War and peace

1 August 2019Review

Amberley Publishing, 2019; 296pp; £9.99

RT Howard is a writer specialising in intelligence and ‘defence’. His latest book looks at ‘individuals who were responsible for starting, conducting or extending an unnecessary war or show of force.’

Echoing the broad tenets of ‘Just War’ theory, four examples of what constitutes an ‘unnecessary war’ are provided: the decision to pursue military force rather than diplomacy or negotiations; the use of excessive force; ‘war undertaken for no obvious reason’; and futile wars.

1 April 2019News in Brief

Indians and Pakistanis used social media to try to prevent war at the end of February.

After a Pakistan-based Kashmiri insurgent group blew up an army convoy in Indian-occupied Kashmir on 14 February, Indian fighter jets crossed into Pakistani airspace on 27 February, prompting a retaliatory strike later the same day by Pakistani jets.

Two Indian planes were shot down and the situation was very tense.

US news agency CNN analysed the response to these events…

1 April 2019News in Brief

On 27 February, Bike for Peace launched its 2019 ride from Westminster Hall in the houses of parliament, London.

The tour will go onto France, India, China, Australia, New Zealand and the US. It will promote the need for a nuclear-weapons-free world, the value of cycling as a mode of transport, and the importance of the UN for nuclear disarmament.

A Norwegian group, Bike for Peace was established in 1978 by Tore Naerland, a 90 percent blind peace campaigner who rides on…

1 April 2019News

Seven more schools to join network

Imagine a network of schools across Wales actively embedding a peaceful ethos and applying peace-related learning activities to their everyday lives.

This is what the Wales Peace Schools Scheme is aiming to achieve. The project is a legacy of the Heritage Lottery-funded ‘Wales for Peace’ project which ran during the period of the centenary of the First World War.

The Peace Schools scheme has now been integrated into the global learning programme of the Welsh Centre for…

1 February 2019Feature

Responses from peace activists to the BBC’s 2018 Reith Lectures on war

Noted historian Margaret MacMillan took war as her theme in five Reith Lectures she delivered for the BBC in mid-2018.

The overall title of the lecture series was ‘The Mark of Cain’, referring to the story in the Hebrew Bible of the first murderer. Cain, the oldest child of Adam and Eve, murdered his brother Abel, then denied his crime. According to scripture, God cursed Cain and put a mark on him – the Hebrew is not clear whether this was a physical mark on his body or some kind…

1 February 2019Feature

Responses from peace activists to the BBC’s 2018 Reith Lectures on war

Noted historian Margaret MacMillan took war as her theme in five Reith Lectures she delivered for the BBC in mid-2018.

The overall title of the lecture series was ‘The Mark of Cain’, referring to the story in the Hebrew Bible of the first murderer. Cain, the oldest child of Adam and Eve, murdered his brother Abel, then denied his crime. According to scripture, God cursed Cain and put a mark on him – the Hebrew is not clear whether this was a physical mark on his body or some kind…

1 February 2019Feature

Responses from peace activists to the BBC's 2018 Reith Lectures on war

Noted historian Margaret MacMillan took war as her theme in five Reith Lectures she delivered for the BBC in mid-2018.

The overall title of the lecture series was ‘The Mark of Cain’, referring to the story in the Hebrew Bible of the first murderer. Cain, the oldest child of Adam and Eve, murdered his brother Abel, then denied his crime. According to scripture, God cursed Cain and put a mark on him – the Hebrew is not clear whether this was a physical mark on his body or some kind…

1 December 2018Feature

New artwork by Emily Johns

Lino etching: Emily Johns Displayed during Peace News’ The World is My Country exhibition in November at Hastings Arts Forum, St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex. It is one of the occasional pictures that I have made of my family history and how my personal stories intersect with the century of war. My grandmother survived the fascism and famine of the Second World War in Budapest,…

2 November 2018Blog entry

If British peacemakers of the early twentieth century had been listened to, we could have avoided the rise of many destructive movements.

Each year, around Remembrance Day, people all over the UK uphold the memory of those who have died in war. Some people wear red poppies to remember allied soldiers. Others wear white poppies to remember civilians and soldiers killed in war and to express their hope for a culture of peace.

This year, the St John Ambulance volunteer first aid…

1 October 2018Comment

Nationalism's days are numbered, says Bruce Kent

It is now well over a hundred years since czar Nicholas II of Russia invited other states to come to The Hague, in the Netherlands, in 1899, to discuss possibilities for world peace. It is almost 20 years since thousands of individuals and peace groups came also to The Hague, in 1999, for an event to plan progress in the direction that the first Hague pointed to. I still have the booklet with ideas that came from that centenary meeting.

In 1999, we believed that we could challenge…

1 June 2018Comment

Is the US president opening Pandora's box?

US president Donald Trump has taken steps towards war with China and Iran, even as he seeks peace with North Korea. But things may not be quite what they seem.

At the beginning of May, the Trump administration declared trade war on China.

The US gave China a punishing list of economic demands, including a reduction in the US-China trade imbalance by $200bn by June 2020. (This would require the Chinese government to effectively take over the economy, when the US has been…

1 June 2018News

Trump's Korea summit is heading for disaster, argues Milan Rai

US national security advisor John Bolton, US secretary of state Mike Pompeo, US president Donald Trump and US vice-president Mike Pence (left to right) on 2 May 2018. Photo: US State Department

We can expect a lot of twists and turns over the next month, before the unexpected 12 June summit in Singapore between US president Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. There is a reasonable way forward that experts agree gives a solid chance for building towards some kind of…

1 June 2018Comment

UN reform should be a priority for radicals, argues Bruce Kent

Something odd happened a few weeks ago. Britain, France and the United States sent their planes off to bomb targets in Syria. None of those countries had been directly attacked. It was a punishment raid for the use of chemical weapons, allegedly by Syria.

About 100 missiles were launched and at first the claim was that no one was killed. Then a single casualty was mentioned. No one else. I’ll believe that when I see pigs flying.

Where did these three get the authority…

1 June 2018Review

Peter Lang Publishing, 2017; 276pp; £29

‘The biggest immediate single problem we face… is mainstream media reporting’, British historian Mark Curtis recently argued in an Open Democracy interview about UK foreign policy.

Florian Zollmann’s deeply impressive first book – which expands on his PhD, supervised by Professor Richard Keeble – goes a long way in engaging with this long-running issue for peace activists.

‘The news media in liberal democracies operates as a propaganda system on behalf of state-…

1 February 2017Comment

An unlikely opponent of war provides a lesson for the peace movement

Robert Hinde would be surprised to find his obituary in Peace News. But he more than deserves a mention though I very much doubt if he, academic and ex-RAF coastal command wartime pilot, was a regular Peace News reader.

He died just before Christmas at the age of 93. Many of us have lost a very good friend, a wise advisor and one of the most modest men I have ever met. Professionally, Robert Hinde was a distinguished zoologist, a former master of St John’s…