President's Corner

From opening remarks at the 12-13 September Conference of Research and Education Directors

Never since the cold war began forty years ago have the opportunities been more favorable for those who seek to apply science and technology to peaceful uses. Since the new leadership in the Soviet Union have come up with a new set of priorities, the East-West crisis is seen as unnecessary and obsolete. The sooner governments realize this, the better, and focus on overcoming remaining obstacles so that resources can be released for more constructive uses than the arms race.

As we approach a new century, we face the challenge of overcoming the remaining obstacles that are holding up an agreement between the USA and the USSR on the reduction of a whole stack of overkill missiles, applying multilateral diplomacy to the dangerous game of “chicken” in the Persian Gulf, the efforts at peace making in Central America and in Afghanistan. The highest priority for Science for Peace rests in promoting peaceful cooperation, especially in arms control and disarmament agreements, which would serve to reduce international tensions and fears, particularly in monitoring compliance at a “safe level of compliance”.

Since wars and fear of wars grow out of scientific and technological innovations which fuel the arms race, scientists have to address the causes underlying the war fever that grips the earth and provide relevant information to a bemused and troubled public as well as to its leaders in politics.

— George Ignatieff