Issues rise and fall in salience. To peace activists, so far the year 2001 has been mostly about two issues: George W. Bush's plans for National Missile Defence, and the FTAA summit in Quebec that dealt with globalization. There is no consensus about either issue, but the opinions that are most commonly expressed maintain that NMD is dangerous because it will probably encourage a resurgence of the nuclear arms race, and that the crowd-constrol methods used against demonstrators were repressive or even brutal.
We will hear from all sides on both of these issues. On the NMD issue we include a dinner conversation among several activists - Sergey Plekhanov, Joanna Santa Barbara, Jack Santa Barbara, and John Valleau - who disagreed as often as they agreed. As for the FTAA, we do not here go into the substantive issue (we have published other pieces in previous issues dealing with the debate over globalization), but we do deal with the tactics of the protesters and the police. Erik Poole's letter represents one view, whereas three pieces by Carolyn Bassett, Maggie McDonald, and Ken Simons all discuss the dangers of the technologies the police used.
This summer Peace Magazine is wide-ranging, covering a number of unusual topics, including the new and provocative theory by two York University psychologists who maintain that wars are caused by the demographic preponderance of young men in a society, relative to the number of older males. Lucky Lanre-Ojo discusses this theory with one of its proponents, Professor Neil Wiener, who managed to convince his interviewer that his theory is valid.
We also were reminded of the ongoing conflict in Chechnya by a visitng Buddhist monk. Junsei Terasawa is particularly worried about signs that warfare might spread throughout Central Asia this summer. His personal journey was so interesting that we have recounted his life story too.
Finally, we must make a sad announcement. Carl G. Jacobsen, a scholar well known in the peace movement, passed away in early June. As it happens, two of the book reviews in this issue deal with work that he has published within the past year or so. This is not surprising, for he was a prolific writer as well as a dedicated activist. He will be missed.