The author of the following article, Dr. Charles Mercieca (69), is a philosopher and historian and the founder of a UN-NGO. He travels the world speaking on behalf of peace.
Following the act of terrorism on the United States on September 11, 2001, most of the younger generation asked: Why is it that the world at large does not seem to like us? What have we done to instigate such deadly acts against us? Is there anything we can do that people everywhere may develop a positive and constructive feeling toward the American nation? Needless to say, these were legitimate questions and they need an answer, especially that the younger generation seems to be so anxious to become involved in developing a better world, one that is characterized by a culture of peace.
Assets of the American Nation
Although the questions raised were simple, their answers are somewhat complex not in the sense that they are complicated but in the sense that the American people are not aware of what is really involved in American foreign policy. They are not aware that aliud est teoria et aliud est practica - one thing is theory and another thing is practice, as the Romans used to say. They do not seem to understand that not all that glitters is gold, or as the Italians would say, that tra il dire e il fare c'e in mezzo il mare - between saying and doing lies in-between an abyss.
In the first place, there are many aspects of America. Of course, everyone knows about the freedom Americans have to speak their own mind in the open without any fear of arrest or persecution, to profess in the open any religion of their individual choice, and to move around freely not only within the nation but around the world as well. Besides, the American people are well known for their generosity. When some catastrophe occurs in the nation or around the world, usually they are very prompt in providing all kinds of assistance one can possibly imagine.
In addition to freedom of speech and of worship, Americans are provided with numerous opportunities to pursue some or most of their dreams in life. They have numerous schools, which offer a variety of programs for almost any occasion one may possibly need. Besides, the so-called credit system has been found very beneficial, especially for those who may want to start building a financial capital. These are some of the positive and constructive realities with which the American people seem to be very much familiar. In fact, such elements seem to become the envy of the world. As a result, millions seek to immigrate to the United States every year.
However, if we were to examine carefully American foreign policy, we will soon discover a different type of America. This great nation is eventually viewed by countless millions of people overseas, particularly in the poor countries, the way they see and witness American foreign policy at work. It is, indeed, a very different type of America. Hence, it is purely based on this kind of American perception that makes such a nation becomes so controversial on a global scale.
Examination of American Foreign Policy
American foreign policy instigates every nation either to admire and love the United States or to detest and hate with a passion this same nation. There seems to be no countries in the world that really adopt a position of neutrality when it comes to the expression of their feelings toward this great American nation. To realize and understand how such feelings are formed, one has to put into proper perspective American foreign policy.
To start with, the United States is the architect of capitalism where the ultimate objective of life is to build an unlimited capital. The slogan of most chambers of commerce in the USA states: The sky is not the limit. This explains it all. Therefore, the ultimate goal in life becomes the accumulation of money and wealth. To achieve this end, nothing will stand in the way. Not only so, but everything, including human life itself, is used by the capitalistic system as a means to this end, which consists of money and wealth of the entire world as a matter of fact. This explains why the United States, as the seat of capitalism, is the only nation on earth that tries to infiltrate every nation possible to squeeze out of it all the best natural resources conceivable. The American news media, which is capitalistic, hardly ever informs the American people of such realities.
While in the former Soviet Union and China, as well as in every other communist country, everything has been controlled by the government, including big industry, in the United States everything is controlled by big corporations, including the government. The big corporation, which has succeeded to control the entire American government with iron fist, is the weapons industry beyond the shadow of a doubt. This industry finances the campaign for the election of prospective government officials so that every law that they would enact afterwards would not tamper with their lethal products. In its carefully designed plans, such a lethal industry begins to control ruthlessly under its thumb all major US government officials, even before their election.
In view of this, we may now begin to understand American foreign policy with crystal clarity. Regardless of what US government officials may say, the top priority of the US government is to allow the unlimited manufacture and sales of weapons primarily to boost the financial assets of the weapons industry. In fact, the United States sells every year more weapons of destruction than all the countries of the world combined.
Under the slogan of "national defense and security," US military armaments are sold to the most notorious regimes which are characterized by brutal and ruthless dictatorship, such as Indonesia, the former Zaire, and Nigeria, to mention but a few. Besides, through a network of mafia related activities, arms were procured to opposite factions within the same nation, like in the case of the Burundi, Angola, and Liberia, among others.
Description of the Presumed Enemy
The question that needs to be raised here is this: Who were the enemies of such totalitarian governments that have been characterized by brutality and ruthlessness? They were the poor and helpless people of their respective nations who raised their voice in protest for the injustices they were receiving and for the suffering and the misery they were going through. In addition, the United States saturated numerous countries with landmines, with well over ten million in Africa alone. This capitalistic nation never tells the American people of the millions of innocent people that have died because of American landmines and American weapons over the past few decades, since World War II ended.
The American people are never told of the countless thousands of children, especially in Africa and Southeast Asia whose legs and/or arms were amputated because of American landmines planted in their respective nations. Besides, the American people were never provided with the opportunity to learn how the United States weapons industry has literally turned whole poor nations into cemeteries because no business would dare to make any investment in any country which has been devastated by landmines. Hence, there is no surprise when a few years ago, while all the nations of the world voted to abolish landmines, the United States was the only major nation that refused to do so. For a nation, which is the seat of capitalism, landmines are synonymous to money and therefore their manufacture and their implantation becomes sacred.
As a super power nation, the United States has the obligation to take the initiative to eliminate all human suffering, which stems from corruption and misery. Besides, this nation, which views its security primarily in military strength instead of global moral integrity and the development of the civilian economy, drains every year its human and natural resources in the manufacture and sales of highly expensive weapons of destruction. In the year 2001 alone, as revealed by the Center for Defense Information in Washington, DC, the US government has spent $350 billion dollars in weapons a compared so approximately $100 billion spent on energy, agriculture, social security, health care, education, and environment, transportation, and social services combined.
Slowly but surely, big corporations, headed by the weapons industrial complex which controls the entire nation including the US government with iron fist, have become the primary reason of the suffering of so many Americans themselves!
According to the United Nations International Children's Educational Fund (UNICEF), in the year 2000 one out of every five American children suffers from malnutrition and hunger. Besides, it was evidenced that well over 20 million Americans were living below the poverty level. Even here, the news media, which is generally owned by big corporations headed by the weapons industry, do not inform the American nation of this horrible situation relative to so much suffering among fellow citizens.
Criticism of Governmental Priorities
In view of this, animosity against the American government has not only developed overseas but within the American nation itself. In fact, when the horrible act of terrorism was inflicted upon the United States on September 11, 2001, a few millions of Americans viewed this as a "wake-up call" from God. By this they meant that the time has arrived for the American people to reflect on the millions of lives which were taken away mercilessly by American weapons over the past half a century. Quite a few millions around the world witnessed their parents, children, relatives, and friends being massacred with American weapons, which were provided by the United States not for security but merely for profit!
The way the United States reacted to the recent terrorism in New York and Washington, DC has not been encouraging. Terrorism cannot be encountered with terrorism of another kind. The greatest philosophers and religious leaders of all times have attested to this. In a way, everything has developed in a normal way, since violence breads violence. The fact that the terrorists targeted the seat of the world capitalism and the seat of the world's mighty military complex, there must be a message which in the spiritual sphere may be described as a "wake-up call."
Can the United States find a way to bring terrorism to a complete end?... to bring organized crime under full control?... to eliminate so much suffering on earth?... to force the weapons industry to change its product by making, say, tractors for farmers instead of tanks for warriors?... It has been calculated that if the United States were to spend 50% of its present military budget on people's welfare, most of the world's problems would be solved almost overnight. We are referring here to the elimination of hunger, the manufacture of prefabricated homes for all the homeless on earth, the provision of best medical equipment to hospitals in every nation, and the availability of best educational material, along with computers, to schools across every continent.
Besides, with just 50% of the money the United States spends on yearly production of weapons, the world may find a cure to cancer, leukemia, multiple sclerosis, and AIDS, among other deadly illnesses. In addition, our earthly waters and air could be cleaned from their deadly pollution which mostly comes from toxic wastes that cause, in the Untied States alone, two million Americans dying yearly from cancer.
During his visit to Mexico in the middle eighties, Pope John Paul II was asked as to whether or not the world would ever witness world peace. Without hesitation the Pope replied in the affirmative but he added: Only after two of the greatest evils of the twentieth century are gone. And he singled out communism and capitalism because, he stated: Both advance their objectives through the exploitation of people. Three years later communism collapsed abruptly, all of a sudden, and without any anticipation. It has been predicted that the fate of capitalism would be along the same lines. It is only a matter of time.
Future of Present Young Generation
What kind of future the present young generation is going to have? It all depends on their awareness of the realities that surround them and on what they decide to do accordingly. Although we may have no control over the kind of decisions they would opt to make, we do have the obligation to bring the present realities that surround them to their attention with crystal clarity to the best we can. Some 2,400 years ago, Socrates said to his students in Athens that all problems we encounter in life could be solved properly and effectively in three steps, the first of which was indispensable.
The first step for the effective solution of a problem, Socrates said, is to bring that problem into the open for everyone to see; unless people are aware of the problem, they will never do anything about it. Once people become aware of the problem and how it affects them, they are not going to sit in the backyard watching the stars; they will eventually do something constructive about it. Once appropriate action is taken, the solution of the problem will follow sooner or later.
We need to make it clear that, at this stage of history, the greatest enemy, which has proven to be deceitful and deadly is the weapons industrial complex. To keep Americans away from this reality, big corporations headed by the weapons industry now own all major American news media. Anything critical of the weapons industry in particular is heavily censured. In spite of this, we can still find detours to demonstrate to the young generation the realities that surround them. This way they will be in a position to figure out what actions they would need to take in due time for their greater benefit.
The Center for Defense Information in Washington, DC, which is composed of retired top military and pentagon officials, have provided excellent literature and videotapes to bring into focus the deceit of the weapons industrial complex whose aim, as they contend, is not the defense of the nation but mere profit. As a matter of fact, one may secure a catalogue of the literature and videotapes available to this end from the
Center for Defense Information,
1779 Massachusetts Avenue NW,
Washington, DC 20036
Phone: 202-332-0600, Fax: 202-462-4559,