Waging Peace and Preventing Suffering
by John Lawrence
While the US wages war and increases suffering, Jimmy Carter is using his unique position as an American ex-President to wage peace and alleviate suffering around the world. His letter received during the Christmas season is really what Christmas should be all about. He notes that in the armed conflicts around them world, the majority of which the US is involved in, for every soldier killed, nine civilians perish from stray bullets, bombs, landmines and deliberate deprivation of food, water and medical care. I guess that currently Yemen would fill that bill being blockaded by the US ally Saudi Arabia using US weapons.
As far as conflicts go, the Carter Center has spread more democracy and freedom throughout the world and resolved more conflicts than the US and its NATO allies combined. Carter-negotiated agreements have helped resolve seemingly impossible conflicts such as the peace accord signed in Sudan which ended the longest civil war in African history.
A worldwide campaign led by the Carter Center has reduced the cases of Guinea worm by 99% in 30 years. Guinea worm cases have fallen from 3.5 million in 1986 to just 25 last year. Carter has also been instrumental in reducing river blindness. A single dose of a drug cures the disease. The Carter Center distributes the medicine free and so far has administered 240 million treatments.
All of this begs the question, if one individual can do so much good in the world, why can't the US government, supposedly a government of the people, by the people and for the people? Why is it left up to billionaires, foundations and individuals to undo the mess the US government has made and actually wage peace and fight disease? Instead you have examples like George W Bush who lied us into a war in Iraq which destabilized the whole middle east and now rests on his laurels painting pictures while guys like Jimmy Carter are still trying to do the right thing and advance the cause of peace and eliminate human suffering in the world. And who knows what Donald Trump is capable of? He has already destroyed alliances and upset half the world's leaders. Maybe more than half.