Wednesday, February 26, 2003

GS 81
To be sure, scientific weapons are not amassed solely for use in war. Since the defensive strength of any nation is considered to be dependent upon its capacity for immediate retaliation, this accumulation of arms, which increases each year, likewise serves, in a way heretofore unknown, as deterrent to possible enemy attack. Many regard this procedure as the most effective way by which peace of a sort can be maintained between nations at the present time.
Here begins the discussion of deterrence, which was the long-standing policy of the United sates, with its M.A.D.
Whatever be the facts about this method of deterrence, men should be convinced that the arms race in which an already considerable number of countries are engaged is not a safe way to preserve a steady peace, nor is the so-called balance resulting from this race a sure and authentic peace.
Here is the assertion, followed by the reasons. So does the validity of the assertions rest on the validity of the reasoning that follows?
Rather than being eliminated thereby, the causes of war are in danger of being gradually aggravated.
One could ask whether, in the case of the United State vs. the Soviet Union that really happened. The closest to real conflict appears to have been the Cuban missal crisis, which undoubtedly served as a historical background for this passage, since it was a very recent event.
While extravagant sums are being spent for the furnishing of ever new weapons, an adequate remedy cannot be provided for the multiple miseries afflicting the whole modern world.
The idea here is that there is only a certain amount of money available to a country and that the more the country spends on arms, the less it can spend addressing those situations that might exacerbate the tensions between nations, such as economic inequalities.
Disagreements between nations are not really and radically healed; on the contrary, they spread the infection to other parts of the earth.
To Vietnam, for instance.
New approaches based on reformed attitudes must be taken to remove this trap and to emancipate the world from its crushing anxiety through the restoration of genuine peace.
The reformed attitude would probably include what would come to be called a preferential option for the poor, or more generically, the virtue of solidarity.
Therefore, we say it again: the arms race is an utterly treacherous trap for humanity, and one which ensnares the poor to an intolerable degree.
Because money that should be used to improve their lot is instead spent on arms.
It is much to be feared that if this race persists, it will eventually spawn all the lethal ruin whose path it is now making ready.
And at that time what reason did they have to believe it wouldn't happen? Even today the U.S. has not renounced the use of nuclear weapons. Nixon seems to have seriously considered using them in Vietnam.

Warned by the calamities which the human race has made possible, let us make use of the interlude granted us from above and for which we are thankful to become more conscious of our own responsibility and to find means for resolving our disputes in a manner more worthy of man.
Which means what?
Divine Providence urgently demands of us that we free ourselves from the age-old slavery of war. If we refuse to make this effort, we do not know where we will be led by the evil road we have set upon.
One thing is for sure: we cannot simply consider the status quo "war as usual" to be permanent. The Church believes that we can work ourselves out of such a strong dependence on war to resolve problems. Have we since that time availed ourselves of every such opportunity? Have we supported, for instance, the United Nations as much as we could have or ought to have?
It is our clear duty, therefore, to strain every muscle in working for the time when all war can be completely outlawed by international consent.
Outlawed does not mean "eliminated" any more than outlawing murder has eliminated it.
This goal undoubtedly requires the establishment of some universal public authority acknowledged as such by all and endowed with the power to safeguard on the behalf of all, security, regard for justice, and respect for rights.
The United Nations is supposed to be such an authority.
But before this hoped for authority can be set up, the highest existing international centers must devote themselves vigorously to the pursuit of better means for obtaining common security.
At that time that would have been the United Nations. The Council seems to be acknowledging that the U.N. doesn't quite cut the mustard as far as being a universal public authority. Has the Vatican made a different determination since then? It seems so, if one reads the universal affirmation that only the U.N. has the authority to prosecute a war against Iraq right now.
Since peace must be born of mutual trust between nations and not be imposed on them through a fear of the available weapons, everyone must labor to put an end at last to the arms race, and to make a true beginning of disarmament, not unilaterally indeed, but proceeding at an equal pace according to agreement, and backed up by true and workable safeguards.(3)
The key here is mutual trust. That simply doesn't exist between Iraq and the rest of the world. The "true and workable safeguards" concerning Iraq's weapons do not exist.

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