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Kevin Leavitt
08-11-2002, 12:19 PM
I was out at the Teddy Roosevelt Memorial this morning and Wash DC and saw a quote that got me thinking. Roosevelt said that if he had to choose between righteousness and peace, he would choose righteousness.

Didn't really sound right not me, so got me thinking about it and spawned some questions that I think would be interesting to discuss.

I orignially thought that I didn't agree with this concept of righteousness over peace. I then went and read "The Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine" Theodore Roosevelt’s Annual Message to Congress 6 December 1904 and broadened my view on this concept.The Roosevelt Corollary (http://www.uiowa.edu/~c030162/Common/Handouts/POTUS/TRoos.html)

1. When is the use of violence justified?
2. How do we know if our criteria is correct?
3. Are there different definitions of "Peace" as Roosevelt discusses?

I am sure there are more questions that can be spawned on this!

mike lee
08-11-2002, 02:23 PM
A few nights ago I couldn't sleep and so I turned on the TV. An evangualist was on, but after I started listening, it seemed pretty good.

His subject was peace. During the course of his lecture he said that we were expected to pursue peace "to the absolute best of our abilities," but not "peace at any price."

Then he gave an example of people that try to "act" peaceful all of the time. He said that they end up burying a lot of emotion until one day they can't contain it anymore and they explode!

Anyway, his lecture was quite long and invloved, and of course it was supported by scripture -- but the conclusion was that we should of course always strive for peace, but also keep in mind that in this imperfect world, maintaining peace is not always possible, and we need to be wise enough to know when things pass the point of no return. This may be as minor as breaking off a bad relationship or more major, like a fist fight or a war.

I learned a lot from that guy -- and afterwards I slept very peacefully. :)

P.S. I think that we can always be rightious, regardless of whether the situation is peaceful or not. :do:

SeiserL
08-11-2002, 03:55 PM
Some people wnat "peace", some want to be "right-eous". I'd rather be wrong and have peace.

Until again,

Lynn

ChristianBoddum
08-11-2002, 04:39 PM
well.. The peace of the heart and righteousness that comes from following the

Lord Jesus Christ is of a character that lets you walk and talk boldly when in him,

The world is the world and not a place of peace,but when you carry heaven in your heart,

you will bring that peace to the world -

it's an unselfish thing.

Jesus never said to be at peace with the world,quite the contrary,but to renew your heart in him and seek his peace.

Those who are of christian faith become righteous by rightstandig with God and the Lord, and thereby uptaining freedom of heart and action and speech to fear no war in the world but to praise the Lord even with bullets

flying around the ears - and be in his peace.

You may not believe in the heavenly army and angels and that heaven is a real and very active place ,but as a christian I believe that when I pray for protection of things and people I am activating these powers,see people come before angels in heaven,so what we as people do on earth is very powerful as

to bring the peace of heaven to earth.

Maybe this is the kind of insight O'sensei was trying to convey,it's just not an easy subject.

my love to you - Chr.B.

IrimiTom
08-11-2002, 05:43 PM
I'd like to know Teddy Roosevelt's definitions of "peace" and "righteousness". Are people throughout Africa and Latin America, "peaceful"? They are certainly wronged in various ways. There is no peace without righteousness. If you sell your principles, or your integrity, physical, emotional or intellectual, you are not at peace. You are merely subdued. Please remember all the people whose messages of peace were truly righteous, and what other "righteous" folks did to them.

Kevin Leavitt
08-11-2002, 06:52 PM
Check out his speech at this link. He explains his definitions. You are asking the same questions I am posing.

Link to Speech (http://www.uiowa.edu/~c030162/Common/Handouts/POTUS/TRoos.html)

Kevin Leavitt
08-11-2002, 07:06 PM
I tend to agree with Lynn these days.

Many wars have been fought under the umbrella of righteousness. Religion and scripture have also been used as tools to justify action.

the U.S. actions against the american indians in 18th and 19th century is what I consider to be a prime example.

How do you define righteousness or better yet, when is violating peace or using violence to resolve conflict justified?

virginia_kyu
08-12-2002, 08:35 AM
I would prefer war to living under oppression.

Its easy for those who have always lived in a free society to claim that they would always support peace.

virginia_kyu
08-12-2002, 08:49 AM
I tend to agree with Lynn these days.

Many wars have been fought under the umbrella of righteousness. Religion and scripture have also been used as tools to justify action.

the U.S. actions against the american indians in 18th and 19th century is what I consider to be a prime example.

How do you define righteousness or better yet, when is violating peace or using violence to resolve conflict justified?

Kevin, almost every philosophy has been used to commit evil and oppression, does that mean that all philosopy and religion or even every political idea is wrong? What you have to be careful of is those who use these ideas for their own personal power. It is men not religion that creates war.

If the war is fought in self defense or in defense of liberty then I generally believe it is righteous. And liberty sometimes includes religious principles.

I don't see the U.S actions against the indians as such a horrible thing, I seem to remember that the indians were quite good at making war with each other, conquering other tribes, and committing their own atrocities, I know because I am part Comanche.

SeiserL
08-12-2002, 09:18 AM
I would prefer war to living under oppression. Its easy for those who have always lived in a free society to claim that they would always support peace.
I prefer peace and freedom. No one has "always lived in a free society". Some one has fought and died for that right. Yes, I will "always support peace", even if that means going to war and fighting for it. The two are not mutually exclusive, but truly interrelated and dependent on each other.

Until again, (and I hope there is never an again)

Lynn

Kevin Leavitt
08-12-2002, 03:49 PM
Isn't O'Sensei's great vision to be able to find a way to have peace without violence?

I understand this is an ideal...but how do we get there? Somehow we have to find a middle ground and balance between using force to achieve peace and other measures such as creating cooperation and interdependence between people and nations.

Fighting in the name of self defense is acceptable, but where do you draw the line, and how much "force" do you use?

Defining self defense seems easy on the surface, and on an idividual basis it may be a little clearer. But in many of these instances we could simply walk away.

Where do you draw the line when someone is violating your "rights" or principles? (righteousness).

When is it acceptable to intervene on anothers behalf when we feel that they are being violated?

I know these seem like basis questions, I thought I knew the answers to most of them, but I am finding the more I read and think about things...I am not too sure it is all that easy.

As budoka, I think we really should think hard about "righteousness" when we should use our skills and how.

I think people in general (and the U.S.) are quick to escalate to full one atemi, before exhausting diplomacy.

It can be as simple as giving your wallet to a mugger instead of pulling a gun on him, or as complicated as attacking afghanastan to remove the taliban to induce true peace. (Many Afgani's would argue that they had peace before the U.S arrived there and started bombing!)

virginia_kyu
08-12-2002, 09:33 PM
I agree that it is not always an easy question to answer.

I think people in general (and the U.S.) are quick to escalate to full one atemi, before exhausting diplomacy.

Actually I think the U.S. relies too heavily on diplomacy at times to its own detriment. I can't think of any serious conflict that has been resolved through diplomacy or could have been. Peace occurs generally when one side is defeated in detail.

Kevin Leavitt
08-12-2002, 09:57 PM
I thought the cold war would be a good example, but then I realized that we fought several wars, Vietnam, Korea that were really a part of that. But in many ways we did avert war through measures such as economics sanctions etc that prevented a large scale war.

I think it would be hard to list an example, because if you avoid it, then you probably didn't know it existed as an option any way. How about the cuban missle crisis?

Our actions in Japan and Germany worked very well. We essentially showed them compassion. Same with the civil war. Frankly the success of the U.S. has come from the most part from the compassion it has shown it's defeated foe after the war was run. This has not always been the case in history for other countries where the dominated and oppressed or enslaved their vanquished foes.

If diplomacy did not work, then we would not be allies with Great Britan, France, Spain, Germany or anyone else.

I would agree that once you commit to war you defeat your enemy solidly and swiftly. There is no room for diplomacy in battle. This is why we lost Vietnam, and why we are still having problems with Iraq.

But like in Aikido, my point is that we should try to exhaust every other avenue of non-violence and alway look for the peaceful way out (without violating our core values or principles if possible). If that is exhausted, then defeat your opponent swiftly and throughly. Then pick your opponent up off the mat and help him recover!

Kevin Leavitt
08-12-2002, 10:01 PM
Oh yea, forgot to add this Michael..this is the imporant stuff from my post.

I disagree somewhat that peace generally occurs when the enemy is defeated. Not at all IMHO. Just because no bullets are being fired doesn't define peace. We do not have peace in the Balkans yet. They still hate each other (that is why we have peacekeeper there).

True peace only occurs when we create harmony and interdependence and understanding between people. War, bombing, etc will never ever create true peace.

IrimiTom
08-12-2002, 10:49 PM
Our actions in Japan and Germany worked very well. We essentially showed them compassion. Same with the civil war. Frankly the success of the U.S. has come from the most part from the compassion it has shown it's defeated foe after the war was run. This has not always been the case in history for other countries where the dominated and oppressed or enslaved their vanquished foes.

Where are you getting your information from? Dropping atomic bombs on civilians is not my idea of compassion. Granted, you're referring to US policies AFTER wars are over, but Japan only had "peace" because it became America's little friend in business. Still today, Japan has economic problems stemming from being tied to America's economy.

Germany has only been a country for about 10 years. Splitting a population in half (ok, the Soviet Union was also to blame for that one) and choking a country with interests on loans they had to take, from the country that, again, had bombed innocent civilians in Dresden to "demoralize the nazi supporters", that is definitely not compassion.

When you fight a war, not out of self defense, you are dominating and oppressing. It doesn't matter if after the destruction you rebuild a couple of bridges or drop some supplies while CNN reports on the "humanitarian" missions.

Abasan
08-12-2002, 11:14 PM
'I would agree that once you commit to war you defeat your enemy solidly and swiftly. There is no room for diplomacy in battle. This is why we lost Vietnam, and why we are still having problems with Iraq.' - Kevin

That's what you learn in war text books. The world would be a peaceful place if you completely dominated and vanquished all of your enemies.

And what problem is it exactly that America has with Iraq? With Somalia? With Afghanistan? With Palestine?

Who started the war first and for what reason? Why would any of those countries start a war with America? Whose peace is it are you fighting for?

America is trying to shape the world to what it thinks is the right way. It doesn't matter if that is right or wrong, it just is. More of the 'White people's burden'.

For what its worth. You didn't even prove beyond reasonable doubt that the Taliban was responsible for the attack in September. Yet the retaliation of massive bombardment left more than hundreds of thousands dead. That justifies 5000 thousand american lives?

This morality you speak of, is very lame indeed when the lives of non-americans are considered less valuable. But it is not unexpected. In the end, everybody is selfish. We are born that way.

Lastly, if I really wanted peace in this forum, I wouldn't have said a word. Instead I could have just kept silent, or even supported the previous discussion. Right or wrong, I've chosen to use my freedom to say something and in the end, I could cause an argument to start.

guest1234
08-12-2002, 11:25 PM
I hate to drag in an opinion from another thread, but peace results when you destroy your opponent's will to continue the fight. There was peace at the end of Vietnam because the cost in human lives (or at least American lives) exceed that which we were willing to pay. Peace in WWII has been pointed out above---atomic bombs and fire-bombing do wonders in making civilian populations decide it's time to quit. Some wars (perhaps eventually the current one) became too economically burdensome for the people to support. There is no peace in the Balkans, and may never be, because of so much past bloodshed. There is a lot of payback left uncollected there, and people are still willing to fight over that debt. I think we are fooling ourselves that a similar debt is not accruing in many Islamic countries. I sometimes wonder if we had spent as much money on medical care and educational opportunities in a variety of refugee camps and bombed out cities, as we have on smart bombs and bunker busters, if anyone would feel their only way to be heard in their otherwise bleak and pointless life was to strap explosives around themselves and walk into a crowded place.

Because we are large and until recently, so safe ans secure, I don't think we realize how deep the desire for revenge can go. After the Trade Towers, do most Americans really care how many innocent civilians on the other side may die before an open-ended war ends. And that was just one attack. Some countries have had hundreds more that they consider unjust in some way, and want to collect on.

I think even using 'defense' as a justification for war is difficult, it is not outside my imagination to see a time where one country can make war seem so inevitable that the other attacks first just so it can get one strike in. In fact, both the US and Iraq are portraying themselves as the one so threatened right now.

One last comment before hopping off the soap box: just because Native Americans fought wars between tribes does not justify our treatment of them throughout our country's short history. That is like saying just because we had a civil war, it would be OK for Canada to invade and occupy the US, round us up and put us in camps. Just my opinion.

Brian H
08-13-2002, 06:53 AM
My $.02

Vigilance is the key to freedom.

Most Americans do not tolerate leaders who encroach on their freedoms. Both extremes of the American political spectrum generally get their ideological base from concerns over rights ("liberals" mainly collective rights of society and "conservatives" largely individual rights)

I practice Aikido because I find peace in the practice of it. If I am attacked, I will defend myself in the moral manner I have prepared myself for. I can not solve every problem with a gun any more than America can solve every problem with atomic bombs. So I practice and remain vigilant, as does my nation.

Our mistake in 1991 was to stop our ground war after 100 hours and standby to let Saddam fall. It is not the time to repeat that mistake.

One atemi does not make victory or peace.

ian
08-13-2002, 07:04 AM
I think neither peace nor rightousness are necessarily qualities to persue exclusively. Both are social constructs used to control people, but this doesn't mean they do not have a purpose.

Rightousness is used to make people behave in accordance with a set of moral values, and induce guilt when this is not adhered to.

Peace is used to maintain a stable society and government.

HOWEVER when the situation changes and the moral values are inappropriate, the only place to look for a new standard is through your innate nature. Also, if you are have a corrupt government, I believe civil war is justified (otherwise the UK would still be a monarchy). However this is not based on 'moral' values set by society or fixed in stone. As we learn from Aikido, adaptation to the situation is more important than rigid rules.

(you may be able to tell I'm a Taoist), and here is a great Zen verse:

Most think that hating all that is bad is good,

What is bad is the hating mind itself

Ian

SeiserL
08-13-2002, 09:23 AM
Having been there, I can tell you no one ever wins a war.

Winning over an enemy through violence only perpetuate violence.

Einstein said that the type of thinking that creates a problem is never the type of thinking that solves it.

We have to change our minds, as Ian suggested.

The question fo me is, can two "rights" occupy the same space and the same time peacefully and still be different?

Don't get me wrong, I am flag waver and a protect you family and country kind of a guy. Been there and done that. IMHO, It may give us life and freedom. But it doesn't give us peace.

Until again,

Lynn

virginia_kyu
08-13-2002, 09:26 AM
We are at peace with those countries because we beat them, plain and simple. The diplomacy came after their defeat, not before and on terms of our choosing.

I am not saying that every situation warrants attacking our enemies. It depends how serious the situation is. I think 9/11 falls on the serious side but I agree that we must continue to be measured in our response. And yes our response has been measured and quite low scale to this point considering how many terrorist sponsoring nations exist.

If you think diplomacy will resolve the current situation just take a look at the diplomacy between Israelis and Palestinians over the past 50 or so years.

You can't have peace when there is one or more parties that do not want it unless you defeat them completely.

jk
08-13-2002, 10:29 AM
The question fo me is, can two "rights" occupy the same space and the same time peacefully and still be different?
Let me butt in and say that's when more than lip service should be paid to empathy, fairness, equity, and compromise. I like those concepts a hell of a lot more than "righteousness." "Righteousness" gives me hives, kinda like "Open Door Policy." ;)

Regards,

Erik
08-13-2002, 11:41 AM
Where are you getting your information from? Dropping atomic bombs on civilians is not my idea of compassion.
Would Japan have given up otherwise? How many would have died if the US had invaded the mainland? All of them? That's nearly how it was on some of the Islands. Take a look at Okinawa and see if the bomb might be termed compassionate relative to what happened there. If you had your facts straight you would have mentioned the Tokyo fire bombing as well.
Germany has only been a country for about 10 years. Splitting a population in half (ok, the Soviet Union was also to blame for that one) and choking a country with interests on loans they had to take, from the country that, again, had bombed innocent civilians in Dresden to "demoralize the nazi supporters", that is definitely not compassion.
Compassion? Again, relative to what? The Germans were the first to bomb cities. How many did the German armies kill? How many innocents died because of their race? West Germany wound up with a prosperous and vital economy. Did East Germany? Which was the more compassionate?
When you fight a war, not out of self defense, you are dominating and oppressing. It doesn't matter if after the destruction you rebuild a couple of bridges or drop some supplies while CNN reports on the "humanitarian" missions.
I'm not sure which wars you are talking about. WW2, from a US perspective was a war of self-defense. Japan attacked first. Clearly that was a war of self-defense in a fighting sense. You could argue the oil embargo prompted the attack but then I imagine the Chinese would have preferred something more dramatic than an oil embargo on a country that had invaded them. In regards to Germany they declared war on the US. They had invaded and conquered several countries and were trying for more. Not getting involved would not have been very compassionate to those countries.

I don't mind criticism of the US. It's in vogue these days among certain 'enlightened' nations but in regards to WW2 there is nothing for the US to be ashamed about, up to and including the bomb.

mike lee
08-13-2002, 12:42 PM
I'm an American living overseas, and I can tell you that the image of the US is not very good right now.

The first thing Bush did when he got elected was pull out of a lot of international agreements. He basically snubbed a lot of friendlies. And then suddenly he needed their help for his "war on terror."

With so much tension in various places around the world, he's just adding to it in a bad way.

virginia_kyu
08-13-2002, 01:07 PM
I'm an American living overseas, and I can tell you that the image of the US is not very good right now.

The first thing Bush did when he got elected was pull out of a lot of international agreements. He basically snubbed a lot of friendlies. And then suddenly he needed their help for his "war on terror."

With so much tension in various places around the world, he's just adding to it in a bad way.
Are you talking about the Kyoto treaty? Who cares! I would rather other nations writhe with jealously over the long term economic success of the United States than sign a treaty that is designed to hurt the United States economy in order to advance the economies of socialist nations.

How does this petty economic jealously stuff compare to defending our nation against attacks from people who do not know what diplomacy is, only killing.

Kevin Leavitt
08-13-2002, 08:38 PM
wow lots of post in last 24 hours. I just finished reading through them. Great conversation. Good to hear from you Brian!

From what I am gathering from above there are varying definition of peace.

One degree of peace could come after dropping bombs and the enemy decides to lay down arms.

I submit that the an oppressive regime can have "peace" by submission by keeping it's people from raising arms against them because they lack the strength or the will to fight back. Is this really peace or just the perception of peace?

True peace is more than people not firing bullets at each other. It comes from when people WANT to get along out of compassion and interdependence.

To get off the political examples and onto the Aikido track. Based on some of the above examples...if say Brian gets pissed at a new student at the dojo and starts bullying him around and making him do things just cause he is bigger and badder, I see this and think "hey that's not right!" so I step in and warn Brian not to do that cause I am bigger and can kick his ass. Brian may stop just cause he doesn't want me to kick his ass. In one sense we have peace...or better yet, a "cease fire".

This situation has not really created true peace. Brian is not only mad at the new guy, he is now pissed at me. Now granted he may leave him alone, but I now have to be vigilant to make sure it stays that way.

Another alternative might be to work with Brian to make him understand why he has more to gain by cooperating and forming a relationship with the new guy.

Granted it certainly helps that I can keep him apart, but we need to use this strength to try reframe the situation.

Really great discussion!

It is not easy trying to do things this way. It takes patience and much skill.

I think this is what O'Sensei wanted us as Aikidoka to learn...alternative ways to create peace instead of thunking people into submission over the head all the time!

virginia_kyu
08-13-2002, 09:31 PM
I agree with you completely Kevin. Peaceful resolution should always be the first step, even if it is difficult. War is a horrible thing and should be avoided.

Unfortunately in most cases involving oppressive regimes, total defeat is what they need to change their attitude.

It is much easier to apply a compassionate Aikido technique to suppress a bully than to use compassionate force to thwart a totalitarian nation.

If we are able to develop a weapon that disarms and pins our enemies rather than killing them I would be all for it.

guest1234
08-13-2002, 10:00 PM
Or perhaps we could work at cultivating friends rather than making enemies.

virginia_kyu
08-13-2002, 10:14 PM
Or perhaps we could work at cultivating friends rather than making enemies.
The United States is probably the most compassionate nation on earth, maybe its time other nations spent a little time cultivating their friendship with us.

Johan
08-14-2002, 12:43 AM
I must agree that true intention for peace must come before righteousness. In my view because righteousness is subjective to an individual, society, religion or country it will not always be in line with the goals of peace. I do believe that righteousness does have a very important place in that in our striving for peace we will be still be required to make decisions sometimes hard and sometimes easy. Quite literally we can only do what we think is best. If we can truly say to ourselves that we are trying our best, than we can do no more for now. For the future doing our best includes expanding on our knowledge and wisdom to reflect on our path to peace.

To visualise with the end in mind of the two ideals or righteousness and peace I can only visualise peace with any wholesomeness. When I think of peace I think of all beings knowing peace and happiness. When I think of righteousness I think of far less than the sum of humanity making and enforcing decisions for the whole, and while I certainly do not condemn this - on the contrary I think it to be necessary for who we are now, it is in no way an end goal for me.

In reference to World War 2 and the American war in Vietnam, I believe that the American government was doing what they believed was right(many would disagree), but what the US government believes to be right, doesn't necessarily make it right.

There are reports that say that Japan had already surrendered prior to the atomic bombs being dropped on Hiroshima. Furthermore, was there any need to drop a second bomb on Nagasaki?

I do not believe that Aikido principles or for that matter any principles which promote true peace advocate the complete destruction of our enemies. While there are times where this may be necessary, we should not fool ourselves that it is done with peace in our hearts. While Japan may now be seen to be flourishing there were many(Mas Oyama for one) who believe that the ultimate US war has insinuated itself into Japan through subtler and softer ways, leading to a slowly dying Japanese spirit.

The American war in Vietnam was an example were righteous principles allowed wrongful atrocities to be commited. The massacre of Mai Lau were a company of US soldiers cold bloodedly killed a whole village of men, women and children shocked the whole world. The release of US military documents ten years later that stated that the US military had shot their own planes and used it as a further excuse to use more force and funding for the war. The US government using it's power in the UN to place trade embargos on Vietnam up until the mid 90's, almost 20 years after the war.

Even when all is said and done there has still been a place for war in our history, whether it has been for money, politics or religion. Personally I do not believe that there ever need be a cause for war, but while I don't consider myself particularly enlightened or more peaceful than most people, I do think that the ones who propogate wars more often than not lack awareness and compassion in their hearts.

Most people have degrees of ignorance, anger, fear, love and peace, and all people can be pushed to the point where they have had enough. For those of us who practice Aikido I have seen people first develop the ability to blend with physical attacks, and then over time develop the ability to harmonise with their own anger and fears. The technique may be different but the principle is the same. All it needs is a true intention. Righteousness as subjective as it is cannot be absolute. True peace can only be absolute.

virginia_kyu
08-14-2002, 09:13 AM
Would it have been compassionate to allow 6 million more jews to die in Germany by avoiding WWII?

Would it have been more compassionate to not even try as North Vietnam or North Korea went on a mass murdering sprees?

Would it have been compassionate to continue the war in the pacific for possibly a few more years resulting in 10 times the amount of casualties on both sides?

Would it be compassionate now to sit back and engage in continued pointless diplomacy with terrorists and allow them to continue murdering innocent civilians at will?

Kevin Leavitt
08-14-2002, 09:55 AM
Michael brings up some good points...

I think he is correct. It is NOT compasssionate to standby and watch things such as the holocaust happen. I think in these types of situations you need to intervene, and our intent was correct.

The easy thing to do is to standby and profess peace and turn your back when there is no peace. it is somewhat hypocritical.

But it is also easy to quickly escalate to violence as the solution. It in itself will never result in true peace.

It takes true courage and much thought to determine what the best course of action is for each situation.

But can we all agree that regardless of whether bullets fly or not, that in the end we must acheive interdependence and respect for all people in order to have true peace?

virginia_kyu
08-14-2002, 11:02 AM
But can we all agree that regardless of whether bullets fly or not, that in the end we must acheive interdependence and respect for all people in order to have true peace?

I completely agree, otherwise the cycle will continue. Unfortunately however, I don't have much faith that "interdependence and respect for all people" will ever happen. This because even those who claim to be enlightened and tolerant of all people have extreme prejudices and act on them.

I think maybe in some extreme cases separation and just leaving eachother alone can be a better solution than interdependence.

Kevin Leavitt
08-14-2002, 11:14 AM
I completely understand your frustration. I too feel the same way and you are right about the hypocracy of some people. ( I think we all are in some way from time to time.)

However, leaving each other alone doesn't seem to work and I don't think it will.

We can't change the world individually, but we can do it in some small ways, one person, one step at a time.

Don't give up hope whatever you do!

virginia_kyu
08-14-2002, 01:53 PM
I have not given up hope, I just place my hope with God rather then humankind. But I still hope as many people can be influenced on an individual basis to become better people, including myself. I think discussions like this can help us examine as many perspectives as possible.

Kevin Leavitt
08-14-2002, 02:09 PM
That is why I started this to begin with. I certainly have learned alot in last couple of days! Great conversing with you and others on this subject!

Brian H
08-14-2002, 02:32 PM
To get off the political examples and onto the Aikido track. Based on some of the above examples...if say Brian gets pissed at a new student at the dojo and starts bullying him around and making him do things just cause he is bigger and badder, I see this and think "hey that's not right!" so I step in and warn Brian not to do that cause I am bigger and can kick his ass. Brian may stop just cause he doesn't want me to kick his ass. In one sense we have peace...or better yet, a "cease fire".

This situation has not really created true peace. Brian is not only mad at the new guy, he is now pissed at me. Now granted he may leave him alone, but I now have to be vigilant to make sure it stays that way.
It is always better to be underestimated : "Hey guys, watch me while I kick his ass"

than overestimated : "Hey guys, I hear he did REALLY well on his 6th kyu test. Lets all hide here and kick his ass together after he walks by."

Kevin Leavitt
08-14-2002, 02:52 PM
Not sure I am following you Brian...But knew I'd draw you in! hehehehe! :)

Neil Mick
08-14-2002, 07:24 PM
War solves nothing. In the short term you may inflict your views on a defeated populace, but the lessons of humiliation remain (WWI was called "the war to end wars").

To speak of the US as a "peacekeeper" in most contemporary world contexts is dissembling, at best. We cause wars, provide weapons and training to terrorists and act outraged when our own weapons turn on us. Wasn't OBL trained by the U.S.? Wasn't Hussein the darling of the US, until he decided to stop listening to Washington?

Who are we, to tell other governments who their world leaders should be? Are we showing the world how democracy works by example?

virginia_kyu
08-14-2002, 08:47 PM
War solves nothing. In the short term you may inflict your views on a defeated populace, but the lessons of humiliation remain (WWI was called "the war to end wars").

To speak of the US as a "peacekeeper" in most contemporary world contexts is dissembling, at best. We cause wars, provide weapons and training to terrorists and act outraged when our own weapons turn on us. Wasn't OBL trained by the U.S.? Wasn't Hussein the darling of the US, until he decided to stop listening to Washington?
What wars have we caused?

Yes OBL happened to be part of the Afghanistan resistance to the Soviet invasion which the U.S. supported, I don't see how that follows your logic that we trained him to be a terrorist.

I don't seem to ever remember Hussein being the "darling" of the U.S, we did however use him to help contain Iran in the 80's. So what.
Who are we, to tell other governments who their world leaders should be? Are we showing the world how democracy works by example?
Who were we to tell Germany who their leader should be in the 1940's? Maybe we should have just waited for them to follow our good example and continue sending good vibes to them.

guest1234
08-14-2002, 09:27 PM
I think it would be naive to think 'supporting' UBL meant just cheering him on; support generally means TRAINING and supplying. Many that we've supported, in Central/South America as well as the Middle East, and Central Europe, do not represent our ideals of behavior or democracy. They do however meet our needs at the moment. Many of today's problems we created with yesterday's policy, as I'm sure tomorrow's problems will be created by today's policy.

virginia_kyu
08-14-2002, 09:58 PM
I don't believe that we cheered UBL on at all, we were funding a broad movement that he happened to be a part of. We were funding the resistance to the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan not terrorism.

I just don't understand what some of you want us to do, sit around and do nothing? This type of isolationism is what allowed millions to die in WWII while the U.S. sat back and watch for many years. Yes there are risks when getting involved in hostile situations but there are also risks when we don't get involved.

guest1234
08-14-2002, 10:54 PM
Then those that we trained and supplied took over. And when it suited us to replace them, we did. I am not advocating ignoring terrible acts; I am deploring the fact that we change our defination about what is good and what is bad based on what we need out of the situation. I would prefer we not create war criminals and terrorists who come back to haunt us. It has nothing to do with taking risks, it has to do with integrity.

Neil Mick
08-15-2002, 02:54 AM
I totally agree with Colleen. The U.S. has its own "College of the Americas:" little more than a training camp for terrorists. In response to protests, the Pentagon changed the name but kept the place running essentially the same.

What should we do? Quit acting as if we (the U.S.) own the world. Stop using "client states," who have little regard for human rights. Make human rights the primary international agenda, instead of fatter corporate bonuses (which they even lie about their profits). If freedom makes this country great, then why is the Executive Office trying to take those freedoms away from us?

Quit listening to a media largely controlled by six(!) corporations who only tell us what they want to hear. Find out about the things they don't want us to know.

The rest of the world sees us as hopelessly out of touch, with good reason.

erikmenzel
08-15-2002, 05:35 AM
The rest of the world sees us as hopelessly out of touch, with good reason.
Being Dutch I can agree with this completely.

Sure there are many good things about the US, yet there are also a lot of things about the US that in my country are considered weird, strange or just plane stupid.

Even though we think the US has lots of good things to offer we also think it has a tendency for being/playing righteous.

We dont claim to be a perfect country ourselves, we are just like any other country struggling along wih the problems of modern life and modern society and in this process we have our successes but also a fair share of mistakes and failures.

Still we are often attacked/threatend or do feel attacked/threatend by American TV, individual american citizens or even US Government.

-We are attacked for showing educational programs about sex, relations, responsibilities and life aimed at teenagers on prime time TV. Our country has one of the lowest rates of teenage pregnancies in the western world.

-We are attacked for having abortions legal in our country. We have one of the lowest rates of abortions in the western countries. (Including those countries were abortions are illegal.)

-We are attacked for having a different policy on drugs (which, contrary to common belief, does not mean doing drugs is legal, but in specific well described cases the law is deliberately not acted upon) and by having this policy has eliminated a lot of drugrelated crimes. (BTW, drug addicts are often considered sick people that need help)

-Firearms are completely illegal in our country. The number of murders is something like 300 on 16 million, most of them taken up by "ordinary" household murders anyway.

-Our society is relatively safe and you consedered the police your friend.

-We would not dream of trying to pass a law that allows and justifies us to invade a ally in peacetime!

Just a little rant.

Genex
08-15-2002, 06:06 AM
Simply put there can never be peace, the goddess teaches us that human nature is in itself destructive we consume and we take over and we push everything else out of our way and so we conflict with each other the only other organism on this planet with the same charictaristics is a Virus although i doubt viruses have nukes... ;)

Maybe really small ones and thats what headaches are?

i dunno but anyway it is in man's nature to be destructive and quite frankly if you look at it its what we do best, which is a shame.

sorry for the downer but thats what i see, there is no peace maybe rightousness but who's to say that one person is rightous and another isnt?


Btw i think you'll find that most countries sell arms and trade in weapons to other countries (especialy russia, france, Us and here in the UK ) were really bad for it obviously once we give them these weapons they need training in them, so guess who teaches them? and we all act shocked when they turn against us.

hmmm i think i just had a new idea for a thread... watch this space.
pete

mike lee
08-15-2002, 06:11 AM
China recently said they intend to attack Taiwan to "maintain the peace."

Abasan
08-15-2002, 07:21 AM
I wish some of you will just listen to Colleen. She's a soldier with a lot of sense. I truly wonder how many soldiers really want war? Seldom do people who would suffer from a war, ask for it. Usually it comes from the top brass and policy makers who has the luxury to say... "oops, we did it again. My boo boo. So sorry a few thousand of you had to die, but hey, thats war. Shit happens."

No doubt America is the most powerful nation on earth. That it is there through sheer will and perseverence is respectable and applauded. That does not however give it the right to show others the 'one true way'. Benevolent people allow others to travel the path, guided yes, but not literally taken by the nose. In aikido, as many here have said, a technique is not forced.

Ask yourself, why would anyone attack the most powerful nation who has the nuclear power to destroy the world 10 times over? Unless you've driven them to desperation. A cornered rat so to speak. Ever heard of the poverty line? That is when all human rationale goes out the window, and what's left is the instinct to survive at all cost. America's foreign policy may not be as clear cut to its own citizens after all. Can't you do a tenkan and look at the other people's perspective?

Ghost Fox
08-15-2002, 08:19 AM
Simply put there can never be peace, the goddess teaches us that human nature is in itself destructive we consume and we take over and we push everything else out of our way and so we conflict with each other the only other organism on this planet with the same charictaristics is a Virus although i doubt viruses have nukes... ;)
I don't belive the Goddess teaches us that human nature is in itself destructive (IMHO). A human by its very nature is a duality. A diad of the higher self and the lower persona. We are born human animals who indulge in our desires and wants. We are violent and all consuming. But just like a child learns to walk so to can a child learn to be a human being. The problem is that 90% + of the population are human animals. We are raised in a society of mass consumerism and a disposable future. We are trapped in a prison where we are given everything we want (Think Brave New World). Under the constant torrent of mass media it's hard to hear the voice of the All Mother,... but its there.

It calls to us, its touch as gentle as a feather, and if we listen it will lead us home. Lead us to the Celestrial Ocean where we are bathed in her tears and the transgressions and blood of our past are washed. The All Mother is all forgiving and patient. She waits for us by the shore.

Anyway, the truth is there will always be war, simply because something are zero sum games. Gaea only has finite resources (e.g. water, food) and sometimes the only way to solve very immediate problem is by the hands of Aries. This in itself is not wrong. Just like it's not wrong for a predator to kill its prey. The problem is when its the first or only solution. With planning, compassion, Faith, and trust most problems/resources can be solved/shared. The problem is that we all fail to see that we are connected to the World Soul (Ba), that our souls are like funnels. With the tip of the funnel entering our bodies and then expanding out into the Ba. This gives the illusion of individuality, but in actuality all are one.

Master Ueshiba saw this, he understood this, and that is way Aikido is about Love and Harmony ("I am the Universe".). Maybe those who practice and study Aikido, and I don't mean just the physical aspects, are hearing the gentle voice of the Goddess. Maybe Aikido is how they express their higher self.

I love America, no matter how crusty I seem I want to belive that America can work. But America can only work when its citizen are informed, educated and respected. With poverty so high in this country and the digital divide widening every day its going to get worse before it gets better. Right now the world is reaping the reward of Eurpean and America colonialism (Manifest Destiny, ha). Those contries that participated in this expansionism has an obligation to make things right. You cannot just jump ship. You cannot be surprised if third world countries collapse upon themselves after you have raped them of their resources and cultural identity. You cannot look upon them in distain when they become destructive. To do so will be to take a very narrow view.

Responsibiltiy is not easy to take, and its easier to live for the moment (this being different then living in the moment). Soon we are going to have to work together, soon we are going to plan for future generations.

It's going to get a lot worse before it gets better. What we see now is just the beginning. I'm sad for that. I sad for the next few generations to come. I'm sorry for those people and cultures who did nothing wrong. Life is a cycle. The universe is a cycle. We must hit the trough before we can start raising to the peaks.

Sorry for the preaching I now this is not the place for it.

Blessed Be. May the Ancestors guide you on your jouney and the God and Goddess shine on you path.

:triangle: :circle: :square:

Ecosamurai
08-15-2002, 09:45 AM
Are you talking about the Kyoto treaty? Who cares! I would rather other nations writhe with jealously over the long term economic success of the United States than sign a treaty that is designed to hurt the United States economy in order to advance the economies of socialist nations.

How does this petty economic jealously stuff compare to defending our nation against attacks from people who do not know what diplomacy is, only killing.
I find your statement to be riddled with ignorance. Have you ever actually sat down and read the kyoto protocol?

I bet you say yes despite never having seen a page, many people do, because they have a shallow conception of what it is and why it is and they perceive that it is, as you seem to believe, aimed at the detriment of the US and other 'developed' nations.

This is the biggest misconception I've ever come accross, and the saddest thing is that politicians have been able to pass this misconception off as the truth to a body of people who seemd to consider themselves as intelligent beings.

If you'd bother to read the documents which are available here:

http://unfccc.int/resource/convkp.html

or here:

http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/1997/global.warming/stories/treaty/

you'd soon realise that the reason that the US has to make the biggest cuts is because it is the biggest polluter. The reason that some developing countries are allowed to increase emissions is because they need to develop their economies in order to be able to afford more environmentally friendly practices. For example, say a country has some biological resource such as a rainforest, and the only way it can reduce emissions is by destroying and consuming the rainforest? What would be the point in asking it to cut emissions when part if the reason we are seeking to reduce them is to safeguard things like rainforests and coral reefs?

If the US seems to be losing more than most nations it is only because it is the most wasteful and polluting of all nations.

Suggesting that other nations are merely jealous of the economic success of the US is a shallow and ignorant view of the fact that people are concerned with the fate of the world.

When it all comes down to it, simply because you can find the borders of your country on a map that means nothing, those borders are not real as far as the living things on this planet are concerned, nor are they of any consequence to the weather, and geological processes.

Behaving detrimentally towards the world because you wish to maintain a sharp economic gradient at the edge of your nation is selfish, ignorant and will ultimately sow the seeds of the destruction of that nation if history is any judge.

Mike Haft

Erik
08-15-2002, 10:57 AM
The other Erik with a K wrote some stuff which seemed strange to me.
We dont claim to be a perfect country ourselves, we are just like any other country struggling along wih the problems of modern life and modern society and in this process we have our successes but also a fair share of mistakes and failures.
This is exactly how I see my country.
Still we are often attacked/threatend or do feel attacked/threatend by American TV, individual american citizens or even US Government.
I think you need to realize that this country does not speak with one voice. No doubt you do feel attacked but as I'm about to point out I feel the same way at times. The current regime has many beliefs and values which to be frank, terrify me.
-We are attacked for showing educational programs about sex, relations, responsibilities and life aimed at teenagers on prime time TV. Our country has one of the lowest rates of teenage pregnancies in the western world.
I have no problems with this and again a very vocal minority is speaking here.
-We are attacked for having abortions legal in our country. We have one of the lowest rates of abortions in the western countries. (Including those countries were abortions are illegal.)
Abortion is legal here. It's the same vocal minority speaking out again.
-We are attacked for having a different policy on drugs (which, contrary to common belief, does not mean doing drugs is legal, but in specific well described cases the law is deliberately not acted upon) and by having this policy has eliminated a lot of drugrelated crimes. (BTW, drug addicts are often considered sick people that need help)
I would have no problems with this.
-Firearms are completely illegal in our country. The number of murders is something like 300 on 16 million, most of them taken up by "ordinary" household murders anyway.
This is not something nearly as simple as you imply but it would not bother me if guns went away.
-Our society is relatively safe and you consedered the police your friend.
They are the enemy? I feel relatively safe all things considered. I don't feel safe in certain areas but are there places in your country or Europe where you would not feel safe?
-We would not dream of trying to pass a law that allows and justifies us to invade a ally in peacetime!
I'm guessing your military might makes this a non-issue but what are you talking about? I presume you mean the US but as far as I know Iraq is not on the friendly list. For what it's worth, I think it's the last thing we should do.

But help me out. When was the last time the US invaded a country and kept the territory? I feel like I'm missing something obvious but I can't think of any. I think we've made a number of bad choices and decisions but the effort was noble and humanitarian in it's way as well.

We did hit Afghanistan but I think they drew a line there that needed crossing. I certainly wouldn't call that an invasion.
Just a little rant.
No problem here. The other Erik with a K does it all the time. :)

AikiAlf
08-15-2002, 11:12 AM
I think I know what peace means:

Righteousness:

Main Entry: righ·teous

Pronunciation: 'rI-ch&s

Function: adjective

Etymology: alter. of earlier rightuous, alteration of Middle English rightwise, rightwos, from Old English rihtwIs, from riht, noun, right + wIs wise

Date: 1535

1 : acting in accord with divine or moral law : free from guilt or sin

2 a : morally right or justifiable <a righteous decision> b : arising from an outraged sense of justice or morality <righteous indignation>

3 slang : GENUINE, GOOD

synonym see MORAL

I understand righteousness as aception 2b , but in all definitions,

peace and righteousness are not opposites or part of the same definition.

I think acting in outraged sense of justice or morality may not lead to peace.. depending on what your morality is.

The Taliban are righteous in their belief. Is that good? The current US. gov't uses righteous rhetoric which irritates the hell out of other people who don't see all of the current US gov't's actions as moral. Some of the people in the current and previous administrations :blush: have been exposed as immoral to the eyes of the world, which reinforces that idea.

So I think you can be righteous for peace , or you can be righteous for war. It don't lead to the same end.

I also think you can put peace above righteousness ; and when christians say that nuking 2 million people was ok because it avoided greater loss , they do that. On the other hand you can feel righteous about it if you have a utilitarian morality..

Righteousness is tricky I don't trust it nor people who profess it.

erikmenzel
08-15-2002, 01:15 PM
Dear Erik Haselhofer,

I understand that having a unified voice for one country is impossible to ask. Yet it seems from our point of view that the part of US citizens that object to all several parts of Dutch law and society are not just a small majority. We judge the US and its people on what we see and hear. And our sources are not limited to just Jerry Springer or Oprah.

Be it that just a very vocal minority objects to different parts of dutch law and society then it is for dutch people very difficult to understand why the voice of this minority is in some respects the same as the official US government.

In this respect the US is judged by its actions and unfortunatly the current government has done so many things that are from our point of view considered strange, weird and even outrageous.

The US does not participate in the Kyoto agreement.

The US government stopped all funding to projects in the third world that could not proof the were not connected to abortion. (Which knowing the situation in most subsaharan countries would mean no hospital, health center or docters post can recieve any funding because in those countries they just have one clinic that takes care of all.) So this means among others no money for the battle against AIDS if existing healthcare structures are used.

The US government does not intent to become a party in the treaty concerning the international criminal court.

The US government trying to pass a law that allows and justifies eventual future invasion of The Netherlands, a trusted NATO partner and supporting ally in several conflicts, is not only something that is frowned upon. It also caused a big dent in the trust dutch people have in the US.

Lots of tings about the US are good, but not all. Just because we dont agree with some things does not mean we are the enemy.

virginia_kyu
08-15-2002, 01:56 PM
Actually no...

I had begun to try to counter the many aruments that had been posted above until I realized what is going on here.

This topic has been torn into a million different directions (abortion, drug policies, global warming, etc..) that have nothing to do with with what we were discussing. I would be happy to discuss any of these with you on another thread but please to not attempt to change the subject.

The introduction of all of this other stuff has the effect (perhaps intentionally) of shutting down the discussion.

Tijmen Ramakers
08-15-2002, 02:09 PM
I'm guessing your military might makes this a non-issue but what are you talking about?
Our military might? Where? :))

I think Erik Knoops is referring to the US opposition to the ICC. As part of that opposition a law was approved by which the US grants itself the right to invade the Netherlands to free any US soldiers that might be held by the ICC.

Also, this opposition is seen as yet another sign of US egocentrism, since, combined with its actions to 'spread freedom and democracy' elsewhere, the US is effectively saying "we are never wrong, we are above international law, and we can force our will onto others whenever we like it".

I believe the US have now taken a different approach, though, by making individual countries (under threat of economical sanctions) declare they refuse to hand over US soldiers to the ICC. Divide et impera...
But help me out. When was the last time the US invaded a country and kept the territory? I feel like I'm missing something obvious but I can't think of any. I think we've made a number of bad choices and decisions but the effort was noble and humanitarian in it's way as well.
It is my believe that the effort was noble and humanitarian on television, but economically and strategically beneficial in reality.

Instead of thinking in terms of territory, it may be better to think in terms of economical, political or strategical power.

I think this applies to Quwayt as well as Afghanistan.

My view of the US is that it's more and more governed by companies and money,

not by people.

Also, it may just be that the US is lacking a counterpart. If only the EU were a bit more of a unity... (although I fear that prospect even more sometimes...)

[even more offtopic]

As an example of the humanitarian face of the US: Why is (was?) there such a strong oppostion to some pharmaceutical companies providing cheap drugs to the African countries, where millions are dying of AIDS? Patents can't be the issue, can it? I mean, it only took 4 US victims to force Bayer to sell its anthrax serum patent for $1...

[/even more offtopic]

Tijmen

Richard Harnack
08-15-2002, 02:51 PM
I was out at the Teddy Roosevelt Memorial this morning and Wash DC and saw a quote that got me thinking. Roosevelt said that if he had to choose between righteousness and peace, he would choose righteousness.
Mohandas K. Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. both address this very issue. For each Truth and Justice are primary pursuits with the long term goal of establishing peace. Their chosen modalities were Non-Violent Action. Their goal was always Justice/Righteousness.

TR's postulation of preferring Righteousness to Peace does not mean he did not want peace, but rather he did not want peace at any cost.

Unfortunately, many know-nothings make the leap from this understanding (or lack of) to the postulation that peace is not possible therefore we might as well just go ahead and "fight the good fight". This represents an essentially lazy and easily pursued violent view.

By the way, Gandhi's Truth held within it Justice & Righteousness.

Bruce Baker
08-15-2002, 03:33 PM
Come on guys, review your history of conflict.

Vietnam and most countrys surrounding China are considered protectorates of China, or outlying provinces depending on the trade, and buffer zones required for that particular period.

As for the industrial pollution, that is due to the shortsightedness of the fossil fuel era, and population density. We have yet to realize that humanity is destroying the fragile balance of nature. Even now, the population centers are becoming limited in space, water supply, and our own pollution is going to kill or mutate most of our gggrandchildren if we don't get with the program.

Natural recyclable materials or limiting the chemical pollution we allow for the industrial growth is becoming the investment future in third world, which is the crime of the century.

As pollution laws become sticter in industrial affluent countries, the industrys see to find countrys with little to no industry, few industrial pollution laws, and again resume their polluting ways.

Knowing doesn't change it, nor does keeping it to yourself.

Get your butt in gear, learn what is going on in YOUR world, and do something about it.

Most of us are just pawns if the greater game of international business and weasel dealings as we try to get a little bit ahead with each weeks paycheck, but we do have the opportunity to learn, speak our words, and change the world.

If you use the same zeal you have for learning Aikido to learn about the total true picture of how the world is run, who runs it, who makes the deals, and what motivates them to do such atrocious things in the name of progress, then you are armed and ready to change the world into a somewhat balanced and peaceful place that O'Sensei was alluding to.

Just like using other martial arts in many of the openings from Aikido movements, there is no one school to gather all knowledge from.

So, review your history of conflict in Viet Nam when you start whining how it was a losing proposition, review the rise and fall of nations over the known three thousand years of recorded history, and don't forget to review the rise of industrial societys since the late 1800s.

Once we entered the fossil fuel era, we maintained a course that was doomed to destruction ... if we don't change our ways.

Hopefully, as you see the multitude of variations in Aikido, your mind will construct the true picture from all the small truths you have experienced in the industrial society. When you start to look around, then you will come to some of the conclusions I have.

Meanwhile, question, practice Aikido, keep the peace.

virginia_kyu
08-15-2002, 03:43 PM
See you all later on another thread, this one has changed directions and has been hijacked. :rolleyes:

Neil Mick
08-15-2002, 06:30 PM
With all due respect to Michael Neal: all of these discussions are on-topic, because they all relate to the participation of the U.S. in world affairs.

**********************************************

Recently I have given much thought to the U.S. involvement in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (really the US-Israeli/Palestinian conflict, because we are as much a participant in Palestinian suffering, as is Israel).

Until last March, I was largely ignorant of the details of the situation: I believed that the peace process was delayed because of the intransigence of the leaders involved.

What got me interested was the reports of Israeli soldiers shooting unarmed Palestinians using weapons supplied by the U.S. I also heard about the effect the international observers had in lessening the violence. I resolved to go to Palestine (with a group) as an international observer.

I also wanted to go to dojos in Jerusalem (the dojo web search lists 6 of them) and ask the members there how they felt about the violence perpetrated in their name...what was their approach to lessening the violence, when they had to deal with it on a daily basis (not to mention the constant fear of being blown to bits)? How does Aikido change the way they think about the conflict, and their role in it?

To make a long story short: I never made it to the first Israeli dojo. I was detained at the airport in Tel Aviv, held in a cell for 21 hours, labeled a supporter of Arafat and the PLO (by both Israeli customs and the American consul; a false accusation) and shipped back on the first plane.

The action was a failure, but the question remains: what role do we, as practitioners of an art of harmony and peace, have in ending violence committed in our name? What role do we, as seekers of peace, play in stopping the violence...even as that violence occurs when we do nothing?

virginia_kyu
08-15-2002, 10:02 PM
Neil, the topic was clearly changed to something else but I really don't want to sit here argue about that anymore.

I would like to say that there is one thing that the United States has done horribly wrong. That is we have been too generous to the rest of the world so now much of it has become too dependent on us. Now instead of dealing with their own problems they blame us everything that goes wrong so they can weisel a few more bucks from us.

I belive most of these arguments against the U.S. are pure utter nonsense and If I had nothing but free time to dispute them all I would.

I also thank God that most of the U.S. does not agree with these sentiments. It really feel like I am at a socialist convention or something :eek:

guest1234
08-15-2002, 11:12 PM
Hi Erik and Tijmen,

Hey, I wouldn't let these guys knock your military...guys in ponytails with earrings can be pretty tough... I recall once walking back from the jet with my pilot on the Deci ramp. With my helmet off after a flight, the braid I would tuck down the back of my flight suit at the start had come out and my har was being blown by the wind. A Lt Col. from the TJ squadron passed us, and jokingly said "hey, Capt., get a haircut" ... my pilot proudly pointed to the orange wreath around our squadron patch and announced "we're the Dutch ANG, we don't need haircuts".

Seriously, I recall stopping to treat someone the third day of Neimejgen (spelled wrong?), getting separated from my group, and marching with Dutch marines while looking for my own folks. Not so sure we should be making light of invading Den Hague.

My first week in NL, I was told by someone that 'the Dutch are the social conscience of the world' and I found that to be so true.

Oh, and the minority voice becomes the offical voice throught the miracle of the electoral college.

SeiserL
08-16-2002, 12:01 AM
The US may not always be right, but most of the world turns to it for leadership, assistance, and protection. While I don't believe in global policing, I do believe in helping our neighbors and hope they would apprecite our efforts. If we are so bad, why do so many people want to come her or imitate us?

I agree that we got off the topic of peace versus righteousness as philosophical generalization and started to blame the US. And, I agree we are to blame for some things. We are not a perfect nation. But I am proud of the US. I hope everyone is proud of their country and proud of themselves.

Until again,

Lynn

Neil Mick
08-16-2002, 02:39 AM
This question I posted above is not about "my country right or wrong;" its about practical application of a principle we all study.

To put my question in a more general context: how do you reconcile your Aikido beliefs of practicing harmony in a world filled with conflict? How do you take Aikido "off the mat?"

Johan
08-16-2002, 03:41 AM
Some of what I was trying to say may have been taken out of context. I'm not trying to bash the US, but I believe honest observation of our selves as individuals and larger communities is necessary for growth towards any goal be it peace or some other. I love my own country but I may not always love the actions that my leaders perform. The same goes for the US. If a patriot is said to truly love their country they will acknowledge their perceived mistakes in order to learn from them. Deliberately ignoring them seems to be more conducive to encouraging a regressive society. The same can be seen in so many Aiki dojos across our country. How many people do you meet in Aikido have stagnated their own training because of their own ego refusing to allow them to learn?

On the subject of peace vs righteousness I believe that on a global scale it can be very difficult to judge right and wrong, and further when politics or ego are involved, what is right one day may be wrong the next.

For those that believe they are beyond ego I guess this doesn't concern them, but for the rest of us I think that it is important to consider the motive behind our actions or reactions. How much of what we do is because we are trying to create peace and how much of what we do is because we want to be right?

Ecosamurai
08-16-2002, 06:29 AM
Neil, the topic was clearly changed to something else but I really don't want to sit here argue about that anymore.

I would like to say that there is one thing that the United States has done horribly wrong. That is we have been too generous to the rest of the world so now much of it has become too dependent on us. Now instead of dealing with their own problems they blame us everything that goes wrong so they can weisel a few more bucks from us.

I belive most of these arguments against the U.S. are pure utter nonsense and If I had nothing but free time to dispute them all I would.

I also thank God that most of the U.S. does not agree with these sentiments. It really feel like I am at a socialist convention or something :eek:
I agree with some of the points you've made previously, I believe that to fight is necessary, becasue when it comes right down to it, everyone fights everyday for even the smallest of things.

But you must concede that the rest of the world is not the US, and though the sort of society that exists in the US is ok for Americans, it may not me desirable to other people in the world.

So you must see that even the best intentioned interferance is still interferance and as such not going to be happily received.

In many situations the actions of the US have been good actions, intended at protecting the welfare of other people as the US sees it, but not everyone agrees with the US view of what is best for others.

Yes the US has been generous, but it has also meddled.

Personally as a Brit I find I have little problem with US influence over here, I would however like to see multinational fast food companies got rid of, but that is a matter of personal preference.

It just seems that the US is enforcing a Pax Romana with military and economic might sometimes. The difficulty is in deciding if the US Pax Romana is righteous or not. How you could begin to decide that I have no idea.

Mike Haft

erikmenzel
08-16-2002, 07:14 AM
Hi Colleen,

are you a pilot? I always thought you were a medical doctor.

As for our militairy might, we dont think of them as much, but this is not due to their capabilities but more to the kind of power we are used to. Of course some of the things our navy can provide are highly appreciated by our allies, such as minesweeping and anti-missle ship defenses. However, the Netherlands is much more comfortable with economical power and because we have always been and still are a trading country it is often in our best interest to use this power in a subtile way. Even so subtile lots of people dont even know what kind of things or companies are owned by the dutch anyway.

As you know from living in our country, dutch people have a somewhat different perspective on the world than for instance Americans do, but this is probably also due to the nature of the country and its history.

I personally hope to visit the US sometimes and meet different kind of people, because to understand the people of a country having been there would definitly help. Maybe some summercamp in the future would be nice.

As for a lot of the confusion in this thread: Maybe some people are far more sensitive for the thin line between righteousness and self-righteousness. Maybe some people are even unaware of crossing this line anyaway.
:eek: :eek:

Brian H
08-16-2002, 10:09 AM
Why does everybody bash the US? It is because we are an "enlightened" nation.

When there is conflict or suffering in the world we run to help and spend our treasure freely. Many nations have a significant portion of their economy paid for or guaranteed by the US tax payer.

People were starving in Somalia, so we sent in the Marines to make it safe for the UN to set up feeding systems. (lots of food was going into Somalia prior to that. It was just being seized and exported by the war lords to fund themselves). The Marines were withdrawn and a new president came into office. Then some rock scientist decided a few hundred American commandos could solve all of Somalia's problems in six weeks with a "leadership change." Then we got our asses handed to us and the out gunned soldiers were withdrawn quickly.

Lessons learned by the badguys: "America has a big heart and no balls."

Results for the goodguys: America sat on its hands when inter-tribal conflicts turned into genocide in West Africa(the inevitable result of EUROPE abandoning its colonies in the sixties with a lot of help from Soviet meddling). Then when EUROPE cried about genocide on its door step we bombed the Serbs from 15,000 feet (three miles up), that makes it hard to tell the difference between a refugee and a soldier, but limits American casualties. See "Lessons learned by the badguys" above.

Will we make mistakes in the on going war on terror? : HELL YES!!! (especially in a part of the world where 20mm cannons are used as party favors at weddings) Will there be unintended consequences? HELL YES !!! (Very scary when dealing with wackos with weapons of mass destruction)

The world is full of people who have hated each other for centuries and when the diplomats try to talk to both sides they both end up in conflict with the US (Your homework essay: "Solving the Arab/Israeli conflict now" (25 words or less)

Many of these conflicts make little sense to outsiders (a friend of mine who spent a year peacekeeping in Kosivo said you could only tell the difference between the Christians and the Muslims was by the color of their shoes...everybody has a uniform)

World peace? A lot of Americans have died trying (and a lot of innocents have died when we didn't).

Minor rant: If the US is the "worlds biggest polluter" then why is it that all of the public monuments of Europe are quickly desolving?

Abasan
08-16-2002, 12:28 PM
Brian, your monologue on US's involvement in Somalia must have come straight from Blackhawkdown, which incidently only showed the story from the US's point of view.

Prior to that, US stirred the hornets nest by gunning down/blowing up a meeting where most of the warlords from the different factions were suing for peace. Unintentionly of course. Of course a few civilians died. But hey it was a mistake, the US was sorry.

They did a few more of those mistakes apparently. By the way, it wasn't just pakistanis who save the marines that day. Malaysian troops helped saved them too. Would have arrived sooner if US army didn't insist that we stay out of it. (it was a US action not a NATO one). But since the US army didn't know how to use our vehicles, we had the final say so on the go at last. One of our soldiers died that day, rescuing marines who had no business there. Did we get a mention? Nope... how do I know this? My uncle was the general in charge of the Malaysian team.

And now the US wants all their troops to be exempt from war crimes tribunal? Figures...

Brian H
08-16-2002, 02:30 PM
Brian, your monologue on US's involvement in Somalia must have come straight from Blackhawkdown, which incidently only showed the story from the US's point of view.

Prior to that, US stirred the hornets nest by gunning down/blowing up a meeting where most of the warlords from the different factions were suing for peace. Unintentionly of course. Of course a few civilians died. But hey it was a mistake, the US was sorry.

They did a few more of those mistakes apparently.
Yes, but ...

The book is far more comprehensive than the movie. It goes into great detail about the missile attack on the meeting. It just lays out the facts and uses a lot of direct interviews with people directly involved (including Somalians). I would be very surprised if it did not touch on the Malaysian role (don't have the book at hand).

The first American mission is Somalia was a success - food got to the people.

The second, including shooting of a large number of TOW missiles into a building where a gathering of Somali leaders, was a total failure. We were playing cops and robbers with the Somalian clans. It was a very good men sent to execute a very bad plan.

When our troops got into trouble, the only available option was to spend eighteen hours shooting it out with the Somalis until an ad hoc team (including Malaysian troops) to come get them.

Nobody had a real problem with the original mission (20,000 marines supporting civilian feeding systems). But was when we started playing clan politics with one twentieth the troops and dropping light infantry unsupported into an urban area that we ran into trouble. People in Washington just wanted to save the day in Africa, but didn't want pictures of big scary tanks on CNN. So our troops had to bleed and die while a rescue plan was put together (you just don't drive into combat without a plan - the solution would have been as bad as the problem)

End result: the US pulled out, the UN pulled out and Somalia still suffers. Aiki : we failed to irimi deeply and our atemi was poor (we killed several thousand people with no gain) and uke (not enemy, after all we went there to stop a famine amid a civil war) was able to unbalance nage. Then nage ran from the mat instead of moving on to another technique that might have worked.

The only true failure is giving up. And that is exactly what we did.

The soldiers who fought in Somalia have nothing to be ashamed of and don't belong in any "world courts", .... but the Washington side of the opperation (like Les Aspin) are a different story.

virginia_kyu
08-16-2002, 08:56 PM
Amen Brian :)

Neil Mick
08-17-2002, 01:01 AM
...and when we bombed the Sudanese Al-Shifra pharmacy that supplied half of Sudan with medicine (but we called it a terrorist laboratory: a claim still unsubstantiated with any evidence by the gov't), was THAT Aiki? The fact that Somali's today are STILL suffering from a lack of common medicines,,,is THAT Aiki?

Ecosamurai
08-17-2002, 08:09 AM
Why does everybody bash the US? It is because we are an "enlightened" nation.

I've never seen anything that suggests to me that the US is an enlightened nation, certainly no more enlightened than any other. This of course depends on your definition of 'enlightened'.

FWIW I agree with most of what you said in this post except this bit:

Minor rant: If the US is the "worlds biggest polluter" then why is it that all of the public monuments of Europe are quickly desolving?
This tells me that you have absolutely no concept of what pollution actually is, acidification which disolves statues made of limestone is only one form of pollution. Check the data if you don't believe me, if you want links then I'm sure I can dig some out for you.

America is the most polluting nation on earth. Closely followed by a few EU countries (most notably the UK).

Mike Haft

Ecosamurai
08-17-2002, 08:11 AM
Oops, I cocked that reply up, sorry, some of the stuff in the quote box I wrote not Brian, it should be obvious once you read it.

Mike

Erik
08-17-2002, 09:04 AM
I was gonna stay out of the rest of this. Thanks to a couple of folks for clarification on an earlier post.

However, someone decreed:
America is the most polluting nation on earth. Closely followed by a few EU countries (most notably the UK).
If you measure by volume then I believe you are correct. If you measure by other methods, such as gross domestic product the results differ.

virginia_kyu
08-17-2002, 10:03 PM
Some of this environmentalist stuff is very amusing to read.

Ecosamurai
08-18-2002, 09:48 AM
I was gonna stay out of the rest of this. Thanks to a couple of folks for clarification on an earlier post.

However, someone decreed:

If you measure by volume then I believe you are correct. If you measure by other methods, such as gross domestic product the results differ.
GDP is a bad way to measure pollution and/or environmental impacts, so I'm not sure what you're on about.

Its worth mentioning that the Exon Valdeez though disasterous had the net effect of boosting the GDP of the US that year due to the masive clean up operation.

The only way to measure pollution contributions that is remotely comparable is really on a per capita basis AFAIK. This puts the US on top the last time I checked the data, though that was over a year ago.

Mike Haft

Ecosamurai
08-18-2002, 09:50 AM
Some of this environmentalist stuff is very amusing to read.
May I ask why?

Perhaps this is something for another thread though.

Mike Haft

mike lee
08-18-2002, 10:23 AM
When the facts do not fall in his favor, every good American should retreat to the "America is mostly right" defense.

If that doesn't work, claim the discussion to be "off topic."

If that smoke-screen fails, threaten to take your ball and go home. (The ostrich defense.)

Still causing no one to flinch, further discuss the matter only with those who agree with you.

Then return, only to make light of the facts.

-- The No. 1 rule of every patriot should be to never let the facts get in the way of a good opinion!

Kevin Leavitt
08-18-2002, 01:34 PM
Wow...been gone a couple of days and lots of post. Been trying to digest them to form a response.

Looks like we are way down in the weeds on the righteous issues. i.e. who is righteous as a country and who isn't. Which actions are justified, which are not.

We could debate these all day long!

I have seen both sides of the fence on many of the issues that are brought up. Actions in Somali. "School of the America's" at Fort Benning...the environmental issues. There really is truth on both sides of all arguments and it is really difficult to tell who is right! In many cases only time will tell.

I think it is great that we have such varying opinions and it is obvious that as aikidoka and citizens of the world we really do seem to care. I never thought I'd generate this much activity on this thread.

Instead of spliting hairs over who is more righteous or not righteous....lets try and turn this topic slightly.

Can we all agree at some degree war and violence ultimately are not a solution and that after the bullets stop flying that some sort of healing process must take place?

What can we do as stewards of the earth and as aikidoka to try and change the world?

Some feel could should isolate people that could not seem to get along, is that an option...or do we need to figure out away for people to become interdependent to have true peace?

Is the world beyond hope?

Lets try and discuss options and ways we can solve problems versus pointing fingers at this point!

Great post!

Neil Mick
08-18-2002, 01:54 PM
Yes, Mike Lee, you "hit the nail on the head." There are a lot of Americans out there who feel that patriotism means unquestioned agreement with anything our leaders say. Personally, I wince whenever President "shrub" opens his mouth (direct quote: "It is clear our nation is reliant upon big foreign oil. More and more of our imports come from overseas").

Not all Americans feel comfortable with our place in the world: notice the large demonstrations against the bombing of Afghanistan, and our actions in Palestine. Unfortunately, many of us are acting out of fear, and when you let your fear dictate your actions, rational thought is irrelevant: what matters is following the leader.

BTW: I think the statistic is the US has 25% of the world's population and uses 65% of the world's resources (is this right? Let me know if it isn't). We are easily the most wasteful nation in the world, and it is small wonder that obesity is rapidly approaching epidemic proportions in the US.

To bring this conversation back to the original post, tho: do you see Aikido playing a role in your political views? How do you take the philosophy of Aikido into a political/social perspective?

Neil Mick
08-18-2002, 02:03 PM
Can we all agree at some degree war and violence ultimately are not a solution and that after the bullets stop flying that some sort of healing process must take place?

What can we do as stewards of the earth and as aikidoka to try and change the world?
Excellent points; good questions, Kevin.

But let me ask you this: what is our role, as Aikidoists, when by simply living our lives and working on our own spiritual growth, that our money and resources are being used for violent ends?

What should we do when innocents suffer because of our unquestioning acceptance of the status quo?

Brian H
08-18-2002, 02:04 PM
When the facts do not fall in his favor, every good American should retreat to the "America is mostly right" defense.

If that doesn't work, claim the discussion to be "off topic."

If that smoke-screen fails, threaten to take your ball and go home. (The ostrich defense.)

Still causing no one to flinch, further discuss the matter only with those who agree with you.

Then return, only to make light of the facts.

-- The No. 1 rule of every patriot should be to never let the facts get in the way of a good opinion!
And Taiwan is planning on not asking the US for help if China decides to "reclaim" it's lost providence? or are we just not worthy? If we come to Taiwan's aid and China A-Bombs LA, what then?

It never ceases to surprise me when people all over the world, who are sitting in buckets of their own nation's crap, can point my way and whine that "The US farted!"

Most of the US's loudest critics have large cemeteries full of fallen American soldiers (they are balls that we can never bring home)

UBL's main complaint is that the US soiled Saudi Arabia by sending troops there (OK neither the US or Iraq would be interested in Saudi Arabia if it didn't have oil). That we were there to defend it from aggression from another Moslem nation doesn't mean much to UBL.

Now you can't sit in your office and drink your morning coffee without being considered a worthy terrorist target.

Is "America is mostly right" a terrible thing?

I don't rubber stamp the decisions of my government. (If I were a Cuban talking about Cuba my earlier posts would have landed me in prison) If anything, most decisions made at a national level in the US represent compromises between the different political world views of our leaders and pundits. They is therefore often muddled and confused.

When a nation speaks with one voice, it is only because free voices are silenced by a tyrant.

Neil Mick
08-18-2002, 02:42 PM
And Taiwan is planning on not asking the US for help if China decides to "reclaim" it's lost providence? or are we just not worthy? If we come to Taiwan's aid and China A-Bombs LA, what then?
Fat chance of that: Taiwan has been waiting for us to invade the mainland for 50 years; we didn't, then, and we probably won't now. We just like to find some teeny little country and bomb and invade it when our Presidential incumbent's popularity is low.
It never ceases to surprise me when people all over the world, who are sitting in buckets of their own nation's crap, can point my way and whine that "The US farted!"
We are the only superpower: our actions affect every single country and most individuals in the world. If the US does not want an issue broached in the UN, it literally ceases to exist. We walked away from the Kyoto Accords, refuse to endorse the International Court (unless they make American soldiers exempt, which would create a 2-tiered system of justice, and thereby make the court irrelevant), dictate to other countries who their leaders should be. We train thugs and send them to other countries to terrorize civic leaders and teachers who don't jump through our hoops.

Not to say that other countries are infallable (Indonesia's actions in E. Timor, for example), but we pull the strings attached to much of the world, moreso than any other nation.

If the world is in such a bad state of affairs with pollution, war and terror, it seems to me just plain common sense to look to the most powerful nation and examine the ways in which it contributes to these problems.

Brian H
08-18-2002, 03:44 PM
Yes, but ...

because we are an imperfect nation in an imperfect world, does that me we can never be rightious or enjoy peace.

Should we withdraw from the world stage?



Since this whole thread was started with a thought inspired by a quote from Teddy Roosevelt,a great American who embodied many of the things about America that people are still complaining about, I add these:

"Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."

THEODORE ROOSEVELT

"We need the iron qualities that go with true manhood. We need the positive virtues of resolution, of courage, of indomitable will, of power to do without shrinking the rough work that must always be done." - Theodore Roosevelt

"When you play, play hard; when you work, don't play at all."

Theodore Roosevelt

"Nine-tenths of wisdom consists in being wise in time."

"Whenever you are asked if you can do a job, tell 'em, 'Certainly I can!' - and get busy and find out how to do it. "

"It is not the critic who counts, nor the man who points out where the strong man stumbled, or where a doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man in the arena whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs, and who comes up short again and again, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause. The man who at best knows the triumph of high achievement and who at worst, if he fails, fails while daring greatly, so that his place will never be with those cold timid souls who never knew victory or defeat."

---Teddy Roosevelt

Last Quote from TR (who if I'm not mistaken was give afew Aiki-jutsu leasons):

"Don't hit at all if it is honorably possible to avoid hitting; but never hit soft."

Theodore Roosevelt

Quotes from:

http://www.cp-tel.net/mil...TRoosevelt.html

Kevin Leavitt
08-18-2002, 04:24 PM
Great quotes Brian!

I think all of these can be used to be good examples of ways to harmonize the world.

The dicotomy of them is that they can also be good examples of how to tear the world apart if taken in the wrong context.

What matters is not so much what is said, but the context and the direction we are saying it.

Just as the bible and the Qu' ran have been misquoted over the centuries to justify actions that were not so much for the good of the world, but for the good of a few individuals trying to get a little more for themselves.

Aikido to me follows the same thing. In the right context, aikido can be a means to acheive peace and harmony. Applied wrongly, it can be a means to harm and injure.

That to me is the paradox of a warrior. Everyday you walk that fine line between life and death, good and evil, right and wrong. We must be constantly aware of our surroundings, the influenence, the things that are being said on the news by our leaders and the media. As Bruce Baker is trying to point out in a different thread...."think for yourself".

As warriors (aikidoka or budoka) we have choosen to walk that fine line. We have an obligation and a responsibility to be custodians of our art and the world!

More later!

Thanks for the quotes Brian!

Erik
08-18-2002, 04:38 PM
GDP is a bad way to measure pollution and/or environmental impacts, so I'm not sure what you're on about.
You mean the world's largest economy produces more greenhouse gas than Iceland? That is a stunning revelation.

Of course we produce the most greenhouse gas. We produce just about the most everything.

I recognize that we are not perfect and I don't agree with much of my country's energy policies. In fact, I find I don't agree with very much that Bush say's at all.

It's just that screaming out numbers without context pretty much makes the numbers meaningless.

Kevin Leavitt
08-18-2002, 04:38 PM
Since we are quoting people...here's a nice one!

"The real Art of Peace is not to sacrifice a single on of your warriors to defeat an enemy. Vanquish your foes by always keeping yourself in a sage and unassailable position; then no one will suffer any losses. The Way of a Warrior, the Art of Politics, is to stop trouble before it starts. It consists of defeating you adversaries spiritually by making them realize the folly of their actions. The Way of the Warrior is to establish harmony."

O'Sensei- Translated by John Stevens

Or to put it in another 20 Century philosphers words.

"the idea is not to die for your country, but to make the other dumb bastard die for his country". George S. Patton

While not as eloquent, kinda says the same thing! By making ourselves strong, we can make the enemy see the futility of their actions! while that is it's self, is not true peace, it goes along ways.

I believe this is the action the U.S. took for a majority of the Cold War...Peace through Preparedness. I would argue that while we "won the battle" the true war is not resolved with Russia. Our actions will be judged on how well we did years from now.

Given the current state of affairs in the current Soviet Union, I am not so sure we are all that successful in the long term. Especially in light of current events with the deal that was recently signed with Iraq!

Time will tell!

Brian H
08-18-2002, 05:14 PM
You mean the world's largest economy produces more greenhouse gas than Iceland? That is a stunning revelation.

Of course we produce the most greenhouse gas. We produce just about the most everything.
I am a CO2 emitter. AND AM PROUD OF IT!!

When I eat beans - I emit lots of greenhouse gases.

My SUV (repeat: my SUV) emits less non-CO2 pollution than anything commonly available in the rest of the world. Why, computer controlled emission controls causes my SUV to emit little more than CO2 and water. Best means of controlling CO2 .... you guessed it ... GREEN PLANTS!!! Just compare the amount of CO2 produced by ALL of the cars in the US to the amount produced by one forest fire. Why are we calling CO2 pollution? Because when you add CO2 to the really bad ozone and smog producing stuff coming out of tail pipes everywhere else than the US looks "almost as bad." Wake up, the US is so clean that using lawn mowers has a measurable impact!!! Try all cars v. wood burning fireplaces.

I have been to Europe, they need to clean their own yard before they talk about mine.

Want to stop your monuments from dissolving? Try catalatic converters. Scrubbers on all those coal power plants too. How about nuclear power? Oh, no, not that!

Sorry, I guess I did not get it all out with my earlier "minor rant."

Neil Mick
08-18-2002, 05:27 PM
Yes, but ...

because we are an imperfect nation in an imperfect world, does that me we can never be rightious or enjoy peace.

Should we withdraw from the world stage?
An excellent question, Brian. No, we should not withdraw from the world stage, but "we" are increasingly having less input over how that world stage is being formed. "They" (meaning big money and corporate interests who couldn't care less about the quality of human lives) control where our international interests lay...mostly in big oil. In about 100 years (if we live that long), I imagine it will be over water.

Why does this have to be the case? Why are we constantly subverting other governments and bombing the poor? Why can't our approach to the world be based upon human rights (REAL human rights) and peace? Wouldn't this be the most Aiki form of international relations?

Kat.C
08-18-2002, 05:28 PM
Wow, lots of posts here, it took me twenty minutes to read through them all!

Well in response to the original question I think it would depend alot on what was meant by peace,(whether outer or inner), and righteousness. Some people consider outer peace to be the absence of war, I'd consider it to mean the absence of the need for war. And then there is inner peace. I always want to be at peace with myself, and God, this is very important to me but I believe I obtain this partly through being righteous. Righteous meaning obeying God's laws, (mainly the commandments) and truly repenting when I break them. Pretty much I believe these two things go hand in hand, if I discard righteousness to keep outer peace then I lose my inner peace, without that I don't believe I can be at peace with others.

Now I'm just curious here but what has pollution got to do with it?:confused:

Kevin Leavitt
08-18-2002, 06:13 PM
Good reply Kat. I think we are talking about the same thing. True Peace. You basically defined that as the absence for the NEED of war. I agree!

Think the pollution thing got off on a tangent. But is is still relevant. I believe the point of it is that All things must be in harmony and equilibrum. Our almost un-restrained use of natural resources in this modern world is something we should consider.

Yes, peace means absence of war for humanity. But, peace can also refer to the earth as well. IMHO, we are not at peace with the earth in the way we are treating it.

I am not sure if this is the point of the posters getting into the weeds, but I can't help but think there is a direct corealation to pollution and war when you really think about it!

Ecosamurai
08-18-2002, 06:57 PM
You mean the world's largest economy produces more greenhouse gas than Iceland? That is a stunning revelation.

Of course we produce the most greenhouse gas. We produce just about the most everything.

I recognize that we are not perfect and I don't agree with much of my country's energy policies. In fact, I find I don't agree with very much that Bush say's at all.

It's just that screaming out numbers without context pretty much makes the numbers meaningless.
A very fair point. It is difficult to sum things up without making generalisations though, I'd be happy to start throwing data around myself, but unfortunately most people wouldn't.

Hope you see my point though in all of it.

FWIW if you want some humourous and insightful environmental info it might be worth checking out

www.gristmagazine.com

Mike Haft

Ecosamurai
08-18-2002, 07:06 PM
I am a CO2 emitter. AND AM PROUD OF IT!!

When I eat beans - I emit lots of greenhouse gases.

My SUV (repeat: my SUV) emits less non-CO2 pollution than anything commonly available in the rest of the world. Why, computer controlled emission controls causes my SUV to emit little more than CO2 and water. Best means of controlling CO2 .... you guessed it ... GREEN PLANTS!!! Just compare the amount of CO2 produced by ALL of the cars in the US to the amount produced by one forest fire. Why are we calling CO2 pollution? Because when you add CO2 to the really bad ozone and smog producing stuff coming out of tail pipes everywhere else than the US looks "almost as bad." Wake up, the US is so clean that using lawn mowers has a measurable impact!!! Try all cars v. wood burning fireplaces.

I have been to Europe, they need to clean their own yard before they talk about mine.

Want to stop your monuments from dissolving? Try catalatic converters. Scrubbers on all those coal power plants too. How about nuclear power? Oh, no, not that!

Sorry, I guess I did not get it all out with my earlier "minor rant."
I'm very sorry but you're talking absolute rubbish. Its clear to me that you know nothing of the issues at hand and yet still think you're right.

Respectfully (I hope) you're just coming across as an opinionated ignoramus. Its obvious that you care about this, yet you seem uninformed. I hope I've not misinterpreted you, but thats what it seems. FWIW this isn't about national pride or anything for me, I'm not knocking the US just because I don't live there, but because the data says what it says.

Anyway, this is all off at a big tangent now so I'll not post any more on the subject. You're probably bored with it now anyhow :)

Mike Haft

PS - You're right. Don't knock cars with big engines they are often (somewhat counterintuitively) less polluting and more effiecient than smaller cars, and thats an environmentalist saying that ;)

Kevin Leavitt
08-18-2002, 07:54 PM
Please let's get this back on track.

The various environmental pissing contest are not doing anything for us!

opherdonchin
08-18-2002, 08:11 PM
I was also more interested in the question of peace and righteousness than in arguments about the morality of the abstract entities we call nations and identify with so strongly.

And so, here are my $.02:

As far as I understand the principles of AiKiDo ('True victory is victory of oneself'), peace only has meaning in terms of the struggles we have with ourselves. My feelings of frustration with the state of the world, and my feeling of vulnerability when faced with the hostility or agression of another, are ultimately expressions of my own inner conflicts.

Clearly, a lot of people on this site wouldn't agree to take those ideas too too seriously (and a lot of others probably would), but let's 'entertain them' rather than feeling like we need to 'accept them.'

In the sense of those ideas, when I sacrifice my willingness to act righteously (that is, in a way that puts me in harmony with my self) I inevitably also sacrifice peace (that is, I somehow generate a conflict with my surroundings). Peace is impossible for a man who is not willing to seek the righteous path.

At least, I think that's what it means. ;)

The trick is (and what a trick it is) that the path of righteousness is often hard to sense. AiKiDo teaches us that usually, if the path leads to conflict and violence, then it is probably not the path of righteousness.

And so we've come full circle.:freaky:

Kevin Leavitt
08-18-2002, 10:40 PM
Yes, I agree, the paradox rears it ugly head once again!

I will have to think about what you said for a few days, before I add any thoughts!

Good stuff!

mike lee
08-19-2002, 03:54 AM
Self-rightious individuals are often too lazy to find out the facts, remain in denial, make broad, unsubstantiated generalizations, and accuse "everyone" of "screaming," while they attempt to shout-down any oppostion to their self-centered view of the world.

Some falsely assume that self-rightous patriotic bluster is rightousness. Such attitudes only serve to block rational communication.

True rightiousness is the quiet self confidence gained from years of quietly working to do right, while also admitting to one's own failings. This path leads to inner peace. When enough people in the world take such a path, peace in the world is possible.

There will always be probelms in the world -- but that is another matter.

Brian H
08-19-2002, 07:58 AM
I'm very sorry but you're talking absolute rubbish. Its clear to me that you know nothing of the issues at hand and yet still think you're right.

Respectfully (I hope) you're just coming across as an opinionated ignoramus. Its obvious that you care about this, yet you seem uninformed. I hope I've not misinterpreted you, but thats what it seems. FWIW this isn't about national pride or anything for me, I'm not knocking the US just because I don't live there, but because the data says what it says.

Anyway, this is all off at a big tangent now so I'll not post any more on the subject. You're probably bored with it now anyhow :)

Mike Haft

PS - You're right. Don't knock cars with big engines they are often (somewhat counterintuitively) less polluting and more effiecient than smaller cars, and thats an environmentalist saying that ;)
"peacefulness" or "cleanliness" often depend on outlook and definition.

When I sit in my backyard, I find it very peaceful. Others might immediately notice airplane and traffic noises and find the same setting very distracting (Being from England, I doubt Michael would find the current 95-100 degree weather here very pleasant at all)

As a policeman, I have managed to find "peace" in the middle of utter chaos, by recognizing tasks at hand and reacting according to my training and experience. Call it the randori effect, take the center and the rest will follow.

Michael and I would probably agree on what the "numbers" are, but disagree on what they mean. One persons "pollution" is another persons "natural product of respiration and combustion."

My issue with "ecologists" is that to much focus is on natural controllable substances like CO2 (eliminate all production of CO2 and all green plants would die) and not on really toxic stuff like heavy metal contamination etc. I don't like the Kyoto Treaty because it does the same thing while exempting the developing world from most of its controls. My beef is partly that it would harm the American economy. Another is that the unintended consequence would be for the worst polluting industries would accelerate their shift to the developing world (exempted for economic reasons, but also have the worst industrial practices, because protecting the environment costs money they do not have) and compound already serious environmental damage. Plants will soak up CO2, but the same is not true of lead, arsenic, and worse.

It is all about money, it costs less money to move your toxic industrial practices to China or India. Their economies with benefit, but their people and environment will suffer.

It is good to move industries to the developing world: rising wages lead to rising expections and then to more freedom. Labor costs alone will cause this process to occur. But why set up a cycle where the worst industrial offenders have an incentive to move to the most vulnerable areas. Do it, but do it right.

"Environmental issues" are, at an international level, as often about money and politics as pure humanitarian concern. As with any of the “games nations play” concealed mal intent can harm "peace" as much as open but misdirected good will.

In any struggle, many forces are pushing and pulling in many directions. As warriors we must be above the fray even as we are in the middle of it. An "opinionated ignoramus" might even find peace with a pompous ass in a discussion about "absolute rubbish."

All that just to find a nice way to call Michael a "pompous ass."

Ecosamurai
08-19-2002, 10:53 AM
This issue has gone way off topic, this is defnitely my last post on the subject, I wouldn't have bothered to reply had it not been for the fact that I was labelled a pompous ass, but there ya go.
"peacefulness" or "cleanliness" often depend on outlook and definition.
Ok I agree with you there.
When I sit in my backyard, I find it very peaceful. Others might immediately notice airplane and traffic noises and find the same setting very distracting (Being from England, I doubt Michael would find the current 95-100 degree weather here very pleasant at all)
FWIW I live on a main road with trucks going past all the time and I don't notice them either because I've lived there all my life.

Being from England I actually find the current 80-95 degree weather here quite nice, apart from the occasional torrential rain.

SNIP
Michael and I would probably agree on what the "numbers" are, but disagree on what they mean. One persons "pollution" is another persons "natural product of respiration and combustion."
You really don't know anything at all about this do you?

The issue isn't whether CO2 is unnatural, it is perfectly natural, as you say it is a product of respiration and combustion. Likewise, nobody will argue that global warming occurs, the debate is about how much influence the human race is having upon global warming, and as such our combustion of fossil fuels which produce CO2 is an issue.
My issue with "ecologists" is that to much focus is on natural controllable substances like CO2 (eliminate all production of CO2 and all green plants would die) and not on really toxic stuff like heavy metal contamination etc. I don't like the Kyoto Treaty because it does the same thing while exempting the developing world from most of its controls. My beef is partly that it would harm the American economy. Another is that the unintended consequence would be for the worst polluting industries would accelerate their shift to the developing world (exempted for economic reasons, but also have the worst industrial practices, because protecting the environment costs money they do not have) and compound already serious environmental damage. Plants will soak up CO2, but the same is not true of lead, arsenic, and worse.
My trouble with people who knock "ecologists" is that they tend to know nothing whatsoever about ecology. I'm an ecologist, ecology is a science, I'm a scientist, thats what an ecologist is. But I also happen to be an environmentalist which is something entirely different from an ecologist. Don't confuse the two, it'd be like thinking of a physicist who believes in racial equality and actively speaks out for it, and saying that the two things are related when they aren't.

Read the kyoto protocol properly.

And as another point, eliminating all production of CO2 would not kill off all the plants in the world. Also, people who suggest planting trees and plants to offset the amount of CO2 industry produces should note that 100% of the land on earth would have to be covered with trees and even then it wouldn't be enough. I do agree with what you said about heavy metals, but read the kyoto protocol again, theres more in it than just global warming (though that is the main thrust of it).
It is all about money, it costs less money to move your toxic industrial practices to China or India. Their economies with benefit, but their people and environment will suffer.
Yeah I agree with that.
In any struggle, many forces are pushing and pulling in many directions. As warriors we must be above the fray even as we are in the middle of it. An "opinionated ignoramus" might even find peace with a pompous ass in a discussion about "absolute rubbish."

All that just to find a nice way to call Michael a "pompous ass."
See, now that wasn't nice. Pompous isn't it at all, I just do this stuff for a living and its all to common that people decide that none of the environmental issues are important because they simply have technical misconceptions or just plain don't know. Like you seem to be.

Admittedly, its not easy to judge the manner in which you're saying something from just blocks of text, so I apologise if I've misinterpreted you. But you've just come accross as all opinion and no real fact, and if I drop in a real fact it seems to get ignored. I don't think that that is pompous behaviour, presumptuous perhaps but not pompous. Or perhaps your just confusing my fairly British style of writing for something thats not there, i.e. "thats a complete load of utter rubbish" rather than "what a load of bulls**t"

Anyway, I suggest PM if you want to continue this, theres no real reason to take up anymore space in this thread.

I personally think its still kind of related, because of the economic and environmental impacts that the foreign policies of some industrialised nations can have, but thats just me.

Mike Haft

Brian H
08-19-2002, 11:23 AM
Michael,

we agree on some things, but not on others. That just makes things interesting. Our world and our society are very complex and fragile things. When we fail to ask questions and challenge each other, we not only fail to find answers, we will likely not know there is a problem until it is to late. Keep up the good work and if you are ever in Washington, please stop in at ANV.

Neil Mick
08-19-2002, 10:25 PM
I'm sorry, but I have to agree with just about everything Michael Haft said on the environment. I studied ecology as well; many of Brian Heanue's claims about CO2 and cars sound like a lot of justification for the American lifestyle: the most wasteful style of living this planet has ever seen.

No offense meant, Brian.

Brian H
08-20-2002, 05:04 AM
OK, so some days even I wonder "what the hell are they thinking"

http://www.washtimes.com/business/20020820-72407618.htm

peace

Kevin Leavitt
08-20-2002, 06:01 AM
There is an interesting undertone going on here. Even though there seems to be finger pointing going on...From reading the post from the last couple of days...I detect a commonality that everyone seems to agree on.

Mindfullness.

We talk a great deal about "no mind" or mushin in Martial Arts...which is essential when training.

However, I believe that righteousness, what I would call true righteousness is based on the concept of mindfullness. That is, thinking about the cause and effect your actions will have, not only immediately, but long term.

So once again, we run into a paradox. We are required to have "no mind", but at the same time we are required to be "mindful"!

So it appears in order to have "True Peace" it requires "True Righteousness".

When we decide to use force in order to restore peace and harmony, there will always be some sort of collateral damage (to use a modern term). We must always be mindful of not only the immediate problems that creates, but the long term problems or ripples that it creates.

Guys, I really appreciate the friendly banter. This thread is officially over 100 replies long now!! Good job, but lets try and keep the "food fights" to a minimum!

mike lee
08-20-2002, 06:09 AM
I'm a little sorry that the lunch-room monitor has appeared -- I was just preparing to open up a whole new can of worms!

The following articles, described in detail below, were recently sent to clients of the International Herald Tribune News Service, distributed by The New York Times Syndicate.

AMERICA'S IMAGE PROBLEM
CARRIES GRAVE RISKS

Washington currently formulates foreign policies on its own, fails to consider how they will play abroad and makes selling them an afterthought. To serve U.S. interests better, public diplomacy should be present at the creation as a truly integral part of policymaking. Americans must make clear why they are waging war on terrorism and why supporting this war is in the interest of other nations. Public diplomacy officials should be at the table, working with other U.S. officials as policy is sculpted. It is naive not to realize that attitudes abroad can obstruct the success of U.S. policies. So it should be standard operating procedure to consider others' likely reactions to U.S. moves.
-- By Peter G. Peterson.

A WORLD COURT ON THE ENVIRONMENT? MULTINATIONALS OBJECT

Many large international corporations are gearing up for the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg with an outpouring of promotional advertising to highlight their environmental credentials. The ads feature positive images like crystal streams, soaring eagles and happy humans. Environmental organizations dismiss the effort as ``greenwash,'' or, as a spokesman for Christian Aid in London put it, ``hogwash.'' Behind the glowing portrait in the public relations campaign, critics say, is another world of contaminated Earth, strip mines, sweatshops, ravaged forests and depleted oceans. The tension between these opposing visions is shaping up as one of the major issues at the Johannesburg conference, the biggest United Nations meeting in 10 years on economic development and the environment.
-- By Barry James.

Brian H
08-20-2002, 08:31 AM
I'm a little sorry that the lunch-room monitor has appeared -- I was just preparing to open up a whole new can of worms!
If you think the New York Times Syndicate is a bunch of worms, it is cool with me. --- Just kidding

The articles raise some good points.

In an emergency you must act quickly, without thought and resolve the situation. However, if the "emergency" is still developing, you must consider appearances. Your actions (individually or in groups, even nation states) will be judged both by the totality of events and by any aspect that brings the incident into a personal focus for the public.

Mother Theresa, Hitler, Saddam Hussein, any number of world figures living or dead. I can't say I know much detail about their individual lives, but I have definite opinions about them based upon their public "life" and reputations. Did each of them have good and bad days, yes they did?

Would you go to an art gallery to see a showing of paintings by Adolf Hitler or John Wayne Gacy? Would seeing them have "value" or would any painting by them lack "value" because it was made by a monster?

Some peoples whole lives get sucked into one moment. The cops who beat the crap out of Rodney King probably did all sorts of "good cop" stuff like rescuing people, saved lives, caught bad guys, and delivered babies in their cruisers. Does it matter? One minute of video and BOOM!! You are the guy who . . . The opposite is of course true, I am sure that among the heroes of 9-11 are some who did something truly wrong at some point in their lives. Even if it came to light, it would be viewed in a much different context than it would have otherwise.

We practice Aikido to find something in ourselves. Kevin raises a point about the paradox of Mushin ("No mind") and Zanshin ("Balanced and aware").

We should be constantly aware of our actions and those of others, and be aware of the consequences. At the same time we train to react to the moment and flow with each change as if nothing else mattered.

I have read any number of threads where the advice is to run away from danger (not a bad, and often the best, option in many cases). However, I see Aikido as a way to meet violence with "peace." The attacker may be hurt, injured or even killed, but that is not the intent of nage. If you encounter someone who is spoiling for a fight you have three options. You can walk away or otherwise decline battle (talk it out etc.). You can fight and prevail. Or you can fight and not prevail (I suppose taking a beating that would have otherwise been suffered by another has a "nobleness" of its own).

However, you will be viewed in a public context. You may have a reputation as "good guy,” "buffoon,” or "martial arts nut job." You might even be viewed as a bully just for "winning." Your action of "peace" may be ruled "aggression" in the court of public opinion (or in General District Court).

Where do you draw the lines? Does everything matter or nothing matter?

Sorry, I was up long before dawn and the coffee has worn off.

Kevin Leavitt
08-20-2002, 08:57 AM
I think you draw the line at "minimum force".

One of the biggest challenge I have faced in the military is this concept.

As a police officer, Brian, you are trained to use minimum force.

As a soldier my training has always been to use maximum firepower concentrated on the enemy to destroy and kill him on an individual level.

It was a challenge working with my soldiers in a peacekeeping role since they were not used to individual interactions where they had to make decision that controlled people through the concept of minimum use of force.

On a personal self defense level...I think you translate minimum force slightly different. It may mean running to avoid the fight or avoidance all together. It may mean facing your attacker and showing him that it would be futile for him to mess with you. It may be demonstrating to him physically the error of his ways.

The key to this is to keep your wits and try to resolve conflict at the lowest possible level without engaging your ego.

Brian H
08-20-2002, 09:33 AM
My last point really didn't have a point, but...

When making a decision on when to act and how to act, what role do others perceptions play?

How much weight should you place on it.

In law enforcement perceptions play a huge part. Back out of a fight, you will be viewed as weak. Instead you are expected to fight smart. However, fight to hard or to long and you are viewed as brutal.

Is "Zanshin" what we strive for over a lifetime (awareness of surroundings and your own actions. Awareness of the consequences of each action. And the awareness to choose a proper action.) and is "Mushin" something to strive for in each moment and simply recognize and accept what you can not control and move on to what you can act upon.

I don't often dwell on the metaphysical, but as I said, the coffee is gone.

opherdonchin
08-20-2002, 10:54 AM
Mindfullness.

We talk a great deal about "no mind" or mushin in Martial Arts...which is essential when training.

However, I believe that righteousness, what I would call true righteousness is based on the concept of mindfullness. That is, thinking about the cause and effect your actions will have, not only immediately, but long term.
We should be constantly aware of our actions and those of others, and be aware of the consequences. At the same time we train to react to the moment and flow with each change as if nothing else mattered.

I just wanted to say that I usually interpret mindfullness as an awareness of the causes and effects of my actions rather than the devotion of conscious thought to figuring those things out. It is because, in life, you ARE always reacting to the present moment (whether you know it or not) and because you DO flow with each change (whether you like it or not) and because nothing else matters (because nothing else is ever really 'there') that this sort of no-mind mindfulness is such an important thing to develop. My ability to be righteous (and find and create peace) depends on my ability to truly see my situation and my options in the moment as they flow past.

Maybe that was obvious ... I can never tell!

mike lee
08-20-2002, 11:07 AM
I find the oscillation between the concepts of no-mind (which almost seems non-sensical since as long as we are alive, we have a mind) and mindful (which can hinder natural instincts by causing one to second guess one's self) to be just another troublesome dualism.

After years of practicing zen, I have come to realize that a clear mind, where internal dialogue can be turned off at will, is most desirable for controlling one's emotions, eliminating illusions, and expanding awareness. :do:

Kevin Leavitt
08-20-2002, 01:35 PM
Yup agree with you mike.

You need to make up your mind (be mindful) before you get into a fight.

You do not have time to consider the consequences of your actions at the point of action.

Hopefully all the thinking, meditating, and training has led you to the point to make the correct decision at that critical juncture.

Brian H
08-20-2002, 02:13 PM
Since my earlier post, I was out on the street working. I pondered that I am both mindful and unmindful of the equipment I wear. The novelty of carrying twenty five pounds of useful/dangerous stuff around on a gun belt if long gone. (It's a cop thing) I just don't even think about it, I just put it on. At the same time I have trained with and used the gear so much and so long that when I need something it almost appears in my hand as if by magic.

Driving is the same way, I don't think about it, I just do it. If you let your mind get clouded ... CRASH

In police training they often talk about awareness color codes:

Code white: Completely unaware of surroundings (watching TV etc.)

Code yellow: Aware of surroundings but not focused on any particular danger.

Code Orange: Aware of surrounds but focused on a perceived threat.

Code Red: Unaware of surrounds and completely focused on a perceived threat.

Code Brown: Unfocused panic

mike lee
08-20-2002, 02:22 PM
I love it. Being aware of our level of awareness!

Kevin Leavitt
08-20-2002, 02:29 PM
Good stuff Brian.

Man you are philosophical today!

Might want to stay away from the coffee!

SeiserL
08-21-2002, 08:19 AM
I have come to realize that a clear mind, where internal dialogue can be turned off at will, is most desirable for controlling one's emotions, eliminating illusions, and expanding awareness. :do:
I have often asked people:

When you are happy and really into what you are doing, how busy are you in your mind? Most respond, not much if at all.

When you are fearful, angry, resentful. guiltridden, jealous, etc., etc., etc., how busy are you in your mind? Very. Constantly.

We don't have to do anything to be happy. We hve to do something to be miserable.

Perhaps if we discipline our mind, which is the only part IMHO that tends to be judgemental and unaccecpting, we could live more peacefully.

Until again,

Lynn

Neil Mick
08-21-2002, 05:25 PM
Wow, an explosion of ideas! Too many to respond! Excellent :)
[QUOTE="Kevin Leavitt"]I think you draw the line at "minimum force".

One of the biggest challenge I have faced in the military is this concept.

As a police officer, Brian, you are trained to use minimum force.

As a soldier my training has always been to use maximum firepower concentrated on the enemy to destroy and kill him on an individual level.

It was a challenge working with my soldiers in a peacekeeping role since they were not used to individual interactions where they had to make decision that controlled people through the concept of minimum use of force.
[QUOTE="Kevin Leavitt"]Good point; I imagine that it unsettles both of you (Michael and Brian) to hear about the possible repeal of the Posse Comitatus Act, which makes it illegal to use the military to settle domestic issues. It unsettles me, for this very reason. It seems that more and more we tend to use military and violent means to band-aid the world's problems.
[QUOTE="Kevin Leavitt"]There is an interesting undertone going on here. Even though there seems to be finger pointing going on...From reading the post from the last couple of days...I detect a commonality that everyone seems to agree on.

Mindfullness
[QUOTE]Yes. Mindfulness. Conscious awareness of the effect you have on yourself, to others, in the world.
[QUOTE="mike lee "]Washington currently formulates foreign policies on its own, fails to consider how they will play abroad and makes selling them an afterthought. So it should be standard operating procedure to consider others' likely reactions to U.S. moves.

-- By Peter G. Peterson.
[QUOTE]Consideration of others...what a novel US foreign policy concept.
[QUOTE="mike lee "]A WORLD COURT ON THE ENVIRONMENT? MULTINATIONALS OBJECT

Many large international corporations are gearing up for the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg with an outpouring of promotional advertising to highlight their environmental credentials. The ads feature positive images like crystal streams, soaring eagles and happy humans. Environmental organizations dismiss the effort as ``greenwash,'' or, as a spokesman for Christian Aid in London put it, ``hogwash.'' Behind the glowing portrait in the public relations campaign, critics say, is another world of contaminated Earth, strip mines, sweatshops, ravaged forests and depleted oceans.

-- By Barry James.
[QUOTE]So, yet again is an example of substituting style for substance, so that narrow corporate interests get their way.

Isn't active questioning (rather than mindless acceptance) of US/corporate foreign policy an integral part of "mindfulness?"

What is the appropriate action for a "mindful" being to take when evil is committed for the sake of "peace?" (read: short-term, materialistic, corporate goals).

Kevin Leavitt
08-21-2002, 07:26 PM
each individual must define his or her own appropriate actions. I think you collect as many facts as you can, hope you get as much information that is as truthful, from both sides, weight the issues, reflect on them against your own values and ethics and decide what is best for you to do.

As you state, being mindful is being engaged or involved.

I think a mindful being can take appropriate actions such as boycotting, demonstrating, conserving energy, not buying certain foriegn products, getting involved in politics, and educating others to bring about awareness, you can even join the military if you feel that is a good personal choice for you!

It really becomes a full time job, being mindful. You must constantly think about all the little things, and constantly educate yourself on all issues. I caution though that you can get fanatical as well, but that would not be mindful! Balance is important.

I good example to Ghandi when looking for an example of appropriate action. Martin Luther King is another one! I even think Teddy Roosevelt was a good example!

Neil Mick
08-21-2002, 09:04 PM
I couldn't agree more, Kevin.

virginia_kyu
08-22-2002, 10:42 AM
No one thinks they are fanatical even if they are.

mike lee
08-22-2002, 11:04 AM
It never ceases to surprise me when people all over the world, who are sitting in buckets of their own nation's crap, can point my way and whine that "The US farted!"

The following is a letter to the editor by an American. It was printed in the Aug. 20, issue of the "Taipei Times." Based on my 15 years of experience as a journalist working in Asia, he is just about right.

THE `ONE CHINA' MYTH

It seems that some time ago a diplomat developed a simple solution to a complex problem. There were two governments each claiming to be the rightful ruler of China. Between the two, the ROC was at one time considered the legitimate government and then the US changed its mind and acknowledged the other government. The PRC thus became the official government of China. That left open an interesting and gray area — is Taiwan, the territory still governed by the ROC, part of China?

While official US policy states that the US acknowledges that Taiwan is a part of China, the US insists that the issue be resolved peacefully. At the same time, the US discourages Taiwan from declaring independence.

This leads us to the issue of the divergence between reality and diplomatic talk. A diplomat may make every argument in the world that there is only one China, but that is like arguing that the sky is yellow. There are in fact two Chinas. Or, more properly, one China, one Taiwan.

By every definition, Taiwan is an independent country. It has its own history, culture, military, government, economy, and, unlike its big sister, China, it is a democracy. But because diplomats hate to make people angry (just ask Hitler), they give in to bullies. Therefore the Beijing bullies have made Taiwan the most isolated democracy in the world. If the US had been able to isolate Iraq as well as the Chinese have done with Taiwan, Saddam Hussein would surely have fallen by now.

Why should China get Taiwan back? Historical ties are certainly not a factor. Taiwan has never been under PRC control; it was under Japanese control from the late 19th century until 1945. Otherwise, the UK could argue that the original thirteen colonies are really part of the UK.

In reality, the US does treat Taiwan as a separate country. Several things show this. The US sells weapons to Taiwan based on the Taiwan Relations Act. Then there are the visas; Taiwanese have a much easier time getting visas than do the Chinese. Why? Taiwan is more developed. Taiwanese, unlike the Chinese, are more likely to return and not overstay their visas. Regardless of what the US diplomats say, reality is another matter.

This brings us to the hypocrisy of the US. During the Cold War, the US did not say that West Germany and East Germany were Germany and there was only “one Germany.” Taiwan and China were divided for similar reasons as East and West Germany, communism and non-communism.

China is only a bully today because US diplomats do not have the courage to stand up to them. US businesspeople have illusions about fortunes to be earned in China. It is appalling that we are so hypocritical as to tell a democracy that they can not be free from a country known for its lack of human rights and its military ambitions. Writers of the Declaration of Independence would be appalled, as they decided freedom was important enough for them to take on a superpower.

I implore the American people to end the hypocrisy of “one China” and replace it with “one China, one Taiwan.” Could this lead to war? Of course. Freedom is never free. To quote US president Franklin Roosevelt, “We, and all others who believe in freedom as deeply as we do, would rather die on our feet than live on our knees.” Are we to believe we were willing to defend Western Europe's freedom at any cost yet turn our back on Asia? The only way to prevent aggression is to counter it before it acts.

If we declare Taiwan free, and make a treaty with it before China can react, it would be better than waiting for China to attack first before being forced into a major war. If China gets Taiwan back, the US will lose a reliable ally in Asia and China will have replaced the US in Asia. So I say, “one China, one Taiwan.” Let us speak what the reality is. And if Taiwanese eventually want to reunite into a “one China,” that is for them to decide.

Stephen Marler

Oviedo, Florida, USA

virginia_kyu
08-22-2002, 11:26 AM
I agree with that, I think the U.S. has been playing too much nice with China while sacrificing our principles.

Kevin Leavitt
08-22-2002, 08:02 PM
Seeing how nothing is even remotely related to this thread anymore, I am going to consider it "dead" and get on with my life!

Purpose was supposed to be to have a discourse on righteousness vs. peace. We had alot of good conversation, but it has now degenerated into political philosophies which have little to do with philosophy and spirituality issues!

It was a good run though!

Neil Mick
08-22-2002, 10:39 PM
I am sorry to see you go, Kevin. Your posts are an excellent contribution to this thread, which I do not consider dead.

Political issues, not related to spiritual issues or philosophy? I absolutely disagree. How the world is run, for instance, is based upon a combination of political and spiritual beliefs...not to mention a certain the beliefs of the status quo. Ceremonies were a big part of Medieval Europe, for example, because they confirmed the societal belief in the divinity of the monarchy.

Politics in hand with society in hand with spirituality....they're interrelated.

opherdonchin
08-23-2002, 12:03 AM
Just out of curiousity, Kevin (if you are still reading this), can you go back to where we were still talking about righteousness and peace and see if you feel like we 'finished it' or not? I sort of felt like people had said all that was going to be said on that part of it, but ...

mike lee
08-23-2002, 06:55 AM
I grew up in Amerika during the Vietnam-war era when citizens who voiced their opposition to the "police action" in Southeast Asia were labelled "un-American."

Draft dodgers were caught and thrown in prison, peace-march organizers were constantly harassed by the authorities. Phones were illegally wire-tapped. Civil liberties were trampled on in the name of "national security."

Anti-war protestors were tear-gassed, beaten, thrown into prison, and sometimes shot and killed. Remember Kent State?

In the name of anti-terrorism, the Bush administration is once again looking for ways to severely infringe on American's civil liberties. Once again, those citizens that oppose such moves are being labelled "un-American."

If this doesn't have to do with "peace vs. rightousness," then I don't know what does.

But let's just call it "off topic" and idle "chit chat," and sweep it under the carpet.

Brian H
08-23-2002, 09:11 AM
I have to say I agree with Mike, Neil and Opher.

What we have done is enlarge the focus in search of answers about "peace" and "righteousness." Those reading these post likely hold widely different views of the "big" issues of the day such as foreign and domestic policy, the environment, gun control, abortion, tax policy, and what variety of beer goes best with really hot chili. However, it is clear that while each of us is taking a different path through life, the common thread is awareness of self and others, respect and making decisions based on deeply held personal beliefs.

Mike's article about the "China Problem" raises a very good point.

Life is full of difficult decisions and complex problems, and it is a disservice to ignore them.

The "One China" policy is a perfect example. When the PRC, was formed it was foolish to insist that the ROC was the legitimate government of a vast country it did not control. However, the error is now compounded by China insisting that it is the legitimate government is Taiwan (a nation that has operated independently and successfully under a vastly different economic principles for fifty years).

How is this relevant to this thread?

It is a excellent example of people only being “righteous” and “principled” when it suited them.

Doing the right thing is hard and sometimes you have to make sacrifices to achieve that goal.

And a good Amber Ale goes best with chili.

Neil Mick
08-23-2002, 01:49 PM
I so agree with the last few posts (especially the last one, about the beer n chili, lol).

I'd say more, but I am in a bit of a rush. However, I DO kind of resent this forum being put in "chit-chat:" it denigrates the nature of our discussion.

What is the nature of spirituality, if not discussing concepts that grow past their original boundaries? Spiritual beliefs eventually always spill over into politics (and art, etiquette, etc) when you extend the conversation (and your focus) long enough.

Kevin Leavitt
08-23-2002, 06:08 PM
I think it is okay to discuss politics as long as you are trying to relate it to a discussion that addresses the underlying philosophy or principles. The point should be to use "politics" or other real life examples to illustrate the topic of the thread.

I believe that is everyone's intent. The problem is that it typically turns into a battle of wits over whose "opinion" is right.

Which, actually is what this topic is all about, how do you get past "no my view is right!" "no, your wrong, I'm right!"

Now that you guys mention it, this is EXACTLY how wars and fighting start. Everyone starts out "on topic", then a DISTRACTION pops up, next thing you know the whole point of the issue is side tracked and then turns into a battle of wits.

What really needs to happen is to stay focused. Try to find some common ground, and build on it. I think one thing we managed to figure out in this thread is that it is less about being right or wrong then agreeing that peace is better than the the egos!

I am reading a few books I considered to be very radical a few years ago, but the more I read them, the more they make sense.

I too have politic opinions. I used to have very strong opinions about the anti war effort in the 70's growing up on a military base watching my father being restrained from beating up some disrespectful jerk that he was in vietnam to defend. However, time has healed a great deal of the stuff from that era, I now, as many even in the military today do, that both sides had valid issues.

I guess my point is, that it is fine to have an opinion, but as Stephen Covey puts it..."Seek to understand before being understood". Too me all the rhetoric on TV, all the sound bytes, to me sound more and more like static...lots of talking but no one really dealing with the core issues.

Just like in aikido...it is easy to get distracted by the waving limbs and react to them, than to deal with the center. It is beter to not presume the attack, but to wait till it is launched and committed, then after you truely understand it, figure out how you can reconcile it!

Kevin Leavitt
08-23-2002, 06:15 PM
looking at my last post thought I'd ask a few questions.

Seems like many feel that politicians are motivated by their own self interest and hidden agendas.

To frame this as a core issue....

Is this a basic problem in our society? Is there such thing as altruism?

As John Calvin put it...are all humans born "bad" or into "sin"?

Is this the core issue that puts us into conflict and starts wars?

In other words, do we have an inherent need to be selfish and satisfy our own egos?

I submit that in order to have true peace (an ideal, not a reality), that it is required of us to sit aside our egos.

Talk amongst yourselves!!

Kevin Leavitt
08-23-2002, 06:17 PM
Guys, I think this warrants a new thread.

I am going to start this topic as a new thread in Spiritual.

So if you could be so kind, lets start the discussion over there!

mike lee
08-25-2002, 10:47 AM
If we come to Taiwan's aid and China A-Bombs LA, what then?

From the Aug. 23 issue of the “Taipei Times.” (www.taipeitimes.com)

OKASAKI WARNS OF US, CHINA COLLISION

By Monique Chu

Policies designed to maintain the status quo in the Taiwan Strait, now exercised by both Washington and Beijing, are by nature “vulnerable,” and should be altered to avoid a collision between the two powers, former Japanese ambassador Hisahiko Okazaki warned yesterday.

Okazaki, addressing the first US-Japan-Taiwan Trilateral Strategic Dialogueseminar, discussed the course of world history over the next 50 to 100 years.

“Only China can be regarded as the next challenger to the Anglo-Saxons,” said Okazaki, speaking at the Westin Hotel in downtown Taipei.

“If China confronts the US, I am afraid that it will meet with the same fate as other nations who have challenged Anglo-Saxon hegemony,” Okazaki said, adding that the Taiwan factor is the most pivotal element in future Washington-Beijing ties.

Okazaki went on to argue that both Washington and Beijing “appear to agree on the maintenance of the status quo in the Taiwan Strait,” a situation the diplomat said was vulnerable by its very nature.

“The US declares that it would not support Taiwan independence. But how longcan the US persuade Taiwan to refrain from seeking formal independence?” said the 72-year-old veteran diplomat. “It can't keep preventing the Taiwanese from freely expressing their own will through democratic procedures.”

If a majority of Taiwanese do vote for independence, Okazaki said that the US would most likely defend a fellow democracy, given what he observed asthe current climate in the pro-Taiwan US Congress.

The Cambridge-educated economist, who during the past 50 years has climbedt he Japanese bureaucratic ladder with impressive defense as well as foreignministry experience, then urged the US to revamp its longstanding policy toward Taiwan.

“The US should stop asking for artificial restraint and let Taiwan's democracy work. It should refrain from repeating the empty words `one China,' or `non-support of Taiwan independence,'” he said.

The US should not intervene in the future course of Taiwanese politics, he said, adding: “The US should instead watch carefully the natural course of events, while committing itself to the defending the freedom of Taiwan.”

Evaluating Beijing's policy toward Taipei, Okazaki, currently serving as director of the Tokyo-based think tank, The Okazaki Institute, said China's policy of maintaining the status quo is “short-term,” as Beijing has claimedit would not wait indefinitely for unification.

But with some Chinese leaders proposing that Beijing could negotiate with Taipei after its military forces occupy the island, Beijing's concept of maintaining the status quo could put the US and China on a collision course, Okazaki said.

“But the question is whether this would be perceived as a peaceful negotiation. In the context of the Taiwan Relations Act, it would be considered an act of intimidation, one that the US would most likely not accept,” Okazaki said. “China should never underestimate the fact that the Anglo-Saxons can sometimes be tremendous fighters, formidable adversaries ... Be careful about dealing with the Anglo-Saxons,” Okazaki said, triggering a roomful of laughter from an audience from the US, Japan and Taiwan.

Osaki argued that such a conflict could eventuate if and when Beijing believed that the loss of Taiwan would result in the loss of Tibet and/or other territories.

Beijing, however, could quickly defuse the situation by seeking a peaceful settlement with Taipei by agreeing to a “separate Taiwan,” said the former minister to the US and ambassador to Saudi Arabia and Thailand.