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October 13, 2003

If you want peace, prepare for peace...

This article was first posted as a contribution to Bloggers Parliament.

The specific problem addressed here is the existence of nuclear weapons which are wholly unsuited for warfare in our planetary environment. They not only barbariously wipe out large parts of the population of any nation or area attacked, but may potentially cause a cataclysm of unforseen dimensions by destabilizing planetary tectonic or other natural equilibria.

The solution is not mine. It is Nobel laureate Joseph Rotblat's, discussed in an interview with Newsweek.

I would only add that for nuclear weapons to be actually eliminated, non-proliferation, if it only means no more new nuclear nations, is the wrong goal. We must go for actual elimination of nuclear (and other) weapons of mass destruction, and the demand should be sustained loudly by an international campaign of an alliance of people and countries who will not hesitate to pressure the "biggest bully" to comply just the same as everyone else.

As we know, there may always be the rogue country, one who might have designs on controlling others through the use of overwhelming force. A country might theoretically disarm but then in secret go back on its word and make nuclear weapons to blackmail the rest of the world with them. There would have to be a strong peace-keeping and enforcement capability vested in an international organization such as the United Nations.

Such an international governing body should not be controlled by one or a few "privileged nations" as today's U.N. and it should have - in addition to the allegiance of all nations on earth, the strength to confront any one nation or group of nations that would threaten or prepare for the use of nuclear or other weapons of mass destruction.

Here's the Newsweek interview:

Article found on MSNBC Newsweek

'This Is a Dream I Have'

Nobel laureate Joseph Rotblat talks about how the world can rid itself of nuclear weapons and find its way to global peace

By Michelle Jana

Oct. 9 -  At 94, Joseph Rotblat isn't letting age slow his razor-sharp mind.

A JEWISH émigré from Poland, the physicist was one of the first scientists to work on the development of the atomic bomb. He quit the Manhattan Project in 1944 in protest against the research and cofounded the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, devoted to ridding the world of nuclear weapons. In 1995, he and the organization jointly won the Nobel peace prize.

The author of more than 20 books, his latest - "War No More: Eliminating Conflict in the Nuclear Age" (Pluto Press) - was written with Cambridge University biologist Robert Hinde. Rotblat spoke to NEWSWEEK's Michelle Jana in London about disarmament, the Bush administration and how to address the key issues that could bring global peace. Excerpts:

NEWSWEEK: Given how much you have seen in your lifetime, how do you think the world stands in 2003?

Joseph Rotblat: If you compare the present time to when I was born, there is no doubt we live in much better times. There is still a great deal of inequality, but overall there has been great improvement in the quality of life. I put it down mainly to the advances in technology, [but] there are some harmful effects of science like the development of the atom bomb. We used to talk about nuclear weapons only as a deterrent. Now the policies pursued by the Bush administration say we need nuclear weapons as an actual instrument of war. This is a big change in policy and worries me a great deal.

But if the American people reelect George W. Bush next year, surely that counts for something?

Then we did not manage to educate the public. People do not realize the dangers of [nuclear weapons.] I believe if we really got ourselves organized properly, it would have an effect. Remember with Vietnam it was the voice of the people that compelled a government to bring [the war] to a halt.

Have the complications resulting from invading Iraq changed the U.S. strategy?

I sincerely believe if it were not for the troubles Bush has encountered in Iraq, by now Israeli bombers would have destroyed the enrichment plant in Iran and probably American missiles would have destroyed the Pyongyang reprocessing plants in North Korea.

Is a pre-emptive strike sometimes legitimate?

There are no absolutes in the world. I cannot exclude the possibility that circumstances will arise when a pre-emptive attack may be necessary. But it should have a very low probability and certainly no provision should be made for this in our system of governance.

We live in a world where terrorist groups are not necessarily affiliated with a nation and therefore not signatories to treaties. How do we control proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in such a world?

Through education and people interacting with each other through the Internet, through e-mail, mobile telephones and so on. People will feel less a subject of their own nation and more members of humankind. They will interact much more with people of other nations than of their own and gradually the role of nations will come to an end. This is a dream I have. Eventually it will mean some sort of world governance. People are fighting against it and do not believe in it, but I think we are inexorably moving in that direction.

Are we in another arms race?

We are moving towards one. In America, a whole series of nuclear warheads are now being worked out. But the military will not accept a new nuclear warhead in their arsenals unless it has been tested. Therefore the next step will be testing. If one nation breaks the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, then other nations are bound to follow. The nation most likely to follow is China. If China becomes stronger, then India will feel vulnerable. And in each of these countries, voices are heard already about the need to go back to testing. Then, of course, Pakistan cannot be left behind. So again an arms race will begin.

Your new book proposes a world without nuclear weapons and ultimately a world without war. That has labeled you as a Utopian. What are the practical steps to make this a reality?

The Non-Proliferation Treaty was signed by 187 nations, including all the declared nuclear-weapon states. They all undertook to get rid of their weapons. So the first thing to do is to get them to fulfill that commitment. This can only be done with a well-organized campaign to raise awareness to the dangers of nuclear weapons.

You have campaigned for nuclear disarmament for more than 50 years. What are your future plans?

My short-term objective is the elimination of nuclear weapons. My long-term objective is the elimination of war as an institution. We always felt we must have an army and the army is there to fight. This is the basis of the nation state. There is an old Roman dictum: Si vis pacem para bellum, "If you want peace, prepare for war". This has been the policy of all these centuries. I believe "If you want peace, prepare for peace."

- - -

2006: Coming back to this article to add Pieces of Peace - a piece found on the Alt Med Yahoo Group:

Pieces of Peace
Posted by: "dar" dobbie606@
Date: Tue Oct 10, 2006

Via: Marsha C

A Peacemaker Missile is an oxymoron.

A crust eaten in peace is better than a banquet partaken in anxiety.

Accept the Prince of Peace or I'll kill you! ... excuse me?

All we are saying is Give Peace a Chance - Lennon

Fighting for peace is like screaming for quiet.

Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity.

Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength. War is peace. - George Orwell

Honk if you like peace and quiet.

I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery. - Thomas Jefferson

I prefer liberty with danger to peace with slavery. - J.J. Rousseau

I prefer the most unjust peace to the most righteous war. - Cicero

I've never seen a good war or a bad peace!

If you want peace, work for justice. - Pope Paul VI

In war, fathers bury their sons; In peace, sons bury their fathers

Killing for peace is like whoring for virginity!

Let there be Peace on earth ... and let it begin with me.

Lumberjack greeting: Live long oh Poplar Peace and Log life.

Nuclear Weapons: May they rust in peace.

PEACE in America, NOT America in Pieces.

Peace - live in it or rest in it

Peace of mind ... It's an inside job

Peace through superior weapons. - Rush Limbaugh

"long-haired, maggot-infested, dope-smoking peace pansies" - Limbaugh

Stop the hate. Increase the peace.!

Surgeon General's Warning: Quitting Religion Now Greatly Increases the Chances of World Peace.

The Pentagon calls peace "permanent pre-hostility"

The end of a battle is not the same thing as peace !

The mere absence of war is not peace. - John F. Kennedy

The more we sweat in peace, the less we bleed in war.

There is no good war or bad peace. - B. Franklin

Too many pray for peace with their fists clenched.

Wage Peace.

We are going to have peace even if we have to fight for it. - Dwight D. Eisenhower

What if they gave a peace and no one came?

When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace. - Jimi Hendrix, musician [1942-1970]

See also:

My Turn
Dr. Wayne W. Dyer
The war in Iraq, specifically America's role of leadership in this war, is a painful invitation to ask ourselves what, if anything, we've learned from previous wars. I, like you, am revolted by the brutal killing of hundreds of thousands of innocent people during any war. And, like you, I'm saddened by the apparent inability of human beings to find less violent solutions to conflict and terrorism. What can we learn from previous wars? Are there lessons from past experiences that can help reduce or minimize the likelihood of excessive and unnecessary destruction and devastation of lives and countries, and our future on Earth? I believe the answer is yes! We can learn, and there are lessons available.

Apocalypse Soon
By Robert S. McNamara - May/June 2005
Robert McNamara is worried. He knows how close we've come. His counsel helped the Kennedy administration avert nuclear catastrophe during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Today, he believes the United States must no longer rely on nuclear weapons as a foreign-policy tool. To do so is immoral, illegal and dreadfully dangerous.

Defensive militaries, war mongering, and national defense

More Than 470 Physicists Sign Petition To Oppose U.S. Policy On Nuclear Attack


posted by Sepp Hasslberger on Monday October 13 2003
updated on Friday June 26 2009

URL of this article:


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Readers' Comments

This is a strong, positive and irrefutable statement from a man who knows exactly whereof he speaks and deserves all praise for his unceasing efforts to reach his admirable objectives, which I wholly share. He says:

"My short-term objective is the elimination of nuclear weapons. My long-term objective is the elimination of war as an institution."

However, for purposes of the Bloggers Parliament Solutions Package, it's difficult to gather from this istatement what precisely is the Solution he is proposing. He says:

"The Non-Proliferation Treaty was signed by 187 nations, including all the declared nuclear-weapon states. They all undertook to get rid of their weapons. So the first thing to do is to get them to fulfill that commitment. This can only be done with a well-organized campaign to raise awareness to the dangers of nuclear weapons."

Yes, of course. But the reality is that some nations simply will not fulfill their commitment. How do you get them to do that?

And the second point, about the campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of nuclear weapons: who is going to finance such a campaign, and how is it going to prevent some determined nations from going ahead with their nuclear programmes?

Of course we agree with the principles stated, but what the BP is looking for are very very specific solutions, perhaps unorthodox ones, but something as specific as a cooking recipe:
you take such and such ingredients, you prepare them in such and such a way, and this is the result you will get.

Posted by: Natalie/Augustine on October 13, 2003 11:56 PM


Thank you for your comment, Natalie,

as far as I understand the proposal by Joseph Rotblat, it is to bring the fact of nuclear disarmament onto the political agenda, and to work to make the countries who have nuclear weapons really feel the pressure that they are doing something illegal in the eyes of the world community. It is to make nuclear disarmament an issue (which at present it is not, except to justify wars of conquest).

There are several countries that believe nuclear arms are necessary to their own security. It is the illogical nature of such an argument that needs to be exposed and challenged. So the solution envisaged by Rotblat is one of communicating the illogical and dangerous nature of the argument in favour of nuclear arms, and hopefully convincing the proponents and today's possessors of nuclear arms to change their ways.

I concede that the problem seems almost unsurmountable, but it is one of the problems that exist in the category of "threats or dangers ... to countries or the planet." I would say that the very existence of these arms in the hands of various countries is a threat to the planet and that a solution should therefore be sought for it.

Kind regards

Posted by: Josef on October 14, 2003 10:28 AM


A further question received by e-mail, and my answer:

In your introduction you wrote:

We must go for actual elimination of nuclear (and other) weapons of mass destruction, and the demand should be sustained loudly by an international campaign of an alliance of people and countries who will not hesitate to pressure the "biggest bully" to comply just the same as everyone else.

I am in total agreement. But how could you make that very general statement more specific? All those of us who are on the 'good side', those who are anti-war, anti-nuclear, pro-peace etc. (and there are millions of us) are constantly saying and writing such things. But what we're looking for, by means of this very simple and humble project of Bloggers Parliament, is very specific individual solutions. Something that can be put in practice by individuals, without having to wait for approval from the vast bureaucracy of committees and governments.

So I'd ask you to elaborate your own individual approach and solutions to this problem. The real problems behind this issue are:

A) that nations always put their own interests first, and the interests of the planet as a whole, last. It shouldn't be thus, but it is.

B) that the general public knows about but doesn't believe in the actual present danger of nuclear weapons (even when they remember Chernobyl).

So the question is about changing human perception. But it has to take reality into account and the actual limitations of what one can do. So, for instance, what would you personally, as an individual, suggest as a solution?

My answer:

In this case of nuclear weapons, the first step would be to bring the question onto the political agenda, so as to argue the pros and cons of having these weapons. When the argument has been made and a conclusion reached, it will (hopefully) lead to a demand for those countries that have them to relinquish them. I don't think that this was ever clearly discussed out, as evidently several countries (the most powerful ones) see absolutely nothing wrong with themselves having the weapons, while they see everything wrong with competing countries having them. Something has never been clearly stated here. If it's ok for one, why not for the other? Let's hear the arguments.

This would be the first approach to the problem that could eventually lead to a solution. Getting public awareness sharpened up to the danger and to the rationale behind these weapons, so that a way can be found to get rid of them with everyone in accord.

What we can do (and what needs to be done) is to "throw a stone to make some waves in the pond" which hopefully would then attract attention of others and get us into seriously considering the issues. So really the proposal is to start (yet another) public campaign challenging the nuclear nations to explain their rationale for the possession of them, and their rationale for the insistence that other countries can't have them.

Posted by: Josef on October 14, 2003 11:35 AM


Helen Caldicott has organized a new anti nuclear think tank in Washington D.C. See - the idea is to get nuclear policy back into public view. If people knew the U.S. and Russia are still on hair-trigger alert with the great cities in both nations targeted, for instance, they just might realize how shortsighted the nuclear powers are.

Posted by: Roger Eaton on January 19, 2004 11:26 PM


Much inner work is being done by large numbers of people who finally recognize that a shif in consciousness is the first step to real change. There seems to be no voice yet for those people who are prepared to take a strong and open stand against violence

Posted by: eileen Andersn on January 27, 2004 07:22 PM


To be a human without passion is to be dead.

Posted by: Dulabaum Nina on March 16, 2004 09:28 AM


If you want peace, prepare for peace. Costa Rica is a great example of preparing for peace and having peace for the last fifty plus years. Even when they are a small country they have decided to attach their thiking to inetrnational treaties that replace the need for an Army. Instead of spending millions in keeping a military based system, they dedicate that money to education (more than 90% literate), health (social security for all), and socially based programs. Costa Rica can be used as an example to export to many countries from the third world who have no business in keeping an Army. What will an Army do against any powerful country? There is no chance to win a war or keep a government based on the power of some weak armies in those countries.
Why Costa Rica has not succeded in exporting their democratic style? i would say because they have no particular need to do so plus that would be against the interest of the big arms dealers in the world, who need deaf ears to any attempt to get rid of armies around the world.
Oscar Arias, Costa Rican President won a Peace Nobel Price and helped El Salvador in the peace process after many years of combat. El salvador now has no Army but a Police force, similar to Costa Rica.
Other countries follow the example. Our educational system needs to be replaced for one that makes aware of the young about the importance of peace in the world and prepare them for negotiations and discussion of issues, not for a career in the military as we do now.

Posted by: Dan Montero on May 1, 2004 03:21 AM


Some quotes from Buckminster Fuller on war, found and forwarded by Susan.

"Society neither hears nor sees the great changes going on. Either man is obsolete or war is. War is the ultimate tool of politics. Political leaders look out only for their own side. Politicians are always realistically maneuvering for the next election. They are obsolete as fundamental problem-solvers."

"If you have enough to go around war becomes murder."

"Since it is now physically and metaphysically demonstrable that the chemical elements resources of Earth already mined or in recirculation, plus the knowledge we now have, are adequate to the support of all humanity and can be feasibly redesign-employed by 1985 to support all humanity at a higher standard of living than ever before enjoyed by any human, war is now and henceforth murder. All weapons are invalid. Lying is intolerable. All politics are not only obsolete but lethal."

"War represents the uniformed hospital and operating room phase of an overall remedial pathology in treatment of man's affairs. In this inherited scheme of life, science and technology are invoked directly by society only at the eleventh hour to arrest the malady fostered by laissez faire, ignorance, opinion, shortsightedness, prejudice and egocentricity. Formally declared war is the final spectacular and open chapter following the prolonged and far more sanguinary private and non-spectacular chapters of strife under the guise of 'Peace'."

"Livingry implements life; weaponry Implements death."

"Success for all is the only way of overcoming the need to kill, either in the swift death of official war or in the slow slum death of unofficial war, mistakenly labeled Peace -- when the lack of knowledge of how to provide for all includes lethal competition as vast numbers are shunted into poverty and a far more protractedly painful and humiliating slow death. Then you will learn in due course that their idealistic compassion and hope to eliminate lethal warfaring cannot be gratified by political action means, for the last resort of politics is always inherently to physical force, be it actively waged with guns or passively provoked by sitdown blockades."

"He (all humanity) was given enough cushion of resources, and so by trial and error he could gradually discover that his mind was much more important than his muscle; and that his probable functioning was metaphysical and not physical. We are all of us at that extraordinary moment where the totality of humanity is beginning, to realize these things. Rather than a few leaders leading ignorant and helpless humanity.

"When we have man in great fear, when he is ignorant and also fearful, he can panic officially and war has been an enormous official panic: great mandates to employ that which mind has already discovered. To build up weapons. Under the aegis of the great mandate of fear. The only way the administration really has any great powers is war powers: then they can really undertake anything. If evolution really wanted man to acquire these capabilities, he could only be really motivated to do these things through fear."

"I hope we are coming to a breakthrough point where we are beginning to do things for logical reasons - and it is in longing rather than fear. You have to find some way to motivate him until he begins to get off this self-starter and to get on to the main engines of his mind."

Posted by: Josef on July 4, 2004 03:30 PM


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The Individual Is Supreme And Finds Its Way Through Intuition


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