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The devil's dynamo

By John Avery - posted Thursday, 5 April 2018

Today, after the end of the Cold War, it has become necessary to find another respectable motivation that can be used to justify foreign intervention, and the "Crusade Against Communism"

has now been replaced by the "War on Terror".

Despite the fact that initiating a war is a violation of the United Nations Charter and the Nuremberg Principles, the United States now maintains roughly 1000 military bases in 150 countries, According to Iraklis Tsavdaridis, Secretary of the World Peace Council, "The establishment of US bases should not of course be seen simply in terms of direct military ends. They are always used to promote the economic and political goals of US capitalism. For example, US corporations and the US government have been eager for some time to build a secure corridor for US controlled oil and natural gas pipelines from the Caspian Sea in Central Asia through Afghanistan and Pakistan to the Arabian Sea. This region has more than 6 percent of the world's proven oil reserves, and almost 40 percent of its gas reserves. The war in Afghanistan and the creation of US military bases in Central Asia are viewed as a key opportunity to make such pipelines a reality."


Since World War II, the United States has interfered either militarily or covertly in the internal affairs of very many countries. These include China, 1945-49; Italy, 1947-48; Greece, 1947-49; Philippines, 1946-53; South Korea, 1945-53; Albania, 1949-53; Germany, 1950s; Iran, 1953; Guatemala, 1953-1990s; Middle East, 1956-58; Indonesia, 1957-58; British Guiana/Guyana, 1953-64; Vietnam, 1950-73; Cambodia, 1955-73; The Congo/Zaire, 1960-65; Brazil, 1961-64; Dominican Republic, 1963-66; Cuba, 1959-present; Indonesia, 1965; Chile, 1964-73; Greece, 1964-74; East Timor, 1975-present; Nicaragua, 1978- 89; Grenada, 1979-84; Libya, 1981-89; Panama, 1989; Iraq, 1990-present; Afghanistan 1979-92; El Salvador, 1980-92; Haiti, 1987-94; Yugoslavia, 1999;'and Afghanistan, 2001-present. Of the interventions just mentioned, the Vietnam War, the bombing of Cambodia and Laos, and the invasions of of Iraq and Afghanistan were particularly terrible, resulting in many millions of dead, maimed or displaced people, most of them civilians.

When the Cold War ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union, a Washington-based think tank called "Project for a New American Century" maintained that a strategic moment had arrived: The United States was now the sole superpower, and it ought to use military force to dominate and reshape the rest of the world. Many PNAC members occupied key positions in the administration of George W. Bush. These included Dick Cheney, I. Lewis Libby, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wulfowitz, Eliot Abrams, John Bolton and Richard Perle.

Today, the US government is taking actions that seem almost insane, risking a nuclear war with Russia and simultaneously alienating China. In the long run, such hubris cannot succeed. Overspending on war will lead to economic collapse.

As we start the 21st century and the new millennium, our scientific and technological civilization seems to be entering a period of crisis. Today, for the first time in history, science has given to humans the possibility of a life of comfort, free from hunger and cold, and free from the constant threat of infectious disease. At the same time, science has given us the power to destroy civilization through thermonuclear war, as well as the power to make our planet uninhabitable through pollution and overpopulation. The question of which of these alternatives we choose is a matter of life or death to ourselves and our children.

Science and technology have shown themselves to be double-edged, capable of doing great good or of producing great harm, depending on the way in which we use the enormous power over nature, which science has given to us. For this reason, ethical thought is needed now more than ever before. The wisdom of the world's religions, the traditional wisdom of humankind, can help us as we try to insure that our overwhelming material progress will be beneficial rather than disastrous.

The crisis of civilization, which we face today, has been produced by the rapidity with which science and technology have developed. Our institutions and ideas adjust too slowly to the change. The great challenge which history has given to our generation is the task of building new international political structures, which will be in harmony with modern technology. At the same time, we must develop a new global ethic, which will replace our narrow loyalties by loyalty to humanity as a whole.


In the long run, because of the enormously destructive weapons, which have been produced through the misuse of science, the survival of civilization can only be insured if we are able to abolish the institution of war.

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John Scales Avery's new book entitled The Devil's Dynamo, dealing with the way in which military-industrial complexes throughout the world drive and perpetuate the institution of war, has recently been made available. The book can be freely downloaded and circulated from the following link:

Other books on global problems can be found at the following address:

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About the Author

John Avery is a theoretical chemist at the University of Copenhagen. He is noted for his books and research publications in quantum chemistry, thermodynamics, evolution, and history of science. His 2003 book Information Theory and Evolution set forth the view that the phenomenon of life, including its origin, evolution, as well as human cultural evolution, has its background situated in the fields of thermodynamics, statistical mechanics, and information theory.

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