Tuesday, December 29, 2015

War Or Peace

You cannot make war on war, you can only make peace on war. You cannot profess to fight for peace, only work for it. War and peace are alternative paths we can take, different kinds of behavior. They are opposite paths. It is a choice we must make, war or peace.

Once you commit to peace you must leave behind the weapons of war, the mindsets that permit you to see the other as the enemy. You must beat the swords into plows and start tilling the earth, plant seeds rather than attempt to burn the crops of your neighbor.

To believe in peace you must help your neighbor rather than withholding your help for fear of him using your vulnerability to harm you.

Make no mistake, when you choose war you have chosen war. You do not choose war in order to achieve peace. When you choose war you have abandoned peace. When you choose war you abandon the very ideas that make peace possible.

When you choose war you choose “me” over “us”. You choose fear over hope.

Even when war leads to victory it plants the seeds of future wars. No vanquished nation or people ever forgets their defeat. The wounds of war never heal. They fester, for years, decades, centuries, until the time for vengeance arrives. And that vengeance is but another justification for their enemy in times to come.

Peace is the planting of seeds for the future, an optimism. War is a succumbing to the immediate fear. A commitment to peace requires faith while war is a surrendering to the fear that is the basest instinct of our animal nature. It is the fallback, the final position when all else has failed, just as an ill-adjusted adult falls back to infantile patterns of behavior when confronted with a situation he cannot control. As one of Isaac Asimov fictional characters was fond of saying, “Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.”

The thing is, it may work for some…for a while. And from that, others deduce that it is a valuable tool or perhaps a necessary one, an ever-present threat to be held against others in order to entice them to the bargaining table. But show me the nation that has risen by war that has not fallen in the same manner. What works for the individual does not work for a nation. What works for the life-span of a human will devour a country in the span of several human lifetimes. And beyond that, what works for the individual is toxic for the whole. Humanity has endured through war not because it is an inevitability but because its scope has so far been limited. But larger and more destructive tools of mass-destruction have been filtering into more and more hands. With the greater proliferation of such weapons will come the increased desire to use war as a means of protection against such weapons. At some point the desire for individuals and nations to protect themselves will mean the end of us all.

There is no peace that war provides. Even those who believe in war have no ultimate answer as to how we can forever forestall nuclear war. They provide no vision of a nuclear-free future, no security. They offer only immediate actions to stave off whatever the most pressing problems might be. But the road they propose we take has only one endpoint. War leads to war, not peace. Choose now the path you wish to take.

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