$0.00 donated in past month
Zbigniew Brzezinski’s Second Chance. Is American World Service Corps our best second chanc
Will America get a Second Chance? If your news comes from John Stewart rather than Katie Couric, then the Daily Show gave you the opportunity to mull words from former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski’s new book, Second Chance. How do we turn around the “geopolitical disaster… intense hostility… calamity…” that has become America’s policy? The American World Service Corps Congressional Proposals contain the answer.
On September 15th, Zbigniew Brezinsky, former National Security Advisor to President Clinton, discussed his new book, Second Chance, on America’s #1 news source, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.
To this former Peace Corps Volunteer, who has worked on several Habitat building projects and learned first hand about different cultures, world wide needs, and our nation’s ignorance of those intertwined complexities, I interpreted his book title to mean now is the time for America to make a second, and smarter, entry into the world.
Mr. Brezinsky’s repartee with Jon Dailey did not change that perception. Americans are a “decent but ignorant” people, Mr. Brezinsky said, in explaining how poorly they understood the world. He used terms like “disastrous… a calamity…” and pushed Dailey’s vocabulary by defining the Bush administration’s swaggering unilateralism as unhealthy ''neocon Manicheanism.''
Mr. Brezinsky reminds us that when the Berlin Wall fell, most of the world admired us. Less than two decades later, our nation is ''widely viewed around the world with intense hostility,'' its ''credibility in tatters,'' its military bogged down in the Middle East, ''its formerly devoted allies distancing themselves.''
Supporting facts and figures are not hard to find. In 2007, the British Broadcasting Corporation / PIPA Poll polled 28,000 people in 27 countries. It found the U.S. ranks higher than North Korea on the list of countries with a negative influence on the world. The top negatively ranked nations: 1) Israel 2) Iran 3) U.S. 4) North Korea 5) Russia.
Negative views are particularly widespread in Europe (especially Greece 78%, Germany 74%, and France 69%) and predominantly Muslim countries (Indonesia 71%, Turkey 69%, Egypt 59%, and Lebanon 58%). The only countries with positive majorities are found in Africa (Nigeria 72%, and Kenya 70%), and the Philippines (72%).
For what it is worth, those with positive majorities also had some significant working relationships with Americans:
• Kenya’s 32 million, from 1964 – present, had 4,719
• Nigeria’s 125 million, from 1961-71, had 2,065
• The Philippines’ 82 million, from 1961 – 90 and 1992 – present, had 8,169
Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) working amidst them. Might those PCVs have made a lasting impression on how America is seen, even when America’s policy is viewed as catastrophic?
How do we reverse the precipitous decline in respect for America?
Mr. Brezinsky’s tart response was, “with humility and social responsibility.” It is with “humility and social responsibility” that most of us, who have served conscientiously in organizations like the Peace Corps, were trained to work.
Mr. Brezinsky sees the war in Iraq as a '' geopolitical disaster,'' diverting resources and attention from terrorist threats in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The “geopolitical disaster” has simultaneously fomented resentment toward America and provided ''fertile soil for new recruits to terrorism.''
In closing his book, Mr. Brezinsky states, ''Nothing could be worse for America, and eventually the world, than if American policy were universally viewed as arrogantly imperial in a post imperial age, mired in a colonial relapse in a postcolonial time, selfishly indifferent in the face of unprecedented global interdependence, and culturally self-righteous in a religiously diverse world. The crisis of American superpower would then become terminal.”
Regain respect or terminate, that is the question. To remain a superpower, America must change global village battle tactics.
Those with the more understandable cause and more resilient or flexible economy win most long wars. Most winners also win the most hearts and minds. We are losing on both fronts.
Enslaved Roman Gladiator General Maximus was told, “Win the crowd and you will win your freedom.” If we are to win what this administration refers to as the “Long War,” and which some interpret as “Unending War,” then we must:
1. Contain the terrorists
2. Cut our costs and
3. Win the crowds’ hearts and minds.
We can win the crowds by fielding a cost effective, peaceful, productive army on today’s battlefields of ignorance, poverty, social justice, and climate change. You can help field that army by supporting Peoples Lobby citizen-initiated American World Service Corps (AWSC) Congressional Proposals, which will inspire a million Americans a year for a generation to voluntarily serve in their choice or the Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, Habitat for Humanity, Head Start, Doctors Without Borders, Red Cross, International Rescue Committee, OxFAm, Mercy Corps and State Conservation Corps. Sign the on-line petition and push Congress ( 866-220-0044) to introduce and pass the AWSC proposal. http://www.WorldServiceCorps.us