KONONGO — With the recent escalation of tensions in the Middle East, especially in Syria, bringing the world to the brink of a first nuclear world war, scribes at Grandmother Africa have offered profound theories about the nature of modern civilizations and the rise in their sophisticated weaponry. Atiga Atingdui poses the question: What makes a rich nation toe one line of thinking about geopolitics, involving the development and deployment of weapons of mass destruction, or another, involving the use of technology in more benign ways?
In another framing of the question, Narmer Amenuti details a comprehensive thesis explaining the commercial and aesthetic differences between Russian Science and Western Science in a bold attempt to unearth the deeper motivations and the circumstances that become attendant on the technological advancement in the two nations, especially in the last two centuries. Clearly, no matter the factors that jolt a civilization into stupendous innovations, it remains a conundrum why nuclear warfare is a significant contributor to the ethos of modern civilizations.
Scribes like Jehuti Nefekare insist that the tools of warfare – the development, at least, of superior weaponry – remains a precursor for peace so long as other nations indulge in the practice of investing in the refinement and enlargement of their nuclear arsenals. Themes reverberating through Madi Jobarteh and Nefetiti’s deliberations on international relations call for pragmatic steps, in countering these nuclear proliferations around the globe, empowering global cooperation, while reducing inequality in its stride, everywhere, and especially in Africa, fighting for accountability in government.
Nefetiti speaks from an African Prophetic tradition that we are all too familiar with but do not heed, to a fault. The ideas of her outlook on life and peace are not anywhere practiced. The reason being, they are either too philosophically complex or too beautifully simple for the average humanity that controls the world’s resources.
Although in Menes Tau’s calculation, since either paths of peace and war in the modern world are not mutually exclusive – looking at the actions of the United States of America and Russia – ensuring peace in the world also means preparing for war. Yet, the question still needs to be examined in the fullest spectrum: Why this calculus – war is peace?
In the integration and differentiation of the discursive topology over War is Peace, one finds in the modern world we live in now, that when the stakes for peace are high, the stakes for war are even higher. Recounting the story of the day Adolf Hitler of Nazi Germany shook Joseph Stalin’s hands for peace between their two nations and promised never to attack Russia, that same day Stalin commissioned his first scientific community to build The Bomb (the nuclear weapon) before Hitler does. Lo and behold, Hitler attacked Russia!
What makes a nation invest its riches in warfare instead of peacefare? And why are the two paths crossing but never diverging away from the crossroads?
Kemet and Ancient Africa
In Kemet, civilization was measured in ethics, while barbarity was measured in weapons. Our ancestors always strived to balance the two often using mathematics and science to advance individual lives, often founding new religions to entrench and disseminate the African belief in Ma’at (equilibrium). So, an objective review of our ancestors’ perspectives on the world today is obvious: The world is more primitive today than it was some 3500 years ago.
For two centuries, while technology has seen considerable advancement, millions of people go to bed hungrier than people did 4000 years ago. There are undoubtedly more diseases, spreading fast and killing far more, than there were 4000 years ago. The scientific revolutionary bubble which was supposed to give the world a cure for all its ills has burst. In fact, this science and technology has put the world, for the first time, on the brink of utter destruction.
Modern science and technology has largely failed, partly due to this modern belief in western civilization, especially that War is Peace. The long wars entrench and bolster this belief even more. Furthermore, it is this mentality – the empirical habit and performance of thought – on which scientific and technical progress depends, which has driven the world to the ledge.
As a result the world is truly more primitive today than it was some 3500 years ago. This primitivism coupled with some of the most sophisticated technology the world has built has created an atmosphere of Complicated Primitivism. Out of this decadence and putrescence has arisen The Bomb and other such weapons with no place in any true civilization. At least according to the calculations of Ma’at.
In Washington, the capitol of American imperialism, few politicians or journalists mention that ninety percent of the U.S. government’s current spending in Afghanistan is for military operations alone. Which means that there is plenty of money spent for bombing poor innocent civilian neighborhoods in Helmand province, but there’s no money allocated to ease the current desperation and destitution in that part of the world.
Women, including some who are pregnant, and children starve every day and night around the globe, especially in places where American fascism has lodged military camps. America spends trillions on war while its own domestic infrastructure collapses, while 40 million children in that country sleep on less than two dollars a day and while it continues to jail its most vulnerable citizens. All in the name of peace.
More than seven years have passed since the inaugural speech when the president of the American Imperial Crown Barack Hussein Obama told foreign leaders: “Know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy.” And so Obama will be judged.
Why was it that ancient Egypt with all of its technological advancement and economic splendor produced pyramids — buildings that still baffle the greatest minds of the twenty-first century – in addition to sophisticated medicine, but no significant weapon of mass destruction (not even a grenade) came out of ancient Egypt?
The resounding conclusion stands that no single African civilization since Nubia, no matter the level of sophistication, developed weapons on par with some of the most primitive societies from around the world. What could possibly have forged the mentality – the empirical habit and performance of thought – of African civilizations, up until Songhai even, all through the stupendous scientific achievements of the universities in Timbuktu, to march upwards towards the light of civilization for the sake of civilization alone and not to some odious realization of a complicated primitivism?
The development of weapons of mass killing and destruction is situated carefully within a complicated manifestation of a mentality that is opposed to the collective evolution of the species – a mind opposed to the laws of nature. The essence of the human species cannot be war, war, war against one another. Africa could not have gotten the world this far through war and the development and deployment of weapons of mass destruction.
Instead, Africa built relationships (jolting the Greeks out of backwardness through education). Africa built monuments that transcend the human species to aspire to a higher form of excellence. These various accomplishments of African civilizations go beyond the motivations of one nation, to cut across the humanity of all peoples, to surpass the realities of the world, and even to eclipse the vast expanse of time itself.
War is Peace and the Orwellian Interpretation
To appreciate the aesthetic difference in how the world, without Africa, got on the ledge of War is Peace, we must first grasp the evolution of War and Peace itself. No civilization has sought to control the evolution of war and peace in more concrete terms than the modern civilization of the world.
War had been fought pretty much fairly and evenly with much the same weapons across civilizations until about the 1900s when a new paradigm shift occurred. That new paradigm required a philosophy to make simultaneous aims of going to war, preventing war and fighting war necessary. The motivation was simple: Profit.
Through the 1940s onset of the new World Order, the struggle to redefine war and fashion newer and more disastrous weapons occurred in much the same way that since the late 1700s human commercial enterprises grew new capitalist wings to fly to untold heights. As capitalism grew, it stretched its wings into every corner of the globe and peppered the world with an increasing desire for capital and markets which are necessary for maximizing profit.
In the wake of this struggle, the world of today is a bare, hungry, dilapidated place compared with the world that existed before 1914, and still more so if compared with the imaginary future to which people in the twenty-first century look forward.
The last vision, when technology had gripped the world like religion had gripped it in the centuries prior, the dream of a future society unbelievably rich, leisured, orderly, and efficient — a glittering antiseptic world of glass and steel and snow-white concrete – this vision was part of the consciousness of nearly every literate person at the cusps of the Western Scientific Revolution. Science and technology were developing at prodigious speeds, and it seemed natural to assume that they would go on developing to finally free humanity from the ills of the environment.
When the Carnot engine first made its appearance, it was clear to all people that the need for human drudgery, and therefore for human inequality, would soon disappear. To an optimistic majority, the scientific revolution should deliberately be used to cure hunger, overwork, dirt, illiteracy, and disease within a few generations.
But something else happened. At the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth centuries, the revolution did raise the living standards of the average human being over a period of about fifty years. However, it was also clear that an all-round increase in wealth threatened the structure of a hierarchical society. In a world in which everyone worked short hours, had enough to eat, lived in a house with a bathroom and a refrigerator, and possessed a motor-car or even an aeroplane, the most obvious and perhaps the most important form of inequality would already have disappeared.
Obviously, in the twentieth century the fact that general wealth would confer no distinction became a conundrum to the privileged few. And above all, wealth eradicated need. The desires of men underpinning the revolution was at once under threat by the very panacea. It became impossible to imagine a society in which wealth, in the sense of personal possessions and luxuries, was evenly distributed, while power remained in the hands of a small privileged caste.
Here is where mentality, that is, the empirical habit and performance of thought became a key component of the deliberations of the privileged caste of the new revolution. In practice, they reasoned that such a wealthy society could not remain stable. “For if leisure and security were enjoyed by all alike, the great mass of human beings who are normally stupefied by poverty would become literate and would learn to think for themselves; and when once they had done this, they would sooner or later realize that the privileged minority had no function, and they would sweep it away.”
Inevitably, the sustainability of capitalism itself, based on a hierarchical society was only possible with constant poverty and persistent ignorance.
To return to the agricultural past, as some thinkers about the beginning of the twentieth century dreamed of doing, was not a pragmatic solution since it conflicted with the tendency towards mechanization which had become overly profitable for the western privileged caste who had come to own, literally, the means of production. Moreover, any country which remained industrially backward was helpless in a military sense and was bound to be dominated, directly or indirectly, by its more mechanically advanced rivals.
Nor was it a satisfactory solution to keep the masses in poverty by restricting the production of goods. The tenets of profit making and maximizing profit thereof forbade this thinking. This happened to a great extent during the second phase of capitalism, roughly between 1920 and 1940. The economy of many countries was allowed to stagnate; land went out of cultivation, capital equipment was not added to; great blocks of the population were prevented from working and kept half alive by State charity. But this, too, entailed military weakness, and since the privations it inflicted were obviously unnecessary, it made opposition inevitable.
The problem and the solution was how to keep the wheels of industry turning a profit, increasing profits at every turn, without increasing the real wealth of the world—that is, without solving all the world’s problems. Goods must be produced, but they must not be distributed. They must go to enrich a few, and an even fewer caste.
In practice there was no way of achieving this means. Except, by continuous warfare.
The Essence of War is Peace
For this reason one needs to understand the essential act of war itself. It is destruction, not necessarily of human lives, but of the products of human labor. Or human labor might go to enrich those who wield it. Individuals. Hence, war is a way of shattering to pieces, or pouring into the stratosphere, or sinking in the depths of the sea, materials which might otherwise be used to make the masses too comfortable, and hence, in the long run, too intelligent.
Even when weapons of war are not actually destroyed, their manufacture is still a convenient way of expending labor power without producing anything that can be consumed. In destroying this labor, the proceeds of war go to enrich the top percent and thus maintain the hierarchical structure needed to ensure more and more profits.
The 18.6 trillion dollars of US debt, largely used in funding the Military Industrial Complex is not a consequence of promoting trade; it is not a consequence of well-intentioned monetary policy to help eradicate poverty or disease; it is not a consequence of promoting democracy; nor is it the unintended consequence of the markets. This indeed represents the scale and the most convenient way of expending labor without producing any tangible wealth in society.
War—no longer the desperate, annihilating struggle that it was throughout history and in the early decades of the twentieth century—has become a warfare of limited aims between combatants who are unable to destroy one another, have no material cause for fighting and are not divided by any genuine ideological difference. War is a profit making machine. War maintains the status quo.
Washington, for example, spends more than ninety percent of its military budget in Afghanistan on bombing and shelling little towns and villages and spends nothing for feeding, rebuilding and restoring the desperation left in its wake. Hence, this is not to say that either the conduct of war, or the prevailing attitude towards it, has become less bloodthirsty or more chivalrous.
On the contrary war hysteria, in the twenty-first century especially, has become continuous and universal in many regions the world over. Motives which were already present to some extent in the great wars of antiquity and the early twentieth century have now become dominant and are consciously recognized and acted upon at will and without restraint.
That War is the new Peace is in fact the new anthem. Certainly ethical wars are no longer fought and ended, since the profit machine must continue to churn in other to maintain the relevance of the ruling elite. And hence, scientific and technological advancements are geared towards the profitable rather than the ethical and the beneficial.
If we want peace, we must prepare for war. This, in sum, is the new anthem thrust upon us by the profiteers.