United States: 60+ Faith Groups Urge Congress to ‘Dramatically’ Slash Pentagon Budget


An article by Jake Johnson in Common Dreams (licensed under Creative Commons CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).

More than 60 faith-based organizations on Tuesday urged the U.S. Congress to impose major cuts on the bloated military budget as President Joe Biden pushes for a nearly $30 billion increase and Republicans demand even bigger spending hike.

“The country is sprinting towards a trillion-dollar budget for weapons and war—propping up an expensive and harmful militarized foreign policy while people struggle to meet their basic needs,” reads a new letter to members of Congress signed by U.S., international, and state and local groups including the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), Unitarian Universalists for Social Justice, Hindus for Human Rights, and dozens of others.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley arrives at a news briefing at the Pentagon on May 23, 2022 in Arlington, Virginia. (Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

“We cannot continue down this morally bankrupt path,” the letter continues. “We urge members of Congress to dramatically cut militarized spending in the fiscal year 2024 budget—both to facilitate reinvestment in the well-being of our communities, and to curtail the harms of our militarized foreign policy.”

The groups’ principled stand against devoting further resources to the U.S. military—and specifically to the Pentagon, an agency that recently failed its fifth consecutive audit —comes days after Biden requested an $886 billion military budget for the upcoming fiscal year, with $842 billion of that total earmarked for the Department of Defense.

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Question related to this article:

Does military spending lead to economic decline and collapse?

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Tori Bateman, the policy advocacy coordinator at AFSC, said Tuesday that “we know that there is enormous waste, fraud, and abuse at the Pentagon—and that spending exorbitant amounts of money on weapons and war takes away from the funding our communities receive for things like healthcare and housing.”

“This year, we need Congress to commit to cutting Pentagon spending, and maintaining a robust level of spending on human needs programs,” Bateman added.

But that demand is likely to be ignored in a Congress that agrees each year—on a bipartisan basis and with relatively little pushback —to increase the U.S. military budget, often by tens of billions more than the president’s original request. In 2022, just 78 members of the House voted for Rep. Barbara Lee’s (D-Calif.) amendment to cut the military budget by $100 billion while 350 opposed it.

In response to Biden’s budget framework, leading Republicans made clear that they would push for even more military spending, calling the president’s proposal “woefully inadequate” —even though it’s among the largest in U.S. history.

“If past experience is any guide, more than half of the new Pentagon budget will go to contractors, with the biggest share going to the top five—Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon, General Dynamics, and Northrop Grumman—to build everything from howitzers and tanks to intercontinental ballistic missiles,” William Hartung of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft noted last week. “Much of the funding for contractors will come from spending on buying, researching, and developing weapons, which accounts for $315 billion of the new budget request.”

Of the $1.7 trillion in discretionary spending that Biden has proposed for fiscal year 2024, just $584 billion is reserved for social programs, analyst Stephen Semler observed.

The anti-war group CodePink said in a statement Tuesday that while “President Biden’s overall 2024 budget does have some positive proposals like restoring the child tax credit, investing in clean energy projects, and cleaning up nuclear waste sites,” the “likelihood of passing the tax reform needed as well as the policies themselves seems very unlikely as congressional Democrats couldn’t even pass the Build Back Better legislation when they had more control in 2021.”

“What will pass—what always passes no matter who is in the White House and what majority fills the halls of Congress—is the defense budget,” the group added. “Any domestic policy being dangled to the public by the Democrats is meaningless while they still support the ever-growing and immoral defense budget.”

Egypt, Jordan, Algeria, Palestine, Arab League reiterate commitment to supporting Al Quds


An article from Egypt Today

CAIRO – 12 February 2023: Al Quds support conference kicked off on Sunday at the Cairo-based Arab League HQ with the participation of President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, Jordanian King Abdullah II, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Abul Gheit.

High-level representatives for presidents and kings of Arab League member states also attend the event alongside foreign ministers and representatives for international, regional and Arab organizations.

Al Quds is the Arabic name of Jerusalem

Spokesman for AL Secretary General Gamal Roshdi said the conference is meant to bring to limelight the Quds issue before world public opinion in view of Israel’s crimes and violations.

Al Quds Affiars Minister Fadi al-Hidmi said the conference is extraordinary, calling for a clear political Arab stand.

The conference focuses on three main axes; the political conditions in Quds, development and investment priorities in Quds and the Israeli illegal and racist measures against Quds people.

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi has reaffirmed Egypt’s firm stance towards the rejection of Israel’s measures to change the legal status of Al Quds and its sanctities.

President Sisi called on Arabs to support the Palestinian cause.

President Sisi welcomed the participants of the conference, saying that Al Quds, which hosts Al Aqsa mosque and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, is the crux of the Palestinian cause.

The president said that Egypt rejects all Israeli measures to change the historical and legal status of Al Quds and supports the Hashemite custodianship of the Holy places of the City.

President Sisi said that Egypt, more than four decades ago, stretched its hands to Israel to achieve just and durable peace that restores the rights of the Palestinian people and establishes a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders.

He said today’s gathering coincides with extraordinary circumstances threatening regional security and the concept of coexistence.

President Sisi said Israel’s unilateral measures including settlement activities, demolition of houses, confiscation of lands, expulsion of the Palestinians from their homes and attempts to Judaize Al Quds, run counter to the international legitimacy resolutions and fuel congestion.

The president appealed to the international community to work on salvaging the two-state solution plan and pave the way for the resumption of peace talks, saying that Egypt will continue its efforts to reconstruct Gaza Strip 

Sending a message to the Palestinian people, the president said that their cause will remain on the top of the priorities of Egypt and the Arabs.

Sending another message to Israel, its government and people the president said “time is ripe for peace and coexistence among the peoples of the region.”
President Abdelmadjid Tebboune of Algeria warned that the racist policies adopted by Israeli occupation authorities in Al Quds and its attempts to obliterate its Arab, Islamic and Christian identity will only achieve imaginary gains that violate legitimacy and demography.

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Question related to this article:

How can a culture of peace be established in the Middle East?

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Addressing the conference, the Algerian President reiterated condemnation of repeated Zionist attempts to impose a fait accompli through falsifying facts in the holy city.

He reiterated Algeria’s full commitment to support the right of the Palestinian people to establish their independent state within June 1967 borders with Al Quds as its capital.

He reiterated Algeria’s appreciation for the positive steps that have been achieved recently at the diplomatic level, especially the adoption of a resolution by the UN General Assembly to activate the role of the International Court of Justice in consolidating the rights of the Palestinian people.

He said Algeria will continue endeavors aiming at strengthening Palestinian national unity to materialize the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people in obtaining their freedom and restoring their sovereignty.

Also, Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Abul Gheit stressed that Arabs should enhance the steadfastness of Palestinians to preserve the Arab identity of Al Quds in face of all attempts to Judaize it.

Abul Gheit said the issue of Al Quds is at the heart of all Arabs, warning that the holy city does not only suffer from occupation but also from attempts to obliterate its identity.

Al Quds is under occupation and no one can change this fact, Abul Gheit said, warning that all attempts to Judaize the city will lead to more violence.

He underlined the importance of preserving the historical status of Al Quds so that just and comprehensive peace can be achieved, saying today’s conference aims at sending a message to the entire world on the importance of protecting the holy city from violations committed by occupation forces.

He warned of attempts to divide Al Quds and erase its Islamic identity, saying such attempts would lead to more hatred and conflicts.

He made clear that Israel is adopting a systematic approach to undermine the two-state solution, urging all peace loving powers to join efforts to settle the Palestinian issue.

King Abdullah II of Jordan has called on the international community to work on achieving the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people to establish a sovereign and viable state on the 1967 borders with Al Quds (East Jerusalem) as its capital.

Addressing Al Quds support conference, King Abdullah said the current state requires intensifying efforts to support the Palestinian people.

He said his country continued efforts to protect the Islamic and Christian holy sites in Al Quds.

The king stressed the importance of maintaining peace on the basis of the two state solution and ending Israel’s storming operation of Aqsa mosque, pointing out that the Palestinian cause will remain on Jordan’s top priorities.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said supporting Al Quds and its people is a religious duty and vital at the humanitarian and national levels. Abbas said al Quds is in need for the support of Arab and Islamic countries.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said “we will go to the United Nations for a resolution protecting the two-state solution through granting Palestine full membership.”

He called on Arab funds and associations to perform their duty in defending al Quds and protecting its identity.

Abbas voiced deep appreciation for President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s attendance of the conference, thanking Sisi and the Egyptian people for Egypt’s continued support for the Palestinian cause and the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip.

He also thanked King Abdullah II of Jordan for his support for the Palestinian cause and his efforts to protect Islamic and Christian sanctities in al Quds.

He called for putting into effect the decisions of the Arab summit that was held in Algeria last November.

Meanwhile, he lauded an initiative launched by the Qudsona Foundation and Al Quds empowerment fund and Al Quds endowment fund for mobilizing dlrs 70 million financing amid plans to up this number to dlrs 200 million within the coming five years.

Big Peace Rally in Germany: Despair and Joy


An article by Victor Grossman in World Beyond War

Despair and joy can be so close together!

In conflicts, I know, neither side can be trusted. Both sides twist and distort, magnify and minimize in support of their cause. But the daily, almost hourly pictures from Ukraine – of hardship, suffering, of death, destruction and flight, all too genuine, cause me the despair I have always felt on hearing – and worse seeing, if only on a screen – any pain inflicted on my fellow human beings, no matter what insignia they wear or flag they honor.

But I must also recoil at the hypocrisy and dishonesty which so often go unnoticed. The propaganda producers who feign despair but seek more conflict, more medals, more billions, always praise a noble cause: freedom, democracy, rule of order, and always warn of despicable enemies; Bolsheviks, anarchists, Stalinists, communist aggressors and, when these are eliminated, terrorism. When that, too, erodes, authoritarianism must serve, or “imperialism” turned upside down. A nasty “villain” is always effective, justly or not, an Iago: Lenin, Stalin, Saddam, Gaddafi, Assad, Putin.

Is hypocrisy involved? Double standards? Chinese sources, like all others, must be met with caution. But can all the charges in their Foreign Affairs Department memorandum be completely denied?

“The history of the USA is characterized by violence and expansion… After World War II, the wars either provoked or launched by the United States included the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, the Kosovo War, the War in Afghanistan, the Iraq War, the Libyan War and the Syrian War… In recent years, the U.S. average annual military budget has exceeded 700 billion U.S. dollars, accounting for 40 percent of the world’s total, more than the 15 countries behind it combined. The United States has about 800 overseas military bases, with 173,000 troops deployed in 159 countries…The United States has also adopted appalling methods in war… massive quantities of chemical and biological weapons as well as cluster bombs, fuel-air bombs, graphite bombs and depleted uranium bombs, causing enormous damage on civilian facilities, countless civilian casualties and lasting environmental pollution… Since 2001, the wars and military operations launched by the USA in the name of fighting terrorism have claimed over 900,000 lives with some 335,000 of them civilians, injured millions and displaced tens of millions.”

Did none of this deserve the opprobrium now directed at Putin? Were any flags of sympathy displayed when the people of Serbia, Iraq or Afghanistan were bombed? When drones exploded on hospitals and wedding processions – were there also calls for tribunals against Bush – or Obama?

My despair grew far more intense when I felt the menace of escalating demands, after Leopard tanks, for powerful artillery, fighter planes and boats, and not just to win back Crimea; when I read the editorials insisting on “fighting on to victory,” no matter what it costs, above all to the people of Ukraine. Or when I read the following:

“This Ukraine crisis that we’re in right now, this is just the warmup,” said Navy Adm. Charles Richard, the commander of US Strategic Command. “The big one is coming. And it isn’t going to be very long before we’re going to get tested in ways that we haven’t been tested [in] a long time.”

Adm. Richard’s threat came after the US released its new Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), which reaffirms the US doctrine on first use of nuclear weapons. The review says that the purpose of the US nuclear arsenal is to “deter strategic attacks, assure allies and partners, and achieve US objectives if deterrence fails.” What are then the US objectives in Europe, Asia – or Africa and Latin America?

Only a few lonely voices questioned them and their likely cost, but were quickly muzzled. Peace rallies, rarely attracting more than 2-3000 faithful leftists even in Berlin, were mentioned, if at all, superciliously and dismissed as ragged little remnants of the huge rallies of the 1980’s. The media kept up its routine of repeated scenes of death, flight and destruction in Ukraine (not in Yemen), combined with rousing calls for more and deadlier instruments of war – until Ukraine was fully restored and Putin defeated, humbled, possibly deposed and preferably tried and sentenced.

How then, could I find any cause for joy, any reason to smile?

Almost surprisingly, two of the best-known women in Germany overcame past differences and joined hands. Alice Schwarzer, now 80, had once, with her magazine “Emma,” been the main founder and expounder of the women’s rights movement in West Germany, including abortion rights, but had later drifted politically rightwards. Sahra Wagenknecht, 52, with an East German background, was alongside party founder Gregor Gysi the most prominent, media-wise and popular spokesperson of the LINKE, the Left, a truly brilliant orator, but who has been disavowed by most of the present reformist leaders of her party, with some of them even demanding her ouster.

This unusual duo joined to publish a manifesto calling for a cease-fire in Ukraine and urging – not tanks and armaments for the Zelenskiy government in Kyiv but pressure on both sides for peace negotiations. It warned of the consequences of more weapons – and more active participation by Germany, basically in the wake of Washington.

But what could these two women achieve against such high tidal waves? Their position, in today’s Germany, was considered purest heresy, which must quickly be exorcized.

Suddenly, the witch-doctors found this far tougher than expected – after 69 prominent Germans signed the manifesto, people originally from all the parties, popular, respected people: a former female church leader, singers, actors, the son of one-time Chancellor Willy Brandt. And then the numbers of signers grew, and grew, and grew! 50,000, 100,000 – by Saturday it had topped 650,000 and was aiming at a million!

The alarm bells rose to a deafening cacophony! The media, the politicians, sadly including many of the LINKE, they all joined in a wild attack against the manifesto and especially against Sahra.

Their attempts to disprove its arguments were less and less convincing. Could more weapons really bring Russia to its knees, forcing it to give up claims it deemed necessary to its independence – if not its survival, like keeping NATO missiles at least a minimal distance from Moscow’s doorsteps and preserving safe, unmonitored warm-water Black Sea routes to the world’s oceans? Or might bigger attacks by Ukraine-USA lead instead to desperation? All such questions are publicly taboo – like questions about who really blasted the German-Russian underwater gas pipelines, who was really throwing dangerous missiles at atomic energy plants controlled by Russian troops, or what the USA-Ukrainian biological laboratories were really researching. There were too many such questions to permit discussion; it was like opening Pandora’s box. The lid must be kept sealed!

Common lid sealers were the usual accusations of Putin-endearment, of blindness to death and destruction, denial of Kyiv’s right to territorial sovereignty and free choice of its alignments, awarding Putin territorial seizures without a fight. But none of this applied; the Manifesto made no demands on anyone – except to sit down and end the slaughter before it exploded further and irreparably.

When Sahra and Alice called for a big rally in Berlin on February 25th the fears multiplied. A counter-demonstration was organized for the 24th, the anniversary of open warfare, mostly with Ukrainians (66,000 now live in Berlin) but aimed at convincing Germans who sympathize with Ukraine and its suffering to reject any blame on the preceding NATO provocation and blame Putin alone. One effort was to transport a wrecked Russian tank to a spot next to the Russian embassy, with its big gun aimed directly at its entrance.

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Questions related to this article:
Can the peace movement help stop the war in the Ukraine?

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But the main argument against Sahra and Alice stressed the support by the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), whose anti-European Union, pro-Russian positioning led its leaders to add their names to the manifesto and announce their intention to join the peace rally. Sahra answered: “We can have nothing to do with fascists or racists, we must not permit them to raise their banners or posters. But we simply do not wish, nor or we able to exclude anyone from singly signing or attending whose heart is honestly devoted toward ending further bloodshed – or worse.”

Many in eastern Germany vote for the AfD because of anger and disappointment at hardships caused by unification and their treatment as second-class citizens. Too many are fooled into blaming “privileged foreigners.” Many are just against “those on top,” somewhat like many simpler Trump voters, they want (affordable) butter not guns, therefore distrust further involvement in the Ukraine war. Since some LINKE leaders gratefully joined in state governments they were seen, not always falsely, as “part of the Establishment,” so many LINKE voters switched to the AfD or didn’t vote at all. Such support is certainly embarrassing to Sahra and Alice, but they hope a Manifesto for Peace movement can become a healthy antidote to fascists and their deceitful initiatives.

Yet it was this issue which was played upon by both media and politicians – trying to depict the Manifesto movement as a unity: right-wing nationalists with leftist “Putin-lovers”. This method of attack has been utilized in the past to split and wreck attempts at building a broad peace movement. One might suspect that powerful groups grasp this function of the far right all too well and apply it whenever required.

Would such constant media hammering succeed? Would this peace rally end up as a pathetic flop, with a meager crowd like the Zelenskiy-friendly Ukrainian rally the evening before? Waiting for the subway, I feared to find, once again, that same small bunch of the faithful, many of them old friends.

And what did I find? On this icy-cold Saturday afternoon, with snowflakes beginning to flutter down, the subway was jammed! There was hardly room to even stand properly! And at the next station more tried to push into the car! Where were they all going?

There was no doubt about it! When I arrived at the station near the Brandenburg Gate, the site of the rally, thousands and thousands climbed out of the jammed cars, ascended and merged into the crowded streets, all headed in one direction! I too moved through the famous arch towards the big speakers’ stage – but never got to a place where I could see them. I had just barely enough room to squeeze in to a free spot. And only later did I learn from my sons that the crowd had been huge on all sides, jammed, chilly, but friendly, polite, in wonderfully high spirits at the giant turn-out, and determined in their applause, cheers, occasional boos (when war-hungry politicians were named), with occasional shouts like “No Weapons! Negotiations!”- “Make Peace not War”.

Many, perhaps most of those present, on or below the speakers’ stage, deplored and condemned the Russian invasion. But many also insisted that Kyiv’s big planned attack on the Donbas, the numerous maneuvers all around Russian ports and borders, a secret CIA intensive training program in 2015 for elite Ukrainian special operations forces, had made it unavoidable, that these were part of a trap – which Russia either fell into or was forced to fall into, as in Afghanistan in 1979.

I, too, knew of an MSNBC report on March 4, saying: “Russia’s Ukraine invasion may have been preventable: The U.S. refused to reconsider Ukraine’s NATO status as Putin threatened war. Experts say that was a huge mistake…The abundance of evidence that NATO was a sustained source of anxiety for Moscow raises the question of whether the United States’ strategic posture was not just imprudent but negligent…Senator Joe Biden knew as far back as 1997 that NATO expansion, which he supported, could eventually lead to a hostile Russian reaction.” Views on the war were far distant from those in the media!

People discussed and debated, but all I spoke to agreed that further conflict would only continue the terrible afflictions for the Ukrainians, could achieve no victories but only create giant dangers – also atomic dangers threatening the entire world.

And the neo-fascists? In media reports afterwards they were very much present, with an interview with one of their leaders somewhere on the periphery. We heard later that a few known far-rightists had indeed shown up with a banner, but a “left-wing Linke” group, at the ready, had quickly covered it over with a bigger anti-war banner and pushed the rightists – non-violently – away from the rally. I saw a few Russian and pro-Russian flags, carried, I think, by Russian-speakers, perhaps adult children of the many Russians who have moved here in recent decades. One of my sons did see a small group with nationalist flags, which could not easily be banned in that giant but always peaceful crowd, but can hardly have reached anywhere near 1%. And as for me, in all the time I spent there, or getting there and back, I saw not one rightist sign, but rather many hundreds carrying peace dove depictions or self-made anti-war slogans, happily ignoring the organizers’ request to carry no signs at all.

As Sahra and Alice commented: the Manifesto, now being signed by additional tens of thousands, and especially the rally, have frightened all those who want to continue the war, who want no negotiations, who are determined, as some say openly, “to ruin Russia” and unseat anyone like Putin who, love him or hate him, refuses, unlike Yeltsin, to take orders from abroad. Policy-makers in the American seats of power clearly want to prevent even the weak but potentially growing cooperation between Germany with its European allies and Russia or China, which had been supported by some sectors in Germany – but had now been suffocated, with the current near-total domination by those German Herren, now in modern dress, but who recall all too frighteningly the stiffly monocled, heel-clicking warriors of past generations.

Of course, détente between Western Europe, Russia and China could mean fewer billions for US frackers and fuel providers, could cut profits for weapon-makers and other hungry expanders, from Amazon, Coca-Cola and Disney to Facebook, Unilever and the other queen bees in the honeyed hives of the pharmaceutical, movie, herbicide, food and other empires. Above all, the CEOs at Lockheed, Northrup, Raytheon, at Rheinmetall, Exxon Mobil and Chevron could then no longer rub their hands quite so gleefully or buy quite so many yachts, jets or mansions.

In her speech, Sahra reiterated: “We want no German tanks firing at those Russian women and men whose great-grandparents, in millions, were inhumanly slaughtered by the German Wehrmacht.” She condemned as cynical the signing of agreements to provide armaments for years in advance and said that true solidarity meant getting engaged for peace, not war.

Of course Vladimir Putin must also be willing to make compromises, she said, Ukraine must not be turned into a Russian protectorate. But as we have since learned, negotiations were not stymied by the Russian side. Several speakers recalled that Blinken, like his predecessors, had continued to push eastward, rejecting Russian appeals and offers and a final red-line warning in December 2021 to agree on security guarantees for all sides. New revelations by Naftali Bennett, the former prime minister of Israel, indicate that negotiations between Russia and Ukraine were moving ahead in March until Boris Johnson from London and his prompters in Washington made clear that an agreement was not desired. Turkey’s Recep Erdogan, though he succeeded in achieving grain shipments, prisoner exchanges and even a safe travel guarantee for Biden’s trip to Kyiv, felt the same outside pressure against further agreement.

Sahra and Alice got cheers when they stressed that agreements are not impossible, but must be fought for – and must be wanted! There is no need for tanks but rather for diplomacy, for a readiness to find compromises. A broad new peace movement is urgently necessary – and this rally must provide an impetus.

The media and the politicians, now more frightened than ever, were unsurprisingly quick, later, to dig up a solitary rightist they could use as Exhibit A, and then to lie about the figures. After the pro-Zelenskiy rally the night before, with about 7,000, they estimated 10,000; in our peace rally they could only count up to the same 10,000 figure, when everyone else saw 30,000, 50,000, perhaps even more. Since too many had taken part who would not swallow such a nonsense figure, TV reporters shame-facedly revised it to 13,000 or, vaguely, “thousands.” These were the least nasty, distorting even insulting examples of the immense efforts – even within a fracturing LINKE – to strangle this baby in its cradle before it emulates Hercules’ swift growth in muscle!

It was in fact the biggest peace rally in many, many years, good cause for them to fear – and for me and so many I have spoken to a source of great, unaccustomed joy! So close can despair and joy occupy one’s heart!

Yurii Sheliazhenko: Peace in Ukraine: Humanity Is at Stake


A speech by Yurii Sheliazhenko published by World Beyond War

Yurii Sheliazhenko, a Board Member of World BEYOND War, gave this speech at the webinar of the International Peace Bureau “365 Days of War in Ukraine: Prospects Towards Peace in 2023” (24 February 2023)

Dear friends, greetings from Kyiv, capital of Ukraine.

We meet today on the disgusting anniversary of the beginning of a full scale Russian invasion, which brought to my country enormous killing, suffering and destruction.

All these 365 days I lived in Kyiv, under Russian bombing, sometimes without electricity, sometimes without water, as many other Ukrainians who were lucky to survive.

I heard explosions behind my windows, my home shaked from pounding of artillery in distant combat.

I was disappointed by the failures of Minsk agreements, of peace talks in Belarus and Türkiye.

I saw how Ukrainian media and public spaces became more obsessed with hatred and militarism. Even more obsessed, than previous 9 years of armed conflict, when Donetsk and Luhansk were bombed by the Ukrainian army, like Kyiv was bombed by the Russian army during last year.

I called for peace openly despite threats and insults.

I demanded ceasefire and serious peace talks, and especially insisted on the right to refuse to kill, in online spaces, in letters to Ukrainian and Russian officials, calls to civil societies, in nonviolent actions.

My friends and colleagues from the Ukrainian Pacifist Movement did the same.

Because of closed borders and cruel hunting for draftees at the streets, in transport, in hotels and even in churches — we, Ukrainian pacifists, had no choice but to call for peace directly from the battlefield! And it is not an exaggeration.

One of our members, Andrii Vyshnevetsky, was conscripted against his will and sent to the frontline. He asks for discharge on the grounds of conscience in vain because the Armed Forces of Ukraine refused to respect human right to conscientious objection to military service. It is penalized, and we already have prisoners of conscience such as Vitalii Alexeienko who said, before the police took him to prison for his refusal to kill: “I will read New Testament in Ukrainian and I will pray for God’s mercy, peace and justice for my country.”

Vitaliy is a very brave man, he so courageously went to suffer for his faith without any attempts to escape or evade prison, because clear conscience gives him a feeling of security. But such sort of believers are rare, most people think about security in pragmatic terms, and they are right.`

To feel secure, your life, health and wealth must not be in danger, and there must be no worries for family, friends and your whole habitat.

People used to think that national sovereignty with all might of armed forces protects their safety from violent intruders.

Today we hear a lot of loud words about sovereignty and territorial integrity. They are key words in the rhetoric of Kyiv and Moscow, Washington and Beijing, other capitals of Europe, Asia, Africa, America and Oceania.

President Putin wages his war of aggression to protect the sovereignty of Russia from NATO on the doorstep, the tool of U.S. hegemony.

President Zelensky asks and receives from NATO countries all sorts of deadly weapons to defeat Russia which, if not defeated, is perceived as a threat for Ukrainian sovereignty.

Mainstream media wing of military industrial complexes convince people that the enemy is non-negotiable if not crushed before negotiations.

(Continued in right column)

Questions related to this article:
Can the peace movement help stop the war in the Ukraine?

(Continued from left column)

And people believe that sovereignty protects them from war of all against all, in the words of Thomas Hobbes.

But the world of today is different from the world of Westphalian peace, and the feudal notion of sovereignty and territorial integrity don’t address brazen human rights violations committed by all sorts of sovereigns by war, by fake democratic warmongering, and by open tyranny.

How many times have you heard about sovereignty and how many times you heard about human rights?

Where we lost human rights, repeating the mantra about sovereignty and territorial integrity?

And where did we lost common sense? Because the more powerful army you have, the more fear and resentment it causes, turning friends and neutrals into enemies. And no army can avoid battle for a long time, it is eager to shed blood.

People must understand that they need nonviolent public governance, not belligerent sovereignty.

People need social and environmental harmony, not autarchic territorial integrity with militarized borders, barbed wire and gunned men waging war on migrants.

Today the blood is shedding in Ukraine. But current plans to wage the war for years and years, for decades, may turn the whole planet into a battlefield.

If Putin or Biden feel secure sitting on their nuclear stockpiles, I am scared of their security and millions of sane people are scared too.

In a rapidly polarizing world, the West decided to see security in war profiteering and fueling the war machine by arms deliveries, and the East chose to take by force what he sees as its historical territories.

Both sides have so-called peace plans to secure all they want in an extremely violent manner and then make the other side accept new power balance.

But it is not a peace plan to defeat the enemy.

It is not a peace plan to take contested land, or remove representatives of other cultures from your political life, and negotiate on conditions of acceptance of this.

Both sides apologize their warmongering behavior claiming that sovereignty is at stake.

But what I must say today: a more important thing than sovereignty is at stake today.

Our humanity is at stake.

Ability of humankind to live in peace and resolve conflicts without violence is at stake.

Peace is not eradication of the enemy, it is making friends from enemies, it is remembering of universal human brotherhood and sisterhood and universal human rights.

And we must admit that governments and rulers of the East and West are corrupted by military industrial complexes and by great power ambitions.

When governments are unable to build peace, it is on us. It is our duty, as civil societies, as peace movements.

We must advocate ceasefire and peace talks. Not only in Ukraine, but everywhere, in all endless wars.

We must uphold our right to refuse to kill, because if all people refuse to kill there will be no wars.

We must learn and teach practical methods of peaceful life, nonviolent governance and conflict management.

On examples of restorative justice and widespread replacement of litigation with mediation we see progress of nonviolent approaches to justice.

We can achieve justice without violence, as Martin Luther King said.

We must build an ecosystem of peacebuilding in all spheres of life, alternative to toxic militarized economy and politics.

This world is sick with endless wars; let’s say this truth.

This world must be healed with love, knowledge and wisdom, by rigorous planning and peace action.

Let’s heal the world together.

National March on Washington March 18 : Peace in Ukraine


From the website of United National Antiwar Coalition

​Coinciding with the 20th anniversary weekend of the criminal U.S.-invasion of Iraq a major set of actions including a demonstration at the White House in Washington, D.C. on Saturday March 18 demanding “Peace in Ukraine – Say NO to Endless U.S. Wars” and “Fund People’s Needs, Not the War Machine.”


Peace in Ukraine – No weapons, no money for the Ukraine War
Abolish NATO – End U.S. militarism & sanctions!
Fund people’s needs, not the war machine!
No war with China!
End U.S. aid to racist apartheid Israel!
Fight racism & bigotry at home, not other peoples!
U.S. hands off Haiti

Click here to help build this action

Click here to endorse the action

This action is being called by UNAC, the ANSWER Coalition, Code Pink, Black Alliance for peace and many others listed below. This is the first time in many years that then entire U.S, antiwar movement has been able to get together and build a national action. This is a very important step forward for our movement.

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Questions related to this article:
Can the peace movement help stop the war in the Ukraine?

(Continued from left column)


United National Anti-War Coalition,
ANSWER Coalition,
Black Alliance for Peace,
The People’s Forum,
World BEYOND War,
Popular Resistance,
Veterans for Peace,
International Action Center,
Party for Socialism and Liberation,
The Palestine Right to Return Coalition,
Labor Against Racism and War,
Leonard Peltier Defense Committee,
Universal African Peoples Organization,
East Bay Democratic Socialists of America,
Socialist Action,
Nevada Green Party,
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network,
Ohio Peace Council,
Green Party of Connecticut,
Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists Social Justice Committee, Environmentalists Against War,
Pacific Green Party (OR),
Linn-Benton Chapter,
Lauren Faith Smith Ministry for Nonviolence,
Maine Cumberland County Greens,
Genesee Valley Citizens for Peace,
San Jose Peace and Justice Center,
Servicio Particular Alacran,
Minnesota Peace Action Coalition,
PeaceWorks of Greater Brunswick,
UPWARD (Uniting Peace With Actions Respect and Dignity),
Socialist Party of America,
North Country Peace Group,
Workers World Party,
Roger Waters,
Bronx Antiwar Coalition,
Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space,
Chicago Anti-War Coalition,
National Immigrant Solidarity Network,
China-US Solidarity Network,
North American Climate Conservation and Environmental group,
Stop the War Machine – New Mexico,
Bethlehem Neighbors for Peace,
Odessa Solidarity Campaign,
DC Young Communist League,
Uhuru Solidarity Movement,
North American Climate Conservation and Environmental group,
Virginia Defenders for Freedom Justice & Equality…

France: Mouvement de la Paix for peace in Ukraine 24-25 February


Excerpts from the website of Mouvement de la Paix (translation by CPNN)

On the occasion of the first anniversary of the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation, let us show that there are peaceful alternatives to war. The International Peace Bureau (IPB), of which the Peace Movement is a member, calls on its members around the world to demonstrate on February 24 to 26, 2023 in favor of peace in Ukraine and in the world. .

The war has already claimed more than two hundred thousand lives (by conservative estimates). It has forced millions to flee their homes, caused widespread destruction of Ukrainian cities and strained already fragile supply chains that have made life more difficult for people around the world. .

We know that this war is unsustainable, and even worse, that it risks escalating that would threaten the lives and livelihoods of people around the world. Russia’s nuclear rhetoric in particular is irresponsible and demonstrates the vulnerability of this moment.

Furthermore, the direct and indirect impact of the war on the climate hinders the urgent need for a green transition. There is no easy solution to this war in Ukraine, but the current situation is unsustainable. Through global peace protests, we seek to pressure all parties involved in the conflict to act decisively for a ceasefire and to take steps to negotiate a long-term peace. .

Our calls for peace are not limited to Ukraine. For all conflicts in the world, we call on governments to refuse the logic of confrontation and war, to oppose nuclear danger and to commit to disarmament by signing the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TIAN).

We call on governments and states to act in favor of diplomacy, negotiation, conflict prevention and the establishment of common security systems.

We call on your support and your voices for peace. We invite you to join any existing event during this weekend of action, or plan your own initiative.

Together we are stronger and we can show that there is a global movement for alternatives to war and militarization.

Local actions on February 24 and 25, 2023

Moulins (03): Assemble Friday February 24 at 6 p.m. in front of the prefecture
Cannes (06): Assemble Friday February 24 at 6:30 p.m. in front of the SNCF station
Nice (06): Assemble Saturday February 25 at 2 p.m. Place Garibaldi
Carcassonne (11): Assemble Saturday February 25 at 11 a.m. at the Porte des Jacobins
Marseille (13): “Together for peace” rally, meeting at the Old Port at the foot of La Canebière, Saturday February 25 at 10:30 a.m. – speech before a march to the prefecture
La Rochelle (17): Assemble on February 25 at 10:30 a.m. in front of the prefecture with the CGT, the Libre Pensée, the AFPS and the Mouvement de la paix
Bourges, Vierzon (18): Saturday February 25, 2023 in Vierzon from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., Saturday market in the city center Circle of silence and peace: Saturday February 25, 2023 from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m., place Gordène in Bourges
Brive (19): Assemble Saturday February 25 at 10:30 a.m. in the Guierle gardens, in front of the tree of peace

(Continued in right column)

(Click here for the French original of this article.)

Questions related to this article:
Can the peace movement help stop the war in the Ukraine?

(Continued from left column)

Ajaccio (20): Assemble on February 24 Place Abbatucci at 6 p.m.
Dijon (21): Assemble in front of the prefecture Friday February 24 at 6 p.m., with an appointment with the prefect. And Sunday 26, in Marsannay la cote near Dijon at 6 p.m. in front of the war memorial in tribute to Lucien Dupont, resistance fighter shot on February 26, 1942, and at the request of his daughter, Christiane Dupont-Lauthelier, member of the Mouvement de la Paix , to repeat here too, our refusal of any war
Guéret (23): Assemble on February 24 at 6 p.m. in front of the town hall of Guéret
Besançon (25): Assemble on February 25, 2023 at 2 p.m. on the Place du 8 Septembre. Saint Esprit (30): Assemble Saturday, February 25 from 9:30 a.m. at the weekly market (near the Universe bar) – Pax Rhona Committee
Toulouse (31): Assemble Friday, February 24 at 5:30 p.m., Square du Capitole, in front of the Jean Jaurès stele at the call of the CGT, Solidaires, the Mouvement de la Paix, the MRAP, France Cuba, Libre Pensée, of “Stop Fueling War”, the Left Party, the PCF and the Center of the Kurdish Democratic Community of Toulouse
Libourne (33): Assemble on February 24 from 6 p.m. central square
Biganos (33): Assemble of the Gironde committee on February 24 at 6 p.m. Market Hall
Béziers (34): Assemble Saturday February 25 at 11 a.m. on Place Jean Jaurès
Rennes (35): Assemble and united march Saturday February 25 at 5 p.m. RDV Bd du Mail François Mitterrand. And Friday, February 24, meet at Place de la République at 5 p.m. with Bretagne Solidarité Ukraine. Distribution of Peace Movement and BIP calls at Rennes 2 University on Wednesday noon 22/01. Rennes 1 University Thursday noon 23/02. Market of the lices Saturday 25 in the morning 10h to 13h.
Saint Malo (35): Assemble on the forecourt of the station at 5:30 p.m. on Friday February 24
Tours (37): Assemble on February 24 from 4 p.m. in front of the Town Hall, Place Jean Jaurès
Grenoble (38): Assemble rue Félix Poulat (opposite the Church of St Louis) on Saturday February 25 at 2:30 p.m.
Saint-Etienne (42): symbolic “Piquet de Paix” with torches around the statue of Jean Jaurès Friday February 24 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. – Comité-Loire du Mouvement de la paix
Nantes (44): Assemble on Saturday February 25, 2023 at 4 p.m., rue de la paix on the square in front of Decré
Angers (49): Assemble Friday, February 24 at 6 p.m. in front of the prefecture Place Michel Debré, for the filing of a motion
Cherbourg (50): Assemble Friday, February 24, 2023 Place du theater at 6 p.m. at the call of the CGT, FSU, CNT, Mouvement de la Paix, PCF, GENERATION.S, France Insoumise
Lorient (56): Friday February 24 at 5:30 p.m., place Aristide Briand, Rally followed by a Peace March at the call of: Mouvement de la Paix, Association France Palestine Solidarité, ATTAC, UD CGT 56, FSU 56, CFDT 56, PCF 56, PS Lorient
Nevers (58): Assemble Friday February 24 at 5:30 p.m. in front of the Prefecture. At the initiative of the Nièvre Committee
Pau (64): Assemble in front of the prefecture Friday 24 at 6 p.m. at the call of 11 organizations
Vaulx-en-velin (69): Assemble Friday 24 at 6.30 p.m. at the Garden of Peace and Freedoms, rue Condorcet
Vesoul (70): Assemble Saturday February 25 at 11 a.m., 1 rue la Préfecture
Annecy (74): Rally for Peace Friday 24 at 6 p.m. in front of the Prefecture
Paris (75): Assemble Saturday February 25 at 3 p.m. Place Edmond Michelet (right next to the Center Pompidou and not far from the Forum des Halles)
Le Havre (76): Assemble on Saturday February 25 at 2:30 p.m. in front of the Volcano – Rue de Paris, at the initiative of the Urgence Ukraine Le Havre collective, in which the Le Havre section of the Mouvement de la Paix participates
Castres (81): Assemble Saturday 25 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., rue Sabatier in front of Monoprix
Avignon (84): Assemble in front of the town hall on February 24 at 6:00 p.m. Vaucluse Committee of the Peace Movement
Epinal (88): Assemble at the call of the Mouvement de la Paix and the member organizations of the collective “En marche pour la Paix”, Friday February 24, 6 p.m. in front of the Vosges prefecture
Nanterre (92): Assemble Friday, February 24 at 4 p.m. at the bottom of the stairs of the Grande Arche de la Défense and at 5 p.m., gathering in front of the Hauts de Seine Prefecture to deliver a letter to the Prefect
Saint-Denis (93): Rally Friday, February 24 from 6 p.m. in front of the town hall

Vicenç Fisas on the Ukraine War: A Year of Mistakes and Horrors


An article by Vicenç Fisas in Other News (Creative Commons: Atribución-NoComercial 4.0 Internacional (CC BY-NC 4.0)) – (translation by CPNN)

The truth, however, is that this war in the Ukraine cannot be won by anyone, however it ends, because the harm that has been done transcends any possibility of resolution. The accumulated hatred is of such magnitude, proportional to the level of destruction and loss of human lives, that any reconciliation project will not be possible in the medium term.

Ukrainian soldiers fire an anti-aircraft gun near Bajmut on February 4.

One year after the start of the war in Ukraine, it is good to reflect on what has happened and what has not been done. The balance is sinister and not at all hopeful, since there is no end in sight in the short term. In my opinion, several points should be taken into consideration to reflect on the past, present and future.

Decisions that are irreversible or difficult to reverse have been made, such as increasing military spending, ending the status of neutral countries and expanding NATO. These decisions jeopardize the future of European security, and have ruined any possibility of resuming a shared security policy that could one day incorporate Russia. Many years will pass before this possibility can occur. Even if it is very costly, it is our obligation to think about future scenarios where we all fit into European security.

We have returned to the mentality of the cold war, of friend-foe and good and bad, increasing the warmongering and arms culture, not only in Europe, but throughout the world. We are facing a brutal setback in terms of prospects for peace and conflict resolution, and in the old continent a fatal blow has been dealt to the OSCE, which was the body that could have acted promptly and effectively in the moments of tension prior to the war. However, it was completely rendered useless, turning it into an already useless and discredited body in the face of the warmongering rage. Moreover, peace diplomacy, that of States with the capacity to influence and that of regional or international organizations, was hijacked and then annulled from the start, leaving us orphaned with actors willing to play this necessary role.

(Continued in right column)

(Click here for the original article in Spanish.)

Questions related to this article:
Where in the world can we find good leadership today?

Can the peace movement help stop the war in the Ukraine?

(Continued from left column)

The decisions, from the first moment, have been on the military route, to the delight of the arms manufacturers, which has given rise to a continuous escalation on the war front, with the conviction of both parties that they could win the war, and in the case of Ukraine, thanks to a continuous supply of weapons by third countries. Russia, for its part, has also resorted to buying weapons abroad. The truth, however, is that this war cannot be won by anyone, however it ends, because the harm that has been done transcends any possibility of resolution. The accumulated hatred is of such magnitude, proportional to the level of destruction and loss of human life, that any reconciliation project will not be possible in the medium term. Hopefully and if things change, perhaps the next generation may be able to mend the wounds. For the moment, what can be affirmed is that everyone loses, and it is delusional to think that destruction will one day lead us to glory, when it only leads us to misery.

It is not often that, in the face of an armed conflict, people bet so much on war and put aside the negotiating path to carry out a peace process. In the last half century, 90% of wars have ended at a negotiating table and a final peace agreement. Ukraine is one of the exceptions, and we should ask ourselves if this is a merit or a very serious mistake that we are committing.

I don’t know when, but I am convinced that one day the two parties will have to sit down to negotiate the status of eastern Ukraine, with the terrible paradox that any agreement that can be reached will hopefully not be very different from what that should have been done after the Minsk agreements were signed in 2015. Failure to do so is what has led us to where we are today, so it will be terrible to think of the price that will be paid for not having acted diligently when it was appropriate. In this sense, responsibilities are shared, although no one seems capable of recognizing their own mistakes or negligence.

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* Vicenç Fisas is a Spanish analyst of conflicts, international politics and peace processes. He has directed the School for the Culture of Peace of the Autonomous University of Barcelona from its foundation in 1999 until 2016, and he was the holder of the UNESCO Chair on Peace and Human Rights at the university. He received the National Human Rights Award in 1988.

(Thank you to Other News for having sent this to CPNN.)

Boaventura de Sousa Santos: The beginning of the end of eurocentrism


An article by Boaventura de Sousa Santos* in MEER

One hundred years after World War I, Europe’s leaders are sleepwalking toward a new, all-out war. As in 1914, they believe that the war in Ukraine will be limited and short-lived. In 1914, the word in Europe’s chancelleries was that the war would last three weeks. It lasted four years and resulted in more than 20 million deaths. As was the case in 1918, the dominant view today holds that it is necessary to inflict exemplary punishment on the aggressor, so as to leave it broken and humbled for a long time.  

Congress of Vienna (1814-1815) brought peace to Europe until 1914

In 1918, the defeated power was Germany (and the Ottoman Empire). There were dissenting voices (John Maynard Keynes and a few others) for whom the complete humbling of Germany would be disastrous in terms of the reconstruction of Europe and of a lasting peace on the continent and in the world. Their warnings were not heeded, and twenty-one years later Europe was again at war. There followed five years of destruction that left more than 70 million people dead. History does not repeat itself, nor does it seem to teach us anything, but it does illustrate and highlight similarities and differences. Let me offer two illustrations.

By 1914, Europe had been experiencing relative peace for a hundred years, a period during which there had been many wars, but of a limited and short-lived nature. The secret of this peace lay in the Congress of Vienna (1814-1815). Held with the purpose of putting an end to the cycle of change, turmoil and war that had been set in motion by the French Revolution and made worse by the Napoleonic wars, it led to a treaty that was signed nine days before Napoleon’s final defeat at Waterloo. The whole conference was dominated by conservative forces, and the period that followed came to be known as the Restoration (of the old European order). The reason that meeting in Vienna comes to mind at this time has to do with another of its aspects. It was chaired by Klemens von Metternich, a great Austrian statesman whose main concern was to bring together all the European powers, the victors and the vanquished, in order to ensure lasting peace. It was clear that the defeated power (France) would have to suffer the consequences (territorial losses), but it signed the treaty along with all the other powers (Austria, England, Russia and Prussia), with conditions being imposed on all so as to ensure lasting peace across Europe. And so it came to be.

When compared to the present situation, there are numerous differences. The main difference is that, although this time the war is also taking place in Europe, the warring parties are a European and a non-European power (Russia and the US, respectively). The conflict has all the characteristics of a proxy war, one in which the two sides use a third country – ‘the country of sacrifice’ (in the present case, Ukraine) – to achieve geostrategic goals that go well beyond the country in question and even the region to which it belongs (Europe). In fact, the only reason Russia is at war with Ukraine is because it is at war with NATO, an organization whose Supreme Allied Commander for Europe “is traditionally a US commander.”

As an organization, NATO has been at the service of US geostrategic interests, especially since the end of the first Cold War. Once a steadfast champion, in other geopolitical contexts, of the self-determination of peoples, Russia is now illegally sacrificing these same principles to assert its own security concerns, after failing to have them recognized through peaceful means, and out of an undisguised imperial nostalgia. For its part, since the end of the first Cold War the US has striven to deepen Russia’s defeat, a defeat which in fact was probably more self-inflicted than brought about by any superiority on the part of its opponent. For a brief period, the diplomatic debate in Washington was between ‘partnership for peace’ and ‘the expansion of NATO to ensure the security of the emerging countries of the Soviet bloc’. Under President Clinton, the latter policy prevailed. Albeit for different reasons, the US, too, sees Ukraine as the ‘country of sacrifice’. In this light, the ultimate goal of the war in Ukraine is to inflict an unconditional defeat on Russia, preferably one that leads to regime change in Moscow. The duration of the war depends on that goal.

(Continued in right column)

Questions related to this article:
Where in the world can we find good leadership today?

Can the peace movement help stop the war in the Ukraine?

(Continued from left column)

Where is Russia’s incentive to end the war when the British Prime Minister permits himself to say that sanctions against Russia will continue, no matter what Russia’s position is at the present moment? Is it enough that Putin be ousted (as was the case with Napoleon in 1815), or is it Russia that needs to be ousted so that China’s expansion can be halted? There was also regime change in the 1918 humbling of Germany, but it all ended up leading to Hitler and an even more devastating war. President Zelensky’s political greatness could be construed as being either in recognition of the brave patriot who defends his country from the invader to the last drop of blood, or in recognition of the brave patriot who, faced with the imminence of so many innocent deaths and the asymmetry in military strength, successfully enlists the support of his allies to negotiate fiercely in order to secure a dignified peace. The fact that the former construction is now the prevalent one has probably little to do with President Zelensky’s personal preferences.

My second illustration of similarities and differences vis-à-vis the recent past concerns Europe’s geopolitical position. During the two world wars of the 20th century, Europe was the self-proclaimed center of the world. That is why we call them world wars. About four million of ‘Europe’s’ troops were in fact African and Asian, and many thousands of non-European deaths were the price paid by the inhabitants of remote colonies of the countries involved, sacrificed in a war that did not concern them. Now, however, Europe is but a small corner of the world, which the war in Ukraine will render even smaller. For centuries it was the farthest tip of Eurasia, the huge land mass that stretched from China to the Iberian Peninsula and witnessed the exchange of knowledge, products, scientific innovations and cultures. Much of what was later attributed to European exceptionalism (from the scientific revolution of the 16th century to the industrial revolution in the 19th century) cannot be understood, nor would it have been possible, without those centuries-old exchanges.

The war in Ukraine – especially if it goes on for too long – runs the risk not only of amputating one of Europe’s historic powers (Russia), but also of isolating it from the rest of the world, notably from China. The world is far bigger than what we get to see through European lenses. Seeing through these lenses, Europeans have never felt so strong, so close to their larger partner, so sure of standing on the right side of history, with the whole planet being run by the world of the ‘liberal order,’ a world finally feeling strong enough to go forth sometime soon and conquer – or at least neutralize – China, after having destroyed China’s main partner, Russia. Seeing through non-European lenses, on the other hand, Europe and the US stand haughtily all but alone, probably capable of winning one battle, but on their way to certain defeat in the war of history.

More than half of the world’s population lives in countries that have decided not to join the sanctions against Russia. Many of the UN countries that voted (rightly) against the illegal invasion of Ukraine did so based on their historical experience, which consisted in being invaded, not by Russia, but rather by the US, England, France or Israel. Their decision was not dictated by ignorance, but by precaution. How can they trust countries that created SWIFT – a financial transfer system aimed at protecting economic transactions against political interference – only to end up removing from that system a country on political grounds? Countries that arrogate to themselves the power to confiscate the financial and gold reserves of sovereign nations like Afghanistan, Venezuela and now Russia? Countries that trumpet freedom of expression as a sacrosanct universal value, but resort to censorship the moment they are exposed by it? Countries that are supposed to cherish democracy and yet have no qualms about staging a coup whenever an election goes against their interests? Countries in whose eyes the ‘dictator’ Nicolas Maduro becomes a trading partner overnight, because the circumstances have changed?

The world is no longer a place of innocence – if it ever was.

– – – –

* Boaventura de Sousa Santos is Emeritus Professor of Sociology at the School of Economics, University of Coimbra (Portugal), Distinguished Legal Scholar at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School and Global Legal Scholar at the University of Warwick. He is Director of the Center for Social Studies of the University of Coimbra and Scientific Coordinator of the Permanent Observatory for Portuguese Justice..

Lula Won’t Send Arms to Ukraine: “Brazil Is a Country of Peace”


An article from Telesur English

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said on Monday (January 30) after meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz that the South American country will not send ammunition that could be used in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

Lula da Silva said through his official Twitter account, “Brazil has no interest in ceding ammunition to be used in the war between Ukraine and Russia. Brazil is a country of peace. At this moment, we have to find those who want peace, a word that until now has been used very little.” 

The President of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (R), meets with the Chancellor of Germany, Olaf Scholz (L), January 30, at the Planalto Palace, in Brasilia (Brazil) | Photo: EFE/ André Borges

(Continued in right column)

Questions related to this article:
Latin America, has it taken the lead in the struggle for a culture of peace?

Can the peace movement help stop the war in the Ukraine?

(Continued from left column)

At a joint press conference following the meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia, the President affirmed that Brazil is willing to contribute, together with countries such as China, India and Indonesia, to create a “club of countries that want to build peace on the planet.”

Lula da Silva recognized China’s role in the current conflict. “Our friends, the Chinese play a very important role,” said the Workers’ Party (PT) leader, adding that he wants to “discuss peace between Russia and Ukraine with President Xi Jinping,” during his visit in March.

On the issue of reaching a Russia-Ukraine consensus, Lula da Silva said it is necessary “to constitute a group with sufficient strength to be respected at a negotiating table and sit down with both (Ukrainian President Vladimir / Russian President Vladimir Putin).”

The Brazilian President referred to the role of the United Nations (UN) in the face of the conflict. Lula said the UN “no longer represents the geopolitical reality,” and added: “We want the UN Security Council to be strong, more representative and able to speak another language that the world needs.”

While calling Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine a “mistake,” the Brazilian President said that Ukraine’s possible entry into the European Union and NATO were possible reasons. 

The Presidents of Argentina and Colombia, Alberto Fernandez and Gustavo, Petro respectively, have also refused to send armaments to Ukraine, claiming that they are on the side of peace.

Interview with Helen Caldicott: “We’ve never been closer to nuclear catastrophe”


An article produced by Earth | Food | Life, a project of the Independent Media Institute and pubished by the Asia Times.

The following interview took place on January 25, 2023, one day after the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists advanced  the hands of the Doomsday Clock to 90 seconds before midnight – in large part because of developments in Ukraine.

Helen Caldicott (above), an Australian peace activist and environmentalist, discussed the extreme and imminent threat of a nuclear holocaust due to a proxy war between the US and Russia in Ukraine. She also addressed the announcement by the US Department of Energy of a controlled nuclear reaction and outlines the relationship between the nuclear power industry and nuclear weapons.

Caldicott is the author of numerous books and is a recipient of at least 12 honorary doctorates. She was nominated for the Nobel Prize by physicist Linus Pauling and named by the Smithsonian Institution as one of the most influential women of the 20th century. Her public talks describing the horrors of nuclear war from a medical perspective raised the consciousness of a generation.

Caldicott believes that the reality of destroying all of life on the planet has receded from public consciousness, making doomsday more likely. As the title of her recent book  states, we are “sleepwalking to Armageddon.”

Steve Taylor: What is the Doomsday Clock, and why is it now set to 90 seconds to midnight?

Helen Caldicott: For the last year, it’s been at 100 seconds to midnight, which is the closest it’s ever been. Each year they reset the clock according to international problems, nuclear problems. Ninety seconds to midnight – I don’t think that is close enough; it’s closer than that. I would put it at 20 seconds to midnight.

I think we’re in an extremely invidious position where nuclear war could occur tonight, by accident or by design. It’s very clear to me, actually, that the United States is going to war with Russia. And that means, almost certainly, nuclear war – and that means the end of almost all life on Earth.

ST: Do you see similarities with the 1962 Cuban missile crisis?

HC: Yes. I got to know John F Kennedy’s secretary of defense, Robert McNamara, later in his life. He was in the Oval Office at the time of the Cuban missile crisis. He once told me, “Helen, we came so close to nuclear war – three minutes.” Three minutes. We’re in a similar situation now.

ST: So back then, though, famously, the world held its breath during the missile crisis.

HC: Oh, we were terrified. Terrified, absolutely terrified.

ST: That doesn’t seem to be the case today.

HC: Today, the public and policymakers are not being informed adequately about what this really means – that the consequences would be so bizarre and so horrifying.

It’s very funny; New York City  put out a video  as a hypothetical [public service announcement] in July 2022 showing a woman in the street, and it says the bombs are coming, and it’s going to be a nuclear war. It says that what you do is go inside, you don’t stand by the windows, you stand in the center of the room, and you’ll be all right. I mean, it’s absolutely absurd.

ST: That is what you were fighting against back in the ’70s and ’80s – this notion that a nuclear war is survivable.

HC: Yes. There was a US defense official called T K Jones who reportedly said, don’t worry; “if there are enough shovels to go around,” we’ll make it. And his plan was if the bombs are coming and they take half an hour to come, you get out the trusty shovel. You dig a hole. You get in the hole. Someone puts two doors on top and then piles on dirt.

(Continued in right column)

Question related to this article:
Where in the world can we find good leadership today?

(Continued from left column)

I mean, they had plans. But the thing about it is that evolution will be destroyed. We may be the only life in the universe. And if you’ve ever looked at the structure of a single cell, or the beauty of the birds or a rose, I mean, what responsibility do we have?

ST: During the Cuban missile crisis, the US did not want missiles pointed at it from Cuba, and the Soviet Union did not want missiles pointed at it from Turkey. Do you see any similarities with the conflict in Ukraine?

HC: Oh, sure. The United States has nuclear weapons in European countries, all ready to go and land on Russia. How do you think Russia feels – a little bit paranoid?

Imagine if the Warsaw Pact moved into Canada, all along the northern border of the US, and put missiles all along the northern border. What would the US do? She’d probably blow up the planet as she nearly did with the Cuban missile crisis. I mean, it’s so extraordinarily unilateral in the thinking, not putting ourselves in the minds of the Russian people.

ST: Do you feel we’re more at risk of nuclear war now than we were during the Cold War?

HC: Yes. We’re closer to nuclear war than we’ve ever been. And that’s what the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists indicated by moving the clock to 90 seconds to midnight.

ST: Does it seem like political leaders are more cavalier about nuclear exchange now?

HC: Yes, because they haven’t taken in what nuclear war would really mean. And the Pentagon is run by these cavalier folks who are making millions out of selling weapons. Almost the whole of the US budget goes to killing and murder, rather than to health care and education and the children in Yemen, who are, millions of them, starving.

I mean, we’ve got the money to fix everything on Earth, and also to power the world with renewable energy. The money is there. It’s going into killing and murder instead of life.

ST: You mentioned energy. The US Department of Energy has announced  a so-called fusion breakthrough. What do you think about the claims that fusion may be our energy future?

HC: The technology wasn’t part of an energy experiment. It was part of a nuclear weapons experiment  called the Stockpile Stewardship Program. It is inappropriate; it produced an enormous amount of radioactive waste and very little energy. It will never be used to fuel global energy needs for humankind.

ST: Could you tell us a little bit about the history of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, where scientists developed this fusion technology?

HC: The Lawrence Livermore Laboratory was where the first hydrogen bombs were developed. It was set up in 1952, by Edward Teller, a wicked man.

ST: There is this promotion of nuclear energy as a green alternative. Is the nuclear-energy industry tied to nuclear weapons?

HC: Of course. In the ’60s, when people were scared stiff of nuclear weapons, there was a Pentagon psychologist who said, look, if we have peaceful nuclear energy, that will alleviate the people’s fear.

ST: At the end of your 1992 book If You Love This Planet, you wrote, “Hope for the Earth lies not with leaders, but in your own heart and soul. If you decide to save the Earth, it will be saved. Each person can be as powerful as the most powerful person who ever lived – and that is you, if you love this planet.” Do you stand by that?

HC: If we acknowledge the horrifying reality that there is an extreme and imminent threat of nuclear war, it’s like being told that as a planet, we have a terminal disease. If we’re scared enough, every one of us can save the planet. But we have to be very powerful and determined.

– – – – –

This interview has been edited for clarity and length. A video of the description of nuclear war from the interview can be viewed on Vimeo. Listen to the entire interview, available for streaming on Breaking Green’s website  or wherever you get your podcasts. Breaking Green  is produced by the Global Justice Ecology Project.