Bad News for 2021


David Adams | Transition to a Culture of Peace – TRANSCEND Media Service

1 Jan 2021 – The news is not good for the coming year of 2021.

During 2020, the news about the global covid pandemic and the drama of Donald Trump have over-shadowed the most dangerous trend : the ever-increasing waste of public funds in the form of military spending.

As we enter the year 2021, the United States congress has just voted the largest military budget in American history, and governments around the world have increased the arms trade by another 8.5 percent.

This comes at the same time as governments are forced to borrow massively in order to cover the increased spending in the face of the covid virus.

This is a recipe for financial disaster! It may begin with a crash of the US dollar with drastic consequences for the American empire as well as the global economy which is linked to the dollar.

Can a crash be avoided? In my June blog, I said that “Yes, America can escape from its disastrous medical, social and economic situation, if it converts the military budget to a vast program of rebuilding America’s failing infrastructure . . . like Roosevelt’s WPA . . . But no, the American empire cannot escape. The military budget must be totally converted in order to save the country. Its military bases around the world must be dismantled and the soldiers brought home and put to useful work. . .”

But there is no sign that this will happen. Incoming President Biden has never questioned the military priority any more than did his predecessors, Bush, Obama and Trump.

As I wrote in the blog last February, for me it is “dejà vu.” I’ve seen it before.

“The arms race of the Cold War destroyed the Soviet empire, not by war itself, but by bankrupting their economy. By matching the West’s military budgets ruble for dollar, but based on an economy only half as great, the Soviet Union was forced to divert almost all of its resources to the military. For example, in the West about 40% of scientists and engineers were engaged directly or indirectly with the military, but in the Soviet Union it was closer to 90%. There was nothing left for economic development or for the needs of the people. . .

I experienced this when working in a scientific lab doing brain research in Moscow. When I couldn’t get decent electronics or a good electronics engineer, I asked a Russian colleague doing cardiovascular research how he got his good equipment. “I have friends in the military,” he replied. Yes, there were lines at the stores for meat, but the longest lines I saw were to buy gold or diamonds because people feared that the ruble would crash.”

Indeed the Russians who invested in gold and diamonds were smart. In the years after the crash of the Soviet economy, the ruble was devalued by a factor of almost 10,000!

In 1991, two years after the Soviet economic crash, I wrote an analysis which is applicable now to the American empire. Quoting Shafik Jorge Handal at the time, “democracy, respect for human rights and, above all, economic developments are all incompatible with militarism.”

A crash of the global economic system would inevitably produce a crash of the system of global governance. And as I have often said in this blog (for example December 2018, a crash of the global system of governance will give us a window of opportunity for the radical change that is needed from the culture of war to a culture of peace. But such a change requires advance preparation. We need to work on this now, and I hope to address this question in my next blogs.


Dr. David Adams is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment and coordinator of the Culture of Peace News Network. He retired in 2001 from UNESCO where he was the Director of the Unit for the UN International Year for the Culture of Peace.  Previously, at Yale and Wesleyan Universities, he was a specialist on the brain mechanisms of aggressive behavior, the history of the culture of war, and the psychology of peace activists, and he helped to develop and publicize the Seville Statement on Violence. Send him an email.

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