Notable Excerpt from the article below:
"Once we identify principles rather than benefits as our goals, and once we mark wrong values as our enemies instead of people or groups, then we have a much stronger basis for joint efforts which can bear fruit locally as well as globally."
Blogger's question: What Might the US Do NOW?
Regarding what the US can do or comment (or think), I can only offer the long-term perspective of an armchair philosopher, but here is what comes to me as my humble opinion:
GTMO: In the long run, the worst effect of GTMO tortures is going to be felt in America itself as it may corrode the respect for law and no society can grow once it loses respect for law. Point to think about: today, children in Pakistan are learning about the triumph of our "Long March" for the restoration of judiciary (ask me for a lead if you don't know about this). Thirty years from now, the generation in the driving seat in Pakistan will be one whose "sense of life" is made up of such sentiments. They will make their own mistakes but you can see what their default frame of reference will be? Unfortunately, compared to this, the average child in the US today is being brought up on defending GTMO and extrajudicial tactics and (God forbid) Ayn Rand!
Conclusion #1 : The effects of GTMO can corrode the American society from within, and perhaps it will be a very good thing to see if there has been any change in the local crime scene inside America itself since the beginning of the War Against Terror. If there has been, maybe (this) can tell something about how collective psyche is being shaped...?
GAZA/ISRAEL: America was the first voice against European colonialism (if I am correct) in 1776. Unfortunately, the problem with Israel is that arguably it is the only modern state which is based on the principle of foreign occupation and which cites a colonial certificate, i.e. the Balfour Declaration, as its justification to exist. That is the root of the problem for the Middle East, and it is unfortunately being misrepresented because some of the parties representing the "oppressed" are themselves not very clear-headed, and some might be guilty of other things themselves.
Conclusion #2 : Without any external pressure in either direction, and entirely on its own, and with an independent and objective mind, America needs to revise its understanding of Israel not in the light of sentiment but on the basis of some principle - and the principle should be consistent with America's own philosophy.
CRISIS OF DEMOCRACY: Also alarming is the fact that so many universities and academic circles in America are presenting systematic arguments against democracy. Very often, these arguments are presented in academic camouflage. Pakistan is one of the victims - where the intelligentsia has been brainwashed with dogmas that threaten the growth of democracy, and usually post-colonial American dogmas! It has been argued that an Israel lobby has become effectively in charge of the electoral process in America.
Conclusion #3: IF that is the case, then the issue is not whether it is Israel's lobby or some other lobby. The issue is the system of democracy itself: what (might be) the loophole which has allowed this lobby to become more powerful than democracy? As long as that loophole is there, any lobby can make use of it.
POSTSCRIPT: I am not writing this with any bitterness at all. If Pakistan has made mistakes, and I think it has, then it will pay the price but I have not the slightest doubt that it will rise eventually and fulfill its destiny. The reason is that there are other currents working beneath the surface, and the academics don't know them yet!
That is where I think the nations of the world can collaborate, and individuals too. Once we identify principles rather than benefits as our goals, and once we mark wrong values as our enemies instead of people or groups, then we have a much stronger basis for joint efforts which can bear fruit locally as well as globally.
Khurram Ali Shafique
Iqbal Academy Pakistan.
Personal Homepage http://theRepublicOfRumi.com