New Clear Vision

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Archive for the ‘Winslow Myers’

Getting to Know Us

February 13, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Ecology, Politics, Winslow Myers

A Memo to U.S. Adversaries

by Winslow Myers

One of the first things you need to know about the U.S. is how difficult it is for us to tolerate ambiguity — especially when untangling our own motives. An example was our second invasion of Iraq. After 9/11 we felt an itch to retaliate against a clear enemy. Because we could not pinpoint one, we scratched the itch by inventing a false enemy — conveniently, one with lots of oil under its sand — and going to war against it, to no one’s great benefit.

That endeavor revealed a lot about us at this moment in our history, though similar themes can be found in our past.  We have been all too certain, like some of you, that we are exceptional, that wrongs done to us justify our flouting international law, and that violent military force is the only way to get our way. (more…)

Risking Peace

January 17, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Economy, Politics, Winslow Myers

Changing Direction Is Worth the Gamble

by Winslow Myers

Because we are the wealthiest nation on the planet, we have the luxury of being proactive in ensuring our future security. But the path to that security looks very different from the way it did even a few years ago.

A primary example of our transformed security context is the realization that there is only one ocean of air surrounding the earth. Unless all nations make a concerted effort to convert to sources of clean energy, global mean temperatures will continue to rise and cause undesirable extremes of weather. Strategic competition between superpowers like Russia, China and the U.S. becomes irrelevant to the larger crisis of fossil fuel use and carbon dioxide emissions from all countries. The violence of storms in our country may be intensified by the environmental policies of another country, and vice-versa. Fossil fuel corporations, more powerful than many national governments, must be pressured from taking more oil or coal out of the ground even though they have the technical means and the capital to do so. While entrenched interests are resistant to such painful change, countries like Germany are providing a model of how it can be done, having relinquished nuclear power and moved successfully toward hybridized alternatives like solar, wind, tidal, and low-head hydro power — indeed, a far more secure mix than a huge vulnerable nuclear reactor or coal-fired, smoke-belching plant. (more…)

Rust in Peace

January 03, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Politics, Winslow Myers

A New Year’s Wish to Rid the World of Nuclear Weapons

by Winslow Myers

A performative contradiction is a statement that contradicts its own assertion.  For example, the unrecorded statement “I am dead” is a performative contradiction in that the speaker is clearly alive while making the claim. There are performative contradictions not only in statements, but also in policies. The mother of them all is found in current nuclear weapons policy on the planet. Nuclear weapons cannot be rationally advanced in argument as an instrument of policy.

Why? Computer models suggest that the detonation of a remarkably small number of nuclear weapons from today’s arsenals — doesn’t matter whose — would raise enough toxic soot and ash into the atmosphere to shut down world agriculture for a decade.  In effect, such a detonation would be a death sentence for us all. All.

No less a pitiless realist than Henry Kissinger has stated that he tried to make foreign policy with these weapons and found it impossible. Henry Kissinger now works for abolition. (more…)

Universal Responsibility

December 22, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Current Events, Politics, Winslow Myers

“O that there were some virtue in my tears . . .” – Shakespeare

by Winslow Myers 

One of the Dalai Lama’s first principles is something he calls “universal responsibility.” However quick we are to place His Holiness on a saintly pedestal, it is only because the threshold of our own responsibility sometimes seems so very low — especially at this moment of reflection upon the massacre of the innocents in Newtown.

From a tearful President on down through the powerful talk radio demagogues to ordinary citizens, we all bear a share of responsibility for the climate of violence that is the context for the tragedy in Newton. I’m as responsible as anyone because I haven’t yet written my representative concerning my strong feelings about gun control. Great Britain endured 58 firearm murders in 2011, while America had 8,775. Great Britain banned modern handguns altogether in 1997 and studies show a slow but steady decrease in crimes involving handguns in the UK ever since. (more…)

My Fellow Americans

November 26, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Ecology, Politics, Winslow Myers

Words for a No-Bull Presidential Inauguration

by Winslow Myers

My fellow citizens, I have just sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic, but what does that mean? Our earth has become so small, national economies so interdependent, global ecological problems so transcendent of nationality, that it would be an abdication of my leadership responsibilities to pretend otherwise. A new world has dawned, within which the United States must begin to honestly redefine its interests.

After 60-plus years of believing that we have maintained the peace by means of our overwhelming nuclear strength, we are confronted with a series of paradoxes that cannot be resolved merely by increasing that strength. The very meaning of “strength” has totally changed.  Even a small number of our nuclear weapons, or those of any other nation for that matter, cannot be detonated without raising enough dust and soot into the atmosphere to fatally affect world agriculture for a decade. (more…)

Life Beyond War

May 28, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Ecology, Politics, Winslow Myers

Exploring the Dimensions of Genuine ‘Security’

by Winslow Myers

The vision and possible shape of a world beyond war has modified since the lessening of superpower tensions between the United States and the now long-departed U.S.S.R. In the late 1980s, hopes for a peaceful world primarily involved the successful abolition of nuclear weapons. As Jonathan Schell has written, while inadvertent nuclear war is more probable than ever before, nuclear abolition begins to look relatively easy in the context of emerging global environmental challenges. Nuclear weapons themselves have become one more of our many ecological problems: even a small regional nuclear exchange could fatally affect agricultural production worldwide over decades, cancelling out the security benefits for any nation of possessing these weapons.

Glaciers melt and mean temperatures rise year by year. At what point do officials distracted by mutual nuclear threats start to take in the bigger picture — that the real “existential threat” to their security might be, say, the unleashing of an irreversible cycle in the thawing of methane gas presently frozen within the Arctic tundra, gas that could dangerously accelerate global warming trends? (more…)

Toward a New Dream

February 29, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Economy, Politics, Winslow Myers

Overcoming the Trance of Separation

by Winslow Myers

The biggest challenges we face all have their root cause in an artificial separation — between nations, races, religions, classes, between political parties, between humans and the living ecosystem upon which we depend for life — even between our heads and @ taosinstitute.nethearts. Such apparent separations represent a kind of global neurosis for which one antidote is what Buddhist philosopher Thich Nhat Hanh calls “interbeing” — the recognition of our deep interdependence.

The paradigm of separation narrows the possibilities of international relations down to a few false choices between appeasement and destructive competition. Iran, ignoring the difficult circumstances that brought Israel to birth, asserts that a Zionist nation has no right to exist. Israel understandably sees Iran as an existential threat. Both the U.S. and Israel are considering preemptive war. Whether the Iranians build nuclear weapons or not, it would hardly be unexpected for them to give it some thought, seeing as the U.S. and Israel between them possess thousands. Meanwhile Iran’s threat to close the Straits of Hormuz if they are attacked confirms their distance from “interbeing.” They would only shoot themselves in the foot by reducing the flow of their own oil to China. (more…)