Is Peace Possible?
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.”– Mt 5:9
Having promised “change,” why is Mr. Obama continuing so many of the Bush and prior administration’s failed policies? Isn’t there a Christian solution? Yes, there is.
1. Stop bombing civilian targets. Not only is this immoral, it also enrages people and forms a recruiting point for our enemies. If we want to stop terrorism, we need to stop acting like terrorists. Most countries look to the U.S. for leadership and a moral example. We need to reclaim the moral high ground, instead of just exerting our military superiority.
2. Instead of more soldiers, send food and medical supplies to the troubled regions. Instead of spending billions on military solutions, spend it on helping to build up the economies of these countries. Recall what happened after the Pakistan earthquake in 2005. Many ordinary Pakistanis actually expected the U.S. to gloat and take advantage of their weakness. When we sent relief supplies instead, they were surprised and thought that maybe we weren’t so bad after all. People who live in such poverty respond to humane treatment and kindness.
3. Compel Israeli forces and settlers to withdraw from Palestinian lands. Israel’s oppression of Palestinians (with U.S. help) is the single greatest issue for Muslims worldwide, and the single greatest recruiting point for terrorism. Why should they love us when we continue to prop up their enemies with billions in aid and weapons? Congress will soon vote on the President’s new budget for fiscal year 2010, which includes 2.8 billion in aid for Israel (an increase of 225 million), despite Israel’s misuse of that aid (used against civilians) in violation of U.S. treaty. To send an email to every member of the Congressional Appropriations Committee, click here: http://endtheoccupation.org/article.php?id=2002
4. Engage in diplomacy, even with our enemies. The great lesson of the medieval Crusades (which we evidently still have not learned after a thousand years) is that diplomacy can work where force and violence fail, especially in the Middle East. Middle Easterners love to bargain, whether it’s in a bazaar or a palace, and they do not understand when we walk away from the table simply because they say No. No is the starting point for them; it is not a declaration of war.
Iran, for example, has a great deal in common with the U.S. In fact, we have a common enemy, called Al-Qaeda, who hate the Shia Muslims even more than they hate us. After 9-11, thousands of Iranians flooded the streets of Tehran holding candles in solidarity with what we had suffered. This was a prime opportunity for us to work with them to seek a solution. Instead, we chose to invade one of their neighbors and called Iran part of the “axis of evil.”
Diplomacy is the only solution when you’re dealing with tribal societies that lack a strong national loyalty. Tribal leaders in Afghanistan have little loyalty to the central government because it is so corrupt; they cannot count on their government for justice and aid. So why are we surprised when they continue to support the Taliban? Showing a different face and addressing the real problems these people face on the ground should be the U.S. strategy for success in the Middle East.
The problem is we’ve developed a war machine that has a voracious appetite; it must be fed. That’s why so much of the aid sent to the region ends up back in the U.S., funding corporations that are part of America’s vast corporate-military establishment. We also have a President inexperienced in dealing with the pressures applied to him by this war machine. Little wonder he has made the decisions he’s made, in spite of all his campaign promises. Pray that he will find his feet and be able to stand up to these corporate interests.
I call on the LORD in my distress, and he answers me.
Save me, LORD, from lying lips and from deceitful tongues.
What will he do to you, and what more besides, you deceitful tongue?
He will punish you with a warrior’s sharp arrows, with burning coals of the broom bush.
Woe to me that I dwell in Meshek, that I live among the tents of Kedar!
Too long have I lived among those who hate peace.
I am for peace; but when I speak, they are for war.