Sunday, November 11, 2018

The Narcotic of Power


I still have two chapters to go before I finish Philippe Sands penetrating 2005 book, Lawless World: America and the Making and Breaking of Global Rules, so what follows might have been improved if I had finished before sharing these thoughts.  I can’t be sure if what follows is inspired by that engaging book, or the recent storm over the Supreme Court, or recent decisions by the current administration to withdraw from and ignore legal agreements, or the fight to end gerrymandering or the corruption of democracy generally. Probably all of the above and more are responsible.

Lawless World

What all of these things point me towards is the use of power.  The old saying that “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely” seems truer with each passing day. The framers of our constitution were certainly concerned with the abuse of power and shaped that constitution with some purpose to create a “balance of powers”. But even that was contextualized in the moment. Women and blacks and indigenous people were not presumed to have any power, and the constitution certainly isolated them from it. The supposedly strict constitutionalists amongst us who try and interpret everything in the constitution literally, fail to appreciate how flawed the Constitution was from the start. That’s why it has been continually amended.

No one seeks to be on the bottom of the power ladder. Neither is this is a partisan issue. Neither major party prefers to be in the minority. When it finds itself in that position the minority party hopes that there are rules that prevent the majority party from annihilating the minority. If we believe in equity, we must have protections for all from the concentration and the abuse of power by some. Constraining the accumulation of dominant power and moving towards governance that is designed to share power is precisely what our founders sought with the original constitution, despite its shortcomings more obvious to us since. It is also what Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill were hoping to establish globally with the drafting of the Atlantic Charter and later the creation of the United Nations.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a fundamental statement of individual freedom from the abuse of power. UDHR passed overwhelmingly 70 years ago and remains the bedrock of individual rights, which have been expanded with subsequent conventions like the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1977) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (1977).

Let me try and put some flesh on the bones of these thoughts using the examples from which I opened this blog.

Philippe Sands is a noted British legal scholar, teacher and practicing attorney who has specialized in international law and been involved in numerous important cases of international legal arenas. In Lawless World, published in 2005, Sands walks us through a number of cases that demonstrate how the U.S. (and sometimes with British support) has frequently confounded other nations by undercutting global agreements in their development stage, refusing to support many, and ignoring when it’s inconvenient, its own international agreements since WWII. In great detail and with clear prose and argument he addresses many moments in recent history including the Nuclear NonProliferation Treaty, Geneva Conventions, UN Charter, International Court of Justice and more. Of course there is voluminous amount of material since the Bush Administration came to office, although the book ends as Bush is starting his second term.

The U.S. of course wants to promote an image as the true democracy and law abiding nation, but Sands demolishes that image with a plethora of cases. He looks carefully at the legal gymnastics used to try and justify the U.S. illegal invasion of Iraq, the illegal detention of non-combatants, the prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib and other detention centers, the undermining of the Kyoto Protocol and on and on.

Sands makes the plea for establishing rules that we can agree to and then following them, even if we don’t like them. Can you imagine a baseball game where one team decided you needed four strikes for a strikeout to give their hitters a better chance? The recent decisions to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement and the Nuclear agreement with Iran and other nations are just more of the same. It is interesting to note that even fifteen years ago Sands identified John Bolton, current National Security Advisor, as a detestor of international agreements. No surprise that he has helped engineer the recent U.S. abandonment of global agreements.

Prof. Michael Schwalbe wrote an unfortunately under-read book, Rigging the Game: How Inequality is Reproduced in Everyday Life, that depicts with crystal clarity how the rules are rigged against the poor. It is a clear example of the abuse of power. An abusive power I might add that has been consolidated with recent additional tax cuts for the wealthiest amongst us. 

Cover for 

Rigging the Game

But the inequality we face is not simply an economic one. As noted political scientists Kay Schlozman,Sydney Verba, and Henry Brady have documented in several recent books, paralleling income inequality is political inequality. Unheavenly Chorus: Unequal Political Voice and the Failed Promise of Demoracy(2012) offers 693 pages of evidence In this hefty, multiple award winning tome, Schlozman and colleagues review a huge number of studies and discern, what a reasonable person might easily infer, that the growing economic inequality parallels a growing political inequality.


 They followed that up this year with Unequal and Unrepresented: Political Inequality and the People’s Voice in the New Gilded Age (2018).Their evidence is compelling, but If that wouldn’t provide sufficient research evidence try this.


 “According to a new study from Princeton University, American democracy no longer exists. Using data from over 1,800 policy initiatives from 1981 to 2002, researchers Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page concluded that rich, well-connected individuals on the political scene now steer the direction of the country, regardless of – or even against – the will of the majority of voters. America’s political system has transformed from a democracy into an oligarchy, where power is wielded by wealthy elites.” So reports Ellen  Brown, founder of the Public Banking Institute in “How America Became an Oligarchy”

See also Senator Sheldon Whitehouse’s Captured: The Corporate Capture of AmericanDemocracy to see how the abuse of power often tied to wealth and privilege  has infiltrated and ‘captured’  the executive agencies and the courts. It’s the reason that so many books are coming out that focus on the death or dying of democracy.

Captured

The recent Supreme Court brou-ha-ha is a clear example of using power to squash the minority. It started when the Senate majority refused to hold a hearing and vote on President Obama’s nomination of Merick Garland in 2016. The abuse of power has grown with the Republican erasure of the filibuster rule and then consummated in the rush job to get  Mr. Kavanagh on the bench without the full review of  documents of his past record, or a thorough investigation of allegations regarding sexual assault and drinking.

Moving to a world where we look at power as not one of “power over” but rather as “power with” is a major step. Perhaps nowhere is this most visible than with the global concerns over climate change. Just last month we saw the release of the International Panel on Climate Change’s recent report that sees catastrophe less than a generation away if we don’t dramatically reverse direction in our consumption and release of carbon. This is not something one community or one nation can adequately confront. It should unite us as one human family on a single planet with a shared future. Does one nation believe it can or should try to survive the potential catastrophe alone? Especially if that nation is more responsible per capita than any other nation for the coming catastrophe?

Economist Jared Bernstein made an interesting point years ago describing basic worldviews distinctions between YOYO’s and WITT’s. YOYO’s Bernstein says, are those that believe that You're On Your Own, the pull-yourself-up-by-the- bootstraps approach and that hard work is all that is necessary for success. WITT’s, Bernstein argues, believe that We’re  In This Together and believe more in fundamental democracy and giving a hand-up as captured in the New Deal.


Roosevelt expanded that idea from application within the U.S. to consideration for a global family. While the US was a main driver of this post-WWII effort, we reserved for ourselves and the other four permanent members of the UN Security Council, a power-over veto that has hampered the possibility of reaching the promise from which the UN was born. This perhaps was cornerstone of what has been the US belief in its own exceptionalism. Unfortunately it is an anathema of a truly global democracy that Roosevelt hope to evolve. In recent years as Philippe Sands so clearly depicts as does Professor Stephen Walt of Harvard  in his new tome, The Hell of Good Intentions: America’s Foreign Policy Elite and the Decline of U.S. Primacy (2018), America has defied international agreements whenever they are inconvenient. It’s an abuse of power and the rest of the world recognizes the hypocrisy, even if we citizens are in denial.

The Hell of Good Intentions


Saturday, November 3, 2018

The Limits of Our Thoughts


The reading pile keeps getting bigger. Each morning upon grabbing the coffee and nestling into a corner of the couch, I reach for one of the books in my reading pile. On the coffee table in front of the couch are the magazines that pile up – The Sun, The Atlantic, The Nation, Yes Magazine.


Today I grabbed a recent addition to the book pile, Stephen Walt’s new The Hell of Good Intentions: America’s Foreign Policy Elite and the Decline of U.S. Primacy (2018).

The Hell of Good Intentions

It’s one of the best reads of 2018 if not the 2000s. I’ve got two chapters left, about 70 pages of the 360 ( 70 pages are notes, themselves worth reading). Anyone interested in foreign policy should read this critique of the “establishment” since WWII through early 2018 and why policy alternatives to what Walt, describes as “liberal hegemony” never seem to change whether Clinton, Bush, Obama or Trump sits in the oval office. Stephen M. Walt is the Robert and Renee Belfer Professor of International Affairs at Harvard University.

Also in the pile and partially read are:






Also in the pile but not yet started other than the introductions are
George Orwell. TheRoad to Wigan Pier (1937) which Ellen just read and highly recommended it for it’s pertinence.

Gretel Van Wieren. Food Farming and Religion: Emerging Ethical Perspectives (2018) Stumbled upon on the new book shelf and noted that author was an MSU professor (I have not met) but in the intro she highlights work of two other MSU profs I do know.

Peter Plastrik and John Cleveland. Life After Carbon: The Next Global Transformation of Cities (2018)

Noam Chomsky. Who Rules the World (2016)

I often wonder how the brain and impulse drive the selection of items for the pile and how it then integrates the ideas as I read them. Based on past experience I may not finish all of them, and certainly as the Walt book shows, some other title will get added to the pile and potentially take precedence over others. Usually when that happens,  like Walt’s book, the writing is excellent and ideas more compelling or perhaps fresh, innovative or at least new to me.

I admittedly don’t absorb anymore the full detail as I read the pages. I tend to carry forward the general intent of the book along with its tone. In some cases I note certain quotes and page references for possible future use. In many cases the references lead to other titles added to the pile or websites to investigate.

I recognize all this as a privilege that I have, or at least make the time, to delve into this playground of ideas. Of course, scholars like Walt or the others represented in the pile, dedicate even more of their time and energy into delving deeper into segments of the world of ideas than I do. But most of those are within a narrower band width of human thought than I can manage. So it intrigues me as I interact more and more with elected officials and their staff, to consider how much they read, how limited that time is and perhaps again how narrow the area of focus.

Mr. Trump, who appears to celebrate not reading, except teleprompters,  is at the abysmal end of this scale. But what of Senator X,  Representative Y, or foreign policy staffer Z.  How many books have any of them read in the past year? What is the longest policy report they have completely read from an academic journal, think tank, or government agency? It concerns me that the responses would be closer to Trump than to Walt, or even me. While Walt doesn’t discuss this information deficit directly thus far in his book, his notion of how the foreign policy elites constrain the limits of consideration helps me understand why new ideas, or even the reconsideration of failed policies, seem “foreign” to most elected officials.

Expanding our horizons and possibilities in our increasingly complex world through reading of serious, thoughtful, and sometimes lengthy writings might help all of us appreciate the limitations of our electoral system and those that represent us. Ignorance is not bliss.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

To Rally or Not to Rally?


As I approach this week the “Stand Up for Peace” rally that I have been helping to plan for months, I began to think about what drives people to attend rallies or to stay home. As someone who has not planned a rally before but who has participated in many over the decades, I started to wonder about all the folks I know who hold very similar beliefs about the state of our world but whom I have never seen at a rally for these same causes.

Image result for peace quest


Of course, the basic reasons that come to mind include conflicts with work or other schedule commitments, fear of crowds, lack of confidence that the event will have any impact, etc. All are reasonable responses. But many of these same folks are retired, or in this case, our rally overlaps with the lunch hour. Fear of crowds, if one has never attended a rally, are based on an abstract fear. With the unusual exception of throngs of 500,000–1,000,000, as at the Women’s March of January 2017 in Washington, where I saw and felt that the density of people posed a potential for danger, I have never experienced any such concerns.

Image result for women's march 2017

The question of effectiveness raises perhaps a more challenging reason from those who do not attend rallies. How does one measure effectiveness? Is the policy issue(s) raised by the rally addressed within days or weeks of the rally? Rarely if ever would be my best guess. Even if policy changes in six months or a year, can one say the rally made it happen? Certainly not by itself. So why bother with all the planning and hoopla if there is no immediate remedy provided by the rally action?

Herein lies my response and why I have thrown the bits of myself I could muster into organizing this rally for the International Day of Peace next Friday at the State Capitol. I’ll begin this response to concerns of effectiveness of rallies with a quote from perhaps our greatest living writer, Rebecca Solnit.

Causes and effects assume history marches forward, but history is not an army. It is a crab scuttling sideways, a drip of soft water wearing away a stone, an earthquake breaking centuries of tension. Sometimes one person inspires a movement, or her words do decades later; sometimes a few passionate people change the world; sometimes they start a movement and millions do; sometimes those millions are stirred by the same outrage or the same ideal and change comes upon us like a change of weather. All of these transformations have in common is that they begin in the imagination, in hope. To hope is to gamble. It’s to bet on the future, on your desires, on the possibility that an open heart and uncertainty is better than gloom and safety. To hope is dangerous, and yet it is the opposite of fear, for to live is to risk.

Yes, this rally and any rally organized to address an issue is a project of hope. We can’t possibly know the outcome in advance. Even as I fill out forms for the folks managing the access to the State Capitol steps that ask how many attendees, I really have no clue. Who will feel their schedule of commitments (work, family, meetings, doctor appointments, etc.) will allow it? Who is willing to possibly go alone to be with strangers to participate in something they have never experienced and therefore are wary of? Who will feel strongly enough about the issue(s) being addressed that they would put aside other things to spend an hour or two in support of the rally’s purpose? I obviously don’t know. I guessed – 250-500, I said. Wishful thinking?


Cheesh, wouldn’t you think that thousands would be willing to come out for a rally titled “Stand Up for Peace” celebrating the global International Day of Peace? Yes, part of me does. But there have been few rallies at the State Capitol I have attended in the past year that have passed that threshold, so I doubt it. Everyone wants peace, but few are willing to do the work necessary to build it.

So let me add two other considerations for you to think about next time there is a rally in your community that aims to address issues you agree with.

1)    The larger the attendance the more coverage by media to the issue and proposals that emanate from it. The larger audience itself expands the message as they leave and talk to those in their circles about the issue(s) and options they heard. The idea gets seeded. This affirms the insight Milton Friedman offered to his conservative cohorts years ago.

"Only a crisis - actual or perceived - produces real change. When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around. That, I believe, is our basic function: to develop alternatives to existing policies, to keep them alive and available until the politically impossible becomes the politically inevitable.
Milton Friedman. Capitalism and Freedom, p.2 (cited in Rob Dietz and Dan O'Neill, Enough is Enough, 2013).

2)    Those with enough hope, who pull together the resources to hold rallies and events to seed ideas or keep them alive, are fed by those who bother to attend and participate. This in fact becomes a huge energy transfer. This energy is needed to propel society forward. Your participation feeds the larger energy towards peace. In sharing one’s energy, one is also fed by the community and solidarity of strangers committed to creating a better world.

I say all this to you because hope is not like a lottery ticket you can sit on the sofa and clutch, feeling lucky. I say this because hope is an ax you break down doors with in an emergency; because hope should shove you out the door, because it will take everything you have to steer the future away from endless war, from the annihilation of the earth’s treasures and the grinding down of the poor and marginal. Hope just means another world might be possible, not promised, not guaranteed. Hope calls for action; action is impossible without hope… To hope is to give yourself to the future, and that commitment to the future makes the present inhabitable.  -
Rebecca Solnit, Hope in the Dark

Ask anyone who attended the Women’s March on Washington on January 2017 if they were moved by the energy. Get out and support peace, not only on the International Day of Peace, September 21. But every chance you get.It's the only way to get there.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Steps Toward Possibility

I keep stumbling along, bumping into ideas either new to me or reformulated to feel new. Of course, it could be that my memory is so bad I've been there before but can't recall it. Like the movies I check out from a local library only to be told by my better half that we've already seen that one.

Much of what follows stems from or was inspired by the pile of books I'm working my way through. The current reading list includes: Graham Riches, Food Bank Nations: Poverty, Corporate Charity and the Right to Food (2018); Richard Falk, Humanitarian Intervention and Legitimacy Wars: Seeking Peace and Justice in the 21st Century(2015); and Barry Knight, Rethinking Poverty: What Makes a Good Society (2017). Sprinkled among these books are countless articles from many sources covering a wide gamut of subjects.

Each of these works is trying to address what the author sees as a serious flaw in our current human predicament. They begin with an analysis but they all end up with suggesting new possibilities. While there is much in their analyses that is fresh and insightful (to me), I am more energized by their belief in possibilities beyond our current dilemma. This is the root impetus for the creation of Possibilitator nearly six years ago - to imagine possibilities for a better world. If one is unable to imagine a different/better world, one will likely not pursue any effort to change it.

Food Bank Nations: Poverty, Corporate Charity and the Right to Food (Paperback) book cover

Graham Riches is a professor emeritus and former director of the School of Social Work at the University of British Columbia. He began writing and researching "domestic hunger and the import of charitable food banking" in the 1980s. In this work he brings together that knowledge with a broader look across OECD countries and their approach to addressing hunger.

       Whilst food drives and fundraising are built around themes of 'ending'  or 'alleviating' hunger, the strategies of corporate food banking are a long way removed from the goals of food and social justice and from advocating for a living wage let alone adequate welfare benefits. The fact is that mainstream food banks have become dependent upon the corporate good will of the industrial food system. Feeding America has been a powerful catalyst for the corporate capture and national consolidation of charitable food banking in the United States an idea which has been emulated and acted upon within other OECD food bank nations.(p.54)

I saw this first hand during my tenure as an executive director of a local food bank, and even now as a volunteer at our local food pantry. Riches gives us a history lesson as well as a deeper social, economic, and political analysis of this development among the wealthiest nations. Ending hunger is still at the top of the list of the UN Sustainable Development Goals agreed to by all 193 member nations of the United Nations including hunger in the developed nations of the OECD. As Riches amply notes, ending hunger via food banking is offering a tailpipe fix of a symptom without addressing the fundamental causes. I am only a third of the way trough the book, but I can see from the chapters titles to come that he won't leave me looking for suggested remedies.


Rethinking poverty

Barry Knight is co-chair of the Working Group on Philanthropy for Social Justice and Peace and the author or editor of14 books on poverty, civil society, community development and democracy. This little gem of a book (161 pages) is based upon extensive research into the causes of poverty as well as the remedies that have been tried. The research was carried out by the Webb Memorial Trust in the UK involving leading organizations, academics, community activists, people kin poverty, children and surveys of more than 12,000 people.

Like the other two titles under review here, Rethinking Poverty's  tone is one that is both steeped in research, but humble in prognostications. An appreciation of the complexity of society leads to an understanding that there is no silver bullet. Yet, the research finds promise in having communities focus on what should be the basis of a "good society". From that evolved a consensus belief that a direction based upon these five driving principles holds some promise:

      1)  We all have a decent basic standard of living.
      2)  So we are secure and free to choose how to lead our lives.
      3)  Developing our potential and flourishing materially and emotionally.
      4)  Participating, contributing and treating all with care and respect.
      5)  And building a fair and sustainable future for the next generation.

Obviously, the research from the Webb Memorial Trust would not have begun if someone didn't believe there must be a better way to eliminate hunger. Believing is possibility is perhaps the first step in any change, either within our selves or for society as a whole. Surely this was the case for ending slavery, giving women equal rights, or recognizing that planting trees might help slow ecological unraveling. The author suggest that the research shows that re-framing the question of poverty away from the negative towards a more positive frame of 'what does a good society look like' has more potential to unleash creativity, find consensus, and offer a way forward.


product-image

Richard Falk is still pumping out ideas about building a better world via international law and justice as he approaches his 88th birthday later this year. One can visit his active blog to follow his thoughtful and perceptive thoughts on contemporary global issues. In this 2015 collection of essays he delves into the very turgid area of humanitarian intervention. How might we balance the sovereignty of nation states with the 'right to protect'? What might international legal reforms help reduce the need for humanitarian intervention?

As informed as he is from his storied career in international legal affairs, Falk still uses the tone of possibility, not certainty in dealing with human affairs. This is refreshing given all the strident posturing that typically goes with the territory. Even in areas where he holds firm moral beliefs, e.g. Israel/Palestine, he recognizes the complexity.

     It seems clear that 'the responsibility to protect' norm is becoming an accepted part of customary international law, but its implementation  in specific instances is not a reflection of its status in law. It remains primarily dependent on mobilizing the political will of states, especially dominant states, which can be pushed just so far by an aroused public opinion calling for protective action. At present, such a political will is not likely to be supportive of humanitarian intervention unless it coincides with significant strategic interests. (p.59)

As we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the UN Declaration of Human Rights, we should recognize what the imaginative powers Eleanor Roosevelt and other key promoters of the idea brought to fruition by dreaming a better world for all was possible. It's long past time to remove the wet blanket that Margaret Thatcher and her sidekick, Ronald Reagan, threw over our societies that "There is No Alternative" to neoliberalism.


Working our way through the possibilities is still difficult and time-consuming work that must involve us all as a human family.  The five principles suggested by work of the Webb Memorial Trust listed above which dovetail  nicely with the Global Sustainable Development Goals might well give us a place to start to do that work together. It's possible!!

ONWARD!!


Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Nuclear diplomacy in the age of Trump


TrumpKim

Less than twenty-four hours since Mr. Trump and Mr. Un shook hands, many pundits are critical of  the outcome. I am certainly no fan of  either of these two national leaders. Trump defines arrogance and narcissism as well as any public figure. His braggadocio is so untethered to reality that it's difficult to believe anything he says (or tweets).

But, for whatever reason, he has resisted (thus far) a military solution to this vexing problem, and that is a very big deal as we might pause and reflect on the 17 year old war in Afghanistan that has gained nothing for anyone except the arms lobby. I am not sanguine about the possibility of him triggering a military encounter with Iran or some other "evil empire" du jour. The chances of that disaster became higher with the elevation of Mike Pompeo and John Bolton in his administration. But for the moment, he has resisted flexing his military macho side.

It seems pretty obvious that North Korea has had a target on its head since at least the days of George W. Bush's "Axis of Evil" claim. Regime change from the US has been the driver for pursuit of a nuclear missile as a possible barrier to a US led first strike. I can't imagine a sane person, giving that up, especially with the example of what the US did with Qaddafi after he relinquished his nukes. Trump's aversion to building a lasting trust does not bode well for a total denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. If you were North Korea, would you trust any deal made with Trump? Still, I applaud the diplomatic effort both sides have made. It's better than war!!!!

I certainly would be surprised if we see any movement on global arms reductions, let alone nuclear weapons, during this administration. Would even his pals, the Russians, trust him on a nuclear deal? His former allies, Britain and France, are probably not likely to believe much of what he proposes, especially after last weekend. Diplomacy needs trust to work and the absence of this arrow in his quiver suggests we will have to wait for a later administration to try and resurrect arms control.

But while Trump is clearly a champion of American Exceptionalism, the failure of the Congressional members of both parties to reconsider the sword of Damocles that nuclear weapons hangs over humanity (and all other species we share this special planet with) suggests our political leaders of both major parties suffer from the same toxicity of American Exceptionalism.

The US remains in the global driver's seat of weapons ownership in both nuclear and conventional weapons. As Trump proclaims, others should fear the US for both our military might and our economic power. A perfect example is the threat we use in the UN to hurt any country that doesn't vote with us. While President Obama spoke collegially about global partnerships and even hinted at nuclear weapons reductions early in his administration, he too fell into the muck of nuclear madness, proposing to spend $1.2 trillion over thirty years to rebuild the nuclear arsenal.

We need a statesperson that can get out of the muck and begin discussions with other sane members of the global family on ridding the world of these weapons, not just for lowly North Korea, but with all the nuclear nations - Russia, US, Britain, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel. As the first and only nation to use a nuclear weapon, we have a special responsibility to lead the world in abolition and destruction of the weapons that are only meant to destroy entire communities and every living thing in them.





Two Nobel-winning nuclear experts say that North Korea shouldn’t be alone in giving up nukes via Two of IPPNW’s founders, Drs. Jim Muller and John Pastore, have begun a dialog with North Korean mission in New York

Where are our political leaders? $1.2 trillion, plus whatever Trump tries to boost the pot with could be used for so many good things. Each of the other eight nations could also redirect their own funds saved from de-nuclearization into their communities to make life better for all. Every candidate for federal office should be forced to answer how they will end nuclear arms. What steps should the US be willing to lead with?

A little less than one year ago, 122 nations of the UN agreed to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Of course, the nuclear nations either voted against or abstained. How serious can they be about reducing and eliminating nuclear weapons. Words are cheap, but we're not even getting words for global de-nuclearlization out of American political leadership. What a travesty. 

ICAN logo

The folks at the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, winner of the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize call today's meeting "Good for Diplomacy, But Little Substance." 

ICAN’s Executive Director Beatrice Fihn said, “Trump just pulled off the photo-op of a lifetime. Rather than signing an unsubstantial agreement, Trump and Kim should be signing a real document based on international law, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The Treaty doesn’t tweet, it doesn’t change its mind on the plane home, and can’t have it’s ego bruised. It’s the only comprehensive, verifiable and irreversible way to achieve meaningful nuclear disarmament”.

Since our elected leaders won't lead, we need to join with citizen driven organization like ICAN and our local Peace Education Center to push for getting global nuclear disarmament back on the agenda of our media and the government.