The Apex Predator’s Self-Defence
where is the wisdom collected in two thousand years history of mankind?
Dr Kim, Jinwoog
* The original Korean version of this piece has been published on the 14th of September, 2014, in the Korean website of the Korea Research Institute for Military Affairs, KRIMA (www.military.co.kr).
I was listening very carefully to the speech of Barack Obama, the President of the United States (US), delivered on the 10th of September. He said that “we will degrade and ultimately destroy Islamic State” and this was his aim as the US Commander-in-Chief. According to the result of a joint survey carried out by the Wall Street Journal and NBC, more than sixty per cent of Americans support the military strike against Islamic State (IS). Will US finally repeat its unwise history in the past? My instinct says that the US’s strike might be able to arrest terrorist’s body temporarily and bring a lull in the situation, however, another new Islamic jihadists will spring again. This repetition has appeared continuously in the last fifty years great and small. The strike against Syria itself will become a new threat to the future Americans.
Now the mankind should make a serious decision together with the US on Islamic gang and terrorist body. Should we choose traditional way? Or should we choose a new gateway? Traditionally, physical violence was wielded as we observed through, for example, Iraq War and Afghanistan War that occurred repeatedly in human history in last two thousand years. This traditional way has two peculiarities: firstly, it begins with a presumption that ‘I am right and you are wrong’, and secondly, there is no room for mutual compromise. In other words, it is based on the zero-sum game in which ‘one side’s gain is exactly balanced by the loss of the other side’.
What is the new gateway? It will be obtained by overcoming these two problems. First of all, how can we go beyond the prejudice ‘I am right and you are wrong’? The extreme conflict between IS terrorists and the US would be peacefully resolved when wise men, scholars and honest decision makers provide solution for this prejudice. The second problem, zero-sum game, will be able to be addressed fairly enough by an alternative idea and transformed into a win-win game when we utilize the accumulated wisdom in the history of mankind and work with the United Nations. Now our mankind experienced enough in the last two thousand years that violent tit for tat was not effective way to get rid of violence. The US must not repeat its unwise history anymore.
From the primary school to the military academy, the education I received was influenced by that of American relatively to some extent. I used to work with the US army officers and also studied in the US. Therefore, the value I support and the way of thinking could be American-oriented. As a director of Korea Research Institute for Military Affairs (KRIMA), I travelled to China for intensive projects in last ten years and have communicated with varied scholars, politicians, and military officers in China. This experience helped me to clearly distinguish Chinese or oriental value from that of Western society. My experience in India in last five years enabled me to understand the value of nonalignment and nonviolence that India maintained with neutrality in the international society in which the East and West conflicted after the Second World War. The progressiveness of an individual or even a state is born when a culture collides with others and intersects others. From this point of view, I would like to suggest some advice to wise men in the US.
The US, obviously, has the strongest and most advanced power for military, economy and intelligence in the world. It also respects human right and guarantees freedom. The US’s historical experiment is truly impressive and inspiring. However, do they possess, at this moment, the first class wisdom to address critical international turmoil? I am sceptical about this. The US ought to have wisdom corresponding to the top nation who manages the world affair, which aims to manage the world military, economic, and intelligence power. The US can do its role and function as a police state in the global community only when it shows the world’s finest wisdom that goes beyond ‘American wisdom’.
Any individual or state should have power corresponding to the amount of wisdom they have. A tragedy will definitely occur if a country possesses military, economic, and intelligence power that overflow their wisdom. They need military, economic and intelligence power which are manageable with their own wisdom. From my perspective, the US has the best intelligence capability in the world and the strongest power, but its wisdom does not correspond to its capability. Wisdom is the most significant feature that distinguishes mankind from animals. If the US is the first class country with respect to its military and economic power, then it is merely the top one in the animal’s world. The first class wisdom is prerequisite to be the first class country from the human being’s point of view which is different from that of animals. A country that fulfils this precondition is entitled to manage the world as the genuine first class country.
What we see is not a terror war. This is the religious war that repeated in last two thousand years. Since 9/11, all the terrorist attack happened so far was caused by the conflict between Islam and Christianity. Terrorism is not the root of problem per se, but paranoia, hatred, and fear are creating the current war. These are ethical prejudice that was generated by religious conflict and belief, or more correctly, derived from religious strong belief. When will be the end of the US’s attempt to divide the world into our forces and enemy’s forces, our side and your side, good country and bad country, and finally good and evil? The appearance of the IS is not irrelevant to the Bush administration’s intervention in Iraq. Since 9.11, Islamic fundamentalists have been provoked by the US’s intervention in Iraq which was energy(oil)-oriented, and at the same time, aimed at setting up the US’s enemy. Islamic fundamentalists’ hatred and resentment at the US’s intervention have been organized and led into the IS.
I had an opportunity in India to observe the conflict between Hinduism and Islam which occurred for long period of history, and also learn their way that solved the religious conflict eventually. Religious conflict is the conflict in values. It is nothing to do with the conflict between ‘correct’ and ‘wrong’, or ‘good’ and ‘evil’, like the US is currently arguing now. It is definitely and fundamentally a brutal crime that the IS is killing innocent civilians. Meanwhile, it is also definitely wrongdoing that innocent civilians accidentally died in the US’s strike. The two extremes are very same in arguing that sacrifice of minority cannot be avoided for a bigger target, and in attempting to get rid of violence by wielding violence. Unwise people are meant to converge on extremes, therefore, the result is very obvious. Extreme Sunni Muslim will definitely join in the IS, and Christian countries will unite in the US again.
Obama has denounced the IS terrorists as cancer. A cancer cell can proliferate anywhere in our body and can occur unpredictably. How can we prevent the formation of cancer cells? Western physicians try to have the cancer cells removed by a surgery after they occur. On the other hand, oriental doctors recommend changing the body itself better and primarily preventing the formation of cancer cells. Cancer cells can be removed temporarily by a surgery, but they can occur continuously at the same place or others. What if we make our body balanced as a whole and make healthier? Cancer cell will not occur anymore. A surgical operation to get rid of cancer cell, of course, is required for patients suffering from pain. The terrorist body, likewise, must be “degraded and destroyed”. My point is, we should not be satisfied with that.
What should we do? Terrorist cells are meant to occur again as cancer cells appear again from the surgery area and spread to other parts of the body. These cancer cells will not occur again permanently if the body is well balanced as a whole and in harmony. The international society, likewise, should balance its elements in good harmony to not have terrorist cells again. The US, as a super power, should listen to them with patience for what is the justice that these weak people argue, what is their standard of morality, and what is their intention. The US should drag them out to a conversation by utilizing world’s finest resources and wisdom. The US should remain cool-headed and contemplate the causes led this awful situation and deepened hate between each other. It is still not late. We need to return to the essence of the problem. What is the essence? The essence is: helping our organs in the body to immunize itself against cancer cells, similarly, helping Iraq itself and Syria itself to address their own problems themselves. The trouble began from the US’s intervention in Iraq per se. Violence only calls another violence incessantly.
Not carefully paying attention to the causal relations, and judging good and evil only by visible results, and even pulling its people down to the war on good vs. evil – it is no different from Islamic fundamentalists. If the Americans are caught in emotional turmoil continuously without contemplating the causal relations, disasters will never end. It is impossible to arrest terrorism by wielding military power. Terrorists furiously argue that their innocent brothers were killed by the US soldiers in the past, meanwhile, the Americans furiously denounce that their innocent citizens were murdered. These hypocritical standards, interpretation to their own advantages and collectivism will not reach any solution. Why is it not even possible at all for the US to put itself in someone else’s place while being the most advanced developed country in the world?
Will this problem have to be solved after all by killing each other and dying with guns and swords? All the wise people as well as those in the US should find out a way this time to unravel this problem essentially with their wisdom converged. President Obama said “if you threaten America, you will find no safe haven,” but wise men all around the world should have their wisdom collected to stop the indiscriminate threats poised against mankind, justice, and innocent people, not only against the US. The human being’s rationality, law, and system do not have enough right to murder people. The US, unlike Islamic fundamentalists, should face terrorism with pinpoint accuracy merely from the perspective of self-defence, not with the ethical or judgemental standards. The war will never end in the world in which people force the verdict of good or evil generated in their rationality. It is time to figure out the road to reach the win-win situation for the US and its enemy forces with wise men all around the world which goes beyond the old paradigm: ‘I am right and you are wrong’.