The mainstream media, the State Department, humanitarian and women’s groups have recently lauded the democratic transition in Myanmar as a historic human rights victory. But how does Myanmar fit into the emerging Cold War with China and the global scramble for resources? Now we may know.
The Peace Exchange Bulletin
Published by Tom Hayden, The Peace Exchange Bulletin is a reader-supported journal, critically following the Pentagon's Long War in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq, as well as the failed U.S. wars on drugs and gangs, and U.S. military responses to nationalism and poverty around the world.
Updated on Wednesday, March 21, 2012 at 10:50AM by Tom Hayden
When I spoke to hundreds of students in central Florida last week, only one mentioned the recent murder of Trayvon Martin, a story now blazing across the global media. “You have no idea how bad it is down here,” the student told me in a one-on-one conversation. “They have a license to kill you if they think you’re a threat to them, and that’s what happened in Sanford,” he said. He expected no justice, nor even publicity, about the case.
The mainstream of the civil rights movement was mainly Christian but also ecumenical. Protestant leaders were there as National Council of Churches. Jewish rabbis and leaders mainly from Reform Judaism. Gandhi’s philosophy of a “soul force” and nonviolence as a way of life strongly influenced Lawson, Dr. King, and Bayard Rustin, the organizer of the 1963 March on Washington, among many others. Malcolm X is credited with leading the Nation of Islam into active support of desegregation and black power, recruiting many Muslims who were victims of mass incarceration. Malcolm before his death would evolve in an ecumenical direction, after taking a pilgrimage to Mecca and parts of Africa, where he saw people of many different colors in the Islamic faith.
Killing at least sixteen Afghan civilians as they slept. Urinating on dead Afghan bodies while laughing about it. Setting fire to their Korans. Day after day, a tired American public hears that these are just “isolated acts” and that these incidents “cast shadows” and “complicate” Washington’s plan for a gradual withdrawal of troops over the next thirty-four months. We are told that the raging anger and distrust between many Afghan and American troops is a further sign that the steady plan is at risk.
The message from the Obama White House was clear: No to the partial legalization of narcotics, Yes to the current, militarized drug war policy which has claimed tens of thousands of lives. While President Obama was dealing with the issue of Israeli tensions with Iran, Vice President Joe Biden travelled to Mexico and Central America on March 5 and 6 where he met with Mexico's presidential candidates and regional heads of state.
Our colleague, Tom Andrews, writes that he’s worried about the rising danger of war with Iran, especially after sounding out his old Democratic allies in the House. I, too, have the sense that President Obama can be pushed this year into a war he doesn’t want, according to a recent conversation with a House member.
The PJRC pays close attention to the Central and Latin American drug wars because of 50,000 deaths and social mayhem, catastrophic conditions in over-crowded prisons, US backing for murderous regimes such as Mexico’s, and the creeping militarization by the DEA under the guise of assistance and counter-terrorism. As this excellent article by Ethan Nadelman, as well as the PJRC's Alci, indicates, Latin American opinion is swinging sharply towards alternatives including legalization of some drugs. One crucial need is for the American peace movement to criticize the US drug war south of the border where the death toll is ten times the US deaths in Iraq.
In an important diplomatic step reported by the Associated Press, a deal apparently has been reached to transfer five Taliban detainees from Guantanamo to Qatar, in a new effort to spur a peace process between the Afghan insurgents, the Karzai government, the US and NATO.
Updated on Thursday, March 8, 2012 at 8:22PM by Tom Hayden
President Obama, in a prudent move, has relocated this May’s G-8 (One Percent) summit from Chicago’s unpredictable streets to the protected woods of Camp David, leaving NATO to face the demands of the peace movement in a more focused confrontation this May 18-19.