Submit A Report

What kind of Shared Security discussions or events have you been part of? What kinds of responses or questions have you been hearing? Join the conversation here!

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40 thoughts on “Submit A Report

  1. Too Quaker. Too passive. Too timid.
    I was elated when I first heard about this project, having felt for a decade that the neo-cons and those of an imperial bent had siezed the initiative and succeeding in putting together a coherent and comprehensive post-Cold War strategy for the United States in the world. Their game plan, couched in military terms in the Sept. 2000 publication “Rebuilding America’s Defenses,” was quite explicitly to create a Pax Americana – to achieve and maintain global military, economic and political pre-eminence. That approach still drives our funding priorities and I find myself time and again looking at items in the Pentagon budget and thinking, “If our strategic positon was something other than Pax Americana, why would we need this?”

    I noticed that RAD is not mentioned in “Shared Security;” I suspect this was intentional, so as not to set up an either-or comparison. The comparison is inevitable and I think those who want to see Shared Security replace Pax Americana would do well to address that realistically and directly.

    Too Quaker.
    Those of us who want to change the course of our ship of state in the oceans of the world will need to unfurl a very broad banner, one that is borne by many people of many persuasions. In order to do that, the approach may need to be couched in terms that are more broadly shared.

    Too passive.
    Leading by example is great, but I think the American people, in whose heads the consensus must ultimately be reached, will have to be reminded of the failures of Pax Americana, of the costs this military strategy has had for us in blood, treasure and the diminution of opportunity for all Americans.

    Too timid.
    I will read Shared Security again, and again, but my impression so far is that it does not adequately address what we could be having if we were not wasting so many people, so much money, so much good will, so much effort on Pax Americana.

    I know you’re planning for the long haul on this … a time of seasoning, of building support, of working out solutions and applications for various facets of Shared Security. There are good signs in what the President and the new Secretary of Defense have recently said; the pendulum is starting to swing back.

    Nonetheless, if we look at who is behind Pax Americana, we see relatively little change in the power structure of the nation. In fact, with other developments (such as Citizens United), the power and influence of the military/industrial/congressional complex appears to be even stronger and irresistable than it was in 2000. The faces behind the hands on the levers of power don’t look like America.

    I look forward eagerly to participating in the evolution of Shared Security. Thank you SO much for putting this together!

  2. Aura Kanegis, Policy Director for AFSC, replies:

    “Tom, you would have loved the first draft – but once we put our thoughts to paper, we found that it was easier for us to write about what was wrong with the current framework of U.S. policy, and much harder to offer concrete, practical routes forward. As we sought broader input, we heard from many folks that they wanted to see a more positive and explicitly Quaker voice in the document. We challenged ourselves to rebuild the draft, let go of a lot of the aspects of problem definition we had originally included but which we saw could be a barrier for engagement rather than a tool of transformation, and to articulate a uniquely Quaker perspective that would also be relevant beyond Quaker circles by welcoming in a broad spectrum of readers and offering them new ways to think about the world. This is a working document and a living process, so we’re glad for this alternative view from a good f/Friend and grateful that you’re ready to bring your passion to this process!”

  3. It is important not to challenge the “military-industrial complex” because they have the backing of so-called patriots who genuinely want to defend our country and make the world safe for democracy. What works better than trying to discredit the pentagon, or confronting the barrage of propaganda foisted on us by the defense industry, is the continuous publication of successful ways peace and cooperation between nations are taking place, whether through private industry helping to rebuild the damaged infrastructure of war-torn countries, or via charitable agencies providing help to countries damaged by natural disasters, or governments of so-called enemy countries (like Israel and Palestine) helping each other. We need to foster a peace mentality to combat (if you’ll pardon the expression) the war mentality that continues to make headlines.

  4. One idea that crossed my mind, would be requesting that foreign spending be separated by country, and have little boxes at the end of our 1040’s as to which country(s) we want to contribute the portion of our taxes that goes on foreign spending. Like the way the State of CA offers charities at the end of their form, that you can send some or all of your refund to. Yeah, I’m being sarcastic, sorry. But at building $750 million embassies, and security costs of $1 – $17 PER employee at each embassy. The embassy system was started centuries ago, before the telegraph, motorized ships, cars, air planes, telephones, faxes, computers, printer networks, internet, ATM’s, Skype – and they have all that computer equipment in Utah ($1 billion worth) for general warrantless (un-Constitutional?) spying they could convert for Ambassador use. And then there is that sovereignty issue, and learning from history:

    “Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations – entangling alliances with none.” – Thomas Jefferson, 1801 inaugural address.
    “America… well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself beyond the power of extraction, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom. The fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force… She might become dictatress of the world. She would be no longer the ruler of her own spirit.” – John Quincy Adams; Address, 4 July 1821
    “Observe good faith and justice toward all nations. Cultivate peace and harmony with all… The Nation which indulges toward another an habitual hatred or an habitual fondness is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest … Tis our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances, with any portion of the foreign world.” – George Washington, Farewell Address, 17 Sept. 1796.
    “Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes … known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few.… No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.”
    — James Madison, Political Observations, 1795
    “Foreign influence is truly the Grecian horse to a republic. We cannot be too careful to exclude its entrance. Nor ought we to imagine that it can only make its approaches in the gross form of direct bribery. It is then most dangerous when it comes under the patronage of our passions, under the auspices of national prejudice and partiality.”
    – Alexander Hamilton, Pacificus No. VI, July 17, 1793; Works 4:183
    “I hope our wisdom will grow with our power, and teach us, that the less we use our power the greater it will be.” – Thomas Jefferson

  5. I believe that we must challenge, but the appropriate challenge is not to the military industrial complex. They thrive on overcoming challenges. Our challenge — and education — must be toward the entire mindset that believes so many myths: 1) All countries in the rest of the world want to be democracies, like the U.S. 2) The U.S. is responsible for creating these democracies, by force, in a very undemocratic manner. 3) Wherever there are economic interests of a few wealthy Americans in jeopardy, our government is obligated to intercede militarily. 3) “Terrorists” can be annihilated militarily. 4) Our military has the right to invade any country it wishes to, and set up shop, as if it were ours. 5) When people in the invaded countries defend themselves, and try to oust our military, they are seen as attacking the U.S., and must be retaliated against militarily. 6) We have, or can get, enough money to carry on preemptive wars for the rest of our lives.

    • Love it Joby! But #6 could use a little revision, something about leaving legacies of debt to be solely repaid by U.S. taxpayers, not the freed nations, or “supported” nations (like Israel).
      “I place economy among the first and most important of republic virtues, and public debt as the greatest of the dangers to be feared.” -Thomas Jefferson to William Plumer, 1816 (See 2 powerful Debt Reports > of the Federal Government and of The Total Nation)
      “There are two ways to conquer and enslave a nation. One is by the sword. The other is by debt.” John Adams 1735 – 1826
      “No generation has a right to contract debts greater than can be paid off during the course of its own existence.” – George Washington to James Madison 1789.
      “There is no means of avoiding the final collapse of a boom brought about by credit (debt) expansion. The alternative is only whether the crisis should come sooner as the result of a voluntary abandonment of further credit (debt) expansion, or later as a final and total catastrophe of the currency system involved.” – Ludwig von Mises, in Human Action, Regnery, 1966, p. 572.
      “Great Powers in relative decline instinctively respond by spending more on ‘security,’ and thereby divert potential resources from ‘investment’ and compound their long-term dilemma.” – Historian Paul Kennedy describing “imperial overstretch” in The Rise and Fall of Great Powers 1989
      “The decline of great powers is caused by simple economic over extension.” – Paul Kennedy ‘The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers – economic change and military conflicts 1500-2000’ – (See International Debt & Trade Report)
      “Free trade is economically efficient. Yet national independence is even more fundamental. [If] we have got to live in a mercantilist, nationalist, bellicose world dominated by a few great empires, on the one hand, and if the domestic policy of this country is to remain free to shape its own destiny, on the other hand, I do not see the possibility, and I should very much doubt the wisdom, of any major deviation from the policy of protection.” – Joseph Schumpeter, economist and political scientist
      “The first panacea for a mismanaged nation is inflation of the currency; the second is war. Both bring a temporary prosperity; both bring a permanent ruin. Both are the refuge of political and economic opportunists.” – Ernest Hemingway – 1899-1961 – Nobel laureate Literature 1954

    • Joby’s comments are a succinct summary of the attitudes that led to the international mess we are now in. Let me expand on his first premise, that there is a mindset that believes all countries want to be democracies. The idea that a country can want anything comes from a tribal mentality that believes countries are unified, and think like a single person. It’s my tribe versus your tribe.
      If humanity is to avoid war and environmental disaster we will have to give up national sovereignty and accept international government.

  6. I applaud your initiation of this project and your openness to broad input. My life experiences speak loudly to the subject, but I will be succinct.

    Shared security has been my solution to global conflict since I wrote President Reagan and the Premier of the USSR…and received no response. Over the years, however, it has become clear that shared security reflects only one side of the “coin.” The “elephant” in the room, which is rarely addressed fully is that ALL the players have FEARS which underly and motivate their often dysfunctional behaviors, individually and collectively. Why would security or self defense, as individually perceived as necessary, be required if there was no fear in the dynamic? As a retired physician, my career dealing with real people, in depth, over time, has taught me that the most durable solutions address root causes…either curing them or at least confidently managing them.

    Therefore, I suggest that your noble efforts become much more complex and frustrating by including strategies for convincing key players (with integrity) to become incrementally vulnerable to each other, to build confidence in each other in addressing their genuine fears. This would commonly require that ideologies be fully shared by all and explored in depth in order to find common ground. If certain actors are “True Believers,” unwilling to think beyond their frames of reference, a more thoughtful discussant should be added to the mix or as a replacement. Such a shift would necessarily require written agreement prior to commencing the process. Patience and endurance must be within the character of all. Everyone would also have to agree on the ideal outcome: Shared Security. These meetings must be confidential and secure, both in terms of content dicsussed and physical safety.

    I hope my input is a useful contribution to this effort. If there are questions, I would be happy to respond.

  7. So, as someone once sang, “Let’s give peace a chance.”

    Read it over again. Still think it’s too timid and too passive. One more commentary, then I’ll “chime out” for a while and watch the discussion develop.

    First off, in my mind this is now subtitled “The 2025 Agenda.” It will have to be a long-term push, it will have to be supported and implemented by elected leaders (it is, after all, about the foreign policy of the nation) and the deck is stacked until redistricting occurs after the 2020 census. If cows still have as many votes after that as they did this last go-round, it will take longer still.

    There are entrenched forces in our country that will bristle at something on almost every page of the document. It’s environmentalist, one-world, threatening to U.S. sovereignty, tramples on individual rights, socialist, etc. Seeing the way voting rights, women’s health issues, immigration issues, Second Amendment issues and other subjects have polarized public discourse in just the last couple of years, Shared Security has the potential to be VERY confrontational, whether we want it or not.

    I think the answer is to be boldly positive! It offends me that the values and principles that our nation was founded on have been subverted and perverted into the operative strategy we have today. Our nation does not act in accord with the Golden Rule, a principle found in all religions. Our nation has, and still does, intrude on the liberties of people at home and abroad (including citizens) without even a nod to habeas corpus or the principle of being innocent until proven guilty.

    I believe the American people are tired of this less-than-principled state of government. A movement that advocated a return to the principle of mutual respect embodied in the Golden Rule, that called for more accountability and less secrecy in government, that reaffirmed the need for a constitutional basis (with judicial review) for government intrusions on citizens, etc., would be a star that people would want to hitch their wagons to. And that is what I think we need to be part of … a movement that is positively attractive, not the better of two not-good alternatives.

    One last suggestion: If the key people backing Shared Security so far have not already done so, it might be useful to look into Robert Greenfield’s theory of Servant Leadership and it applicability among nations: “A servant-leader focuses primarily on the growth and well-being of people and the communities to which they belong. While traditional leadership generally involves the accumulation and exercise of power by one at the “top of the pyramid,” servant leadership is different. The servant-leader shares power, puts the needs of others first and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible.”

    One day at a time, but with an eye on the ultimate goal.

    Tom

  8. Please provide a timeline and description about how input and comments are to be utilized in this document and in its possible updates. It will be important to know the plan for the evolution of this document and implementation of programs on shared security….particularly for those who may wish to engage in meaningful discussion/discernment in local Meetings or other Quaker groups such as yearly meetings.

    Rich Andrews
    Boulder, CO meeting

    • Dear Rich,
      This framework will be influencing much of the work of both organizations. For the summer we are hosting conversations at yearly meetings as we are able and hope meetings/Quaker churches will engage in those conversations, we hope to be able to let you know a plan in the next month or so for other efforts. This framework and conversation is a central commitment for both organizations.
      In peace,
      Lucy

  9. I wrote a book series about a pacifist in the civil war. He is a part white Cherokee who knows a lot about racism and oppression,though he looks like “a puritan Yankee colonist”. He warns of the advent of…profit driven machines…specifically designed…for more efficient murder…and grief yet in greater kind…

  10. I too find this document too passive and timid and I don’t think it adequately conveys the passion behind the vision. Even the term “shared security” is unclear. I read the document twice and am unclear where this is going. Can we address peace from the ground up? Starting with individual peacemaking in our interactions with each other and our children, neighbors and broader communities and from there radiating outward to an ultimate vision for world peace? And by peace, I don’t mean being nice or kind or agreeable all the time. I mean using the power of conflict resolution that addresses the underlying fears we have and that helps unite us with others to achieve equality and equity.

  11. We had the joy of hearing Steve Chase give the keynote at Intermountain Yearly Meeting’s annual gathering at Ghost Ranch, near Abiquiu, NM. In it, he quoted George F. Kennan’s secret State Dept. memo of Feb. 28, 1948, “Review of Current Trends, U.S. Foreign Policy (http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Memo_PPS23_by_George_Kennan), in which Kennan acknowledged: “Furthermore, we have about 50% of the world’s wealth but only 6.3% of its population.” Kennan was talking about the disparity “between ourselves and the peoples of Asia. In this situation, we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity without positive detriment to our national security.”

    While that’s a clear acknowledgement of our post-war progress on the road to today’s Pax Americana national strategy (global pre-eminence in all matters), Kennan says some other things in that paper that might be instructive for the “Shared Security” proposal (remember, the U.N. had just been created in 1945).

    Kennan distinguishes between “universalistic” and “particularized approaches to the solution of international problems.” To the extent that “Shared Security” looks to international/transnational agreements and cooperative entities to find a way forward that benefits all peoples and eschews militarism – universalistic approaches – I think Kennan’s critique of this approach offers some cautions that are still relevant 65 years later:

    “The universalistic approach looks to the solution of international problems by providing a universalistic pattern of rules and procedures which would be applicable to all countries, or at least all countries prepared to join, in an identical way. This approach has the tendency to rule out political solutions (that is, solutions related to the peculiarities in the positions anil attitudes of the individual peoples). It favors legalistic and mechanical solutions, applicable to all countries alike. It has already been embodied in the United Nations, in the proposed ITO Charter, in UNESCO, in the PICAO, and in similar efforts at universal world collaboration in given spheres of foreign policy.
    “This universalistic approach has a strong appeal to U.S. public opinion: for it appears to obviate the necessity of dealing with the national peculiarities and diverging political philosophies of foreign peoples; which many of our people find confusing and irritating. In this sense, it contains a strong vein of escapism. To the extent that it could be made to apply, it would relieve us of the necessity of dealing with the world as it is. It assumes that if all countries could be induced to subscribe to certain standard rules of behavior, the ugly realities—the power aspirations, the national prejudices, the irrational hatreds and jealousies—would be forced to recede behind the protecting curtain of accepted legal restraint, and that the problems of our foreign policy could thus be reduced to the familiar terms of parliamentary procedure and majority decision. The outward form established for international dealings would then cover and conceal the inner content. And instead of being compelled to make the sordid and involved political choices inherent in traditional diplomacy, we could make decisions on the lofty but simple plane of moral principle and under the protecting cover of majority decision.”

    Regarding particularism, Kennan comments that “It places no credence in the readiness of most peoples to wage war or to make national sacrifices in the interests of an abstraction called “peace”. On the contrary, it sees in universal undertakings a series of obligations which might, in view of the short-sightedness and timidity of other governments, prevent this country from taking vigorous and incisive measures for its own defense and for the defense of concepts of international relations which might be of vital importance to world stability as a whole. It sees effective and determined U.S. policy being caught, at decisive moments, in the meshes of a sterile and cumbersome international parliamentarianism, if the univeralistic concepts are applied.” We’ve certainly heard echoes of that critique in more recent times!

    Kennan says we were then working on a dual policy, trying to be both at once. “We cannot today abruptly renounce aspirations which have become for many people here and abroad a symbol of our belief in the possibility of a peaceful world.”

    He felt at that time that we were on the wrong track. “But it is my own belief that in our pursuance of a workable world order we have started from the wrong end. Instead of beginning at the center, which is our own immediate neighborhood—the area of our own political and economic tradition—and working outward, we have started on the periphery of the entire circle, i.e., on the universalistic principle of the UN, and have attempted to work inward. This has meant a great dispersal of our effort, and has brought perilously close to discredit those very concepts of a universal world order to which we were so attached. If we wish to preserve those concepts for the future we must hasten to remove some of the strain we have placed upon them and to build a solid structure, proceeding from a central foundation, which can be thrust up to meet them before they collapse of their own weight.”

    Applied to “Shared Security,” the implication for me is that there would need to be a clarity of the universal principles and a demonstrable linkage of all particularized proposals to those principles. This seems to be a good start in that direction, but would need to build in frequent, if not constant, course-correcting mechanisms … a results-oriented approach that both incorporates measures of appropriateness and applicability in specific cultural contexts (“the world that is”) and standards of cost-effectiveness, to curtail losing programs (and money) in the blather of “international parliamentarianism.”

    Small steps, thoughtfully taken … with a clear end goal.

  12. Hi AFSC,
    I am not a Quaker, but over many years I have gained respect for your perspectives and your ambitions. You really are spiritually driven. And I wish you the best of success.
    Best,
    Doug

  13. Is there a podcast series that accompanies this effort? If not, I think that would be a super idea. In my mind it would seek to bring weekly news developments into conversation with this document and the ideology/spirituality it represents.

  14. Shared Security – Reimagining U.s. Foreign Policy
    (Notes and Thoughts by Ray Allard, August 10, 2013)

    As William Kunstler (‘The Long Emergency’) and other socio/political critics have pointed out, global climate changes lead to wars, terrorism, poverty and violence of all kinds. This seems to me to signify that education about climate change, along with real solutions (curbing corporate control of the planet, curbing religious extremism, exercising global birth control, to name a few,) is the direction to go.
    Politically we (the USA) have got to stop playing out ‘good guy-bad guy’ scenarios around the world. Eventually, for our own survival, as well as the survival of others, we’ll have to enter into dialogs with everyone. Diplomatic efforts need to be directed towards that, rather than playing one side off against another.
    From an Associated Press story in Duluth News Tribune, Friday, August 2, 2013 – by Seth Bernstein (p. A7):
    “ – massive new study finds that aggressive acts like committing violent crimes and waging war become more likely with each added degree.” (This is reminiscent of a short story by Ray Bradbury in his collection ‘October Country’, where he posited that 97 degrees made people killingly irritable.) “ – extreme weather – very hot or dry – means more violence. – Strong evidence that climate can provoke violence.”
    The article quoted Edward Miguel, a Berkely economist, as saying: “Temperatures in much of North America and Eurasia are likely to go up by that 5.4 degrees by about 2065 because of increases in carbon dioxide pollution…so that implies essentially about 40 to 50 percent more chance for African wars than would be seen without global warming.”
    Or, as also quoted in the article: “People don’t often consider human conflict when they think about climate change, which is ‘an important oversight.” (Brad Bushman, Ohio State psychology professor.)
    It is true that the short-sightedness and dependence on erroneous policies supporting corporate and military dominance is sinking the strength of the USA. I believe that our country is becoming seriously vulnerable to unguessable future circumstances. Since our nation influences the world so strongly, this will affect everyone. All past empires have fallen, and there is absolutely no reason why the USA should be an exception.
    I believe our biggest danger, and one that continually triggers armed conflict, religious extremism and shriveling poverty is that of the effect of a burgeoning world population and its influence on the world’s climate. The climate affects a culture’s ability to survive, and that threat provokes – easily, I might add – panic and violent choices.
    Education plays a key role here, and it seems clear, in the way societies value or treat education, that is not where important effort is made.
    The forces of commerce deny climate change because of the effect such an affirmative response would have on the ability to amass great wealth through environmental exploitation. The military supports commerce in this regard in the mistaken belief that a dominant business community provides social stability and strength. However, all that corporate success provides is wealth to a few.
    I believe that the more restrictive and security-crazed that our country becomes, the weaker we become as a society. With our freedoms increasingly restricted, and our power over our own destinies and choices decreasing, we thereby become more vulnerable to circumstances and events that we cannot yet see.
    This document says it: “As the world’s largest overall consumer of the Earth’s resources and major historic contributor to global warming, the US has a prime responsibility to address this crisis.” (p. 17) So let us strongly include education – a focus on environmental studies and enforcement of environmental standards and regulations – as well as a strong commitment to sustainability, particularly on a community level.
    The End Result will almost certainly lead to and include global cooperation and mutual benefit.

    Shared Security – Reimagining U.s. Foreign Policy
    (Notes and Thoughts by Ray Allard, August 10, 2013)

    As William Kunstler (‘The Long Emergency’) and other socio/political critics have pointed out, global climate changes lead to wars, terrorism, poverty and violence of all kinds. This seems to me to signify that education about climate change, along with real solutions (curbing corporate control of the planet, curbing religious extremism, exercising global birth control, to name a few,) is the direction to go.
    Politically we (the USA) have got to stop playing out ‘good guy-bad guy’ scenarios around the world. Eventually, for our own survival, as well as the survival of others, we’ll have to enter into dialogs with everyone. Diplomatic efforts need to be directed towards that, rather than playing one side off against another.
    From an Associated Press story in Duluth News Tribune, Friday, August 2, 2013 – by Seth Bernstein (p. A7):
    “ – massive new study finds that aggressive acts like committing violent crimes and waging war become more likely with each added degree.” (This is reminiscent of a short story by Ray Bradbury in his collection ‘October Country’, where he posited that 97 degrees made people killingly irritable.) “ – extreme weather – very hot or dry – means more violence. – Strong evidence that climate can provoke violence.”
    The article quoted Edward Miguel, a Berkely economist, as saying: “Temperatures in much of North America and Eurasia are likely to go up by that 5.4 degrees by about 2065 because of increases in carbon dioxide pollution…so that implies essentially about 40 to 50 percent more chance for African wars than would be seen without global warming.”
    Or, as also quoted in the article: “People don’t often consider human conflict when they think about climate change, which is ‘an important oversight.” (Brad Bushman, Ohio State psychology professor.)
    It is true that the short-sightedness and dependence on erroneous policies supporting corporate and military dominance is sinking the strength of the USA. I believe that our country is becoming seriously vulnerable to unguessable future circumstances. Since our nation influences the world so strongly, this will affect everyone. All past empires have fallen, and there is absolutely no reason why the USA should be an exception.
    I believe our biggest danger, and one that continually triggers armed conflict, religious extremism and shriveling poverty is that of the effect of a burgeoning world population and its influence on the world’s climate. The climate affects a culture’s ability to survive, and that threat provokes – easily, I might add – panic and violent choices.
    Education plays a key role here, and it seems clear, in the way societies value or treat education, that is not where important effort is made.
    The forces of commerce deny climate change because of the effect such an affirmative response would have on the ability to amass great wealth through environmental exploitation. The military supports commerce in this regard in the mistaken belief that a dominant business community provides social stability and strength. However, all that corporate success provides is wealth to a few.
    I believe that the more restrictive and security-crazed that our country becomes, the weaker we become as a society. With our freedoms increasingly restricted, and our power over our own destinies and choices decreasing, we thereby become more vulnerable to circumstances and events that we cannot yet see.
    This document says it: “As the world’s largest overall consumer of the Earth’s resources and major historic contributor to global warming, the US has a prime responsibility to address this crisis.” (p. 17) So let us strongly include education – a focus on environmental studies and enforcement of environmental standards and regulations – as well as a strong commitment to sustainability, particularly on a community level.
    The End Result will almost certainly lead to and include global cooperation and mutual benefit.

    • A minor correction: I think the author of “The Long Emergency” was James Howard Kunstler. William Kunstler, as I recall, was a radical lawyer during the U.S. war on Vietnam days.

  15. Rich Van Dellen

    I received this document with eager anticipation—great idea to have the two organizations come out with a joint statement, impressive list of consultation participants— but was disappointed. I was hoping for something that I could hand out, give to my Congresspeople, friends and others, possibly in pamphlet form. This is not it. I have read most of the comments on the website and resonate with Tom Vaughan where he writes it is: “Too Quaker, Too Passive and Too Timid”. I also read the response to him by Aura Kanegis. I also resonate with the comments of others especially Joby McClendon and Nicky Moulton.

    I would add to Tom’s list:
    Too long: I was hoping for something more succinct
    Too repetitive
    Too dated. (There is too much Obama.)

    It is repetitive. Just one example: the many treaties and Conventions needing ratification are mentioned three times (pp. 21, 22 and 23). How about the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People?

    It is dated and thus will soon be outdated. The quotes of Obama, Hagel and multiple references to the Obama presidency and his activities make this dated. When he leaves office will this still be a useful document?

    Maybe too many writers in the mix? Needs editing.

    Doug Bennett in his blog entry refers to Pacem in Terris. There are similar excellent documents. To name a couple that had Quaker input: 1) the Nobel Peace Laureates 8th World Summit statement “Charter for a World Without Violence.” It is short, covers some of the ground this document does. AFSC signed it and was involved with its development.
    2) the “Charter for Compassion” . Jean Zaru, one of the authors of the charter was listed as one of the readers of this document. Neither document is mentioned in the list on p.9 toward the bottom.
    Nonviolence works. Could not this be a strong message here? No mention is made of the book by Erica Chenoweth and Maria J Stephan “Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict”. 296 pp, 2011; Columbia University Press, NY.
    No mention was made of the Nonviolent Peaceforce started by one of the consultation participants: David Hartsough.

    Some other specific comments:
    The United States Institute of Peace is mentioned in the first End Note but then not further mentioned. It is not mentioned in the list on the bottom of p.5 or in the first paragraph under #1 on p. 19.

    “The Old Policies Aren’t Working”. You give a “new list of global problems”….Some of them are not new! Certainly genocide and mass atrocities are not new.

    “The Root of the Problem: Militarized Foreign Policy”: The entire first page is devoted to positive steps Obama is taking. “Too timid”. Omit Obama and describe how it is. Quaker theologian, Walter Wink, now deceased, stated our culture is based on “the myth of redemptive violence” or that violence would save us. JFK said way back in 1961: “Mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind.” We are here and I do not sense the urgency. Also drone strikes are not only in Pakistan. The statement , “U.S. foreign policy is still driven by…. insistence that the U.S. can stand outside international law whenever it chooses.” needs documentation. Whoa!! Not many not already convinced are going to be convinced by that one. Could be worded better. There are other similar statements.

    “Global Security, Economics and the Environment.” No mention in the list of water shortages. Endnote 8 here refers to a 2008 book. Can’t we do better? I believe that nothing will be done about these concerns until the military spending of the U.S. and the world is tamed and monies are redirected toward these and other urgent human needs.

    “Principles for a New Global Policy”: “There is no way to peace, peace is the way.” : attributed to Emily Greene Balch, Quaker and Nobel peace Prize recipient in 1946. . The fourth part ( #4) seems to me to belong under #1. #4 talks mainly about demilitarization and there is nothing about the title: “Restorative approaches to heal a broken world”. There is more restorative approaches in #1.

    The “Glimmers of Hope” seemed forced, out of place and some need further explanation. I did not find most of them helpful or inspiring. In all of them what are the pictures at the top? No label on any of them.
    1) “Preventing War” is confusing. What is the new bureau spoken of? Is the “Atrocities Prevention Board” the result of the FCNL lobbying? The last paragraph needs explanation. The violence was less after the 2013 elections in Kenya but it is not explicitly stated and I understand there were still “targeted killings.” Readers may not even know the violence was less in the recent elections. Did Quakers contribute to the less violence?
    2) “Engaging China”: Again I had trouble understanding it and believe it needs clarification. What is AFSC work in China? Is the Lower Mekong Initiative an AFSC initiative?
    3) “Engaging Somali Youth for Peace”: I liked this.
    4) “Resource Wars…”: OK but no mention of the “Law of the Sea Treaty”, a clearly Quaker project.
    5) “Affirming Nonviolence in Israel/Palestine”. There’s Obama again in the first and last paragraph.
    .
    Language: Too many “shoulds” “need to” “must” and “requires” language. Use words like “could”, “urge”, “would” etc. You do in some areas so it is mixed.

    I hope still to get a document to excite me.
    Rich Van Dellen

  16. Duluth Friends Meeting Comment Process on the
    FCNL/AFSC Foreign Policy Document

    The consultation process was announced several times at the rise of Meeting in the Duluth-Superior Friends Meeting. All Meeting newsletter recipients in the Duluth-Superior Friends Meeting received both FCNL/AFSC “Shared Security: Reimagining U.S. Foreign Policy” documents by email. A week later, hard copies of both documents were distributed for reading. On August 11, 2013, nine Friends gathered in the Meeting House to offer comments and suggestions to strengthen the draft document. A summary of all comments was prepared. Thereafter, the summary was offered to all newsletter recipients for corrections and additional comments.

    General Document Strengths:
    1. The document conveys a sense of urgency.
    2. The document showcases productive case studies.
    3. The document is presented in a good size.
    4. The fact that this is a joint FCNL/AFSC project is excellent. (“This is a good marriage.”)
    5. The document links disparate important elements (environment and economics) to security.
    6. The document has a good emphasis on “shared” security.

    General Document Weaknesses:
    1. The document seems generally timid in tone.
    2. The document has an overall cold tone.
    3. The takeaway message is not clear to the reader and the specific advocated changes in U.S. foreign policy are hard to identify in the text.
    4. The document has the flavor of a fundraising document for AFSC and FCNL. The examples are self-promoting. Better examples from other organizations would have greater impact and be seen as less Quaker self-promoting.
    5. The connections of the case studies to the chapters for which they are intended to be examples are unclear to the reader. Their insertion seems forced.
    6. The proposals seem bland and not consistent with the theme of urgency.
    7. The case studies about Quaker organizations seem self-serving and diminish the serious substance for policy leaders. (Suggestion: Add an introduction to each case study specifically linking it as a model to the chapter subject.)
    8. The document is written with too much Washington jargon. (The document needs a severe editor.)
    9. There is much repetition and unnecessary language in the document. It needs a vigorous outside editor to make it sound like a simple, candid Quaker document.
    10. Reduce the document to fewer pages.
    11. Change the format to a pamphlet format that can be put in a pocket.
    12. The document ignores climate change education for shared security.
    13. The document needs to recognize the need for advocacy for global fair wages.
    14. Recognize the importance of cross border migration and the increasingly porous national borders for human travel.
    15. The intended readership for this document is unclear. Is the audience Quakers, Liberals, congressional representatives, or international agency leaders? The lack of a clear, focused readership audience contributes to the document’s blandness.
    16. The document seems to lack a strategy to the reader.
    17. Recognize population control as a key element of global security.
    18. The document should include specific initiatives for citizen engagement through voting, suggestion competitions etc.

    The Document Titles:
    1. The main title is good, particularly the emphasis on “shared.”
    2. Replace “shared” with “mutual benefit” to avoid the reaction of something stolen from us and with an added emphasis on a “no net loss” standard.
    3. Replace “reimagining” with “imagining” to make it sound less distant and vague.
    4. Replace “shared” with “ mutual.”
    5. Re-edit all chapter titles to be consistently in sentence form.
    6. The chapter titles are weak and not consistent with the chapter tasks.
    7. “Glimmers of hope” is modest and the best we can do. Quakers need to be more assertive.

    Chapter 1: A New Vision of Security
    1. This chapter is disappointing for the lack of a clear program offered.
    2. The choice of the President Obama comment is partisan and provides a weak defense of the proposed Quaker document.
    3. The President Obama comment includes the usual U.S. ambiguity in referring to “strength” as a code word for militarization.
    4. The emphasis on the need for a “new” vision is useful, but the substance is weak.
    5. The emphasis on “global interdependence” is good, but uses unnecessary jargon.
    6. Emphasis should be added to strengthen citizen engagement throughout the world, modeled by the U.S. This includes AFSC kinds of projects, Peace Corps and the initiatives of other organizations.

    Chapter 2: The Old Policies Aren’t Working
    1. There is very little description in the document of the “old policies” to be superseded.
    2. The emphasis on new non-state actors in global relations should be emphasized and made more specific with examples.
    3. The processes that are outdated should be specified and the new weak processes should be specified in order to avoid blandness in the document.
    4. “Global security” is an inadequate concept and ambiguous. In the present environment, “global security” has the flavor of dictatorship, militarization and oppression. The documents should, at least, recognize the importance of check and balances in any “global security” arrangements.
    5. Security is not the only goal of U.S. foreign policy as implied in the document. Promotion of democratic processes and economic equity are of comparable importance.
    6. Emphasize that the U.S. must be an example and model of a fair national economy as a basis for its advocacy in foreign policy. This includes a justifiable “fair” minimum wage.

    Chapter 3: The Root of the Problem: Militarized Foreign Policy
    1. Add the linkage that economic inequality among nations promotes militarization of U.S. foreign policy.
    2. Some “fears” are reasonable. Not all fears are bad.
    3. Emphasis should be put on prevention and community-based solutions in the document.
    4. The document fails to address the old U.S. policy goal of empire, which is recognized by all other coutries.

    Chapter 4: Global Security, Economics and the Environment
    1. Consider adding a non-threatening posture alternative.
    2. Recognize the U.S media as supporters for the global glorification of the militarization of U.S. relations with the globe.
    3. The “planetary imperative’ seems more a slogan and a vague one, but not a principle as currently described.
    4. The examples were helpful.
    5. In reality, the economic is the broader category of which the environment is a subordinate aspect. A major principle is the internalizing and inclusion of the costs of externalities and indirect effects of economic activity.
    6. The “sharing” principle should be linked to “shared power,” which is a key to addressing both economic and environmental elements.

    Chapter 5: Principles for a New Global Policy
    1. There was general approval of this chapter as far as it goes.
    2. The restrictive qualification “Global” in the chapter title only addresses one element addressed in the document.
    3. Add an element of U.S. initiative and leadership in developing international treaties.
    4. Add the creation and support of international institutions.
    5. Emphasize the role of the U.S. as a model by putting our U.S. house in order financially and socially, and, thereby, importing the domestic Quaker advocacy priorities into foreign policy.
    6. Add U.S. engagement in talking forums with all state and non-state parties.
    7. Manage language to reject demonizing those with contrasting views.
    8. Replace the war model with the justice model for dealing with international violence acts.
    9. Add a principle for transparency in spying.
    10. Initiate international treaties to control and manage weapons technologies.
    11. Add a principle of broadcasting accurate news throughout the world.
    12. Add the U.S. promotion of the use of nonviolent tools in the conduct of conflicts.
    13. Add the promotion of international monitoring of election access and integrity.

    Chapter 6:
    1. The conclusion seems timid.
    2. The conclusion should summarize specific practical alternatives.

    • Thanks for that, Tom. Barnet had a necessary approach. IMO he was the most accurate source that existed on geopolitics in his time, source that is that could carry the neophyte along to a greater and greater understanding naturally with minimal “effort” on the reader’s part. Everything flowed, and, for me, there was minimal “going back” over difficult passages. Every page of his maintained sufficient interest. He had a way of building to general frames or relationships…with particulars that I have experienced with no other non-fiction writer. A commenter said under a Rall cartoon today, “I guess you can believe anything now, and I do.” But one can’t really believe how thoughtless our policies have been until one knows them in a little detail. It’s a gift to go into or lead into detail and not make readers feel over challenged. WordPress is plugging in my facebook moniker, so apologies for the weird last name. For the time being I’ll let it stand.

    • Your link, Tom, is to a Thomas Barnett talk. I thought you meant Richard J. Barnet, who, now that I think of it, may have passed before TED talks began. Richard J. Barnet is the writer I was speaking of in my first reply. Wrote “Intervention and Revolution” & “Global Reach.” Also “The Lean Years” (80s)…which really got it right.

  17. Timid or not timid, is not the question. Should a blatant and poisonous genocide attempt be allowed? One person, one thousand persons? One person, a million persons? I say we pick him, or a handful of perpetrators off…NOT a village, nor a country.

  18. Our Meeting held a good discussion of nine key quotes we extracted from the document. Together with the set of action suggestions included in the discussion guide, this collection of quotes made up a double-sided handout. If anyone would like a copy to use themselves, please contact me and I will send you an attached version.

  19. The initiative is excellent and the joining of human security and common security into a shared security is terrific.
    Some omissions:
    a)The espionage/intelligence and cyber war institutions need to be dismantled. They are waging daily “undeclared” war on the world. Drone attacks, massive global surveillance and data theft, and daily cyber attacks. The current document refers only to the military establishment. This is now an antiquated moniker that needs to include the espionage/intelligence/cyber agencies and related black budget agencies that are in perpetual war.
    b)a major leg for shared security should be “setting a good example” at home. For example, the US engages in mass incarceration, and torture. We can strengthen the rule of law in this country to better serve as a model. Human Rights should start at home.
    c) The approach is too anthropocentric. It does not reference the collapse of the oceans, the devastation of ecological communities, mass extinctions. Shared security should include planet earth not just humans.
    d)Reject the monopoly of the federal government over foreign policy. Every person can engage in a boycott. Every institution can have foreign policies, including churches, businesses, and social organizations. Cities and states should be able to pass laws prohibiting the use of public dollars to be spent on companies engaged in practices which support dictators. Citizen diplomacy should be part of mix in talking about shared security.
    e)Framing-We have framed this report with the idea of shared security being something “new.” This can work well depending on what we are trying to achieve. However, the report could also have been framed in “reclaiming our heritage, and honoring the enormous progress we have made in so many areas whether it is the UN, the human rights movement, democracies, treaties to abolish various weapons, etc. This is a more humble approach that does not shout out saying..”look how smart we are to formulate this “new” direction. Language such as build upon, improve upon, and reclaiming our peacemaking heritages….may end up reaching out to more people. But also may not be as splashy. Generally Friends don’t do flashy.
    f)Can’t we reinforce the sisterly effort: the Global Marshall Plan: A National Strategy of Generosity and Care? put out by the Network of Spiritual Progressives. this is a brilliant theologically uniting statement calling for compassion and generosity to be at the center of US foreign policy.
    g) as a small aside in the introduction you might want to refer to our motivations for ending war by stating that as Friends we are part of a global religious society, and find the idea that we would go to war with Cuban Friends, or Kenyan Friends, or Indian Friends as absurd and immoral.
    The document is fundamentally strong. Parts of it a beautifully crafted. There are always more things that could be included….and then it would be a very long document. I have tried to limit most of remarks to fairly big picture thematic issues..rather than saying…”how come you didn’t mention such and such?”

  20. Happy to see this ‘challenge’ to our foreign policy from a FCNL perspective. Tomorrow(11.24.13) in Boston several related groups including Mass. Peace Action will meet to discuss a new economic policy. The germinal seed for this conference was really about our US foreign policy and how militarism and Pax Americana are not working and is very expensive. It was decided that climate and social and economic justice groups could work together to re-frame the agenda and work together on these projects to strengthen our impact.
    The working title of our conference is Autumn Convergence for a New National Agenda and after seeing your shared security report, I believe it really could be a big convergence. But like you say it will probably take a long and persistent campaign to make this change, but with everyone who is so inclined working together , I see this as a very hopeful initiative. Thank you for your work on this and I look forward to more collaboration with FCNL and shared security. Hope you can attend our conference. 1:00 PM-6:00 , 26 West St., Boston.

  21. One of the new tools needed is a problem-solving Congress. Current partisanship is an unforeseen consequence of Supreme Court’s one person one vote decision in lat 1960’s. Let’s find a way to implement non-partisan redistricting in every state.

  22. It’s been almost six months since I first read the working paper. It’s grown on me! It’s grown IN me! It’s become a way of thinking … what would Subject X be like if we were pursuing a strategy of Shared Security instead of Pax Americana?

    I posed that question in each of the visits I had on Nov. 14 to the offices of Rep. Steve Pearce, Sen. Martin Heinrich and Sen. Tom Udall, leaving copies of the Shared Security working paper in each place. A subtext in each visit, using New Mexico examples, is that we have become “hooked” – deeply addicted – to Pentagon spending in our state and local economies, at the expense of infrastructure, education, etc.

    During the annual meeting of FCNL, we had a stimulating panel on Shared Security (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vPRDN_Oxct8&list=PLG_JSie9N976yS6qeGvYGuBDzFOcrnJ84).

    That meeting, and other events this month, prompt me to ask: What’s happening with this? What’s next?

    As to the working paper itself, I’m in synch with much of what the Friends from Duluth Superior Meeting had to say. It still seems, to me, too parochial, passive and timid. When will the next rewrite occur, and by whom? And then what do we do with Shared Security 2.0?

    As an aside on the document, in preparing for discussion in Gila Friends Meeting, it occurred to me that the working report is an odd combination of inductive and deductive reasoning. The core principles appear on page 2, and then don’t reappear until page 19; in between we wander through assorted case studies from around the world, etc. To my old linear mind, the essence of Shared Security would be more accessible if the list of core principles led to the solutions, illustrated by case studies, examples, etc.

    Are events overtaking us?

    On Nov. 18, Secretary of State Kerry told the Organization of American States, “The era of the Monroe Doctrine is over.” He went on to say, “The relationship that we seek and that we have worked hard to foster is not about a United States declaration about how and when it will intervene in the affairs of other American states. It’s about all of our countries viewing one another as equals, sharing responsibilities, cooperating on security issues, and adhering not to doctrine, but to the decisions that we make as partners to advance the values and interests that we share.” A shift from Pax Americana to Shared Security!

    On Oct. 31, former senators Jim Talent and Jon Kyl said, “The President and his top team may wish to conduct a review of America’s general approach to the world, based on their understanding of America’s vital national interests and the primary risks facing the United States.” This was in “A Strong and Focused National Security Strategy,” published by The Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute. They come down on the side of Pax Americana – more military hardware – but the call for a strategic review offers an opportunity for competing strategies to be considered.

    The international response to chemical weapons in Syria and concerted effort by the U.S. and allies to open negotiations with Iran, resulting last weekend in an interim agreement, highlight the value of diplomatic over military efforts, all since the Shared Security working paper was published.

    Perhaps even more significant, and with potentially greater impact, Pope Francis issued an apolostic exhortation, “Evangelii Gaudium” (http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/francesco/apost_exhortations/documents/papa-francesco_esortazione-ap_20131124_evangelii-gaudium_en.html#Time_is_greater_than_space) on Nov. 24 that, to me, incorporates much of what we seek in Shared Security. Under the heading, “The common good and peace in society,” he lists four principles:
    “Time is greater than space.”
    “Unity prevails over conflict.”
    “Realities are more important than ideas.”
    “The whole is greater than the part.”

    In paragraph 228, under “unity prevails over conflict,” Pope Francis says this: “In this way it becomes possible to build communion amid disagreement, but this can only be achieved by those great persons who are willing to go beyond the surface of the conflict and to see others in their deepest dignity. This requires acknowledging a principle indispensable to the building of friendship in society: namely, that unity is greater than conflict. Solidarity, in its deepest and most challenging sense, thus becomes a way of making history in a life setting where conflicts, tensions and oppositions can achieve a diversified and life-giving unity. This is not to opt for a kind of syncretism, or for the absorption of one into the other, but rather for a resolution which takes place on higher plane and preserves what is valid and useful on both sides.”

    So. Around us we see, I think, opportunities for ecumenical coalitions – the Exhortation by Pope Francis. We see bold actions that are consistent with Shared Security – Kerry’s declaration that the Monroe Doctrine is dead. We have examples of diplomatic success (though the threat of arms has certainly been present) – Syria and Iran. President Obama’s statement in 2009 that “America will have to show our strength in the way that we end wars and prevent conflict – not just how we wage wars,” appears to be underlying at least some of this administration’s actions.

    How does the Shared Security strategy proposal fit into all this? What’s next?

    • And in today’s LA Times (Jan. 13, 2014), military historian, veteran and father of a fallen soldier Andrew J. Bacevich has an op-ed: “The misuse of American might, and the price it pays.”
      (http://www.latimes.com/opinion/commentary/la-oe-bacevich-failed-wars-20140112,0,5920178.story#ixzz2qHmSu2yG)

      He characterizes the problem beautifully: “In a world divided between haves and have-nots, between postmodern and pre-modern, and between those for whom God is dead and those for whom God remains omnipresent, expecting coercion to produce reconciliation, acceptance or submission represents the height of folly.”

      Bacevich also envisions a solution that is consistent with Shared Security: “Take force off the metaphorical table to which policymakers regularly refer. Rather than categorizing violence as a preferred option, revive the tradition of treating it as a last resort. Then get serious about evaluating the potential for employing alternative forms of power, chiefly economic and cultural, to advance American interests. The result won’t be a panacea. But it won’t cost as much as open-ended war. And rather than creating new problems, this alternative approach just might solve some old ones.”

      His is one of the credible voices that should be enlisted to support Shared Security.

      When will there be new action on this … the 2.0 version?

  23. My apologies that, after several rereadings and edits, I still failed to catch the horribly misspelled “apolostic” in referring to the recent Apostolic Exhortation. Mea culpa … if I could get in and edit it, I would do it, but don’t know how. Tom

  24. The document is a good beginning. But what next? I’m an elderly Minnesotan and find my contributions limited to (1) support for candidates likely to even understand Shared Security, and (2) attempt to keep our family’s global footprint small.

    Hope to see this dialog continued now that the holidays are behind us.

  25. I just ran across this policy statement on the U.S. defense budget from a major Washington, D.C. think tank and had to share:
    “In a literal sense, the United States does not have a defense budget. The adjective is wrong. Our military spending is for many purposes: other nations’ defense, the purported extension of freedom, the maintenance of hegemony, and the ability to threaten any other nation with conquest. But the relationship between these objectives and the end they purport to serve, the protection of Americans and their welfare, is unclear. In fact, defining the requirements of our defense so broadly is probably counterproductive. Our global military posture and activism drag us into others’ conflicts, provoke animosity, cause states to balance our power, and waste resources. We need a defense budget worthy of the name.”

    The name of the think tank: The Cato Institute! Without mentioning Pax Americana, it’s a pretty explicit indictment of that defense strategy.

    If Quakers and the Cato folks can have such similar views, is a change not possible?

  26. 2-18-14
    I liked the latest mailing from the Quakers on shared security. I like the name because it’s easy to remember- two “s”‘s.
    I think a general improvement in America’s politics would be to delete any use of rewards and punishments in dealing with other countries, (or here at home also for that matter). Rewards and punishments are a major part of manipulation, which spins off into many problems. Simple communication is highly preferable.

  27. Bloomington (IN) Monthly Meeting is having a forum on the document later in April. One approach we’re considering is showing 4 very short videos (preferably about 1 min. long) to illustrate each of the 4 core principles. AFSC seems to have a number of short videos on the website. If folks have good examples, we’d welcome suggestions. Here was one that was easy to understand: https://www.afsc.org/video/don-bustos-traditional-farmer
    :51 seconds water rights, sustainable farming
    Also, the document referenced by Susan Strong of Strawberry Creek Meeting would be helpful.
    Thanks.

  28. Faith, hope, and love. I hope for the best. I hope I won’t ever resort to elenadolan‘s approach over some matter in my own life (or to some version a few degrees less extreme), but that is it. It’s all a matter of hope.

    I thought I might add some thoughts while I had a chance, even though I haven’t been all the way through “Shared Security.” On a vacation, and the minute hand’s speeded up. Perhaps if I didn’t do it now, I’d miss the option to say anything at the outset and would procrastinate for weeks.

    My concerns, or the ones I have come to focus on in my reading, are pretty well subsumed by the two middle principles in the FCNL letter’s list of four. Most of my reading time is devoted to transitioning from reliance on “sacrifice zones” to sustainable “industry” and more equitable labor/wage relationships [Hedges, Klein, Kuttner, Hudson, Galbraith, Hartmann, Albert, Alperovitz, Richard Barnet]. For me, this transition appears connected to issues such as: jobs offshoring, the bondage of commerce to stock dividend yields, regulation of Wall Street, over reliance on imports, integrity in “service” jobs, integrity in jobs related to agriculture and infrastructure repair, resources wasted on war and surveillance technology, wealth extraction by our healthcare system [fewer hands-on caregivers as well], and a host of other issues. In the future I see a need to delve into all associated questions; though I can imagine, sort of inchoately, a way around many of the problems germane.

    Within my particular Quaker/Girardian frame of reference, I can agree that the empire’s zeitgeist is drifting, as Jeff Garrison said, to fear. It’s not IMO just when you get on some defense committee and become privy to a thousand threats you weren’t aware of before. It’s gone over the whole land, probably as it did in the Great Depression. To my understanding, this wasn’t the first phase. The first phase was a memesis or a “sameness” that occurred. This is where I could write for hours, but to keep it short I’ll just say that this sameness (broken down at length by Rene Girard) was also actually described a little by Christopher Lasch (pertinent to the particular era) in I think it was 1992. It was and is an odd sameness, as paradoxically this sameness consists in folks embracing pluralism, and all go merrily along in their niche/tribes…with too much faith that pluralism itself will take care of the political stewardship left aside when…they went merrily along. Another paradox is that most of the role models (across all political stripes) at the top of these niche-groups incorporate a “progressive” element in their schtick…wholly vicarious. A nominal progressiveness apprehended by the owner(s) as full-on crusader. Actually, the number of “tribes” [or sub-demograhics] are limited, and folks end up competing to be more like the archetypal personages at the “top” of each. During the tech bubble, for instance, folks had the means to “buy” their resemblance to these personages or models. Or buy parallel lives to these models. So the competition got overheated. The “divided house.” In Girardian terms, we approach “the war of all against all.” Of course, somewhere along the way we pick up the fear. In the ancient, universal, and nearly archetypal cycle Girard describes, this is solved by choosing a sacrifice, which quiets everything . In our day, it’s not like it was 20,000 yrs ago or even like it was in Salem. In our day it’s systematized. We have sacrifice “zones,” whole neighborhoods. And now whole towns. And yes, as Dom Elder Camara pointed out, outside our borders…

    In my own terms, yes I could agree that fear causes us to forget to wait. To wait on the Christ within, the Inner Light, the Higher Self, Brahman, the Shakti force, Allah, or the Great Spirit.

    What I wanted to do in posting here was simply to share two minor concerns.

    1. Salvaging a literature that deals with the aforementioned sacrifice-seeking in our everyday lives…in the workplace, for instance, where most of us spend most of our time. And deals with how scapegoating synchs in with other dysfunctionalities. Anne Wilson Schaef’s work IMO represents the best of this lit, but I may be unaware of more. [There is abuse of domestic workers in Hong Kong. There is abuse here of fast food workers and immigrant workers (and their children). There is abuse of Olympic construction workers in Saudi Arabia. There are humans carrying 200 lb sacks of cocoa leaves from Bolivia into Argentina. And on and on.]

    2. A concern with Rare Earths vis a vis a continued expanding network of teaching and communicating across the globe. It’ll be essential as decision making devolves more and more to the present 99.999%.

    We all need a foundation when we encounter those who don’t see our part in having contributed to the mindset outside our borders which is anti-American. To lay it down right sometimes means mastering yet another whole realm of knowledge. So, here’s a my little contribution toward this end, if anyone can use it. The first is more homeland oriented, and links a chapter out of Lasch’s “The Revolt of the Elites.”

    http://brandon.multics.org/library/Christopher%20Lasch/lasch1994revolt.html

    There’s another article at tomdispatch that cites the late Chalmers Johnson.

    “The communists’ policies of secularization in turn provoked a violent response from devout Islamists. The anti-Communist revolt that began at Herat in western Afghanistan in March 1979 originated in a government initiative to teach girls to read. The fundamentalist Afghans opposed to this were supported by a triumvirate of nations — the U.S., Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia — with quite diverse motives, but the U.S. didn’t take these differences seriously until it was too late. By the time the Americans woke up, at the end of the 1990s, the radical Islamist Taliban had established its government in Kabul. Recognized only by Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, it granted Osama bin Laden freedom of action and offered him protection from American efforts to capture or kill him.” Chalmers Johnson http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/1984/

    http://www.juancole.com/

    Tend to believe everything here, but am not quite enough of a scholar to vouch for everything.
    http://www.iacenter.org/bosnia/yugo_rc.htm

    WordPress is defaulting to my facebook moniker, so you get half the real me. Sorry for this but I have to think it through a bit.

  29. I hope and pray we can overcome any lingering suspicions that the mandates expressed in “Shared Security” will disadvantage us. That they would advantage us I think is helpful knowledge when we’re presenting our case.

    3/28 “However, the drama that is under way is none other than the shifting fault-lines of the contemporary imperial system in which we live and the relative power-shift in Eurasia in which powers like China, Russia and India, at least economically, are beginning to persuade people that they represent the new, rising powers, whereas the west represents the declining ones.” http://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/vassilis-k-fouskas/ukraine-and-eurasias-imperial-faultlines

    Persuade people. That means our progress with issues like quality of life (wages), environment, slave labor, human trafiking, and free education/healthcare. Exactly what Shared Security has defined as the appropriate focus of all national governments.

    Amazing to think how more military aid to moderate Sunni elements might actually eliminate alQaeda in Syria (IMO Obama & Israel are right re carnage in the process). But when one sees it, one begins to think in terms of such extremists as reservoirs of justification for our MIC. Are MIC interests stalling “solutions” that would obviate extemists? Three of the articles I’m linking here portray imperial powers as the only powers on earth worthy of note. Cole’s reveals the interum carnage factor I just referred to. Cole’s also seems to hint at a Saudi design that could form up a third bloc beyond just the-Nato-afflicated and BRIC. I lack knowledge re whether Pakistan would be sought after in this; at the moment I believe they still belong to the Shanghai Cooperative Organization. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shanghai_Cooperation_Organisation

    3/3
    “Is the Era of Imperial Global Powers Over?” http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/03/us-global-power-imperialism-foreign-policy

    3/29
    “Saudi King channels John McCain, demands Obama Take Hard Line on Iran, Syria, Muslim Brotherhood”
    http://www.juancole.com/2014/03/channels-demands-brotherhood.html

    “The west did not entrench itself in Europe after the collapse of communism: quite the opposite.” Hard to see how Fouskas can use these words given what he also says about post-wall shock therapy applied to Russia (Vassilis Fouskas at first “Open Democracy” link above). But Fouskas moves along at clip in this piece, and it’s a very informative article.

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