Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A Just Foreign Policy Resource Guide

Teaching with the News
Lessons Plans on Foreign Policy from the Choices Program

Logo of the Choices Program at Brown University
The Choices Program’s Teaching with the News initiative provides online curriculum materials and ideas to connect the content of the classroom to the headlines in the news. Its lesson plans cover a range of foreign policy and international issues, from analyzing U.S. efforts to combat terrorism to exploring policy alternatives for relations with Iran.

We have selected four Teaching with the News lesson plans. You can find the full set here. Pair the lesson plans with related YES! articles to show your students a different approach to media coverage: positive journalism. Explore how different stories about the same issue can change our perception of the world.

:: U.S. Role in the World
:: The U.S. and Iran: Confronting Policy Alternatives
:: Conflict in Iraq: Confronting Policy Alternatives
:: Nuclear Weapons: What Should Our Policy Be?

Cover of Lesson Plans from the Choices Program
U.S. Role in the World

Choices Button:: SEE Lesson Plan

We are in a period of heightened public debate in the United States concerning America’s role in the world. What do we think? What issues are of most concern to us? What kind of world do we want in the 21st century?

This lesson plan explores four distinct alternatives—or futures—that frame the current debate on the U.S. role in the world.

YES Story buttonThe Way to a Just Foreign Policy

It’s time to leave behind old ideas of superpowers. A changing world brings new opportunities for peace and the chance to join a community of nations.
YES! Magazine #46, A Just Foreign Policy

YES Archive buttonU.S. Role Turned Upside Down

5 indicators that show how U.S. economic, military, and covert influence is waning—and why that’s a good thing.
YES! Magazine #42, Latin America Rising

YES Archive buttonBook Review: After the Empire

What do Europeans know about the United States that we don’t know about ourselves? French demographer Emmanuel Todd’s After the Empire, a critically acclaimed best seller in Europe, presents a sobering view of the U.S. role in a changing world.
YES! Magazine #31, Can We Live Without Oil

Superpower? Get Over It :: YES! Magazine Cover image, Summer 2008, Issue 46
The Summer 2008 issue of YES! focuses on A Just Foreign Policy.

Cover of Lesson Plans from the Choices Program
Nuclear Weapons: What Should Our Policy Be?

Choices Button:: SEE Lesson Plan

Today, the world faces many complex challenges. We can see the results of terrorism, environmental issues, and disease, yet for most of us nuclear weapons remain out of sight and out of mind. For many, the abstract theories and jargon that surround nuclear weapons combined with the nearly unimaginable consequences make thinking about the challenges of nuclear weapons difficult.

In this interactive lesson plan, three policy options have been framed to help students think about divergent policy alternatives, each driven by different underlying values, each with merits and trade-offs. This one-week curriculum unit gives students the tools they need to wrestle with the questions that surround the future of nuclear weapons.

YES Story buttonGeorge Shultz: No Nukes

George Shultz, who helped build our nuclear arsenal, says it’s time to ban the bomb. Sarah van Gelder conducts this fascinating interview with the former Secretary of State.
YES! Magazine #46, A Just Foreign Policy

YES Story button7 Steps Towards Abolition

If the nuclear powers wish to be safe from nuclear weapons, they must surrender their own. The United States, as the owner of the biggest nuclear arsenal, must take the initiative and lead the world.
YES! Magazine #46, A Just Foreign Policy

YES Archive buttonThe ABCs of Nuclear Disarmament

An urgent call for nuclear abolition by no less a peace activist than Henry Kissinger, joined by old cold warriors Sam Nunn, George Schultz, and William Perry.
YES! Online, Guest Columnists

Nuclear Free Zone graphic
The YES! Resource Guide on A Just Foreign Policy lists organizations working to abolish nuclear weapons.

A Just Foreign Policy Resource Guide
by Noah Grant and Christiane Ranc
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With the U.S. military overstretched by the war in Iraq, the dollar weakened, the federal budget deep in the red, and countries like China and India on the economic rise, it looks like the United States’ brief run as the world’s sole superpower is coming to a close. But that doesn’t have to mean a change for the worse.

What if the United States cut back on military spending, abolished nuclear weapons, and used the billions saved to support peace and welfare at home and overseas? What if we started a national dialogue in our communities about America’s role in the world? As the A Just Foreign Policy issue of YES! illustrates, you can make it happen.

Vote for peace in your city or town. Talk to the media and your elected officials. Support returning veterans. Start conversations with your neighbors about how to create a just world. Here are some resources to help you get started:

cover of YES! A Just Foreign Policy issue


:: Support Veterans
:: Promote Economic Justice
:: Abolish Nuclear Weapons
:: End the War
:: Be a Citizen Diplomat
:: Protect Human Rights




IVAW veteran with flowers. Photo by Joseph O. Holmes
Support Returning Veterans

An important first step to healing our country may be helping our communities and returned soldiers cope with the devastating effects of war. The following organizations provide guidance and information.

Iraq War Veterans Organization provides information and links on education, employment, and counseling resources for returning veterans.

Military Veterans PTSD Manual. An online manual for anyone suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder following military service, or for the friends and family of veterans with PTSD.

Soldier’s Heart: Veteran’s Safe Return Initiatives provides resources for returning veterans and their families and communities (such as retreats and counseling) to deal with the trauma of war. Edward Tick, author of Heal the Warrior, Heal the Country in the Summer 2008 issue of YES!, is director of this organization.

Vets4Vets provide opportunities for veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq to use peer support to help each other through speaking and listening. It offers support groups, workshops, and trainings around the country. www.Vets4Vets.US

Veterans and Families offers information on how communities and families can prepare for the return of soldiers.

Cafe Museo Cafe, Photo by Barbara Soldi
Promote Fair Trade and Economic Justice

A just foreign policy supports trade that brings profits back to communities. Join the efforts of organizations in the U.S. and around the world working to ensure that everyone has a fair shot at a healthy living standard and a bright future.

50 Years Is Enough: U.S. Network for Global Economic Justice is a coalition of grassroots, women's, faith, policy, social and economic justice, youth, labor, and development organizations dedicated to the profound transformation of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

The Alliance for Responsible Trade offers resources for activists, teachers, and researchers interested in promoting fair trade and halting inequitable trade agreements.

The Blue Planet Project, started by the Council of Canadians, works to protect water supplies around the world and keep them available to the public and out of corporate control. The group provides information about issues related to water and ideas for taking action. Maude Barlow, author of Life, Liberty, Water, in the Summer 2008 issue of YES! is chair of the Council of Canadians.

Common Frontiers Canada provides a “Free Trade Kit” online for unions, churches, international NGOs, anti-poverty groups, women’s groups, environmental groups, human rights organizations, and others interested in how international trade impacts them. The group advocates for trade agreements and policies that would protect the environment, protect the rights and dignity of workers, and create good jobs and decent living standards.

Co-op America supports economic campaigns to promote a just and sustainable planet, and provides resources for action on issues ranging from shareholder rights to fair trade agriculture, the role of business in climate change, and health care for Wal-Mart employees.

Food and Water Watch wants the public to have access to safe water and food. Its website offers opportunities to get involved, find information, write letters to representatives, watch films, choose a water filter, read food labels, make safe consumer choices, and work together for healthy food and water.

Global Exchange promotes human rights and sustainability through innovative trade, travel, and activism projects; runs an online fair trade store that sells coffee, foods, books, crafts, and clothing; and offers resources on campaigns, events, and online tools for taking action. A brief story on their Reality Tours appears in the Do-It-Yourself Foreign Policy Heroes section of the Summer 2008 issue of YES!

The Jubilee USA Network organizes actions like letter writing campaigns to help relieve developing countries of unfair debt burdens.

OXFAM, an international development organization, has resources for writing a letter to the World Bank, calling your representative, signing a petition, or joining a campaign for fair trade, health care for all, peace, debt relief for developing nations, or climate change solutions.

Unitarian Universalists for a Just Economic Community works to unite faith communities in pursuing economic justice. The group pursues a wide range of issues and has campaigned to draw attention to Wal-Mart’s unjust labor practices, and launched a discussion program on The Great Turning, based on David Korten’s writings.

United Students against Sweatshops is a student-run network fighting against sweatshops and mistreatment of workers on college campuses. Tactics include a yearly national conference, awareness-raising activities, and direct actions targeting university officials. For more on USAS, you can also read the Do-It-Yourself Foreign Policy Heroes section of the Summer 2008 issue of YES!
Also, check out United Students for Fair Trade, a similar group working on fair trade.

Graphic by Jose Chicas at Avenging Angels and Abolition 2000.
Abolish Nuclear Weapons

The world’s 25,000 nuclear weapons (most in U.S. and Russian arsenals) still pose one of the greatest threats to human security. Leaders the world over, on all ends of the political spectrum, are working to abolish nuclear warheads. Through the following organizations, you can help work toward a nuclear ban.

Abolition 2000 is a network of over 2000 organizations in more than 90 countries worldwide working for a global treaty to eliminate nuclear weapons.

Alliance for Nuclear Accountability works to stop nuclear testing and to hold the U.S. government accountable for clean up, waste management, and warhead dismantlement programs.

Campaign for a Nuclear Weapons Free World works with the world’s nuclear nations to promote full disarmament and prevent the development of new nuclear weapons, with a focus on the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation does education and advocacy work around abolishing nuclear weapons. The group provides resources for action and links to public events to support peace. You can also purchase books and films on peace and nuclear dangers.

SIGN THEIR APPEAL: An Appeal to the Next President of the United States calling for US Leadership for a Nuclear Weapons-Free World.

Physicians for Social Responsibility is working to create a world free of nuclear weapons, global environmental pollution, and gun violence.

Ploughshares Fund raises funds to support initiatives aimed at preventing the spread and use of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons and other weapons of war, and preventing conflicts that could lead to the use of weapons of mass destruction.

Shundahai Network is dedicated to abolishing nuclear weapons worldwide, stopping the ongoing dumping of nuclear waste at the Nevada Test Site, stopping plans to transport deadly high-level nuclear waste to Yucca Mountain or any Native American land, and ensuring that Native American voices and concerns are heard in the movement to influence U.S. nuclear policies. The late Corbin Harney, founder of the Shundahai Network, is featured in People We Love in the Spring 2007 issue of YES!

The Union of Concerned Scientists organizes a global security campaign that advocates for the elimination of nuclear weapons. The website provides information, action alerts, and an email newsletter.

Photo by Sue McDonald / IS
End War and Promote Diplomacy

The 3D Security Initiative (development, diplomacy, defense) encourages policymakers to pursue peacebuilding efforts based on diplomacy and development. The website provides ideas for getting involved, participating in an online community, spreading the word, organizing a community event, making fair-trade and sustainable consumer choices, and contacting leaders in Congress.

The A.J. Muste Memorial Institute offers small grants for grassroots nonviolence social justice projects.

American Friends Service Committee carries out service, development, social justice, and peace programs throughout the world. It is currently running campaigns on the Iraq war, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, immigrant rights, LGBT rights, debt forgiveness for African countries, military base closures and fair trade.For more on base closures, refer to the Do-It-Yourself Foreign Policy Heroes section of the Summer 2008 issue of YES!

Beyond War is a community of people from around the world committed to ending the use of warfare. The group provides a study series on nonviolence and runs a campaign to establish public spaces and gardens for peace (much like veterans’ memorials, but honoring peace).

Cities for Peace/Cities for Progress, a program of the Institute for Policy Studies, offers a toolkit for anyone seeking to campaign for a citywide or local resolution for peace. More than 200 cities have passed resolutions urging the federal government to bring troops home from Iraq. The group also provides toolkits for resolutions urging peaceful diplomacy with Iran. Karen Dolan, co-author of Cities Declare Peace in the Summer 2008 issue of YES!, leads this project.

CODEPINK is a women-initiated grassroots peace and social justice movement working to end the war in Iraq, stop new wars, and redirect American resources into healthcare, education, and other life-affirming activities.

The Fellowship of Reconciliation
is an interfaith group working for nonviolence, peace, and justice. The group provides action alerts and a calendar of peace and faith events and organizes peace delegations and nonviolence trainings.

The International Solidarity Movement brings people from around the world to participate in nonviolent direct actions and document events on the ground in Palestine.

Iraq Veterans Against the War gives a voice to the large number of active duty service people and veterans who are against the war in Iraq, but are under various pressures to remain silent. The group’s strategy is to mobilize the military community to withdraw its support for the war and bring the troops home now.

Just Foreign Policy
provides information on U.S. foreign policy in places like Iraq, Iran, and North Korea. The group also coordinates petition and letter-writing actions.

The National Campaign for a Peace Tax Fund advocates for passage of the Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund Bill (currently H.R. 1921). When enacted, this law will restore the rights of citizens whose conscience does not permit physical or financial participation in wars.

National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation offers a clearinghouse of articles, books, links, trainings, manuals and tools on conversation and dialogue on issues like racism, democracy, peace, arts, and education. The group provides trainings and workshops, news, perspectives, and information on a vast range of peacebuilding and dialogue projects and happenings.

National Youth and Student Peace Coalition develops national campaigns to advance youth-led social change and response to war. Their agenda, called “Books—Not Bombs!” rallies against prison construction, funding for war, the disclosure of student information to military recruiters, and violations of student civil liberties—and for increased support for education for low-income and immigrant students.

The National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee provides information on resisting the war through refusal to pay taxes.

Nonviolent Peaceforce works in coalition with organizations on five continents to set up nonpartisan, unarmed civilian peacekeeping teams. The group has active projects in Sri Lanka, Guatemala, and the Philippines with projects planned for Colombia and Uganda.

PAX Christi USA is a Christian faith group that promotes peace and nonviolence, economic and interracial justice, disarmament, and human rights.

Peace Action is America’s largest activist network for peace. Peace Action members work for policy changes in Congress, state capitols, city halls, and the United Nations.

The Peace Alliance Campaign to Establish a U.S. Department of Peace is a citizen action organization working toward the creation of a cabinet-level U.S. Department of Peace.

PeaceTrees Vietnam engages in various peacemaking activities, including landmine clearing and education and medical support related to landmines.

A Responsible Plan presents a plan for withdrawal from Iraq. More than 30 Democratic House candidates for the 2008 election have signed the petition. See Erik Leaver’s article on this plan in the Summer 2008 issue of YES! gathers information and offers tools to help citizens pressure Congress to end the war in Iraq.

United for Peace and Justice is a coalition of hundreds of peace groups. Their website offers a directory of member peace organizations and a calendar of peace events.

U.S. Women and Cuba Collaboration aims to empower diverse women in the U.S. and Cuba to participate in and develop just and peaceful international relations, to deepen global women’s solidarity, and to use a woman-to-woman citizen diplomacy model to craft methods to improve the lives of women in both countries.

Veterans for Peace is an organization of veterans who seek to raise public awareness of the true costs and consequences of militarism and war and find peaceful, effective alternatives.

The War Resisters League makes resources available to activists who want to organize against war and violence, including information for feminist organizers and groups fighting violence against women.

The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom is a 90-year-old international women's organization with sections in 37 countries, including the U.S. WILPF works for the equality of all people in a world free of racism, sexism, classism, homophobia, and all other oppression; for world disarmament and peaceful resolution of conflicts; and for an end to all forms of violence.

Be a Citizen Diplomat

Coalition for Citizen Diplomacy promotes the idea that individual citizens have the right, even the responsibility, to help shape United States foreign relations "one handshake at a time." By opening their homes, offices and schools to foreign visitors participating in exchange programs across the United States, citizen diplomats foster international understanding and cooperation, constructive economic connections, and peaceful interaction. The coalition aims to increase the number of Americans engaged in such efforts.

The Compassionate Listening Project leads delegations to Israel and Palestine and other conflict-torn regions of the world, to facilitate healing and reconciliation through listening. The group also teaches skills for peacemaking for families and communities, on the job, and in social change work locally and globally.

Global Exchange Reality Tours give people a chance to experience first-hand how the U.S. is impacting lives in places like Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, Haiti, and Mexico, and connect person-to-person with real people, their cultures, and their political and economic situations. For more, refer to the Do-It-Yourself Foreign Policy Heroes section of the Summer 2008 issue of YES!

Global Citizen Journey leads small delegations on missions of peacebuilding and stewardship to places like Ghana, Burundi, and the Niger Delta.

The Holy Land Trust works with the Palestinian community developing nonviolent approaches to end the Israeli occupation and build a future founded on the principles of nonviolence, equality, justice, and peaceful coexistence. It offers travel and experiential learning programs that include home stays with Palestinian families.

Interfaith Peace-Builders, founded by the Fellowship of Reconciliation, organizes U.S. citizen delegations to Israel and Palestine to witness events on the ground. Participants are encouraged to share their experiences with communities at home and work to end the conflict.

The International Service for Peace (SIPAZ) brings peace observers to Mexico for nonviolence training, observation, and dialog. Formed in 1995 following the Zapatista uprising, SIPAZ now works in Chiapas, Oaxaca, and Guerrero.

Peace Brigades International sends international volunteers to areas of conflict, to protect activists threatened with political violence. PBI volunteers stand witness, deterring perpetrators by drawing national and international attention to actual and potential acts of violence.

The Peace Corps is a U.S. government agency that sends Americans abroad to do service projects. Find out more about the lives of Peace Corps volunteers in the Do-It-Yourself Foreign Policy Heroes section of the Summer 2008 issue of YES!

Sister Cities International is a nonprofit citizen diplomacy network that creates and strengthens partnerships between U.S. and international communities.

Cover of YES! issue 41: Is the U.S. Ready for Human Rights?
Protect Human Rights

A just foreign policy means fair treatment under international law and respect for the human rights of all people. These groups provide resources to citizens who want to stop human rights abuses, such as torture, forced labor, unjust imprisonment, and the suspension of due process. See also the YES! Spring 2007 issue, Is the U.S. Ready for Human Rights?

Amnesty International documents human rights abuses around the world and organizes actions to stop them.

Human Rights Watch gathers information on human rights issues and organizes campaigns to stop abuses.

The Carter Center works on human rights, fights disease, and monitors elections when invited. The website has teacher resources, reports of elections, and other publications.

US Human Rights Network promotes US accountability to universal human rights standards. Underlying all their human rights work is a commitment to challenge the belief that the United States is inherently superior to other countries of the world, and assert that the U.S. government can gain from the domestic application of human rights.


Dig deeper into the issues. Learn about policy. Examine the numbers. Hear from the experts. Find out the truth about lives lost in Iraq, what “free trade” really means for our economy, what possibilities diplomacy holds for our future, and what the U.S. role is and could be in world affairs. and maintain counts of casualties in Iraq.

The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace is a think tank that promotes cooperation among nations, with an emphasis on security and welfare for all. With offices in Moscow, Beijing, Beirut, Brussels, and Washington, the Endowment has a multinational perspective on global welfare and security.

The Center for American Progress is a progressive think tank that provides reports and analysis on U.S. policy, domestic and foreign. It has a separate program for students called Campus Progress.

The Center for Economic and Political Investigations of Community Action (CIEPAC) communicates news of human rights issues in Chiapas, Mexico (Spanish).

The Center for International Policy's Americas Program maintains extensive information on North American border issues.

The Council of Canadians is a non-profit that works with grassroots activists, seniors, students, community groups, and unions on fair trade, clean water, energy security, public health care, and other social and economic issues.

Foreign Policy in Focus, a project of the Institute for Policy Studies, does research and advocacy on reform of U.S. foreign policy.

The Institute for Policy Studies is a progressive think tank that focuses on issues related to the environment, peace, and economic justice. The group produces analyses and commentary on progressive solutions.

The International Forum on Globalization is a research and education organization that provides analyses and critiques on the impacts of economic globalization, and organizes workshops and teach-ins.