WORKING TO ACHIEVE A PEACEFUL SUSTAINABLE FUTURE FREE FROM THE THREAT OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS
While demands for social justice take to the streets in America and the most impoverished nations prepare for the storms of climate change and the tsunami of COVID-19 and the onslaught of famine, while social programs, health care needs, and social services in the world’s richest nation beg for funds to simply keep up, here are some relevant facts:
Facts matter. How money is spent demonstrates values. While demands for social justice take to the streets in America and the most impoverished nations prepare for the storms of climate change and the tsunami of COVID-19 and the onslaught of famine, while social programs, health care needs, and social services in the world’s richest nation beg for funds to simply keep up, here are some relevant facts:
1. The US is 5% of the world’s population. It incarcerates over 24% of the world’s prisoners. Either a great many innocent people are being put in jail or the social order is excellent at producing criminals.
2. In the US African Americans are 5 times as likely to be jailed and in 5 states 10 times. Racism is a cancer.
3. The US will spend nearly $200 Billion on police and prisons this year with over 2.2 million living behind bars. Russia, with over 540,000 prisoners, will spend approximately 2.50 Euros per day for each of them while its European neighbors spend about 128 Euros per day per prisoner. France and Germany combined have less that 200,000 people incarcerated. The domestic values of the nations with over 94% of the world’s nuclear arsenals need fixing. Their moral compass does not bestow any legitimacy for them to threaten humanity with annihilation as a justification for their exceptional security interests as they perceive them.
4. The majority of the world’s malnourished children live in South Asia, where more than one third of the 450 million children of Pakistan and India live each day under the burden of malnutrition and easily preventable diseases. Yet, nearly $70 Billion dollars is spent for militaries each year. India spends in excess of $5 billion and Pakistan in excess of $3 billion for their nuclear weapons programs.
5. The nuclear modernization programs of the US, Russia, China, India, Pakistan, UK, Israel, North Korea, and France, will spend in excess of a $1 Trillion dollars in the next decade. The US program will expend in excess of $1.6 Trillion over the next three decades.
“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.”
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Worldwide we need a change from spending such enormous sums on militaries and focus on meeting real human needs. The wealthiest most powerful nations must lead in this effort. This means funding and using the skills of diplomacy and finding common ground, protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms, and enhancing justice and the rule of law at all levels. The current US Administration is consciously crippling the capacity of the Department of State to realize a human security agenda and bloating the coffers of military contractors.
At GSI we focus on the elimination of nuclear weapons. Nuclear weapons are one of a number of interconnected issues, including racism, the destruction of the regenerative processes of the natural world and the climate, and crippling poverty. These and other critical issues fall under the umbrella of the pursuit of justice and compassion for all. This is the core of human security, which is the core of our work. Join us in this commitment to a safer, saner, sustainable future.
President, Global Security Institute
Senior Advisor and Special Representative to the UN for the Permanent Secretariat of the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates