On Friday January 23, 2009 US pilotless airplanes attacked Waziristan in western Pakistan, killing 22 people including an unspecified number of civilians along with “eight suspected militants.” The next day the Pakistani government expressed its “great concern” to US officials about unmanned aircraft attacks. The Pakistan Foreign Ministry said, “With the advent of the new U.S. administration, it is Pakistan’s sincere hope that the United States will review its policy and adopt a more holistic and integrated approach toward dealing with the issue of terrorism and extremism.”
Many people in the world are hoping for a real change in US foreign policy. Such lawless acts killing persons in other countries are in violation of the United Nations Charter and many other treaties and principles of international law. The United States can and must stop these attacks.
Also US military aid to Israel means that the United States was also complicit in the recent slaughter of more than 1,300 Palestinians in Gaza. The United States should stop all military aid to Israel until that country comes into compliance with the United Nations Charter and UN Security Council resolutions, the International Criminal Court, and the rule of international law.
As by far the most powerful nation on Earth, the United States is in a position to lead the world toward peace with justice by negotiating agreements to disarm weapons of mass destruction and excessive military forces, especially outside one’s national borders.
The new Obama administration can use diplomacy and cooperation with other nations to resolve and de-escalate conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, Darfur, the Congo, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Georgia, and other places. Disarmament and shifting people from the military to productive activities in education, health, agriculture, and rebuilding infrastructure will also immensely improve the economies of the United States and other nations.
A top priority should be to call together representatives from all the nations with nuclear weapons to negotiate the complete disarmament of all nuclear weapons in the world in safely monitored stages. This would fulfill the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and its important Article VI which reads,
Each of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.
Then the next step will be to work on complete disarmament as this treaty indicates.
A world constitutional convention could be convened to negotiate a complete revision of the United Nations that would establish a more democratic government that would be more effective at bringing the rule of law and justice to international relations.
Most people in the world realize that the militaristic Bush approaches in Afghanistan and Iraq have done more harm than good. The United States needs to pull out of these countries and allow an international team of peacekeepers to replace them temporarily as needed. The American embassy built in Iraq is larger than the United Nations headquarters in New York and is obviously an imperialist enclave. At least 90% of that facility should be turned over to the democratically elected Iraqi government as the United States pulls out its forces.
Sanderson Beck is the author of more than twenty books including the 2-volume History of Peace, BEST FOR ALL: How We Can Save the World, The Art of Gentle Living, Nonviolent Action Handbook, PEACE OR BUST, nine volumes in the ETHICS OF CIVILIZATION, and the essay How Lincoln Could Have Prevented Civil War.