As the U.S. and its Western allies lurch into a new and dangerous confrontation with Russia, the different sides don’t even have a thorough understanding of the history behind the tensions, warns Alice Slater.
NATO’s recent provocative decision to build up its military forces across Europe — by sending four new multinational battalions to Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Poland — comes at a time of great turmoil and intense questioning of global security with new forces for both good and evil straining to make their mark on the course of history.
This weekend, at the Vatican, Pope Francis held an international conference to follow up on the recently negotiated treaty to prohibit the possession, use, or threat of use of nuclear weapons leading to their complete elimination which was negotiated in the United Nations General Assembly this summer by 122 nations, although none of the nine nuclear weapons states participated.
Honored at the conference were members of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), which worked with friendly governments to hold nuclear weapons unlawful, and has recently been awarded the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize for its successful efforts.
The Pope issued a statement that the doctrine of nuclear deterrence in which countries threaten to wreak catastrophic nuclear devastation on their opponents should they be attacked with nuclear bombs has become ineffective against Twenty-first Century threats like terrorism asymmetrical conflicts, environmental problems and poverty. While the church once held that such an insane policy could be moral and lawful, it no longer views it as such. And there are plans for the church to examine the so-called theory of “just war” with an eye to prohibiting the very morality and legality of war itself.
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