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U.S. Policy Change Needed for Disarmament and Diplomacy

February 23, 2009 at 05:00:18 Permalink

U.S. Policy Change Needed for Disarmament and Diplomacy

February 22, 2009
Following up on posting articles covering the conference and meeting in Europe this Introduction and article,
U.S. Policy Change Needed for Disarmament and Diplomacy
concerns a new direction for U.S. policy regarding military buildup, disarmament and diplomacy needs in the world.
(see links for articles and videos at bottom, after the article)
Let's continue our efforts to change policy in Washington on these matters.
arn specter, phila.

After 2008- The Year of Protest in the World - more and more people are standing up and protesting for improvements economically, socially and environmentally worldwide. In Eastern Europe, Europe and the U.S. people have been protesting against plans for the U.S. Missile Defense System to be stationed in Poland and the Czech Republic.

Now, with recent talks with Russia the U.S. may change plans and build a MDS with cooperation of Russia and NATO somewhere else in the region. While these changes may offer some stability and security in Eastern Europe and Europe, eliminating threats from Russia about the prior MDS plans, there remains the continuation of arms and military philosophy and arms buildup on the parts of the U.S. and Russia in particular.

Protests too are coming from within the governments of Europe, elected representatives who realize that military buildup and war making are not conducive to peacemaking, the need for changes in political and social outlooks never more pressing than today. This paper addresses some of those policies and the need for much more attention on the advantages of fostering diplomacy and disarmament in the region, and the world.

Contents of :
U.S. Policy Change Needed
for Disarmament and Diplomacy
1.New Cooperation between the United States and Russia
on Missile Defense and Afghanistan
2.Does this new cooperation foster disarmament and peaceful
co-existance in the region?
3.Talk of Diplomacy, actions for Warmaking and War
4.Continued Protests Against the Missile Defense System In Europe
and Russian Military Buildup
5.The Threat and Potential Damage of Nuclear Weapons and War,
Need for Disarmament
6.U.S. Government's New Directions and Resources for Diplomacy
7..U.S. War Mentality
8. The al-Queda and Terrorism Dilemma
9. More About the Need to Abandon the Missile Defense System
10.Taking the High Road of Disarmament and Diplomacy Ahead
U.S. Policy Change Needed
for Disarmament and Diplomacy
by Arn Specter, Arn's News
February 22, 2009

1.New Cooperation between the United States and Russia on Missile Defense
and Afghanistan

The Disarmament Movement has suffered a huge set-back. In an article by James Kilner and Christian Lowe, Reuters, Feb. 13, 2009, U.S. offers Moscow concession on missile shield, a new policy of cooperation between the U.S. and Russia has been made to continue development of a Missile Defense System to defend against a possible threat of attack by Iran, or any other nation...

U.S. Undersecretary of State, William Burns meeting in Moscow with Russia's anbassador to NATO, Dmitry Rogozin, said, "Washington is open to the possibility of cooperation, both with Russia and NATO partners, in relation to a new configuration for missile defense which would use the resources that each of us have" Interfax news agency reported.

Disarmament has been neglected in this current 'concession' with the Russians,
President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir V.Putin, along with their vast military buildup along with plans by the U.S. governments' foreign policy and military stratagists for a MDS in that region, and more MDS's worldwide. Let us not be duped into believing that this latest effort will bring us greater peace or security in the long run.

People who have studied conflict in the Middle East and Asia have come to understand that more war making is not the answer to long term peacemaking in Afghanistan or the region.

A few high ranking Generals too have taken the unusual position of the need for diplomacy to settle these disputes with the Taliban rather than more troops from the U.S.

Before the announcement out of Moscow by William Burns, this set-back for disarmament was evidenced last Saturday, Feb.7, 2009 at the Munich Conference on Security Policy, in Germany when U.S. Vice President, Joe Biden, said, "We will continue to develop missile systems to counter a growing Iranian capability, provided the technology is proven to work and cost effective", (in consultation with NATO allies and Russia) and restating the position on missile defense in Europe taken by President Barack Obama.

A few days later in Washington, at the State Department on February 9, Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton met with Karal Schwarzenberg, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, and took a somewhat more moderate position by suggesting that the U.S. might reconsider its' plans; even pulling out of Europe, if Iran stopped its' nuclear weapons program. Clinton reiterated the Obama's interest in dialogue with Iran, following an assertion Tuesday by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that his government welcomes talks with Washington based on "mutual respect". This was reported by David Gollust, State Department on Feb. 10, 2009 in a report entitled, Clinton Says US Could 'Reconsider' European Missile Defense Plan, (Voice of America).

2.Does this new cooperation foster disarmament and peaceful co-existance in the region?

This new arrangement seems to serve the needs of both Russsia and the U.S. For Russia, being involved with the U.S. on missile defense opens up a whole range of geopolitcal advantages in the region, and removes their fears that the U.S. might use the MDS in Poland to actually attack Russia. For the U.S. Russia could cooperate by providing aid on transportation for U.S. Military supplies traveling through the region to the warzone in Afghanistan and the Pakistan area and/or Russia's help in pursuading Iran to discontinue their nuclear weapons program, and thus eliminate a possible threat on Europe by Iran, labeled a 'rogue' state by the Bush Administration, possibly attacking Europe.

Nevertheless both situations, missile defense and war in Asia are about fighting rather than the real, long-term needs of peoples in the regions, that of disarmament and peacemaking, leading to the end of fighting and war, reconstruction and making progressive developments for the nations and their cultures.We made an arrangement with Russia to allow us to transport supplies in order to supply our troops - another 17,000 troops so ordered - so that we can maintain some stability while continuing to fight on in a war that may not be winnable using military force. Just ask the Russian who battled the Taliban for 10 years and had to walk home wounded and weary from the misplaced effort.

3.Talk of Diplomacy, Actions for Warmaking and War

In recent months many people have spoken of diplomacy with Iraq, Iran, the Taliban, Israel and the Palistinians, and others only to witness the strong militaristic governments of the U.S., Israel and Russia making efforts to increase their military budgets, military programs, and military alliances. Despite testimony about the need for more diplomacy, mediation, negotiations, conflict resolution and even arbitration the war machines, the military industrial complexes, keep marching on for more regional and global power, more money, and more security for those under the sphere of their influence and "control". The peacemakers are trying but finding it difficult to gain the ear and support of entrenched political leaderships and those coming into power wanting to foster a strong military buildup and presence.

From Gaza the pictures on televison and the internet of men, women and children being bombed, maimed, torn apart with blood dripping from their damaged bodies as they lay in their beds at night or on the ruined streets during daylight, touch us to the core. Many unite and raise their voices in protest of this warmaking - by both sides - including many from civic groups, non profit agencies, aid organizations and international groups wanting the carnage to end and a chance to bring in supplies and aid for the wounded - only to be denied, time and time again, by the warmakers... A lasting truce requires well-intentioned diplomacy with support from other countries and the International community.

4.Continued Protests Against the Missile Defense System In Europe and Russian Military Buildup

In Eastern Europe all looks peaceful in the open fields of Poland and the Czech Republic, homes of the future sites of the missile defense system of the U.S. Activists from those two Eastern European countries, as well as from Europe (including England) have been screaming for the last two years, for this "system" to end, their cries even louder now as more mobilize at meetings; in London on Jan.31 and with the European Union on Feb.18, Brussels, Belgium , along with rallies in most major cities in Europe.

Czech activists persist despite repressive measures by the Czech Republic government..

Greater mobilization of military defense by Russia; first the threat of missiles with nuclear warheads to be stationed on the northern border of Poland and then an arrangement with Belarus to place 10 Interceptor Missiles on the western side of Belarus near the eastern border of Poland, virtually surrounding Poland with short-range nuclear missiles...these military incursions and developments causing much greater anxiety among millions of people worried that they have now become a target of aggression because of being the host countries - Poland and the Czech Republic - for the U..S. Missile Defense System in Europe.

5.The Threat and Potential Damage of Nuclear Weapons and War, Need for Disarmament

Nuclear weapons (missiles) are extremely dangerous. For the power of an explosion of even one nuclear missile (bomb) could maim and kill thousands-millions of human beings, destroy towns and villages, destroy cities, desecrate the environment including virtually all animal and vegetable life, and render the attacked areas uninhabitable for years to come with radiation fallout and damage. Those "lucky" enough to survive and continue to "live" would face the possibility that pregnant women carrying fetuses with radiation poisoning would produce deformed babies and render their futures with pain, suffering and horror beyond words...People in Japan, after the atomic explosions in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, suffered for decades, and possibly still do today, psychologically and physically.

Today's nuclear weapons (bombs) are actually much more powerful.

Too the fallout from hundreds of atomic tests over islands and lands in the Pacific, and the affects of underground testing, we see incredible damage to all life forms - which can never be healed or forgiven. Fortunately today there is a resurgence of demands for nuclear disarmament in many countries and by many agencies calling for talks and extended or new agreements to reduce and eliminate nuclear weapons. Europe is leading the way on nuclear reductions and non-proliferation efforts.

The thinking the last few weeks of Obama, Biden, Clinton, and Burns, seems to be about taking the middle ground of moderation and accomodation towards Russia.

This approach is progressive in that it differs from that of the standoff policies of the Bush and Cheney Administration, even antagonistic towards Russia, and opens up possibilities for dialogue and negotiations on Missile Defense, Nuclear Non-Proliferation and other important matters, which too affect Europe and it's security in the region.

Still the U.S. and Russia are sidestepping the real need we have for a chance at long-term peaceful developments; that of reductions and disarmament of the military, that of abandoning the concept and development of missile defense itself in the region.

By pulling back now, before further tensions mount, the U.S. and Russia would be sending a new and progressive message of the desire for world peace through disarmament and diplomacy, and all that it embodies for the future.

6.U.S. Government's New Directions and Resources for Diplomacy

Certainly the Obama administration is creating a more humane perspective by calling for greater cooperation with other nations in order to foster more diplomacy and problem solving. At the same time, however, this mindset of maintaining reliance on the military and the MIC to resolve major issues and concerns in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Asia is disconcerting. We have the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, and those few associates who venture out "in the field" and talk with people in foreign lands. Two envoys, George Mitchell and Richard Halbrooke have been assigned to the Middle East and Asia in order to appraise the situations in those countries and to foster diplomacy.

Talks might proceed even better if more envoys were assigned and who worked with small teams, experienced peacemakers, in their daily meetings and negotiations abroad. They could draw from a vast group of 27,000 employees in the Department of State and from some of the non-profit groups who have been to foreign countries over the years working in situations calling for diplomacy and negotiations. These groups could offer training courses and instruction to DOS staff. If we compare the few diplomats in the field to over 200,000 troops in foreign lands we can see why there is so much war in the world and so little peace! We are just not paying enough attention to learning ways to foster reconciliation between nations having difficulties.

7..U.S. War Mentality

The U.S. has developed a mindset for war. We have been conditioned to think and act in aggressive and violent ways in order to achieve our objectives; many of which have been based on false and deceptive reasonings, yet winning over the cooperation of the corporate media, and the rather dim witted consciousness of the American public, myself included. Most of us have been deceived over the years into believing in the American dream and ways of doing things using our military might to subdue the "enemy" and conquer our foes in order to perpetuate democracy in the world - the best system according to U.S. political pundits, both conservative and liberal.. Can the best system be one that spends more money on it's military than all of the other countries in the world combined?

Congress has let us down again and again by appropriating billions of dollars for the war in Iraq and untold trillions of dollars for the entire war making/defense effort worldwide. Looking over some of the procurements (purchases) by the Pentagon I have been astounded about the vast range of military arms and equipment, technologies and instrumentations ordered from 100's of U.S. companies, items from guns and artillary to landmines and cluster bombs to missiles and nuclear bombs and satallites and 'weaponry' in Space...Reading Joel Andreas's, Addicted to War, 2004 ( one sees the continuity of reasoning leading to war making throughout American politics and
military development over the years. There is not another nation on earth, in my imagination, with any history nearly so violent or destructive to civilization in the 20th century and in this one already. The continuation of U.S. military policies makes me sick and fearful for humanity.

8. The al-Queda and Terrorism Dilemma

To settle with al-Queda and other 'terrorists' may be another story as we rarely even hear of any dialogue with their leaders, We need to study and learn of the conditions which have led to those men and women choosing to become terrorists and militants, believing that killing the enemy is somehow justified, the right thing to do, in the eyes of God. Long-term programs to help these people advance from poverty into a manageable lifestyle, with jobs, decent hygiene, and opportunities for education and feeling pride in themselves and their cultures.
Something has been lost in their upbringing and cultures about positive ideals and values and treating themselves and others with fairness and respect. Much better living conditions and education would help them develop a healtier societies and stop joining movements that foster violence and revenge. Many nations need to help in this effort including the United Nations, the U.S., the European Union and Saudi Arabia and the other wealthy Middle East countries.

9.More About the Need to Abandon the Missile Defense System

The present administration has failed to heed the reasoning and testimony of experts and professional people who have testified in Congressional Hearings, in the House and Senate in 2008. Their evidence about the missile defense system was so detrimental that the committees decided not to continue funding the system in Eastern Europe for fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 2009 . Too, the haphazard planning by the adminstration of George Bush - demanding the system be made and sold without adequate testing or proven results - was revealed in reports. This method of 'fielding' a completed missile system before it proved itself was seen as a shortcoming and continues to be in effect at this time. I wonder if the new administration is even aware of this method of carrying on such a complex defense program that so lacks proven succes or is cost effective.

Additionally ample information given through congressional testimonies , think tank reports, non-governmental reports , articles in the press and individual writings on the Internet, letters and petitions from the U.S. and mass protests from Europe; this vast compendium of testimony against the MDS in Europe could have been convincing to the President to such an extent that would have engendered a real change in policy given forth , the system cancelled and a whole new atmosphere of goodwill and cooperation ushered in among the many concerned countries and peoples in Eastern Europe, Europe and the region.

Sadly all of this work and effort by so many peace-hearted people has been either ignored, set aside or refuted for the sake of a "concession" that brings us into a favorable alliance with Russia but at the cost of fostering continued military buildup via another MDS and the lost opportunity of changing course and fostering diplomacy and disarmament as a victory for peace in the region.
The U.S. Missile Defense System Program, run by the Missile Defense Agency and the Pentagon, is expanding by now selling its' missile-radar systems to other countries. The U.S. is actually selling this bogus product and making claims to it's effectiveness, called deterrent, to other naive leaders and nations trying to protect themselves from a missile attack. The missile defense systems now in Israel and planned for India, the United Arab Imigrates, Taiwan and other countries will not be able to stop an incoming attack by more than one missile.

The making and selling of weapons of destruction, both for offense and defense, for profits sakes, is disgraceful and needs to be considered by the world community as undesirable and unwanted, even forbidden by law; as the Arms Trade Treaty now in the United Nations; and as the various non-proliferation agreements and treaties about nuclear weapons tries to accomplish as well. It would be best to outlaw (ban) the making of missile defense systems in the U.S. and other countries. We could call for Congressional hearings to consider evidence for doing so as well as the Disarmament Agency of the United Nations to take up the issue, investigate and render reports, and give forth their recommendations to the United Nations Security Council or whereever it is appropriate within the UN.

10.Taking the High Road of Disarmament and Diplomacy Ahead

Let us consider calling upon President Obama to not only advocate for an end to nuclear weapons but to also advocate for an end to ballistic missiles (carrying nuclear or conventional bombs) and the missile defense systems which are made to destroy and attack them. Disarm them all, as soon as possible, makes sense if we want a safe and secure world. Greatly increase diplomatic efforts by our large Department of State and peacemaking non-governmental groups like the Carter Center, the American Friends Service Committee, Amnesty International, World Watch and other advocasy groups who have gone into foreign lands and helped foster peaceful developments for many years and have the experience to help and could foster training others as well.

Disarmament and peacemaking groups unite and work together utilizing your resources to work for success together instead of sticking to your own efforts and fund raising concerns. For whatever reasons we've missed the boat on managing a U.S. ban on Landmines, Cluster Bombs, Arms Trade Treaty, and Missile Defense Systems and need to mobilize on nuclear reductions, non-proliferations and reduction of military bases worldwide. (conference in Washington from Feb.27-Mar.2) ..we need to take more seriously what our politicians and militarists are thinking and saying these days (note meeting in Washington on Tuesday, February 24, by Rep. Barney Frank on reducing the military budget - find ways of lobbying them to consider the path of disarmament and supporting those efforts thus giving peace a chance.

Let us challange this effort to continue the MDS in Europe and elsewhere and any other MDS sales to other nations. There is plenty of evidence these systems won't work,and will cost us a fortune, upwards of $10 billion a year and an overall cost of over $150 billion since the inception of President Reagan's 'Star Wars' in 1973.

Given the vastly expanded military industrial complex buildup in the United States and worldwide and the financial collapse in the United States and around the world we need all the resources we can manage to be freed up for progressive programs in the U.S. and abroad.. Reducing the Military Budget, the Missile Defense System Program , would be a very progressive development fostering worldwide respect and appreciation by millions of people sensing a chance, a real opportunity, to make advances for diplomacy and peace in the future.
The case against the missile defence system is a strong one, both here in the U.S.and in Eastern Europe...(see articles and videos)
Article: A Case Against the Missile Defense System in Europe by Arn Specter
a long researched article excerpting published opinions and quotes from people
in the media and field of military activity.
Includes 21 Reasons Against the Missile Defense System offers a series of good articles opposing the missile defense system, points of view from Europe, the Czech Republic and the U.S.
Group of 3 articles by arn specter on missiles and nuclear disarmament
Article: The Need to Stop the Current Arms Buildup by arn specter
Great Website from Europe/the Czech Republic, Videos, Petition, Articles (video)
Good 8 min. Speech by Mr. Jan Tamas, Czech Republic, 2007,
Global Network
Arn Specter, P.O. Box 5857, Phila. Pa. 19128
(215) 843- 1850, Arn's News

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