Friday, May 12, 2006

What Message Are We Trying to Send?

My soon to be 10-year-old daughter LOVES the Colbert Report. She will pretend to go to bed at 20:00 to get her little brother to go to bed, then at 20:30 she runs downstairs and changes the channel to Comedy Central. Yes, some of the themes and language are a little mature for her, but I think the overall message being relayed is worth the exposure.

Generally, while all of this is going on, I am at my computer going clickety clack. Tonight was an exception. Papa Bear and I were enjoying a leisurely after dinner discussion, when down the stairs ran our daughter. She turned on the TV just catching the last ten minutes of the Colbert Report. The last segment was an interview with Madeleine Albright promoting her new book The Mighty and the Almighty.

The publisher summary at states:

Does America have a special mission, derived from God, to bring liberty and democracy to the world? How much influence does the Christian right have over U.S. foreign policy. And how should America deal with violent Islamist extremists? Madeleine Albright, the former Secretary of State and best-selling author of Madam Secretary, offers a thoughtful and often surprising look at the role of religion in shaping America's approach to the world.

In The Mighty and the Almighty, Madeleine Albright examines the profound impact of religion on America's view of itself, the effect on U.S. policy of the rise of the Christian right, the Bush administration's successes and failures in responding to 9/11, the challenges posed by the war in Iraq, and the importance of understanding Islam. She offers a balanced but, when necessary, devastating analysis of U.S. strategy, and condemns those of all faiths who exploit religious fervor to create divisions or enhance their own power.

In this illuminating account, Albright argues that, to be effective, U.S. policy makers must understand the power and place of religion in motivating others and in coloring how American actions are perceived. Defying the conventional wisdom, she suggests not only that religion and politics are inseparable, but that their partnership, when properly harnessed, can be a force for justice and peace.

©2006 Madeleine Albright; (P)2006 HarperCollinsPublishers

What I inferred from the interview with Stephen Colbert, this former Secretary of State points out that though she believes in God and democracy, but such personal preferences should not interfere with diplomacy. She has no problem saying that she is on God's side, but to justify any national action taken with God being on our side is crossing the line. Madeleine Albright believes that our need to force democracy down the throats of other countries is an oxymoron. To say that we have a divine right as a country to impose our beliefs and our brand of democracy without regard to other religious perspectives in the world is typical of our political past, but that does not mean it should be so.

She concludes with reference to U.S. goals for the future of Iraq. Supposedly, one of our goals is to make Iraq a poster child for democracy. As it stands now, no country in the world wants to look like Iraq. Unintentionally, we have managed to send the wrong message to other countries. The message is that if you do not have nuclear weapons, you will be invaded. If you do have nuclear technology - as is the case with North Korea and Iran - then you will not be invaded. Russia and China have been in on this realization for years.

I do not think this was our intent, but can anyone argue the result differently?


Paul said...

I sincerely doubt if any mMiddle East nation will EVER be a poster child for democracy. -

Consul-At-Arms said...

I saw the same interview the other night myself, it was my first time watching the Colber' Repor'.

Thanks for the blog-list, by the way. I've posted a link to you here: