Russia Stirs Friction in Balkans as NATO Keeps Uneasy Peace
Each year, our nation spends about $275 billion on the military; the entire world spends nearly $1 trillion. The end of the Cold War has led to a welcome decline in U.S. and world military expenditures, but still excessive levels of such spending remain, in the words of Pope John Paul II, a "serious disorder" in a world where millions of people lack even the necessities of life. 32 According to the Holy Father, the moral judgment about the arms trade "is even more severe." 33 At present there are more than forty regional conflicts, almost all of these fueled by a seemingly limitless arms trade. Recent wars in Central America, Iraq, Somalia, Angola and Afghanistan provide ample evidence that weapons not only exacerbate conflicts and fuel regional arms races, but, as with Iraq, are often turned against those who supply them. Moreover, the recipients are often irresponsible or repressive regimes whose military ambitions rob their people of their right to human development and sentence them to increasing misery. Our experience over the past decade reinforces the judgment of the Second Vatican Council: ". . . [T]he arms race is one of the greatest curses on the human race and the harm it inflicts on the poor is more than can be endured." 34 What is especially discouraging is that our country, as well as other permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, each of which have accepted a special responsibility for international peace, are the major participants some would say profiteers in this lethal trade. We are faced with a paradoxical situation in which modest defense reductions at home seem to encourage the export of militarism abroad. Defense spending is cut while weapons continue to be supplied to others without effective restraints. It is a matter of concern when the desire to protect jobs in the defense industry overshadows the interests of international peace and stability. As the world's largest supplier of weapons, the United States bears great responsibility for curbing the arms trade by taking concrete actions to reduce its own predominant role in this trade. 35 The human consequences of unemployment and economic disruption caused by defense cuts must be addressed concretely through economic development and conversion programs, a stronger nonmilitary economy and other programs to assist those who lose their jobs. Jobs at home cannot justify exporting the means of war abroad. Neither jobs nor profits justify military spending beyond the minimum necessary for legitimate national security and international peacekeeping obligations. The end of the Cold War still provides an opportunity to reduce substantially military spending. Prudence requires that this reduction take into account emerging threats to world peace. Prudence also dictates that we use the unparalleled opportunities at hand to find alternative ways to respond to new dangers as we redirect resources to meet nonmilitary threats to international security. Diverting scarce resources from military to human development is not only a just and compassionate policy, but it is also a wise long-term investment in global peace and national security.
An Uneasy Peace – Writing, photography, etc.
Security forces, including the army, asked an estimated one lakh followers of Dera Sacha Sauda to political philosophies in thelma and louise vacate the a decade of uneasy peace controversial sect’s headquarters in Haryana.
Today's threats to peace tend to be more regional than global, more rooted in geographic, tribal, national and ethnic conflict than in ideological disputes. Though regional, however, they call for a continuing response from the United States and the international community. Without attempting to reiterate our concerns about pressing problems in countries as diverse as Bosnia, East Timor, China, Peru and Northern Ireland, the following reflections on Africa, Asia, Central America and the Caribbean and the Middle East highlight the importance of resolving regional and internal conflicts and developing mechanisms for peace building at the local and regional levels.
Africa The African continent continues to be wracked by conflict and neglected by U.S. foreign policy. While progress has been made toward reconciliation in some Cold War conflicts, like that in Mozambique, elsewhere fighting continues. Since 1960, not a day has passed without armed conflict. In Sudan, no end is in sight to a lengthy civil war in which government troops have massacred Christians, starved them by siege, forced some into slavery and coerced many into religious conversion. In Somalia, United Nations forces have not yet succeeded in establishing the peaceful conditions which will permit relief work to continue unimpeded and civil life to be restored. In South Africa, a long-awaited transition to nonracial democracy is marred by intergroup violence. In Zaire, troops still loyal to the old dictatorship hamper progress toward a renewal of democratic government, while in Burundi age-old tribal animosities have again brought bloodshed and dislocations.
Asia In some parts of this important region the Church is struggling, frequently against official opposition, to win the freedom to openly proclaim the Gospel. We especially support the persistent efforts of our brother bishops in China and Vietnam to demonstrate that genuine religious liberty can improve national harmony, reduce international tensions and contribute to the common good. We renew our commitments in our pastoral reflection of 1989, A Time for Dialogue and Healing, including "our wish to work with our brother bishops in Vietnam toward a better understanding between our two peoples," and our call for "full and genuine respect for the role of the Church by the Vietnamese government," and for the United States and the broader international community to assist Vietnam "to enter the world trading and diplomatic community."
Central America and the Caribbean For much of the last decade, Central America pre-occupied our nation and this conference. Thankfully, the guns of war have mostly fallen silent as a result of dialogue, negotiation and a return to democratic decision making. Sadly, the United States, which invested so much in the armed conflict in the region, seems almost indifferent now to the need for significant investment in its development and reconstruction. If the countries of the region are not to return to cycles of violence and repression, continued U.S. involvement and aid will be needed for some time to come. Greater sensitivity on the part of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to the impact of their decisions on the abilities of countries to rebuild is also much needed. We stand with our brother bishops in Cuba in their courageous declaration Love Hopes All Things. 38 We support their call for greater religious and political freedom and direct humanitarian assistance, especially food and medicine, from our nation and others at this time of deprivation for their long-suffering people. We hope with them that substantial, improved performance by the Cuban authorities with regard to human rights and religious liberty could lead to progressively greater opportunities for trade and dialogue between our two nations and within Cuban society. We stand in solidarity with the Church and people of Cuba in their hopes for greater freedom and opportunity. For all too long the people of Haiti have suffered from grinding poverty, denial of human rights, predatory government, indiscriminate violence and the indifference of outsiders. Today we must accompany the Haitian people as they travel the long road toward democracy and civil peace. To enjoy the fruits of peace, all parties will have to respect basic human rights and commit themselves to restraint and reconciliation. Once the rule of law is established, the Haitian people will need the support of the United States and of the international community for years to come in the development of their island. Much needs to be done in order to institutionalize democratic political processes that will lead to justice for all Haitians.
Middle East We give thanks to God for the interim agreement between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization. It is an historic opening to a new era for which the whole world has been longing for many years. We applaud the courage, the imagination and the spirit of compromise that has been shown in negotiating this major advance toward peace in the Holy Land. The agreement is an historic beginning, which must be carried out fully, supported actively and expanded upon quickly. We support full autonomy for the West Bank, and a true homeland for the Palestinians, and look forward to a final settlement that will protect the rights and security of all people, including Israelis and Palestinians. To succeed, the interim Israeli-Palestinian accord on Gaza and Jericho as well as eventual Palestinian self-rule on the West Bank will require serious support from the international community, especially from the United States. Aid and technical support are needed for building up the autonomous Palestinian territories and for reconstruction of Lebanon. As the U.S. has been generous in supporting Israel's security, so now it should be unstinting in helping to build peace for the region. A lasting settlement in the region must include a resolution of the status of Jerusalem that reflects its unique role as a city holy to Jews, Muslims and Christians alike. Any settlement must include full recognition of the rights of all believers in the Holy Land and their unimpeded access to the Holy Places. 39 We hope that a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian issue will be the impetus for tangible progress toward development and disarmament, peace and security in regional negotiations. Lebanon, which has suffered so much until now and which still needs to reacquire its full sovereignty from all its neighbors, is in special need of peace and reconstruction. The people of Iraq also deserve relief from their present oppressive situation. The new era must bring comprehensive steps toward a just peace for the whole region. These and other conflicts show the need for early and vigorous responses by the international community to support reconciliation processes whether they are supervised by domestic leaders or outside mediators. During the Cold War, the United States gave substantial support to rebel groups and client governments to prevent the spread of communism. Therefore, it bears a special responsibility in this new era to provide assistance to overcome the legacy of apartheid, civil war and autocratic rule and to bolster civilian groups eager for peace and the rebirth of democracy. In these regions and throughout the world, violence and repression have led to a refugee crisis of tragic proportions. The United States and other nations cannot close their eyes or their doors to the tide of suffering humanity. Our laws and policies should reflect our historic openness to victims of war and oppression. Welcoming refugees is an essential part of peacemaking.