Opposition to Abolishing Nuclear Weapons–and What Could Help to Overcome It

Given the fact that nuclear war means the virtual annihilation of life on earth, it’s remarkable that many people continue to resist building a nuclear weapons-free world.  Is the human race suicidal?

Before jumping to that conclusion, let’s remember that considerably more people favor abolishing nuclear weapons than oppose it.  Public opinion surveys—ranging from polls in 21 nations worldwide read more

A Rapidly Globalizing World Needs Strengthened Global Institutions

The world is currently engulfed in crises—most prominently, a disease pandemic, a climate catastrophe, and the prevalence of war—while individual nations are encountering enormous difficulties in coping with them.

These difficulties result from the global nature of the problems.  An individual nation is unable to institute adequate measures to safeguard public health because diseases spread easily across national boundaries.  Similarly, an individual nation cannot stave off the deterioration read more

Is the Nationalist Tide Receding?

Nationalism—placing the interests of one’s own nation above the interests of other nations—has been a powerful force in world affairs for centuries.

But it seemed on the wane after 1945, when the vast devastation of World War II—a conflict fostered by rightwing, nationalist demagogues—convinced people around the globe of the necessity to transcend nationalism and encourage international cooperation.  Indeed, the widespread recognition of the interdependence of nations led to the creation read more

Where Does the Democratic Party Stand on War, Peace, and International Relations?

After nearly four years of the Trump administration, U.S. voters have a pretty good idea of the policies that the President and his Republican allies champion when it comes to America’s dealings with other nations.  These policies include massive increases in military spending, lengthy wars abroad, threats of nuclear war, withdrawal from climate and nuclear disarmament treaties, a crackdown on refugees, and abandonment of international institutions.

But what about the Democrats?  Do they, as read more

The Coronavirus Pandemic, Like Other Global Catastrophes, Reveals the Limitations of Nationalism

We live with a profound paradox.  Our lives are powerfully affected by worldwide economic, communications, transportation, food supply, and entertainment systems.  Yet we continue an outdated faith in the nation-state, with all the divisiveness, competition, and helplessness that faith produces when dealing with planetary problems.

As we have seen in recent weeks, the coronavirus, like other diseases, does not respect national boundaries, but spreads easily around the world.  And how is it being read more

A Historian Reflects on the Rise of Fascism

Back in 1941, the year of my birth, fascism stood on the brink of conquering the world.  During the preceding decades, movements of the Radical Right―mobilized by demagogues into a cult of virulent nationalism, racial and religious hatred, and militarism―had made great strides in nations around the globe.  By the end of 1941, fascist Germany, Italy, and Japan, having launched massive military invasions of other lands, where they were assisted by local rightwing collaborators, had conquered read more

The Two Internationalisms

In recent years, internationalism―cooperation among nations for promotion of the common good―has acquired a bad reputation.

Of course, internationalism has long been anathema to the political Right, where a primitive tribalism and its successor, nationalism, have flourished for many years.  Focusing on their nation’s supposed superiority to others, a long line of rightwing demagogues, including Adolf Hitler (“Deutschland read more

Most Americans Reject Trump’s `America First’ Policy

As president, Donald Trump has leaned heavily upon what he has called an “America First” policy.  This nationalist approach involves walking away from cooperative agreements with other nations and relying, instead, upon a dominant role for the United States, undergirded by military might, in world affairs.

Nevertheless, as numerous recent opinion polls reveal, most Americans don’t support this policy.

The reaction of the American public to Trump’s withdrawal of the United States from key read more