Monday, March 10, 2014

An Eye for an Eye leads to Nuclear Holocaust

I was born in 1982, so the collapse of the Soviet Union and subsequent end of the Cold War happened before I was even out of elementary.   But from what I’ve learned about those times, it doesn’t seem like something we’d want to go back to anytime soon.  From McCarthyism, to Sputnik, to nuclear bomb drills, to reckless military spending those years aren’t something I’d like to live through. So I find myself completely perplexed by suggestions by some politicians and military experts that the way to respond to Russia’s aggression in Ukraine is by flexing our own military muscles as well.
Let me say straight out, Putin’s actions are wrong.  I’m not an expert in geo-political issues, but based on Putin’s previous efforts to invade the former Soviet bloc country of Georgia during the Bush Administration and Putin’s own past as a KGB officer, it seems like Putin might be trying to rebuild the Soviet Union.  Looking farther back into history, Putin’s aggression coupled with the recently held Olympics and discrimination again the LGBT community, I’m reminded of Hitler’s early days of racism and annexation of neighboring territory. Either way, Putin doesn’t have a good track record.
'Bomb' photo (c) 2012, _Gavroche_ - license: back into history seems entirely appropriate, because I can’t help but thinking; hasn’t this whole thing played out before? Didn’t it nearly lead to a nuclear holocaust? From the end of WWII in the 1940’s to the early 1990’s the United States and the Soviet Union were locked in an epic grudge match. Though the two never actually fought head to head, the time consisted of countless proxy wars in which the two powers fought for causes and governments which either supported or opposed their cause. And as is usually the case, aggressions boiled over at times to the threat of war via the most powerful weapon on the planet—the nuclear bomb.
Think about some of the endeavors the US pursued because of the Cold War; the Korean War which cost some 35,000 American lives, Vietnam which cost over 58,000 American lives, the failed Bay of Pigs invasion, run away military spending, and incessant military excursions across the globe.  The list could go on and on.  And, thanks to the relentless military spending, especially during the Reagan years, the debt is still going on and on and on… Again, I wasn’t alive for most of the Cold War, but being as the world was on the brink of all-out nuclear war who knows how many times I really can’t understand why anyone in the right mind would think responding to aggression with aggression would be a responsible option.
'Gandhi with Lord and Edwina Mountbatten' photo (c) 2013, Nagarjun Kandukuru - license: Gandhi famously said, “an eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind.”  Gandhi was a political and spiritual leader in India who helped lead his country to independence from Britain. Gandhi, who studied the teachings of Jesus, was a proponent of non-violent activism and influenced the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The “eye for an eye” model comes from the Hebrew Bible, specifically Exodus 21:24.  Jesus is quoted as referencing that same scripture in the gospel of Matthew chapter 5.  Jesus reinterprets the verse, disagreeing with the assertion that violence must be responded to with equal violence. Jesus and Gandhi both recognized that responding to violence with violence, will not end violence. Will we?
What’s the point you say? Responding to aggression with aggression inevitably leads to more aggression.  We’ve seen it already.  We can’t let history repeat itself.  We can’t fulfill the prophecy that those who “don’t know history are failed to repeat it.”  Do we really want to live through another military arms raise? Besides the ethical and moral problems of spending trillions of dollars on weapons of war, I fear it will be the United States, not Russia which collapses economically this time. We’ve already been to the brink of nuclear holocaust before, let’s not let foolish leaders take us down that road again. Let’s listen to the wisdom of spiritual teachers such as Jesus, Gandhi, and King who advised us that violence doesn’t solve anything.

No comments:

Post a Comment