WITH THE END OF THE COLD WAR ERA, the U.S. has an unprecedented opportunity to lead the world in creating a stable and permanent peace, free from fear of aggression and war, in which every nation enjoys invincibility and friendship with every other nation.
Despite the declining threat of superpower confrontation, uncertainty and fear still dominate U.S. defense thinking. History has shown that neither treaties nor arms can ensure peace and security. Regional and ethnic conflicts in the Middle East and Eastern Europe have demonstrated that even small nations can imperil world peace and stability. They can hold other nations hostage through terrorism, ecological warfare, and weapons of mass destruction.
No viable defense against nuclear weapons exists. Nuclear tests in China, India, and Pakistan have stirred fears in the international community of runaway nuclear proliferation. At least 46 nuclear weapons are thought to be missing from the former Soviet arsenal . Arms experts fear that rogue nations and terrorist groups might opt for back-pack nuclear weapons carried by foot soldiers. Even after substantial reductions in our own arsenals, thousands of nuclear weapons remain. The military faces huge environmental cleanup costs for its unused arsenals and bases.
Similarly, biological and chemical weapons pose a mounting threat to national security. Their relatively low cost, easily accessible technology, and low-tech applications make them especially dangerous as weapons of mass destruction in the hands of terrorist groups or even individuals.
The U.S. remains one of the worlds biggest arms suppliers. This global arms peddling has tarnished our reputation as a promoter of peace, fostered deep-seated international ill will, and led to a dangerous world in which our own soldiers are forced to confront American weapons on the battlefield. Scarce U.S. military resources are squandered on pork-barrel programs like the $2 billion B2 bomber and the $60 billion flawed missile defense shield -- programs that the Pentagon does not even want .
Finally, military personnel continue to face major health concerns, including problems with stress , alcohol, and a higher rate of cigarette smoking than the civilian population . Post-traumatic stress syndrome, a continuing problem for veterans, is virtually ignored due to lack of solutions, and Gulf War syndrome has underscored the insidious influence of environmental toxins on our primary-level military personnel .
The changing global political landscape mandates a broad reassessment of the purpose, scope, strategy, and financial requirements of U.S. defense. The Natural Law Party believes that these crucial issues must be decided on the basis of a revised set of priorities reflecting Americas realistic defense requirements--not on the basis of short-term political considerations and pork-barrel politics.
The Natural Law Party recognizes the need to maintain the alertness of our nation's armed forces. Between 1987 and 1999, the U.S. military defense budget was cut by 5%. Since the world remains dangerous and unstable, the Natural Law Party believes that the U.S. should not implement further major reductions of defense expenditures at this time. We would maintain our weapons superiority, while focusing more resources on military personnel, training, readiness, and retention -- creating a more flexible force to effectively combat the threat of terrorism and meet our nation's security needs in the post-Cold War world. We believe that such a force, coupled with greater economic and security cooperation, will also help provide the basis for greater international stability.
For example, the Natural Law Party believes that funding for costly, wasteful, and ineffective weapons systems could be rapidly scaled down. As part of this down-scaling, we would (1) accelerate the decrease of U.S. nuclear arsenals, which cost $25 billion annually to maintain, (2) immediately and permanently halt all U.S. nuclear testing and nuclear weapons research, and (3) reduce the U.S. presence in NATO and the Pacific Rim, encouraging Western Europe and Japan to contribute more toward the defense of those regions. The role of America should be to foster peace and prosperity in the family of nations, rather than to act as the worlds policeman.
To further strengthen our security, the Natural Law Party offers a peace-promoting technology that will help neutralize international tensions and conflict and promote stability and harmony within the family of nations. Through this peace-promoting technology, which is based upon groups of experts collectively practicing the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi program, the Natural Law Party can help to ensure a peaceful world. Only through the addition of this technology to reduce global stress and to generate an actual, physical influence of peace among the family of nations can a political party responsibly cut defense spending and divert the precious resources of the nation toward more life-supporting and humane programs at home and abroad.
Recognizing our recent failures to prevent conflict and promote lasting peace through military intervention alone, we would therefore support a "prevention wing" in the military -- a true peacekeeping force trained to diffuse regional tensions among warring factions, using proven nonviolent methods of conflict resolution, and to preserve and strengthen national and international peace. By training even 1% of U.S. military personnel in the proven programs advocated by the Natural Law Party to reduce stress in individual and national life, America can create a genuine peace-keeping force that can maintain a powerful, integrated, coherent national consciousness and thereby prevent the emergence of an enemy.
The Natural Law Party also supports new priorities for the U.S. Department of Defense. Selected military personnel and resources could quickly adapt to roles such as drug interdiction and border defense. We believe that economic growth, leading to new industries and jobs, is the best way to help the defense industry adjust to military downsizing. There is strong statistical evidence that more jobs are created through domestic programs than through military spending. In addition, we favor incentives to stimulate investment of private-sector funds and expertise to help industries diversify into nondefense markets.
Finally, the Natural Law Party supports prevention and rehabilitation programs that have been shown to reduce military stress, decrease alcohol and drug abuse, alleviate post-traumatic stress syndrome, promote better health, and enhance physical and mental performance .
G-2, December 1994, Military 11(7):3.
For example, Congress has apportioned $13.4 billion for additional B-2 bombers that the Pentagon doesn't want; legislators have funded the construction of four GS cruisers, although the Navy only requested two; and the costly Seawolf project is currently funded for $700 million, even though the Navy doesnt want it at all.
Air Force Times, May 27, 1996, 10.
U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, July 1995, 73; American Journal of Public Health 81 (7):865-869, 1991; American Journal of Preventive Health 11(4):245-250, 1995.
See U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, January 1996, p. 64. Environmental dangers cited include inhalation of sand and other airborne particles, heavy metals, depleted uranium, chemical and biological agents, pollution from hydrocarbons, and genetic and cancer risks.
See our Health, Crime, and Education sections, and references therein. For research on post-traumatic stress syndrome, see Journal of Counseling and Development 64:212, 1985.