“Peace is not the absence of war, but the presence of justice… And the presence of justice has been missing in the world for very many people” — Ursula K. Le Guin
The unnecessary suffering of people around the world at home and abroad is the direct result of injustices perpetrated by the rich and powerful. Upon the release of the latest doomsday clock report, we should reflect upon what it is we need to do to achieve a lasting peace and avert an end of the world scenario the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) now warn is more likely than ever. The UCS, launched by Albert Einstein and others in the wake of an emerging nuclear arms race after the Second World War, sought to analyze the threat of a doomsday scenario and alert the public. The ongoing war in Ukraine, which has drawn a nuclear armed U.S. and its NATO allies into near direct conflict with another nuclear power, was cited as the principle reason for advancing the clock to 90 seconds before midnight. Remarkably, and in spite of the dangers we face, Western governments continue to pursue a single-minded path of might makes right, refusing to pursue diplomatic solutions.
Speaking to the world’s elite at the world economic forum in January, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced, “Weapons are the way to peace” — a frightening idea that seems to have captured most of the West, including our media, as being reasonable. The ongoing portrayal of Russia and its monstrous leader as hell bent on global domination and a threat to global security – a far more accurate assessment when applied to the U.S., if history and the presence of over 700 U.S. military bases around the world mean anything – has paved the way for another bout of Western “humanitarianism.” For those, like the global South, more intimately acquainted with the West’s “humanitarianism,” there will no doubt be a great deal more cynicism/skepticism about this war and whom it serves.
Like the fossil fuel industry and other corporate giants, the arms industry profits from crises, while the general public bears the burden of a world riddled with injustice, economic insecurity and the threat of global armageddon. The recent Martin Luther King Day prompts a memory of his prophetic words that should provoke us all, if not into action, at least into thought: "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly."
Vagner Castilho lives in Wakefield and is a member of Transition Écologique La Peche Coalition for a Green New deal.