Frequently Asked Questions
What is 2020 A Year Without War?
2020 AYWW is the only, to our knowledge, growing, global, social movement whose Mission has a deadline, an expiration date and a quantity. The 2020 AYWW Mission is two fold.
First, to secure a one-year global truce among all 193 United Nations member nations. At this stage 2020 AYWW is not focused upon non-state player wars. Since launching our 2020 AYWW program, we have discovered that the United Nations General Assembly, since 1998, passes a one-month global Olympic Truce every two years for the Olympic Games. In 2020, the Summer Olympics will take place in Tokyo. 2020 AYWW is requesting of the UN General Assembly an eleven-month extension to the anticipated one-month Olympic Truce.
Second, build a global community giving VOICE to the majority of humanity who are war weary and know that conflict resolution by means of war has, in the 21st century, become glaringly irrational. Our quantitative goal is to bring at least 800 million people from around the world, 10% of the world’s population in 2020, together in a dedicated and engaged global community to create and support the many programs and partnerships necessary to secure a one-year global cease-fire. Hopefully, there will be billions of us but as we know, we could not get to our hundredth member without our ninety-ninth member. We cannot get to our 800 millionth member without you! JOIN NOW! RECRUIT YOUR SOCIAL NETWORK!
Is it even possible that there could be a year without war?
Of course, it is possible. According to Will and Ariel Durant, in their Lessons of History, there have already been approximately 268 scattered years without war over the past 3,421 years. For most people, a year without war is not only desirable but considered highly desirable. Perhaps a better question is, is it probable or likely that there could be a year without war in today’s world?
First, no one knows until we try. No one ever wins, who refuses to play. John Keegan, widely considered a pre-eminent military historian of this era and the author of more than 20 books, argues that war started with civilization. Settled towns created surplus, that surplus nomadic people found desirable to confiscate thereby creating conflicts between groups. If Keegan is correct, then for approximately 180,000 years, Homo sapiens lived largely without war, which is not to say they lived without violence but it does suggest that war is primarily found in about 5% of our history. War may be a newly acquired but really bad habit like teenagers smoking cigarettes.
Amongst anthropologists there are those who now argue that war was not a significant part of pre-civilized Homo sapiens history. See the 2020 AYWW blog post Human Nature May Not Be So Warlike After All. Finally, read the 2020 AYWW blog on Testing the Feasibility of A Year Without War. If you believe war is simply a part of nature, perhaps it’s like small pox, which humans have managed to eliminate, or polio, which humans have now nearly eliminated. If you believe war has always been a part of civilization and will continue to be, that type of historical argument was very popular in the 19th century debate over slavery, but humans have now chosen to make slavery illegal globally. We are now witnessing a number of social tipping points being involving women’s rights, girls’ education, gay rights, marijuana legalization. 2020 AYWW is seeking a tipping point in the abolition of war. Let’s try just one year, 2020. But please let’s keep asking questions but let’s make sure we explore the answers with an open, intellectual humility and not a closed presumptuousness. Let’s not go Ken Olsen, the founder of Digital Equipment Corporation, who remarked dismissively in 1977, when asked about computers in the home, “There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.”
See our 2020 AYWW blog post A Year Without War Highly Probable Given Stunningly Improbable Human Successes
Also see our 2020 AYWW blog post, A Response to the Remark "A Year Without War Will Never Happen on defining the success of 2020 AYWW.
What is war?
Some concepts or ideas have precise definitions and some are vague. In geometry a triangle is a three-sided, closed, plane figure or as we say, a bachelor is an unmarried male. On the other hand, vague concepts like chair, baldness, pornography lack precision and admit of difficult cases. War is a vague concept but it does admit of clear cases as also happens with clear cases of being a chair, bald and pornographic. 2020 AYWW recognizes difficult cases with regard to defining war but presently let’s just deal with the clear, terrible, heartbreaking cases of war, which we can do effectively in good faith. Let’s start there, then once the agonizing suffering stops, we can argue, even quibble, over a precise definition of the inherently vague concept of war.
Here we might follow Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart when he simply remarked or confessed in 1964 in Jacobellis v. Ohio regarding the definition of “pornography,”
“I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description [“pornography”], and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it…
Finally, 2020 AYWW supports the War on Poverty or wars waged against disease. 2020 AYWW has no opinion regarding the War on Drugs.
What about terrorism? What would you say to ISIS?
We would like to have a safe conversation with any and all terrorist organizations but that seems unlikely. A “safe conversation” may be an oxymoron with regard to ISIS. The primary, but not the only, problem 2020 AYWW has with terrorists is their use of terror. While many of these groups, ISIS is perhaps the clearest example presently, are rabidly expansionistic, salvationistic and rigidly intolerant, it is their use of violence to expand that is our first, big problem.
2020 AYWW can readily tolerate orthodox religious or non-religious beliefs, salvationistic views, even missionary zeal but just stop the violence. If such groups could spread their dogma the way the Mormons or Jehovah Witnesses do, 2020 AYWW would have no problems. The Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses are devout in their orthodoxy, salvationistic, expansionistic, with the Mormons being quite secretive, but they are not violent in their devout expansionism. 2020 AYWW believes that a majority of people on earth would tolerate ISIS if they rode bicycles up to your door and offered to discuss the Koran or even leave a copy or their equivalent of The Watchtower. Stop the violence upon people within your domain and against those outside your domain. It’s the violent, intolerant expansionism, internally and externally that, we, the majority of humanity, find intolerable. Put simply, stop being violently intolerant and you will be tolerated, all things considered.
Just a reminder, 2020 AYWW is a non-religious, non-partisan, not anti-military, not a peace movement. We are simply attempting to create a one-year global cease-fire in 2020. Let’s just keep it simple.
How will 2020 AYWW stop the great Military-Industrial Complex from taking humanity endlessly into war?
First, the great Military-Industrial Complex is not a 2020 A Year Without War issue. 2020 AYWW is very simple in its mission, a one year global cease-fire in the year 2020. We are not concerned during that one-year, or our lead up to the year in solving the extremely complicated Military-Industrial Complex issue, which has grown significantly since World War II despite President Eisenhower's warning. While the economic benefits in terms of the multiplier effect of using present military monies for non-military spending are significant with much broad research supporting multiple cases, the Military-Industrial Complex is an issue 2020 AYWW need not address.