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Books below are by Vijay Mehta Chair of Uniting for Peace

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Vijay Mehta's How Not To Go To War Book Reviews

 

Review by Ian Hackett, World Federalist Party

HOW NOT TO GO TO WAR is not only the title of Vijay Mehta’s latest book, but six words that could summarize his life’s work and that of Uniting for Peace, the organization he chairs. But, unlike Vijay’s previous book, Peace Beyond Borders, in which he looked at the peace potential of international organizations, with the EU as his primary model, in How Not To Go To War, he advocates national institutions, specifically Departments for Peace at governmental level and Peace Centres at community level, as essential to the promotion of peace. The book opens with endorsements from no less than 18 celebrities, politicians and peace activists from around the world, including the UK’s Jeremy Corbyn, who “may well be … appointing a Minister for Peace & Disarmament” if he should become PM following the brexit fiasco, and John McDonnell, who introduced a Ministry of Peace Bill in the UK parliament back in 2003.

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Review by Hanne Christensen, Former UN Official

I heard of Vijay Mehta´s book, How Not To Go To War, soon after it came out at the beginning of 2019. Mehta is an author and a peace activist with several books on his CV. He is also the Chair of the Uniting for Peace organization in the UK, has dedicated his life to working for peace everywhere, and travels the world to speak about building a peaceful world and how to achieve it.

The book sets the present, dangerous warfare scene throughout the world with more than 20 wars going on, a soaring military expenditure to a record high $1.7 trillion in 2017 or about one thousand dollars per family globally, with the prospects of further deterioration with the threat of nuclear war hanging in the air. That is done in a very detailed and considerate manner, and Mehta is concerned. Destruction-oriented heads of state mark the present leadership in the world in some countries and a world leader that is withdrawing from international cooperation and setting into further motion decreasing multilateralism, while the United Nations is not living up to its task of protecting people from the scourge of war, according to Mehta. Something needs to be done to remedy the situation, and that is to institutionalize peace from the government level to the local level of the society in all countries, throughout the world. The book argues that institutions of war must be matched by institutions of peace to give peace a chance to settle permanently in society and that military costs should be turned into support for peace and social welfare programs, befitting the entire population.

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Review by Rene Wadlow, Association of World Citizens

When the drums of war start beating, can cooler heads prevail and negotiations in good faith start? Vijay Mehta has written a useful overview of efforts to create a Department of Peace within governments so that there would be an institutionalized official voice proposing other avenues than war. (1)

Such proposals are not new. In 1943, Alexander Wiley, a liberal Republican senator had proposed to President Franklin Roosevelt that he establish a cabinet-level post of Secretary of Peace as there was already a Secretary of War. The Secretary of War has now been renamed Secretary of Defense, but the function has not radically changed.

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Review by David Swanson, World Beyond War

If you saw a book in Barnes and Noble called “How Not to Go to War,” wouldn’t you assume it was a guide to the proper equipment every good warrior should have when they head off to do a little killing, or perhaps something like this U.S. news article on “How Not to Go to War Against ISIS” which is all about what law you should pretend authorizes a violation of the UN Charter and the Kellogg-Briand Pact?

In fact, the new book, How Not to Go to War by Vijay Mehta, comes to us from Britain where the author is a leading peace activist, and it is actually a set of recommendations for how to not go to war at all ever. While many books spend their larger first section on a problem and a shorter concluding part on solutions, the first two-thirds of Mehta’s book is about solutions, the last third about the problem of war. If this confuses you, or if you’re unaware that war is a problem, you can always read the book in reverse order. Even if you are aware of war as a problem, you still may benefit from Mehta’s description of how technology, including artificial intelligence, is creating horrific new possibilities for wars worse than we’ve seen or even imagined.

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Review by Charlie Fox, Brighton Peace and Environment Centre

Vijay Mehta’s book masterfully makes the case for the establishment of a Department for Peace, which Vijay argues will result in not only building a better world with less violence and wars but also in saving billions of pounds in military spending which the UK Government can utilise for job creation, healthcare, education and peace-building.

The book is structured in two parts, part one imagines what a world with a Department of Peace would be and all the benefits that a culture of peace could harbor, including the financial advantages and individual gains. Part two follows with the grim reality of what our world is currently like, including the $14 trillion that war and violence cost the global economy in 2015. However, Vijay provides a positive and constructive alternative with a Department for Peace which will leave readers hopeful and motivated to promote the new development.

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