FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Eliminating War to Eradicate Polio

by

Polio, once a global scourge, was on the verge of eradication in 2012. Since that time, it has reemerged as a global public health emergency according to the World Health Organization. Why has it now spread from its final strongholds in Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan to at least 10 countries spanning Asia, Africa and the Middle East? It is not because of changes in the virus or ineffective vaccines. The answer is war, and as we all know, “truth is the first casualty of war.”

The Taliban claims that immunizations can cause infertility or worse, and violently obstructs the polio vaccinators while vilifying them as part of a U.S. plot. Indeed, in years past, the U.S. CIA did a great disservice when it disguised its officers as polio vaccine workers in efforts to capture Bin Laden, giving fuel to the Taliban’s false claims and violence.

Efforts to reclaim the momentum in eradicating polio will require a renewed global effort, and ultimately the elimination of war itself. In our ever shrinking world, it is only a matter of time before we see this scenario play out with a resurgence of polio in the U.S. and West as more and more young families avoid vaccinating their children against polio thinking it is a disease of generations past and in some cases a disease they have never heard of.

Both war and polio should be eliminated and we can do both. It will take unprecedented collaboration amongst humans across national and cultural lines, and will involve many organizations and associations.

There may be no organization in the world better suited to take on some aspects of the challenge than Rotary International, with its longstanding mission of peace and peace building, and a dedicated membership of 1.2 million Rotarians joined together in service work though Rotary clubs in 220 countries of the world including China and Russia

In our nuclear-armed, polio-infected world, President Kennedy’s statement that “mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind” remains true today.

We must not be naïve in this effort. Self-defense and international peacekeeping will always be needed, but violence is quickly becoming maladaptive. Peacekeeping and preventing war is much harder than fighting war but the outcomes benefit everyone.

There will always be conflict – it is the tools of resolving conflict without war that must become the cultural norms. These are tools that already exist and that have been used to resolve every conflict that has ever been fought. These include:

1. Diplomacy, 2. Cooperation and collaboration on international programs like polio eradication, 3. Appropriate foreign aid emphasizing the meeting of essential human needs of food, water, shelter, education, health care and a healthy environment and, finally 4. Adherence to international law, not unilateral action.

We must abandon unexamined assumptions, e.g., that war will always exist, that we can continue to wage war and survive, and that we are separate and not connected. When we awaken to the reality of interconnectedness we see that polio cannot be eradicated without ending war.

As a ground-up organization, Rotary International has had a university-level peace fellows program for more than 10 years pursuing understanding and international peace building. Individual Rotarians joined together to form a growing and active Rotarian Action Group for Peace in 2012. Eliminating nuclear weapons is an important step in this process. The Rotary Action Group for Peace has collaborated with the Nobel Peace Prize group Physicians for Social Responsibility and their international affiliate International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War to educate on the humanitarian consequences of even a very limited nuclear war. This has resulted in developing an international physician Rotary speaker’s bureau of 79 physicians in 21 countries speaking and engaging Rotary clubs the world over.

This type of remarkable collaboration may be just the prescription for our very survival.

For information on arranging a Rotary presentation contact: Erin Thomas @ erin@jubitz.org. or Rotary Action Group for Peace @www.rotarianactionforpeace.org.

Robert F. Dodge, M.D., serves on the boards of the Nuclear Age Peace FoundationBeyond WarPhysicians for Social Responsibility Los Angeles, and Citizens for Peaceful Resolutions, and writes for PeaceVoice.

 

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

July 25, 2017
Paul Street
A Suggestion for Bernie: On Crimes Detectable and Not
David W. Pear
Venezuela on the Edge of Civil War
John Grant
Uruguay Tells US Drug War to Take a Hike
Charles Pierson
Like Climate Change? You’ll Love the Langevin Amendment
Linda Ford
Feminism Co-opted
Andrew Stewart
Any Regrets About Not Supporting Clinton Last Summer?
Aidan O'Brien
Painting the Irish Titanic Pink
Rob Seimetz
Attitudes Towards Pets vs Attitudes Towards the Natural World
Medea Benjamin
A Global Movement to Confront Drone Warfare
Norman Solomon
When Barbara Lee Doesn’t Speak for Me
William Hawes
What Divides America From the World (and Each Other)
Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity
Was the “Russian Hack” an Inside Job?
Chandra Muzaffar
The Bilateral Relationship that Matters
Binoy Kampmark
John McCain: Cancer as Combatant
July 24, 2017
Patrick Cockburn
A Shameful Silence: Where is the Outrage Over the Slaughter of Civilians in Mosul?
Robert Hunziker
Extremely Nasty Climate Wake-Up
Ron Jacobs
Dylan and Woody: Goin’ Down the Road Feelin’ Bad
Dan Glazebrook
Quantitative Easing: the Most Opaque Transfer of Wealth in History
Ellen Brown
Saving Illinois: Getting More Bang for the State’s Bucks
Richard Hardigan
The Media is Misleading the Public on the Al-Asqa Mosque Situation
Matthew Stevenson
Travels in Trump’s America: Memphis, Little Rock, Fayetteville and Bentonville
Ruth Fowler
Fire at Grenfell
Ezra Kronfeld
The Rights of Sex Workers: Where is the Movement to Legalize Prostitution
Mark Weisbrot
What Venezuela Needs: Negotiation Not Regime Change
Binoy Kampmark
From Spicy to the Mooch: A Farewell to Sean Spicer
Wim Laven
Progress Report, Donald Trump: Failing
Weekend Edition
July 21, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Kevin Zeese
Green Party Growing Pains; Our Own Crisis of Democracy
Jeffrey St. Clair
Red State, Blue State; Green State, Deep State
Paul Street
“Inclusive Capitalism,” Nancy Pelosi, and the Dying Planet
Anthony DiMaggio
Higher Education Fallacies: What’s Behind Rising Conservative Distrust of Learning?
Andrew Levine
Why Republicans Won’t Dump Trump Anytime Soon
Michael Colby
Ben & Jerry’s Has No Clothes
Bruce Dixon
White Liberal Guilt, Black Opportunism and the Green Party
Edward Hunt
Killing Civilians in Iraq and Syria
Matthew Kovac
Is the Flint Water Crisis a Crime Against Humanity?
Mark Harris
The Revolutionary Imagination: Rosa for Our Times
David Rosen
America’s Five Sex Panics
Robert Fisk
Saudi Arabia: the Kingdom Whose Name We Dare Not Speak At All
Jack Heyman
Class War on the Waterfront: Longshore Workers Under Attack
Kim C. Domenico
Marginalize This:  Turning the Tables on Neoliberal Triumphalism
Brian Cloughley
Trying to Negotiate With the United States
John Laforge
Activists Challenge US Nukes in Germany; Occupy Bunker Deep Inside Nuclear Weapons Base
Jonathan Latham
The Biotech Industry is Taking Over the Regulation of GMOs From the Inside
Russell Mokhiber
DC Disciplinary Counsel Hamilton Fox Won’t Let Whistleblower Lawyer Lynne Bernabei Go
Ramzy Baroud
The Story Behind the Jerusalem Attack: How Trump and Netanyahu Pushed Palestinians to A Corner
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail