Friday, October 22, 2010

The Militarization of Our Region

The United States government announced an arms deal with Saudi Arabia worth  60 billion dollars, that includes advanced fighter jets, helicopters, missiles and other weaponry and equipment. The deal that will be implemented over 15 to 20 years is known to be the largest US arms deal ever. 

The Obama administration decided to proceed with this deal after evaluating Saudi's defence needs and determining that this  would not diminish Israel's military edge in the region, and concluded the deal would promote security and stability in the Middle East. Disregarding thereby, the fact that arming a undemocratic regime with an unpopular standing among Muslim nations may create insecure and unstable conditions in the region.  The wheels of the American military machinery  are rolling again. 
 The United States has laid out a five-year, $2 billion (£1.28 billion) military   aid package for Pakistan as it presses the Islamabad government to step up the fight against extremists there and in neighboring Afghanistan. The US has in a way  disregarded the tragic conditions of millions of homeless and helpless Pakistanis who need food, medicine and shelter, not arms.
The American corporate sector which has invested in arms production as well as the Government which looks forward to   revenues for its ailing economy are failing to see some of the stark realities on ground.

The radical actions of extremists and terrorists  has created a pretext for  arms sales,  while the violent rhetoric of many politicians has also fueled a pro-war and conflict atmosphere in the Middle East.  In addition, this senario fits in with the Armageddon theory that both Evangelists and Christian Zionists, as well as radical Islamic groups and politicians promote.

It seems that Obama and his entourage have completely forgotten the promises given during his election campaign . Obama has distanced himself from the views he gave during his famous Berlin speech where he condemned the Bush era policies for their militaristic approach and praised multilateralism.

Should this region anticipate war once again ?

The complex equations governing our world today are creating more insecurity and instability for the globe. People do not know who to believe or who to trust.  Politicians do not keep their promises once they are elected. The more they claim to follow ethical standards the worse they perform in terms of keeping their vows.  The cloudy and uncertain atmosphere in both the region and in Iran are not positive signs.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Moral Ground

 Moral Ground finally came out.Moral Ground: Ethical Action for a Planet in Peril I was invited about a year and a half ago to join a group of 80 scholars producing a book entitled Moral Ground:, Ethical Action For a Planet in Peril. The idea was to gather the views of a diverse group of theologians and religious leaders, naturalists,scientists,elected officials, business leaders, activists and writers to present a compelling call to honor our individual and collective moral responsibility to the planet.

According to the introductory paragraph on the cover page; in face of environmental degradation, species extinction and climate change , scientific knowledge alone does not tell us what we ought to do. Nor can political processes or economic incentives give us all the answers. The missing premise of the argument and the much-needed centerpiece in the debate to date has been the need for ethical values, moral guidance and principled reasons for doing the right thing for the future of our planet, its animals, its plants and its people.
People like Dalai Lama, Barack Obama, Thomas Friedman, Archbishop Bartholomew, Archbishop Tutu, Wangari Maathai,  and Seyyed Hossein Nasr are among the co-authors of this book.

The title of my essay in the book is " Peace and Sustainability Depend on the Spiritual and the Feminine." I have stressed upon the importance of leadership and the lack of spiritual directions and compassion in the leadership of the world today.
Stemming from different religions and cultural backgrounds the message is clear we are facing a moral challenge in dealing with the degradation of the global environment. We might be the first species which has initiated its extinction by its wrongdoings and excesses or  we might take heed, repent for our sins and  change course, its our call.