[A] POPULAR consensus is forming around the fact that new world realities demand fresh policies, beyond militarism. Public opinion is increasingly sophisticated about military and foreign policy issues. This is in large part due to the efforts of the peace movement.
A significant share of the peace movement's task is to promote political literacy in our own country. Every town meeting organized, every opportunity arranged for people to make their own judgments and come to their own decisions about U.S. foreign and military policy is an investment in future social and political change. As people are confronted with these moments of decision, they are given the information, the tools, the sense of their own power to determine the shape of national security policies.
Washington is the place where decisions are made. It is not, however, the place where all the power is or where the most effective campaigns are always fought and won. The real political battle is between those who innovate and introduce ideas, intending to set the foreign and military policy agenda. ...
Common security is both a new way of thinking about the conduct of international relations and a political program. ... The challenge now is to convince cynical politicians that the public is ready for a principled and common-sense approach to foreign policy. n
Pam Solo was co-director of the Institute for Peace and International Security in Cambridge, Mass., when this article appeared.