Peace Positions of Candidate Marianne Williamson

May 4th, 2023 - by Marianne Williamson / Marianne2024

Marianne Williamson at Progressive Democrats
of America Town Hall on April 23, 2023
Compiled by Jim Carpenter, Co-Chair, PDA End Wars and Occupations Issue Team

Q and A on Ukraine War begins at minute 43.  Further on in Q and A, Marianne speaks of Israel, Cuba and Taiwan.

Marianne Williamson Peace Platform
“Establish US Department of Peace”
Marianne Williamson / Marianne2024

Ending the scourge of violence in the United States and across the planet requires more than suppressing violence. Lasting peace requires its active and systematized cultivation at every level of government and society. The US Department of Peace will coordinate and spur the efforts we need to make our country and the world a safer place.

Nothing short of broad-scale investment and government reorientation can truly turn things around. Both domestically and internationally, we must dramatically ramp up the use of proven powers of peace-building, including dialogue, mediation, conflict resolution, economic and social development, restorative justice, public health approaches to violence prevention, trauma-informed systems of care, social and emotional learning in schools, and many others.

I believe our country’s way of dealing with security issues is increasingly obsolete. We have the finest military force in the world, however, we can no longer rely on force alone to rid ourselves of international enemies. The planet has become too small for that, and in so doing, we overburden our military by asking them to compensate for the other work that we choose not to do. We are less effective, and less secure, because of that.

A US Department of Peace
As its mission, the US Department of Peace will; hold peace as an organizing principle; promote justice and democratic principles to expand human rights; coordinate restorative justice programs; address white supremacy; strengthen nonmilitary means of peacemaking; work to prevent armed conflict; address the epidemic of gun violence; develop new structures of nonviolent dispute resolution; and proactively and systematically promote national and international conflict prevention, mediation, and resolution.

In short, we must wage peace. Large groups of desperate people should be seen as a national security risk.

The Department will create and establish a Peace Academy, modeled after the military service academies, which will provide a 4-year concentration in peace education. Graduates will be required to serve 5 years in public service in programs dedicated to domestic or international nonviolent conflict resolution.

The Secretary of Peace will serve as a member of the National Security Council and will be empowered to coordinate with all Cabinet agencies — including the Departments of Agriculture, Defense, Education, Justice, and State, and the new Department of Children and Youth.

Initial funding for the US Department of Peace will come from the consolidation of existing peace-building and violence-reducing efforts within the Federal government.

US Department of Peace Overview
A new US Department of Peace will coordinate our efforts to make our country a safer place. It will work with every branch of government on policy matters related to both international and domestic peace issues.‍

Peace-building is both preferable to and less costly than war. We spend more on our military than the next nine largest militaries in the world. The United States and China spend half the $2.1 trillion global military spending, both increasing tens and billions of dollars annually. As has become evident in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria, as well as against terrorist enemies like ISIS, at best our military can solve only part of the issue, leaving the true, underlying problems unaddressed.

Even with these expenditures, the economic impact of violence on the global economy was nearly $14.4 trillion in 2019 — 10.5 percent of global gross domestic product (GDP), or $1,895 per person.

Domestically, the need for a coordinated effort to end violence in our country is also greater than ever. Too many of our citizens, and in particular our children, fear violence daily. One hundred Americans die of gun violence every day. We have areas in our inner cities called “domestic war zones.”

From gang and drug violence to mass shootings even in our schools, to bullying and sexual violence, the United States is riddled with violence. We have not yet addressed it holistically or in an integrated fashion. While we treat symptoms, we do not treat the underlying cause. It is time to coordinate our efforts across the Federal government, working with states, corporations, communities, parents, and schools — one singular nation focused on programmatic efforts that actually work to bring about healing and peace.

And we need to do this now. Americans are more likely to die every year from gun violence than they are to die in a war. We have more deaths of children and teachers from school shootings than any other country in the world. We have more gun violence in our cities than in any other industrialized country. And we have more people imprisoned than any other country in the world.

How Will We Pay for a Department of Peace?‍
If properly and completely implemented, the US Department of Peace could save United States taxpayers an enormous amount of money. Avoiding costly wars abroad and reducing violence in the United States will decrease our federal budget.

Along with the long-term savings that come from implementing this kind of work on a broad scale, there should be a few extra immediate costs involved. This department will focus on reallocating existing budgets in more appropriate and coordinated ways to keep, maintain and create sustainable peace.

The key funding question for the US Department of Peace is simply a matter of changing where the money goes, with a renewed focus on peace-building, humanitarian aid, and development as a key to our national security. On the domestic front, there are incredible monetary costs to domestic violence in the United States that can be drastically reduced with coordinated violence prevention efforts.

US Department of Peace Specifics
Domestically, the USDP Will Work to:‍

  • Provide much-needed assistance to efforts by city, county, and state governments in coordinating existing programs; as well as develop new programs based on best practices nationally.
  • Teach violence prevention and conflict resolution to America’s school children.
  • Effectively treat and dismantle gang psychology.
  • Reform our criminal justice system towards a focus on restorative and healing-oriented approaches rather than punitive ones alone.
  • Reshape our prison system by addressing racial inequalities and recidivism.
  • Rehabilitate the prison population.
  • Foster strategies to eliminate the school-to-prison pipeline. Work closely with the newly formed Dept. of Children and Youth to teach violence prevention methods in the schools.
  • Build peace-making efforts among conflicting cultures both here and abroad
  • Work with local and state governments to help change police culture and the way that police work with our communities, to foster improved relations. Return to community policing.
  • Work with local and state governments to lessen gun violence on a national level.
  • Address factors such as drug and alcohol abuse, mistreatment of the elderly, and much more.

Internationally, the Department of Peace will
focus on the following areas among others:‍

  • Provide peace-building support to assist governments and communities in attempts to end conflicts, instead of providing military aid which often prolongs conflicts
  • Provide and help coordinate humanitarian assistance around the world to help people and governments get out of their current crises, and have a chance to build peaceful lives in the future. Particular emphasis on these factors which are known to increase peace and decrease conflict: expanded economic opportunities for women, expanded educational opportunities for children, reduction of violence against women, and the amelioration of unnecessary human despair. This is as true of a neighborhood in an American inner city as it is true of a village in a far-off corner of the world.
  • Humanitarian assistance may also include aid for things like food security, health care, refugee assistance, regenerative agriculture, and a variety of other types of aid.
  • Provide community building and rebuilding assistance to aid people and countries in creating a more sustainable, peaceful culture that will help to prevent future conflicts.
  • Support our military with complementary approaches to peacebuilding.
  • Create and administer a US Peace Academy, acting as a sister organization to the US Military Academy.
  • The Secretary of the Department of Peace, and the department, will advise the Secretaries of Defense and State on matters related to national security and will coordinate peacemaking efforts across these departments.

On the Tragic Conundrum of Ukraine 
What the US Should and Should Not Do
Marianne Williamson / Substack

(February 22, 2023) — As President Biden reaffirmed his support for Ukraine during his visit to the country this week, opinions vary on whether such support is a good idea.

For those of us who have spent years opposing the influence of the military industrial complex on US foreign policy, the situation poses a peculiar challenge. It’s possible to believe that the undue influence of the US war machine — aided in Washington by “the Blob” of foreign policy experts — is very real, and at the same time believe the Russian invasion of Ukraine is a criminal venture that cannot be tolerated by the world.

The United States has perpetrated its own egregious imperialistic ventures, a fact which shouldn’t be ignored by anyone. It’s not an overstatement to say that millions of people around the world — including thousands of US military — have died as a result of our own misadventures. But that does not, and should not, give Vladimir Putin a pass on perpetrating an imperialistic war of his own.

Clearly, not all wars are the same. Just as some point out that the war in Ukraine is not a replay of World War II, it’s important to remember that it’s also not a replay of Iraq or Afghanistan. Did American foreign policy mistakes contribute to the war in Ukraine? Yes. But that does not mean we are ultimately responsible for Putin’s invasion, nor does it mean that our larger interests, the interests of the people of Ukraine or the interests of the rest of the world, are best served by our staying out of the conflict now.

The war in Vietnam should never have been fought. The war in Iraq should never have been fought. The war in Afghanistan — with the exception of its beginning phases — should never have been fought. All of them were examples of American military malfeasance. The war in Ukraine, however, is a very different situation. I believe there is legitimate justification for military support for Ukraine from Western allies, including the United States.

Some have mentioned what they perceive to be a contradiction between my support for the creation of a US Department of Peace and my support for military aid to Ukraine. In my mind there is no contradiction at all. Ever since World War II, America’s military industrial complex has increasingly dominated American foreign policy, while diplomacy and genuine peace building has been pushed to the side. I have written books and articles about this and spoken publicly about it for decades. I have even run for president espousing that view. It was the core of my presidential run in 2020, and would be core to my run in 2024.

Our defense department receives $858 billion a year while our state department receives $60.4 billion a year. USAID, our Agency for International Development, receives $1.9 billion a year. And of all those, the work of USAID does by far the most to create the conditions for the emergence of world peace.

Wherever there are greater economic opportunities for women, greater educational opportunities for children, the diminishment of violence against women and the general reduction of human despair, there is statistically a greater incidence of peace and less incidence of violence. Those are the primary factors involved in peace building, which would be at the core of the US Department of Peace as well as the thrust of my administration both domestically and internationally.

I view the US military much like a surgeon. If we need a surgeon then America must have the best, but any reasonable person tries to avoid surgery if possible. The best way to solve conflicts is to prevent them from occurring to begin with. If I had had the choice, I would have made very different foreign policy decisions related to Russia over the last 40 years. That does not change the fact, however, that Vladimir Putin’s actions today are a threat to which the Western world must now respond.

As president I would always seek to avoid the use of military force, yet I would not shy away from it if I felt it necessary.

Some have also expressed concern about the amount of money going to Ukraine at a time when so too little money is being spent on needed expenditures here at home. Yet that is a false choice, for the money going to Ukraine, if not used toward that war, would not be spent on the humanitarian and economic needs of our citizens here at home. The battle for America’s economic soul exists separately, though tangentially, to our foreign policy demands. Franklin Roosevelt passed the New Deal and he led us through World War II.

The United States should support diplomatic solutions to any dispute, in Ukraine as well as anywhere else. On that point we should never waver. But in the case of the war in Ukraine, Russia would meet any such overture with nothing but further aggression until such time as military conditions made it difficult for him to refuse the offer. Why would he do otherwise, when in his mind he is winning the war? His brutal, autocratic rule in Russia and the atrocities committed by his troops in Ukraine give us a vivid picture of what his conquest of Ukraine would mean. Any withdrawal of US support for Ukraine at this point means only one thing: the end of Ukraine.

Should Ukraine be given a blank check by the United States? No, it should not. But should it be given further support to push back an aggressor who would end its sovereign right to exist? I believe it should.