With the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the former Soviet Union, most analysts agree that there remains no serious military threat to the United States anywhere in the world. But the military budget still dominates Federal spending and war and peace questions are still crucial to millions around the planet.
For the last two weeks, delegates from more than 100 countries have been gathering in Oslo, Norway, to hammer out a treaty outlawing anti-personnel land mines. The mines kill or maim an estimated 26,000 people every year. But the big powers — China, Russia and the United States — have balked at international restrictions on landmines.
At the same time, Congress is now in the midst of examining the Pentagon’s budget and some specific weapons programs, including the most expensive plane in the world — the B-2 bomber. The House has already voted hundreds of millions of dollars for a down payment on nine additional B-2s which the Congressional Budget Office estimates will cost $27 billion to build and maintain. Already, the US has paid for 21 B-2s.
- Gordon Clark, the executive director of Peace Action, the nation’s largest grassroots peace and disarmament organization, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.