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Dear Mr. President: Make This a Real Peace Prize

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By Deepak Chopra, re-printed from The Huffington Post An air of pleased embarrassment is emanating from the White House today. It may be seen that this was really the Nobel Speech Prize. The Oslo committee clearly wanted to jog some elbows, particularly European ones. President Obama has made all the right moves on many fronts […]

By Deepak Chopra, re-printed from The Huffington Post

worldAn air of pleased embarrassment is emanating from the White House today. It may be seen that this was really the Nobel Speech Prize. The Oslo committee clearly wanted to jog some elbows, particularly European ones. President Obama has made all the right moves on many fronts — nuclear disarmament, global warming, a reach-out to the Muslim world.

This might alternatively be called the Nobel Relief Prize, as the rest of the world breathes a sigh that the U.S. is no longer a unilateral, belligerent power. Simply to back away from the military overreach of the Bush era is reason to celebrate.

But a shadow hangs over the Nobel, thanks to its record of futility. A glaring example would be all the prizes given for negotiating a peace in the Middle East that never came. Attempts at peace are laudable, and perhaps they are the best we can do much of the time, but Obama should aim higher.

It’s in his power to make this a real peace prize.

Because he’s a sitting president, he’s one of the few recipients with global power. And he sits atop a massive — mega-massive, if you will — military budget. The two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan should be object lessons in peace-making. If he has learned anything from these two conflicts, which are futile, impoverishing, and seemingly endless, Obama could lay down the following policies:

* Cutting America’s nuclear stockpile immediately by 90%.

* fighting no wars without a strong array of wiling allies.

* Turning any conflict into a peacekeeping mission.

* Initiating a draft for future wars so that a tiny slice of the American population, generally the poorest and least educated, doesn’t bear the burden of sacrifice alone.

* Dramatically curtailing future defense budgets.

* Ending America’s supremacy in arms dealing.

A book could be written about each point; many have been. The toxic embrace of the military-industrial complex has made us a Jekyll-and-Hyde country. We see ourselves as agents of peace, but we have been on a war footing since Pearl Harbor. We call for disarmament while selling more advanced weapons systems than any other nation in the world. We lead the world, too, in developing new means of mechanized death. And we have been embroiled in more foreign adventures, by far, than any other country.

Peace begins with those who have the power to make peace. Obama stands in a unique position in this regard. Even though we’ve turned the corner from Bush’s reckless belligerence, avowing peace isn’t the same as action. The bald truth is that much of the world fears America, and our politicians and generals like it that way. But in an age of globalism, it’s not feasible to want worldwide cooperation on climate change while holding all the cards in weapons. Fear doesn’t fit well with cooperation.

At a personal level, each citizen is responsible for being a unit of peace. Without a shift in collective consciousness, we will sleepwalk into another war. It’s inevitable when there’s a massive military establishment and a passive citizenry. One productive step, I believe, is to disavow all forms of violence today, making your own stand for peace. If enough people do that, awareness can shift on a mass scale.

Peace is a silent campaign of the heart. Why not join, since noisy protest against war don’t work? They just strengthen the hand of the war makers in the end. I’ve been involved in I Take the Vow, which is about individuals renouncing violence in their lives at the levels of thoughts, speech, and action. But there are many other initiatives that donate time, money and heart to ending the reign of war.

Rest assured, the war machinery that exists in this country has inertia on its side. It has grown in power every day since 1941, when America entered the war against Japan. The only way to end two generations of military dominance is from the grassroots level. Obama showed that the grassroots can elect a president against all odds. The same is true here, even against far greater odds. It might even happen that this most conscientious of presidents will listen and learn, not taking his Nobel as a reward but as a wake-up call.

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3 Responses to “Dear Mr. President: Make This a Real Peace Prize”

  1. 'annie'
    October 15, 2009 at 1:12 pm #

    The Report from SIPRI, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute states the
    Global Military Expenditure Set New Record In 2008. Stockholm, 8 June, 2009. It says,
    ‘Worldwide military expenditure in 2008 totaled an estimated US $1464 billion, according to new figures released today by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). This represents an increase of 4 per cent in real terms compared to 2007, and an increase of 45% since 1999 . . . and,
    “The aggregate arms sales of the SIPRI Top 100 reached $347 billion in 2007”.
    This is appalling. Peace prize? Peace price? It will take a [quantum] shift in human consciousness
    to change this mindset of violence.

  2. Phillip Smith
    October 18, 2009 at 4:26 am #

    I’ve seen Depak Chopra’s around, but never GOT AROUND, to buying them, but that said, he’s obviously a brilliant author. Also, my dad has read the so far, and there could be more, I could be wrong, autobiographies from Obama, and my family and I, and an American expatriate church friend of mine, agree that he is the best thing to have happened to America in a long, long time.and a more than worthy recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, despite only been inaugrated this year. I can’t, and never will, begin to fathom, how America could put up with Bush for as long as they did!! Hopefully this is sticking with the topic, but to change the subject slightly, I have just watched a report on our Australian version of 60 Minutes, which focussed on tackling the never-ending violence and drugs, associated with the Mafia. Only problem is of course, and I don’t know if it’s been on the American version yet, that the they seem to want to tackle the problem through violence. How’s that supposed to work?

  3. Randall Mc Caleb
    October 26, 2009 at 4:34 pm #

    Thanks Deepak for knowing
    1. Life is precious beyond words
    2. That your creating heaven on earth
    3. We are all with the experience of Healing.
    4. Delhi Colorado Healing Center is Available for your retreats
    5. the sacred technique of unconditional eternal love

    Our 501 c 3 here in Traverse City Supports Your Work You are greatly appreciated!
    we welcome your imput or any friends that want to help create joy in Michigan

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