The Evolution Revolution headline story
THE CONVERSATION OF THE CENTURY IS ABOUT TO BEGIN
Look, it’s very simple. Everybody does something because they want something. And when people do what others call “bad” things, it’s because they think it’s the only way to get what they want. So if we don’t like what someone else is doing, all we have to do is figure out what it is they want, and then show them another way of getting it.
If there simply is no other way of someone else getting what they want, then we need to show them that there may be something else that is equally desirable that they could substitute for what they want, and be just as happy. Then, we have to show them how they can get that.
There, in 119 words, is a solution to the tension/counter-tension engulfing the world right now over all the saber rattling that is going on between North Korea and the United States.
Life is really very simple, and there is no reason for nations to get themselves into a position where the entire world feels threatened with nuclear holocaust because two countries can’t get what they want.
Of course, the first thing that all the nations involved have to do is talk about it. If the leaders of nations refuse to even openly discuss ways to find peace through the resolving of their differences, there is going to be no way the world will ever experience the peace and security for which it has so long yearned.
If I was President of the World — or had a huge global stage, such as can be commanded by, say, someone like the Pope — I would publicly ask the leaders of nations that can’t get along to answer three questions:
What do you want so bad, or what are you so afraid of, that you feel you have to behave the way you are now behaving?
Can you think of any way that you can get what you feel you need without hurting other people, or threatening to do so?
If the whole world begged you, would you at least sit down and talk about it with people who want to help?
At one point in time it looked as if the so-called Six Party Talks (between leaders of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the People’s Republic of China, the Republic of Korea, the United States, and the State of Japan) might actually get somewhere. Then everything fell apart, and now North Korea says it wants bilateral talks with only the U.S., or nothing.
It says this because it no doubt feels, and sometimes openly claims, that it is the U.S. which is mainly responsible for its misery — including the crippling economic sanctions that have been imposed on it by the United Nations.
All this despite the fact that many other nations voted to put those sanctions in place (including, North Korea must hate to acknowledge, its own staunchest ally, China) as a response to North Korea breaking its international agreements by both test-firing missiles and detonating underground nuclear explosions to further develop atomic weapons.
North Korea clearly feels that the only way to get the respect of other nations that it feels is its due, to say nothing of its fair share of the earth’s abundance, is to be militarily strong. Strong enough, in fact, to threaten and brow beat the rest of the world into doing what it wants. It says that this is exactly what the United States has done the past fifty years or more, and that it has just as much right to do what the U.S. is doing as the U.S. has.
Yet leaders of not only the U.S., but of Russia and other nuclear-armed nations, have recognized that their own nuclear development has gone too far, that it has carried the world far too close to the brink of self-annihilation, and so, not just the U.S., but a great many other nations, have called for a halt to nuclear proliferation — and for the dismantling of presently-in-place nuclear weaponry.
This disarmament has not been totally successful, but that is the direction in which the world is moving — and the majority of the world’s nations have agreed that the last thing the planet needs is more nations moving in the other direction, arming instead of disarming nuclear weapons.
The problem has to do with power. The world has watched the DPRK allowing its people to starve, and to grovel in abject poverty, while its leaders — essentially, the Kim family — and their cohorts (including military leaders) have lived in the lap of luxury for decades. This is not a wild allegation. This is observable, and has been for years. Nations that insist on denying their people at least some voice in their own future inevitably fall into chaos. All it takes is time. Then there is revolution.
We saw it in Egypt. We saw it in Tunisia. We saw it in Yeman and in Libya. We’re seeing it now in Syria.
In order to stop internal revolution, nations with iron-fisted rulers seek to turn the attention of their country outward, working hard to convince their people that if it weren’t for oppressors from the outside, everything on the inside would be fine.
And, of course, where the news media is tightly controlled, all information from the outside is closely censored, and where people are denied even the ability of free speech that includes criticism of their own rulers, it’s a fairly easy task to convince folks that none of this is their ruler’s fault — it’s all the other nations of the world that are doing them wrong.
It’s understandable that North Korea would be angry. All of its nation-neighbors are enjoying The Good Life. South Korea’s economic growth has been one of the highest in the world. Japan’s economy is robust. China is doing well enough to continue to be the source of most of North Korea’s economic aid. Yet instead of asking themselves, “What are we doing wrong?”, the DPRK’s leaders keep reversing the question: “What is everyone else doing wrong to us?”
If the country would simply keep its international agreements, there would be no economic sanctions imposed on it for breaking them. Meanwhile, the U.S., Russia, China and other more powerful nations (read that, more economically and militarily capable) have done a remarkably poor job of explaining to less powerful countries (Iraq, Iran, North Korea, etc.) why they, too, should not be able to develop, to store, and to stand at the ready, globally destructive nuclear capability.
These more powerful states have themselves refused to embrace total nuclear disarmament, and so it is easy to see why less powerful nations resent having to do so. To these economically and militarily weaker nations it feels as if those countries on top of the heap are saying, “Do as we say, don’t do as we do.” So the weaker nations call the more powerful nations despotic hypocrites.
This criticism is leveled in particular at the United States, and not altogether without justification.
For instance, there are lots of headlines around the world about North Korea moving two missiles into position for firing from its east coast. The assessment now is that the DPRK will fire one or both of these missiles in the next ten days. It will be a “military test,” the North will say, even as the country is condemned around the world for “ratcheting up” tensions.
At the same time, the United States military just announced that it will now delay the launch of the Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile — which it had originally scheduled for Tuesday at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Why was it planning such a launch? It is a missile “test,” the U.S. says. It has been long scheduled, and has nothing to do with North Korea and recent tensions on the Korean Peninsula. The postponement was announced as a “prudent” measure, to avoid the DPRK misinterpreting the action.
“The U.S. will conduct another test soon and remains strongly committed to our nuclear deterrence capabilities,” said a U.S. official, who was not authorized to publicly release details of the launch.
In fairness, the DPRK does not appear to be misinterpreting anything. That country is saying that the U.S. asserts that it has the right to test-launch ballistic missiles whenever it wishes, but that North Korea does not. The U.S. has the right to “remain strongly committed to…nuclear deterrence capabilities,” but the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea does not.
This is exactly the point that North Korea is trying to make. Is it fair to ask: By what rule of international law is the U.S. entitled to do things that it demands that other nations not do? Is it okay to simply ask: What makes it right for the United States to protect itself, but not for other nations to do the same?
So, North Korea is going to test launch a ballistic missile in the next few days, and dare the world to make it wrong for doing what the U.S. does with apparent impunity.
The DPRK has long made it known what it wants. It wants a peace treaty with South Korea. The hostilities known as the Korean War ended in 1953 with an armistice agreement, not a peace treaty. The North has said repeatedly for decades that it wants a peace treaty. It also wants direct talks with the U.S., as mentioned earlier. But as long as it is denied both, it has made it clear it is going to act exactly the way it feels that the U.S. is acting.
What the U.S., for its part, wants is for North Korea to dismantle its nuclear weapons capability and stop its testing of missiles and other wartime hardware. Yet this is something that the U.S. itself is unwilling to do. Indeed, the U.S. makes this demand even as it flies nuclear-strike-capable stealth aircraft over the Korean Peninsula’s southern hemisphere, dropping unarmed munitions over targets in military training exercises thirty minutes flying time from North Korea.
I am forced to wonder, if North Korea found a way to fly stealth nuclear bombers in training exercises over Mexico and Canada, minutes from the U.S. border, would the United States find that acceptable? Or would it put its own military on high alert?
The solution to this is all so simple. But why go for a solution when exacerbating the problem offers so much more opportunity to look powerful? Offering a solution… like a peace treaty, finally, a half-century after hostilities on the Korean Peninsula ended, and a sit-down discussion between just the U.S. and North Korea…would give the appearance of weakness, certain diplomats say. For some, this logic may be difficult to follow.
Now I want you to know that I know that I could be wrong about all of this. All or most of the assertions and ideas in my copy above could be inaccurate. But truly, this is not the really important discussion. I believe that we need to shift the discussion. Make the question: What, if anything, could cause all the people of the world to feel happy, safe, and secure?
Let’s have this discussion. Let’s call it the Conversation of the Century. And let’s move it off the Internet and into the living rooms of the world. And then, from the living rooms into the streets. Not to create revolution, but to produce evolution.
The invitation from Life at this moment is for all the people of the world to rise up and speak with One Voice, saying: “Enough. This is not the highest and best that humanity has to offer itself. Whoever is ‘right’ and whoever is ‘wrong’: Enough. Can we please address the larger question?”
Then let us rewrite our entire Cultural Story, word by word, piece by piece, chapter by chapter, dismantling one false belief at a time — until we get to the ultimate false belief that has created all the others: The idea that we are somehow separate from each other, each with our own separate interests, when, in fact, our growing global inter-dependency is increasingly obvious even to the casual observer.
The problem in the world today is not a political problem, it is not an economic problem, and it is not a military problem. The problem in the world today is a spiritual problem, and it can only be solved by spiritual means.
It is our beliefs that need to be dismantled, for they are our most deadly weapons. And it is ourselves they are killing. The late American cartoonist Walt Kelly said it perfectly, in the words of his famous comic strip character Pogo: “We have met the enemy and he is us.”
We can stop being our own worst enemy when we stop believing our own worst beliefs. Let that be what the Conversation of the Century is all about.
(NOTE: If you believe it is time to ignite an Evolution Revolution, begin a Conversation of the Century group in your community. Just gather at least six people on a regular basis in your home to explore the topics in our Evolution Revolution Discussion Guide and I will join you on a regular basis, electronically and in real time, for a growing global group discussion that could alter humanity’s future. To learn more about how you, your family and friends may participate, write to email@example.com)
And, of course, you may begin making your contributions to this discussion in the Comment section below…