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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

RIK news report about Turkey's tax for Christians visitors

25 March 2011. 
RIK news report with English subtitles from 25 March 2011 describing Turkey's imposition on Christians of an entrance fee to visit in occupied Cyprus the monastery of Apostolos Andreas

Elder Paisios - On Pain of Heart ...

Elder Paisios tells us that, for love to blossom in the heart, we must pray with pain of heart. Once he was asked, “We pray, Elder, and our thoughts go here and there. Why?”
“Because it is prayer without pain!” replied the Elder. “To pray with the heart, we must hurt. Just as when we hit our hand or some other part of our body, our mind (nous) is gathered to the point we are hurting, so also for the mind to gather in the heart, the heart must hurt.”
The Elder was then asked, “How can we preserve ourselves in this state when we don’t have some problem, some pain?”
He replied,
“We should make the other’s pain our own!! We must love the other, must hurt for him, so that we can pray for him. We must come out little by little from our own self and begin to love, to hurt for other people as well, for our family first then for the large family of Adam, of God.”
At another time the Elder said,
“The more one hurts, the more divine consolation one receives, because otherwise it is not possible to stand the pain.... God especially consoles those who hurt for others.”
To his spiritual children the Elder wrote:
“To some people your love will be expressed with joy and to others it will be expressed with your pain. You will consider everyone your brother or your sister, for we are all children of Eve (of the large family of Adam, of God). Then, in your prayer you will say: ‘My God, help those first who are in greater need, whether they are alive or reposed brothers in the Lord.’ At that point, you will share your heart with the whole world and you will have nothing but immense love, which is Christ.”


Forbes and Jerry Bowyer - The Shaky Foundation Of Keynesian Economics

The “new economics” of John Maynard Keynes and his legions of academic acolytes was sold to the world on the basis of being a scientific advance over the outmoded dogma of classical economics. Keynes even titled his magnum opus The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money in order to be reminiscent of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity.

by Jerry Bowyer

As Forbes columnist Paul Johnson points out in the beginning of Modern Times, Einstein’s scientific discoveries were widely popular and various ideological movements attempted to tap into that popularity, portraying themselves as being like Einstein, heroically following the empirical evidence into the future, leaving superstition and primitive theory behind.
The problem, as Johnson also points out, is that the new ideologies were nothing like Einstein’s theory: They were based on pseudo-science; they ignored, or even suppressed, contrary empirical evidence; and Einstein’s well-grounded theory that space was relative in no way vindicated fads that said truth, reason, foundational principles or morality were likewise negative.

The great ideologues of the Victorian era, Marx and Freud, saw all human action as either disguised economic self-interest (Marx) or sublimated incestuous sexual desire (Freud and…ick!). Keynes chose Freud, mostly, and saw economies as essentially being driven by unconscious, pre-human impulses (animal spirits).
None of the three men, however, were what they represented themselves as being: scientists ignoring outdated modes of philosophical reasoning, following the evidence wherever it might lead. Keynes, as Marx before him, chose his foundational worldview. He didn’t induce it from the data, nor deduce according to the laws of logic, he adduced it. He chose the worldview which allowed him to be the kind of man he wanted to be.
Much has been made about Keynes’ homosexuality by both admirers and detractors. The admirers held that his androgynous complexity allowed him to tap into a masculine rationality and simultaneously a feminine creativity. Some of his detractors, for example on the religious right, used his lifestyle as a kind of ad hominum attack, arguing thus:
  • Gay is bad (which doesn’t have quite as much traction as it did in the 1980s)
  • Keynes was gay
  • Keynes is bad
  • Therefore Keynesian economics is bad.
  • The fallacies in this reasoning are obvious.
A more nuanced version of this argument has been made by other critics — for example the supply-side pioneer Lewis Lehrman, who said, “I have five children. I have a vision of the future. Keynes had no children and no interest in getting involved in any relationship which might make possible their procreation. He was inherently short-run in his viewpoint.” Some Austrian economists have made the same argument.
But I think that there is a bigger issue here than guilt-by-sexual-association or even the ways in which marriage and family connect us with the future. Keynes’ sexual ethic was just a small part of an overall life orientation.
He and his fellow members of the Cambridge Apostles were firmly committed to an agenda of overthrowing every element of the Victorian society from which they had sprung. The rejection of thrift, or of any economic principles at all were of a piece with the rejection of any system of objective truth, any objective moral code, any form of theism and old-fashioned notions about standing up to the Germans, whether under the Kaiser or later under the Führer. In other words, the whole societal order was to be overturned.
G.E. Moore attacked traditional philosophy and theology, Lyton Strachey’s job was to use literature to debunk Victorian principles of self-restraint, and Keynes was to demolish classical economics, sound money and the virtue of thrift. The sex was only a part of it, and probably a subordinate part of it as well.
The apostles were committed to an ideology of the superiority of male intimacy over male/female intimacy not because they were born gay (many of them lapsed into heterosexuality once they were away from the club, some members having feigned homosexuality in order to be included in the group,) but because they saw all of Victorian society, which they hated, as a coherent whole. The salient point here is that they were not men who spent their professional lives following the evidence wherever it led: They had decided where it was all going to lead by their sophomore year of college! They chose the men they would be early in life and went about justifying that decision for the rest of their lives.

Elder Paisios - Prayer and Memorial Services for the dead

Is it possible, Geronda, the dead to pray?

They regain consciousness and search for help, but they’re not able to help themselves. All those who are in hell for only one offence, would ask if Jesus could give them only five minutes to repent. We, who are alive, we still have time for repentance, but poor those who died, they cannot improve their condition, thus they beg for our help. Therefore, our duty is to help them with our prayer.  

Those ones, who never repented for life and have at least a little cordiality, are aware of their guilt, they repent and endure because of their sins. They cry for help, and the prayers of the believers do help them. Thus, God gives them a chance, even now, as they are in front of Him guilty, to find help before the Second Coming of God happens.

And, as in this earthly life, the one who is a friend of the king may intervene to the king and help on behalf of some culprit, the same as someone who is “dear to God” may with his prayer help the dead ones in front of God, and move the “defendants” from one “prison” to another, better one; from one “pre-trial confinement” to a better one. He can even move them in a “room” or in a “department”.     

As we alleviate the suffer of the prisoners bringing them soft drinks and other things, the same we do to the dead ones, alleviating their pain with our prayer, and giving mercy to their souls. Prayers from those living for the ones who died is the last opportunity that the Lord is giving, to make them receive help, up to the moment of the Last Judgement. After the Last Judgement happens, there won’t be a chance for help any more.  

Geronda, do the ones who died soon have a bigger need of prayer?

When they sentence someone to jail, isn’t it true that the more difficult is at the beginning? We have to pray for the ones who died but didn’t please God while alive, asking God to do something for them. Particularly when we do know that some was a tough man and lived his sinner life, then we have to pray a lot, Divine Liturgies to be served for such a man, forty Liturgies are to be served consecutively, alms to be given to the poor ones for his soul to be saved, for God to have mercy on him.
While opposite, we may help a lot with little praying, the man who had goodness, even if his life wasn’t so good, because he had a good will.       

When someone dies and we’ve been asked to pray for him, is it good, Geronda, every day, until the fortieth day to pray the full prayer-rope?

If you pray the full rope for him, pray in the same time for all dead. Why the complete train to go to his aim for only one passenger, when it may receive many others? To many dead, poor them, it is so necessary, and they cry for help, but there is no one to pray! Some people often make memorial services for someone who was their relative or very close. But, they do not help even to their dead relative in such a way, because their prayer is not pleasant to God. As they have made so many commemorations for their close one, let them make commemorations for all those dead but unknown, instead.   

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Quote of the day

"The demons are sleepless and immaterial, death is at hand, and I am weak. Lord, help me; do not let Thy creature perish, for Thou carest for me in my misery."

St. Peter of Damascus

Sayings of Abba Dorotheos of ...

Abba Dorotheus of Gaza

The man who finds fault with himself accepts all things cheerfully – misfortune, loss, disgrace, dishonor and any other kind of adversity. He believes that he is deserving of all these things and nothing can disturb him. No one could be more at peace than this man. But perhaps you will offer me this objection: “Suppose my brother injures me, and on examining myself I find that I have not given him any cause. Why should I blame myself?” Certainly if someone examines himself carefully and with fear of God, he will never find himself completely innocent. He will see that he has given some provocation by an action, a word or by his manner. 

If he does find that he is not guilty in any of these ways, certainly he must have injured that brother somehow at some other time. Or perhaps he has been a source of annoyance to some other brother. For this reason he deserves to endure the injury because of many other sins that he has committed on other occasions. Someone else asks why he should accuse himself when he was sitting peacefully and quietly when a brother came upon him with an unkind or insulting word. He cannot tolerate it, and so he thinks that his anger is justified. If that brother had not approached him and said those words and upset him, he never would have sinned. This kind of thinking is surely ridiculous and has no rational basis. For the fact that he has said anything at all in this situation breaks the cover on the passionate anger within him, which is all the more exposed by his excessive anxiety. If he wished, he would do penance. He has become like a clean, shiny grain of wheat that, when broken, is full of dirt inside. 

The man who thinks that he is quiet and peaceful has within him a passion that he does not see. A brother comes up, utters some unkind word and immediately all the venom and mire that lie hidden within him are spewed out. If he wishes mercy, he must do penance, purify himself and strive to become perfect. He will see that he should have returned thanks to his brother instead of returning the injury, because his brother has proven to be an occasion of profit to him. It will not be long before he will no longer be bothered by these temptations. The more perfect he grows, the less these temptations will affect him. For the more the soul advances, the stronger and more powerful it becomes in bearing the difficulties that it meets.

The Didache - The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles - The Complete Text


1 There Are Two Ways
1:1 There are two ways, one of life and one of death! and there is a great difference between the two ways.

1:2 The way of life is this: First, you shall love God who made you. And second, love your neighbor as yourself, and do not do to another what you would not want done to you.

1:3 The meaning of these sayings is this: Bless those who curse you, and pray for your enemies, and fast for those who persecute you. For what reward is there for loving those who love you? Do not the heathens do the same? But you should love those who hate you, and then you shall have no enemies.

1:4 Abstain from fleshly and bodily lusts: If someone strikes your right cheek, turn the other also, and be perfect. If someone forces you to go one mile, go two. If someone takes your cloak, give also your coat. If someone takes from you what is yours, don't ask for it back. You really cannot.

1:5 Give to every one who asks you, and don't ask for it back. The Father wants his blessings shared. Happy is the giver who lives according to this rule, for that one is guiltless. But the receiver must beware; for if one receives who has need, he is guiltless, but if one receives not having need, he shall stand trial, answering why he received and for what use. If he is found guilty he shall not escape until he pays back the last penny.

1:6 However, concerning this, there is a saying: "Let your alms sweat in your hands until you know to whom to give them."

2 The Second Commandment
2:1 The second commandment of the teaching is this:

2:2 Do not commit murder; do not commit adultery; do not corrupt boys; do not have illicit sex; do not steal; do not practice magic; do not practice witchcraft; you shall not murder a child, whether it be born or unborn. Do not covet the things of your neighbor.

2:3 Do not swear or bear false witness. Do not speak evil of others; do not bear grudges.

2:4 You should not be double-minded or double-tongued, for a double-tongue is a deadly snare.

2:5 Your speech should not be false nor empty, but fulfilled by action.

2:6 Do not be covetous, or greedy, or hypocritical, or malicious, or arrogant. Do not have designs against your neighbor.

2:7 Hate no one; correct some, pray for others, and some you should love more than your own life.

3 My Child, Flee Evil
3:1 My child, flee evil of all kinds, and everything like it.

3:2 Don't be prone to anger, for anger leads to murder. Don't be jealous or quarrelsome or hot-tempered, for all these things lead to murder.

3:3 My child, don't be lustful, for lust leads to illicit sex. Don't be a filthy talker or allow your eyes a free reign, for these lead to adultery.

3:4 My child, don't observe omens, since it leads to idolatry. Don't be an enchanter, or an astrologer, or a purifier, or be willing to see or hear about these things, for these all lead to idolatry.

3:5 My child, don't be a liar, since a lie leads to theft. Don't love money or seek glory, for these things lead to thievery.

3:6 My child, don't grumble, since it leads to blasphemy, and don't be self-willed or evil-minded, for all these things lead to blasphemy.

3:7 On the contrary, be gentle, since the gentle will inherit the earth.

3:8 Be long-suffering and pitiful and guileless and gentle and good, and with trembling, treasure the words you have received.

3:9 Don't exalt yourself or open your heart to overconfidence. Don't be on intimate terms with mighty people, but with just and lowly ones.

3:10 Accept whatever happens to you as a blessing, knowing that nothing comes to pass apart from God.

4 My Child, Remember
4:1 My child, remember day and night him who speaks the word of God to you, and honor him as the Lord. For wherever his lordship is spoken of, there he is.

4:2 Seek each day the faces of the saints, in order that you may be refreshed by their words.

4:3 Do not initiate divisions, but rather bring peace to those who contend against one another. Judge righteously, and do not take social status into account when reproving for transgressions.

4:4 Do not waver in your decisions.

4:5 Do not be one who opens his hands to receive, or closes them when it is time to give.

4:6 If you have anything, by your hands you should give ransom for your sins.

4:7 Do not hesitate to give, and do not complain about it. You will know in time who is the good Rewarder.

4:8 Do not turn away from one who is in want; rather, share all things with your brother, and do not say that they are your own. For if you are sharers in what is imperishable, how much more in things which perish!

4:9 Do not remove your hand from your son or daughter; teach them the fear of God from their youth.

4:10 Do not give orders to your servants when you are angry, for they hope in the same God, and they may lose the fear of God, who is over both of you. God is surely not coming to call on us according to our outward appearance or station in life, but to them whom the Spirit has prepared.

4:11 And you, servants, be subject to your masters as to God's image, in modesty and fear.

4:12 You should hate all hypocrisy and everything which is not pleasing to the Lord.

4:13 Do not in any way neglect the commandments of the Lord, but keep what you have received, neither adding nor taking away anything.

4:14 In your gatherings, confess your transgressions, and do not come for prayer with a guilty conscience.
This is the way of life!

5 The Way of Death
5:1 The way of death, on the other hand, is this: It is evil and accursed—murders, adulteries, lust, illicit sex, thefts, idolatries, magical arts, sorceries, robberies, false testimonies, hypocrisy,double-heartedness,deceit, haughtiness, depravity, self-will, greediness, filthy talking, jealousy, over-confidence, loftiness, boastfulness—those who do not fear God.

5:2 The way of death is the way of those who persecute the good, hate the truth, love lies, and do not understand the reward for righteousness. They do not cleave to good or righteous judgment; they do not watch for what is good, but for what is evil. They are strangers to meekness and patience, loving vanities, pursuing revenge, without pity for the needy and oppressed. 
 They do not know their Creator; they are murderers of children, destroyers of God's image. They turn away from those who are in need, making matters worse for those who are distressed. They are advocates for the rich, unjust judges of the poor. In a word, the way of death is full of those who are steeped in sin. Be delivered, children, from all of this!

6 See That No One Leads You Astray
6:1 See that no one leads you astray from the way of this teaching, since all other teachings train you without God.

6:2 For if you are able to bear the entire yoke of the Lord, you will be perfect; but if you are not able, then at least do what you can.

6:3 Concerning food, do what you are able to do and be on guard against meat offered to idols, for that is to worship dead gods.

7 Concerning Baptism
7:1 Concerning baptism, you should baptize this way: After first explaining all things, baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, in flowing water.

7:2 But if you have no running water, baptize in other water; and if you cannot do so in cold water, then in warm.

7:3 If you have very little, pour water three times on the head in the name of Father and Son and Holy Spirit.

7:4 Before the baptism, both the baptizer and the candidate for baptism, plus any others who can, should fast. The candidate should fast for one or two days beforehand.

8 Your Fasts and prayers
8:1 Your fasts should not be with the hypocrites, for they fast on Mondays and Thursdays. You should fast on Wednesdays and Fridays.

8:2 And do not pray like the hypocrites, but rather as the Lord commanded in the gospel: Our Father in heaven, holy be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us enough bread day-by-day. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not bring us to the time of trial, but rescue us from the evil one.

8:3 Pray this three times each day.

Christ teacher - scene from the catacombs in Rome

9 Concerning the Eucharist
9:1 Concerning the Eucharist, give thanks this way.

9:2 First, concerning the cup: We thank you, our Father, for the holy vine of David your servant, which you made known to us through Jesus your servant. To you be the glory forever.

9:3 Next, concerning the broken bread: We thank you, our Father, for the life and knowledge which you made known to us through Jesus your servant. To you be the glory forever.

9:4 Even as this broken bread was scattered over the hills, and was gathered together and became one, so let your church be gathered together from the ends of the earth into your kingdom. To you is the glory and the power through Jesus Christ forever.

9:5 Allow no one to eat or drink of your Eucharist, unless they have been baptized in the name of the Lord. For concerning this, the Lord has said, "Do not give what is holy to dogs."

10 After the Eucharist
10:1 After the Eucharist when you are filled, give thanks this way:

10:2 We thank you, holy Father, for your holy name which you enshrined in our hearts, and for the knowledge and faith and immortality that you made known to us through Jesus your servant. To you be the glory forever.

10:3 You, Master Almighty, have created all things for your name's sake. You gave food and drink to all people for enjoyment, that they might give thanks to you; but to us you freely give spiritual food and drink and life eternal through Jesus, your servant.

10:4 Before all things we thank you because you are mighty. To you be the glory forever.

10:5 Remember, Lord, your church. Deliver it from all evil and make it perfect in your love, and gather it from the four winds sanctified for your kingdom which you have prepared for it. For Yours is the power and the glory forever.

10:6 Let grace come, and let this world pass away!
Hosanna to the Son of David! If anyone is holy, let him come; if anyone is not holy, let him repent. Maranatha! Amen.

10:7 But permit the prophets to make thanksgiving as much as they desire.

11 Welcome the Teacher
11:1 Welcome the teacher when he comes to instruct you in all that has been said.

11:2 But if he turns and trains you in another tradition to the destruction of this teaching, do not listen. If he teaches so as to increase righteousness and the knowledge of the Lord, receive him as the Lord.

11:3 Act according to the precepts of the gospel concerning all apostles and prophets:

11:4 Let every apostle who comes to you be received as the Lord.

11:5 But he must not remain more than one day, or two, if there's a need. If he stays three days, he is a false prophet.

11:6 And when the apostle goes away, let him take nothing but bread to last him until his next night of lodging. If he asks for money, he is a false prophet.

11:7 In addition, if any prophet speaks in the Spirit, you shall not try or judge him; for every sin will be forgiven, but this sin cannot be forgiven.

11:8 But not everyone who speaks in the Spirit is a prophet; only he is a prophet who has the ways of the Lord about him. By their ways will the false prophet and the prophet be known.

11:9 Any prophet who orders a meal in the Spirit does not eat it; if he does, he is indeed a false prophet.

11:10 And any prophet who teaches the truth, but does not do what he teaches, is a false prophet.

11:11 When a prophet, proved true, works for the mystery of the church in the world but does not teach others to do what he himself does, he will not be judged among you, for his judgment is already before God. The ancient prophets acted in this way, also.

11:12 But whoever says in the Spirit, "Give me money,"or something else like this, you must not listen to him. But if he tells you to give for the sake of others who are in need, let no one judge him.

12 Welcome Anyone Coming in the Name of the Lord
12:1 Welcome anyone coming in the name of the Lord. Receive everyone who comes in the name of the Lord, but then, test them and use your discretion.

12:2 If he who comes is a transient, assist him as far as you are able; but he should not remain with you more than two or three days, if need be.

12:3 If he wants to stay with you, and is a craftsman, let him work for his living.

12:4 But if he has no trade, use your judgment in providing for him; for a Christian should not live idle in your midst.

12:5 If he is dissatisfied with this sort of an arrangement, he is a Christ peddler. Watch that you keep away from such people.

13 Every Genuine prophet
13:1 Every genuine prophet who wants to live among you is worthy of support.

13:2 So also, every true teacher is, like a workman, entitled to his support.

13:3 Every first fruit, therefore, of the products of vintage and harvest, of cattle and of sheep, should be given as first fruits to the prophets, for they are your high priests.

13:4 But if you have no prophet, give it all to the poor.

13:5 If you bake bread, take the first loaf and give it according to the commandment.

13:6 If you open a new jar of wine or of oil, take the first fruit and give it to the prophets.

13:7 If you acquire money or cloth or any other possession, set aside a portion first, as it may seem good to you, and give according to the commandment.

14 On the Lord's Day
14:1 On the Lord's day, gather yourselves together and break bread, give thanks, but first confess your sins so that your sacrifice may be pure.

14:2 However, let no one who is at odds with his brother come together with you, until he has reconciled, so that your sacrifice may not be profaned.

14:3 For this is what the Lord has said: "For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name is great among the nations, and in every place incense is offered to my name, and a pure offering; for my name is great among the nations, says the of hosts. . . . For I am a great King, says the Lord of hosts, and my name is reverenced among the nations."

15 Appoint Bishops for Yourselves
15:1 Appoint bishops for yourselves, as well as deacons, worthy of the Lord, of meek disposition, unattached to money, truthful and proven; for they also render to you the service of prophets and teachers.

15:2 Do not despise them, after all, for they are your honored ones, together with the prophets and teachers.

15:3 And reprove one another, not in anger, but in peace, as you have it in the gospel. But to anyone who acts amiss against another, let no one speak to him, nor let him hear anything from you until he repents. But your prayers and alms and all your deeds so do, as you have it in the gospel of our Lord.

16 Watch Over Your Life
16:1 Watch over your life, that your lamps are never quenched, and that your loins are never unloosed. Be ready, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.

16:2 Come together often, seeking the things that are good for your souls. A life of faith will not profit you if you are not made perfect at the end of time.

16:3 For in the last days false prophets and corrupters will be plenty, and the sheep will be turned into wolves, and love will be turned into hate.

16:4 When lawlessness increases, they will hate and persecute and betray one another, and then the world-deceiver will appear claiming to be the Son of God, and he will do signs and wonders, and the earth will be delivered into his hands, and he will do iniquitous things that have not been seen since the beginning of the world.

16:5 Then humankind will enter into the fire of trial, and many will be made to stumble and many will perish; but those who endure in their faith will be saved from under the curse itself.

16:6 And then the signs of the truth will appear: the first sign, an opening of the heavens; the second sign, the sounding of the trumpet; and the third sign, the resurrection of the dead.

16:7 not of every one, but as it is said: "Then the Lord my God will come, and all the holy ones with him."

16:8 Finally, "Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven' with power and great glory."

NY Times reports on Obama's article about a "nuclear free world" as a Columbia College senior

Obama’s Youth Shaped His Nuclear-Free Vision

Chicago Tribune Photo, 2005
In college, Barack Obama wrote about nuclear arms. As a senator, he viewed a deactivated Russian nuclear missile.

Published: July 4, 2009 
In the depths of the cold war, in 1983, a senior at Columbia University wrote in a campus newsmagazine, Sundial, about the vision of “a nuclear free world.” He railed against discussions of “first- versus second-strike capabilities” that “suit the military-industrial interests” with their “billion-dollar erector sets,” and agitated for the elimination of global arsenals holding tens of thousands of deadly warheads.

The student was Barack Obama, and he was clearly trying to sort out his thoughts. In the conclusion, he denounced “the twisted logic of which we are a part today” and praised student efforts to realize “the possibility of a decent world.” But his article, “Breaking the War Mentality,” which only recently has been rediscovered, said little about how to achieve the utopian dream.
Twenty-six years later, the author, in his new job as president of the United States, has begun pushing for new global rules, treaties and alliances that he insists can establish a nuclear-free world.
“I’m not naïve,” President Obama told a cheering throng in Prague this spring. “This goal will not be reached quickly — perhaps not in my lifetime. It will take patience and persistence.”
Yet no previous American president has set out a step-by-step agenda for the eventual elimination of nuclear arms. Mr. Obama is starting relatively small, using a visit to Russia that starts Monday to advance an intense negotiation, with a treaty deadline of the year’s end, to reduce the arsenals of the nuclear superpowers to roughly 1,500 warheads each, from about 2,200. In an interview on Saturday, Mr. Obama, conscious of his critics, stressed that “I’ve made clear that we will retain our deterrent capacity as long as there is a country with nuclear weapons.”


But reducing arsenals, he insisted, would be the first step toward giving the United States and a growing body of allies the power to remake the nuclear world. Among the goals: halting weapons programs in North Korea and Iran, discouraging states from abandoning the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and ending global production of fuel for nuclear arms, a step sure to upset Pakistan, India and Israel.
Even before those battles are joined, opposition is rising. “This is dangerous, wishful thinking,” Senator Jon Kyl, Republican of Arizona, and Richard Perle, an architect of the Reagan-era nuclear buildup that appalled Mr. Obama as an undergraduate, wrote last week in The Wall Street Journal. They contend that Mr. Obama is, indeed, a naïf for assuming that “the nuclear ambitions of Kim Jong-il or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would be curtailed or abandoned in response to reductions in the American and Russian deterrent forces.”

In the interview, the president described his agenda as the best way to move forward in a turbulent world.
“It’s naïve for us to think,” he said, “that we can grow our nuclear stockpiles, the Russians continue to grow their nuclear stockpiles, and our allies grow their nuclear stockpiles, and that in that environment we’re going to be able to pressure countries like Iran and North Korea not to pursue nuclear weapons themselves.”
Realist or dreamer, Mr. Obama has an interest in global denuclearization that arises from what can best be described as a lost chapter of his life. Though he has written two memoirs, he has volunteered few details about his two years at Columbia.
“People assume he’s a novice,” said Michael L. Baron, who taught Mr. Obama in a Columbia seminar on international politics and American policy around the time he wrote the Sundial article. “He’s been thinking about these issues for a long time. It’s not like one of his advisers said, ‘Why don’t you throw this out?’ ”
In a paper for Dr. Baron, Mr. Obama analyzed how a president might go about negotiating nuclear arms reductions with the Russians — exactly what he is seeking to do this week.
At critical junctures of Mr. Obama’s career, the subject of nuclear disarmament has kept reappearing. Now both he and his agenda face the ultimate test: limiting nuclear arms at the very moment many experts fear the beginning of a second nuclear age and a rush of new weapons states — especially if Iran proves capable of making atomic warheads.
The Seminar
“I personally came of age,” Mr. Obama wrote in “The Audacity of Hope,” his second memoir, “during the Reagan presidency.”
It was a time when President Ronald Reagan began a trillion-dollar arms buildup, called the Soviet Union “an evil empire” and ordered scores of atomic detonations under the Nevada desert. Some Reagan aides talked of fighting and winning a nuclear war.
The popular response was the nuclear freeze movement. Dozens of books warned that Mr. Reagan’s policies threatened to end civilization and most life on Earth. In June 1982, a million protesters gathered in Central Park, their placards reading “Bread Not Bombs” and “Freeze or Burn.” The nation’s Roman Catholic bishops issued a pastoral letter denouncing nuclear war.
Many Columbia students campaigned for the freeze movement, which sought a halt to additional nuclear arms deployments. Mr. Obama explored going further. 
In the interview, Mr. Obama noted that he was too young to “remember having to do drills under the desk.” But as a student “interested broadly in foreign policy,” he recalled, he focused on “a central question: how would the United States and the Soviet Union effectively manage these nuclear arsenals, and were there ways to dial down the dangers that humanity faced?”
In his senior year, he began Dr. Baron’s seminar on presidential decision-making in American foreign policy. The first semester, starting in fall 1982, covered such cold-war flashpoints as the Cuban missile crisis — a dramatic study in the decision-making style of President John F. Kennedy. In the second semester, students focused on particular topics, and Mr. Obama wrote a lengthy paper about how to negotiate with the Soviets to cut nuclear arsenals. 


“His focus was the nature of the strategic talks and what kind of negotiating positions might be put forward,” Dr. Baron said. “It was not a polemical paper — not arguing that the U.S. should have this or that position. It was how to get from here to there and avoid misperception and conflict.
“He got an A,” recalled Dr. Baron, who now runs a digital media business. Later, he wrote Mr. Obama a recommendation for Harvard Law School.
It was during that seminar that Mr. Obama wrote his Sundial article, profiling two campus groups, Arms Race Alternatives and Students Against Militarism. Photographs with the March 1983 article showed students at an antiwar rally in front of Butler Library.
The Article
Mr. Obama’s journalistic voice was edgy with disdain for what he called “the relentless, often silent spread of militarism in the country” amid “the growing threat of war.” The two groups, he wrote, “visualizing the possibilities of destruction and grasping the tendencies of distorted national priorities, are throwing their weight into shifting America off the dead-end track.”
Despite Mr. Obama’s sympathetic portrayal of the two groups, the article seemed to question the popular goal of freezing nuclear arsenals rather than reducing them, the topic of his seminar paper. Mr. Obama wondered if the freeze movement “stems from young people’s penchant for the latest ‘happenings.’ ”
What clearly excited him was the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, which would have ended the testing and development of new weapons, and thus, in the minds of arms controllers, the nuclear arms race.
The Reagan administration vehemently opposed the treaty. One Columbia activist, Mr. Obama wrote, argued that the United States should initiate the ban “as a powerful first step towards a nuclear free world.”
That phrase — a “nuclear free world,” which was Mr. Obama’s paraphrase — would re-emerge decades later as the signature item of his nuclear agenda.
The article was lost for years — some of Mr. Obama’s campaign advisers said they had heard of its existence and went looking for it, presumably to see if it contained anything that might prove embarrassing. It came to light on the Internet just before the inauguration, and some conservative bloggers called it naïve, anti-American and blind to the Soviet threat.
Precisely how the article found its way onto the Internet is unclear. But late last year, a Columbia alumni publication said it had learned of it from an alumnus, Stephen M. Brockmann, who also had an article in the same Sundial issue. Dr. Brockmann, now a professor of German at Carnegie Mellon University, said he found the issue “while rummaging through some old stuff.” When he saw the Obama article, he recalled, “I could hardly believe my eyes.”
The Senator
After the Sundial article, Mr. Obama went silent on nuclear issues for the next two decades. In Chicago, where he worked as a community organizer, topics like remaking the schools, the welfare system and health care seemed a lot more urgent. The cold war ended. So did the protests.
But in 2003 Mr. Obama began his unlikely campaign for the United States Senate and answered a detailed questionnaire from the Council for a Livable World, an advocacy organization in Washington that evaluates candidates on arms control issues.
“He opposes building a new generation of nuclear weapons,” the organization said in a fund-raising letter supporting Mr. Obama’s candidacy. At the time, the Bush administration had proposed developing nuclear arms that could shatter deeply buried enemy bunkers.
“The United States has far more nuclear weapons than it needs,” the organization quoted Mr. Obama as saying, “and any attempt by the U.S. government to develop or produce new nuclear weapons only undermines U.S. nonproliferation efforts around the world.”
The organization said Mr. Obama also supported an American-financed effort to secure Russian nuclear arms, as well as ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, still in limbo two decades after Mr. Obama wrote about it.
When he became a senator in January 2005, Mr. Obama zeroed in on arms control, an issue with little traction in the Republican-controlled Senate. Mark Lippert, now chief of staff of the National Security Council, recalled the senator’s seeking his nuclear views when he applied for a Senate staff job.

Mr. Obama found a mentor in Senator Richard G. Lugar, Republican of Indiana, then chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a longtime star of nuclear nonproliferation efforts. Later that year, Mr. Obama asked to accompany his Republican colleague on a trip to monitor Russian efforts to scrap nuclear arms and secure atomic materials from theft or diversion.
“When we got there, he was clearly all business — a very careful listener and note taker and a serious student,” Mr. Lugar recalled.
During the presidential campaign, Mr. Obama seized a new opportunity, and political cover, by aligning himself with four of the biggest names in national security. They had decided to campaign for the elimination of the nuclear arsenals they had built up and managed as cold warriors.
There were two Republicans, Henry A. Kissinger and George P. Shultz, secretary of state under Mr. Reagan, and two Democrats, William J. Perry, secretary of defense under President Bill Clinton, and former Senator Sam Nunn, who has made fighting proliferation his life’s work.
In a 2007 opinion article in The Wall Street Journal, the four men argued that the time was right to seek “A World Free of Nuclear Weapons,” as the headline put it. President George W. Bush never invited them to the White House to make their case.
But Mr. Obama embraced the four wholeheartedly, echoing their message in campaign speeches in places like Chicago and Denver and in Berlin, where he spoke in July 2008 as the presumptive Democratic nominee.
“This is the moment,” he told cheering Berliners, to seek “the peace of a world without nuclear weapons.”
The President
The nuclear world Mr. Obama studied and wrote about at Columbia bears little resemblance to the one he faces today.
Russia in many ways is the least of his challenges. Both Washington and Moscow want to renew the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which expires late this year, and both say they want to shrink their arsenals.
More complex are problems posed by the rise of new nuclear states, chiefly North Korea, which has now conducted two nuclear tests, and Iran, which experts say will be able to build a warhead soon, if it cannot already. Pakistan has the fastest-growing arsenal, India’s is improving, and Israel’s nuclear capacity has never been publicly discussed, much less dealt with, by the United States.
The threat, Mr. Obama added in the interview, has “only been heightened with the emergence of extremist organizations such as Al Qaeda.”
Mr. Obama and his aides say they want to address all these issues — though they have only recently begun to discuss strategy.
“We tried the unilateral way, in the Bush years, and it didn’t work,” a senior administration official said recently. “What we are trying is a fundamental change, a different view that says our security can be enhanced by arms control. There was a view for the past few years that treaties only constrained the good actors and not the bad actors.”
Beyond the first step — deep cuts in American and Russian arsenals — is an agenda that has already provoked stirrings of discontent at home and abroad.
In January, in the journal Foreign Affairs, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, the lone holdover from the Bush cabinet, called for financing a new generation of longer-lasting and more dependable nuclear arms.
He was immediately overruled. Mr. Obama’s first budget declared that “development work on the Reliable Replacement Warhead will cease.”
Another focus of activity early this year was the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. Its ratification faces a tough Senate fight. But his aides are already building a case that advanced technologies obviate the need to detonate weapons as tests of the American arsenal and can verify that other countries also refrain.
Critics argue that the North Koreas of the world will simply defy the ban — and that the international community will fail to punish offenders.
“If the implications were not so serious, the discrepancy between Mr. Obama’s plans and real-world conditions would be hilarious,” said Frank J. Gaffney Jr., a Reagan-era Pentagon official who directs the Center for Security Policy, a private group in Washington. “There is only one country on earth that Team Obama can absolutely, positively denuclearize: Ours.”
Even more ambitious, Mr. Obama wants a Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty, which would bar all nations that sign it from making fuel for their atom bombs. But when asked how Mr. Obama would sell the idea to America’s allies — primarily Pakistan, India and Israel — administration officials grow silent.
All this is supposed to culminate, next year, in an American effort to rewrite crucial provisions of the 1968 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Mr. Obama wants to strengthen inspection provisions and close the loophole that makes it easy for countries to drop out, as North Korea did in 2003.
Each of those steps would require building a global consensus. It would also mean persuading countries to give up the coveted freedom to make fuel for reactors — and instead, probably, buy it from an international fuel bank.
Most of all, Mr. Obama and like-minded leaders will have to establish a new global order that will truly restrain rogue states and terrorist groups from moving ahead with nuclear projects.
“I don’t think I was that unique at that time,” the president said of his Columbia days, “and I don’t think I’m that unique today in thinking that if we could put the genie back in the bottle, in some sense, that there would be less danger — not just to the United States but to people around the world.”


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