The Nuclear Freeze organizing showed the world (and us) that there was a constituency for abolishing nuclear weapons and for peace. Any and all calls for peace should incorporate the tremendous danger that we still face from nuclear weapons.
Today, the dangers that nuclear weapons will be used is at an all time high – perhaps even worse than during the Cold War when the former Soviet Union and the U.S. had tens of thousands of weapons on hair-trigger status to attack each other, as exemplified by the doomsday clock being moved to three minutes to midnight.
All it will take is the use of 50-100 nuclear weapons to catapult the planet into nuclear winter, killing more than 2 billion people. This is an intolerable situation and we must organize and challenge it.
However, it is pretty clear that wider war is on the U.S. military agenda as soon as the election season is settled, with an escalation of the war in Syria and it should no longer be surprising to us that the rest of the world views the U.S. as the greatest threat to world peace.
Relations between the U.S. and Russia have deteriorated markedly, rapidly and most dangerously since the U.S. broke the ceasefire agreement with Russia, in Syria, on September 17. This incident particularly looks like an intentional act by the Pentagon,which should raise serious questions about who is running policy here in the U.S.
The U.S. War Machine has cut an swathe of destruction across our planet since the end of WWII from the killing fields of Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos in which millions died to the lower-level conflicts that killed mere hundreds of thousands throughout Central and Latin America from the 1960’s through the 1980’s to the current retaliatory conflicts in Afghanistan following 9/11/01 and Iraq (which had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks), in an ever-widening debacle that has destroyed or are destroying nations across the Middle East.
Currently threats from Washington and our presidential candidates include “regime change” for Iran (despite the agreement of 2015) and even to overthrow Russian President Vladimir Putin. Russia has given indication that it will not back down in the conflict over who runs Syria and China has quietly entered the arena backing Assad. The U.S. is facing an unprecedented challenge to its “full spectrum dominance.”
These are some of the dangers that confront us after the election season. Let us look to the successes the social movements that came before us. As we look to the future and follow in the footsteps of the Nuclear Freeze Movement, take the Peace Pledge and renew your commitment to working for peace and justice.
This post is by Thea Paneth. It contains found photos from the Nuclear Freeze Movement of the 1980's and 90's, as a reminder of the collective action that led to arms reduction. Thea is a Coordinating Committee member of United for Peace and Justice and a member of Arlington United for Justice with Peace, a community peace group that she helped to organize in March of 2002.