Here we are at another anniversary of 9-11–the eleventh to be exact. What have we learned?
It has seemed to me that 9-11 represented the emergency call, 911. I have always believed that it was to be a wake-up call for America’s role in the world, for our foreign policy. I am not sure we have learned much.
The original 9-11 happened on the watch of President George W. Bush. He seemed not to be prepared, foreign policy-wise, and was lead by the nose by his neo-conservative foreign policy team. They almost immediately wanted a war with Iraq, a dream they had held for some time. Instead, out of revenge, we went to Afghanistan and then on to Iraq. We have left blood and havoc in our wake.
Under the watch of President Barak Obama we have done some better. Our combat troops our out of Iraq, although their leaving was negotiated under Pres. Bush. We still have mercenaries there. Most of our troops are due to leave Afghanistan in 2014. I am not proud of our actions regarding Libya. Civil rights and human rights have not fared very well under either president.
I am not convinced of American exceptionalism. We have done too much damage in the world at large and have not had the best track record in our own country–slavery, segregation, and our treatment of Native Americans being prime examples.
I am also not convinced that we have to act mainly out of our own national interest. What about the international interest, the interest of the world-at-large, of the planet? Wouldn’t that be in our national interest? How about interdependence?
All of the religions and ethical traditions and movements seem to have some form of what is called the Golden Rule: Treat others as one would like to be treated or, converesly, Do not treat others as one would not want to be treated. Most of us seem to think that this rule speaks to individuals. Yes, primarily, it does, but what about nations? Should the rule not also apply to them? I believe it should.
Many individuals have signed the Charter for Compassion that is based on the Golden Rule. There are even Compassionate Cities. Some countries are becoming involved. I hope that more and more sign on in affirmation and live it out.
I Declare World Peace. Peace is the way.