September 21 is observed as the International Day of Peace by the United Nations. The theme this year is “Partnerships for Peace - Dignity for All” which encourages all sectors of society such as governments, people, the private sector, civil servants, faith-based groups and others to work together for peace.
It is a lovely sentiment, but the harsh reality is that certain sectors of our society are actively working against peace because they profit greatly from conflict and war. Large industries such as the oil, gas and other extractive industries lobby for the US government and military to dominate regions of the world that are rich in oil, gas and other resources.
This is the root of much of the conflict in the Middle East that began with the US-backed coup d’etat which overthrew the democratically-elected Dr. Mossadegh in Iran in 1953. His crime was planning to nationalize Iranian oil so that the profits would benefit the Iranian people. This is also one of the reasons that the US has been working overtly and covertly to undermine the government of Venezuela and why the US funded and participated in the coup d’etat in Ukraine and is increasing its military presence in Africa.
The weapons industry is also greatly responsible for conflicts around the world. The more conflicts there are, the greater the need is for weapons and military equipment and the greater are the profits for the weapons industry. The Obama administration has more than tripled the amount of weapons sold abroad, more than $68 billion during the first five years compared to $22 billion during the entire Bush administration, most of this to Gulf States.
Let us join together in our call for peace by recognizing that the US - which is the largest Empire in the history of the world - must take the profit out of war, stop using the military to strong arm other countries to enhance corporate profits and transition the military quickly to being a smaller defensive force only. Our primary approach to foreign policy must be one of cooperation and diplomacy. This will create a safer and more peaceful world and will allow the US to channel hundreds of billions that are currently spent on the military to meet urgent domestic needs for jobs, education, health care and housing.
On September 22, I will participate in the Seeds of Hope Rally and March organized by the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance. The rally will start at the Edward Murrow Park at 18th St. and Pennsylvania Ave., NW at noon.
You can read more of my writings on overcoming our empire economy here:
Confronting the Growing National (In)security State