Det danske Fredsakademi
Kronologi over fredssagen og international politik 3. maj 2012
/ Time Line May 3, 2012
2. Maj 2012, 4. Maj 2012
Fransk massakre i
/ French massacre in Madrid, 1809.
/ Massacre de Français à Madrid, 1809.
/ Masacre francés en Madrid, 1809.
/ Französisch Massaker in Madrid, 1809.
One Step Backward Taken
By John Scales Avery
“I felt my standpoint shaken in the universal crisis,
but with one step backward taken, I saved myself from
going” (Robert Frost, 1874-1963)
Look up Robert Frost's poems on the Internet. You will enjoy
them. In many of his poems, Frost seems to be describing a concrete
scene or experience, but at the end, the reader realizes that he
has been aiming at something larger – he wants to tell us a
universal truth about the human experience. This is also true of
his poem “One step Backward Taken”. Here he tells us
that we can often save ourselves by taking a step backwards, by
looking carefully at what has been happening and by avoiding going
over the edge.
If we take Frost's backward step, and look at what has been
happening since the start of the Industrial Revolution, we realize
that many of the enormous changes that industrialism produced have
been good. But other changes have been disastrous, for example
colonialism, the destruction of the global environment, the
dominance of unregulated financial institutions, the power of the
military-industrial complex, and the undermining of democratic
institutions. Can we not save ourselves by taking a backward step
from these catastrophic developments?
Right now, there is a particular precipice towards which humanity
seems to be rushing – the threat of a third world war
triggered by an Israeli attack on Iran. We read that the government
of Israel, under Benjamin Netanyahu, is planning a unilateral
military attack on Iran, and that it will take place in the autumn,
at the height of the US presidential election.
We read that Obama says on behalf of the United States, that if
Israel is attacked by Iran, “all options are on the
table”, diplospeak for US military involvement in the war.
(But if Iran is attacked by Israel, how can Iran fail to respond?)
We read that Russia is preparing for the threatened war by massing
its troops and supplies in Armenia, and that China too may be drawn
into the conflict. The Middle East is already a deeply troubled
region, in which the United States and Israel can hardly be said to
be universally popular. If Israel attacks Iran and the US becomes
involved, what will be the response of the Islamic world,
especially Pakistan, a country that possesses nuclear weapons?
A new war in the Middle East, a war whose epicenter would be the
Strait of Hormuz, would lead to an unprecedented increase in the
price of oil. The world is already experiencing a serious financial
crisis, and if the price of oil were to go through the roof,
economies throughout the world would spiral down in a way that
would make Black Thursday, 1929, look like a kindergarten picnic.
Remember also that the US is already many trillions of dollars in
debt because of its present wars.
It is doubtful whether Israel, a country with 300 nuclear weapons,
would benefit in any way by attacking Iran on the pretext that Iran
might soon be in a position to produce two or three bombs of its
own. Iran has denied that it wants to produce such weapons, but an
attack by Israel might push the Iranian government into
militarization of its civilian nuclear power program. And why does
the US government act like a slave of Israel (as it has been doing
for many years)? It is not at all in America's interest to become
involved in a war with Iran, a war might escalate in a completely
Let us take a step backward and save ourselves from going over this
Suggestions for further reading
1. Robert Frost, “Collected Poems of Robert Frost”,
Holt, New York, (1930). -
2. James Risen, “Secrets of History: The C.I.A. In
Iran” The New York Times, April 16, (2000).
3. K. Roosevelt, “Countercoup: The Struggle for Control of
Iran”, McGraw-Hill, New York, (1979).
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