In 2004 Ten Sabu spoke with T Newfields at a peace conference in Kyoto, Japan.
The main points of that conversation are summarized here.
TS:I hear you no longer pledge allegiance to the United States . . .
TN: Our primary allegiance should not be to any earthly power. Moreover, if you consider the vision by the author of that pledge and then reflect on what's going on today, you'll realize the whole notion of a democratic America is essentially a myth.
TS:Can't that be said of every nation?
TN: Perfect democracies do not exist, but at this point in history America has become too much like a police state largely controlled by huge multinational corporations and a few vested interests. It lacks the moral integrity and basic rights espoused by its founders. In many ways, America has gone full circle to become a parody of its own ideals.
TS:Yet isn't the Constitution is still intact and basic liberties in American guaranteed?
TN: (laughing) Examine history more closely. Many so-called "guarantees" are ignored whenever there is widespread fear.
Tyrants like Donald Trump are masters at manipulating fear. America is in a state of deep (possibly self-induced) paranoia. For instance, laws such as the Patriot Act of 2004 have given enormous powers to law enforcement and intelligence agencies. Secrecy and surveillance are now widespread. Through a combination of apathy and disinformation, most citizens have very little idea of what their government is up to.
TS:The government is protecting democracy, right? Aren't we fighting to stop terrorism?
TN: There's a concept from Buddhism that America ought to learn: if you hate something and focus a lot of energy on it, you actually give it power and eventually you become that which you detest. Ironically, America has become so obsessed about "eliminating" terrorism that it has become a mirror image of terror. George Bush and Bin Laden are two sides of the same energy and they feed-off of each other. They might not recognize it, but there is a co-dependency.
TS:But isn't it laudable that Bush removed Saddam Hussein?
TN: I believe Bush has created a whole new generation of Saddam Husseins: millions of people around the
world now detest America more than ever. America has lost a tremendous amount of global good will and alienated many former allies. By ignoring the United Nations (except when it can manipulate it), the Imperial United States has become increasing isolated from the rest of the world.
TS:But don't we have a duty to fight terrorism?
TN: History has made it abundantly clear that no long-term victory is obtained by military means alone. Unless you win the hearts of others, you can never actually defeat them. What America should understand better is what turns moderate people into terrorists. No human is naturally a terrorist. It takes great frustration and pain to reach that state. By disempowering Islamic people in general, America is effectively fostering terrorists. Each society creates its own devils through a process of systematic disempowerment.
TS:What measures do you propose?
TN: An honest apology is a beginning. America has a lot of apologizing to do – particularly to the Islamic world. Basically, America has got to stop being so short-sighted and recognize that at this point in history a genuine world government is needed.
America should wake up and realize it is actually a small part of a complex world system – it is not the world's "policeman"
or lord, but merely one nation representing less than 10% of the entire world's population. It's dangerous for a single nation to
have too much power, since excessive power leads to excessive corruption. America should, so to speak, "trim its sails" and downsize
its aspirations. It needs to focus more on internal problems such as poverty, education, pollution, and drug abuse. It needs to
learn how to become more of a team player and less of a foolish cowboy. And its competitive energies should focus on space exploration
rather than class exploitation. Sound idealistic? Well, would you rather have World War III?