Against a rising tide of militarism we work for peace and human security
Dear Rideau Institute readers and supporters,
US-led global militarism on the rise
As we see and feel every day, this has been a terrible year, with Russia’s brutal war in Ukraine fanning the flames of militarism worldwide.
We fervently believe that wiser western approaches to peace and security in Europe and globally could have prevented this terrible war.
But now Russia’s illegal aggression and ruthless war tactics are being taken as proof that the hostile, confrontational, and militarized Western security agenda — which helped pave the way to war in the first place — was in fact the right policy all along and now needs to be pursued with a vengeance.
Western defence budgets are rising exponentially. Western sanctions in response to the war imperil an already troubled post-Covid global economy, heighten food insecurity, and undermine last-ditch global cooperative efforts to stave off climate catastrophe and the very destruction of nature itself.
Ukraine war wreaking unimaginable havoc
The Ukraine war is exacting an excruciating toll in human and physical damage and carries the heretofore unthinkable prospect of a potential escalation to nuclear weapons use.
There is a horrific asymmetry in the impacts of the maximalist war-fighting strategy being pursued by NATO. Only one country is doing the fighting and dying and European partners face acute energy shortages over the winter while the leader of the Western coalition — the US — can focus on the considerable “advantages” that the Ukraine war “has to offer” in terms of weakening Russia, without itself experiencing the exponentially greater downsides faced by the rest.
We face a clear choice.
The stark choice increasingly appears to be a protracted conflict, inflicting yet more terrible costs, particularly on Ukrainian civilians, after which negotiations will still be necessary or a Western change of strategy to “keep the door open to talks,” including, in particular, the prospect for Russia that a reasonable peace will lead to sanctions relief.
What must we do in such circumstances?
Keeping diplomacy alive
For months the mainstream media has equated calls for peace negotiations with aiding and abetting Putin in his efforts to undermine Western solidarity — as if steadfast support for Ukraine somehow precluded genuine efforts to reach a reasonable peace.
We need genuine efforts to reach a reasonable peace.
Refusing to succumb to this pressure, we have relentlessly championed the need for negotiations, made the case for UN and other high-level mediation assistance, and painstakingly cataloged a long list of concrete proposals that would address fundamental concerns of Ukraine and Russia going forward.
Now, finally, more mainstream voices, like the respected International Crisis Group, are also outlining steps the West should take to enhance the prospects for a successful negotiation process to finally begin.
Help us end the Canadian government and Parliament’s hostility to peace negotiations
The Canadian government to date has shown no interest whatsoever in supporting peace negotiations, holding out the chimera of a total Ukraine military victory which, even if possible, would still leave Ukraine and Russia with fundamental issues to address.
We need your help to continue to forthrightly champion Ukraine peace negotiations with all parties in the House of Commons, especially our call for the NDP to devote one of its Opposition Day debates to this vital issue.
And then there are all the other important foreign policy issues impacting Canadians
You know from our weekly blog posts that, in addition to all our work for peace in Ukraine, we also continue to highlight important foreign policy issues where we expect so much more from Canada.
- A China policy that rejects futile and counter-productive confrontation in favour of a clear-eyed, carefully balanced policy with respect to Canada’s second-largest trading partner, that privileges constructive engagement in order to advance and protect not only Canada’s security interests but its vital economic interests.
- A human rights policy that rejects double standards, particularly when it comes to egregious Israeli abuses against Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, and against Arab Israelis.
- Courageous, creative diplomacy in support of nuclear risk reduction and arms control measures in Europe, on the Korean peninsula, with Iran, and ultimately with China.
- On the domestic front, standing up to the gun lobby in Canada in support of strong, effective, and prudent measures to ban assault-style rifles and handguns.
- Increased engagement in UN-led peacekeeping efforts, which have continued despite the Ukraine war, including with respect to violence-ridden Haiti.
- Doing the hard thinking on how to prepare for the unthinkable, a meltdown of American democracy.
And we continue to engage with Global Affairs Canada on bringing Canada’s arms export control policy in line with our international obligations.
Re-thinking security is needed more than ever
As Jeffrey Sachs has eloquently argued, America’s “militarized globalism” has no answer to disease, drought, fire, floods, and sea-level rise, not to mention averting the potential collapse of the American constitutional order.
We need priority given to fundamental human security issues.
That is why, with your help, we continue to shine a spotlight on the urgent need for governments and civil society alike to focus our energy, and our budgets, on developing a new peace and security architecture that gives priority to these fundamental human security issues.
That brings us back to where we started — doing everything we possibly can to bring the horrific Ukraine conflict to an end through the negotiation of a reasonable peace.
Will you help us keep the hope for diplomatic peacemaking and human security building alive in these dark times?
This is our only general fundraiser for 2022. Please give generously.
In peace and solidarity,
L’Institut Rideau Institute
THIS IS OUR LAST BLOG POST OF 2022.
WE HOPE YOU HAVE A HAPPY, HEALTHY HOLIDAY SEASON FILLED WITH PEACE AND JOY.
Photo credit: Government of Canada (Parliament Hill at Christmas)