Thursday, September 28, 2023

NEEDED: A Stronger United Nations to Achieve World Peace

The Ukraine War is the latest sign that all nations should recognize to indicate the necessity to move beyond national isolation toward cooperation and unity.



Addressing the UN Security Council on September 20th, 2023, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky delivered a heartfelt plea “to update the existing security architecture in the world, in particular, to restore the real power of the UN Charter.”

This call for strengthening international security under the aegis of the United Nations makes sense not only for Ukraine―a country suffering from brutal military invasion, occupation, and annexation by its much larger, more powerful neighbor, the Russian Federation―but for the nations of the world.

For thousands of years, competing territories, nations, and empires have spilled rivers of blood and laid waste to much of the world through wars and plunder. Hundreds of millions of people have died, while many more have been horribly injured or forced to flee their shattered homelands in a desperate search for safety. World Wars I and II, capped off by the use of nuclear weapons to annihilate the populations of entire cities, brought massive suffering to people around the globe.

In 1945, this mad slaughter and devastation convinced far-sighted thinkers, as well as many government leaders, that human survival was dependent upon developing a framework for international security: the United Nations. The UN Charter, adopted in a conference in the spring of that year in San Francisco by 50 Allied nations, declared that a key purpose of the new organization was “to maintain international peace and security.”

The UN Charter, which constitutes international law, included provisions detailing how nations were to treat one another in the battered world emerging from the Second World War. Among its major provisions was Article 2, Section 4, which declared that “all members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state.” Furthermore, Article 51 declared that “nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a member of the United Nations.”

Although the UN Charter provided for a General Assembly in which all member nations were represented, action to maintain international peace and security was delegated primarily to a UN Security Council with 15 members, five of whom (the United States, the Soviet Union, China, Britain, and France) were to be permanent members with the right to veto Security Council resolutions or action.

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Not surprisingly, the right of any of these five nations to block Security Council peace efforts, a right they had insisted upon as the price of their participation in the United Nations, hamstrung the world organization from enforcing peace and international security on numerous occasions. The most recent instance has occurred in the case of the Ukraine War, a conflict in which, as Zelensky lamented, “all [Security Council] efforts are vetoed by the aggressor.” As a result, the United Nations has all too often lacked the power to enforce the principles of international law confirmed by its members and enshrined in its Charter.

Some people are perfectly content with the weakness of the United Nations. Fierce nationalists, as exemplified by Donald Trump and his Republican followers, are contemptuous of this or any international security organization, and many would prefer its abolition. Others have little use for the United Nations but, instead, place their hopes for the maintenance of international peace and stability upon public and governmental acceptance of great power spheres of influence. Meanwhile, a segment of the international Left ignores the United Nations and insists that world peace will only be secured by smashing “U.S. imperialism.”

Sadly, those forces opposing international organization and action fail to recognize that their proposals represent not only a return to thousands of years of international strife and mass slaughter among nations, but, in today’s world, an open door to a nuclear holocaust that will end virtually all life on earth.

Compared to this descent into international chaos and destruction, proposals to strengthen the United Nations are remarkably practical and potentially effective. Zelensky has suggested empowering the UN General Assembly to overcome a Security Council veto by a vote of two-thirds or more of the Assembly’s nations. In addition, he has proposed expanding the representation of nations in the Security Council, temporarily suspending membership of a Security Council member when it “resorts to aggression against another nation in violation of the UN Charter,” and creating a deterrent to international aggression by agreeing on the response to it before it occurs.

Of course, there are numerous other ways to strengthen the United Nations as a force for peace and to help ensure that it works as an effective international agency for battling the onrushing climate catastrophe, combating disease pandemics, and cracking down on the exploitative practices of multinational corporations. Its member nations could also rally behind the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (still unsigned by the nuclear powers), agree on a UN program to handle the burgeoning international refugee crisis, and provide the world organization with substantially greater financial resources to reduce global poverty and mass misery than it currently receives.

Indeed, the horrific Ukraine War is but the latest canary in the coal mine―the danger signal that people of all nations should recognize as indicating the necessity for moving beyond national isolation and beginning a new era of global responsibility, cooperation, and unity.

The opinions expressed here are solely the author's and do not reflect the opinions or beliefs of the LA Progressive.


Lawrence S. Wittner


Lawrence Wittner is Professor of History emeritus at SUNY/Albany. His latest book is a satirical novel about university corporatization and rebellion, What’s Going On at Aardvark?

Monday, September 4, 2023

Online Forum: Selling War with China

 Wed September 6 @ 8:00 pm - 9:00 pm EDT

Wednesday September 6th @ 8:00pm


The drums of US/NATO war against China are getting louder and louder, even as the war in Ukraine continues. We are led to believe that China may “invade” Taiwan at the same time that we officially affirm that Taiwan is a province of China. The US sends arms, advisors, and officials to Taiwan, escalates its military encirclement of China, enacts sanctions against China, and conducts continuous propaganda about the supposed threat that China presents to world security.
We are being sold a war with China that could lead to nuclear annihilation. How did we get to this point? What are the forces at work and who profits from all this? This webinar will address these questions from the perspective that US imperialism aims to dominate the world and all its resources to the benefit of its capitalist ruling class.
Carl Zha
Carl Zha was born in China, grew up in China and the United States, and is a Cal Tech graduate. He is the host of the Silk and Steel Podcast focusing on China, history, culture and politics
Christian Sorensen
Christian Sorensen is an author and researcher focusing on the corporations that profit from war. A U.S. Air Force veteran, he is the author of the book Understanding the War Industry. His work is available at His substack, launching August 1st, is


Wed September 6
8:00 pm - 9:00 pm EDT
Event Category:

Thursday, March 30, 2023

April 1: Beaver County March for Our Lives


Community Event

Beaver County March for Our Lives organized by PA Democratic Party


Saturday, April 1

12 – 1:30pm EDT


Beaver County Courthouse

810 3rd St

Beaver, PA 15009


About this event

We're co-hosting a March for Our Lives rally with the Beaver County Young Democrats and other Beaver County allies. Join us to remember the victims of gun violence, show your support for gun safety reforms, and demand our representatives act NOW.

Speakers include Josh Fleitman of Cease Fire PA, Beaver County commissioner candidate Julian Taylor, Officer Kate Kelly, and others.

Hand-held, family-friendly signs are encouraged. No sticks or poles please

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Decry the Merchants of Death


Peace activists take on the Pentagon and its “corporate outposts.”

By Kathy Kelly 

The Progressive

DEC 30, 2022  - Days after a U.S. warplane bombed a Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, killing forty-two people, twenty-four of them patients, the international president of MSF, Dr. Joanne Liu walked through the wreckage and prepared to deliver condolences to family members of those who had been killed. A brief video, taped in October, 2015, captures her nearly unutterable sadness as she speaks about a family who, the day before the bombing, had been prepared to bring their daughter home. Doctors had helped the young girl recover, but because war was raging outside the hospital, administrators recommended that the family come the next day. “She’s safer here,” they said.

The child was among those killed by the U.S. attacks, which recurred at fifteen minute intervals, for an hour and a half, even though MSF had already issued desperate pleas begging the United States and NATO forces to stop bombing the hospital. 

Dr. Liu’s sad observations seemed to echo in the words of Pope Francis lamenting war’s afflictions. “We live with this diabolic pattern of killing one another out of the desire for power, the desire for security, the desire for many things. But I think of the hidden wars, those no one sees, that are far away from us," he said. “People speak about peace. The United Nations has done everything possible, but they have not succeeded.” The tireless struggles of numerous world leaders, like Pope Francis and Dr. Joanne Liu, to stop the patterns of war were embraced vigorously by Phil Berrigan, a prophet of our time. 

“Oppose any and all wars,” he urged. “There has never been a just war.”  “Don’t get tired!” he begged people, adding, “I love the Buddhist proverb, ‘I will not kill, but I will prevent others from killing.’ ”

People who’ve embraced his message continue meeting at the Pentagon, as happened December 28 when activists commemorated the “Feast of the Holy Innocents.” Christians traditionally dedicate this day to the remembrance of a time when King Herod ordered the massacre of children under two years of age because of a paranoid belief that one of the recently born children in the region would grow up to oust Herod from power and kill him. Activists gathered at the Pentagon held signs decrying the slaughter of innocents in our time. They’ll protest the obscenely bloated military budget which the U.S. Congress just passed as a part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023. 

As Norman Stockwell of The Progressive recently noted, “The bill contains nearly $1.7 trillion of funding for FY2023, but of that money, $858 billion is earmarked for the military (‘defense spending’) and an additional $45 billion in ‘emergency assistance to Ukraine and our NATO allies.’ This means that more than half ($900 billion out of $1.7 trillion) is not being used for ‘non-defense discretionary programs’—and even that lesser portion includes $118.7 billion for funding of the Veterans Administration, another military-related expense.”

By depleting funds desperately needed to meet human needs, the U.S. “defense” budget doesn’t defend people from pandemics, ecological collapse, and infrastructure decay. Instead it continues a deranged   investment in militarism.  Phil Berrigan’s prophetic intransigency, resisting all wars and weapons manufacturing, is needed now more than ever. 

Outraged by the reckless slaughter of innocent people in wars ranging from Vietnam to Afghanistan, Phil Berrigan insisted that weapons manufacturers profiting from endless wars should be held accountable for criminal activity. The weapons corporations rob people, worldwide, of the capacity to meet basic human needs.. 

The appallingly greedy Pentagon budget represents a corporate takeover of the U.S. Congress. As the coffers of weapons manufacturers swell, these military contractors hire legions of highly paid lobbyists tasked with persuading elected officials to earmark even more funds for companies like Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon United, and General Atomics. According to militarists, stockpiles of weapons must be used up, in order to justify more weapons manufacturing. Media complicity is necessary, and can be purchased, in order to frighten U.S. taxpayers into the continued bankrolling of what could become worldwide annihilation. 

Phil Berrigan, who in his lifetime evolved from soldier to scholar to prophetic anti-nuclear activist, astutely linked the racial oppression he opposed as a civil rights activist to the rising oppression caused by militarism. He likened racial injustice to a terrible hydra that contrives a new face for every area of the world. Throughout his life, Phil Berrigan identified with people menaced by the hydra’s new faces of war. Elaborating on this theme in a book called No More Strangers, published in 1965, he wrote that the dispassionate decision of people in the United States to practice racial discrimination made it “not only easy but logical to enlarge our oppressions in the form of international nuclear threats.”

How can we in the United States prevent the killing that goes on, in our name, in multiple wars, exacerbated by weapons made in the U.S.A? How can we resist the growing potential, acute scourge of a nuclear exchange as warring parties continue issuing nuclear threats in Ukraine and Russia?

One step we can take involves both political and humanitarian efforts to hold accountable the corporations profiting from the U.S. military budget. Drawing on Phil Berrigan’s steadfastness, activists worldwide are planning the Merchants of Death War Crimes Tribunal scheduled to be held November 10 to 13, 2023. The Tribunal intends to collect evidence about crimes against humanity committed by those who develop, store, sell, and use weapons to commit crimes against humanity. Testimony is being sought from people who’ve borne the brunt of modern wars, the survivors of wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Gaza, and Somalia, to name but a few of the places where U.S. weapons have terrified people who’ve meant us no harm.

“We render you, corporations obsessed with war profiteering, accountable; answerable!,” declares the Reverend Dr. Cornel West on the Tribunal’s website.

On November 10, 2022, organizers of the Merchants of Death War Crimes Tribunal and their supporters served a “subpoena” to the directors and corporate offices of weapons manufacturers Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon United, and General Atomics. The subpoena, which will expire on February 10, 2023, compels them to provide to the Tribunal all documents revealing their complicity in aiding and abetting the United States government in committing war crimes, crimes against humanity, bribery, and theft.

People menaced by the hydra’s new faces of war often have nowhere to flee, nowhere to hide. Thousands upon thousands of the victims are children.

Mindful of the children who are maimed, traumatized, displaced, orphaned, and killed by all of the wars raging today, we must hold ourselves accountable as well. Phil Berrigan’s challenge must become ours:  “Meet me at the Pentagon!” Or at its corporate outposts.

Humanity literally cannot live in complicity with the patterns that lead to bombing hospitals and slaughtering children.

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Target Ukraine: Melitopol & Wagner

By @crymzyn

Daily KOS

December is here and the Ukrainian War for Independence continues apace. Hopefully, historians will agree with me with the name suggestion because that is what is truly going on. Ukraine, along with Georgia, is the only former Soviet state that had the audacity to defy Moscow and align with the West. Both countries have been invaded and their territory seized and now Ukraine, the larger of the two, is taking the fight to their former imperial masters for their independence. 

So where are we today? Ukraine’s liberation of the west bank of the Dniepr river with the taking of Kherson has firmly put Ukraine’s military on the offensive. While at this point of the war Russia was unlikely to mount a serious offensive from Kherson, by simply holding on to it they at least had the option of future operations to either move north and threaten the city of Dniepr or move west and threaten Mykolaiv and Odesa with either direct invasion or placing them under artillery and rocket bombardment should the opportunity present itself. This meant that Ukraine had to liberate Kherson and secure its western and rearward areas before another focused offensive in the east could begin. There are also political considerations as well as Kherson was the only regional capital occupied by Russia during the 2022 invasion and retaking it puts the Putin regime under increasing criticism by their far-right militant nationalists, which are far more of a threat to his regime than the liberal and democratic left which have been either imprisoned or fled the country. 

While things have been more or less quiet militarily since the liberation of Kherson for a few weeks, that may have just changed yesterday with a large-scale HIMARS bombardment of Melitopol and the beginning of the systematic destruction of Russian command posts, logistics centers, and troop concentrations. What many Russian soldiers had believed to be a relatively safe rear area has now been turned into an inferno as Russia now has to face the very real prospect of an offensive that seeks to split the Russian-occupied territory in two if Ukraine can take Melitopol and then reach the Sea of Azov. 

Meanwhile, the city of Bakhmut has been the object of near obsession by Wagner, Putin’s personal army, since the summer. Ukraine's territorial defense forces have been bravely holding on during the assault while Wagner continues to throw their forces against it. Ukraine has now sent reinforcements from the Kherson operation to help bolster its defenses. Yet, a lot more than just replacements came in with both artillery and likely Ukrainian armor showing up. Wagner may now find themselves in a far more precarious position than they realize. 

The interesting thing about the Wagner group is that they are not integrated into Russia’s military command. They have essentially no communications with Russia’s normal ground units that are adjacent to them or bother telling the Russian military command even what they are doing, due to both their misplaced elitism and Prigozhin’s own private ambitions. 

This creates a fault line that Ukraine can exploit as they can cleave between Wagner’s position and the Russian military with an offensive due to the lack of coordination between Wagner and the Russian Army. This can result either in an encirclement of Wagner's forces near Bakhmut or force Wagner into an inglorious retreat. And I believe there would be no love lost between Russia’s Army and Wagner as the Russian military has not been able to integrate Wagner into their chain of command or operational plan. Wagner only answers to Putin and Prigozhin and seeing them defeated would both embarrass Putin and nearly destroy his personal Army, which Russia’s senior military leadership wouldn’t mind seeing happen as this would force Putin to work through them rather than through Wagner. 

Interesting times are afoot and while we celebrate the holidays, let us keep the brave people of Ukraine in our thoughts and prayers as they endure this struggle and emerge into what Churchill called the “bright, sunlit lands of peace.”

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