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  the first step to
  change is the
  conviction that
  change is needed


part two


In the face of these facts, it ought to be obvious that war must be abolished. The most effective and practical way to do that is to get rid of the equipment of war.

First on the list for demolition must be weapons of mass destruction. As long as nuclear weapons, chemical weapons and biological weapons continue to exist, our human civilisation will continue to be at risk.

Some people think that nuclear weapons cannot be eliminated. They say that these weapons can’t be disinvented – and that even if they could be, the countries possessing nuclear weapons would be reluctant to scrap them. But it’s time to realise that no-one actually needs to keep them. Already, in this new 21st century, we can see that the world has changed. We could, if we choose, accept that we can make new and wiser decisions about keeping the world, and ourselves, alive. Who are ‘we’? Any one in the world. Each one of us can make a difference, often just by speaking out.

In and outside governments, things are already happening which may one day help to abolish war. Back in 1990, the Charter of Paris for a New Europe was signed by the member countries of the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe (now the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, OSCE). By doing this Europe, the United States and Canada agreed to create security by working together, rather than against one another. The idea of co-operative security – common security – was now accepted as worth putting into practice.

This was a hopeful first step. It also brought about another agreement: the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty. Since it was signed, there has been a substantial reduction of weapons in Europe – the world’s most heavily-armed continent.

Of course change needs time. It will take time for people to stop thinking that military action solves problems. It will take longer for some countries to leave behind their current militaristic habits of mind. It will take time for countries and peoples to work out ways to agree with each other, let alone carry them out successfully.

But maybe all this could happen a bit faster. If we want to see a more humane world, a fairer world, a world that unites to ensure its survival, we must keep asking for exactly that. We have to keep telling people, anywhere and everywhere, that such a world is really possible. We have to keep working out the steps that will lead to it, and telling the rest of the world about it.

No-one is secure when anyone is threatened. If we dismantle the systems of thinking, governing, trading and living that depend on using threats, all of us can share a common security. We created those systems ourselves. We also have the ability to understand that they are terrible mistakes, mistakes that must be put right.



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