Apr 2002; Revised July 2003; Jan 2006; Sept 2007; Dec 2007
A large fraction of people today live under feudal or semi-feudal systems of governance. Many local populations are near starvation amidst a world of plenty. Other peoples have practiced or are practicing genocide. Still other peoples and even states are engaged in, or support, international terrorism.
Several partly developed nations have internal problems of their own that leave their societies in danger and turmoil.
While some nations may have further to go than others, each would benefit from the best thinking of all of us in all walks of life.
There is nothing simple about building a nation. But it seems evident that infrastructure must come first in a variety of ways. Some examples of the infrastructure needed:
- Agriculture, industry, and services;
- Health system;
- Educational system;
- Individual freedom and liberty for all;
- Stable representative governance based on realities;
- Free trade in a market economy.
Representative Henry Waxman is one of the few who seems to take his congressional oversight responsibility seriously. We quote from an interview on Huffington Post
Henry Waxman: "We've been looking at three general themes in our Oversight Investigations. One, we want to look at waste, fraud, and abuse of tax payers dollars whether it's reconstruction in Iraq, or a waste of money by the Coast Guard in building ships that don't float or the government response to Hurricane Katrina."
"The second general theme that we have pursued is whether the government agencies are doing their job to represent the people, to serve the public interests and not the special interests. I'm a strong supporter of government; I know what an important difference it can make in the lives of people in a very beneficial way, and it angers me when we see incompetence and mismanagement of government agencies that once were looked upon with great pride like FEMA and FDA and are now tainted by cronyism and failure."
"And then the third theme is that we've got to hold this administration accountable. One of the main purposes of oversight is to provide the checks and balances between the independent branches of government, and I think Oversight is -- investigation -- may be in some ways even more important than legislating because we're making sure that the laws are carried out, we're trying to figure out what other laws may be needed, and we're trying to keep people honest. Government in a democracy functions best when it's open and transparent and accountable, and with this Bush administration we've had an administration, in its zeal for power, try to operate in secrecy and without being accountable."
Peace-times, war-times, or terror-times, all demand leadership.
- provide reassurance as they prepare their people for times and battles to come;
- develop accurate information gathering systems;
- put substance ahead of form or appearance;
- preserve their credibility by working effectively on problems of both external and internal origin;
- attack the root causes of conflict;
- Recognize the primary economic issues that include energy related natural resources. Present technology employing solar power could achieve energy independence for the US for the cost of the Iraq war--a great leader would have gone down that road instead of getting mired down in Iraq. A great leader could make this happen at today's prices using today's technologies with only a 30-40% improvement.
- Deal with political issues, specifically governance. Dictatorships and empires alike stir up those who are humiliated and have the wherewithal to fight back using their weapon of last resort, TERROR, from their allies of last resort, RADICAL MONOTHEISTS from whatever branch or sect of monotheism. While some of these people are sociopathic, most are not. A great leader would defuse political conflict, not add to it.
- Recognize that religious involvements arise from the previous bullet. This contributor to terrorism is secondary. A great leader would nevertheless work with religious leaders and enlist their support in moving the world toward economic parity among all nations and all peoples.
- look for permanent solutions;
- act decisively;
- embrace and use the social "tools" that are known, the works of Varshney for example. The UN has begun; guess who has not! For the next generation, numerous child development tools are available for providing balanced internal- and external- loci of controls of their psyches.
- carefully put statesmanship ahead of politics.
Great leaders do not:
- put their own interests first;
- demand unquestioning obedience; regard critics as traitors;
- state: "There will be more terrorist attacks" while doing little of substance to anticipate or prevent them;
- hide behind walls of secrecy;
- lead by cameo and photo-op appearances;
- move their private agendas forward opportunistically hidden benesth verbal verbiage;
- bully and alienate their allies.
When weak leaderships persist, societies begin to decline. Stability in governance is thus an overriding issue in nation-building or nation-renewal. The twentieth century experience illustrates these features vividly. Relatively speaking, the Third World declined as Europe, parts of the Pacific rim, China, and the Americas built and renewed.
Modern constitutional democracies ensure competent leadership by providing means for change. Their constitutions provide the ultimate law of the land -- so far even through hiccups in leadership. Effective constitutions override the rules of the tribe as well as those of the feudal lords, industrial robber barons, and all religious sects. At the same time, constitutions provide for majority rule while protecting the rights of minorities.
As individuals, we can grow within ourselves and interactively to be ready to lead wisely if and when our turn comes. As a nation, we can in this way provide effective back-up for leaders who fail.
What can we do as individuals and small groups to provide for our brethren on this earth?
Collectively, and it can only be collectively, we can transform our nation into a responsible world citizen and lead the entire world to peace. Hallmarks of such national citizenship include:
- ENERGY: Devloping means for living within our share of the world energy budget.
- POPULATION: Finding means to limit world population to well below what is sustainable at a subsistence level.
- BIOSPHERE: Protecting the environment. The biosphere is limited; to puncture its limits is to invite natural disasters. Pollution and contamination reduce its limits and bring ill health and and ill will.
- ECONOMIC ACTIVITY: Leveling economic activities across all societies and among all nations.
- ECONOMIC GAPS: Reducing the extreme economic gaps within and between societies that currently contribute to the radicalization of their peoples.
- TOLERANCE: Celebrating the natural differences that exist among people by eliminating bigotry, racism, and sexism.
- EXTREMISM: Cooperating with other governments to eliminate the grips extremists hold on national power today whether, secular, economic, social, or religious.
- EDUCATION: Equalizing educational opportunities for all world citizens. Include elements of World-Citizenship, Locus of Control, history and independent thinking in the curricula.
- DIPLOMACY: Treating other nations, their people, societies, and customs with respect. Effect diplomacy via Dialogue.
If you would like to play a more active or political role, visit:
- Anti-war links www.towerofbabel.com
- Cross Cultural Solutions "Volunteering overseas is the chance for [us] to make a personal contribution at the global level, to experience hands-on learning about another country and culture, and to exchange ideas with people [we] might not otherwise meet."
- Moveon Joan Blades and Wes Boyd. "MoveOn helps busy people be effective citizens. MoveOn is committed to broadening participation to counter the influence of moneyed interests and partisan extremes."
- International ANSWER Antiwar activism site.
- Peace Corps "Today's Peace Corps is more vital than ever, stepping into new countries like East Timor, working in emerging and essential areas such as information technology and business development, and committing more than 1,000 new Volunteers..."
- United for Peace and Justice "United for Peace and Justice is a coalition of more than 650 local and national groups throughout the United States who have joined together to oppose our government's policy of permanent warfare and empire-building."
Posted by RoadToPeace on Monday, January 09, 2006.