Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion,then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: (Philippians 2:1-5)
I’ve been thinking seriously about U.S. foreign policy this week, and I’ve come to the conclusion that we (the people, the government, the State Department, Congress…) need to first contemplate and then adopt a fundamental shift in how the United States of America relates to the rest of the world.
What I’m recommending is completely a-political. In fact, I think it’s a safe bet to say that my approach would be pretty-much impossible to pull off for either major party.
AMERICAN INTEREST: Essentially – and simplicity is important in a blog post – I believe our problem stems from one of the oldest “doctrines” in U.S. foreign policy: that of “America Interest.”
The idea of “American Interest” as the bedrock of foreign policy has been articulated since the Monroe Doctrine of 1823. Additionally, part of the subtext of this thinking also has its roots in the 19th Century idea of “Manifest Destiny.” Then there’s America’s self-appointed mission to promote and defend democracy, and the belief of many evangelicals that the USA is God’s new “Chosen Nation.”
The Bush Doctrine of 2001 added a “We’ll come and get you before you come to us” dimension, and that really hasn’t changed under President Obama.
A NEW AND LIVING WAY: What I’m proposing, instead, is an across-the-board recalibration of what it means for the United States to interact with the world community. I’m proposing a re-write where the term “American Interest” is replaced – in every instance – with “The Interests of Others.”
Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
citizens of the world
THEY’RE NOT ASKING FOR THIS KIND OF HELP! That’s the first part. For the second, I recommend a deeper understanding of the important fact that “The entire world does not think like us.”
Case in point, have we noticed what’s been going on in response to that distasteful, poorly produced, insulting to everyone video about the Prophet Mohamed that’s got so many people riled up?
The same folk who we are so determined to bring democracy, free speech, and civil liberties to are more than happy to attack and kill those who exercise such rights.
When will we learn that we can’t (indeed, shouldn’t) export “Americanism” as a magic pill, and expect it to take hold from the outside? Likely as not we’re going to be treated like an invasive virus that eventually gets swamped by white blood-cells and needs to be excised from the host.
Just look at Afghanistan. And don’t be saying, “That’s the work of evil-doers; once we defeat them things will settle down.” No. We cannot, must not, use military force to establish “American Interest” and then expect the host culture to fall – gratefully – in line. That’s not the way the world works. We’re not going to change that by sticking our heels in and trying harder.
LONG TERM BENEFITS: Lastly, and I think this should help, I firmly believe that “valuing others above ourselves,” “not looking to our own interests,” and “looking to the interests of others” as our first order of business will ultimately advance “American Interest” by virtue of the spiritual principle of “Doing Right.”
A world in which the leading power and most influential culture shifts its core value away from self-interest and toward the interests of others is going to be more profoundly changed than via any military conquest.
always thinking about “stuff”
And – lest readers think I’ve forgotten this – I am not discounting the HUGEamount of good the U.S. already does in the world, both via Government sponsored aid and the heroic, epic work of so many non-profits. However, there’s a difference between altruism and foreign policy doctrine.
It’s not like what we’re doing thus far has been working…
Peace, and I mean that from the bottom of my heart – DEREK