A Different Perspective On Peace

A Different Perspective On Peace

By Kent D. Shifferd

Think of where we are, on a very special, tilted planet that revolves on its own axis every 24 hours while it is circled by a moon that moves around it every 27 days, and both are circling the sun every 365 days, and the sun and all its planets are part of the barred galaxy we call the Milky Way, which is revolving around its own axis once every 250 million years which means that our incredible little planet is racing through space, carried along by the galactic revolution or Cosmic Year, at a speed of 500,000 miles per hour or 12 million miles per day.  Try to picture all these simultaneous movements in your mind.  We are on the outer edge of just one galaxy in a universe of 100 billion galaxies, a tiny dot in measureless space.  And yet, and yet. . . this incredible planet has life, indeed is a living planet encased in a web of creatures dependent on one another and all functioning to support the whole miraculous enterprise.  And here we humans are, conscious of all this, which ought to be both overwhelmingly humbling and awe-inspiring to the point of putting us on our knees.  To think that we are a part of this almost inconceivable cosmic dance leaves me breathless.  And I say to myself, how can we possibly harm one another and the whole web of life, for as far as we know there is no such other planet like earth, and if there is, it’s too far away get to.  This is it, here on this rapidly moving miracle planet.  So, to put it simply, let’s all get along together and nurture the unique systems of life which support us in this remote but awesome place in the universe.

Kent Shifferd is the author of From War To Peace: A Guide To The Next Hundred Years, and is the former Director of the Wisconsin Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies

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HOW TO OUTLAW WAR

 

Several years ago I wrote the book, FROM WAR TO PEACE: A GUIDE TO THE NEXT HUNDRED YEARS (McFarland, 2011). I now hope it won’t take a hundred years, but whenever the nations and peoples are ready to put an end to the barbarism of war, perhaps the treaty will look something like this.

A TREATY TO OUTLAW ALL FORMS OF WAR

PREAMBLE: Whereas war is a terrible crime against humanity and detracts crucially needed resources and attention from solving the most critical problems of the planet while contributing to their exacerbation;

And whereas all prior good will efforts to prevent war including the Kellogg-Briand Pact, the current Charter’s limited prohibition of aggression, and current provisions for collective security have failed to prevent war, and;

Recognizing that we currently live in a self-perpetuating war system causing untold misery, and that decisive steps must be taken to break out of this system, and;

Whereas the peoples and States of the world are interdependent as never before so that any war anywhere degrades the lives of all people everywhere and threatens the future of well-being on the planet, therefore:

ARTICLE I: The High Contracting Parties agree that all war is illegal and a crime against humanity, including interstate war (aggression or defense against aggression, declared or undeclared), terrorism and wars against terrorism, and civil wars, and further;

ARTICLE II: the Parties agree to rid themselves of the instruments of war including standing armies (not to include lightly armed domestic police forces), artillery, armed aircraft, bombs, missiles, tanks and all that is common in such cases, and other weapons already outlawed by international treaty (nuclear weapons, land mines, gas, cluster bombs, etc.), and further,

ARTICLE III: the Parties agree to immediately train at least ten percent of their citizens in nonviolent civilian-based defense, and further;

ARTICLE IV: each of the State Parties will establish a high level Department of Peace, and further;

ARTICLE V: that violations of these terms constitute a crime against humanity whose perpetrators will be turned over to the International Criminal Court for judgment, and further;

ARTICLE VI: that the High Contracting Parties shall agree to impose economic sanctions against any States that violate these terms, as determined by eighty percent of the members of the Security Council voting without the exercise of the veto.

ARTICLE VII: that the Parties agree to submit to the mediation by the United Nations in order to resolve conflicts as early as possible using the latest techniques of conflict resolution and mediation, or to undergo the judgment of the International Court of Justice whose subpoena will have the force of international law with appropriate sanctions for any State that ignores its summons, enforceable by the police power of the United Nations, and further;

ARTICLE IX: that the United Nations shall maintain an adequately armed international police force for the deterrence of violations, to be employed as a last resort as determined by eighty percent of the members of the Security Council voting without the exercise of the veto.