TED Conversations

Luke Lenard

Co-Founder, Clean Our Oneida Lakes (C.O.O.L.)

This conversation is closed.

Changing the U.S.A.'s focus from militarism to humanitarian efforts and social projects.

Please read and please continue to add to the idea.

Since the end of the Cold War, the U.S.A. has been the world’s only “superpower”. We have since then maintained the largest peace time military budget this world has ever seen. Today politicians argue about what programs should be cut and which should have less funding. From the perspective of an 18 year old student from Wisconsin I have come to the conclusion that it is time for us to end our reign as world’s largest military budget and instead focus on things that matter.
You may ask,” What matters?” My answer would be you. You matter and because you matter, that is what we should focus on. We should give a truly universal health care system in this country, equalize the wealth disparity (I’m not saying eliminate it, just prevent there from being a 40 billionaire and 10 dollar person in this country at the same time), and then lead the world in humanitarian aid in the rest of the world (I know that we already donate a ton but we can do more).
I ask you why not do something completely radical for a change! Instead of taxpayer money going to a million dollar missile, we pay for 10000 trees to be planted. Instead of a new war, we start a new railroad system. Instead of a culture of militarism, we create a culture of filled with humanitarians.

Thank you to all who read this and please be thoughtful with any suggestions or comments.


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Sep 1 2011: Without getting into a semantic discussion on “focus” I think an argument can be made that a review of DOD spending may be sensible.

    Is there now a 21st century paradigm shift in play as manifest by the recent Arab Spring & as seen by the work of the Global Peace Initiative, e.g? I think it is worth a discussion & could & perhaps should be recognized & addressed as part of any collectively governing body's decision making.

    Wouldn’t a present day more comprehensive defense strategy be one that attacks the issue from both sides? Meaning to plan its workings more comprehensively, proactively, in serving also to help establish peace?
    Call it comprehensively applied defense & that initiative centralized through a Dept of Peace, just as some of the founding fathers, & one in particular, wanted right from the beginning.

    With such an initiative a very significant amount of money can be saved & applied to the humanitarian concerns as Luke suggests.

    Humanitarian concerns might also bring a review of foreign aid where, among other obvious considerations, Trade vs. Aid initiatives should be considered which would be overall considerably less costly & foster considerably better feelings towards our country.

    Just a thought - the State Department receives fifty-four billion dollars & the Department of Defense five hundred and eighty-three billion dollars, whereas, while bills for a US Dept of Peace are stalled presently in Congress (while there are numerous bi-partisan co-sponsors in both the House & the Senate), in February 2011 Congress cut off all funding for the US Institute of Peace (a bipartisan institute started under Ronald Reagan) which was funded at a mere forty-four million dollars…

    More discussion can be found in the media platforms for our in post-production movie at www.facebook.com/Thecongressmansdinner & www.Thecongressmansdinner.com. I am certainly open to all ideas & initiatives & welcome all participation. Thanks, Bob
    • thumb
      Sep 1 2011: This definitely would be a step in the right direction and the figures for how much funding was given to the Institute of Peace is appalling! Also the concept of both sides resolving a issue such as terrorism without the need for an invasion would be an amazing accomplishment.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.