PEACE OR WAR

Today, August 6, 2015 marks the 70th Anniversary of the first use of a nuclear weapon, on Hiroshima, Japan. Eighty thousand people died the instant the bomb hit. Thousands died later after having been poisoned by nuclear radiation. The dropping of the bomb unleashed upon the world, the Nuclear Age, where for the first time in the history of man, man has the power to destroy himself and the world as we know it.

The world community has reached a point where the powers that be have decided for the sake of world peace that the further proliferation of nuclear weapons has to stop. The Nuclear agreement between the 5 nations that are members of the Security Council of the United Nations and Iran have agreed to a process by which Iran will be permanently monitored as to whether they are attempting to develop a nuclear weapon. This was part of the worldwide effort to stop the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

While the world sees quiet praise for the unexpected success of the diplomatic process, there are the cries of appeasement from political circles who have never been on the side of peace.

Winston Churchill who knew a thing or two about appeasement wrote in “THE GATHERING STORM,” pages 319 and 320 the following: ” It may be well here to set down some principles of morals and action which may be a guide in  the future. No case of this kind (referring to Chamberlain and Munich) can be judged apart from the circumstances. The facts may be unknown at the time, and estimates of them must be largely guesswork, coloured by the general feelings and aims of whoever is trying to pronounce. Those who are prone by temperament and character to seek sharp and clear cut solutions of difficult and obscure problems, who are ready to fight whenever there is a challenge comes from a foreign Power, have not always been right. On the other hand, those whose inclination is to bow their heads, to seek patiently and faithfully for peaceful compromise, are not always wrong. On the contrary, in the majority of instances they may be right, not only morally but from a practical standpoint. How many wars have been averted by patience and persisting good will. Religion and virtue alike lend their sanctions to meekness and humility, not only between men but between nations. How many wars have been precipitated by firebrands! How many misunderstandings which led to wars could have been removed by temporising!  How often have countries fought cruel wars and then after a few years of peace found themselves not only friends but allies!

The Sermon on the Mount is the last word in Christian ethics. Everyone respects the Quakers. Still, it is not on these terms that Ministers assume their responsibilities of guiding states. Their duty is first so to deal with other nations as to avoid strife and war and to eschew aggression in all its forms, whether for nationalistic or ideological objects. But the safety of the State, the lives and freedom of their own fellow countrymen, to whom they owe their position, make it right and imperative in the last resort, or when a final and definitive conviction has been reached, that the use of force should not be excluded. ………….These are the tormenting dilemmas upon which mankind has throughout its history been so frequently impaled. Final judgment upon them can only be recorded by history in relation to the facts of the case as known by the parties at the time, and also as subsequently proved.”

The facts are entirely different between the time when France sacrificed its sacred honor in agreeing to give up part of the Czech Republic to Hitler’s pressure. It is a different time from when the allies were disarming while Hitler was arming in preparation for war. Hitler had already annexed Austria. The charge of peace at any price became a legitimate charge in history against the well meaning leader of England, Neville Chamberlain, and the weak leadership of France who had failed to live up to the honor and obligations of their treaty with the Czechs.

There is no comparison to today, where sanctions have been in place for years against Iran in the attempt to keep Iran from developing nuclear weapons. Iran has not marched into Austria. Iran has given up a lot in agreeing to have their country monitored for years and years to make sure that no nukes are in existence.

Another historical example of another time when tensions were great was when in the heart of the Cold War, a Nuclear Test Ban Treaty was agreed to between the United States and the Soviet Union. A lack of trust existed between the two nations just like a lack of trust exist today between America and Iran.

As President Kennedy so wisely stated in his famous speech given at the American University, one should never fear to negotiate. Peace through strength was stressed as well in his speech.

America has not disarmed, nor have our negotiating partners disarmed. Sanctions have failed to bring Iran to its knees nor is it likely that it ever would have brought her to her knees in capitulation.

The partisan stench of politics fills the air in America today as the Republican Party stands against the agreement just as they have been against everything that President Obama has proposed or said even before he took the oath of office. Republicans offer no alternatives other than stronger sanctions. The problem is that the key countries that have stood together for sanctions are now indicating that their support is at an end.

In listening to the chorus of criticism, one would think that Russia, and Putin, are fools. Russia is a party to the agreement, and they signed on knowing that with their being neighbors it was to their interest to find a peaceful solution to our mutual dilemma.

If Republicans are against the agreement what other choice other than war do they offer the world. War has vast unintended consequences. Once you start one it is hard to stop a war. You may shock and awe your enemy with your weapons of war, but when the day ends have you met the objectives that caused you to begin the war. Would an attack on their nuclear facilities end their nuclear program or just delay them! To permanently end Iran’s capacity for developing weapons of mass destruction would require a lot more than just bombing them. To believe you could bomb them into submission is naive. The faint chorus of nuking Iran is beyond the pale of reason.

Instead of excoriating President Obama and the team of diplomats from around the world whose efforts were culminated in the agreement that we have, they should be thanked, instead.  By doing what was thought to be impossible the agreement with Iran may very well be remembered as his greatest accomplishment. The world has seen the nuclear clock turn back in time as the threat of mutually assured destruction has been diminished. Let us give Peace a chance!

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