This piece was published in ‘Orenda Magazine #4’ which can be purchased at stores or online at http://orendamagau.bigcartel.com/product/orenda-4
Since 1990, the number of people living on less than US $1.25 a day has been reduced from 1.9 billion to 836 million. That’s nearly a billion people, roughly 43 times the population of Australia who are now living less desperate and more opportunistic lives thanks to global collaboration and a shared vision of prosperity. Hell yeah world, you did good. Gold star.
This unification of global good-will makes sense in a “pat yourself on the back” kind of way. Oh good on you, humanity, for combining the resources you have been blessed with and using it to advance society for all people. Look at all that lovin’.
However, when we look at how our resources have actually been prioritised globally, we want to take back the pat on the back and transfer it into a slap in the face. In 2011, 20% of the US federal budget was spent on defense. In 2012 that amount was increased to 24%. That is $717 Billion spent on transporting, accommodating and training soldiers as well as creating killing weapons and supporting veterans. All for the love of war.
Whilst defending a country is essential, and the industry supports and creates a multitude of jobs, is the extensive investment worth it? Who are the biggest producers and users of military equipment? The “rich” countries; the US, the UK and Australia included – all of whom simultaneously have committed to world peace. So maybe we are the ones worth being scared of?
We are positioned to believe that we are the good guys and any groups in opposition to our ways are in the wrong. There is very limited understanding and sympathy for these alternate cultures and civilians. Terrorists from Middle Eastern countries can rightly scrutinized for being evil and unjust, invading and terrorizing western countries. Yet we are blinded to the reality of our own countries’ historical and very present invasions, killings and contribution to wars. Actions of massacre are masked with words like ‘cleansing’, and blanket-calling groups ‘our enemies’ dehumanizes the fact that they too are humans. How is it ok for us to bomb people, because they want to bomb us? I think in kindergarten it was established that using ‘he did it first’ as an excuse did not get you out of the naughty corner. We share the same earth and are first and foremost global citizens. Purposeful massacre is global suicide, and hurting each other is like hurting a part of ourselves.
Due to US invasion, 174,000 Iraqis were killed in the Iraq war between 2003 and 2014 while 4,491 American troops died at the same time. No deaths are good deaths, no matter their nationality. They are people too, and if we’re so scared of others coming and invading our countries then why invade theirs? How is that issuing an example of peace and equality? Who does it benefit? It is a game of power, and to keep the power order in the West’s favour, they have to spend up big.
US$30 billion per year is needed to eradicate world hunger. When you put that in to perspective, it is ludicrous to think that $717 billion from one country has been indirectly and directly invested into the global game of killing. This same over-inflated expenditure on violence with simultaneous development investments has been mirrored internationally. The total budget for the United Nations (the global peace, humanitarian and poverty agency) is $30 billion, a mere 1.8% of the combined world’s military budget. What even is the point of investing in health, in peace, in development and saving lives, when more money is being invested into killing? With this ratio, how can we call ourselves an advanced society? War is nothing but a counter-productive investment; expensive in lives, expensive in dollars, expensive in progress, expensive in time and provides zero return in happiness or true prosperity.
Globally, a sense of unity and peace must be established, which cannot emerge if countries are prioritizing more money towards war than development. For as long as more money is spent on killing other people, than on providing aid in its many forms, global peace is unachievable.