Dialogue Among Cultures: The Road To Peace
by Lyndon LaRouche
January 17, 2001
In This Article:
1. Religious Warfare in Modern History
2. The Global Strategic Crisis of Today
3. The Economics of a Doomed System
4. Economics, Politics, and Faith
People have too often excused their lack of initiative to change existing policies, by arguing that history often appears to repeat itself. In fact, in nearly every crisis, mankind has always had within it the potential, and the moral responsibility, to change the course of history for the betterment of the human condition. So it is at the present moment of grave international financial and other crises. Now, once again, we again face the challenge of changing our fate, by an appropriate act of the human will. Today, the nations still have time to choose, during a relatively short period of time now before us, not to repeat the presently looming threat of religious wars and dark ages which have spoiled the progress of mankind most greatly during past cycles of both medieval and modern history.
On this occasion, I have three leading points to submit. First, I wish to define the meaning of a dialogue among cultures, in a way which is perhaps unique, but I think necessary, among the proposals I have heard made on this subject, from around the world, so far. Second, I wish to emphasize the role of economic policy in defining the crucial, practical objectives of such a dialogue. Third, I wish to make clear the way in which certain powerful Anglo-American interests, such as Zbigniew Brzezinski's Samuel P. Huntington, and others, intend to foment religious warfare, as a way of preventing a dialogue among cultures from occurring. I shall begin by focussing upon the continuing part played by the willful instigation of religious warfare in modern European history.
1. Religious Warfare in Modern History
To situate the present discussion, consider but a few of those cycles of religious and related forms of warfare, which we should study as lessons from nearby past history, lessons to be applied to that deadly combination of growing potential for such warfare, in a strategic situation, today, which is otherwise defined by a presently onrushing general financial collapse confronting every part of the world. My attention is focussed upon the willful orchestration of religious warfare, when used by great powers as a strategic weapon of conflict.
For example, for nearly a century and a half, from the 1511 victory of Venice over the League of Cambrai, until the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia, Europe was dominated by religious warfare. The Thirty Years War of 1618-1648, which produced the conditions of a new dark age in Central Europe, as during the earlier war of the Hapsburgs against the Netherlands, typified the entire period from about the A.D. 1511 formation of the so-called Holy League, until the 1648 Peace of Westphalia.
These religious wars of the 1511-1648 interval, had been organized by the same Venice which had dominated the Mediterranean as an imperial maritime power, since what was called the Fourth Crusade (A.D. 1202-1204), through which Venice conquered and looted Byzantium. It was this same Venice, with its Norman allies, which, earlier, had organized the warfare and other ruin which brought about a great collapse of European civilization during the period from about A.D. 1239 through the so-called New Dark Age of the middle of the following century.
This same Venice continued that role, even after the Westphalia peace, for as long as it continued its position, as a leading, if fading imperial maritime power, until near the close of the Seventeenth Century. In its post-1511 counterattack on the great reforms introduced under the Fifteenth-Century Renaissance, Venice had not only orchestrated, but, to a large degree, created these warring religious factions of the 1511-1648 interval, most of which factions consisted of duped fools who were nominally Christian. By means of these Venice-directed religious conflicts, Venice managed to put those emerging sovereign nation-states of Europe, such as France, England, and the German states, which had been allied against Venice prior to A.D. 1511, at one another's throats.
Even during that 1511-1648 interval, there was some continuation of that splendid legacy of progress in art, science, and statecraft, which had been introduced by the Italy-centered, Fifteenth-Century Renaissance. But, nonetheless, Europe as a whole was plunged into what some historians have correctly described as a "little new dark age," only less terrible than the earlier New Dark Age of Europe's Fourteenth Century. It was only through the peace secured by the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia, that a somewhat civilized degree of progress and stability was achieved in Europe. The general progress in European economy and political institutions, continued during the often war-torn two and a half centuries following that 1648 treaty, until a turning-point was reached, as a result of the 1901 assassination of U.S. President William McKinley.
It was that assassination of McKinley, which was conducted in the strategic interest of Britain's King Edward VII, which set into motion an alliance between the British monarchy and its former foe, the United States, which unleashed all of the great wars and related conflicts which dominated most of the Twentieth Century, up to the present time.
It is important to recognize, that the orchestration of military and kindred forms of strategic conflict, during the entirety of the period following World War I, and until the collapse of the Soviet system during 1989-1991, were organized in the form of religious warfare, largely around the theme of that "crusade against communism" of which Hitler's Nazi regime had been a product and part.
Notably, in all three of these cited cases, that leading into the New Dark Age of the Fourteenth Century, the "little new dark age" of 1511-1648, and the great wars of the Anglo-American Twentieth Century, these financier-oligarchical factions which dominate the ruling financier circles of the Anglo-American alliance of today, were always products of a specific imperial factor of influence. Contrary to the generally accepted mythologies, these wars were not rooted in conflicts in national interests of nations as nations, but were essentially ideological conflicts, either as religious wars, or ideological conflicts, such as the anti-communist crusades, which were of the same character as religious wars.
During the Thirteenth through Seventeenth Centuries, for example, Venice, as an imperial maritime and financier-oligarchical power, was the determining influence. In every case, the war was either orchestrated by Venice itself, or by a form of financier-oligarchical interest which had been built up according to the Venice model.
In later times, it has been the Anglo-Dutch financial-oligarchical interest, which is the model imitated by the rentier-financier interests of Wall Street today. These Anglo-Dutch interests, as typified by the Dutch and British East India Companies, were created, during the course of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries by Venice's powerful financier oligarchy, and modelled themselves, as merchant-banking maritime powers, upon the Venice which had, in fact, authored what became the Dutch and British financier oligarchy of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth cenTuries. Indeed, since the last decades of the Sixteenth Century and early decades of the Seventeenth, it was Paolo Sarpi, then the lord of Venice, who created that empiricist ideology of Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Bernard Mandeville, and Adam Smith, the ideology which, as Henry Kissinger emphasized in his May 10, 1982 Chatham House keynote, is the empiricist way of thinking which shapes the characteristic mind-set and global behavior of the Anglo-American financier oligarchy, and Kissinger himself, still today.
Still, today, the same legacies of religious warfare from the past are actively promoted, as so-called geopolitical conflicts against China and others, by the financier-oligarchy's New York Council on Foreign Relations.
Today, the same use of orchestrated religious warfare, as organized by Venice over the interval from the Fourth Crusade through 1648, has been unleashed again, in the aftermath of the 1989-1991 collapse of the Soviet system. The world as a whole is now hovering at the brink of a threatened, planet-wide new dark age. The outbreak of religious warfare, under these circumstances of global economic crisis, could ensure that the threatened dark age becomes a reality.
Since the Fifteenth-Century introduction of a new form of society, the modern form of sovereign nation-state, and, especially since the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia, the old cyclical pattern has taken on a significantly modified form. In this form, it is the cycles of recurring economic crisis which supply a critical element of impulse and timing, for the modern cycles of religious warfare and kindred conflicts.
Look at the present threat of such religious warfare, and of related kinds of ideological warfare, from the standpoint of what the world as a whole should have learned from Europe's experience of 1511-1648. Let us examine this history with that patient consideration implied in the famous remarks of one notable Harvard Professor Santayana, that those who fail to learn from the history I have just referenced, are therefore condemned to repeat it.
2. The Global Strategic Crisis of Today
To understand the specific qualities of the past decade of unfolding world history, we must focus on axiomatic changes in the correlation of political and economic power which developed during and since the 1989-1991 collapse of the Soviet Union as a leading strategic force.
Beginning 1990, the forces represented by Britain's Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, France's President François Mitterrand, and the U.S.A.'s President George Bush, Sr., orchestrated an armed conflict between Iraq and Kuwait, which was then used, as a pretext, for unleashing a war against Iraq, which has, in fact, been continued up to the present moment.
The launching of this London-directed war against Iraq, was immediately followed by the unleashing of a series of new Balkan wars, launched under the direction of those British and French interests which had controlled Balkan politics since the post-Versailles Trianon treaty. That Balkan war has been continued, like the Thirty Years War of 1616-1648, and also the Balkan wars preceding World War I, in an evolving form, up to the present moment.
During the same recent period, through the present moment, there has been an orchestrated effort to drown much of Europe in what Zbigniew Brzezinski's associate, Professor Samuel P. Huntington, has proposed should be fostered to become a "Clash of Civilizations," a term which, the Professor has indicated, signifies the intent to manage the politics of nations throughout our planet, by provoking a great conflagration, in the general form of religious warfare, pivotted upon the inciting of a more or less interminable and bloody conflict between Islam and the West.
Professor Huntington's and his associates' proposal, for a nearly planet-wide religious conflict of European civilization against the Islamic world, has been intended as a detonator for this new wave of religious warfare, and has been the setting into motion of the already existing explosive charge of three generations of bloody Arab-Israeli conflict.
At this moment, the intent is to deploy the lunatic types of U.S. Protestant fundamentalists, such as President-elect George Bush's nominee John Ashcroft, closely associated with the incoming U.S. Bush Administration, to foster an atrocity against the sacred Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, for the purpose of detonating the potential for a new Israeli-Arab war. This war is intended, not only to continue the destruction of Arab states such as Syria and Iraq, but to engage Iran, too, as a target of Israeli attacks, and thus spread the warfare through regions of the world associated with Muslim populations and their neighbors.
We see the same thrust expressed in the fomenting of religious and related strife, organized by the former Anglo-Dutch and Portuguese colonial powers, within Indonesia, and in the hateful targetting of Malaysia by such persons as U.S. Vice-President Al Gore and Gore's accomplice, the avowedly fanatical follower of H.G. Wells, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. We see the intent of certain Anglo-American interests, to ignite new waves of communalist warfare in the sub-continent of Asia.
Like the religious wars orchestrated by the imperial maritime power of Venice, during the 1511-1648 interval, the threat of widespread religious warfare today, also has a readily defined architecture, as this is merely typified by the close personal, extended family relationship, across Party lines, of Samuel P. Huntington associate Zbigniew Brzezinski to Mrs. Albright, her father Josef Korbel, and Korbel's protégé, U.S. President-elect Bush's advisor, Condoleezza Rice.
Ironically, but not accidentally, the motives for Venice's orchestration of the 1511-1648 religious warfare, and the motives of Brzezinski, Huntington, and others, for seeking to unleash a so-called "Clash of Civilizations" today, are essentially the same.
Then, in 1511-1648, Venice's motive was to destroy that process of establishing modern forms of sovereign nation-states, such as those which had been founded by France's Louis XI and England's Henry VII. In this, the Venice-directed Holy League and its sequels nearly succeeded. It was the Treaty of Westphalia, which rescued the modern form of sovereign nation-state from the same fate as Europe of the Fourteenth-Century New Dark Age. It was the establishment of international law by the Treaty of Westphalia, which permitted the institution of the modern nation-state to emerge as the characteristic institution of modern European civilization.
Today, the form of that conflict is somewhat different; many of the names have changed; but the pattern is essentially the same. Today, the orchestrated ideological form of global conflict, is a conflict with the imperial interest of the Five English-Speaking Powers, an interest stated in such purely ideological language as "globalization" and "rule of law," symbolic terms which express a revival of the notions of empire and law associated with pagan Rome, terms which express a religious quality of hateful opposition to the principle of the sovereign nation-state.
The ruin of Soviet power, during 1989-1991, encouraged the powers associated then with Britain's Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, France's President François Mitterrand, and the U.S.A.'s President George Bush, to declare those five English-speaking powers, the Queen of England's United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, and the U.S.A., as an Anglo-American world-government in fact and force.
Thus, under the latter reign of the 1989-2000 period, not only have measures been taken to destroy the legal basis for the sovereign form of nation-state, but the economic basis as well. Policies of "free trade" and "globalization," combined with the curious use of the name of "democracy" by Brzezinski's Huntington, represent the effort to establish a style of world-wide imperial rule modelled not only upon the "geopolitical maritime" model of medieval and modern Venice, but also upon the precedent of ancient pagan Rome, a neo-Roman form of imperialism based upon what some have called, euphemistically, "the rule of law," more honestly described as "the imperial rule of Roman law."
The Anglo-American impulse behind this development of 1989-1991, did not begin at the close of the 1980s; exactly such goals had been the goal of the British monarchy since the 1901 assassination of U.S. President McKinley, an assassination which brought financier interests associated with the former slave-holding Confederacy and Wall Street finance into a close alliance with imperial Britain. This was, for example, the repeatedly declared intent of the principal author of the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Bertrand Russell, the intent to compel nations to dissolve their sovereignties in favor of a Roman-style, imperial form of world government.
The connection to 1511-1648, goes even deeper than such leading particular sets of facts of modern European history. Imperial Venice was a form of power based upon a financier oligarchy which spread its tentacles throughout the trade, finance, and politics of all Europe. The Anglo-American interest represented by the would-be imperial Thatcher-Mitterrand-Bush cabal of 1989-1991, and by the matching U.S. Thornburgh doctrine, represents the same kind of special oligarchical interest.
Thus, today, once again, the peace and stability of our planet is threatened, by the unleashing of those kinds of orchestrated religious warfare, which are the most difficult kinds of war to bring to an end, and the most likely to bring a new dark age upon either some large area of our planet, or, even, the planet as a whole. So, it is urgent that we, today, learn certain valuable lessons from the recent eight centuries of today's now globally extended European civilization; it is important to recognize points of historical coincidence between what was achieved by the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia, and what has been lately proposed, as by such leading figures as the President of Iran, as a dialogue among cultures.
3. The Economics of a Doomed System
Although the use of religious warfare as a strategic weapon is very ancient, the Twentieth-Century cycle has crucial features which make the present world economic crisis qualitatively different than any other crisis of the preceding two centuries of the history of today's globally extended form of modern European culture.
During the Twentieth Century, until about 1966-1971, the overall trend in economic development was for an increase in the average productive powers of labor, and for improvements in demographic characteristics of the population of Europe and the Americas, in particular. Beginning about thirty-five years ago, beginning during the 1966-1968 Presidential campaign of Richard Nixon, there was an orchestrated resurgence, within my U.S.A., of the pro-racist forms of allied, so-called "Christian fundamentalist" and what Israel's David Ben-Gurion had once condemned as pro-fascist, "right-wing Zionist" beliefs, which, taken together, are the chief mass-based expressions of ideological impulses behind the Southern Strategy factions in the Republican Party, as introduced under President Jimmy Carter, to the Democratic Party, too. Under the influence of this ideological influence on U.S. policy-shaping, the demographic characteristics of the Americas and Europe have been moving, by intention, along a downward course.
Typical of this downward trend, has been the spread and intensification of pro-Malthusian policies, and the systemic destruction of the economies of those and other regions of the world under those influences. Once the Soviet system ceased to be a strategic rival of the trans-Atlantic power, the governments of those powers moved, immediately, to bring about a general destruction of those institutions of basic-economic infrastructure, agriculture, and industry, upon which the strength and security of nations had depended up to that time. This savage destruction of the former "full-set economic potentials" of national economies, unleashed with full force, globally, during the recent decade, represents an acceleration of economically suicidal trends in the same direction launched within the U.S.A., and elsewhere, in the aftermath of both the assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy, and President Lyndon Johnson's sponsorship of two civil-rights laws whose enactment enraged the traditional racist currents within the U.S.A.
This coincidence between the rise of pro-racist policies in the leadership of both the Republican and Democratic parties of the U.S.A., and the promotion of so-called neo-Malthusian, and also racialist policies for economy and population-control, was never accidental. This connection is best understood from inspection of the relevant internal history of the U.S. itself. This connection exposes the crucial problem which must be overcome, if we are to enjoy the cooperation and other benefits to be sought through a dialogue among cultures.
The institution of chattel slavery, as practiced in the U.S.A. upon persons designated as of African descent, is much more than an obvious crime against the victims of such inhumanity. Such practice of slavery, as upheld by the authors of the treasonous conspiracy known as the Confederate States of America, expresses a conception of mankind which is intrinsically contrary to the conception of man under the Mosaic doctrine common to Christianity, and Islam. The forces which have seized a dominant position in the political parties of the U.S.A. since Nixon's 1966 launching of the Republican Party's Southern Strategy, are premised upon the Confederacy's perverted and degenerate conception of the nature of man. Many of the supporters of that neo-Confederate political outlook, such as the popular base of the Bush Republicans such as President-elect Bush's nominee John Ashcroft, and the Gore Democrats, profess themselves to be Christians; obviously, they are not.
Not only are such neo-Confederate cultural outlooks intrinsically racist, and therefore anti-Christian and anti-Islam. The political and economic policies of those pro-racist currents are fully congruent with their pro-bestial, virtually satanic misconception of the nature and rights of the human individual personality.
On this account, the issues of economy and dialogue of cultures, become immediately one and the same.
The modern form of European civilization, the form known as the sovereign nation-state republic, derived its conception of economy and politics from a long struggle in Europe to establish forms of nation and economy which are consistent with Christian civilization's conception of the essential nature of man, as a creature made in the image of the Creator.
Thus, the revolutionary, modern form of European sovereign nation-state, as first defined during the Fifteenth-Century Renaissance, was premised on the notion that government has no moral authority under law, except as that government is efficiently committed to the promotion of the general welfare of both all of the living and their posterity. In other words, earlier forms of society, in which some men treated the majority of humanity as virtually human cattle, were to be outlawed. Society must be constituted, as obliged by its highest law, natural law, to express and protect that quality of the individual person which coheres with the notion of man as made in the image of the Creator.
Thus, the modern sovereign form of nation-state, as expressed by the U.S. 1776 Declaration of Independence, like the policies which informed Louis XI's France and Henry VII's England during the late Fifteenth Century, emphasizes the fostering of those creative powers of scientific and other discovery, by means of which each person may be enabled to participate in and contribute to the progress of the human condition from one generation to the next. As this policy was set forth by Nicholas of Cusa, during the Fifteenth Century, this requires that we adopt as an objective an ecumenical fraternity among sovereign nations, such that each is pledged to promote the common good for its own people, and to cooperate in a community of principle among nations, to promote the common good of them all.
In contrast to this, today's U.S. ideological followers of the Confederacy's tradition, insist on placing the "free trade" interest, and that of so-called "shareholder value," not only above human values, but even as opposed to human values. They not only oppose, but denounce that principled dedication to the general welfare, which is the highest constitutional law of the U.S. republic.
In the history of progress within modern European civilization, the building-up of the means for scientific and technological gains in the productive powers, and conditions of life, of labor in general, was expressed in large-scale promotion of basic economic infrastructure, chiefly by government, and the fostering of credit to assist farmers, industrial entrepreneurs, and others, in prospering in those activities which represented a contribution to progress in the general welfare of the society as a whole.
The economic forces associated with such progress, include progressive individual farmers, entrepreneurs, technologically progressive forces of industrial labor, and the scientific and other professions essential to fostering such progress.
The 1966-2000 attempt of the neo-Confederacy forces to re-establish and consolidate the traditions of the slaveholders' Confederacy, has been expressed in a rabid effort to eliminate the political power of those combined, agricultural, industrial, and professional forces in society, on which support for the principle of the general welfare depended. Thus, the lower eighty percent of the family-income brackets of the U.S.A., which commanded the overwhelming majority of the total national income in 1977, when Jimmy Carter become President, have been reduced, by Carter's and other policies, to far less than half the total today [see Figure 1].
Thus, in the U.S.A., Europe, and elsewhere, since the mid-1960s, we have witnessed a malicious and increasingly savage commitment to the destruction of those elements of infrastructure, agriculture, industry, and relevant learned professions, on which the successes of pre-1966 economy depended, in the U.S.A., Europe, and elsewhere.
Because of the extensive destruction of those elements of national and world economy, on which the pre-1966 recovery of the U.S. and European economies depended absolutely, we have reached the year 2001 in a global condition far worse than that of the 1929-1931 financial collapse. The successes of the neo-Confederacy and like-minded forces of neo-Malthusianism, globalization, and related utopianism, have destroyed the sub-structure of the world's economy to such a degree, that the economic crisis now gripping the world, is no mere business-cycle or similar crisis; this planet, for the first in modern history, now faces a general economic-breakdown crisis.
This consideration points out the crucial role a dialogue among cultures must play in preventing the plunge of the entire planet into a global form of new dark age for all humanity.
4. Economics, Politics, and Faith
The possibility of avoiding such a new dark age, requires a great degree of emphasis upon the economic side of the discussion. Economics, if properly defined, as physical economy, rather than price-accounting, was created as an expression of that conception of the nature of man as a creature made in the image of God, to exert dominion over all other things. This notion of physical economy, provides the foundation upon which various cultures' agreement in practice must be premised.
Economics as a scientific practice of statecraft, was first developed during Europe's Fifteenth Century. This occurred as a by-product of a then new, revolutionary design in statecraft, a design upon which the continuation of the institution of the modern form of sovereign nation-state depends absolutely.
Before that Fifteenth-Century reform, the population existed for the pleasure, comfort, and power of a ruling oligarchy and its lackeys. This was the kind of oligarchical society defended by the reactionary Dr. Quesnay's doctrine of laissez-faire. It was the introduction of the principle, that the moral legitimacy of government depends upon its efficient commitment to promote the improvement of the general welfare of the entire population and its posterity, which was the act of birth of political-economy, with the emergence of such pioneering new forms of government under France's Louis XI and England's Henry VII.
Within that context, the core of the basis for the kind of strategic dialogue of cultures needed today, is therefore to be found in that conception of the nature of the human individual which is common to the Mosaic tradition of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam: the conception that each person is made in the likeness of the Creator, and thus endowed with certain innate powers not to be found among the beasts. This is especially true of Christianity and Islam, which have been both characteristically missionary cultures, reaching out to all mankind with this common message, that the individual person is made in the image of the Creator and endowed with powers like those flowing from the Creator Himself.
In particular, for the case of today's globally extended modern European civilization, all of the notable successes, which had been more or less peculiar to the rise of modern European civilization since the Fifteenth-Century Renaissance, have been the fruit of basing the notion of modern sovereign form of nation-state upon that conception of the universal nature of the human individual, as a creature made in the image of the Creator, and having the obligations and rights of one bearing that nature.
Thus, this notion of the nature of man is historically characteristic of the modern development of Europe, the Americas, Africa, and the Islamic world generally. In some influential cultures from other parts of the world, this notion of man is not accepted axiomatically, even though there may be sympathy for it, in practice if not necessarily in traditional beliefs.
In those broad terms, such are the conditions of belief around which an efficient form of dialogue of cultures is to be organized. I propose that the following steps are the most essential ones.
First, those of us, who embrace the notion of the nature of the individual person as made, from inception, in the likeness of the Creator of the universe, must establish an ecumenical fraternity among ourselves on the premise of this specific conception of the nature of the person. Through our unanimity on this strictly defined, limited point of ecumenical agreement, we must reach out in dialogue with others, to win them to understanding of certain notions of what may be called "natural law," upon which all nations and peoples might premise a suitable fraternity.
Second, we must persuade those who may require such persuasion, that it ought to be the common principle, both within states, and among the members of a community of nations, that government has no legitimate moral authority under rule of natural law, except as it is efficiently committed to promote the general welfare of the entire population and its posterity. This definition of general welfare, sometimes called the common good, must be in accord with the given nature of the human individuality.
Third, from this conception of the common good, we must derive a self-governing sense of mission. It is not sufficient to agree to words on paper. Intention must be expressed in positive action; intention is no more sincere than the commitment to a sense of mission which makes professed intentions real ones. There are grave injustices rampant in the world today, not only those injustices imposed by willful cruelties, but injustices which are the fruit of negligence.
On this third account, the most crucial moral test by which the good will of any nation is to be assessed, is that nation's view of the generally worsening conditions imposed, or otherwise induced within the continent of Africa, sub-Saharan Africa most emphatically.
It is notable, that U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt, confronted Britain's Prime Minister Winston Churchill on this matter of Africa, during their celebrated war-time confrontation at Casablanca. Roosevelt presented there a rather detailed picture of the large-scale infrastructure-building and related measures to be taken with U.S. support during the post-war period. Roosevelt also warned Churchill that, at the close of the war, the power of the U.S.A. would bring to an end the relics of the colonial and imperial rule by Portuguese, Dutch, British, and French interests, over colonized and semi-colonized parts of the world. Unfortunately, as soon as Roosevelt's premature death had occurred, his successors in power took the side of Churchill against Roosevelt's intentions.
Now, the preceding background so outlined, I come to the meat of the matter.
I propose, that all of the essential features of a relevant form of policy-discussion among cultures can be derived from examining what ought to be considered the shared ecumenical principles among Christianity, Islam, and the Mosaic principle, that all men and women are made equally in the image of the Creator, and endowed with those powers by means of which mankind should exert dominion over other forms of life and non-life alike. When I use the term "natural law," I mean that, as it is also incorporated in the 1776 U.S. Declaration of Independence. If we accept this definition of the individual person's nature as the basis for the universal natural law, by which mankind must govern itself, all of the essential axioms of cooperation among those cultures are implicitly provided.
In that case, if we, sharing such ecumenical commonality, agree, then we must also reach out to our brothers and sisters in cultures which do not necessarily adopt the conception of man shared among the heirs of the Mosaic tradition. We must establish a form of ecumenical comprehension between ourselves and those brothers and sisters.
In considering such a course of action, we should be forewarned by the lessons of the way in which the enemy has utilized the weapons of religious and kindred warfare repeatedly, in the past. Only, as the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia approximates this lesson for the modern European experience, if we are sufficiently committed to a common principle as the fundamental political interest of each of us, in common, as a mission expressed in practice, will we be able to defeat those forces of evil merely typified by the case of Samuel P. Huntington today.
We must also be advised, that commitment to mere letter of ecumenical agreement, is not sufficient. We must give substance to agreement through forms of common practice, which are coherent with that agreement in principle.
What that sense of mission must be, is shown to us, in the simplest way, by considering the span of development of the newborn individual to the point it has become a matured adult. The lessons of economic history show us, that just as the biological maturation of a newborn person requires a period of development spanning about a quarter of a century, so the practical goals which should unite us must be expressed in terms of the benefits our generation will contribute to the role to be played by the children and adolescents of today. I mean, we must concretize our agreements on grounds of moral principle, in terms of those great works to be undertaken over a period of up to twenty-five years, more or less.
Such works are, typically efforts in building-up the essential basic economic infrastructure, on which the future of productive economy depends. This means large-scale development of systems of transportation, water management and sanitation, and power-generation and distribution. It also means the development of the systems of education, public health, and health-care on which the productivity and longevity of the population depends.
On this account, what we do, or fail to do for Africa as a whole, has a special quality of significance for humanity as a whole. There are, of course, great and urgent large-scale developments of the basic economic infrastructure of Eurasia, as there are similar challenges to be made in the Americas as a whole. However, to leave Africa to its own internal resources, would be a crime which would stain the conscience of the world. What we do for Africa, will be an emblem of our conscience, a mission whose success will attest to the fact that we, of all parts of this planet, have become truly human, at last: truly human in our conception of the universality of human nature.
In conclusion, our goals should be chiefly three. First, we must define that ecumenical conception of man, avoiding conflict respecting other matters of religious beliefs, man as made in the image of the Creator of the universe, from which all notions of rational law are rightly derived.
Second, we must establish a secular agreement of principle among a newly defined community of perfectly sovereign nation-states.
These two policies must be expressed by a third, a commitment to broadly defined physical-economic and related missions, of not less than a quarter-century's span. These missions are of three general types. The first is typified by those kinds of great infrastructure developments on which depends the ability of peoples to develop their nation's land-areas as a whole. The second, typified by education and public health programs, is the development of the potential productivities that their populations as a whole, requires. The third, is the commitment to selected common goals of fundamental scientific and technological progress, to which all peoples shall have the equal right to access.
Such an understanding of the nature of man, matched by such a commitment to a mission for practice, is the foundation upon which a successful dialogue among cultures depends.