Russia’s Justifications for Its War in Ukraine Don’t Hold Up

The Russian government’s justifications for its war in Ukraine―the largest, most destructive military operation in Europe since World War II―are not persuasive.

Although, in defending the Russian invasion, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s primary emphasis has been on the threat of Ukraine joining NATO, that action, had it occurred, would have been perfectly legitimate under international law.  The UN Charter, which is an instrument of international law, does not read more

What the Cuban Missile Crisis Can Teach Us About the Ukraine Crisis

Commentators on the current Ukraine crisis have sometimes compared it to the Cuban missile crisis.  This is a good comparison―and not only because they both involve a dangerous U.S.-Russian confrontation capable of leading to a nuclear war.

During the 1962 Cuban crisis, the situation was remarkably similar to that in today’s Eastern Europe, although the great power roles were reversed.

In 1962, the Soviet Union had encroached on the U.S. government’s self-defined sphere of influence by installing read more

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and the World’s Future

Late January of this year will mark the first anniversary of the entry into force of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.  This momentous international agreement, the result of a lengthy struggle by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) and by many non-nuclear nations, bans developing, testing, producing, acquiring, possessing, stockpiling, and threatening to use nuclear weapons.  Adopted by read more

Most Americans Look Favorably on Global Governance

Amid all the flag-waving, chants of “USA, USA,” and other nationalist hoopla that characterize mainstream politics in the United States, it’s easy to miss the fact that most Americans favor global governance.  Although a great many Americans do feel a sense of identification with the U.S. government, a majority also supports the exercise of transnational authority.

This approval of global governance is especially striking in the case of the United Nations.  A February read more

Why Is U.S. Military Spending Increasing to New, Outlandish Levels?

Although critics of the Biden administration’s Build Back Better plan to increase funding for U.S. education, healthcare, and action against climate catastrophe say the United States can’t afford it, there are no such qualms about ramping up funding for the U.S. military.

This May, the Pentagon asked Congress to fund a $715 billion budget for Fiscal 2022—an increase of $10 billion over read more

The Fate of Cassandra: Dire Predictions Go Unheeded

In ancient Greek mythology, Cassandra was a priestess who was able to predict the future but unable to convince others to act upon her prophecies.

The fate of Cassandra seems particularly relevant today, for there has been ample warning about three developments that threaten continued human existence—preparations for nuclear war, climate change, and disease pandemics—without, however, adequate measures being taken to safeguard human survival.

Ever since the atomic bombing of Japan in 1945, read more

Building Social Solidarity Across National Boundaries

Is it possible to build social solidarity beyond the state?

It’s easy to conclude that it’s not.  In 1915, as national governments produced the shocking carnage of World War I, Ralph Chaplin, an activist in the Industrial Workers of the World, wrote his stirring song, “Solidarity Forever.”  Taken up by unions around the globe, it proclaimed that there was “no power greater anywhere beneath the sun” than international read more

Nationalism on the Decline

Although, beginning in about 2015, nationalist political parties made enormous advances in countries around the world, more recently they have been on the wane.

The nationalist surge was led by a new generation of rightwing populist demagogues who, feeding on public discontent read more