Moment of Truth In Afghanistan, Iran, Israel-Palestine, SE Asia, Africa, FSU

http://ow.ly/npFP Afghan War Needs New Strategy: US Commander McChrystal

I include many areas where the world faces huge challenges, including the former Soviet Union (FSU).

We make a mistake when we segment challenges. One boat rocks others. We may not be gaia but there is some truth to our interdependence.

In all these situations, violence is active or incipient. In all of them, there is no solution being proposed that promises an end to the prospect of more of the same.

To cite examples:

There is every possibility that Iran will remain firm in refusing to stop enriching uranium and this will activate Israel eventually. If that happens the US may not be far behind.

There is every chance that the civil violence (if that is not an oxymoron) in many areas of the FSU will continue and that worsening economic conditions there will exacerbate conflict. Again involving other nations including the US.

In Africa there are at least five situations in which any notion of rights and decent behavior is a pipe dream without international action that would involve the US.

In Asia, Burma and Sri Lanka are merely the most conspicuous examples of continuing repression. I have not even mentioned North Korea.

And in Afghanistan we have the head US military man suggesting that with more resolve and manpower we can succeed — a truth that is no more likely to hold than the belief that Iraq will be a stable and unified democracy over time.

No serious thinker following Nietzsche and living through the Holocaust believes that the world can permanently weather a continuation of the dynamics which gave rise to the cataclysmic wars of the 20th Century.

We cannot weather full economic breakdown and a global nuclear winter.

How then are we to proceed?

I see no way other than for our President to declare a global emergency and address the underlying issue of a global military-industrial complex and a reliance on force that is fueled by governments still operating with 20th century notions that the sword is the instrument of peace and justice.

President Obama needs to declare a restructuring of the moral apparatus of the world. Realpolitik must be seen as the politics of negotiation and peace. Religion must be seen as the proximate capacity to dream, not as a license to kill. Economies must be made to create sustainable communities, not fortress societies.

Only the leadership of courageous persons can accomplish the movement needed today. Specifically, in Afghanistan we need to understand that there cannot be a military victory, period. In the future the only real victories will be those of aroused peoples who insist that the ways of war be permanently shelved. This will mean more movements like those in Iran following the most recent elections.

The President needs to stand at the helm of a global civil rights movement. He needs to show that realism is not inconsistent with this. He needs to hark back to Eisenhower and identify the military-industrial complex as the true enemy of civilization.

This is a moment of truth. This is not one person’s belief. It is the stance of all who have lived under the lash of the global war machine. We must reject the leadership of those for whom belief in force has overcome belief in themselves.

The moment of truth is a reappropriation of who we are and of our inherent possibilities.


African Take on Obama Victory

The African take on the Obama victory is looking like a major boost to a generalized hope, not simply a sense that more attention will be paid to the travails of that continue to rack the continent.

Kofi Akodor of the Daily Graphic (Ghana) asks all black people, “Shall we begin to see ourselves in a different world, a world of hope, prosperity and progress after Obama’s achievement?”

Answering that question in the affirmative may be a greater gain for Africans than any aid that may come from having “our brother” in the White House.



Atheist Proposes A Religion for Africa

This is interesting, at least to me. An atheist scores crushing passivity in Africa and calls for more missionaries, fearing that without religion machetes and cellphones and blood in the sand or jungle will be all that is left.

But read his description of religion:

Christianity, post-Reformation and post-Luther, with its teaching of a direct, personal, two-way link between the individual and God, unmediated by the collective, and unsubordinate to any other human being, smashes straight through the philosphical/spiritual framework I’ve just described. It offers something to hold on to to those anxious to cast off a crushing tribal groupthink. That is why and how it liberates.


What he is describing is most certainly true and if this was actually Christianity I would be much happier to give up my personal battle with theology and its institutional expression. However the proactive individualism and iconoclasm that the worthy writer advocates– his name is Matthew Parris — is precisely the mindset of the person who has rejected religion. He is advocating post-Christianity!

The church expression of religion in Africa is stalwart fundamentalism, for the most part. Or creedal orthodoxy of one sort or another. At its worst, African Christianity serves as a bastion of homophobia. At its best, it stands for a commitment to help people via conventional charity and humanitarian relief, a strategy which either fails or is a holding action.

I am glad someone is thinking about the problem, but I am brought up short by the proposed solution. Maybe we should work to make all religion fit Mr. Parris’s description. Count me in.

Hat Tip to Arts and Letters Daily