Fighting for peace

Daniel Bethke

More stories from Daniel Bethke


Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead

President Trump signs an additional round of sanctions against Iran.

There is a famous quote attributed to Albert Einstein: “I do not know with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”

This quote highlights the dangers of war, particularly when it is nuclear. Another war on a global scale would simply be so dangerous that it would catapult humanity back into the stone age. There would be no recovery from such an event. In the news, we often hear talk of going to war with various countries such as Iran or Venezuela. But little consideration is ever given to just how disastrous that would be.

To determine the results of potential future conflicts, we can analyze past conflicts the country has been involved in. The U.S. has been involved in several wars throughout the past 20 years. According to Brown University, the U.S. is currently bombing seven countries and has combat troops in 15. Such an imperial presence across the globe requires a tremendous amount of funds. The burdensome cost of these wars falls upon the American taxpayer. When factoring in interest, the Iraq War alone cost $6 trillion, according to a Harvard Kennedy School study. 

It is no wonder, then, that America is facing so many problems today, ranging from the infrastructure to the economy. We have spent trillions of dollars on overseas military adventurism with very little to show for it. Our counterterrorism efforts only exacerbate the problem. To go after terrorists, the American government has passed a plethora of unconstitutional legislation such as the Patriot Act, which violates civil liberties. This has been largely ineffective in its goal of countering all forms of terrorism. For example, as the Afghan Defense Ministry stated, “The Taliban controls more territory today than at any time.” Therefore, our repeated efforts have only created a cyclical climate of fear that is the catalyst for extremism.

Moreover, future wars overseas are extremely unpopular among the American public. An August Gallup poll found that only 18 percent of the country wants military intervention in Iran. The President must serve the American people. However, it is ultimately not in their interest to invade Iran. The only group that could potentially benefit from such an endeavor would be the oil companies that would yield massive profits.

Some may say that Iran or other countries seek to destroy the U.S. This is incorrect. President Rouhani has no reason to attack the most powerful country on Earth because he knows the outcome would be unfavorable for him. In fact, Iran knows the extent of American might firsthand. The U.S. already invaded Iran several decades ago, where we toppled democratically elected leader Mohammad Mosaddegh. Additionally, the U.S. has been placing a multitude of sanctions on Iran, many of which are illegal, according to the U.N. Despite these negative conditions, Iran still continues to follow agreements such as the Nuclear Deal even after the U.S. has withdrawn, showing there is little to no negative intent or motive from Iran.

Therefore, it is clear that the only way to counteract any rising tensions is through diplomatic means, not incessant escalation. If we truly seek a brighter future for all, we must fight; not for war, but for peace.