There's no use denying it; this summer has discouraged peace activists. The Non-Proliferation Review Conference went down in flames; they couldn't even arrive at a common statement at the end. Who could blame wannabe countries for concluding that this gave them a green light to develop their own arsenals? (Iran is apparently doing so, but China has induced North Korea to stop.)
The United Nations summit, which was to have reformed the institution, also failed -- though Kofi Annan has been putting a brave face on the situation and has started up the process again. Good for him!
The summer was hot and the hurricane season fierce. With oil prices so high, we have an inkling what lies ahead: "Peak Oil," and the conflict and readjustment that will come with it. Let's prepare.
In late August sad news came fom London -- the passing of the greatest of all campaigners against nuclear weapons, Sir Joseph Rotblat. One cannot really be surprised at the death of a 96-year-old man, but this particular one had seemed indestructible. He continued working with brilliance and personal generosity until nearly the end of his remarkable life. Everyone who met him must feel privileged to have known him.
Yet there are plenty of inspiring people left among us. One of them is Jean Drèze, an economist working for poverty reduction in India. (He co-authored the famous research on famine with Amarya Sen.) Read his analysis of globalization and love in this issue. And in Toronto we're getting acquainted with the courageous American family of Jeremy Hinzman, a conscientious deserter from the U.S. Army, who will stay in Canada if the authorities here will let him. In these good activists we see the legacy of Einstein, Russell, and Joseph Rotblat.
If you crave yet more editorializing, see: metta-spencer.blogspot.com.