By Juan Gómez
“I am talking about genuine peace, the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living, the kind that enables men and nations to grow and to hope and build a better life for their children…”
Frequently we ask ourselves if peace is possible. Many people are disappointed thinking that it is just a delusion, an unattainable utopia. Even those who support and adhere to the peace movement, still appear to struggle to mobilize for it. There are powerful interests behind the scenes working towards total domination, power and control. Since it has always been this way, it will continue to be this way forever, without the possibility for change or improvement, they add. This is our problem when we try to invite people to work in our nonviolent activities aimed at ending of wars and disarming nations. Powerful industries know this as well as governments. Other groups of people believe that social justice and equitable distribution of resources are not possible through nonviolent ways. To change the culture of the world we need to build a critical mass of people who work towards building peace through nonviolent ways. The question is how do we make it a reality?
The current production system based on the free market and entrepreneurship has lead to a great wealth disparity in present society, since not all the people have the same skills to produce goods and wealth. Entrepreneurs are usually ambitious people who want to create new ways of efficiently utilizing natural and human resources to innovate societal life. A natural consequence of creating value is the accumulation of large amounts of wealth, which is driven by capitalism and economic phenomena. This capital generates new companies who also produce goods and services, which all the people need to survive, thus people have to consume them. However, not all these goods are necessary, since many of them are created artificially, which motivates a consumer culture for extravagant and superfluous lifestyles.
Great differences between both, capital owners (minority) and the workers (majority) are produced, even more respect to the unemployed and indigents. Entrepreneurs fear the prospect of losing their wealth, thus it becomes necessary to defend it with a police force that ensure the protection of the companies as well as the capitalist system. As entrepreneurs are ambitious people, frequently they aim to conquer markets abroad as an important way to put the goods they produce in diverse markets to grow their income further. This subsequently can cause the retention of more natural resources to produce more goods and services. Therefore, it is essential to have a strong military force to protect these interests seen as the interests of the nation itself.
This conflict and disunity provides a great opportunity to the weapons industry to sell their products on the international stage. They organize fairs to show the benefits of their products, but to convince their likely customers, they need powerful reasons, like the security of their borders and wealth, the international tension, terrorism, threats and many more.
Arms producers paint a picture to likely customers of a future that is afflicted by wars, terrorism and dwindling natural resources, creating a need for an agile, highly trained and modern army. Arms companies justify their products and services by creating a need for war; this perpetuates the current tension surrounding world affairs. This need is fostered by convincing those customers that in fact the world is unsafe and full of threats, which creates higher demand for this industry.
The logic behind economics is constant growth in all industries, and the weapons industry is no exception. Through this insatiable need, the arms industry promotes these articles by lobbying governments, inciting defense and foreign relations policies and trying to configure an unsafe international scenario that subsequently stimulate weapons sales. The Stockholm International Peace Research (SIPRI) confirms that this strategy keeps sales high without any conceivable future decline. Therefore, ending wars and achieving peace becomes an economic matter. The incomes of arms producing nations for this concept is incredibly high for this reason and to imagine a relinquishing of this wealth and power seems a distant reality, just as Trump has mentioned.
The industrial military complex has the frying pan by the handle, and it does not want to let go. With this evil deal it has more power than governments and can dictate defense policies. All of the reasons such as permanent tension, an insecure world, threats and enemies present on all sides are more invented than factual which causes a delirious paranoia and a subsequent need for a formidable army, a national security system, alliances and defense regional treaties to assist in defeating this designed menace. Peace under these conditions becomes buried. We must not allow a individualistic mentality to make decisions regarding defense and foreign policy because it will effect our security and happiness. We must urgently foster a new perspective as our greed is killing the planet and will eventually consume us as well.
Peace must not become an economic matter. To allow the economies of the arms producers nations to depend on arms sales for their growth does not serve the whole earth but a select few. The armies in general demand a lot of economic resources, that could be spent in areas such as health, education and well being of the population of the entire world. It is important to convert the arms industry, dedicated to death, to other kinds of industry dedicated to life, such as the food industry, health and medicine or even renewable energies. It may be less profitable, but the future of humanity is at stake.
If the arms industry ends their deadly production of weapons and the mutual distrust between nations transforms into mutual confidence wars naturally will cease.
In that state of tranquility armies are an unnecessary expense. They would have already completed their service and would deserve retirement. Armies could then convert their forces into other more philanthropic areas. The armies of the future could be dedicated to work on natural disasters, which are becoming more frequent as climate change progresses. Building security homes and working to empower community life are other possible functions. Functions built upon a foundation of love and a spirit of camaraderie, trust and cooperation.
The disintegration of the global arms industry is an important first step towards peace. The banks and industry in general are starting to realize the benefits of this cooperative reality and in so doing recognizing beneficial industries that should be supported and reducing funding to the destructive industries we have discussed.
The time has arrived to change the way we settle relations between nations, leaving behind odiousness, revenges, threats, improving confidences through cultural, educational exchange, common entrepreneurship, mutual knowledge, their history, customs and culture. So that from a cooperative standpoint, we can together try to resolve the great challenges we face such as climate change, water scarcity, poverty and hunger. For the good of the entire human race, it is now or never.