#118 – Peace Be Unto You

Whenever you deeply accept this moment as it is—no matter what form it takes—you are still, you are at peace.
Eckhart Tolle (1)

Beauty pageant contestants may be able to imagine world peace but if the rest of us are ever to experience peace on earth we are going to have to transcend wishful thinking. We are going to have to “get real.”

Our history reveals that our species is capable of extreme violence and that we have no in-depth understanding of why this is so. This realization is no reason why we should not continue to try to understand why we are facing a dystopian future. Hence, this essay.

One of the most profound truisms relating to our species is that every individual is in every fundamental respect exactly like every other individual. To not realize this can only lead to continuous conflict and egregious human suffering. That we are capable of such self-destructive behavior is hard to acknowledge, therefore many of us find pseudo pleasures and other escapist behaviors to distract ourselves from this harsh reality.

We can illustrate what we mean by “self-destructive behavior” by looking at the behavior of the United States in our foreign policy and the reactions of other nations to those policy decisions. Other nations being equally lacking in consciousness react to our behavior with self-destructive behaviors of their own and collectively the communities around the globe have tended to create the very outcomes they seek to avoid by their failed diplomatic tactics and strategies.

For example, there is the recent foreign policy “dance” that we have been engaged in with our erstwhile “enemy” Russia. It’s like watching Anna Karenina and Count Vronsky begin their tragic Pas De Deux. The two characters whether Russia and the U.S., or the metaphorical Karenina and Vronsky, are (were) in a relationship that will end badly. We now enter the nightmarish and delusional ballroom where most of us want to believe we know how to dance.

We hear the deceptively lilting refrain of a waltz entitled “Mutual Misunderstanding.” What do each of the dancers now taking the floor want? Andrey Baykov is vice rector of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations which since 1944 has trained Russian diplomats. When asked what Russia expects in its relationship with the rest of the world he answer: “To be an autonomous player, to uphold its identity of a great power which is strategically independent.” (2)  This is Russian version of the grand illusion of nationalism. How does it differ from the American version of nationalism?

“‘Nationalism comes in different disguises. America’s nationalism comes in the disguise of universalism, but this universalism is basically the American national model being expanded.’ Russia’s nationalism, he [Baykov] went on, is inward looking. Students ‘all come here with the idea that Russia is a great power. It has all the rights it deserves, but it’s being mistreated. There is a huge sense of being betrayed.’” (2)

Mutual misunderstanding is often the basis for violence around the world among the nations and tribes of the Global Village. Valery Garbuzov is director of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute for U.S. and Canadian Studies. “We have an image of America as the country that foments revolutions around the world. The Americans have the image of Russia as a country that wants to revive the Soviet Union by any means. Both parties deeply misunderstand the motives of each other’s behavior.” (2)

Repressed fear is the basis for both Russia’s and America’s paranoia which leads to projection. “Russia has long been a canvas on which Americans project their thoughts or fears—on the Red menace, and of Putin’s quest for world domination.” (2)

American foreign policy makers, unable to create long-range strategies (as China does, for example), come up with tactics replete with unintended consequences. In other words, we tend to shoot ourselves in the foot.

The complexity of all the pieces on the chessboard of the Middle East is too much for the politicians, the State Department and the Defense Department to figure out. This confusion leads to paranoia and projection and irrational sanctions and tariffs with no coherent long-term goals. The unintended result? “Russia has now [June 2019] signed arms deals with all sides of the region’s complicated rivalries, including the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.  … Russia is working with the Saudi’s archrival Iran, on nuclear power and increasing trade to help Tehran [Turkey] survive American sanctions.” (2)

What is peace and how is the elusive goal attained?  Click on the link below to find out.

Insight # 118:   If one remains at peace oneself there is only peace everywhere.     Raman Maharshi (3)



  1. Tolle, Eckhart. Stillness Speaks. Novato, California: New World Library, 2003, page 6.
  2. Topol, Sarah. “”TheView From Moscow.” The New York Times Magazine. June 30, 2019, pages 26 & 29.
  3. Phipps, Carter. “Is God a Pacifist?” What is Enlightenment? Lenox, Massachusetts, August/October, 2004, page 63.

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