Some of the most significant voices of peace in the west have emerged from former diplomats who were earlier engaged in the pursuit of western aims in more enlightened ways in keeping with the concerns of world peace and stability. While these voices are very important these have not had the expected influence on policy makers. The eastward expansion of NATO, for example, went ahead relentlessly despite the opposition voiced by many senior diplomats and foreign policy experts.

However the situation may have been different if these voices of peace were backed by adequate and more visible support of people. Much wider and firm support of people could have prevented several policy decisions which ultimately culminated in very big dangers for world peace.

The possibilities of a big mobilization of people exist the most on the crucial issue of protecting the life-nurturing conditions of our planet. This is an issue which is clearly the most urgent issue of present day world and the importance of which can be more widely recognized. This protection has to be achieved at several levels but most obviously by checking a number of very serious environmental problems led by climate change in justice-based ways, by eliminating weapons of mass destruction and by checking control and manipulation  of core sectors ( such as energy, health and food) by powerful interests.

One reason why these problems have been worsening in recent times relates to the more aggressive quest of the USA policy makers and some of their close allies for world dominance and their willingness to use very dangerous wars and proxy wars for this purpose. In addition they support the quest of powerful multinational corporations to extend their control of important sectors.  This has accentuated the arms race, increased the possibility of nuclear weapons being actually used, created serious hazards and promoted such deep divides in the world that it is difficult to achieve the desired international cooperation for the most important protective tasks.

To ensure this protection of life-nurturing conditions of our planet, it is important to resist such domination. However many of those who are concerned about protecting life-nurturing conditions are not so clear that their concerns are linked also to checking these imperialist quests. This leaves several gaps in their activities because as long as the aggressive imperialist agenda continues, it will be very difficult to secure the protection of life-nurturing conditions.

At the same time those who are more obviously opposed to imperialism are often not very clear about widening their struggle to include the most basic concerns of protecting life-nurturing conditions in justice-based ways. This being the most urgent issue should be taken up by them to be able to reach many more people.

A very important feature of our times is that the very serious problems created by imperialism must be resisted strongly and with continuity but in such a way that problems can be resolved in peaceful ways. Wars have become simply too costly and wars involving the big powers may be the most rapid way of destroying life-nurturing conditions. Very serious aspects of imperialism and the survival crisis which are related to each other have to be resolved in ways that do not result in wars, and peaceful resistance by people to imperialism is a very important part of this.

This is why this writer does not agree with the approach of these analysts who place their faith in an alternative source of world power led by China. Quite apart from the fact that China policy framework is also led increasingly by capitalist compulsions and the possibilities of China being highly unjust towards other countries when it becomes even more powerful certainly exist, this approach based on seeking solutions in  alternative center of higher or dominant power carries the risk of more violent confrontations and very destructive wars.

In the humble opinion of this writer, the common and closely inter-linked aims of resisting imperialism and protecting life-nurturing conditions of our planet are best achieved by strengthening  worldwide peace movements,  movements which seeks peace with justice at all levels and are closely connected to the movements for protecting environment and biodiversity. For such a peace movement the vision at the end or weakening of the present system of imperialism is not a China-led world but a world of peace and justice which can act in time to protect its basic life-nurturing conditions.

The number of people committed to justice, peace and environment protection is not less and in their own limited ways they are doing beautiful work. However there is hesitancy and confusion regarding the path ahead if much more significant results are to be achieved in keeping with the huge, unprecedented challenges of our times. In the middle of this uncertainty, precious time has been running out. If the leadership of most countries has failed to protect the world, at least the leadership of the alternatives movement should act in more hope-giving ways.

Bharat Dogra is Honorary Convener, Save the Earth Now Movement with its key demand of declaring the next decade as the decade for protecting earth. His recent books include Planet in Peril, Protecting Earth for Children, Earth without Borders and A Day in 2071.

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