In between quips this morning, media mogul and philanthropist Ted Turner called for nuclear disarmament and said that Iraq is "no better off" today than it was before U.S. military intervention.
Turner delivered the 141st Landon Lecture to a less-than-capacity McCain Auditorium at Kansas State University. Turner is best known as the founder of CNN, the first round-the-clock news network, and as a philanthropist.
Media mogul Ted Turner uses his powers of communication this morning to tell K-State officials a story before delivering the 141st Landon Lecture in McCain Auditorium. Staff photo by Kori Newby
He said the world is at a "critical juncture" and compared the situation to a baseball team that is down two runs in the seventh inning. That situation is serious, he said, but not hopeless, and coming out of it is difficult but doable. He then noted several ways people could work together to make that happen.
In addition to voicing his opinions on nuclear weapons and the war in Iraq, Turner also encouraged people to think about family planning and overpopulation, and said poverty and hunger need to be abolished. He also said that energy sources other than those from fossil fuels should become a priority and that water should be conserved.
He said the U.S. and Russia still have thousands of nuclear weapons pointed at each other on a "hair trigger." He warned that a nuclear war could "kill everything on the planet" and said it could take place in an afternoon.
He said he was afraid that someone in a position of power could make the mistake of launching them, particularly President George Bush.
"You have to question ... the President on a lot of decisions he's made," Turner said. "He might just think launching those weapons would be a good thing to do ... he thought Iraq was."
He said the eight super powers should sign a treaty and give the International Atomic Energy Agency the authority to regulate them. He said if he were in charge — and he made clear he isn't and will never be — "we'd be rid of them."
He said war is an outdated form of diplomacy that has stopped working. "You would think that we would have learned that in Vietnam," he said.
Turner said the authority of superpowers of tomorrow will be derived from things like education, health care and science and technology — and that that's where the U.S. should be focusing its efforts.
"That's what's going to be on top in the future," he said.
Things are becoming increasingly globalized, he said, and if humanity is going to survive, its members are going to have to work together.
"We are going to survive together, or we are going to perish together," he said.
Copyright © 2005 Manhattan Mercury