As America entered the last decade of the 20th century, the
citizens felt considerable anxiety about the condition of the nation.
First and foremost there were the problems of the economy. Under a
front of false prosperity -- bought by record deficits and borrowing
from foreign sources -- there were many major national problems that
were steadily worsening. The continued economic decline of the nation
was becoming increasingly obvious, as fears of inflation and
recession were spreading.
America's status as the leading economic, political and military power in the world has eroded considerably. Imports continued at record levels, for many Americans prefered goods made in Japan and other foreign countries. U.S. manufacturers had a hard time selling their products abroad. These conditions resulted in record trade deficits. The trade deficits, in combination with our federal budget deficits, made us the world's foremost debtor nation. While our industrial productivity lagged, other nations threatened to surpass us. It was becoming increasingly clear that national security was inseparable from economic security. Because the productivity of our economy failed to keep up with our military and political commitments, something had to give. Unfortunately, our politicians chose to sacrifice resources that should have been devoted to the solution of crucial national problems. Our failure to address these economic, political and social issues was the principal cause of our national decline.
We contributed a far greater share of our gross national product (GNP) to defense spending than our allies did. This enabled them to outspend us in critical areas like education and commercial research. While we generously were providing for their national security and the flow of cheap oil from the Persian Gulf, they were able to develop their economies at our expense. The huge trade surpluses they were able to accumulate -- in part because of their protectionist policies -- were used to gain control of an increasing share of our national assets. Millions of jobs were lost as our share of world trade continued to drop.
Industrial competitiveness declined, as capital and scientific talent moved into the defense industries to combat a grossly inflated Soviet threat. Civilian research and development investments lagged. American business stopped leading the world.
The financial system of America was also in disarray. The savings & loan industry collapsed, costing the taxpayers half a trillion dollars. Many commercial banks were near collapse, because of unsafe lending practices. Billions of dollars and thousands of jobs were lost during the corporate "restructuring" through junk bonds.
The lack of good job opportunities was especially painful. This was caused to a great extent by the lack of growth in our economy and the strong competition offered by some of our trading partners -- Japan, Western Europe, South Korea, Taiwan. The decline of jobs in many high pay unionized industries was paralleled by growth of jobs in the lower paid service sector. Unemployment remained at a high rate. Frequently, both husband and wife had work to maintain an adequate family income.
There was also a widening gap between the "Haves" and the "Have-nots." Our weakening economy contributed to the development of a permanent underclass, and increased social fragmentation. 32 million Americans were living below the poverty line. Demoralizing joblessness, millions of working Americans living in poverty, growing homelessness, rising crime rates and expanding drug abuse were some of the symptoms of this problem.
The educational system of the nation was also in disarray. The quality of education received by youth has declined. Every year 2 million American left school without having learned to read and write. The schools were no longer able to meet the challenge of rapid economic changes and the competition from other technologically advanced nations. The symptoms included a fall in the national test scores, increase in school dropout rates (25% of high school students failed to earn their diplomas), and an insufficient number of technically trained scientists and engineers.
The structure of America's families was also eroding. Economic pressures and negative trends in social values were weakening the traditional family, the backbone of our society. More working mothers and single parent households, high divorce rate, a rise in spouse and child abuse, and the increase in poverty all contributed to this highly damaging trend. Large numbers of children -- our future citizens and workers -- were denied functioning families, parenting, health care, mental health services and appropriate education. A high percentage of children (25% of those younger than six) were living below the official poverty level. There were tens of thousands of teenage pregnancies each year. Proper day care was not available for millions of children. Child abuse was rising due to economic and social stress. There were hundreds of thousands of runaway (some say "throwaway") teenagers in our cities -- subject to sexual and other types of abuse -- without proper care from social welfare agencies. 37 million Americans had no health insurance.
The gradual breakdown in America's family structure was matched by the condition of the nation's decaying transportation and urban infrastructure. America's entire transportation network, streets, bridges (40% were considered hazardous), municipal water systems and sewers were in serious disrepair. These conditions were reflected in collapsing bridges, failing water mains, sewer system breakdowns, bad streets and roads, subway and railroad problems, overloaded airports and other facilities.
In one area America was still leading the world -- in crime. Annually more than 20,000 people were murdered. Over 7 million arrests were made each year. There were one million prisoners in federal and state penitentiaries.
Paul developed a systematic method of tracking these national problems. It was very noticeable how well the media covered these issues. Lengthy articles appeared regularly in newspapers and magazines. Special features were on television. Experts discussed the problems, conducted meetings, and published books and research papers about these concerns. But the political system of the nation seldom addressed these problems in a meaningful way.
Because of improved communications and transportation, growing commercial and cultural links and other elements of the emerging "global society," it was no longer advisable to ignore world problems and conditions. Some major problems in other countries threatened the well-being of the United States as well.
In many parts of the world there was insufficient economic development. The rate of development in most countries of the Third World has slowed significantly. Hundreds of millions were experiencing unemployment and poverty. Hunger and famine conditions prevailed in many areas. A lack of clean water and health facilities caused millions of deaths each year.
A surging world population caused economic and political instability in many countries. World population was expected to increase from about 5 billion to 6 billion by the year 2000. Combined with a slowing world economic growth, this caused in many countries a decline in per capita income. Lack of jobs and poverty contributed to political instability and an increase in ethnic and religious violence.
There was also a tremendous amount of physical damage done each year to the planetary environment. The shrinking of tropical forests was accompanied by much damage to forests in industrial countries, caused by air pollution and acid rain. Serious erosion of crop lands took place. Land mismanagement caused the formation of new desert areas. Thousands of lakes were dead or dying biologically in Europe and North America because of water pollution. Demand for water caused underground water tables to fall throughout the world. Much of the groundwater was contaminated by pesticides and toxic waste. Thousands of plant, insect and animal species were becoming extinct each year.
Internationally, the Soviet Empire's collapse was accompanied by the rise of ethnic violence. The countries of Eastern Europe became independent, but they also inherited many problems in their economy and environment. In some cases repressed tensions between minorities erupted. Additional sources of war and strife emerged throughout the world. The crisis in the Persian Gulf, occasioned by Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, showed how frail world peace really was. Many of the undeclared wars created millions of refugees and famine victims.
Paul knew well the statistics that summarized these conditions. There were hundreds of millions of human beings without shelter, suffering from malnutrition, or living in absolute poverty. Hundreds of millions were unemployed or underemployed. Hundreds of millions of adults never learned to write. Billions lived in countries where governments routinely violated basic human rights.
These numbers were almost beyond comprehension. Indeed, the statistics did not register on most people's minds. It would have been easy for Paul to ignore the problems of the world. He now had a prosperous existence. Most of these problems had little direct impact on him. Yet after his experiences during the Holocaust made it impossible for him not to be concerned. Was there any difference between a slave laborer starving to death, and a famine victim in Africa? They all had a God-given right to live -- and those more fortunate had a moral obligation to help them. Just as William Lloyd Garrison could not ignore the plight of America's millions of slaves, Paul could not disregard the millions of unfortunates suffering throughout the world.
Yet sympathy for the sufferers of the world was not enough. Paul knew that the time finally has arrived to implement his plans. Such an effort was feasible, because the causes of the problems were known. They were caused by human actions. And harmful actions done by people can be undone by beneficial actions
A general condition of national and global mismanagement was the principal cause of the problems. True, there was a tremendous amount of avoidable human suffering in the world. But the resources for reducing, or in some cases even eliminating, many of the cause and conditions were available. The Planet Earth contained ample land, water, mineral resources and energy supplies to provide adequate nourishment and housing to a population of six billion or more. Humanity has scarcely tapped the human potential for intelligence and scientific knowledge. The lack was the proper management of our available resources. The greatest obstacles to this was the political leadership and entrenched bureaucracies that were more interested in gaining or keeping power than in helping their people.
The arms race, by increasing the power of the military establishments of individual countries, helped the armed forces gain political control. Military governments frequently were incompetent, prevented beneficial change and diverted resources to their own use. There was a definite connection between the rise of military-controlled governments in the developing world, and the economic decline of many of the same countries.
How can we influence our politicians to move toward
Dr. Healman: I believe that politics are moving toward the abolition of war, so it is really a question of how can we influence them to move faster. Interestingly enough, I think they are being influenced by factors they can't keep up with or understand. There is no question in my mind that World Wars are over, forever. For the first time in history, two major powers who emerged after a previous World War, are reaching a peaceful situation. I think we have to understand that war is always -- not sometimes but always -- based on economic considerations, period, nothing else. The leaders -- and I have a new term, I call them misleaders -- throughout history take advantage of situations like economic chaos, which sets a mood for the people, and use that to lead them into war. And with a war, people think that they are fighting for nationalism, for the flag, for God, for any religion. And really they are being duped into, by virtue of their economic dissatisfaction, into war. I would think that the best example was the Depression. You ended up with everybody willing to go to war, and the misleaders took advantage of a bad economic situation.
The end of the Cold War requires a review
of the relationships among the countries of the world. During the
Cold War there was a balance between the United States and the Soviet
Union. While the danger of major warfare is reduced, there is a
danger of smaller wars and fighting among the lesser powers. World
leadership is still required to diminish the number and levels of
intensity of these conflicts.
Qualifications of the Leading Powers
Should America take on this tremendous responsibility of world leadership? Do we have the qualifications for the most difficult task in human history?
World leadership is based on three major power factors: economic power, military power and moral power. Our foreign policy at present neglects the importance of moral power. Yet the values of America, reflected in the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights, the Four Freedoms, the Atlantic Charter -- and our adherence to them -- provide an irresistible appeal to the repressed people of the world. Our moral principles are actualized by our democratic institutions, the influence of organized religion, and a tradition of tolerance and acceptance of cultural diversity. If we look at the major nations or groupings of countries we find only four that have at least one of the power attributes.
Candidates for World Leadership
Only the United States has all the three
components of world leadership. Europe led the world into two World
Wars in the 20th century. The outcome of World War II included the
genocidal Jewish-Slavic Holocaust -- conducted by Nazi Germany, but
also facilitated by the collaboration of a number of the continental
European countries -- plus the initiation of the Nuclear Age, which
now threatens human survival. And during the 16th through the 19th
centuries Europeans, with their colonization and imperialistic
activities spread oppression, disease and death throughout the
Americas, Asia and Africa.
Japan, too, is tainted morally through its imperialistic wars during the first half of the 20th century (the rape of Nanking, for example). Although rapidly becoming an economic superpower, it still has a relatively weak military. (Should not have any, if the constitutional prohibition of militarism would be respected.)
The Soviet Union, because of its Stalinistic genocides, imperialism and economic mismanagement lacks both the economic and moral power to claim world leadership.
Only the United States, though far from perfect, retains the potential for world moral leadership:
Based on the characteristics outlined
above, a new classification of world power should be considered. The
Soviet Union and Japan, possessing one of the power attributes may be
considered as superpowers of the second rank. The European Economic
Community, with two power attributes is a superpower of the first
rank. The unique combination of economic, military and moral
potential make the United States a hyperpower,
uniquely qualified to lead the world into the 21st century.
The question is: Whither America: World Mender or World Destroyer? Our nuclear arsenal could destroy the world. So could inaction, by participating in the continuing arms race, and by not taking action against the threats to human survival.
However, the United States must give up its role as the world's policeman -- it is simply not affordable, and does not fit the value structure of the nation. Instead, we must become the Tribune of Humanity -- defender of democracy, protector of human rights, advocate of economic and social justice, liberator of the oppressed (especially women, children and minorities). This is the role uniquely suited to a hyperpower. This world leadership role also will regenerate America, and help to solve our economic, social and environmental problem
The Abolition of War: Foundation of the New American Foreign Policy
Obviously we are faced with a most formidable task, when we are considering not only the resolution of our own national problems, but also the exercising of world leadership. The only reason why we can even consider undertaking the mission is because for the first time in human history all the key components are in place.
First and foremost, a global consciousness has developed. The dramatic developments in communications technologies finally are opening up even the most closed societies. The best exertions of totalitarian or authoritarian societies cannot keep information and awareness of the world away from their people.
Science and technology are able to satisfy the economic, health, educational and other needs of humanity, if only governments will let these developments happen.
We also reached a condition when most of the world's problems and the prevention of their resolution can be traced to a single cause. At home, we are still paying for our tremendous expansion of our armed forces, which resulted in a huge national debt, starved our social programs, and made our economy less competitive in global trade. Globally, most of the problems of Homo sapiens can be traced to animosities and enmities, which are used to justify military expenditures approaching a trillion dollars annually. The resulting militarism causes a lack of cooperation in resolving our world problems, and the fastening of non-democratic regimes on half of the world's population. Finally, the increase in the lethality of military technology also threatens directly the survival of our species.
Fortunately the remedy to these problems is now available, as the ultimate peace dividend. The abolition of war and militarism is becoming both feasible and essential to our survival. The findings of social scientists prove that organized warfare is a social institution which can be abolished, just as slavery was expunged from American society. The tremendous financial savings from greatly reduced military expenditures could be applied to the alleviation of our national problems and the strengthening of our economy. We could balance the budget without new taxes. Our productivity would be bolstered through increased investments, a better-educated labor force, and the transfer of scientists and engineers from the defense industry to innovation in manufacturing and the development of new products. We, together with our allies, would also have the resources to address the other issues of human survival. Human needs could be met by shifting military expenditures to economic development, education, health improvement and other deficiencies of the less developed countries. Cutting down the weapons of violence to non-democratic regimes would also speed up the world-wide trend toward democratization. Finally, by eliminating mistrust among countries we would be able to undertake the massive cooperative efforts needed to restore the global environment.
The Grand Moral Strategy of the United States
Once we realize that our foreign policy -- and our domestic policies mutually supporting each other -- must be based on the abolition of war, our democratic political processes can take over. Our economic and social problems are readily identifiable, and rational programs to deal with them can be developed. The cohesive set of programs and policies addressing our national and world problems would be assembled, to become a coherent, consistent, long-term national program of economic buildup, social reform and moral revival. The part of this program that would address our relationship to the rest of the world would be the U.S. Grand Moral Strategy. The objectives and goals would be the following:
The Challenge to America
In 1960-61 British historian Arnold Toynbee gave a series of lectures titled America and the World Revolution. Nearly 30 years later his prophetic vision is applicable to our current problems and challenges:
"The World's future is at stake in America's actions... The saving grace of the American Empire...unprecedented in the history of empires...the first empire known to history in which the imperial power...paid voluntarily, for its dominant position, instead of drawing financial profit from it.
In the Atomic Age, not military warfare but missionary warfare is the form that human competition is taking.
The rich nations today are squandering a very large part of their surplus product on rival armaments. If we could limit, reduce, or, best of all, abolish all armaments...we could release a vast amount of productive power in the Western countries and in the Soviet Union for meeting the needs of the poor majority of mankind."
We may confidently state that history selected this nation to be the rescuer of humanity, the mender of the world.
It is a great and unique honor to be so selected by history and circumstances. Not to be a mere economic or military superpower, but to be a hyperpower because of the moral leadership that is so needed at this stage of human existence.
It is the new Manifest Destiny of America to:
It is highly appropriate that we reconsider
whither we are going. The balance of world power is changing with the
collapse of communism. But the uncontrolled distribution of weapons
and military technology to ruthless and reckless regimes again
threatens our prosperity and well-being.
The last decade of the 20th century also presents two new opportunities to us. Historically, the end of one century and the beginning of the next is a time for creativity and new ideas. This is a period for doing tasks long neglected. Through proper motivation, we can begin to clean up the chaos, problems and disruptions caused to our societies, economies and environments by gross mismanagement during the 20th century.
Another spur to our creativity and energies is the approach of the New Millennium. We can use the year 2000 -- the beginning of both the 21st century and the third millennium -- as a target date for initiating a new and better world civilization. The new beginning for humanity would encompass the solving of our major national and world problems, and the providing of resources to satisfy the unmet needs of humanity in the less developed countries. New, even utopian ideas can be created with the assistance of information generated by computers and disseminated through modern communications technologies. But the foundation of the new ideas, and the infrastructure of our new societies must be based on the moral values and objectives propagated by the great religions of humanity.
Today America is at a crossroads. We have two choices. We can continue to drift along the road of least resistance. We can be opportunistic, and take advantage of the distress of the Soviet Union. We can continue to sell massive armaments to anybody who cares to buy them. We can have alliances with despotic rulers, and then have them turn against us. We can carelessly exploit our environment, giving little thought to our progeny. We can continue to be a model for military strength to those governments who want to oppress their people. And we can be the victims of terrorism and violence spawned by the very policies we created.
Alternatively, we can design and carry out a grand strategy based on our best moral values, where we become the tribune of humanity, supplying resources and guidance to a better world. We can become the defenders of human rights, and the menders of the world. We can preserve God's Creation -- our Planet Earth -- given to our custody for us, and for the generations to come.
As we are entering the last decade of the
twentieth century, figuratively we are standing on a bridge that
connects two distinct eras of history. The '90s will be the
culmination of a century marked both by great developments in
science, the arts and material prosperity, and by unprecedented
regression to violence and brutality. The twenty-first century could
initiate a millennium of enormous scientific progress and spiritual
development for humanity, or a graveyard of our civilization,
planetary environment -- even life itself as we know it.
Our civilization is so complex that it is seldom possible to pinpoint one cause to a problem or condition. Equally unusual is when a single remedy may be proposed, capable of overcoming the worst evils of the past, and able to usher in a future of tremendous potential and promise.
War and militarism -- the social institution of organized violence -- is the villain responsible for most of the miseries of the twentieth century. Over 157 million men, women and children were killed so far in this century by wars, genocides, massacres and famines caused by deliberate government policies. Equally great damage was caused by the abuse of power -- made possible by militarism -- which stunted the normal social and economic development of entire countries and societies. The huge nuclear arsenal, and the continuously increasing lethality and wide dissemination of conventional weaponry threaten to make doomsday a reality.
Originally a social institution of considerable benefit to civilizations and nations able to practice it successfully, war has become a cancer that now threatens human survival itself. And the remedy is the operation which will remove the malignant tumor before it is too late. Only the abolition of war and militarism can save our global civilization and our planet Earth.
The use of a newspaper to initiate this New Abolition is done on purpose, in a conscious attempt to repeat a successful historical model. On January 1, 1831 William Lloyd Garrison started in Boston The Liberator, which became a powerful influence in abolishing slavery in the United States. One hundred and fifty-nine years later, in the nation's capital, we are starting the publication of The Peacemaker, to initiate another new era of moral revival for America.
The message of The Peacemaker will be very simple. Both slavery and war are immoral and costly social institutions. Slavery was abolished successfully in the United States. We can now abolish war. Slavery had to be abolished because it could not coexist with liberty. War has to be abolished because it cannot coexist with peace and human survival.
Both The Liberator and The Peacemaker have a common purpose. William Lloyd Garrison and his fellow abolitionists wanted to liberate the slave, so that Liberty could flourish throughout America. We want to liberate all of humanity from the scourge of war and militarism, so that peace, justice, prosperity and social development may prevail on this Earth.
It is a tribute to the history, institutions and values of America that we can undertake the task of abolishing war for the first time in human history, with full confidence in our ultimate success.