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February, 2004

America's Missionary Nature
By Karen Nakamura

"Beware of the Military-Industrial complex." Dwight D. Eisenhower.

"You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time, but you can't fool all the people all of the time." Abraham Lincoln.

"But I say unto you, Love your enemies" Matthew 5:44.

These famous quotes ring true as we contemplate the slippery slope down which the country is being led. America needs to ask what makes neo-conservatives think they have the right to conquer rather than co-operate with the rest of the world. Perhaps it's time to consider America's present by examining its past.

Much of the zeal of American neo-cons is derived from a long tradition of Christian proselytizing. "The evangelization of the world in this generation" was a rallying cry heard throughout the nation during the late eighteenth to mid-nineteenth century. Christian students from Ivy League schools, including Yale, were sent to places like China, Fiji, Africa, and the slums of Boston to fulfill their "Destiny of Privilege," carrying the word of Christ to the uneducated of the world. They were convinced the Bible was "the only word, which could ease those forgotten and backward nations."

Thought a noble cause, Catholic, Methodist, Baptist, Congregationalist, among others, sang "Onward Christian Soldiers" as they marched to place the world under Christ's domain. Showing an intrinsic lack of respect for other cultures, these zealots never bothered to check if countries like China might have their own educational and religious systems. They never read Lao-Tzu or the I Ching. Those were heathen and to be overthrown. They destroyed many national treasures as idolatrous and devil-worship.

Elements of this philosophy still echo within the Halls of Power and are causing untold trouble for America. The attitude, that non-Christians are lesser beings, is as inherent in the evangelistic message today as it was in the missionary movement of yesteryear.

Missionary efforts led to not only the overthrow of a five-thousand-year-old system of government but the eventual takeover by Communists who incorporated many of the missionaries' better achievements. Some of these programs, such as teaching reading, did and still do excellent work. But one must note that often this was/is because the missionaries went into economically poor areas with a needed commodity, food and hospitals, the money for a water pump, etc. Catholic Social Services and the YMCA are two examples. Although many Chinese were influenced by the humanitarian efforts, actual conversions to Western style Christianity were few.

American foreign policy is currently being heavily influenced by zealots and with much the same results. The Iraqis are sincerely thankful but now they want America out of their lives. There are few true converts.

One of the greatest problems facing Americans is the Bush administration's propensity to act like it's better than anyone else, i.e., its missionary complex. In three years, it has alienated all of the Middle East, most of Europe, South and Central America and a fair amount of Asia.

Calling the Bush administration, "reckless in the extreme." Former VP Al Gore said in a speech recently. "In almost every policy area, the Administration's consistent goal has been to eliminate any constraints on their exercise of raw power, whether by law, regulation, alliance or treaty and in the process they have in each case caused America to be seen by the other nations of the world as showing disdain for the international community."

It may be needless to remind people that Bush barely mentioned democracy in Iraq until peace demonstrations forced an adjustment in American policy. Besides, it closed the deal for his believers. However, as we're now learning, the hawks were on a crusade. But these knights were dressed in shiny Terminator Armor. The foot soldier, however, is still equipped with defective body armor and used as fodder.

The picture emerging is that the administration actually did have a secret post-war plan. It was apparently conceived during numerous conferences between Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, ex-PM Benjamin Netanyahu, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz and Vice President Dick Cheney. Papers written by Richard Perle, which advocated the eventual invasion of the entire Arab Middle East, were incorporated. In summary, the final solution seems to have been to treat Iraqis the same way Israelis treats Palestinians, Peace activists have noted that American military tactics used in Iraq often mirror tactics used in Palestine.

Do Christians, Jews, Muslims or anyone else have the right to force their views on others? Most people would say no. Yet the Pat Robertson and Ariel Sharon's of the world have been working to do just that. They are saved; we are mere peons, disposable in their greater plan of the Middle East for Israeli Jews and the rest of the world for Anglo-Saxon Christians.

But, perhaps, the veil is being lifted. Despite setbacks, America is starting to understand what peace activists are saying. C-SPAN has regular calls from soldiers' loved ones questioning the Iraq war. The Democrat primary is being fought over "bullets or butter" issues. Ordinary Americans aren't laughing at our common loss of freedoms, friends in the world and the imposition of a military state within the daily flow of America life.

 

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