| by Mahboob A. Khawaja
Towards Understanding the Political Monsters of History
( April 1, 2014, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Contemporary superpowers are mere assumed names and abstract titles, not the compelling reality of the global political affairs. Why nothing good comes out of the combined resources of the global institutional working? One perspective could be that if nations of the world are fragmented, soon they will be stagnated and the global warriors would dominate and control them effectively for all purposes. Imagine, if the 21st century informed global community had proactive, moral and intellectual leadership, the global mankind would have embraced the ideas and ideals of future-making to transform the 20th century’s individual endeavors into measurable advancement and to pave the ways for the coming of the 21st century knowledge-based changes as progressive civilizations. In his internationally acclaimed classic work, Professor John W. Drapper (A History of the Intellectual Development of Europe, NY Harper Brothers, 1864), of the University of New York portrayed the human development process as “man is being treated as an individual” and not an embodiment of collective transformation leading past immersion into making of the present - and the present unfolding the future. Global humanity is a helpless victim in a world divided for socio-economic and political hegemonic controls by the few egoistic political entities.
There are no conscientious leaders accountable to the interests of the global mankind. Ironically, with time and opportunities on their side, politically recognized leading powers at the UN Security Council forum failed to usher a new era of change and peaceful co-existence. Disdained and fragmented role models produce discouraging outcomes to the aspirations of the well informed global community. The observation strikes powerful resemblance to the 21st century changing landscape of the modern era but highly irresistible to change and new spirit of global community embracing co-existence and understanding in a global context. European nationalism and Anglo-Saxon racial and ethnic diversity continued to overwhelm the EU configuration and political agenda. If the human developmental progress is viewed in an historical mirror, Professor Drapper makes a candid observation: “that it is a history of the progress of ideas and opinions from a point of view heretofore almost entirely neglected.” All political actors claim to be working for the mankind. Yet, few could relate themselves to the people if a reality check is applied by critical analysts. Human progress is not confined to economic and military adventures and triumphs unless, the Europeans and American policy makers dream to be living in the past. One cannot glorify the insanity of the past – the Two World Wars which consumed untold planned bloodbath and countless pains and sufferings of the global mankind. The question is how to eject from the sadistic past unto a promising future? Nobody could predict how to safeguard the interests of the besieged mankind from the coming of the WW3 – more catastrophic than any rational imagination even though scientists and philosophers claim to have the unknown capacity to deal with the future. One wonders, if Immanuel Kant was more imaginative and intelligent some 200 years earlier to think of the best of the mankind in “Perpetual Peace” plan? The prevalent global realities speak of a contemporary world devoid of rational thinking and priorities for peacemaking and peace-building. With countless resources of knowledge and intellect, the world has become a dangerous place – a touch button age capability to undo the entire mankind as if it was burden on the shoulders of the traditional warmongers affluent throughout the industrialized nations. Political and secretive war manufacturing industries are flourishing but peace is not the priority of any assembly line major establishments.
Bewildered Thinking and Priorities
It is not just that the essential priorities are wrong but so are the mindsets and intellectual pursuits of the elected political leaders managing the global political governance. All politicians are problematic and most often fearful of the unknown. They need problems to define their role and relevance to the society. They hire specialized agents of influence to manage the news media but never learn to manage the leadership portfolio for which they lack intellectual capacity to understand its imperatives except to win the elections. Most politicians hire advisors to combat media related transitory challenges but hardly know how to practice an effective leadership role once in power. The diversion leads to moral and intellectual camouflage and stagnation in real politics. The citizenry often unable to sense what went wrong with the elected leaders when they fail to lead in any measurable outcomes for the good of the people. They hold peace conferences but follow the war agenda. Too many academic discussions consume time and energies leaving educators exhausted for not being able to see any light beyond and above the immediate box of moral and intellectual paradoxes. At times, we are too occupied with dead artifacts and convenient scenarios to discuss peace and the concerns of the global community rather than overriding the sponsored comforts of higher standard of living to pursue change and reformation of the obsolete thoughts and priorities. A reality check frightens the whole of the mankind of the unthinkable consequences what if too many Fukushima disasters become unmanageable. Politicians, scientists and hired experts will debate while the larger parts of the living humanity will be victimized by their failure to perceive the reality.
Man and Humanity Whipped by Political Compulsions
Man is the nucleus of the concept of humanity and together the narrative exposes the human consciousness and reality to be part of the splendid Universe in which we exist and aspire to establish a peaceful and coherent relationship of co-existence. Despite over centuries of factual knowledge and abundance of empirical observations and critical assessment, we the human species have been incapacitated to think and prioritize our efforts for a lasting and peaceful relationship with the surrounding environment. One of the important factors in this ordeal is the missing understanding of origin of Man and life in relation to the existence of the Universe. God created Man - the intelligent one and with reason, the Universe and all that is visible or unknown and its functional systems and man is held accountable. Albert Einstein on Human Being offered this candid insight:
“A human being is a part of the whole, called by us, "Universe," a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest -- a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such achievement is in itself a part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security."
Political temptations and compulsion can enforce evil’s supremacy but it can never acquire victory as a permanent factor. The pursuit of a durable change needs the comprehension of the phenomenon of Change in human affairs. Immanuel Kant was true to his belief in Perpetual Peace and so were the people who applauded his visionary thoughts at time when the Europeans desperately needed an end to barbarian wars and to imagine of peace as a way of New Thinking. Ironically, the world organizations are led by self-centered and highly incompetent people to maintain the status-quo and do nothing people as was the case of the League of Nation. There are daily bloodbaths of precious human lives in Syria, Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan, Pakistan and elsewhere but no strategic revulsion is taking tangible form and shape to stop these atrocities.
William T. Hathaway (“America is under Attack!” Dissident Voice: 5/31/2012), author of A World of Hurt and an adjunct Professor of American Studies, University of Oldenburg, Germany, attempts to clarify how warmongering by the US and Britain have culminated havoc world of action-reactionary warfare in Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Middle East and now against Iran:
“The USA and Britain committed similar atrocities in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Indonesia, and Afghanistan. We overthrew their governments, installed dictators, undermined their economies — all to strengthen our business interests. In every nation where we now have terrorism, we had first assaulted them. America is under attack only because it is on the attack. It’s no wonder they hate us. Imagine how we would feel if a foreign country were doing this to us. We’d be fighting back any way we could…… If people knew this — knew how easy it would be to stop terrorism — they wouldn’t want to fight this war. That’s why the media ignore al-Qaeda’s demands. Western leaders don’t want people to see that the war’s real purpose isn’t to stop terrorism but to control the resources of this region. They actually want the terrorism because that gives them the excuse they need — the threat of an evil enemy.”
Ross Anderson (“We’re Underestimating the Risk of Human Extinction” The Atlantic, March, 2012), opens up the discussion with an alarming sensitivity to global peace and security of the mankind:
“Unthinkable as it may be, humanity, every last person, could someday be wiped from the face of the Earth. We have learned to worry about asteroids and super volcanoes, but the more-likely scenario, according to Nick Bostrom, a professor of philosophy at Oxford, is that we humans will destroy ourselves. Bostrom, who directs Oxford’s Future of Humanity Institute, has argued over the course of several papers that human extinction risks are poorly understood and, worse still, severely underestimated by society. Some of these existential risks are fairly well known, especially the natural ones. But others are obscure or even exotic. Most worrying to Bostrom is the subset of existential risks that arise from human technology, a subset that he expects to grow in number and potency over the next century….. Bostrom sees technology as a bridge, a bridge we humans must cross with great care, in order to reach new and better modes of being. In his work, Bostrom uses the tools of philosophy and mathematics, in particular probability theory, to try and determine how we as a species might achieve this safe passage.”
Are the technological advancements more dangerous than the unpredictable thought of a sadistic mindset? Throughout the human history, all major wars were instigated by few monsters of history without facing the ultimate consequences of their acts of insanity against a rational global humanity. Are the 21st century political geniuses more redundant and backward that they are unable to speak against the political drudgery and wickedness of the few warlords to destroy the humanity? Surely, Robert Burns, the poet (“Man’s inhumanity to Man”, from his poem Man was made to Mourn: A Dirge, 1785), knew better and must have had unraveling moral and intellectual understanding of the human nature and interests of the global mankind.
'Many and sharp the num'rous ills
Inwoven with our frame!
More pointed still we make ourselves
Regret, remorse, and shame!
And Man, whose heav'n-erected face
The smiles of love adorn, -
Man's inhumanity to man
Makes countless thousands mourn!
Man fighting Man for the Survival of the Fittest
Paul Street, Chicago-based an independent researcher, author, historian and journalist (“For Intelligent Civilization – On Earth.” Information Clearing House: 11/ 13/ 2013), attempts to expand the divergent perspectives to more specifics and notable factors impacting the contemporary ideological thinking and system of political governance:
- The small but super-wealthy and powerful human elite’s propagation of an ideology of endless economic growth that functioned as a false substitute for the equality and economic security that most humans desired.
- Human capitalists’ reliance on constant economic expansion (growth as material reality, not just ideology) to sustain their profits in their constant competitive struggle.
- Capitalism’s reliance on “an economy of built-in waste” including: “(1) a gargantuan and ever-expanding sales effort penetrating into the structure of production itself; (2) planned obsolescence (including planned psychological obsolescence); (3) production of luxury goods for an opulent minority; (4) prodigious military and penal-state spending; and (5)…a whole speculative superstructure in the form of finance, insurance, and real estate market.”
- Capitalism’s inherent short-term fixation and inability to make long-term plans and to set social, democratic, and ecological limits on private/corporate profit in accord with the common good of humanity and other living thing – problems exacerbated by the shift to neo-liberal and financial capitalism in the last quarter of the 20th century.
- The mutually assured global inaction imposed by the division of the world into competing capitalist states, each loathe to make environmental concessions for fear that their rivals would be advantaged.
International Institutions and Accountability to the Mankind
If the global institutions were founded on the principle of Man being the supreme creation of God having moral, social, spiritual and legal sets of accountability, perhaps, the conduct of global affairs would have been based on clearly defined laws and systems of governance which would have articulated a fair and just balance of system for all of the living mankind. That is not the case anywhere in the global system. Man’s biggest aspirations were to acquire peace and security through institutionalized approaches and to ensure that history of the past error judgments and sadistic brutality of man killing man will not be repeated. That conscious realization is absent from the global thinking and observations of the outcomes of the major international institutions. None of the global institutions seems to reflect the sacred nature of life and the role of Man in preserving life and its encompassing standards as the pivotal role of obligations on the planet. To reflect at the Nature of Things, the universe encompasses many challenging opposites which exist and operate in peace and harmony: time, space, sun, moon, gravitational rotation of the earth, greed and honesty, fire, water, air, sand, floods, earthquakes, tsunami, disasters, explosions, wars, destructions, bombing and all that can be imagined to destroy the mankind and endanger the continued movement of the splendid, inspiring and harmonious Universe. How is it that Man – being a chief creation of God cannot co-exist with fellow Man? Is Man by nature a blood thirsty creature?
Could Man and the Humanity learn from the past ignorance and arrogance and redirect their thoughts and energies and passion towards positive Thinking, peaceful change and adaptability to the future?
The living humanity is keen to THINK and worry about the present and the Future. Do the contemporary leaders offer any HOPE for a peaceful future? None of the existing global institutions - be it the EU, the NATO, The Islamic Conference, The Arab League, The UNO, The Organization of the Americas or the European Security Conference or any other extend any tangible optimism to the humanity. Leaders once in power tend to behave like maniacs and runaway from their election-based political undertakings. They seem to worry more about the prospect of getting re-elected than the pains of the besieged mankind. In the 21st century age of information and knowledge driven advanced culture, Man, Humanity and the Universe appear at crossroads. Global institutions are fast becoming inept and redundant as few sadistic rulers and the war economies of the few cruel superpower nations enlarge their scope of operations to planned killings, global warming on rise and rolling possibilities of extinction of human life are challenging the Thinking people of the globe. The solutions must come out of New Thinking, New Visions and New strategies for the future-making. Sadly enough, the 21st century so far does not seem to have produced any leaders of vision, integrity and men of Peace and Humanity. What a tragic loss for the mankind if Dr. Martin Luther King was not gunned down and still alive, he could have played that role model. Dr. Martin Luther King was a pioneer of non-violent peace movement for the equality of humanity beyond time and space. Perhaps, Americans could have learnt and benefited more from his ideas and ideals rather than erecting his symbolic statue at a Washington memorial site. In his remarkable address to oppose the Vietnam War, Dr. Martin Luther King (“A Time to Break the Silence - Beyond Vietnam” 4/4/1967) offered this moving foresight to challenge the doctrine of war:
“Over the past two years, as I have moved to break the betrayal of my own silences and to speak from the burnings of my own heart, as I have called for radical departures from the destruction of Vietnam, many persons have questioned me about the wisdom of my path. At the heart of their concerns this query has often loomed large and loud: Why are you speaking about war, Dr. King? Why are you joining the voices of dissent? Peace and civil rights don't mix, they say. Aren't you hurting the cause of your people, they ask? And when I hear them, though I often understand the source of their concern, I am nevertheless greatly saddened, for such questions mean that the inquirers have not really known me, my commitment or my calling. Indeed, their questions suggest that they do not know the world in which they live.”
(Dr. Mahboob A. Khawaja specializes in global security, peace and conflict resolution with keen interests in Islamic-Western comparative cultures and civilizations, and author of several publications including the latest: Global Peace and Conflict Management: Man and Humanity in Search of New Thinking. Lambert Publishing Germany, May 2012)