While the governments and obedient media in North America and Europe applaud their escalation of the war in Ukraine, we choose this month to listen to the important voices that are opposed, including those who warn that it runs the risk of launching World War III, and even the end of human civilization.
Considering the urgency of these voices, we publish the bulletin earlier than usual.
Begin with Helen Caldicott. 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,” which refers to the mythical battle mentioned in the Bible as marking the end of the world.
The interview with Caldicott 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. The term “doomsday” is the modern equivalent of Armageddon.
The Elders, founded by Nelson Mandela and now including many former heads of state, joined with the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists in the ceremony of the Doomsday Clock. While blaming Russia for the war in the Ukraine, they said that “all states bear responsibility for the broader failures of governance and leadership that have undermined the multilateral system.”
Most of the peace movement organizations in the United States, and many from abroad, have signed a letter to President Biden demanding that he sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Citing the movement of the Doomsday Clock, they remark that “the increased tension that now exists between the US and Russia makes an unintended launch of nuclear weapons so much more likely, and the risks are simply too great to be ignored or downplayed.”
In the United Kingdom, a national demonstration was prepared for February 25 under the banner, “Peace Talks Now – Stop the War in Ukraine.” Condemning the West’s decision to send battle tanks and to consider sending fighter planes to the Ukraine, the call for the demonstration says, “If NATO planes confront Russian fighters over Ukraine we would be on the brink of a great power confrontation. If the demand for jets is agreed, we can be sure it will be followed by calls for ground troops.”
Referring to the Doomsday Clock, Code Pink founder Medea Benjamin and Nicholas Davies say it should wake up the world’s leaders to need for peace in the Ukraine. Recalling the many aggressive actions of the US that provoked the war, they present a clear and detailed series of steps needed for the US to foster peace talks.
In Europe as well, distinguished authorities analyze the origins and consequences of the Ukraine War.
Spanish authority Vincenç Fisas calls the war “a year of mistakes and horrors.” “We have returned to the mentality of the cold war, of friend-foe and good and bad, increasing the warmongering and arms culture,” with “increasing military spending, ending the status of neutral countries and expanding NATO. . . . 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.. . . it is delusional to think that destruction will one day lead us to glory, when it only leads us to misery.”
Portuguese authority Boaventura de Sousa Santos also uses the word “sleepwalking”: “One hundred years after World War I, Europe’s leaders are sleepwalking toward a new, all-out war. . . that “has all the characteristics of a proxy war, one in which the two sides use a third country – ‘the country of sacrifice.’” He considers it to be “the beginning of the end of eurocentrism,” as Europe repeats the scenario that led to the First and Second World Wars. “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. . . . 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.”
As if to illustrate the isolation of Europe and the US, Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has said that the South American country will not send ammunition that could be used in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. He joins the Presidents of Argentina and Colombia who have said the same. And he says 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.”
But how can the rest of the world stop the US, Europe and Russia from sleepwalking all of us to Armageddon?
DISARMAMENT & SECURITY
USA: Ilhan Omar Vows to Continue Speaking Out Against Israel’s Abuse of Palestinians
Havana Declaration Outlines Vision for Building Just World Economy
Pope Francis: “Hands off the Democratic Republic of the Congo, hands off Africa”
EDUCATION FOR PEACE
Lula’s address to CELAC “Nothing should separate us, since everything brings us together”