I’m sorry, but I’m appalled by the reactions of many of our political leaders to the growing turmoil caused by belligerent militant bad actors on the global scene. Innocent men, women and children are being slaughtered, and in the US and elsewhere leaders seem consumed by petty partisan politics. What am I getting at with the title High Minded Leaders?
The phrase is inspired by a little known book written 150 years ago by a visionary spiritual leader. It is appropriately titled “The Secret of Divine Civilization” and its author, Abdu’l Baha, outlined a clear, practical solution to how a modern head of state should approach the issues we now face.
“In like manner, the size of the armaments of every government should be strictly limited, for if the preparations for war and the military forces of any nation should be allowed to increase, they will arouse the suspicion of others. The fundamental principle underlying this solemn Pact should be so fixed that if any government later violate any one of its provisions, all the governments on earth should arise to reduce it to utter submission, nay the human race as a whole should resolve, with every power at its disposal, to destroy that government. Should this greatest of all remedies be applied to the sick body of the world, it will assuredly recover from its ills and will remain eternally safe and secure.”
How do we apply this? Being an American, I’ll highlight that the US President is also our Commander in Chief, with a solemn duty to protect those who have elected him according to sound principles of national security. Yet as we are descending into the most perilous crisis the world has ever faced, this article challenges the content of our President’s recent speeches and pronouncements. This is not intended to single out this US President, but he, along with all other global leaders, are accountable to sound principles. We can ask whether key policies and actions in recent years align with the above quote, to educate ourselves, wherever we live, before we head back to the voting booth.
4) The US and others struck a deal intended to renew Iran’s commitment to the Nuclear Non-proliferation treaty. Instead, it rewards a brutal terrorism sponsoring regime for its violations and agrees to allow increased Armaments, the opposite of, in this author’s opinion, Abdu’l Baha’s prescription.
This is NOT about being a Monday morning quarterback, or about criticizing a sitting President. It’s about education and trying make better forward-looking decisions going forward. You can, and should, check my track record – as I’ve been discussing this situation and warning of deterioration for years. This recent post provides a summary, with links to other posts further back in time. My main purpose today is to challenge those of us electing leaders to evaluate what may be wrongheaded ideas about virtues we hold dear, such as peace and love. Abdu’l Baha’s message highlights how even those with peace and love in their hearts – those who might qualify as what he called “high minded sovereigns” – must agree to confront those bent on murder and mayhem.
However important it is to have love and understanding in our hearts, this visionary spiritual leader had the foresight to outline what tough love in international relations looks like. And then to emphasize how critically important it is to resolve, with every power at our disposal, to destroy rogue governments. If we are unwilling we, according to the quote, have no right to expect peace.
How did we get here?
Many nations and institutions, backed by well-meaning but naive and, frankly, foolish people, have been enabling and even encouraging our descent into this weak and unstable global situation, in which terrorists, murderous fanatics, despots and bully-governments can wreak havoc. Thankfully, the sheer intensity of the current “chickens-coming-home-to-roost” situation, with attacks in Paris being the most striking recent example, is helping people to wake up and shake off the hypocritical thinking that has fettered them with the shackles of self-deceit.
An understanding of Abdu’l Baha’s book would, in my opinion, represent a major shift towards a balanced view of justice – that would put the world back on the path to peace, as outlined in The Secret of Divine Civilization.