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Newsletter for May 2012
"...... Our crisis of values at home, coupled with our lack of a coherent mission abroad, has created a ' dark night of the soul ' .", said President Richard Nixon in 1994.
On Peace through justice
by Bob Crane
(An excerpt from one of his email epistles in response to an enquiry about President Nixon's statement).
........ As Richard Nixon's principal foreign policy adviser from 1963 to 1968, I can vouch for the fact that Nixon always separated every religion from its adherents, because I was also his adviser on the world religions. We both viewed Islam as an ally of the United States against atheistic Communism, and I argued that it was the most powerful ally in the world.
We both recognized, however, that Muslims are just as susceptible as those of any other religion to pervert their religion's enlightened teachings. And the perversion of a powerful force can pose a correspondingly powerful threat to justice and peace and to the constructive role of religion
in the world. Thus, Nixon agreed with me, as far as I can remember, that Communism was a heresy peculiar to and part of Western civilization, just as I would argue today that radical Muslim fundamentalism plays the same destructive role in the Muslim world by distorting the teachings of Islam.
In his last public writing on Islam, in his book, Beyond Peace, published a few weeks before he died in April, 1994, Nixon remarked that, "The twentieth century has been a period of conflict between the West and the Muslim world. If we work together we can make the twenty-first century not just a time of peace … but a century in which, beyond peace, two great civilizations will enrich each other and the rest of the world."
"With the end of the Cold War," Nixon urged, "we must ask ourselves what we stand for in addition to national strength and prosperity. Democracy and Capitalism are just techniques unless they are employed by those who seek a higher purpose for themselves and for society."
"Today," Nixon asserted in his last book, "our enemy is within us." "The real threat in the world," Nixon told his fellow Americans, lies in the fact that, "Our country may be rich in goods, but we are poor in spirit. Poor-quality secondary education, rampant crime and violence, growing racial divisions, pervasive poverty, the drug epidemic, the degenerative culture of moronic entertainment, a decline in the notions of civic duty and responsibility, and the spread of a spiritual emptiness have all disconnected and alienated Americans from their country, their religions, and one another. Our crisis of values at home, coupled with our lack of a coherent mission abroad, has created a 'dark night of the soul'."
This warning about the real threat in the world a decade ago may seem out-of-date today in the middle of a war against terrorism, but, in fact, the substance of this threat may underlie the failure of American foreign policy to address the injustices of the status quo and may help explain why the
response to the results of these injustices has been an almost paranoid unilateralization and militarization of America's role in the world. The motto seems to be an Orwellian "peace is war," rather than "peace through justice." Peace indeed may sometimes require war, but usually only if
injustices have already created the challenges that cannot be managed peacefully.
Perhaps the greatest threat to peace and prosperity in the world is epitomized by Henry Kissinger's statement in January, 1993, that he had read Alija Izetbegovich's book, Islam Between East and West, and concluded that it represents the purest form of the mounting Islamic threat to "Western civilization." Izetbegovich presented in this book a profound analysis of the strengths and weakness of both the West and the East (then Communism) and distinguished between the classical wisdom of all civilizations and the perversions by extremists in their midst. Instead of a clash between civilizations, he saw that the real clash is between identical forces within each of them. By presenting Western civilization as inherently secular, Kissinger not only distorted history, but was pushing Western civilization into a protracted conflict against every other civilization until the end of time. By demonizing Islam as a religion, he was equally demonizing Christianity and Judaism, because their enlightened teachings are identical, as was clearly evident in the writings of Alija Izetbegovich.
In answer to your question whether becoming a Muslim had any impact on my career, the only accurate answer is that it did not because I have been successful in avoiding the temptation ever to have one.
Peace through justice,
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