Niccolo Machiavelli’s “The Prince” has become the modern political “play-book” for U.S. politicians (and many other politicians across the world), but it is an out-dated and pessimistic approach for guiding our Nation and the World into a more cooperative progressive era. The War on Terror has become a means for Machiavellian and Orwellian principles to gain further credence and apparent justification in our Nation, but the “ends” do not always justify the “means.” Thus, we must ask ourselves as a Nation, and as a people, at what cost will we ever when a war on terror?
America should not be the “policeman of the world” with super-surveillance capabilities, and then chastise other nations for engaging in the same types of espionage activities. We should not spy on our allies, potential allies, or even our enemies, if we want to insure the internet continues to be a venue for world-wide communication, progress, and reform.
We should not topple democratically elected regimes simply because those who were elected do not support some of our Western ideals. We should not support foreign regimes with US tax payer money, and then go to war with them when we realize over and over again that we didn’t buy their loyalty. Ho Chi Minh, Manuel Noriega, and Saddam Hussein, are but a few examples.
We should not allow a U.S. military base to be used as a terrorist prison where detainees are forced-fed to be kept alive, and some are held for years without any form of trial. We should not tolerate the use of over-seas military bases, battlefield prisons, or secret prisons to hold enemies of the state and to tolerate “enhanced negotiation techniques” -a.k.a. torture. These places of immoral darkness, where water-boarding, Quran burning, and other humiliating tactics are tolerated or encouraged, have only served to dehumanize ourselves, and to thwart our Nation’s founding principles.
The George W. Bush “gloves are off” approach to foreign policy should not be perpetuated by American leaders moving forward, because our wars in the Middle East need to come to an end as soon as possible. We need not repeat the mistakes of the Crusades in the modern era. We need not learn the same old lessons over and over again.
The only way to end the war on terror is for the US to embrace a fundamental change in foreign policy. We must see the people’s of Israel, the people’s of the Muslim world, and the people of the Christian world as equals. Religious tolerance, compassion, and cooperation need to be our guiding principles moving forward, rather than policy decisions that foster intolerance, hate, and division. We cannot continue to have a “divide and conquer” approach to foreign policy in the Middle East simply because of our insatiable demand for one lucrative natural resource -i.e. petroleum.
America’s fears, and petroleum addiction has led us down a dark path where our own policy decisions have fostered fundamentalist hatred for the US on a scale not seen since the Crusades. Our foreign policy decisions have far too often been unjust in the modern era, because our leaders were guided by Machiavellian considerations, rather than by elevated standards of character. As a result, the US has a long and sordid history of toppling foreign leaders, or assisting in the coups of various political regimes (I’m sure Machiavelli would be proud, but it is a political fact that should make it difficult for any American, who doesn’t have their “head in the sand,” to stomach). Likewise, is it any surprise that a few disenfranchised people living in some of those sovereign nations tampered with by the US would chose to take the radical “next-step” and bring the fight to our doorstep?
I am not being an apologist for terrorists, but I am trying to shed some light on what factors in our own foreign policy have led to the radicalization of the Muslim world. We are making more enemies than friends when we use Machiavellian approaches in our foreign policy rather than being guided by a democratic agenda. What is called for at this point, should we revisit the mistakes of past American exceptionalism endeavors? Should we forget our own history, and continue to make the same mistakes? Or, at this very moment when America’s influence is starting to wane in the global community, is it not finally time to advocate for us all to finally turn our backs on violent 15th century political philosophies, and out-dated modes of thinking. Is it not time for us all to finally embrace a more globalist approach that places all the countries of the world on an equal footing in a new global community?
If we are to continue to act alone, or in alliance with other smaller Western & Eastern countries threatened by their larger neighbors, then the philosophies of “might makes right,” and “divide and conquer” will continue at the world’s and our own detriment. A global community must be our new aspiration moving forward. To make this happen, we must work with other nations to create the right global environment for tolerance, compromise, and compassion to alter the “mutually assured destruction” (MAD) path we are currently on.
It is a new millennium, and for the benefit of our kid’s kids, we must have the courage to stand up, and compel our political leaders to end the perpetual wars that will only plague our Nation (and the world) for years to come if we don’t drastically change the way we do business politically, economically, spiritually, culturally, and environmentally within the international community. The time for grass-roots global reform through the world-wide-web is now. The internet is currently used by several countries of the world as a massive spying device to keep track of people they deem to be potentially untrustworthy, dangerous, or trouble-makers. Why can’t the same technology be used by the Peoples of the World in a democratic fashion to unify the global community in a way that finally allows us to transcend the old Nation-state paradigm, and replace it with a more modern (if not more ancient) direct-democratic approach?
Are we afraid that Nigerian Muslims will have vastly different needs than Mississippi Christians once they start voting on issues important to them? Perhaps, but I bet both groups would like to see less corruption, less governmental intrusions into their private lives, and better housing, health care, and educations for their family members. Yes, in some ways, throughout the world, we are very different, but in all the most important ways, we are a world of people in need of better systems of government, better economic and financial systems, and better infrastructure and global solutions.
Our leaders must lead us towards a better tomorrow, or get out-of-the-way! We cannot allow them to perpetuate the Machiavellian mistakes of the past, until at last, we have no means of building a “brighter” tomorrow together for our progeny. It will take a globalist political movement, orchestrated at the grass-roots level, by all the people’s of the world, at the same time, demanding change, and using modern technologies to communicate, organize, plan, implement, and fine-tune the new paradigm. It will be resisted by those with the most to lose from real change, and thus, it will be immediately perceived as the next major threat to the status-quo. However, “[g]reat spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds” (Albert Einstein).
Thus, I join others in the global movement to propose the next great paradigm shift (or evolution) in our human development. The time has come for us all to think less of ourselves as autonomous nation-states at perpetual war with each other out of necessity over finite resources. We must recognize the boundless potential of the human imagination, we must fully implement current energy resource technologies across the globe (especially in the third world), and we must find new global resources with further advances in Science and Technology. Likewise, we must use the modern technologies we now have to empower all the Peoples of the World to unite, and demand better living, working, and environmental conditions from the World’s leaders, so everyone will be able to have the basic necessities to be able to “pursue happiness” in this dynamic and diverse world.