One More Step Closer to a World Without War
By Bridget Moix on 12/12/2011 @ 04:30 PM
2011 FCNL Foreign Policy Wrap-Up, and What's Ahead in 2012
2011 has been a remarkable year in our lobbying for a world without war. Our multi-year advocacy campaigns to end current wars and prevent new ones yielded important concrete policy successes this year that move us closer toward our long-term goals. These include:
- Unanimous Senate passage of a resolution urging an expedited military withdrawal from Afghanistan;
- Establishment of an Atrocities Prevention Board in the National Security Council and an interagency review of US capacities to help prevent mass atrocities and genocide;
- State Department commitment to "conflict prevention as a core mission" and creation of a new bureau dedicated to improving US prevention tools;
- Thwarting passage of a dangerous anti-UN bill in the House;
- Saving funding for the Complex Crises Fund; and
- Generating the first congressional opposition to a key anti-diplomacy provision in a House bill on Iran.
As the year comes to a close, all U.S. combat troops will also finally be leaving Iraq, the formal end of a tragic war that cost thousands of lives and billions of dollars, and wreaked immeasurable damage on U.S. foreign policy and global peace and security.
All these steps along the path toward a world without war could not have been possible without the work of people across the country engaging with FCNL in citizen lobbying of their members of Congress. Many of you visited and wrote your legislators at key moments, organized community meetings and events, published letters to the editor in your local papers, and educated your friends and neighbors about FCNL's work and the practical ways we can help make peace possible.
As the year comes to an end and I reflect on what an important year it's been for our foreign policy agenda to build a more peaceful and just world, I'm deeply grateful for all the people who are part of FCNL and all the work you do. I'm also acutely aware of how many challenges remain and how much work we have ahead in 2012.
This week, Congress will make some important final decisions for the year that will affect the direction of U.S. foreign policy. A Senate-House conference committee will decide the fate of the Merkley amendment on Afghanistan and will likely send the President a Defense Authorization bill for 2012 deepens the militarization of U.S. foreign policy. Broad sanctions against Iran's Central Bank will soon become US law, and the House will vote Tuesday on a bill that could seriously undermine U.S. diplomacy with Iran. And, Congress may pass an omnibus appropriations bill that decides the future fate of the Complex Crises Fund and imposes new cuts on tools to prevent war.
In 2012, we'll need all your help to keep on keeping on in this work, and to sustain and build - step by step - on the successes of 2011. Preventing war with Iran in 2012 will be a top priority for FCNL's foreign policy work. We'll also need you to help us move Congress the next step toward a responsible end to the war in Afghanistan; to turn good policy on genocide prevention into practical capacities; to protect new tools for preventing war from the budget axe; and to avert congressional actions that could gut the U.N. and undermine prospects for peace in Israel-Palestine.
The 2012 elections will also generate an important opportunity for educating policymakers and candidates alike about an alternative vision for US foreign policy, one that starts with a belief in peaceful cooperation and shared problem-solving - not U.S. exceptionalism or military might - as the most effective, least costly, and morally right approach to engaging with the world.
While peace on earth still feels a distant goal these holidays, I'm heartened by knowing that slowly, year by year, step by step, small policy success by small policy success - the world is in fact becoming a more peaceful place. Research even shows it. The possibility that war itself may one day become unthinkable gives me enormous hope this Christmas, and great sustenance for the work ahead in the new year.
Thank you for helping build a world without war and the threat of war. The world we envision got a little closer this year.