Peace Praxis – Shenandoah Valley Anti-War Coalition

  • If You Love This Planet – Background

    In the early 1980s, detente between the US and the USSR came to an end and a terrifying “New Cold War,” with an extremely dangerous arms race and bloody proxy wars between the US and the USSR in Afghanistan, Central America and Southern Africa, took its place.

    This little documentary, falsely labeled “propaganda” by a fearful Reagan administration, did more to mobilize a massive international peace movement than any other film and it won an Oscar in the process. From small towns like Mason City, Iowa, where I lived, to New York City, where a million people gathered in the largest antiwar demonstration in history, this film made nuclear war a personal issue and helped motivate the formation of thousands of local groups and a huge international movement to stop the nuclear arms race. It helped create the political climate that ended the Cold War.

    Another New Cold War, with insane arms races and murderous proxy wars is upon us, pitting the US against Russia and China at the same time. A new peace movement must rise to the challenge of saving this planet we love.

    Michael Snell-Feikema

    “If You Love this Planet”
    Joyce Nelson in “Reviews”

    “If You Love This Planet” reaches right to the bodily core of every viewer. In other words, it makes the nuclear arms race an inescapably personal issue. This is the film’s fundamental power and strength.”

    “The Reagan Administration labeled a film ‘propaganda.’ It won an Oscar.”  Washington Post, March 12, 2023, Matthew Hays

    “Forty years after it won the Oscar, the film and its warnings remain relevant, amid Russian threats to use nuclear weapons in the Ukraine war. “The situation now is extremely dangerous,” Caldicott said in an email from her home in Australia. “For the first time since the Cuban missile crisis the two nuclear superpowers are confronting each other militarily, {Vladimir} Putin has his nuclear arsenal on a high state of alert as has almost certainly the US. Any small error could launch the global holocaust.”

    Further Reading

    U.S. Nuclear Forces Chief Says “the Big One Is Coming

    by David DeCamp

    The commander that oversees US nuclear forces delivered an ominous warning at a naval conference last week by calling the war in Ukraine a “warmup” for the “big one” that is to come.

    “This Ukraine crisis that we’re in right now, this is just the warmup,” said Navy Adm. Charles Richard, the commander of US Strategic command. “The big one is coming. And it isn’t going to be very long before we’re going to get tested in ways that we haven’t been tested [in] a long time.” Continue Reading

    How Close Are We to Nuclear War

    by Patrick Mazza

    “For the first time in many years, the threat of nuclear war has burst into public awareness. Many proclaim we are at a pinnacle of danger not seen since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, when the U.S. and USSR faced off over Soviet nuclear missiles situated in Cuba.

    Indeed, October 27 marked one of the most dangerous days in history. Off the coast of Cuba, a U.S. Navy destroyer was depth charging a Russian submarine to force it to surface. The officers in command of the sub, out of radio contact, believed war had already broken out and prepared to launch a nuclear torpedo. But Vasily Arkhipov, the commander of the sub flotilla of which the vessel was a part, overruled the officers and stopped the launch, almost certainly preventing World War III. For that, Arkhipov is known as “the man who saved the world.”

    That was a moment of maximum danger. But, contrary to what Joe Biden recently stated, “We have not faced the prospect of Armageddon since Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis,” there was another moment of peril in 1983 that is far less known.” Continue reading.

    U.S. Review Envisions Using Nuclear Weapons Against Non-Nuclear Attacks

    by Patrick Mazza

    On the 2020 campaign trail, Joe Biden said the U.S. should never be the first to use nuclear weapons. “There is no first use doctrine we should be pushing,” he said.  But a new administration review has reiterated the long-term policy that the U.S. will launch nuclear weapons in response to non-nuclear attacks. It once again underscores the power of the military-industrial-congressional complex to maintain the status quo, even when it poses civilization-ending dangers

    Stephen Young, of the Union of Concerned Scientists Global Security Program, said the new nuclear review “abandons the pledge Biden made on the campaign trail to support a ‘no first use’ policy and declare that the sole purpose of U.S. nuclear weapons is to deter nuclear attacks on the United States and its allies.” Continue Reading