be won, that peace and disarmament can be made a world-wide reality. The initial allies in this War against War are the peace groups, Christian churches and other religious groups, veterans, the peace-seeking politicians and many others. Two billion Christians world-wide acting in concert could bring it about. There is nothing particularly sacrosanct about the proposals in this document, except to show that it can be done quite straightforwardly. Areming is far more complex than disarming. They show the kind of thing required to see world disarmament through to completion. The more difficult tasks are the early ones – getting the first million signatures in different countries and birthing the recognition that this is practical politics in different states, especially those with superpower ambitions. Yet, it can all be done. It requires us to stand and make peace, not to attack or destroy. It requires co-operation, trust, love and forgiveness.
With world disarmament we will know that respect, patience, equality, freedom from compulsion and coercion, love, gentleness and justice are the virtues we need and that peace is more than the absence of weapons and war, but also, as Jesus taught, makes us properly children of God.