We can only win – in the long run – by setting a better example. We cannot aim to play the game the enemy is playing, we cannot criticize or condemn criminal behavior and then behave the same way, or in a way that can be seen the same whether we like it or not. If we cannot – in the Kantian sense – make the way we live an example for others, then we cannot expect others to follow our lead.
Peace brings peace, war brings war. It’s not that easy, sadly, as sometimes the wrong peace can allow for war, and the right war can create peace. Nothing is quite easy. Pacifism is not always the answer.
Yet it is how we do things that matters. How war is declared, waged, and ended, that’s the key. How peace is waged matters just as much.
If we are seeing ourselves on the side of reason and truth and justice and the best possible way forward for all of humanity, then we need to live these standards in the ways we are doing what we do.
Only then can we keep the moral high ground. Only then can we win hearts and minds, ours and those of the former enemy. Needing an enemy is not civilized behavior.
I have written this after the assassination of an Iranian general who has, by all we know, been involved in fostering non-peaceful causes, to say it mildly. He surely was not an innocent person, and yet, are such executions by drone really what communicates the best course of action? Similarly, are threats of retaliation by an Iranian government that has already promoted terror and war in the region the response of a party that would similarly seek peace? The above written text should apply to all. Let’s see – who will seriously be able to commit to peace? Let us pray, probably.