BECK index

Disarming Weapons of War

by Sanderson Beck

This chapter has been published in the book BEST FOR ALL: How We Can Save the World.
For information on ordering, please click here.

The greatest danger facing humanity today is the threat of weapons of mass destruction and the slaughter of wars, and the greatest waste of human resources is what is spent building these weapons, the destruction that is caused, and the uselessness of maintaining massive armed forces. The wisest and best policy that humanity can adopt is to reduce and eliminate the weapons of war and, instead of paying people to kill and destroy, hire them and others to help humanity. Thus to bring about these optimal goals I have proposed a Global Disarmament Treaty that provides a plan by which every nation on Earth may disarm at the same time so that these forces will not threaten people anymore. The next chapter will explain how we can develop a democratic government to resolve all international conflicts by peaceful and judicial means.

For the Global Disarmament Treaty to work most effectively we need to persuade the government of every nation to agree to the treaty. This chapter explains how such a treaty could work so that people can see its advantages. The last chapter will discuss various nonviolent strategies that people can use to bring about these goals. I believe that this struggle between those who believe in using violence and those who do not use violence will be the greatest challenge and transformative crisis in human history. How long and difficult this struggle takes will determine how much more human suffering has to go on before we learn to be wise and humane toward each other. The people who understand that nonviolent methods of conflict resolution are better than the traditional violent ways that have been practiced for five thousand years need to show by our actions, discipline, personal sacrifices, and communication skills that this will work. The main part of the transformation is educational in making people aware that nonviolent methods are not only ethically and morally superior to the use of physical force but that they are much more practical and effective as well as having the least amount of side effects and negative consequences. As Gandhi taught, having the courage to fight for what is right is better than being a coward; but we need to learn to fight in nonviolent ways.

The essential philosophical principle of acting for the best of everyone purifies action so that both the ends and the means are good. Eventually people will realize that trying to use a violent means to bring about peace is not only hypocritical but also counterproductive. We are free beings, and no one can take that freedom away from us, although they may kill our bodies. Neither can we make anyone else free by force of arms. Only cowards and those who are afraid will give in to physical threats. Once people realize that we can stand our ground without using weapons and stand up not only for our rights but also for the rights of all, then those who try to gain power by using military force will find that people will turn against them in nonviolent ways by not cooperating with their unlawful and immoral demands. When enough people have the courage to practice these principles, humanity will rise up and get rid of all weapons of mass destruction first as the most useless and immoral things ever invented. When people refuse to obey armed forces, then the weapons will become obsolete. We can recycle the materials and redirect all those human efforts into constructive uses.

This world peace movement is global in scope and will occur in every country. Already Costa Rica has shown the way by eliminating its army several decades ago. Germany and Japan eventually prospered because, having lost a terrible war, they had to reduce their armed forces for a time. Many nations, both small and large, will be showing the way by disarming their weapons and military forces unilaterally before the treaty even goes into effect. The most powerful nation, the United States of America, can also lead the way by taking many unilateral steps in reducing its massive forces and arsenals without even traditional security risks. The USA is approaching national bankruptcy because of its long period of militarism and will benefit greatly by reducing military expenditures. Once this trend picks up momentum in the right direction of disarmament, the acceleration toward peace will very likely be almost magical and euphoric.

Unfortunately the world is currently in a violent phase because of various pressures for resources. These crises are going to cause humanity to awaken to better ways or else the misery will increase. The latest threat of terrorism, which uses nontraditional weapons, strategies and non-uniformed insurgencies, is forcing people to come up with new methods for countering these threats. No nation nor even any combination of nations can challenge the sole remaining superpower militarily without bringing upon themselves massive destruction and genocide, yet terrorist insurgencies in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other places are showing that even the United States cannot win such wars as long as people continue to fight. That is because war is never a solution and always a problem with harmful results. No one ever really wins a war. Even the winning side loses troops and valuable resources, just not as much as the losers. People are going to learn that the only way to win or resolve these conflicts is to avoid violence and solve the problems so that everyone wins. That does not mean rewarding those who threaten violence. On the contrary, those who try to gain by using violence need to be met with justice first and then mercy after they renounce the violence; but to meet their violence with violence just multiplies the wrong and the bad consequences.

A world-wide peace movement will eventually persuade a majority of people that a global disarmament treaty makes sense and is a practical solution to mankind's greatest problem. Actually I believe that most people already understand that wars are wrong, but we need to mobilize democratic power to make this understanding politically effective. Special nonviolent methods may be needed to remove violent people from positions of power, but the definite trend in the world is toward democratic methods of choosing political leaders. So these changes can and will take place nonviolently once people assert their political strength. Then extended educational campaigns can spread around the globe to convince the rest of the nations to go along. Economic boycotts can be used against businesses and governments that refuse to give up their weapons. Political reforms may be needed in many countries so that the will of the people can govern, and at some point in this process enough nations in the world will decide that we also need democracy on a global scale to help with the process of disarmament and to make sure that peace is maintained using democratic means and judicial processes for resolving all international conflicts.

The Global Disarmament Treaty is designed to be implemented in stages so that people can be confident that security will be maintained during the process. The first stage focuses primarily on weapons of mass destruction, but it also includes the important step of making sure that every nation has withdrawn all its military forces from other nations. The United States is the main power with military bases in other countries and can lead the way by converting these bases to hospitals and schools while returning them to those countries. Thus the first stage is the most important in eliminating all weapons of mass destruction (nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons) in one year because they are the most dangerous. As long as nuclear power plants remain, all nuclear materials will be monitored to make sure no weapon is made. The first stage will also implement the principle that no nation has the right to use any military force outside of its national boundaries. The first stage and every stage will be carefully implemented with neutral monitoring and inspection teams to make sure that no one is cheating. Each government that signs the treaty will be obligated to monitor and inspect their own weapons to make sure that they are fulfilling the treaty; thus they can do most of this work. The international inspection teams then can be used where noncompliance is suspected, and surprise inspections can make sure that everyone is fulfilling their obligations. Once each stage is completed, any government, group, or individual that violates the treaty will be brought to account by the world community through nonviolent means and a judicial process. This may require some courageous peacekeepers and law enforcement officers to arrest the violators.

In the second stage the next most dangerous class of weapons will be eliminated; these are the missiles and rocket-powered weapons that can operate from a distance. These weapons will be removed from airplanes and naval ships as well as on land.

In the third stage all air forces and military planes will be destroyed or converted into civilian use. In the treaty I have proposed each stage will take one year to implement.

The fourth stage of the Global Disarmament Treaty will remove all the navies from the oceans and bodies of water so that no ships are used for military purposes. By the completion of this stage the only remaining military forces will be within each nation.

The fifth stage will probably take much negotiation to work out the dividing lines between armies that will be disarmed of all major weapons and the need of each nation to maintain within its borders local law enforcement officers to prevent and control crime or possible revolts still trying to use violence to gain power. Yet I believe the disarmament trend when successful is likely to continue such that people will realize that even law enforcement officers rarely need weapons. Many societies will also probably decide to ban dangerous guns so that everyone will be safer. When few guns remain in a society, the police will only need such weapons on rare occasions so that most of the time they can remain safely locked up. Although some people may continue to hunt in a few places, as the human population increases, safer and more humane methods may be used to control the remaining dangerous animals. The fifth stage is the culminating phase of the Global Disarmament Treaty so that after five years wars will be very unlikely or small and easily resolved by treating the violators as criminals. The human animal, which once had been the most deadly and dangerous species on Earth, will have become the protector of all life as we learn to share this planet with each other and all other forms of life.

Copyright © 2005 by Sanderson Beck

This chapter has been published in the book BEST FOR ALL: How We Can Save the World.
For information on ordering, please click here.

Global Emergency
Alleviating Poverty
Disarming Weapons of War
Creating Global Democracy
Reforming the US Constitution
Restoring Justice
Sustainable Economics
Freeing Communication
Spiritual Awakening
Nonviolent Strategies
Global Disarmament Treaty (first draft by Beck)
Constitution of the Federal Earth Democracy (first draft by Beck)
Constitution of the United States Revised (first draft by Beck)

BECK index