When we talk about “Real Security through International Cooperation and the Funding of Human Needs” it is sometimes hard to understand what that means in terms of our daily lives.
On my way home I often pass a family saying hello and usually exchanging brief pleasantries. Normally, the father and sometimes the mother sit on the front stoop watching the baby play. Last night, however, as I rounded the corner something was very different. All the contents of their house had been dumped haphazardly onto the sidewalk; they were not sitting on the porch but rather on the street near their clothes. They had been “put out of their house.” They could not make the rent for this month and so this family of three (with a toddler) was homeless, sitting in the dark and cold with no place to go. They had left that morning for work and daycare with a small sense of security, only to arrive that night vulnerable and in genuine danger. How is it, in the richest democracy in the world, we can put a family out?
My neighborhood is known for gang activity. I myself, have witnessed 3 shootings; none of which, thankfully, resulted in death or injury; but they were scary. I can’t imagine being a toddler on the street hearing those booming noises echo only feet away from me. I have lots of Libertarian friends who don’t believe the government could solve these problems even if it did have a billion dollars. I might agree if we ever had a chance to test the theory. The money spent on militarism represents more than 70% of our Federal budget. The money for social programs is less than 5%. Where are our priorities? Why have we, for decades, chosen bombs over people?
Again, I turn to my Libertarian friends who claim the ONLY function of a Federal government is the protection of national boarders from foreign invaders. I would like to see a more comprehensive idea of ‘foreign invaders.’ I think hunger and frost bite should be counted among the terrorists affecting our world.
It strikes me that these terrorists are potently killing people all over the world on a daily basis – and U.S. investment in militarism only compounds the problem. I lived in Kosova for a time about a year ago. The people there are so grateful to the U.S. for ending the genocide perpetuated by Milosevic. They have a picture of Bill Clinton or Gen. Wesley Clark on nearly every street; including a giant mural on Bill Clinton bvld in downtown Prishtina. Of course there is another side to this gratitude. On Bill Clinton blvd there are still apartment buildings bombed out from U.S. strikes in 1999. People are still living in homes exposed to the elements with no water or electricity. The unemployment rate is staggering and the thousands of ‘missing’ are still unaccounted for. The political status of Kosova is still in flux between a Serbian territory and an independent state. Neither Europe nor the U.S. has invested enough money and time into the rebuilding of Kosova. We saved them from genocide and then condemned them to poverty through our inaction.
There is a similar story happening all over the world: in Ethiopia & Eutria; in Pakistan & Afghanistan; in Burma & S. Korea; in Sudan, in Sri Lanka, in Palestine, in Columbia, in Morocco, in every continent. Real security, internationally, means investing in the health and well being of all humans; knowing that persons whose security needs are met will never strap a bomb to their back and then board a train.
Terrorism, both the Islamic kind and the gang kind, can only be stopped by meeting our human needs as a global community. The U.S. is in a unique position to take leadership in this endeavor, and we have historically. Although now contentious, the IMF and World Bank served their original purpose after WWII. The funding provided by these international organizations rebuilt Europe after the devastation and renewed the historic cities to their former glory. We have lost the philanthropy which launched us into a global super power. Now we face our challenges with bombs and empty promises. Ours is a path of destruction and destitution. We must regain our conscious and expand our sense of community if we are ever to realize a peaceful world.