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The End of the World

Updated: Apr 18, 2023

Playing With Nuclear Fire

​​​​​ There was perhaps a time when the United States recognized the value of treaties and pursuing diplomatic relations. Unfortunately, it seems that many of America’s leaders have for too long marched to the drum-beats of war. Lawmakers have pursued the profits of the military industrial complex, stoking and arming conflicts abroad over the investments in safety and security for Americans at home. As the biggest spender and exporter of military armaments globally, the United States of course sets the standard to which other nations must respond. In some ways, the geopolitical situation is as dangerous as during the height of the Cold War. At least in that moment, American and Russian leadership recognized the necessity of entering nuclear arms treaties to prevent the mutually assured destruction of the human-race. Terrifyingly, those treaties are beginning to fail, and there seems to be little will or interest on either side of the aisle in American, or Russian, politics to reaffirm our commitment towards a peaceful and livable future. This manifests in America with the ever-growing military budget which year after year balloons beyond even the requests of the Pentagon, while domestic programs wither. We can also see it in the lack of interest in abiding by, or renewing the remaining nuclear arms treaties with Russia, or in reentering the Iran nuclear deal, an activity which Biden had promised to pursue on the campaign trail. The reality is that for some time now America has behaved on the global stage more like a bully than a neutral arbiter, and it's cachet as a negotiator in good faith has run rather thin in much of the world. American leaders have become too used to demanding compliance at the end of a gun, or economic stick, instead of work through difficult negotiations. Without conversations around finding shared prosperity between groups with only partially overlapping goals and ideologies the United States’ diplomatic acumen has become ineffective, so far proving unable to rise to the challenge of increasing global instability. In recent years, American bombast is often counter-productive, for example undermining our nuclear arms treaties with Russia, giving Putin a fig leaf to suggest expanding nuclear deployments into Belarus. In contrast, China has pursued a different strategy, leading with the economic carrot of development, rather than a destructive military stick. As America's status as a good faith negotiator has fallen, China's own star has risen, evidenced by the recently announced negotiated peace talks between Saudi Arabia and Iran. For all their deep flaws, China’s leaders seems to understand that while war can be an attractive approach for some economic sectors in the short term, it is rarely beneficial in the long run. An empire’s pursuit of war eventually leaves it over-stretched, spending and destroying its own treasure and people, rather than building up the nation. Instead of recognizing the wisdom of pursuing a wide range of diplomatic avenues, it appears that the United States is attempting to gear up its old, tired playbook of militarism and animus, this time against China. While a large majority of Americans want the US to have an active role in world affairs, this antagonism is not the way, as nationalistic saber rattling helps neither country’s people. Unfortunately, our politicians are addicted to, and owned by, the constant flow of lobbyist money from the military industrial complex. If we are to extract ourselves successfully from the potential devastation of a new cold war and face the major collective action challenges of the 21st century, we must wrest this country away from the donor class. We must build an economic and political cudgel that can fight back the forces of militarism and call on American politicians to once again pursue diplomacy. So, join us each week in growing solidarity, and don't shop on Tuesday! #DSOT #UPM

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