The militarization of the world is the main cause of the deterioration of our environment on land, at sea and in space. Our planet is in need of intensive care and it is increasingly being damaged by the very people who are its self-proclaimed defenders: the armed forces.
What can be done?
- Limit the damage from weapons systems
- Counteract the excesses in the international distribution of the death threat posed by the military-industrial complex, a complex that consumes our vital resources, occupies land and squatts a fair deal of our territories, and militarizes our minds.
- Make armaments an integral part of the rally cry to "Limit Growth" in a time when ecosystems are in the throes of strategic reconfigurations due to deregulation and climate manipulation.
- Conceptualize and design ecological security to neutralize harmful preparations of war in time of peace.
Accomplishing this program depends on if and how well environmentalists and peace researchers/activists work together, without getting embroiled in the question of who is the best placed or better equipped to "save" the planet.
We need to assess how the environmental crisis – including the climate emergency – is related to our failure to attain security.
The book is available in the Collection Société Civile, ISBN 978 2 36429 052 5,
Not available in English yet.
It is not surprising that the political community and civil society have little visibility on the nuclear issue, as even among researchers and other stakeholders there has been a marked absence of available literature, particularly on the issue of cost. Although the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) in Washington has to date published five volumes in the collection 'The Nuclear Weapons Databook' (cf. Stan Norris, 1994), most books or studies on the subject of nuclear disarmament usually avoid addressing the financial dimension of the nuclear issue. The 231-page report, Weapons of Terror: Freeing the World of Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Arms (June 2006), produced by the Independent Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission and known as the Blix Report (Hans Blix chaired the Commission), urges the international community "to study the report and consider its 60 recommendations" on what the international community can and should do. However, the Blix Report makes no mention of the financial implications of the measures proposed.
From 1980 to 1987, Michael Randle was coordinator of the British Alternative Defence Commission. He contributed to two major publications, Defence Without the Bomb (Taylor and Francis, 1983) and The Politics of Alternative Defence (Paladin 1987). In the first one, which is relevant to our theme, the financial arguments against the bomb do not cover more than a page. The Canberra Commission's 1996 Report on the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons dedicates only four pages to the cost issue. A few individuals, such as Susan Willett, formerly Senior Fellow at the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) and Michael Renner, Worldwatch Paper (1994), have tried to put focus on the cost issues.
"As long as lions don't have their historians,
hunting stories will always glorify the hunters."
How can France belong to the 'happy few' who have a say on the international arena, while the country (3% of the world's GNP) is holding on to 300 out of 19,500 warheards, i.e. 2 % of the world atomic arsenal ? A real dilemma.
War in Mali in the background highlights the fact that some Nuclear Weapons States (NWS) live beyond their nuclear means. If France is playing beyond it's weight, it is feeling it now for the first time.
Previous glory and present burdens
Since 1953, - with the support of socialists that became anti-bomb once De Gaulle came to power in 1958 -, France has embarked on the nuclear path.
Environmental security, a relatively recent concept, has provoked intense debate amongst theorists of international relations. What are the indicators for environmental security? To what extent is the scarcity of a natural resource likely to cause a "green war"? Are crises, such as Darfur, likely to be more frequent?
Taking into account the amount of land soon to be engulfed by rising sea levels, is climatic change then a threat to national or international security? To what extent are these climatic disturbances going to represent the drop that causes the vase to overflow, the vase being already full to the brim with demographic pressure, soil erosion, deforestation, and diminishing sources of drinking water and fish stocks. Do we include amongst these new threats States that are demanding compensation for environmental damage perpetuated by other States, or the attempts of those who seek to delocalize their pollution? Or those who would rely on military solutions in situations of environmental insecurity?
Cramer is a political analyst of the arms race with experience as a journalist and as an activist on disarmament and security issues. In this facts and figures packed book published by the global peace umbrella group, the International Peace Bureau or IPB, he documents the cost of nuclear weapons in nine nuclear nations while acknowledging, "There are many other prices to be paid by states (and their populations) once they embark on the path to a nuclear arsenal: damage to the environment, to democracy, to the health of citizens, to international cooperation, and ultimately to our fundamental values."
There have been analyses of nuclear spending before but this up–to–date research brings together in tables, charts and prose the state of spending in nine nuclear nations, including the only nation in the Middle East to possess a large nuclear arsenal – Israel which has the highest per capita spending, followed by USA, France, UK, Russia, North Korea, Pakistan, China and India (chart on page 37).