Cold War Blues
The Operation Dismantle Story
Stark, James T.
Publisher: Voyageur Publishing
Year Published: 1991
Pages: 384pp Price: $24.95 ISBN: ISBN 0-921842-14-7
Resource Type: Book
Cx Number: CX4518
Abstract: Cold War Blues is part autobiography and part secret history of alleged Canadian government complicity in post-WWII nuclear politics. Stark, the founder and long-time president of Operation Dismantle, was sufficiently close to the escalation of both the arms race and public consciousness that the two genres blur.
Operation Dismantle had as a primary mandate the organization of a world-wide referendum on disarmament. Believing the local relevant to the global, Dismantle combined high-profile lobbying at the United Nations with homegrown initiatives, such as a campaign to persuade Canadian municipalities to declare themselves nuclear-weapons free.
Hope rode very high, Stark affirms, until External Affairs sabotaged the world referendum with its failure to sponsor the requisite motion at the U.N. Stark also contends that Canadian foreign policy decisions were directly constrained by the U.S., citing then-Prime Minister John Turner's waffle on Canadian government support of a global nuclear freeze. Disapproval of Dismantle's influence went beyond hot-line calls from George Schultz, however. Stark provides evidence that Dismantle's demise was assisted by Canadian intelligence officials, and that his home telephone was tapped.
Stark's tone in Cold War Blues is personal and pedantic by turns, as he includes documents and data from the intensive U.N. lobby, and much reflection on his role within the larger Canadian peace movement. Stark's prominent point is that the Cold War was, indeed, hot for the many who died in proxy battles or were starved of resources wasted by the superpowers. Canada's identity as global peacekeeper is subjected to a historical Rorschach test, and our leadership found as committed to Cold War psychology as the Pentagon or the Politburo.
Cold War Blues puts Canadian participation in the Gulf War into perspective, and demands a public inquiry into the true costs of three decades of cold warfare. Stark closes on this note of self-examination:
"One way or another, the human race must face up to the new realities that have been thrust upon us by the technologies of mass destruction. We must achieve democracy on a planetary scale, perhaps through the creation of a directly-elected world House of Commons and perhaps through the occasional use of world referendums. We must do whatever it takes to repair the damage that's been done, and we must create a new world order based on justice, co-operation, truth and sweet reason."<$!iiiKeywords for index: disarmament, political history, peace activism>