NOTE: For these 6 Finale videos, there is no accompanying written essay that matches each video, because the videos are each presentations given extemporaneously, with charts. The following text is an introduction to the video that does not include the bulk of the video’s material but that contains additional material not included in the video.
Once you’ve laid out and examined the Defensive and Aggressive Roots of Violence, as we’ve done in Parts 1 and 2, and once you’ve reflected upon the Mental, Legal, and Physical Escalators of Violence, as we’ve done in Part 3, it becomes quite obvious that the US foreign policymakers’ toolbox for responding to international conflicts is incredibly skimpy and impractical, whether you’re speaking of US conflicts with Russia, North Korea, China, Iran, Mid-Eastern militants, or Venezuela.
Consider the standard US foreign policymaker tools in times of confrontation: one-sided news, false propaganda, threats, sanctions, coups, weapon shipments, increasing numbers of military bases, expanding NATO coverage, drones, airstrikes, boots on the ground, and invasions. Such tools are pathetically limited, unnecessarily hostile, tragically violent, and absolutely impractical. Moreover, not one of these tools addresses a single Root or Escalator of Violence.
How can weapon shipments to Ukraine possibly alleviate Russia’s fear that NATO is seeking to overpower Russia? How can false news that demonizes Putin possibly reassure Russia that Americans are people of integrity and honesty who actually care about Russians? How can US sanctions and Biden’s closing – as well as suspected sabotage – of Nord Stream 2, possibly convince Russia that US policymakers’ avaricious ulterior motive isn’t to kick Russia out of Europe’s energy market?
Likewise, how can revitalizing the US nuclear arsenal possibly convince North Korea that it doesn’t need to build up a nuclear arsenal of its own? How can US propaganda and war games with the South Korean military possibly enable the North Korean leadership to feel comfortable allowing tourists and foreign news to enter the country?
How can US invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan possibly prove to Mid-Easterners that the US is not seeking to dominate them? How can bombs on Baghdad possibly alleviate Mid-Eastern terrorists’ feelings of alienation and demonstrate to Mid-Easterners that Americans truly care about them and respect them as equals?
Everywhere we go around the world, US foreign policymakers respond to those who are not one-hundred percent servile to their obsessive needs for control, wealth, and status with this hideous toolbox of tricks that reek with hostility, ignoble ideals, a dearth of positive creativity, and a total absence of positive vision.
Once you lay out the Roots and Escalators of Violence, we see that barely a single one, if any, can be resolved or even ameliorated by the application of hostility or violence. Perhaps this is why US policy and media makers never do lay out the Roots and Escalators of Violence.
In fact, hostility and violence only aggravate the Roots and Escalators of Violence. They increase fear, poverty, destruction, despair, alienation, and injustice, thus creating even more Defensive Roots of Violence. They increase rage, trauma, anxiety, distrust, and mental imbalance, thus creating even more Aggressive Roots of Violence.
Biden’s weapon shipments, like those of his predecessors, do not create an environment of peace and security. They weaponize injustice and cruelty, they arm misguided, confused, frightened, raging, and mercenary minds with lethal power, they create the very atmosphere that breeds aggressive states of mind – both in the minds of those who carry these weapons and those who are victimized by them.
Just ask the civilians of Mexico grieving over their loved ones’ deaths whether they appreciate their government’s receiving US weapons, weapons no border wall is intended to stop. And now Biden’s doing it to the people of Ukraine – as begun under the Obama and Trump administrations. No US president has ever had the guts to say no to US weapon exports. In fact, ever since the Nixon administration, an unofficial role of the US president has been to serve as salesman for the weapon industry.
Rather than statically clinging to this primitive toolbox that destroys rather than cures, that lowers rather than raises the noble, intelligent, caring, and joyful potential of human beings, the Paradigm for Peace model provides Three Facets of Solutions: the 1st Facet of mental tools of Human Development, the 2nd Facet of legal tools for Justice, and the 3rd Facet of physical tools for Physical Control.
These Three Facets help to prevent and stop violence by actually addressing the Roots of Violence and Escalators of Violence. Moreover, the primary intention of the Paradigm for Peace model is to engage in cooperative dialogue with others and to cooperatively fulfill others’ and our own variety of legitimate needs for life and safety; power and freedom; wealth, land, and possessions; values and identity; love, friendship, and worth; self-potential; and joyful tranquility. The goal is to fulfill these needs – not to threaten them, and not to hold them over people’s heads as a bribe or reward to make them jump on command.
The lesson droned into our heads is that WWII taught us not to appease. The Munich Conference, in which the Allied Powers gave Czechoslovakia’s Sudetenland to Hitler, was considered a giant mistake of appeasement. Yes, it was an enormous mistake. And note that the people of Czechoslovakia and the Sudetenland were not even given a voice in the matter. But there were numerous mistakes made. And if we lay out the Roots and Escalators of Violence of WWII Germany, we see that there were numerous 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Facet solutions that could have been taken to avoid the rise to power of Hitler’s violence.
Incidentally, mainstream media of America, had the German media investigated Hitler’s statements and his accusations against various groups and nations, they would have exposed many lies that could have helped the German people realize he was not the man of peace he claimed to be. It is a mistake and a sign of poor standards of research and investigation, when the media places too much trust in its own leadership.
With regard to this fear of appeasement, we must fully understand that satisfying a so-called enemy’s legitimate grievances is not appeasement: it is justice and it is caring. If US policymakers fail to listen to an enemy’s grievances and fail to address them in a positive way, they are not being strong, upright, solid-backboned non-appeasers. They are being unjust, uncaring, callous idiots.
They are also paving the way for violence. For if an enemy – whether it is a Mid-Eastern militant enraged by US policymakers’ financial and military support for a hostile, cruel tyrant who oppresses and impoverishes his people, or an Iranian leader encircled by a noose of US military bases, or a Russian leader facing ever-advancing NATO bases and cavalier US dismissal of his security treaty proposals – if these people’s non-violent protests and fears go unheard year after year, decade after decade, they’ll eventually feel compelled to resort to violence. Some have said that violence is the only language the US government understands, for US policymakers repeatedly play deaf to non-violent pleas and non-violent demands.
In this video, we focus on positive solutions and examine some of the major 1st Facet solutions that could significantly help the current Russia/US conflict over Ukraine. With these solutions, we use mental, emotional, and spiritual tools to develop our minds and hearts and the minds and hearts of those around us to be more capable of understanding, caring, love, friendship, intelligence, truthfulness, peace, and joy.
The 1st Facet, the development of our hearts and minds, the improvement of our relations with other beings and with truth itself, is the most significant yet the most neglected of the Three Facets. If we hope to evolve, if we hope to survive, we absolutely have got to put the 1st Facet on center stage where it belongs.
Kristin Christman has been independently researching US foreign policy and peace since 9/11. Her channel focuses on US-Russian relations at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuNEw9-10lk-CwU-5vAElcg. Kristin graduated summa cum laude from Dartmouth College with a BA in Russian, and she holds Master’s degrees in Slavic languages from Brown University and public administration from SUNY Albany. She is a contributing author to the peace anthology Bending the Arc: Striving for Peace and Justice in the Age of Endless War (2020), edited by Breyman, Amidon, and Aumand. Peace Review: A Journal of Social Justice recently published her article on suicide, culture, and peace in their special edition on suicide, Vol. 33 No. 4. [email protected]