SfP Bulletin April 1987

Full text version of all articles from SfP Bulletin April 1987. A PDF edition is also available.

To the Members of Science for Peace:

OFFICIAL NOTICE is hereby given that the Annual General Meeting of Members shall be held Tuesday, May 12, 1987, at 7:30 pm in the Combination Room, Trinity College, at the University of Toronto, 6 Hoskin Avenue, Toronto, Ontario M5S 1Al.

To be considered are reports of the executive officers, including the annual financial report and recommendations from the Board of Directors, and such other matters as the members may choose to present for discussion. Election of the Board of Directors for the coming year will close the Annual General Meeting.

Immediately following the Annual Meeting of Members the new Board will meet and elect the Executive Officers for the coming year.

John Dove, Secretary

Walter Gordon 1906-1987

The death of the Hon. Walter Gordon has evoked deserved tributes to him as a gentle patriot, an influential reformer in Canadian politics and an example of unswerving integrity in Canadian public life.

Science for Peace knew him as a benefactor and one of the most persistent and pragmatic peace advocates in Canada.

In the last conversation I had with Walter Gordon, I mentioned that I had been invited to moderate a debate on the restoration of the death penalty. Walter recalled that when he had been a cabinet minister he had been asked by a colleague whether he would be taking part in the debate on the death penalty. His reply was typical of the man: “You are debating the question of death on a retail scale: what I’m more concerned about is the threat of wholesale death in the nuclear age.”

Science for Peace mourns, a true friend and a wise advocate of sanity on arms – control and disarmament issues.

Copies of a recent paper, “Has Containment Worked?”, are available from the Bulletin.

— George Ignatieff

Bookshelf

THE Bulletin has published two excerpts from the Notices of the American Mathematical Society about problems of military funding of mathematical research. Chandler Davis, who has been involved in the drama as it has developed, has now made available to SfP members a backgrounder on the issue.

“NO OTHER MEASURE of nuclear arms control can be so easily and effectively verified as a total test ban,” writes William Epstein in the Feb. 26 Christian Science Monitor.

Epstein and Franklyn Griffiths have articles in the April Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists: “Nuclear Testing — Illusion and Reality” by Epstein and “‘New Thinking’ in the Kremlin” by Griffiths. The Bulletin can copy all three on request.

Eric Fawcett has made available a selection of scientific papers and essays presented at the Feb. 14-16 Moscow Forum on the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons. Included is a summary of Fawcett’s and Derek Paul’s contribution to the Forum: “Conventional and Chemical Disarmament as Confidence-building Measures Leading to Nuclear Disarmament”. From the Bulletin.

AVAILABLE FROM The Group of 78, 145 Spruce St., Room 206, Ottawa ON KIR 6P1, its new publication, Canada and Common Security: the Assertion of Sanity. This publication was delivered in March to the Prime Minister, Members of Parliament, External Affairs, and to a number of policy-makers outside Canada. Featured are articles by SfP President George Ignatieff and board members Ursula Franklin, Robert Malcolmson and _Derek Paul.

Anatol Rapoport, The Study of Conflict, address delivered at the University of Michigan March 8.

Margot Norris, “Teaching the Literature of War” from ESA, The University of Michigan, Winter, 1987. Available from the Bulletin.

Canadian arms sales amount to $3 billion/year. – Ernie Regehr

Focus on Education

(Continued from March issue)

Further to David Parnas’ letter with regard to peace education at the grass roots level, he writes:

“A set of Science for Peace short courses, offered in the evening, in neighbourhoods, or even homes, treating the fundamentals of our sciences with an emphasis on understanding the limitations. The courses should concentrate on the science and technology, not on the peace aspects. We have to avoid appearing interested only in propaganda. Ultimately a stronger and better informed citizenry is the way to better political decisions.”

The goal, I think David would agree,is the spread of enlightenment. It was natural science that triggered enlightenment in Europe in the sense of emancipation from superstitions about the physical world and thence from the shackles imposed on the human mind by religious dogma. Can scientific literacy again give momentum to enlightenment by dispelling the superstitions that now threaten to drive us to extinction? I have in mind the belief system which makes it appear self-evident that the security of a country is positively related to the destruction potential of its arsenal,that nuclear weapons can “defend our way of life”, that peace depends on perpetual threat of omnicide, that producing things that are at best useless insures continued prosperity, etc. Necessary and salubrious as literacy is in the realm of natural science, enlightenment — in this area can contribute little to dispelling the most debilitating superstitions of our age. In fact, helping people become literate about computers(vital for understanding the dangers of militarized high-tech) already transcends what was generally regarded as “science” before the second industrial revolution. The concept of scientific literacy must now be extended.

“Not only will men of science have to grapple with the sciences that deal with men,” wrote Bertrand Russell, “but — and this is a more difficult matter — they will have to persuade the world to listen to what they have discovered. If they cannot succeed in this difficult enterprise, man will destroy himself by his half way cleverness.”

Russell did not specify whom he meant by “the world” that must be persuaded to listen. If he meant the power elites, perhaps this is an impossible task. Power elites listen to scientists when what they say can help them enhance their power. On this score, the natural sciences have firmly established their usefulness and credibility. The sciences that deal with man carry no promises of helping maintain or extend power. On the contrary,enlightenment about what makes people believe and obey makes them see through the superstitions of our age threaten power. If, on the other hand, by “the world” we under stand ordinary people,the sort Parnas has in mind as the participants in grass roots peace education programmes, then we can hope that that world will listen. Ordinary people are receptive to self-knowledge. (To be concluded)

— Anatol Rapoport

The Little Folk

Pixies in the basement
Delving by day and night
Burrowing new labyrinths
Free from the bane of light.
CIANSC – Alphabetic codes galore,
Buzzing hives of acronyms
Below the main street floor.
Furtive gnomes in Zurich,
Shadow fronts for Iran,
Disclaim the veriest, tiniest clue
Where their caching role began.
Gremlins in Honduras,
Riding contraband,
Peeking at anti-aircraft puffs,
Seeking a spot to land.
Leprechauns in Eire,
Elves guised as wizened old men,
Fretting for an expatriate,
Cobbling beyond their ken.
Pixies, gremlins, lubricans,
A capricious, cabalic crew,
Flirting extravagant changes,
Brewing an Irish stew.

— Murray Wilton

Review

Pierre Laplante, Une deuxieme chance pour la paix, préface de Gérard Pelletier, Montréal, Editions du Méridien, 1986, 134 pages.

Pierre Laplante a travaillé pendant quinze ans pour l’0NU, dont cinq ans au siège de cette organisation à New-York, et dix ans dans divers pays d’Asie. A partir de sa vaste expérience internationale et à l’occasion de l’année internationale de la paix, l’auteur analyse les conflits armés récents qui ont eu lieu dans cinq pays du Tiers-Monde: le Vietnam (1945-1975), la Corèe (1950-l952), Israël (l948- ), l’Afghanistan (1979-), et le Nicaragua (l979- ). Ces cinq conflits sont choisis parmi une liste de 32 qui sont passés en revue dans l’annexe à la fin du livre.

Pour chacun de ces cinq conflits, nous voyons d’abord ce qui s’est passé, puis ce qu’on aurait pu faire.

De ces conflits militaires, l’auteur tire des leçons et des motifs d’espoir. Il pense qu’aprës avoir ratê une première chance pour la paix après la seconde guerre mondiale, l’humanité pourrait maintenant donner à celle-ci une seconde chance, en remplaçant les interventions armêes par des mécanismes plus civilisés de solution des différends internationaux. Après l’èchec des deux approches que prëôonisait la Charte de l’0NU, à savoir celle de la sécurité collective et celle du désarmement, et à cause de l’inefficacité et de l’aberratíon de la dissuasion armée, telle qu’el1e s’est pratiquée durant les quarante dernieres années, ne pourrait-on pes, suggère l’auteur, construire un monde sans guerre en favorisant le règlement pacifique des différends par une veritable détente, une authentique solidarité Nord-Sud et un vrai respect des droits et libertés de tous les humains.

En conclusion, Pierre Leplante examine le rôle que pourraient et devraient jouer l’0NU, le Canada (en coopération avec ses alliés occidentaux) et les organisations non-gouvernementales, y compris le mouvement pour la paix et les autres mouvements qui partagent ses préoccupations quant à la mise en Echec des interventions militaires et de la course aux armements. Ce petit livre sans prétention merite d’être lu par tous ceux qui veulent que la paix s’étab1isse de façon durable, non seulement entre les pays riches de l’Est et de l’Ouest, mais aussi entre ceux-ci et les pays du Tiers-Monde, et entre les pays du Tiers-Monde eux-mêmes.

-Jean-Guy Vaillancourt, Université de Montréal

For copies, write Meridien, 1980 Sherbrooke St., West, Montreal, Que. H3H 1E8. Tel: (514)932-9037. $10.95.

Quebec Chapter

Our group is focusing this spring on preparing a “counter-White Paper” which we will publish within a month of publication of the government’s White Paper, which is now predicted for mid-April. If the government does not publish the paper by then – or at all – we will still go ahead with a series of articles on Canada’s military policy.

In terms of research, several members were successful in getting grants to set up a project on the economic impact of the military sector in Canada. Pierre Fournier, Danny Shapiro and I have raised roughly $75,000 this year for the project. A Concordia University team composed of Danny, Lynne Pappel and John Waterhouse has merged the military data base prepared by Project Ploughshares with another data base on the financial organization of Canadian firms. The emphasis is on firm-level impact of military spending by the Canadian government. At UQAM the focus is on an institutional analysis of the aeronautic and shipbuilding sectors and Canadian military policy.

The Canadian uranium sector and our emergence as the world’s leading exporter of this commodity have been the major focus of my own research. A team of four professors representing UQAM, Concordia and l’Université de Montreal have received a 5-year, $1.4 million grant to set up a research centre on technological innovation in the Canadian economy. Our mandate for the first three years is to examine the energy sector; my dossier is the nuclear industry. We’ve tried to follow up on the Ontario Hydro tritium study and to come up with an alternative and more precise estimate of the civilian non-fusion market potential. It has been very difficult to trace down precise information,for example, concerning the precise quantity of tritium used per watch dial or exit sign. Would anyone in the SfP network be able to suggest people we can interview to get this information?

As part of my research I am looking into nuclear exports and proliferation issues. I would like to establish a correspondence group on this issue with any similarly interested SfP members.

I also propose setting up a Northnet/Bitnet network for all our members. Most of our universities are already on this computer network and it’s free. My Bitnet address is R14644@UQAM. I suggest we publish a list of Bitnet addresses in one of the coming Bulletins. I volunteer to coordinate a SfP Bitnet network – it beats the mail by a long shot.

— Phil Ehrensaft

Coming Events

Toronto Chapter AGM

Tuesday, April 7, 7:30 pm Croft Chapter House
University of Toronto

Ontario Plays Host:

  • May 12, University of Toronto, Toronto: The annual meeting of Science for Peace.
  • May 10 – 22, Ryerson Polytechnic Institute, Toronto: Meeting of the Int’l Society for General Systems Research, Canadian and NE-US Region.
  • June 4 – 7, McMaster University, Hamilton: CPREA annual conference and the Learned Societies Meetings.
  • June 10 – 13, York University, North York:“Outside the Nuclear Club” – Options for Non-nuclear Powers in Promoting Peace and Security.
  • April 7, 9 pm, TV Ontario, seven episodes of The Oppenheim Story will begin.
  • IDEAS, CBC Radio, presents “Woman as Peacemaker”,three episodes Apr. 29, May 6 and 13. 9:05 pm in Toronto.

The Tax Office

Dear Sir:

Thank you for your $7,405.18 tax payment. You will be pleased to learn that your contribution ran the entire federal government for .00000018 seconds!

In more specific terms, it paid for one aircraft carrier traveling at 16 knots, to move 8.4 feet!

“J. Ellsworth, Deputy Director”

Letters

Two SfP members are now recipients of MacArthur Foundation Fellowships in International Peace and Security. Tim Brac, board member of SfP, writes:

“I received a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship to study the implications of existing and emerging technologies relevant to biological warfare and how this may affect international security. I am pursuing my research at the Center for Science and Int’l Affairs at Harvard University and collaborating on related projects.”

And from Barry O’Neill, of the faculty of Industrial Engineering and Management Sciences at Northwestern University:

“My program will be to write a book on the escalation of international conflict from the point of view of the theory of games. The book will have historical examples, deal with current issues concerning nuclear weapons and be written in a way that a specialist without an extensive background in mathematics can understand. The book will address new problems of escalation generated by developing technologies. For example, a number of new plans hope to use conventional weapons to strike at nuclear weapons or their supporting systems, and it is not clear whether such a move would be regarded by the government under attack as a crossing of the conventional / nuclear threshold. I will also deal with escalation and a first – strike advantage, escalatory moves as signals, choices to escalate made in organizations that have no single centre of decision making, shortcut decision heuristics as spurs to escalation and escalation as an attempt to manipulate risk.”

Happy Easter
Westport, Ont.

Dr. George Ignatieff:

Dear George,

I want to tell you how much I admire your essay “A Strategy for Survival” in Canada and Common Security: the Assertion of Sanity just published by the Group of 78. While no formal decision was taken at the last meeting of the steering committee, it was accepted as a statement of the position of G78.

— Leonard V. Johnson Major-General (Ret), Montreal, Que.

I strongly endorse the recommendations by David Parnas and Anatol Rapoport in the March issue that SfP should focus on education of the public. Scientists should become more adept at “public relations”,education in its broadest sense.

Let’s not ignore the public speaking platform. Frankly, many scientists induce drowsiness in lay audiences – George Ignatieff being a notable exception.

Members should reach out more to professionals in PR, advertising and the media to interest them in our concerns.

— Ross Smyth

Newsworthy

  • The First Global Radiation Victims’ Conference, New York City, USA, Sept. 26 – Oct. 3. For more information contact Rosalie Bertell, 67 Mowat Ave. Ste 343, Toronto, ON M6K 3E3.
  • Richard J. Barnett, “The Four Pillars” (of postwar United States foreign policy), The New Yorker, March 9. Reprints from the Bulletin.
  • Don’t miss this! David Horwood and Peter Grogono authored a major article on Star Wars in a recent Globe & Mail.
  • “The world we are heading into is unliveable because of the numbers of nuclear weapons and their destructive power,” according to William L.Colby, former director of the American CIA, 1973-76, who spoke in Toronto Mar. 16 to the Rotary Club of Ontario.
    “We’re talking of destroying entire continents and potentially the world and I think that’s unacceptable.”
  • Thanks to SANA-New Zealand, we can make available to you via reprint Michael McGuire’s “The Ultimate Umbrella”, Times Literary Supplement, Oct. 31, 1986. McGuire is Senior Fellow in Foreign Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution, Washington.
  • Adam Bromke (Globe & Mail) has been writing from Germany.

Science for Peace Bulletin | ISSN 1925-170X (Print) | ISSN 1925-1718 (Online)