Sunday, 7 January 2007

2:1 What are your real motives?

One thing people often say is that while you pretend to be fighting to protect your citizens from their enemies, or pretend to be spreading freedom and democracy, lofty enough motives, in fact you are largely concerned with political and economic aggrandisement. They say you are mainly trying to extend your Empire and obtain precious resources such as oil and minerals in order to maintain your high standard of living.

This is not easy to refute for several reasons. Firstly, it often quickly becomes apparent that your actions only stir up fresh dangers and new terrorist anger. They do not appear to make the world safer, but attract terrorism. So it is a little difficult at first sight to say that your actions are to protect us from your enemies, or, if they are, they are a bad way of doing it. Secondly, it usually appears that the original fear which you used to justify your attacks were grossly exaggerated, if not entirely invented. You have counter-attacked against the wrong enemy, or without cause.

Thirdly, the idea of bringing peace, civilization and democracy seems a little hollow as events unfold. As your peoples watch the destroyed buildings, gutted schools, razed fields, frightened and wounded and hungry people in the places you go out to ‘save’, they may wonder for a moment whether civilization and democracy can be or is being installed in the way you promised.

They may even wonder whether you have got it the wrong way round. They may be seduced into thinking that just giving people the right to vote without any of the underpinnings of democracy cannot work. They may suggest that you should help other countries, even if you may not like their politics, to create peace, reasonable taxes and a decent judicial system first, and then democracy may well emerge, as it did in your civilizations. Democracy was not imposed on England or America, it grew organically, they will say.

The difficulty with refuting these objections also arises from another problem. This is that while in logic these criticisms are right, they miss the wider context and are based on naïve and liberal beliefs which cannot be sustained in your world.

Of course you want and need the oil. How can you fight your crusade against Terror if you do not have the fuel for your bombers and tanks? And how can you live a civilized life without consuming a large part of the world’s oil supply? How can a decent American or British way of life be led without consuming fifty times as much energy per capita in a lifetime than an average Indian or African? So you need the oil for civilization, for defending the democratic way and, if we may say so, for promoting Christ’s Kingdom.

It is a good axiom that ‘he who wills the ends must will the means’. The ends are the glory of God and your way of life. You must will the means, which are controlling the oil wells, driving out settlers on your borders, destroying those who try to separate themselves off from us, especially if they might have access to precious resources. Unfortunately, such is the innocence and idealism of your population, that if you said you were mainly fighting for oil, that would be regarded negatively by some. So do not say ‘you wanted the oil’, but do make sure you get it.

1 comment:

Gabriel Andrade said...

Even if I agree that oil is a major motif in this war, it is strange that for a long time Americans have not been able to get ahold of Iraqi oil-fields as they would have wished for (that partly accounts for the high oil prices that benefit Venezuela and other oil producing countries). It seems to me war is more of an irrational activity. In the beggining, oil interests certainly drove Americans to invade, but once there, irrationality has kept them in Iraq, as surely there has been little gain for anyone.