With history as a guide, a more peaceful world in the 21st century will require intelligent and disciplined political leadership from the major powers
A Telling Thoughts Prelude
Some Americans will no doubt be offended by this Australian as a foreigner expressing criticism of United States Foreign Policy. However as the saying goes “Needs must”. Complainants will most likely be disciples of the John McCain and Geo W Bush variety. GOP followers who blindly and irresponsibly accept the mantra promulgated by Bush from a script written by puppeteer Dick Cheney. quote
“If you are not with us / you must be against us”.
A real Hollywood line if ever I saw one. So called grown men acting out their fantasies; costing real men their lives as a result.
What a different world it would be today if such fools and dangerous men were in the White House in 1940 – 1944. And what a disastrous legacy they have bequested to the United States. There is unfinished business here, following the general election there needs to be a serious accounting of the Bush administration.
American politicans are not entirely blameless for the present state of affairs. In future they will need to ensure compulsory voting is enacted to represent the true national voice of the American people. Voting isn’t just a right, it is an obligation every eligible citizen has to their country. The right to vote is about citizens taking responsibility for the people they elect and then holding them accountable.
Fortunately the national mindset in America is changing, people are becoming more engaged politically having decided that change is urgent, and that voting is the only means of effectively having their voice heard.
The United States of America
From around the time of the end of the cold war, American politicians developed foreign policy positions driven by the crazy idea that the country’s military superiority laced with threats could replace diplomacy or the important international task of studying and understanding other people in other countries and other ways of living outside the American experience. e.g. Tribalism and its conflict with the concept of a democratic state as one simple example.
What has this mindset delivered to the American people? Nothing but trouble and strife. Americans don’t need an outsider to explain their pain. The world is witness to it and equally concerned.
American leaders need to appreciate that any attempt to impose their brand of democracy on others, unless invited is bound to fail. Democracy means different things to different people and is often in conflict with centuries old cultural and religious divides in many parts of the world. One size does not need to fit all, to achieve a more tolerant and peaceful world. Change always takes time, engagement, example, trust and understanding.
Security in a changed environment
Unlike Japan’s 2nd world war suicide pilots “The Kamakazi”, today’s suicide bomber is close to invisible and can strike at any time and place without warning. While suicide bombers may not possess the firepower of an aircraft carrier, they have the ability to create doubt, fear and panic in a population apart from the immediate target and as such are extremely potent psychological weapons.
In combating an invading force, these human weapon delivery systems are indistinguishable from ordinary citizens going about their daily affairs – people are their camouflage. Neither are they constricted by rules of engagement. Their mission is clear – kill the enemy – take no prisoners – In their minds the Geneva Convention does not apply. They view themselves as heroes of a civilian militia repelling an invading force. And more often than not, they operate with the support of the local communities.
The arrival of the suicide bomber supported by modern communications systems such as the internet, the mobile phone and the ease of international travel, has empowered anti- American groups like never before.
With history as a guide, a more peaceful world in the 21st century will require intelligent and disciplined political leadership from major powers. Leadership which understands that war should always be a last resort. A leadership strategy which practises diplomacy as the most effective vehicle for international communication and problem solving to avoid the mistakes of the past.
Of course these are skills all countries must improve and put into practice if the world is to avoid the misery and waste of human life to which it bore witness in the preceding one hundred years. It all depends on the quality of leadership.
Which brings us to Senator John McCain & Senator Barack Obama and their comparative qualifications to be President & Commander in Chief of the United States of America.
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