Suddenly the American peace movement is back to the status of a prophetic minority. That's putting the best cast on the fact that 54 percent of the American public supports air strikes against ISIS, according to polls done before last week's beheading of James Foley. Since 2006, when a majority first decided in a Gallup Poll that the Iraq War was a "mistake", peace sentiment has been a powerful factor in the 2006 congressional elections and the two elections of President Barack Obama.
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.
Whatever will the United States say and do about the expulsion of New York Times' reporter Matthew Rosenberg from Afghanistan? Would Rosenberg be prosecuted by the Justice Department as a "leaker" if he refused to reveal his Afghan sources on a story about an American coup plot? The Times' James Risen, for example, is facing prison time for refusing to divulge his sources in a story about the CIA and an Iran nuclear controversy.
As President Barack Obama prepares an executive order supporting immigrant rights, the attacks on his presidential authority mounts from the Republicans, the Tea Party, right-wing talk show hosts, and some voices among Democrats and the Left. To the extent these attacks succeed, there may be no progressive policies implemented between now and 2017.
Since the February 26, 2012 murder of Trayvon Martin, the repeated pattern of police killings of unarmed young African-American men is generating a tide of angry resistance and unanswered questions. The underlying law enforcement doctrine known as "broken windows policing" has come under its greatest challenge in two decades.
On May 12, President Obama held a confidential conversation in the White House with Uruguay's president, Jose Mujica, the former Tupamaro guerrilla leader. The meeting was a fateful one. Did they discuss Uruguay's becoming the first Marijuana Republic? Perhaps. Did they discuss the US-Cuba diplomatic impasse of 55 years? Most certainly, because three weeks later at an Organization of American States (OAS) meeting in Uruguay the delegates reaffirmed a decision to officially invite Cuba to a summit in Panama next May.
In a 14-0 vote, the Los Angeles City Council has embraced the demand of a grass-roots labor-and-neighbor coalition to re-negotiate costly Wall Street loans or terminate them altogether. The City leaders also are demanding scrutiny of the outsized-fees paid to Wall Street firms as part of a budgetary battle to "Fix LA" from a fate of declining city services and rising unemployment.
Hundreds of thousands will march at the United Nations September 21 when the UN opens its general assembly with a focus on averting catastrophic climate change. The rally may be the largest public outcry at the UN since the February 2003 rally against the Iraq War.
Where the 2003 protests at least succeeded in preventing the UN from authorizing the American invasion of Iraq, this movement demands that the UN achieve an enforceable treaty to save the planet from escalating greenhouse gas emissions. The treaty process will include another huge gathering in Lima this December, and rapidly unfolding talks to culminate in Paris one year later.
When Congress returns from recess on September 8, will they authorize the New Iraq War? That's the question some anti-war groups are asking their representatives now home in their districts. Rep. Jim McGovern is demanding "a full debate and a vote whether to authorize the war," which has been escalating during the Congressional absence.
I don’t pretend to understand the president’s thinking and certainly have no insider knowledge. My general sense is this: the administration finds itself today with no operable strategy with respect to the Arab/Islamic world. The initiative symbolized by the Cairo speech back in 2009 yielded nothing. The same applies to Kerry’s effort to bring closure to the “peace process” — the major diplomatic initiative of the second term. In the meantime, the Arab Spring with all of its unexpected turns and repercussions finds the US and the world at large as spectators.