top of page

Quotes and Notes

Nobody in Science for Peace cuts deeper than Anatol Rapoport — as we all know! The following extract from Rapoport (1968) “The Study of Conflict,” Can. Pap. in Peace Studies No. 1 provides a slight indication of his ability to get to the core of things:

“We must admit that it is extremely difficult to formulate a theory sufficiently general to encompass all possible sufficient causes of wars. With regard to necessary causes, however, … it is weapons. Without weapons wars could not be fought. We are told that, deprived of weapons, people would still fight with sticks and stones. This, however, need not concern us. We are concerned not just with fighting but with the sort of mass insanity that can destroy the entire civilization, the product of millenia of accumulated effort, in a matter of hours. And this can be done only with real, up-to-date weapons, not sticks and stones.” (Education) “seems to be the only hope: to spread enlightenment sufficiently wide so that people can no longer be manipulated to give consent to policies that will surely eventually lead to their own destruction.” “The American Revolution was ignited by the slogan ‘no taxation without representation’, a slogan suggested by democratic ideals … Ought not the present day version of the old slogan be ‘No annihilation without representation?”

John Polanyi (“The New Star Wars”, Globe and Mail, May 12, 1989):

“Star wars requires arms control because it posits a transition from abundant weaponry that has been rendered ineffectual through the erection of high-tech shields. If one side’s shield appears at any time to be superior to the other’s, the weaker party is placed in a threatening situation.”

“Mikhail Gorbachev’s (at Reykjavik) response to Ronald Reagan’s proposal of agreement to mutual deployment of SDI: ‘Ronnie, you really make an excellent case, but would you mind going over the bit about whom we are defending ourselves against?”

“There are two ways of reducing the destructiveness of nuclear weapons, both requiring the acquiescence and cooperation of the parties involved. One, anti-missile defense, involves crippling expenditures. The other, disarmament, comes free of charge. The former raises profound and legitimate fears. The latter — guaranteed by the sort of inspection procedures being proposed today — involves minimal risks.”

George J. Church (cover story, Time, May 15):

“As an senior American official puts it, the idea is to ‘let Gorbachev keep coming at us, making concessions, playing to our agenda.” “Our policy must be to test the application of Soviet ‘new thinking’ again and again ‘with a view to determining’ whether the new thinking is real once we probe behind the slogans.”( Church quoting James Baker, US Secretary of State) “The real danger is that the US, in taking a purely reactive attitude, will undermine its own interests by continuing to leave all the initiatives to Gorbachev.”

Strobe Talbot (“Why Kohl is right”, Time, May 15); said in Bonn of short-range nuclear missiles:

“The shorter the range the deader the German.” “Nuclear weapons deter their own use. Arguably that is all they are good for. But tactical nukes, because they frighten allies whom they are supposed to protect, are good for even less.” (on West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl’s pleas for negotiation over short-range nuclear weapons): “Once the Bush administration stops cursing Kohl under its breath, it will probably do what he is asking … Too bad the US will have to be dragged kicking and screaming into a decision that it should have reached on its own.”

Eduard Shevardnadze, quoted in an interview, (Time, May 15):

“Q: If you could get only one concession from the US in arms-control talks, what would it be? A: A single concession will not suffice. And it’s not concessions we should be talking about, but rather a joint search for formulas that will ensure security … Conditions are now ripe for a breakthrough in the prohibition of chemical weapons, the reduction of conventional arms in Europe and cuts in Soviet and US strategic offensive weapons.”

George J. Church (Time, May 22), quoting US President George Bush:

“The United States now has as its goal much more than simply containing Soviet expansionism — we seek the integration of the Soviet Union into the community of Nations.” And “A new relationship cannot be simply declared by Moscow or bestowed by others … It must be earned.”

Martin Woolacott (“Germany no longer dancing to the British tune”, Manchester Guardian Weekly, April 30):

“Lord Ismay, NATO’s first secretary general is supposed to have said that the purpose of NATO was to keep the Americans in, the Russians out and the Germans down. Times have changed … but the Germans rightly feel that Washington and London have not changed enough.” “The whole world really does want a reduction in the arms that threaten its existence, and Washington must do far more than it has to convince its allies and its own people that the US seeks that result no less than the shrewd Soviet leader.” Toronto Star, April 23:
“The US does not have all the answers no matter what Washington says and we need to hear something more useful from Ottawa than ‘Aye aye , Sir’ … quit listening to Washington” (Eugene Carrol, deputy director of the Center for Defense Information, a non-governmental agency based in Washington, D.C. He was commander of the carrier strike force of the US Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean). Rear Admiral (retired) Carrol was speaking at the annual Vancouver Walk for Peace (30,000 marchers)

Familiar Logic?

Psychiatrist: Why do you flail your arms around like that? Patient: To keep the wild elephants at bay. Psychiatrist: But there are no wild elephants here. Patient: That’s right — Effective, isn’t it? — From Peter Medawar “Advice to a Young Scientist”, Harper Colophon Books.

Recent Posts

See All

SfP Bulletin archive

SfP Bulletin February 2017 The President’s Corner: Science for Peace as a Foreign Language Metta Spencer Report of the Working Group on Global Governance Helmut Burkhardt Report of the Working Group o


bottom of page