The failed Western approach to terrorism is like painkillers which make you unable to feel the pain but do nothing to help your body recover or eliminate the source of pain.
Like painkillers, which are prescribed to patients to make them happy by making them unable to feel the pain, operations that “kill terrorists” are good propaganda to make the general public happy. But they not only always fail to eradicate terrorism, but also more likely than not increase terrorism.
If you can not understand why I am saying it is a Western approach and it is a failed approach, please study the difference between Western medicine and Chinese medicine. In Western medicine, if an organ in your body fails to function normally and causes pain and suffering, often times it is removed. In Chinese medicine, the goal is to make a failed organ get back to normal.
Trying to get something back to normal is not as easy as removing it all together. That is why people often throw away things that have malfunctioned rather than try to fix them. But for a body to function properly, organs should not be discarded so readily. For a society to function properly, people should not be purposely killed. Just like organs depend on each other to function, people depend on each other to live. You and me may not be directly affected by the removal of a person, some of that person’s relatives and friends and associates may.
First of all, I agree with Dallas Mayor’s assessment that Trump’s travel ban could help radicalize extremists. Whether or not there is any good reason for Trump to order such a ban is not as important as it is how the ban will be seen by the world. I am sorry to have dismissed political correctness. Political correctness is not unimportant in this case.
As to Trump’s motivation for this ban, I can only speculate. There could be a few reasons for Trump to have come up with this ban. There could be an innocent reason for the US to stop accepting refugees from Syria. I was once a refugee. So I know something about how things work for refugees. When conflicts end in the country where they come from, refugees are supposed to go back to their country if they have not resettled in another country. Whether refugees from Syria should still be sent to other countries to resettle there depends on whether conflicts have ended in Syria. Trump probably does not want to think that there are still conflicts in Syria. In reality, conflicts do not usually end so quickly. If Russia is still supporting the Assad regime, conflicts will still be there. Even after all foreign forces have left Syria, there could still be a civil war there. There will be peace there eventually. But probably not right now.
That being said, a lot of people, including myself, feel that Trump’s ban is motivated more by some people’s fear of, or worse, hatred for, Muslims. This is because Trump got into power partly by making promises to people who fear or hate Muslims that he will protect them. When government policies are made out of fear or hatred, they can not be reasonable. Why do some people have to be inconvenienced and disrespected? Human rights are not just for the majority. They are for everyone. If Trump does not want to be misunderstood, he should offer as much explanation for his decision as possible. By simply saying because the US has the need of finding extremists, some people have to be inconvenienced and disrespected, Trump is showing disrespect for these people. I can therefore tell that disrespect is the most important reason for Trump to come up with the ban. Of course, trying to keep his campaign promises, and by extension, keep his job, is another reason.
By the way, if stopping extremists from entering the United States is the reason for the ban, I can not understand why Iran is on the list of countries whose citizens are to be banned. I can only think of Iran being the enemy of Israel as the reason for her to be included.
This AP article by Gillian Wong “Killings by China anti-terror cops raise concerns” discusses the issue of how terrorism in Xinjiang has been handled by the Chinese government and how it should be handled to reduce terrorism, an issue which I have been very concerned with, in a very educated and constructive way. But it has been met with hostilities from both Chinese and American readers.
To agree with the author, one needs to be rather educated in human rights. The world’s methods of fighting terrorism are still so primitive that terrorism is only getting worse and worse. This article is pointing out why China is failing in her fight against terrorism. Learn from it and China can see a better future.
From the comment section, you can see that some people did not like this article also for the reason that there are similar problems with how the US government treats ethnic minorities in the US and how the US government handles terrorism in the US and abroad. I want to point out that this article is discussing a problem in China. It does not discuss anything about similar problems in the US or problems with US anti-terrorism policies. There are plenty of other articles discussing issues in the US and issues with the US government’s policies. Nobody says that problems are limited to China. If every time a problem in some place in the world is discussed, we reject the discussion on the basis that there are similar problems elsewhere, nothing will ever change and no problem will ever be solved.
By the way, since there are lots of comments from White Americans living in China criticizing the article, I think I should also point out that White Americans living in China can not speak on behalf of ethnic minorities in China. Han Chinese, who are the majority in China, look up to White Americans while looking down on most Chinese ethnic minorities including Uighurs, probably because White Americans are considered as more wealthy and powerful. After all, White Americans can leave China if they feel uncomfortable living there.
I heard that in some places in the world where the gap between the poor and the rich is very wide, the rich have to build walls around their houses, hire private guards, and spend a lot of money on security.
When I think of the reason why the United States have to spend more and more on security, I think of that phenomena. The world in which America has become the only super power, has become a place where the gap between the powerless and the powerful is so wide that America’s security has become a bigger and bigger issue.
So the key to America’s security is not hard stuff such as security cameras and personnels, but soft stuff such as foreign policies. Empowering people in other parts of the world more by stopping support of regimes that are not democratic and giving other countries more says in world affairs will help improve American security fundamentally. For example, stop supporting the Saudi Arabia royal family; stop interfering with OPEC countries’ rights to decide oil prices – let the market decide oil prices rather than overturning regimes that would not allow the increase of oil production that will result in lower oil prices.
It is a lesson from history that torture is counterproductive. The French tried to use torture to prevent themselves from losing their control over their colony Vietnam. However, the history of Vietnam’s war to gain independence from the French told me that their use of torture was counterproductive. Their torture of Vietnamese made them look cruel and desperate in the eyes of Vietnamese and drove more Vietnamese to fight against them.
There are at least two reasons why torture is counterproductive.
Firstly, for every person that is tortured or killed, there are many people who are their family members, relatives, friends, etc., who are enraged. So torture and killing create more enemies.
Secondly, for some people, the more we force them to do what we want them to do, the less likely they will do it. However, if we treat they with respect, they will cooperate. If what we try to achieve is noble, what we need to do is to convince them that what we want is not against their interests. Forcing them into doing something will make them suspicious as to what our intention is. This will drive them further away from us.
When people’s wills can not be reflected in a political system, politics often finds its way into religions. That is why we have Christian churches and Islamic mosques getting criticised for planting hate in people.
In fact, it is not that churches and mosques turn people radical. It is the other way around. People who can not get their voices heard in a political system often turn to religions. That is what turns churches and mosques political.
So when we see a religious entity turning political, we should try to find out if the people who attend that religious entity have some grievances that are not being addressed in their political system.
From this, I see an important reason to elect Obama. The fact that Black churches in America are radical should tell us that Blacks in America are not well represented in the American political system. Since Obama and Blacks have a very good relationship, as shown in the primary thus far, he can represent them well. As long as he can also represent Whites and other ethnic groups well, he will do a good job bringing Blacks into the political process and deradicalizing Black churches. Thwarting their wills will make them even more radical.
The role of religion should be to help people find faults in themselves so they will not get themselves into troubles because of their weaknesses. It should be the opposite of the role of politics, which is to help people fight for their rights assuming that they do not deserve what they have got. In short, religions are to help find faults in oneself, while politics is to help find faults in others.
On the race issues, Rev. Wright is clearly playing the role of a politician, not that of a pastor.
Many “religious leaders” make this mistake. That is why religions have been blamed for many conflicts in the world.
Religions can be a force for peace only if they are practiced properly, which is to emphasize the existence of weaknesses in people and help them overcome their weaknesses. Only when people realize that they share the blames in their problems can they help solve their problems. And only when all people recognize their contributions to a problem can a problem be solved. This is why Obama’s speech on race is historic. No any other politician has been able to see both sides of the race issue.
Politics aims to force parties to accept responsibilities. It often has to be backed by force. This is why we have wars. If religions can play a bigger role in solving conflicts, there will be more peace and less wars.
By the way, Rev. Wright’s opinion on terrorism is a self-reflection on our part and should not be attacked. However, though he helps the public understand the cause of terrorism, his message can be misinterpreted as an endorsement for terrorism. So it should have been delivered in a more meditative environment than in a passionate sermon.
It is not politically correct. But it is shared by many among Whites and Blacks alike. In political science, we say terrorism is the result of failed US foreign policies. Rev. Wright was just expressing this view point in a way that offends those who are very sensitive to any injury to the pride they have as American citizens.
Many of us know that US foreign policies are not perfect and are the cause of many problems in international relations. Same thing can be said about any nation or people. No nation or people are perfect. They all do something wrong and get themselves into troubles for what they have done. The only thing that can make a difference is to learn from mistakes. If we only get upset at what happens to us but do not try to learn from mistakes, we will be making the same mistakes and getting into the same troubles again and again.
What Al-Qaeda is waging is terrorism, not wars. Terrorism can not be tackled with military offensives. If Obama thinks that he can solve the problem of terrorism using military means, he is wrong.
The problem of terrorism is rooted in high unemployment rates in the countries that produce “terrorists”. To eliminate terrorism, we need to create an environment where there can be political stability in those countries. Then economic development in those countries will follow. I think Iran is setting a good example. We may not like its ideology and political system. But Iran is not producing “terrorists”. And it is not going to war with other countries. I think Obama is right to say that we should not give the Bush administration a false pretext to invade Iran.
The Iranian president may be saying things that we do not like to hear. But as long as he is not doing anything against international laws, there is no justification for us to go to war with Iran. Former Japanese Prime Minister used to do things that were extremely offensive to China. But China did not go to war with Japan in spite of that. Now that there is a new Japanese Prime Minister who does not do what the former Japanese Prime Minister did, China-Japan relation is getting a lot better.
International relations need to be handled with patience because wars are very costly, not only in terms of resources, but also, more importantly, in terms of human tolls. Some people seem to think that we can afford as many wars as we want. That is not true. Getting addicted to wars is like getting addicted to anything else. Most addictions ruin those who suffer from them.
I have once lived and worked in the Wall Street area for one year. My office building was next to The Bull. My apartment was just one block from Wall Street. During that year I went to the Border’s bookstore at World Trade Center often. And, after I moved out of Manhattan, I still came back to the World Trade Center area for business sometimes. In fact, I visited 1 World Trade Center one day in May 2001, just 4 months before 9.11, to see if I should rent office space from a friend in that tower. I still have the World Trade Center visitor card issued on that day with my picture taken by security in that tower.
So to me World Trade Center is not just a picture, or a name, or something remote or abstract. It is part of my memory. It is something intimate and personal.
But when the World Trade Center was hit, the same thought that Ward Churchill had came to my mind too. I also had the feeling that to some Americans, World Trade Center deserved it, even though I had never heard of anyone saying that. Neither had I got to know Ward Churchill or his work.
I think this was because World Trade Center had become the symbol of American capitalism, which was blamed for a lot of suffering at home and abroad.