The possibility of peace and neighborly friendship in the foreseeable future seems dim when one hears citizens of the most powerful and militarized country in the world say they want to discontinue foreign aid (which is 1 percent of the national budget) and increase the money for the military, which is currently greater than most of the other countries combined.
They would seemingly prefer that the rest of the world fear, rather than like them. These are the people in the United States who may be electing the next president, and he may be a man who sees the world in terms of friends or foes, friends, being those who agree with him and foes those who do not. In short, if you are not behind our idea of what is right, you are against us. This is a fundamentalist view of the world and relationships, whether taken by a religion or by a government.
North Korea leads the world in impoverishing its citizens to maintain a military presence, but unless care is taken, the United States will be heading in the same direction.
Although other countries will join President Laura Chinchilla, this trend in the States will not make the U.S. an eager partner in what President Chinchilla is hoping will be a paradigm change from measuring a country’s success by financial wealth and consumption to one that measure success in terms of the happiness and well being of its citizens, less consumption of energy and stuff, and social and environmental sustainability. She even wants to question the wisdom of the criminalization of drug use.
The mindset of some would-be leaders in the U.S. who consider themselves Christians (although the only politician I have heard quoting Jesus is President Obama), the others know the Old Testament well and believe that God created the world so that man could have dominion over the rest of nature. So cross off concern for the environment.
In the U.S. people are told that although they make up only 5% of the world’s population they use 25% of the world’s petroleum. In fact, the U. S military is the largest consumer of refined petroleum, using more gas than any other country or organization in the world. And it has increased over the years. Three weeks of military presence in Iraq used as much gas as the entire Allied armies in four years of World War II. It is ironic that often one reason for going to war has been to protect our source of energy, mainly oil. So not much support for Ms. Chinchilla’s hope to lower consumption of energy.
As to President Chinchilla’s idea of social well being, she could be taking some ideas from the preamble to our Constitution, and putting them into practice: . . . “establish Justice, insure domestic tranquility, . . . and “promote the general welfare.”. . . . In between these phrases is “provide for the common defense.” War, as we all know is bad for the environment, can cause the killing and maiming of humans and other animals, and is very expensive. But it is also profitable to those in the business of war and it leads to power of the few over the many who concede their liberty to be safe, and consider it necessary for their welfare and peace of mind.
Unfortunately, since someone came up with the brilliant idea of two endless and limitless wars: the war on terror and the war on drugs, tranquillity has been replaced with more fear and welfare has come to mean lazy freeloaders who are taking money from more necessary endeavors like defense.
In contrast, Costa Rica has long protected itself from invasion. This has been because of its size and refusal to aggress, through diplomacy, arbitration, a sense of humor, and its potholes. From reports of my friends who have visited the States recently, the U.S. is with President Chinchilla when it comes to that last deterrent.
Meanwhile, I wish a peaceful and tranquil Easter week to all of our readers.