It is common nowadays to hear proponents of change and modern liberalism claim that non-violence is the only legitimate means of resistance to oppression. While that claim may have some merit (that question can be bracketed and returned to in the future if the need arises), it is the claim which inevitably follows that I want to address. With almost eerie regularity, almost every single modern pacifist will inevitably tack on, or implicitly hold to be true, the following claim: since non-violence is the only legitimate means of resistance to oppression, there is no use in having weapons for they [insert anti-weapon logic here]. The issue with this train of thought is that it implies that pacifism is synonymous with disarmament when that it simply not the case.
In what follows, I shall argue that pacifism is not synonymous with disarmament, something the great pacifist idol Gandhi recognized (albeit in a convoluted and culture specific way), and that armed pacifism is preferable to disarmed pacifism both for ensuring the safety of marginalized groups as well as enacting change.
In the world today, Obama’s a jester and Putin’s the king who’s grasp in Eurasia is unchallenged. In fact, one could even say Putin’s favorite hobby (apart from kicking ass in Judo) is making the Obama administration the laughing stock of the international community.
On February 28th, Obama issued one of his usual empty threats towards Russia saying “there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine”…the next day, Russia annexed Crimea. (x) Everything the West does in an attempt to contain Russia is met with Putin laughing in the faces of NATO leaders and doing the opposite. Arms buildups. Weapons Transfers. You name it.
To be honest, I was really dreading a whole big fight over this thing. When you first condemned the seizure of Crimea as patently illegal and in breach of the Ukrainian constitution—which it absolutely was, by the way—I feared for the worst. But then everybody stopped short of doing anything to actually prevent what was essentially a state-sponsored landgrab, and I just thought, “Wow, these guys are a pretty laid-back and easygoing bunch!” It really was a huge load off when you let everything slide like that.
But all kidding aside, it’s clear that if Russia really is the enemy and needs to be stopped, empty threats from Obama and NATO leaders or faux pivot attempts with no tangible backing are not the way to deter further aggression. A new strategy is needed.