JOHN ENTINGH - 20 APRIL 2012
Mental health and world peace could enjoy a very intimate relationship. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines mental health as “a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.”
It seems the very definition of mental health describes happiness for just about any culture or society, and does so without judgment on values. Historically the focus on world peace has been from a position of power rather than a perspective of mental health. Perhaps this is the very reason why world peace has proven so elusive. Is it possible that instead of building up military installations, the building up of mental health care would provide a safer and more peaceful world? The stark reality is that military might and wars have done little to attain world peace.
Nearly sixty years ago American political scientist Quincy Wright wrote:
War arises because of the changing relations of numerous variables--technological, psychic, social, and intellectual. There is no single cause of war. Peace is an equilibrium among many forces. Change in any particular force, trend, movement, or policy may at one time make for war, but under other conditions a similar change may make for peace. A state may at one time promote peace by armament, at another time by disarmament, at one time by insistence on its rights, at another time by a spirit conciliation. To estimate the probability of war at any time involves, therefore, an appraisal of the effect of current changes upon the complex of intergroup relationships throughout the world (p. 1284).
Wright’s observation is as true today as it was then. Not long after these immortal words were penned, noted political scholar R.J. Rummel redefined war as an “international conflict.”
Perhaps this was from countries such as the United States invading sovereign nations without actually declaring war (e.g. Vietnam). Rummel’s definition became popular in an era of behaviorism, an era where every action was a behavior and every behavior had a stimulus. Rather than say “this is what caused the war,” it was politically correct to say “international conflict behavior” is stimulated by:
· opposing interests and capabilities (specific sociocultural differences and similarities between the parties),
· contact and salience (awareness),
· significant change in the balance of powers,
· individual perceptions and expectations,
· a disrupted structure of expectations,
· a will-to-conflict.
It is aggravated by:
· sociocultural dissimilarity,
· cognitive imbalance,
· status difference,
· coercive state power.
It is inhibited by:
· sociocultural similarity,
· decentralized or weak, coercive state power.
It is triggered by:
· perception of opportunity, threat, or injustice,
These causes, aggravations, inhibitions, and triggers of international conflict behavior have some surprising similarities to the facts surrounding mental health. Like international conflict behavior, so too are mental, neurological and behavioral disorders common to all countries and cause immense suffering. People with these disorders are often subjected to social isolation, poor quality of life and increased mortality. These disorders are also the cause of staggering economic and social costs. There is absolutely no difference between the consequences of conflict behavior and the consequences mental health disorders. Worldwide, hundreds of millions of people are affected by mental, behavioral, neurological and substance abuse disorders every day. For example, estimates made by WHO in 2002 showed that 154 million people globally suffer from depression and 25 million people from schizophrenia; 91 million people are affected by alcohol use disorders and 15 million by drug use disorders. A recently published WHO report shows that 50 million people suffer from epilepsy and 24 million from Alzheimer and other dementias.
Aside from the debilitating disorders, many other disorders affect the nervous system or produce neurological sequelae (any abnormal condition that follows and is the result of a disease, treatment, or injury). Projections based on a 2005 WHO study show that worldwide, 326 million people suffer from migraine; 61 million from cerebrovascular diseases; 18 million from neuroinfections or neurological sequelae of infections. Adding substantially to the burden are 352 million people with neurological sequelae of nutritional disorders and neuropathies, and 170 million people plagued with neurological sequelae secondary to injuries. These numbers reflect millions of very unhappy people that at a bare minimum have cognitive imbalance, a factor that Rummel points out will aggravate conflict behavior.
More importantly, 877,000 people die by suicide every year, 86% of them in low and middle income countries, and more than half are aged between 15 and 44. Billions of dollars are spent each year to further conflict behavior and to kill people whereas just a small fraction of those billions could be devoted to saving millions of lives with increased mental health and in promoting human societies more prone to peace than to war. Consider, one in four patients visiting a health service has at least one mental, neurological or behavioral disorder, but most of these disorders are neither diagnosed nor treated. There is no getting around how mental illnesses affect and are affected by chronic conditions such as cancer, heart and cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and HIV/AIDS. Furthermore, left untreated, they bring about unhealthy behavior, non-compliance with prescribed medical regimens, diminished immune functioning, and poor prognosis. The consequences of ignoring mental health issues are the very facets of life that cause and aggravate conflict behavior. One needs no degree in psychology to know that “a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community” will be a state that is hard to drive into conflict behavior.
The salient point here is that cost-effective treatments exist for most disorders, and if correctly applied, could enable most of those affected to become functioning members of society. Unfortunately, the strongest barriers to implementation of mental health services include a failure of awareness on the seriousness of mental illness and lack of understanding about the benefits of services. Stringent policy makers, insurance companies, and health/labor policies, along with the public at large, have instilled discriminate practices between physical and mental problems. It is this type of agenda that Rummel’s conflict behavior causes speak to on status difference and coercive state power. Most resources are devoted to urgent physical care, and the preventive power of mental health is marginalized. Indeed, most middle and low-income countries devote less than 1% of their health expenditure to mental health. As a result, mental health policies, legislation, community care facilities, and treatments for people with mental illness are not given the priority they deserve, which is a clear case of the conflict behavior cause of sociocultural dissimilarity. WHO is presently pushing for more global support of mental health, especially in developing countries; however, the connection to conflict behavior has been overlooked.
Stepping back to look at the two things that Rummel contends inhibit conflict behavior: 1.) sociocultural similarity; and, 2.) decentralized or weak, coercive state power; we have to ask if increasing mental health for all people would actually lead to these phenomena. WHO finds the facts. Nearly half of all mental disorders begin before the age of 14 (untreated family members contributing). Close to 20% of the world's children and adolescents are estimated to have mental disorders or problems, with similar types of disorders being reported across all cultures. Yet, regions of the world with the highest percentage of population under the age of 19 have the poorest level of mental health resources. This astounding social fact exemplifies the conflict behavior cause of perception of opportunity, threat, or injustice. Most of the low and middle income countries have only one child psychiatrist for every 1 to 4 million people. There is no sociocultural similarity in these facts. The highest suicide rates are found among men in eastern European countries known for coercive state power, yet mental disorders are one of the most prominent and treatable causes of suicide. Stigma about mental disorders and discrimination against patients and families prevent people from seeking mental health care. In South Africa, a public survey showed that most people thought mental illnesses were related to either stress or a lack of willpower rather than to clinical disorders. Contrary to expectations, levels of stigma were higher in urban areas and among people with higher levels of education, which gives rise to Rummel’s conflict behavior cause of lack of awareness and the trigger of surprise. Human rights violations of psychiatric patients are routinely reported in most countries. These include physical restraint, seclusion and denial of basic needs and privacy. Few countries have a legal framework that adequately protects the rights of people with mental disorders. The largest sociocultural inequity is in the distribution of skilled human resources for mental health across the world. Shortages of properly educated and trained psychiatrists, psychiatric nurses, psychologists and social workers are among the biggest hurdles to providing treatment and adequate care in low and middle income countries. WHO reports that low-income countries have 0.05 psychiatrists and 0.42 nurses per 100 000 people; whereas, the rate of psychiatrists in high income countries is 170 times greater and for nurses is 70 times greater.
WHO contends that are there are five key barriers that need to be overcome in order to increase the availability of mental health services: 1.) the absence of mental health from the public health agenda and the implications for funding; 2.) the current organization of mental health services; 3.) lack of integration within primary care; 4.) inadequate human resources for mental health; and 5.) lack of public mental health leadership. These five barriers to worldwide mental health are the exact things that Rummel argued would inhibit conflict behavior if overcome. This would mean that governments, donors and groups representing mental health workers, patients and their families need to work together to increase mental health services, especially in the low and middle income countries. WHO explains that the financial resources needed are relatively modest, as little as $2 per person per year in low-income countries and $3-4 in lower middle-income countries. In contrast, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) reports a world military expenditure in 2010 at an estimated $1.62 trillion in current dollars which represents a 1.3% increase in real terms since 2009 and a 50% increase since 2001.That comes to about 2.6 % of the world gross domestic product (GDP), or approximately $236 for each person in the world.
There is little truth in the cliché that history repeats itself, simply because so many variables in the world are in constant flux. However, themes in history do repeat themselves, and striving for peace through conflict behavior is one of the most resilient. From looking at the facts, peace is indeed an equilibrium between many forces. History has demonstrated that conflict behavior will not be inhibited by anything less than sociocultural similarity (equal opportunity at a minimum), and a decentralized or weak, coercive state power (democracy in some flavor). A relatively inexpensive way to achieve both and also provide “a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community,” is to further efforts that implement mental health, equally, on a global agenda. It is time to own up to the fact that conflict behavior adds little to peace and harmony, yet comes at a huge expense to resources. When we add to that knowledge the fact that happy people are easier to work and live with, then exploring an alternative such as expanded mental health in a world peace strategy becomes a little more attractive. For the bean counters, it seems like a hand down win. Rather than spend $236 per person on conflict behavior, maybe just $232 and give $4 to WHO for implementation of its global mental health plan. That seems like a very small price to pay for something that has such huge possibilities, especially since the money is being spent anyway.
There are two important considerations in the argument for investing in an extension of the mental health agenda. First and foremost is that this urging does not call for an immediate lying down of arms. The world is such that military peace keepers are indeed required. This would be a peace strategy that would be implemented in the long term and may well be a generation away from bearing fruit. But if we look back at the tens of thousands of years of conflict behavior, a strategy that takes a generation to implement does not seem so unreasonable. The point is that military spending can be significantly reduced and those resources better spent. The second consideration is that mental health is relative to individual needs. A popular field of research has emerged in “positive psychology.” We tend to think of only the destitute afflicted with mental health issues when that is not the case at all, as the stigma from the South African survey clarifies. Functioning people can suffer from mental health issues just as much as the destitute. In fact, the functioning can at times actually be more of a threat to world peace than the dysfunctional (e.g. Hitler), especially in a society with restricted mental health care. The goal is to lift the stigma and extend the view that going to a mental health center is the same as going to the gym. The only difference is that one keeps the body in shape and the other keeps the mind in shape. Take for example the manner in which the field of psychology not only boomed during World War II, but split. Prior to the great wars psychology was largely viewed as a clinical domain for the unstable. The realization came in the early 1900s that psychology had another function as well and that was the ability to determine an individual’s abilities and capabilities, or strengths and weaknesses. This helped military trainers assign troops to what they were best at, or discharge the person altogether.
After WW II, returning troops were in dire need of counseling services, not as much for trauma as for aptitude testing and job/education placement. Thus a new branch of psychology emerged as counseling psychology. The focus of counseling psychology is to assess people and direct them toward what the assessment warrants. It may be some form of treatment, but is often just informing the person of their strengths and weaknesses and what might work best for them, or what type of environment they may expect to thrive in. Many contemporary education and employment placement procedures fall under this domain of mental health services. Mental health is no longer an exclusive domain of psychologists. Mental health embraces all forms of helping professionals including social workers, certified counselors in numerous areas from weight loss to job placement, and family counseling. It is these types of social services that lift a society up more than dropping bombs on their infrastructure.
Beyond the conflict behavior argument, there is a clear employment agenda built into the mental health strategy. Millions of people worldwide will find employment on all levels, from the construction crews and architects that construct the facilities to the helping professionals that staff them, and the technology industry that equips them. Not only are the employable provided opportunities, but those suffering from mental health issues become employable through counseling and/or treatment. This strategy does not leave out the egos that enjoy winning wars, it merely has shifted who the enemy is. Mankind has a penchant for picking fights it can win; we now have one. 
Virot, P. WHO urges more investments, services for mental health
., 2012. Retrieved March 26, 2012 from http://www.who.int/mental_health/who_urges_investment/en/index.html 
Wright, Quincy, The escalation of international conflict. The Journal of Conflict Resolution, Vol. 9 (December, 1965). 434-449. 
Rummel, R.J. Understanding Conflict and War: Vol. 4: War, Power, Peace,
Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications, 1979 
UCDP/Human Security Centre Dataset. Retrieved March 26 from: http://www.humansecuritygateway.com/showRecord.php?RecordId=34079 
Shah, Anup. World Military Spending. Global Issues: Social, Political, Economic and Environmental Issues That Affect Us All. May 02, 2011. Retrieved March 26, 2012 from: http://www.globalissues.org/article/75/world-military-spending
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JOHN ENTINGH - 26 MARCH 2012
Mankind has no greater enemy than itself. Despite the clever and innovative machines that strong warriors devise, it is the small things the warrior overlooks that eventually win out. When Europeans came to the Americas, they did not land on a sparsely populated shore. Although there is no pervasive agreement between scholars, the population in the Americas when Christopher Columbus set sail is estimated between 60 to over 100 million people.
When the Spaniards and Portuguese arrived in South America archeological evidence suggests that 15 million people populated the Aztec Empire and six million in the Inca Empire alone. It was not superior weapons or even military prowess that allowed a boatload of Europeans to conquer such vast empires, it was microscopic organisms the invaders had no knowledge of, yet carried every where they traveled. It was Eurasian diseases such as smallpox, influenza, bubonic plague and pneumonic plagues that devastated the Native Americans who had never developed immunity. Even the most conservative estimates hold that the Native American death toll due to these diseases was at an astonishing 80% by the end of the 17th century, eight million people in 1650 alone.
Surprisingly the warring Europeans that had been devastated by the “The Black Death” between 1348 and 1350 failed to make the connection. The Black Death is estimated to have killed 30–60 percent of Europe's population, reducing world population from an estimated 450 million to between 350 and 375 million in the 14th century.
However, the ever clever man did not miss the potential biological agents had for waging war as technology grew.
By World War I (1914–1918), the Imperial German government developed what they termed biological sabotage using anthrax and glanders (an infectious disease that occurs primarily in horses, mules, and donkeys). Although the results were not as devastating as hoped,
world powers still gathered to take strong measures by banning bioweapons in the Geneva Protocol of 1925 (that nearly every country ignored).
By the Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945) and World War II (1939–1945), biological weapons were in full use. The Japanese launched biological warfare on the Chinese, and shortly thereafter Nazi Germany was openly producing biological weapons. The new danger with Germany was that the prior loss of life by intentional biological weapons had been limited due to poor delivery systems, but the Nazis had developed rockets to overcome that drawback. This gave the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada a justification to initiate their own biological-warfare development programs in 1941 that resulted in the weaponization of anthrax, brucellosis, and botulism toxin (Fear of the German program turned out to be vastly exaggerated.).
This is how mankind’s clever mind works: We take something we know little about, turn it into a weapon that kill most of the world’s population, and say it’s for our own protection.
That statement is not as facetious as one may think. Step back and take a look at how nuclear weapons have played out. Perhaps the first nuclear weapons were justified to end World War II. But in any case, the point is, that the United States spent a great deal of resources to produce this weapon, for our own protection, and has been consumed ever since with protecting us from the very weapon they developed. Of course we have to recognize the argument that nuclear weapons were going to be made anyway. Regardless, the same situation applies to all nuclear states. We have yet to exclude Russians, Chinese, Israelis, Koreans, or Iranians from mankind. I hold my ground; mankind has no greater enemy than itself.
Case in point, a computer worm was discovered in June 2010 that is called Stuxnet. The malware is spread via Microsoft Windows, and targets Siemens industrial software and equipment. The Siemens industrial software and equipment infected is literally the equipment that runs the world as we know it. These industrial systems run everything imaginable, traffic light systems, subway systems, power generating systems (including the grid and nuclear plants), food processing plants, warehouses, emergency alert systems, every form of manufacturing, hospitals, police and fire departments, and even the air traffic control systems. The danger from this worm is that it preys specifically on industrial systems and has a very complex programmable logic controller (PLC) rootkit.
That means it can be programmed to target a specific operating system and take over the running of the program unbeknownst to even the most observant operator.
CBS 60 Minutes’ Steve Kroft did a piece on Stuxnet
that revealed some startling information. One of the interviews was with Liam O’ Murchu, an operations manager for computer virus security company Symantec. O’ Murchu was one of minds behind figuring out Stuxnet and explains how the worm was programmed to target industrial systems such as that the Iranians use to enrich fuel cells for nuclear weapons. The target of the worm, along with the sophistication, leaves little room for speculation that this is anything other than state sponsored technological warfare. Evidently, the program was spinning centrifuges too fast for the enrichment to work properly and at the same time was burning the equipment up. To the plant operators, everything seemed okay, their diagnostics and readings were on point. Stuxnet has the ability to run the equipment at one speed, but report to the operators another speed. The danger of this worm is that any manner of equipment could be taken over the same way and the operators have no idea. Kroft also interviewed Sean McGurk, one time leader of the Department of Homeland Security's efforts to secure U.S. systems from cyber attack. McGurk emphasized that very point: "You can download the actual source code of Stuxnet now and you can repackage it [and] point it back to wherever it came from." McGurk stated the biggest fear now was that a terrorist group or a rogue country could refashion the programmable malware to attack U.S. infrastructure like the power grid, adding: "They opened the box. They demonstrated the capability...it's not something that they can put back."
The most distressing point of the Stuxnet fiasco is the attitudes from the governmental bureaucrats. Kroft also interviewed retired Gen. Mike Hayden, former head of NSA and CIA, but denied being in office when the Stuxnet attack occurred, and denied knowing who was behind it. However, Hayden’s sentiments might well be an indicator of his colleagues. When Kroft asked him if it was a good idea to unleash something so dangerous to all: "This was a good idea, alright? But I also admit this was a big idea, too. The rest of the world is looking at this and saying, 'Clearly, someone has legitimated this kind of activity as acceptable.'" That sounds an awful lot like the justification for using nuclear weapons on Japan. Even worse, Hayden admits knowing “… there are those out there who can take a look at this...and maybe even attempt to turn it to their own purposes." That acknowledgement in and of itself shocks the conscious. The power brokers on high have no misunderstanding of how this type of cyber weapon can be turned back on the entire world, and simply shrug it off. Ralph Langner, another expert in industrial control systems, and who also was instrumental in analyzing Stuxnet, drove home the point about how easily this program could be reversed: "You just need a couple of millions…and it wouldn't take the resources of a government to find the right people…if I would be tasked with assembling a cyber force, yeah, I would know whom to approach. So that's not a real secret." Clearly the Iranian nuclear threat pales in comparison to that of U.S. and Israeli leaders that “legitimated this kind of activity as acceptable.”
Mankind has no greater enemy than itself. 
Alan Taylor (2002). American colonies; Volume 1 of The Penguin history of the United States, History of the United States Series.
Penguin. p. 40.  La catastrophe démographique
(The Demographical Catastrophe), L'Histoire n°322, July–August 2007, p. 17. 
Austin Alchon, Suzanne (2003). A pest in the land: new world epidemics in a global perspective
. University of New Mexico Press. p. 21. 
Koenig, Robert (2006), The Fourth Horseman: One Man's Secret Campaign to Fight the Great War in America
, PublicAffairs. 
Ken Alibek and K Handelman (1999), Biohazard: The Chilling True Story of the Largest Covert Biological Weapons Program in the World Trade From the Inside by the Man Who Ran It, New York, NY: Random House. 
Covert, Norman M. (2000), A History of Fort Detrick, Maryland
, 4th Edition: 2000. 
Last-minute paper: An indepth look into Stuxnet. Virus Bulletin. http://www.virusbtn.com/conference/vb2010/abstracts/LastMinute7.xml. 
Kroft, Steve, (March 4, 2012), Former CIA head calls Stuxnet virus "good idea." http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-18560_162-57388982/fmr-cia-head-calls-stuxnet-virus-good-idea/
MATTHEW BISHOP - 20 JANUARY 2012
The power of war, like the power of love, springs from man's heart. The one yields death, the other life. But life without death has no meaning; nor, at its deepest level, does love without war. Without war we could not know from what depths love rises, or what power it must have to overcome such evil and redeem us.
- William Broyles Jr.
Image from DailyKos
This article is a psychological examination of how humans conceptualize war and aggression in general. William Broyles Jr.'s "Why Men Love War", an article that tries to understand why, as the author says, "There is a reason for every war and a war for every reason" is the foundation of this essay, and this paper serves to expand upon the ideas that Broyles develops. Rathus's work "Theories of Aggression" and Brown's "Manchild in the Promised Land" will also be used for this paper's arguments.
1: Theories of Aggression
Rathus arrives at the conclusion that there are five foremost ways in which psychologists understand war, and in which individuals react to or participate in war and aggression in general. These are the biological, cognitive, psychodynamic, humanistic-existential, and learning perspectives.
The biological assumes that aggression is natural in the human state and ultimately works for the betterment of the individual participating in aggression and that it can also exist for the betterment of the collective society involved in aggression. Sociobiology says that humans compete for survival and for their goals in life and that this leads to aggressive behavior in a very basic and natural way.
The cognitive perspective assumes that aggression is a result of conscious thought and decided intentions, and that aggressive behavior is present in those individuals who have experienced the most aggression in their own pasts. Aggressive individuals understand other individuals as aggressive and hostile even when they are not, and this can often result in aggressive acts including war.
The humanistic-existential perspective is the most optimistic. It understands war and aggression as something contrary to human nature. Aggression, this theory contends, comes in the form of defensive reactions against outside incursions. What causes those outside incursions is not addressed.
The psychodynamic theory contends that aggression usually manifests in small acts that in fact prevent larger acts. Small-scale, everyday aggression can prevent large or more devastating aggression simply by allowing the individual or the society to "let off steam". Even wars, in this perspective, are a result of the need to let off steam.
The learning perspective views aggression as a learned behavior passed down and inherited from one to another. Individuals that are treated in an aggressive manner, in turn, behave aggressively. Individuals who become aggressive are influenced by their own experiences, the experiences they view (this includes viewing violence in the media) and the experiences that they are otherwise aware of.
2: "Why Men Love War"
While any of the above theories might provide the motive for war, Broyles contends that there is something so unique about the experience of war that it draws men into it in the most instinctive and natural way. It is something removed from aggression, and the above theories of aggression can only begin the probing into the human mind in search of understanding war. The proximity to death and the resulting "epic" narrative of war is attractive. The otherworldliness of the entire experience, the uniqueness, is something almost fully irresistible. The ability to destroy life and property without punishment is attractive and allows men to be entirely destructive without consequence-- as is part of man's nature, the author contends. The bonds that exist in the world of war-- total allegiance to those who might save your life and total disregard for the lives of those who are trying to take your own-- is simple, instinctive, and profound in human nature. Controversially, Broyles spends a lot of time discussing the thrill of the kill-- it is not just that killing may be a part of nature, he contends, but it is instead the fact that people enjoy killing which is the general casus belli of every conflict in human history.
People are allowed to enjoy killing in wartime-- they are encouraged to do so, and there is no regard for regular civilian rules. Nor is there any indication that the enemy could ever exist in a civilian world-- they are demons to be vanquished, not people whose interests must be considered. As Broyles recalls in his own experience in Vietnam, "...we didn't burn houses and shoot people; we burned hooches and shot gooks."
The processes of dehumanization-- which Broyles only briefly alludes to in that single and profound statement-- that are inherent in and necessary for every war are also inherent in and necessary for every act of genocide and other large-scale forms of aggression (including structural aggression such as slavery and state violence). It is something easy to identify with in the us-them world of killing or dying, but it is terribly difficult to overcome. Many World War II veterans who fought in the Pacific during World War II still do not consider "Japs" to be humans, for example, or if they do then they are a lesser breed of human. It's been almost seventy years. But time is of no consequence in this. The experiences of the Pacific arena in World War II were so profound and required such a shift in the perception of the Japanese and the perception of self and of Americans that once these shifts occurred, they could not be undone. What Broyles describes as the "epic" narrative of war and the "proximity of life and death" is something that strikes so deep into the core of a human being that there is virtually no force able to exert more influence in the human mind. To many veterans, the Japanese were machines programmed to kill or die, and they still are. In war, everyone becomes a machine programmed to live or die. In some sense, no one is human. In another sense, Broyles would remind us, we are more human in war than in any other phenomenon of human history.
Broyles talks about war as something attractive to mankind, woven into the fabric of man's nature. And to overcome the instinct that creates war, we must always be conscious of that instinct in the first place. We must acknowledge it and react to it by resisting it, not by abiding by it. It is dark to suggest that we recognize this instinct-- it requires that we suspend the rules by which we are raised and admit that we are all capable of terrible, terrible things-- but then again, so does war. Yet recognition is necessary to overcome what ultimately propels every war in the history of our world. We must acknowledge that it is part of the nature of man, and then we begin to change the world around us by changing our own nature and resisting war.
A friend of mine, who suffers from severe PTSD after eight years in the Marines, cannot even understand Americans as human-- he sees nothing as human, and everything, at every point in time, on the brink of killing or dying. War is his reality, and leaving Somalia, Afghanistan, or Iraq never changed that reality. Coming back to America did not change that reality. I was in the mountains with him one day, and he looked down at the small people beneath us. He sat down and pretended to be taking out a sniper rifle, and started laughing. He'd make the motion of pulling a trigger and make the pop sound with his mouth. He'd count them. Then he started talking about how we should jump off a cliff, and see how far down we make it before we die. Death is as close to him as life is, I realized in that moment. To Broyles, this is the human state. To us, it seems unnatural. But to any man who had spent the last eight years doing what my friend had done, he'd have to agree with Broyles. To people like my friend, our own daily lives are a distortion of reality-- war is the only actual reality.
3: America Today
Claud Brown's "Manchild in the Promised Land" is a recollection of Brown's own childhood in 1940s-1950s Harlem. It is an article that seems far removed from World War II, Vietnam, or Iraq, but it is in fact very close to them all. People in 1940s-1950s Harlem were encouraged to fight. Reputations were based on fights won. People were described by how they fought, which hand they hit with, etc. Parents taught their kids that fighting was a way to win respect in the community and that is was necessary, and would be ashamed when their young children would run from fights. The world they lived in was simple, as the author recalls-- people are constantly trying to steal away "your manhood", which was everything necessary for life, and you had to defend it through physical violence. This is a sort of world that is well-known to any veteran. The enemy is trying to take away what is important to you. You must defend that thing by killing your enemy. Killing your enemy may involve terrible and seemingly inhuman atrocities, but it is necessary, because you must defend that thing which is important to you. That "thing" changes from war to war, but the basic concept remains the same.
It is also a world very similar to the world in which many Americans live today. It is the world of poor inner cities, rural dirt backroads, impoverished ghost towns, and competitive upper-class, fast-paced communities. It is the way in which a huge number of Americans are introduced to violence and the way in which they arrive at the conclusion that violence is acceptable, necessary, natural to the human state, or even inherently good or otherwise not worth resisting. Violence is a tool to achieve one's own ends or to defend that important thing. It does not come in the form of war, but instead in the form of small-scale violence. Yet this is the very same concept that must be present in the human mind for war to exist.
A year ago I stood outside the gates of Dachau. Written in twisted black iron upon those gates was a phrase: Arbeit Macht Frei, the German for Work will set you free. It is easy to remember the Holocaust and to proclaim that the Nazis were inhuman. Yet nearly 70,000,000 German humans watched while more than 12,000,000 humans were cremated, shot, or gassed in their own territories, and that is the fact of it. The Japanese humans killed more than 300,000 humans in the city of Nanking in a systematic raping in little more than six weeks. German and Soviet humans killed millions of humans as they advanced back and forth, sometimes for sport, sometimes to further a racist agenda. Allied humans killed millions more humans in the firebombings of cities in Germany and Japan-- almost every major city in those countries, in fact. Then, over the course of little more than a month, more than 210,000 humans would die in the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The United States chose to drop these bombs because they decided a naval blockade would be inconvenient, and would drag on for a few more weeks-- they decided they were unwilling to wait those few weeks, so 210,000 people died.
Inside of Dachau there stood the only statue that has ever chilled me to my bones. It was a simple black iron statue of starved bodies, almost fully two dimensional, with their mouths open and crying. They were welded together in terrifying positions, reaching for heaven or each other. Some were stacked on each other, but an observer could tell that these figures had some last breath of life in them, that they were still waiting for some sort of deliverance. Under the statue there was a plaque which read Never Again.
But it happens every day. It is the thing in our minds that lets us separate one group of humans from another. That separation lets us hit someone else. When developed further, it lets us kill someone else. Then it lets us drop a bomb, or throw a body in a furnace, or twelve million of them. It is the same concept that takes root in the human mind-- that we are human, and they are machine. That we must defend what is important to us, and killing those machines is what is necessary to secure that important thing. These things happened again. They will always happen, unless, as Broyles advises, we understand that love and war emerge from the same place, and that it is only our conscious direction that could ever possibly decide that the one is more prudent than the other.
JOHN ENTINGH - 4 JANUARY 2011
Alternative media is quickly becoming the primary source for news worldwide, and thus an annexation of the Fourth Estate. Americans and citizens of other developed countries view “mainstream media” as very different from how citizens of the many under-developed countries view westernized mainstream media. Americans typically cling to every word broadcast on the network evening news, yet these same words draw ire and rebuke from underdeveloped countries as capitalist propaganda. However, even Americans, and westerners on a whole, are slowly shifting to questioning the verity of information gleaned from mainstream media and turning to alternative sources of information such as the Internet, social media, and yes, even Arab media for news. Mainstream media is becoming more and more commonly referred to as “corporate media,” (Zinn). The biggest problem in America may be a simple human fallacy of self-awareness. Americans view themselves as the knights in shining armor on a crusade to save a world that is unable to fend for itself, a view mainstream media strongly supports. In reality, it boils down to cultural relativism where Americans honestly believe their flavor of democracy is the best form, and their way of achieving such is the only way (i.e., Iraq). This worldview is not only protected by how mainstream media covers terrorist events, but is actually expanded. As stated by Harold Zinn: "The media are a pitiful lot. They don't give us any history, they don't give us any analysis, they don't tell us anything. They don't raise the most basic questions..." (The World Traveler
It is this exact lack of self-awareness that frustrates terror groups into action against the countries like the United States, whose presence they view as dangerous, and furthered by the “skillful use of media [which] has also created misconceptions about how terrorism works,” (Seib and Janbek, preface, p.x).The emerging trend is that since mainstream media has evolved into more infotainment than objective news (Nacos), alternative news sources are booming even given the fact that there is comparabely less profit (Olmstead, Mitchell and Rosenstiel). Companies one would have never imagined having an interest in news, such as Yahoo, are now using a broad Internet base to reach untolled millions (Helft). It is little wonder that on-line social media has also emerged as not only a source of news for millions in the world, but as a news gathering tool where “37% have contributed to news creation, commented on news or shared it via social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter,” (Schroeder). This interactive approach to gathering and reporting news via the Internet is what has allowed Al Jazeera English to gain a hefty global market share with its “Your Media” contribution page that allows anyone in the world with Internet to have participative media access (Al Jazeera English). One might reasonably ask if open media access will reduce future terrorist acts since getting their message out seems to be a motivating factor.
Other advantages of the trend toward alternative news sources are very profound. The masses are now getting the perspective of the actual people in and around events in distant areas of the world that historically were only gained through the networks and their reporters' interpertations and biases. The current openess of alternative media provides rich insight into the context of foriegn cultures and gives the public a realistic look into the environments from which political groups arise within these cultures.The disadvantages to alternative media are both obvious and obscure. The obvious disadvantage is that anyone can log onto a social media outlet or Al Jazeera’s “Your Media” and put out any type of twisted information they choose and there is little time for edits before the message goes viral or gets locked into the ethereal world of the web. Terror groups are well known for using this facet to their advantage in recruiting and inciting unrest (Anwar Awlaki, who was very proficient at internet recruiting, is a clear example). Beyond terror groups, the recent successes of the Arab Spring turned largely upon the Fourth Estates’ annexation of alternative media where social network sites were ostensibly used to organize the ousting of oppresive regimes.
The not so obvious disadvantges, as Zinn points out, are the subtle messages of propaganda all sides use that confuse the real issues at hand. The recent political developments in Egypt evidence this perspective. Following the 2011 Egyptian revolution and fall of Hosni Mubarak, the Muslim Brotherhood was legalized by and through propaganda (Yezdani, 2011). The Brotherhood supported the constitutional referendum in March which was also supported by the Egyptian army and opposed by Egyptian liberals (El Rashidi, 2011). But then in April 2011 the Brotherhood launched a new party called the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), which has fairly well taken over an emerging governent (Gahnnam, 2011). According to the Anti-Defamation League, several former Brotherhood officials from the organization's 15-member Guidance Council have assumed key roles within the new party, and have used their positions in the FJP to reiterate the Brotherhood's long-standing hostility toward Zionism and support for terrorist organizations that serve as obstacles to peace and stability in the Middle East (2011). All of these developments were made possible and then furthered through the opening provided by the initial use of social networking technology (alternative media).
Nacos (2007) explains that the growth in alternative media as a news source has been exploited by terror groups for many years, but today we see how American politicians have developed campaigns on Facebook and Twitter as well.
From a perusal of the alternative media campaigns in this election year can one reasonably shift through the rhetoric and propaganda and understand the underlying agendas, or is the voting public in a democracy to be taken in as the Egyptians were? We have experienced mainstream media failure to call attention to this and similar phenomena in agenda setting arguably out of the fear for a revenue loss as viewers may well go to that alternative source for future news. Regardless of anyone’s fears, alternative media is the nascent news source in our growing world of technology, and the Fourth Estate has indeed annexed a valuable resource.
U.S. Politics facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/uspolitics
REFERENCES Al Jazeera English. (n.d.). Your Media: Submit Your Contribution.
Retrieved October 29, 2011, from Al Jazeera English: http://yourmedia.aljazeera.net/
Anti-Defamation League (2011). Brotherhood of Hate: Muslim Brotherhood's Hatred for Jews and Israel Flourishes in "New" Egypt. Accessed January 3, 2011 from: http://www.adl.org/main_International_Affairs/muslim_brotherhood.htm
El Rashidi, Yasmine, "Egypt: The Victorious Islamists", New York Review of Books, July 14, 2011
Ghannam, Angy (December 28, 2011) Islamists in Egypt's tourist spots win surprise support. BBC News. Accessed January 3, 2011 from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-16348229
Helft, M. (2010, March 30). With Hirings, Yahoo Steps Up Its News Coverage. The New York Times
Yezdani, Ipek (2011).'shariah in Egypt is enough for us.' Muslim Brotherhood leader say. Hürriyet Daily News.
Accessed January 3, 2011 from: http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/default.aspx?pageid=438&n=8220shari8217a-law-in-egypt-is-enough-for-us8221-tells-a-muslim-brotherhood-leader-2011-05-23
Nacos, B. (2007). Mass-Mediated Terrorism: the Central Role of the Media in Terrorism and Counterterrorism
(2nd ed.). New York: Rowman & Littlefield.
Olmstead, K., Mitchell, A., & Rosenstiel, T. (2011). Online: Key Questions Facing Digital News .
Retrieved October 29, 2011, from Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism; the State of the News Media 2011: http://stateofthemedia.org/2011/online-essay/
Schroeder, S. (2010, March 01). Social Networks Play a Major Role in How We Get News [Stats].
Retrieved October 29, 2011, from Mashable Social Media: http://mashable.com/2010/03/01/social-networks-source-news/
Seib, P., & Janbek, D. (2011). Global Terrorism and New Media.
New York: Routledge.
Zinn, H. (n.d.). Third World Traveler
. Retrieved October 29, 2011, from http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/
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A Featured Essay for the Autumn 2011 Quarterly Release
by Director Matthew Bishop (Ohio, U.S.A.) and Far East Asia Regional Director Baron Laudermilk (Beijing, China)
Edited by Director Matthew Bishop
The 2012 Foreign Policy Action Plan covers grand strategy and particular policy suggestions for Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, and also engages ideas for reforming global governing, judicial, and economic institutions.
Matthew Bishop is the Founder and Director of World Report: The Student Journal for International Affairs, Managing Editor for this release and the chief author of this document. His concentration is in the rhetoric of social and political change. Baron Laudermilk is the Far East Regional Director and Chief Secretary of the journal and a regular staff researcher and writer. His focus is in Chinese government and economy.
A Featured Essay for the Autumn 2011 Quarterly Release
by Nick McIntosh (Ohio, U.S.A.)
Edited by Director Matthew Bishop
NATO, despite the end of the Cold War and dissolution of the Warsaw Pact, has soldiered on into the 2010’s. Though many attempts have been made to understand its continuation, few have incorporated the lessons learned from America’s behavior prior to the Iraq War to properly understand the U.S. and its interest in keeping such an organization alive. Drawing from Ian Hurd’s "After Anarchy", I propose a mutually beneficial model for both the hegemon and Europe that functions off of a legitimacy filtration relationship. By using NATO as a multilateral international community, the U.S. is able to administer its foreign policy through the community to give the illusion that actions taken by NATO are beneficial to all member nations and the global community. In return, European members are able to free-ride on the hegemon’s military expenditures without having to build a defense on their own dime. I further conclude that such a model, though accurate as it stands now, is not stable. If NATO is to remain a viable institution, America must cede at least some of its predominance in decisionmaking to maintain the organization’s legitimacy output. Further, Europe must build its own defenses rather than remaining a protectorate of the hegemon.
Nick McIntosh is a political science and philosophy double-major undergraduate at Ohio University with an academic focus in Law, Justice, and Political Thought.
28 OCTOBER 2011 – MATTHEW BISHOP
REVIEW: THE SECRET PEACE by JESSE RICHARDSCheck out the website of the author of Secret Peace for updates and discussions
In his recent book The Secret Peace: Exposing the Positive Trend of World Events
(New York: Book and Ladder Press, 2010), Jesse Richards raises many good points, a work which seeks to repaint the telling of world events as something positive and promising rather than negative and foreboding. Mr. Richards brings to light the evidence usually mired in darkness, evidence that suggests we, as a world, are more peaceful and affluent than we ever have been before and, furthermore, that this state of being will sustain itself and compound upon itself so that we are increasingly peaceful and affluent as time goes on. His work reveals an optimism often lost in the hearts of those who work in international politics, and it should give us pause to consider: If, as Richards argues, the world is set on a path toward peace, then how can we make sure we stay on that path? The Secret Peace
asserts that “human imagination, ingenuity, and nobility know no bounds”. It is a correct assertion that is too often forgotten. Let us take a single facet of world peace: nuclear disarmament. People proclaim that nuclear weapons cannot be done away with entirely—that they are as necessary to strategy and politics as food to a starving man. I would counter that three hundred years ago, slaves, in a huge part of the world, were even more necessary to the economic well-being of a slave-using nation than nuclear arms are for strategy today. Nations would say “I will not be the first to jeopardize my economy by taking a moral stance against slavery”, just as nations today might say “I will not be the first to jeopardize my position among the world’s powers by dismantling my nuclear arsenal”. But countries did renounce slavery—all over the world people became the first, and then the second, and then the third—and now slavery consists of illegal human trafficking and labor rings in the peripheral areas of the world. If nuclear weapons can undergo the same process, as many wish it to do, then can the making of war itself undergo a similar process? Can nations begin to accept nonviolent action as the better solution? Mr. Richards assures us that the answer is yes, because there is a change occurring within us as individuals and in our respective societies—it is a change which will ultimately revolutionize the way nations behave with one another and the way humankind interacts with itself.
Media outlets—like individual beings—are more attracted to the dramatic and the emotional than they are to the everyday. They are drawn to traumatic events and so do not expose positive events. Positive events occur every day. Just this weekend I returned from a conference in DC full of people committed to ending genocide around the world, and there have been few moments in my life when I have been so inspired, and no time in my life when I have been so fully surrounded by so many hopeful and determined people. Reporting significant positive events should be just as high a priority as reporting significant negative events, and Jesse Richards reaches this conclusion very early in his book—it is a conclusion we would do well to consider.
For thousands of years people have lived in poverty and in hunger—for the majority of mankind’s existence, in fact, the majority of human beings have survived on the edge of survival. In this particular moment we are faced with some interesting circumstances, as Jesse Richards points out: There are less people in extreme poverty today as a proportion of the world’s population than ever before. Proportionally, there are less deaths by war and less deaths by genocide than during the preceding ages. We hear about atrocities—what we do not hear about is that force which is pushing atrocity off of the stage, the force of world peace that Richards envisions.
It is also true that nonviolence is on the rise. In 1789 even the “loving” Camille Desmoulins could not envision a French Revolution without blood. In that revolution, more than two million French citizens were killed (of a population of only 25-29 million)—and that is not inclusive of the wars with Prussia, Germany, England, and the Napoleonic wars that followed the course of revolution. The American Revolution required a years-long war with the mightiest nation on earth. The Egyptian Revolution of 2011 required only a public that demanded change but was committed to nonviolence. Less than one thousand died in that revolution. The Tunisian Revolution was much the same. The current demonstrations in Chile are much the same. The protests in New York City are much the same. It is not that people in the past advocated violence over nonviolence—they did not recognize nonviolence as a viable practice in public and private policy. This has changed very much in the past two hundred years and there is reason to hope that in the following two hundred years the pattern will continue.
The one part of Jesse Richard’s work which should be well-received by anyone intent on changing the world can be found in his Conclusion on pages 342-344. His ten-point plan for mutually promoting peace, development, and justice will resonate with anyone who has worked with humanitarian campaigns in the past. All of his suggestions in this ten-point plan are valid and I urge anyone interested in international policymaking to take them into great consideration. Specifically, his call to reduce arms selling and trafficking on the international stage should be received and implemented immediately—as Mr. Richards says, wars do not begin with people slapping one another on the face. The United States must acknowledge that it is a major player in the world’s wars simply by providing such a huge percentage of the world’s weapons.
These things considered, the skeptic eye will also catch a few questionable things in The Secret Peace
and bring them to attention.
It is very dangerous to presume that recent history can anticipate the fate of the long-term future. It is also dangerous to ignore what Mr. Richards does not mention in his book. Jesse Richards suggests that the media is attracted to the traumatic—but this is, in fact, not the simple truth. They are attracted to emotion, but they are businesses and as such they seek profits. They are also heavily engaged with other business and government groups. Many of the world’s worst atrocities are invisible, and many of the world’s most threatening facts remain untold. People do not act on affairs of which they have not even heard, involving places and events they do not know exist. Consider these truths:
+Less than half of Americans know that the deadliest war since World War II (DRC, c. 1998-present) even happened. Many Americans have not even heard of the DRC.
+Many Americans do not consider genocide as something relevant in the modern world—they are unaware of any genocides except for the Holocaust, and a great many are unaware of the Holocaust.
+Whereas Mr. Richards makes the point that nearly 100,000,000 people died of war and genocide in the 20th century, between 2000-2010 just under 10,000,000 have died of war and genocide—which, although a significant and meaningful change in the percentage
of deaths due to such causes, is not, in real numbers, any different per year. We should also do well to remember that the 1914-1946 period was one of very unusual levels of violence and atrocity and is historically unique among only a few other such periods in world history.
+ Whereas Mr. Richards makes the point that the percentage of people living in extreme poverty has decreased, and that in recent years even the real number of those in extreme poverty has decreased, the gap between the extreme poor and the extreme wealthy, and the gap between rich/powerful and poor/weak nations, has expanded exponentially. Since 1700 the gap in power and wealth between the richest and the poorest nation on earth has increased by almost 300x (that’s a sum total of 29,900%).
+ Purchasing power parity among the extreme poor is still dismally low. More than half of the humans that have ever been alive are, in fact, alive today—and India, China, and Brazil all have positive demographic momentum to indicate that by 2050 the world’s population may reach levels of around twelve billion (with the highest estimate of the world’s population by 2100 hovering around 20 billion). Struggles over resources have been increasing and are expected to increase in the future. The worlds most well-versed geopolitical and development theorists have all predicted a world returning to power politics and multi-power resource struggles with water being the most valuable and fought-over resource.
+ Whereas Mr. Richards argues that international laws and conventions are a very certain and definitive step toward world peace, international laws and conventions are in fact effectively useless in the face of international aggression. The UN’s dictates and resolutions are continually ignored around the world at no expense or consequence to the belligerents. The opinions of international courts are seldom heard. The most important warrants issued by the ICC have led to no arrests, or, in the case that they do lead to arrest, have taken many long years and the decline in power of the perpetrator. Meanwhile the most powerful players in the world, many of whom are guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity, remain altogether untouchable, and those courts that do issue warrants for their arrest quickly find themselves the victims of international scrutiny.
+ Whereas Mr. Richards proclaims that war as a viable political solution to international problems is decreasing in popularity, there have been many times in history when war has fallen from popularity and then risen again, and many times in history where the world’s powers have proclaimed eras of peace only to find that they are followed by war. War is not a permanent situation—and neither is peace. To presume that the world can attain world peace in the coming decades is delusional and dangerous and will only lead policymakers to ignore real potential crises around the globe. The world, as it is, can work toward world peace, but it cannot expect to attain that peace in any certain number of decades—if the struggle is to be won, it must first be accepted as a perpetual struggle.
It is heartening to read a work so set on the path of world peace. To believe that world peace is an attainable goal is to make world peace possible—it is something none of us should reject and all of us should embrace. But to presume that world peace is imminent and natural, something coming in this next century as the obvious product of development, is dangerous. If world peace is to ever be a reality then those familiar with world events must be an always-active part of bringing about that peace. Exposing the trend of positive events, as Jesse Richards does in this great undertaking of a work, is a critical step toward the development of world peace. It should be suggested reading for anyone intensely interested in a well-rounded view on such affairs. But as we must increase our vigilance in regards to positive events, we must also increase our vigilance in regards to negative events—and we must realize that they exist together, that in the modern, globalized world, wealth builds itself upon the ruins of poverty, and peace in one place comes at the expense of war in another place. This is the unfortunate but very real situation in which we live.
While we hold The Secret Peace
in one hand, we must hold in the other the list of those who have died from war and genocide, the list of those who remain without healthy drinking water, the list of those who remain isolated and disenfranchised because of their politics, ethnicity, gender, or religion, and the list of those whose nations are entirely destroyed without making the headlines of a single major news company in the most powerful nation on earth. We must be prepared for a world in which water is the new oil, as today’s experts predict- a world in which twelve, even twenty billion compete for increasingly scare and always-necessary resources. As we enter the next 90 years of the 21st century we need to hold these all together and recognize that while Mr. Richards is correct in arguing that world peace is attainable, and that it in fact might be nearer to us now as a world than it ever has been before, it is still a fragile and far-off thing—and making the mistake of thinking that peace will just come to us will destroy it at once.