A New Day Shines – The Tower, April 9 2010
In the period of hope for change that ensued after Obama’s election victory and inauguration the man seemed visionary and altogether worthy of accolades because of the new order he envisioned. At least according to the Nobel Peace Prize committee who award the Prize to Obama last October.
Leave aside the statement bestowing Obama with such an honor made about the value of the Peace Prize itself or the qualifications of the committee choosing the recipient. Leave aside the fact that, ironically, a sitting wartime government executive who orchestrates daily military policies in absolute opposition to seeking peace won it. Instead focus on how deceived the Nobel committee and many more have been by the Obama administration on its promises to promote peace.
One of the foremost explanations given as a reason for awarding Obama with the Nobel was his perceived commitment to stemming nuclear proliferation. One needs to only look at recent news to discover the fallacies the administration has promoted on this issue. While Obama moved to make superficial changes to America’s nuclear posturing, the caveats and exceptions abound and the reality is that nuclear spending in the War Department’s budget has increased again.
Any reforms remain a distant dream when it comes to nuclear weaponry around the world. Britain, China, and Russia are all modernizing their strategic nuclear weapon arsenals and pariah states such as Iran and North Korea continue to pursue the technology. While it seems right to criticize each of America’s allies and foes alike, be mindful that all of these countries are merely following long-standing American precedents.
The U.S. is the only country to ever use such technology during wartime and for over half a century it has remained a massive arsenal causing other countries to pursue their own weapons out of a concern for protection and posturing. Blame lies with the governments and peoples of other nations, but as American citizens we must take a deep look at our own responsibility.
We bear the blood of the Japanese victims in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, of the many researches and workers who died of disease caused by their work on these horrific weapons, and of the millions who died because our money was used for warmaking and not social services.
However, contemplating the world we want to leave our children presents us with an opportunity, a grand opportunity. Instead of making false revocable promises, it is time for the U.S. government, specifically the Obama administration, to get serious about meaningful reform. Since the 1940’s America has lead other naitons in callously working for our destruction, perhaps now it is time to take the lead in working for life and a future without nuclear weaponry.
The fallacy that nuclear deterrence works must be overcome. “The only genuine power which eschatological [nuclear] weapons have for man is the power to provoke in him a complete re-examination of the nature of power itself,” writes James Douglass. There is a new type of power in the nuclear age that supersedes the power to destroy humanity thousands of times over.
It is the power that says no more to the ever-close holocaust posed by nuclear weapons. It is the power that says no to wild spending that deprives out schools and social services of much needed funds. It is the power of love that prohibits the taking of human life, especially in the genocidal capabilities that nuclear weapons seek to inflict.
The time has come for the nonsensical policies of the United States and other nuclear powers to come to termination. Otherwise, as Dr. Martin Luther Kin, Jr. said, “The choice is no longer violence or nonviolence. It is nonviolence or nonexistence.”