Fight for Promised Peace Dividend

Interview with author John Rachel

Ron Ridenour: You wrote the book, The Peace Dividend: the most controversial proposal in the history of the world, (Lulu Publishing). What is the basic idea of this project?

John Rachel:  In 1992 with the collapse of the Soviet Union, the citizens of the United States and the world were promised the arrival of a new era of peace and prosperity. The Cold War was over. Much of the money spent in the military standoff with the Soviets, and the preparation for a cataclysmic war, would now be diverted to peaceful ends. This massive reordering of our priorities and the windfall which would result was called the peace dividend. It never arrived.

That same year, Paul Wolfowitz , then Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, stated:

Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere, that poses a threat on the order of that posed formerly by the Soviet Union.  This is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power.

The Wolfowitz Doctrine is paralleled by the geo-political analysis of Zbigniew Brzezinski, National Security Advisor under President Jimmy Carter. Brezezinski’s doctrine was codified in his landmark book The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy And Its Geostrategic Imperatives, a comprehensive theoretical framework rationalizing U.S. supremacy and world domination.

Here is a key passage outlining where the application of American power is paramount:

How America ‘manages’ Eurasia is critical. A power that dominates Eurasia would control two of the world’s three most advanced and economically productive regions. A mere glance at the map also suggests that control over Eurasia would almost automatically entail Africa’s subordination, rendering the Western Hemisphere and Oceania geopolitically peripheral to the world’s central continent.

These unapologetic and unambiguous behests for U.S. World Empire are now official and unchallenged policy. It presumes the U.S. will govern the entire planet. The unbridled arrogance advanced by Wolfowitz is now aggressively promoted by neoconservatives – ‘neocons’ – who at present completely control the policymaking machinery of the U.S. government, meaning the Executive Branch and Congress. [Ridenour: The liberals or neo-liberals in the Democratic Party and their allies, the alleged “progressive” cohorts, have adopted this war policy as well.]

“Cooperation”, “coexistence”, “peace”, “respect for the interests of other nations” all are intentionally absent from the operative lexicon of the neocons.

We ask: Why is the world in such turmoil? Why do we have so many enemies? Why is peace now viewed as the stuff of pipe-dreams? The answer to these and related questions is quite simple: almost every current policy decision is an implementation of the neocon divide-and-conquer strategy and agenda. What this means is that the creation of chaos, division, antagonism, confrontation across the globe is quite intentional and specifically engineered to keep any potential challengers to U.S. hegemony weak and ineffective.

This is not just dangerous – probably suicidal – but grotesquely wasteful. Massive federal spending is literally going up in smoke. It’s bombs, bombs, and more bombs. The National Defense Strategy also calls for the relentless, unquestioned, unchecked, completely unwarranted intimidation of Russia and China. Such planning raises the specter of annihilation of life on the planet.

The Peace Dividend Project seeks to engage a vast majority of the American public to reverse this disastrous course, and seeks redress for the enormous damage this aggressive imperial project has done to individuals, families, communities, the entire social and economic fabric of our nation.

RR: What are the finances in this project?

JR:  Trillions of dollars have been collected from taxpayers over the past 26 years – since the promise of a peace dividend – under false pretenses and then squandered. The wars fought over that two-and-a-half decades – still going on in seven countries right now – were and are based on lies. The need to expand the military is a fraud. The entire War On Terror is a con. Conservatively the total cost of this (using the government’s own deflated official figures) comes to $4.82 TRILLION. That is money that should have been put to productive, humane use.

Instead the government took our hard-earned money, blew up cities, destroyed whole countries, killed millions of innocent people (8), including 6,796 [2015 figures] of our own soldiers, created more terrorism than ever (9), and made the U.S. the pariah (10) of the world.

WE DEMAND THIS MONEY BACK! It comes to almost $15,000 per person, nearly $60,000 for a family of four. The $4.82 trillion injected back into the economy will not only provide some immediate relief to those individuals who’ve been most devastated by the fraud, but it will give a much needed boost to our consumer-driven economy, create jobs, opportunity, a new start for those who’ve been held back by the wanton deception and theft. The injection of that huge sum of money into the nation’s cash stream will also mean increased tax revenues for our use.

The war industry will take a temporary hit, but it can be retooled to put all those superb engineering and manufacturing resources to work on our infrastructure, solving the problems of climate change, and creating a sustainably-functioning eco-friendly economy and society. Lots of work, but they’ll just have to start working on green projects instead of nuclear weapons and hypersonic missiles.

This is doable. The $4.82 trillion is refundable over three years, about $1.6 trillion per year. That’s only 8.25% of our GDP. Of course, since it’s about 36.3% of our federal budget, the budget will have to be dramatically restructured. The Peace Dividend plan is designed to completely change the course of the nation and how governments do business. The Peace Dividend Project includes a detailed plan (11) for doing just that. It’s much easier than most might think. About as easy as the $16.8 trillion bailout of banks all over the world (12) rationalized by the 2008 financial meltdown.

RR:  What are the conditions necessary for this project to work?

JR:  There must be . . .

  • Sufficient numbers of people oppressed and exploited, producing …
  • Non-negotiable demands for redressing the injustice and abuse, coupled with …
  • An effective mechanism or path for removing the oppressors from power.

Two of those requirements (1,3) already exist, though submerged by a lot of intense propaganda and distraction. The frustration, anger, sense of being shafted by the system exists in spades. Mechanisms are also there. The conditions are ripe. We just need to organize and act.

What has been lacking is the second item, a coherent, cogent “ultimate ultimatum”, setting the U.S. on a completely different trajectory, one that would eliminate the horrible suffering of war, and the onerous price citizens now pay for instable military adventurism. Refusal to fulfill the demand will result in a massive insurrection in one form or another.

RR: How do you expect to reach all the pertinent candidates for national office?

JR: There already are many who want to run for office on a peace platform. This last election, we got 110 candidates  to sign the Contract For American Renewal.

The success of the Peace Dividend electoral strategy depends on inaugurating a firestorm of public outrage over the theft of our tax dollars under false pretenses and used to prosecute fraudulent wars with exorbitantly expensive military junk for profit. When “We want our money back!” becomes viral, truly progressive politicians who want to work for a peaceful future will run under the Peace Dividend banner. Why? Because it is right, and it will guarantee victory for decent politicians who have been locked out by the warmongering establishment – both political parties, the media, the Deep State (Pentagon and CIA). The key is public awareness and outrage, a public unified by the Peace Dividend concept.

RR: How can this project really be implemented?

JR: 1)  Every peace and progressive organization could make the Peace Dividend concept a centerpiece of their publications, public appearances, protests, rallies, every effort to message the public. This doesn’t mean they abandon what they now do. It means that the Peace Dividend is given equal billing. This project is completely compatible with and relevant to, for example: Black Lives Matter, Fight For 15, End Citizens United, immigration reform, even free university and college. Endless war destroys prospects for ending corruption and having a functioning, representative democracy. Peace organizations should especially get involved (such as): World Without War, Black Alliance For Peace, Code Pink, Black Agenda Report, Popular Resistance, US Labor Against The War, Veterans For Peace, War Resisters League, the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, Peace Action.

2)  High-profile “progressive” elected politicians must be convinced that promoting the Peace Dividend concept is in their own and everyone’s best interest. It will unify efforts for a more just, humane, peaceful world under one “peace progressive” banner. Public figures who are not in elected office and who have spoken out on behalf of peace are easier to identify: Robert Scheer, Chris Hedges, Ralph Nader, Noam Chomsky, Tom Engelhardt, Glen Ford, Cynthia McKinney, Amy Goodman, Dennis Kucinich, Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese, Medea Benjamin, Jill Stein, Ajamu Baraka, Paul Street, Abby Martin, Jimmy Dore, Oliver Stone, Ray McGovern, John Wight, Finian Cunningham, David Swanson, Gareth Porter, Henry Giroux, Paul Craig Roberts, Lee Camp, Cornell West, Richard Wolff, Ann Wright, Ron Paul, Jessie Ventura, Cindy Sheehan, Ron Kovic…

RR: What do you say to critics who reject the idea as “impossible” or “pie in the sky”?

JR: 1)  Something is impossible until it’s not. Human flight, artificial intelligence, a mentally-compromised, corrupt reality show TV celebrity as the President of the United States, come immediately to mind. All impossible. Laughable. Until they weren’t.

2)  What’s truly “pie in the sky” is thinking that the people who directly and enormously profit from war will listen to our pretty please appeals for a kinder, gentler world. These folks only care about money and power. We’re all collateral damage to the empire builders. Peace activists say many of the right things. But the people who need to listen and act – those who make the decisions about war and peace – are not listening. So we have to replace the puppet decision-makers with ones who will listen to everyday citizens and then work for us.

RR: What do you say to peace groups that are active in various projects and think they don’t have time or energy for another?

JR: Current strategies for ending war and promoting peace are not working. We are going backwards. We have more war, greater prospects for yet more war, massive militarization of our society and economy. We need different arguments.

The logic of the Peace Dividend refund is so basic and visceral it can’t be distorted. “You’ve been conned! OUR money has been stolen to fight fraudulent wars. WE deserve a refund!” And as we struggle for that reparation, the insane war system can be stopped in its tracks.

The public is frustrated, unhappy, and many are desperate. They know the government and mass media lie; that the system is rigged. The public is ripe for our calling out the fraud. Many voted for Trump, because he said a lot of the things on the campaign trail they wanted. Yet their trust was once again misplaced. They don’t want traditional answers. That is the beauty of the Peace Dividend idea. It’s fresh! It could start a peace “buzz” in the public! It could even make headlines, which our current peace efforts do not.

RR:  Let’s say hypothetically that you get a candidate contract, that you get enough congressional votes for the peace dividend. You still have the president veto.

JR:  1)  Think back to your high school civics class: Congress can impeach the President, but the President can’t impeach Congress.

2)  A movement of this scale must include the election of a peace-friendly, or better yet a Peace Dividend Refund-committed president.

RR: Let’s say you get the president to sign the dividend contract, you still have a capitalist system with a military empire fortress. You say you want real reform and peace. Why do you think The Establishment is going to let you (the majority) get away with that?

JR: Demanding the Peace Dividend refund and reform agenda is the mechanism by which we truly drain the Washington DC swamp. The new legislators and new president will be bound by contract to put into law the Peace Dividend refund. This will require further legislation, which will completely reorient national priorities. The plan impacts taxation and tax sheltering, subsidies, DoD allocations and war, control of the currency, foreign policy, Wall Street. The weapons industry and corporate autocrats—the ruling elite—will have to abide by these new laws unless they decide to unleash a military attack (public or private). That would be a military coup and would lead to a civil war. While certainly a possibility, that tragic turn of events is beyond the scope of this discussion.

While enacting the Peace Dividend agenda, the way government does business and our dealings with the rest of the international community would be revolutionized such that the real challenges necessary for the continuation of the human race as a viable species could begin to be solved:

1)  Nuclear war and the resulting nuclear winter threatens the survival of the human species.

2)  Climate change threatens civilization and human extinction.

3)  Wealth inequality creates massive suffering and social instability.

4)  Capitalism is an intrinsically flawed, self-destructive, oppressive economic system.

I know the Peace Dividend proposal is an outrageous, unprecedented, completely outside-the-box idea. That is entirely intentional. We must be audacious and uncompromising. We are confronting a ruthless ruling elite enemy that confers us no dignity, literally no place of importance in a world they believe is exclusively theirs to do as they see fit. So the choices are clear:

1)  Either it is the Peace Dividend or some equally outrageous assault on the system or . . .

2)  It is a bloody revolution that will destroy the country or . . .

3)  We live as slaves to suffer and die under the tyranny of perpetual war and capitalist exploitation.

We need to choose and we need to choose quickly. Time is running out.

• John Rachel has a B. A. in Philosophy, has traveled extensively, is a songwriter, music producer, neo-Marxist, and a bipolar humanist. He has written eight novels and three political non-fiction books. His most recent polemic is The Peace Dividend: The Most Controversial Proposal in the History of the World. His political articles have appeared at many alternative media outlets. He is now somewhat rooted in a small traditional farming village in Japan near Osaka, where he proudly tends his small but promising vegetable garden. “Scribo ergo sum.”

Ron Ridenour is an anti-war activist and author of eleven books. His latest is The Russian Peace Threat: Pentagon on Alert, Punto Press. Read other articles by Ron, or visit Ron's website.