Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Why 2K?

(formerly titled - "Non-violence as a foreign policy - dialogue continued"). For those new to the blog since July you may need some background on today's post. Go here, then here, here, then here and finally here.

I'm using my 1/2 term break to return to this topic that gurufrisbee and I discussed back in July. For those of you that worked through gurufrisbee's thoughtful response entitled, "My final shots for a while" (is that irony or what? A post about non-violence entitled "my final shots...") will know that he passionately cares about non-violence and believes it should be the overriding factor in American foreign policy. In light of the 2000th US military death in Iraq, it is obvious we need to consider...Why 2K?

Because either "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." or we don't.

The key phrase is "all men" meaning all mankind. As a liberal, I want to increase justice, independence and freedom in our world. As a Christian, I believe that those things are good and therefore from God. I won't go so far as to say that God is on my side, but I do think God prefers justice, independence and freedom for his children over injustice, subservience and tyranny.

To say that Americans deserve these things and deserve them in increasing number and value while looking across the ocean and saying to our global neighbors, "bummer about that government you got there," but doing nothing makes us like the priest or Levite in the parable of Good Samaritan. It is the height of hypocrisy and smacks of racism. It is this type of liberalism - "cannibalism for the cannibals and liberalism for the liberals" - that drives so many people into the arms of conservatism.

Which brings us to the second part of the above clause in the Declaration of Independence, "--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."

I will immediatley grant gurufrisbee and all his supporters that non-violence resistance is superior to violence, but sometimes not an option. In some countries where the leadership has neither the courage nor heart to slaughter their own countrymen, like Ukraine and Georgia, non-violence resistance is all that is needed to institute a new government that will work toward improving the safety and happiness of its citizens.

Yet some countries (Iraq, Burma, Zimbabwe, Saudi Arabia, China) have a proven track record of killing their own people who agitate for political change. As a liberal I have two options, to mimic a conservative and say to those longing for justice, independence and freedom that they've got the government they deserve or I can offer my hand to help (which is the same thing I'd demand for the downtrodden and disadvantaged in my own country). It is clear that with the above countries, violent overthrow of the existing government is the only option. Non-violence has been tried and been violently put down. Those governments rule by fear alone. A popular uprising is impossible considering the disadvantage between weaponry now possessed by the population versus the nation-state. My 9mm won't do much against an M1A1 Abrams tank. Violent intervention by equally armed adversaries is the only way to establish a government that honors all mankind's unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

The non-violence as a foreign policy leaves me without a positive option. What can you promise it will do? Keep me from being attacked? Tell that to Kuwait and Tibet. Will it offer a new government? Tell that to the White Zimbabweans or Karen people of Burma.

I love non-violence as a foreign policy in theory, but I just can't subscribe to it in practice.

On a final note, gurufrisbee ended his last rebuttal with two quotes. One from our Lord Jesus and I dare not critique that. I know my place, but the second was from Ghandi, ""An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind." It is an excellent proverb to live by, but remember that eye for an eye is a warning for the initial attacker, not the defender. He was speaking to his people who wanted to attack the British and forcefully expel them. He wasn't talking to the victims of violence. He understood the circle of violence. He was warning the person that first strikes, that they too should be ready to lose an eye. I don't believe Ghandi was telling the victims to "take it" and stay blind while their fully-sighted attacker tyrannize them with a club. That should be every liberals warning to dictators out there. As soon as you attack your people, be prepared to lose your own eye.