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Universal Foreign Policies of Unselfish Love

Apr 28, 2008
Peter Falkenberg Brown

Amidst the stress and struggle of daily life, it may not be easy for the citizens of all of the countries of the world to turn their attention to a critique of the foreign policies of each nation. Yet it is important to do so, for our daily lives are impacted in a very real way by foreign policy.

Let me preface my remarks here by stating that a) I am not a foreign policy expert, and b) I am not an expert on Middle Eastern affairs, and c) since I am a human being, a voter, a citizen and not a sheep, I feel perfectly justified in exploring new ideas for peace. I believe that the more the world’s citizens explore these issues, the better the world will be. We don’t have to leave foreign policy to the so-called experts, because foreign policy affects us all.

Loosely speaking, anything a country does that affects other nations can be interpreted as that country’s foreign policy, whether it is articulated or not. A nation that allows its industries to adversely affect the global environment is responsible for its impact on the world’s populations. The consequences of national habits, policies and actions often linger for years, as can be seen in the ever growing Great Pacific Garbage Patch, the enormous area of the Pacific Ocean that is collecting plastic garbage from all over the world.

Foreign trade policies can have a terrible impact on other nations, sometimes initiating ripples of injustice, resentment and poverty that become breeding grounds for revolutionary activity and war. Wars of aggression are certainly the worst products of foreign policies that all too often are centered solely upon the “national interest” of a country.

Peace in the twenty-first century must come about based upon something more holistic and global than the pursuit of national self-interests. It is of course necessary to protect the national interest of a country as it relates to defense and the economic welfare of its citizens. However, the dilemma persists that one country’s perceived self-interest may directly or indirectly violate the interests of its neighbors.

Countries that harbor no ill intent toward other countries may still harm them by “sins of omission”. Focused on valid troubles at home, a country might ignore the terrible misery in other countries brought on by war, genocide, starvation or disease. A foreign policy of isolationism becomes difficult to justify when millions of individuals around the world are suffering. One argument presented by isolationists is that no one country can afford to be the world’s policeman or savior or so-called big brother. It is a powerful argument, especially since adopting a foreign policy of being a Good Samaritan places the country’s citizens in a position of sacrifice. Sacrifice is a hard sell, which is why politicians frequently avoid the topic.

Rogue regimes such as those of North Korea or Iran bring the power of destructive foreign policies to their neighbors’ doorsteps. With Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s pledge to wipe Israel off the map, and his reckless determination to arm Iran with nuclear weapons, the citizens of Israel are in imminent danger of a Holocaust that might turn the Middle East into a wasteland. Islamo-Fascism threatens to be even more virulent than Nazism or atheistic communism. Radical Islamic terrorists and their fellow travelers and apologists are promoting an international vision of totalitarianism that is oppressive in the extreme. Human rights under militant Islam would entirely disappear. The world’s nations cannot allow this to happen.

It is in this environment of a looming global catastrophe that the peaceful nations of the world must rise up and adopt universal foreign policies of unselfish love. While we continue to stand strong, with total commitment and absolute military vigilance against violent and dangerous tyrants like Ahmadinejad, we must also adopt a much more comprehensive and far-reaching foreign policy that deals with the breeding ground of violence: the human heart.

Our foreign policies should recognize that our ultimate enemies are not nations or groups but the destructive emotions of anger, intolerance, resentment and hatred. Our foreign policy should focus on sincere methods to turn enemies into friends. In the document, “A Declaration of Peace”, at, Universal Principle of Peace #4 states, “Active love and service toward others, including one’s ‘enemies’, will create a world of peace without boundaries.”

Since the majority of Muslims are not violent extremists, it is to them that we should turn our attention in our struggle against terrorism. It is within the power of Israel and the major Christian nations of the world to prove to moderate Muslims that it is possible for us all to co-exist in peace. Winning the hearts of moderate Muslims, through foreign policies of active love and respectful service, is the all-important first step toward victory in the so-called “war on terror”. When moderate Muslim leaders and countries trust the West, then dialogue can begin to go deeper into the causes of radical Islamic terrorism.

The Islamic world has a list of historical grievances that must be dealt with by Israel and the West if progress is to be made. Since Christians and Jews have also been victimized, untangling such a morass of mutual resentments may seem insurmountable. Yet, the power of active love and service has already been successfully applied to foreign policy. The abiding friendship between the United States and Germany and Japan is a testament to the post-war policies that treated Germany and Japan with respect and honor.

Moderate Muslims need our support because they are in a truly unenviable position. Their religion is out of step with modern times, in its intolerable treatment of women, the harshness of its laws and its violent stance toward non-believers. Islam has been static since the Middle Ages and is in desperate need of reform. Reform, however, is a dangerous proposition, as can be attested to by the bloody wars of religious reformation that took place in the West. Thus, any moderate Muslim leader that attempts reform is quite literally risking his life.

One cannot pretend that the reformation of Islam is at all easy, for it is not, as commented on by Jerry Gordon in his column, “Reforming the Koran???? C’mon”, posted at the American Congress for Truth at Yet, it is a truism that people follow the motivations of their innermost hearts. Ideology is a powerful force, but does not a Muslim share the same desires for love and happiness that are common to all human beings? Reform can come to Islam when its leaders and citizens recognize and adopt the supreme ethic of unselfish love toward all people, even those who don’t believe in Islam.

It is not a betrayal of the “best of Islam” to respectfully put aside troublesome texts from the Q’uran that justify violence toward unbelievers or the suppression of women as second-class citizens. It was not a betrayal of the “best of the Judeo-Christian faith” to utterly reject as a directive to modern people of faith the command in Deuteronomy 7:2 which states, “and when the LORD your God gives them over to you, and you defeat them; then you must utterly destroy them; you shall make no covenant with them, and show no mercy to them.”

Whatever our beliefs about “God’s Will” in Biblical times, can any civilized person accept such directives today? The survival of the human race depends upon our ability to rise above such theological quandaries, and look at every human being as a priceless child of God, whatever their beliefs, nationality, gender or race. Rather than endlessly dissecting confusing verses from the past, let us simply put them aside and say, “That was then – this is now.”

Just as the Judeo-Christian faith and culture had to endure many stages of reformation, it is time now to establish a new interpretation of Islam that will allow its millions of sincere adherents to live in peace while rubbing elbows with people from all of the world’s many faiths. For the sake of that most critical goal, let us support moderate Muslim leaders and encourage them to initiate reform from within Islam, and let us offer them unwavering foreign policy support so that they are not abandoned after risking all in their efforts to modernize their teachings and their culture.

Thus we can pray for King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, when he recently stated, as reported by The Times, “If God wills it, we will then meet with our brothers from other religions, including those of the Torah and the Gospel to come up with ways to safeguard humanity.” As a leader reported by Parade Magazine in 2008 as being the world’s 4th Worst Dictator, it will have a massive effect on Islam if King Abdullah becomes its greatest reformer.

I believe that the world’s survival depends a great deal upon the citizens of each country participating in vigorous “National Conversations” about how their country can adopt a foreign policy of unselfish love. It’s time to redefine each country’s “national interest” and make it quite clear that one country’s national interest cannot be separated from the national interests of all countries, for in that redefinition lies the path toward enduring peace.

Peter Falkenberg Brown is passionate about writing, publishing, public speaking and film. He hopes that someday he can live up to his favorite motto: “Expressing God’s kind and compassionate love in all directions, every second of every day, creates an infinitely expanding sphere of heart.”

~ Deus est auctor amoris et decoris. ~

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