Soaring Spirit with Tears


Competition vs. Cooperation

Ingrid Naiman

For some time, I have been brooding over American foreign policy and wondering why politicians, anchormen, and many others in our society believe they have a right to use power against those they perceive as weaker. The answer usually proffered is that because they can, they should or they will; but when I grew up, I learned that might does make right. Where did we go astray? We in the West have for centuries held a double standard, one in which the spirituality and materialism have been vying for control over our behavior and souls.

The spiritual precepts that have guided us are the golden rule, i.e. do unto others as you would have them do unto you. We have also been taught not to judge lest we be judged, not to throw the first stone, not to kill, not to commit adultery, not to covet . . . the list is long, but it does not apply to the world of business, nor probably the military and definitely not the entertainment industry. In fact, in business school, one learns that it is clever if a company runs the competition out of business, even if this means deluging the market with loss leaders until the competition has gone belly up.

As we look now at what our values have created, we see a corporate system that is almost without any ethics. CEOs steal from their employees, they flood the market with questionable goods, hammer on our psyches with jargon and jingos guiling us to believe conjurations of Madison Avenue hired hands and seducing us to buy things we most likely do not need. Worse, industry is destroying the Planet with pollutants, lobbying for control over our food and medical choices, and poisoning us with synthetics that were never meant to be consumed.

What does this have to do with foreign policy? It has everything to do with international relations because many of our policies are driven by a handful of hugely wealthy individuals with vested interests in the outcome of their projects. . . and the hidden agenda of these people is the shadow we project on others when we threaten them with sanctions, consumer products, and now war. When colleagues of mine were first talking about 9/11, I ventured to say that when we knew how to solve problems of domestic abuse, we would know what policies would reduce the anger projected on America. People were furious with me. The U.S. was the victim on September 11th, but for many years prior to that date, our policies abroad have caused heart breaking suffering and dislocation in the lives of millions of people whose voices are not heard over our televisions.

If we look at conditions in Afghanistan, which had nothing to do with the events of 9/11, how can we still be interested in more Viagra, hair coloring products, and machines to flatten our stomachs? Who are we really? What are our values?

At the moment, the U.S. is the global bully, and it is not just poised to do whatever it wants abroad but to do whatever the persons with power want domestically as well. We are an international embarrassment, but when I get tangled up in what almost everyone I know already agrees is wrong, I can no longer see why we behave the way we do. So, why do we? It is because we have lost our balance, our appreciation of the response to good actions.

Each of us has a choice whether to rape and plunder or court and share. Obviously, in the short run, grabbing what one wants works, this so long as there is no backlash, but the moment the wronged individual develop the strength to redress wrongs, there is danger to offender. Everyone who is predatory knows this and because they know this, they are susceptible to paranoia, if not early in the game, later.



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