Total Worldwide Disarmament: Security Must Be for All Countries

Part 4: Enabling the Wars of Empire

Read Parts 1, 2, and 3.

A new consciousness is developing which sees the earth as a single organism and recognizes that an organism at war with itself is doomed. We are one planet. One of the great revelations of the age of space exploration is the image of the earth finite and lonely, somehow vulnerable, bearing the entire human species through the oceans of space and time.

— Carl Sagan, Cosmos, 1980

All people opposed to war must be anti-imperialist. To not be anti-imperialist would render a declared antiwar position as a contradiction.

Scott Ritter, steeped in military knowledge, has compellingly put forth the legal argument that Russia’s special military operation against the Ukrainian forces is legal. Ritter contends that the Russians are fighting the war with kid gloves, bending over backwards to limit civilian casualties. Ritter has gravitas since he was a US Marines intelligence officer and UN weapons inspector. Said Ritter,

… the military imperative, the military necessity of shutting this [conflict] down is real, but Russia didn’t do it. Why? Because Russia isn’t viewing this as we viewed the war against the Iraqis. Russia is viewing this as a special military operation — people make fun of that word — but it’s not war because if it was war, Ukraine would be gone today, eliminated… [view from 49:16]

To Rid the World of Warmaking, Target the Apex of Warmaking

If one truly wants to rid the world of war, one needs to target the warmaker, the aggressor, the initiator of violence: the United States. The violence of the US even gave pause to the pacifist sentiments of Martin Luther King, Jr who said:

… I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today — my own government.

Noted linguist Noam Chomsky ridiculed the Orwellian notion of a defense department in the US:

… the Pentagon is in no sense a defense department. It has never defended the United States from anyone: it has only served to conduct aggression, and I think the American people would be better off without a Pentagon.

The world would be better off without a Pentagon. To rid the world of war, as the preeminent superpower and rogue nation, the US has the moral obligation to seek a worldwide demilitarization. This will require full transparency verified through monitoring and compliance enforced by an independent and empowered body. After that, those entities and individuals responsible for US aggression and other war crimes should stand trial and be prosecuted, as should all responsible individuals in all nations that perpetrate war crimes.

Of Course, War Should be Abolished

Most people will distinguish between offensive warmaking and warring in self-defense. To draw an equivalency in criticism between an aggressor and and a war of resistance to attack is, palpably, wrongheaded. Worse, it provides succor to the aggressor since it fares no worse than its targeted enemy. Thus, a principled antiwar position would abjure scapegoating and falsely assessing equivalency in blame to a country that only seeks mutual security yet finds itself cornered by a hegemon. As T.P. Wilkinson compellingly argued:

… the claim that Russia should not have violated Ukrainian sovereignty is based on the erroneous belief that Ukraine was invaded. This assertion is based on ignorance. Quite aside from the international-law issues posed by the sovereign claims of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR), and hence whether they could exert sovereign rights to conclude treaties and hence invite military aid, there is the long-standing original threat and active aggression of NATO in and through Ukraine’s governments. The recognition of sovereignty does not outweigh the right of self-defense.

Prominent antiwar activist David Swanson wrote, “But unless we get back to disarmament, the long-term prospects for humanity are grim.

I agree with Swanson’s assessment. As for disarmament, that is what Russia is carrying out right now in Ukraine. Weapons companies won’t be happy about that. However, it is high time that the Kellogg-Briand Pact be adhered to.

Swanson continues, “Of course, NATO and everyone else have always wanted a neutral Ukraine, so this shouldn’t be such a huge hurdle.”

This is puzzling. If NATO had wanted a neutral Ukraine all along, then why did NATO say yes to future Ukraine membership, albeit without specifying a date for joining? NATO even recognized Ukraine as an “enhanced opportunity partner.” Moreover, if the US-financed military biological program in Ukraine becomes verified, then it puts an emphatic kibosh to any talk of NATO having wanted a neutral Ukraine.

Regarding the Russian demands, Swanson writes, “Of course, it is a horrible precedent to meet the demands of a warmaker.”

But Ukraine is also a “warmaker” according to Swanson’s definition because it also wages war with Russia. Question: Did Swanson ever call Ukraine a “warmaker” back in 2014 for shelling Donbass? And just who made the war in Ukraine? Why did Russia “invade” Ukraine? Was it not Ukraine’s shelling of Donbass that precipitated an exodus of ethnic Russians into Russia and Ukraine’s refusal to abide by the Minsk Agreements that caused Russia, exasperated at the infidelity of its negotiating partners, to recognize the independence of the Donetsk and Lugansk republics? Was it not Ukraine that made war — specifically, that was the initiator of making war? Was Ukraine not undermining Russian state security by seeking NATO membership and being loaded up with NATO weaponry? Ukraine became a proxy of the US. In actuality, the initiator of warmaking is not Ukraine but the US. Swanson has failed to point this out.

And why does a wide swath of antiwar types focus inordinately on Russia in Ukraine? Israel (an occupier of historical Palestine) has been aggressing Palestine, Syria, Iran, Lebanon for several years. The US is occupying a large chunk of Syria and stealing its oil and wheat. The US military refuses to remove its military from Iraq although ordered to do so by the Iraqi parliament — in essence, a de facto military occupation. Meanwhile the continental US sits in occupation of Indigenous nations territory, in occupation of Hawai’i, Puerto Rico, Guantánamo Bay, Guam, Saipan, the ethnically cleansed Chagos archipelago. How do Israel and the US escape sanctions and continual censure for their warmaking?

Yet, by “invading” Ukraine, Russia is poised to very quickly become a war-ender. The timetable for the war from the Russian side is undisclosed, but it appears Russia has been proceeding slowly to ensure minimal civilian casualties. This is not a prediction, however, with Ukraine becoming militarily depleted, it is not out of the question that by summer Russia will have ended a war that has raged since 2014 between Ukraine and Donbass.

Swanson’s final paragraph reads: “One way to negotiate peace would be for Ukraine to offer to meet all of Russia’s demands and, ideally, more, while making demands of its own for reparations and disarmament. If the war goes on and ends someday with a Ukrainian government and a human species still around, such negotiations will have to happen. Why not now?”

Fine, peace now would be great. But what is the reasoning behind Swanson’s demand that Russia should pay for reparations and disarmament to Ukraine? Will Swanson also demand that Ukraine pay reparations to Donbass? Will Ukraine pay reparations to Russia for dragging it into the mess it created at the behest of the US?

If Ukraine should be demanding reparations, then it should be demanding them from US-NATO that in an abjectly cowardly manner abandoned (and thank goodness it did) its prospective NATO member to face Russia alone. And Swanson would do well to argue that the US-NATO pay reparations to Ukraine, Donbass, and Russia. And then the US should be demanded to pay reparations to a historical list of countries that it has criminally devastated.

Nonetheless, I find it strange that the US warmaker extraordinaire and a neo-Nazi-infiltrated Ukraine are glanced over while blame is laid on Russia.

Although I may dissent on the facts and logic proffered on the warring, I am unequivocally in solidarity with worldwide disarmament and ending war forever. That day, unfortunately, has not arrived yet.

A Principled Antiwar Coalition

The United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC) appears to have reached a principled antiwar position. I posed some questions based on their statement of Principles:

Kim Petersen: “UNAC holds that the U.S. government…” From this I understand that the US military-industrial-governmental-etc nexus is the primary obstacle to a world without war. Is this correct?

UNAC: Yes, the US government is the main imperialist power in the world and the main cause of war. It has about 20 times the number of foreign military bases as all other countries in the world and has a military budget that represents about 45% of the total military budget of all other countries. It has militarily intervened in other countries over 65 times in the past several decades. It is the only country that has used nuclear weapons on people.

KP: “We support the right of all oppressed peoples, including colonized and formerly colonized countries, to determine their own road to liberation.” Does this grant the oppressed peoples the right to violently resist (at least equivalent to) the violence of oppression to liberate themselves?

UNAC: Yes, the countries that the US has attacked and provoked have the right to defend themselves against US/NATO military aggression. The problem is that the US military has been much stronger than the countries it attracted until now.  This time, however, Russia is winning the proxy war against the combined might of the US-NATO and countries around the world are seeing that the “West” can be defeated. Even with its strong military, the people of Vietnam and Afghanistan were about to defeat the US military. Today to avoid the people of the US turning against their wars, they conduct proxy wars where others fight the battles. This was true in Libya, Syria and now they are showing their willingness to fight the war in Ukraine to the last Ukrainian.

KP: Since UNAC supports “Mutual self-defense” how does UNAC view the denial of mutual security sought by Russia as justification to gain security through a special military operation?

UNAC: The denial of Russian security was a deliberate strategy on the part of the US to provoke the war we are seeing today. The US thought that the war and the sanctions would cause regime change and the break-up of Russia. It is proving to be a mistake. The US provoked them by moving NATO up to their border, despite pledges not to do so. They have conducted “war games” on the Russian border and put nuclear capable missiles close to their borders. They created a coup in Ukraine to get rid of a government that wanted good relations with its neighbor and built the Ukraine military to the strongest in Europe. They trained them, armed them, gave them logistic support and paid for their military, all to try and defeat the Russian military. The US has never been interested in stability in the region or in Russian security. This has led to the war in Ukraine.

If there is a warmaker or warmakers, then there must be a war-ender or war-enders. If by resisting a warmaker that one ends a war, then that should be, if not applauded, then, at least, tolerated by antiwar types. This holds especially true in the case of serial warmakers like the US. They say the bigger they are, the harder they fall. It appears that the US warmaking colossus is tottering toward an ungraceful fall in Ukraine. If so, then the peacemakers worldwide can breathe easier.

The Antiwar Costa Rican Example

In 1946, the pacifist physicist Albert Einstein wrote in a letter: “You cannot simultaneously prevent and prepare for war. The very prevention of war requires more faith, courage and resolution than are needed to prepare for war. We must all do our share, that we may be equal to the task of peace.”

In 1949, the Central American country of Costa Rica courageously embraced the logic expressed by Einstein. Costa Rica set the example for other genuinely antiwar countries to follow when it abolished its army.

Worldwide disarmament is required. This will, undoubtedly, be a most difficult fight — dismantling the military-industrial complex in the US and disassembling other militaries abroad. Yet peace would be the glorious reward for people everywhere. Imagine what could be achieved with military spending redirected to job creation, healthcare, education, infrastructure construction and maintenance, social security, environmental protection and enhancement, space exploration, a living wage, etc. Is a perpetual state of spending on killing really what people should accept from their governments?

Kim Petersen is an independent writer. He can be emailed at: kimohp at Read other articles by Kim.