The Least, First

Monte Asbury's blog

Rogue nations: perhaps not those that come to mind

with 7 comments

Some nations almost rhyme with “trouble.” You see them in a headline, you groan.

Which ones? Which nations are the world’s troublemakers?

BBC PollBBC World Service commissioned a poll that spoke with 28,000 people in 27 different countries, asking them whether 12 nations and the EU had “primarily positive” or “primarily negative” influence in the world. At left are the results.

Canada, Japan, the EU, France: half or better of the world’s people see these nations’ impact on world events as mainly positive. Doors must be opening to them.

But check out the other end of the scale.

These nations are seen as most negative in world influence:

1. Israel, 56%

2. Iran, 54%

3. USA, 51%

Several thoughts come to this American mind:

1. It matters. It’s more than “just a poll.” Consider, for instance, the possibility that anti-US candidates for public office around the world may find it easier to move into positions of power.

2. America’s most expensive and influential ally is, according to most, the most troublesome nation on earth. Perhaps it is long past time for the US to insist that Israel abide by international law as a condition of aid of such magnitude.

3. Neo-conservatism’s “we’ll do what we think best no matter who agrees with us” must be dismissed as too costly. Neo-conservatism’s core is the insistence that the US alone must remain, at all costs, the sole world super-power. As a follower of Jesus Christ, I find that view antithetical to my values. I want a US that is a neighbor to the world, that leads by admirable example. Clearly, the world is finding little to admire in US behavior.

4. Here’s an example of how profoundly worried the world is about the US: Which has a more negative effect on world events, North Korea or the USA? Most of the world sees the USA as a worse problem than North Korea. And worse than China. And than Russia.

5. The limits of military power are, once again, painfully evident. Will we ever believe it? The very idea that America’s enemies can be forced into submission needs a thorough re-examination. This nation, which spends more on military readiness that the rest of the world combined, which spends half of every tax dollar on its military (while begging for more), needs to question whether military dominance has contributed to national security or has, in fact, robbed us of it.  Much of the world grasps for arms because it does not trust America.

America could be an asset to the world and an honor to its citizens. But it will take a radical revision of common assumptions about the relationships that connect national security, world influence and world cooperation.

Trouble-making hasn’t worked.

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Written by Monte

April 11, 2007 at 1:38 pm

7 Responses

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  1. No, though that’s beautiful, too. I’ll type it out. I don’t think he’d mind. (It’s rather my credo, but shhh…don’t tell my fellow atheists.)

    Flight of Swans

    One who sees giant Orion, the torches of winter midnight,
    Enormously walking above the ocean in the west of heaven;
    And watches the track of this age of time at its peak of flight
    Waver like a spent rocket, wavering toward new discoveries,
    Mortal examinations of darkness, soundings of depth;
    And watches the long coast mountain vibrate from bronze to green,
    Bronze to green, year after year, and all the streams
    Dry and flooded, dry and flooded, in the racing seasons;
    And knows that exactly this and not another is the world,
    The ideal is phantoms for bait, the spirit is a flicker on a grave;–
    May serve, with a certain detachment, the fugitive human race,
    Or his own people, or his own household; but hardly himself;
    And will not wind himself into hopes nor sicken with despairs.
    He has found the peace and adored the God; he handles in autumn
    The germs of far-future spring.

    Sad sons of the stormy fall,
    No escape, you have to inflict and endure: surely it is time for you
    To learn to touch the diamond within to the diamond outside,
    Thinning your humanity a little between the invulnerable diamonds,
    Knowing that your angry choices and hopes and terrors are in vain,
    But life and death not in vain; and the world is like a flight of swans.


    April 18, 2007 at 12:42 pm

  2. Do you mean, perhaps, Love the Wild Swan?
    I am smitten.


    April 18, 2007 at 12:19 pm

  3. I’ll find it – thank you for the tip!


    April 12, 2007 at 11:46 am

  4. For you, I’d suggest Robinson Jeffers. His poem “The Flight of Swans” is my all-time favorite.


    April 12, 2007 at 11:41 am

  5. Good poetry is.

    I’m afraid that’s about as rare as good music.


    April 12, 2007 at 11:41 am

  6. HP: I think I see in your response the sorrow that I feel, that rather few seem to understand. Perhaps it is the burden and blessing of your poet heart.

    Did I ever tell you that I began adult life as a classical musician? While sinking deeply into, say, performing the Mahler 2nd Symphony, one could sense the agony and beauty of the world. Time stood still. It was as if we could perceive reality in a way that logic alone could not display. As if the act of art somehow took our blinders off, and let us see what all of us really knew, deep down.

    I am not widely experienced in poetry, but I suspect it is something like that.


    April 12, 2007 at 9:07 am

  7. Excellent post, Monte.

    I wonder how many generations are going to have to pay, in so many ways, for what this one has done.


    April 11, 2007 at 3:24 pm

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