The Unseen Deeps Of A State

Yesterday I came across an article [1] that dealt with the deep state of Turkey, a nation whose moves towards democracy have been somewhat hindered by a tension between the increasingly Islamist electorate and the military and bureaucracy that since Cold War times have been above the law and that see themselves as having an existence beyond the state that ensures the legitimacy of the overall system but that voters see as an unaccountable brake on their freedoms. Given the permanent threat of unrest (sponsored and supported by the military) when the politicians disagree with the military who serve as the supposed guarantors of the republic, and the opaque financial dealings of the military elite and their allies.

In some ways, the United States is at least partially responsible for this. Since in many cases the United States did not actually trust the people of countries around the world to resist the lures of Communism via democratic means, America’s cold war politics often involved the tacit or open support of dictatorships who could be trusted to take foreign aid money to build their military with American weapons, pay at least lip service to free market economies, while pushing concerns for rule of law or popular sovereignty to the back burner. It is indeed immensely fortunate that our economic strengths allowed us to send Leninism-Stalinism to its place in the rubbish bin of history. That said, our behavior over decades was not blameless and gave us as a nation a bad name around the world concerning our respect for the well-being and voice of other nations while pursuing our own interests.

Not too long ago I had the cause to reflect upon the close relationship between my own religious background [2] and
anti-Communist regimes around the world. As an astute reader of the autobiography of Herbert W. Armstrong, it is not hard to notice references to his conversations with the King and Queen of Thailand, or dictators like Suharto of Indonesia, or being the first foreigner to speak at the South African-supported Southwest Africa Congress, and to put together a careful relationship between pretty strong anti-communism, to the level of dictatorship that actively commits abuses against one’s own people on political or ethnic grounds, and efforts at evangelism by the Church of God in seeming to grant legitimacy to those regimes. I feel deeply uncomfortable about that myself, not out of any sympathy for Communism, but out of a strong disinclination to use any such legitimacy as my own advocacy can give in support of dictatorships ruled by violent and evil men. Our first concern ought to be to serve the well-being of the people of this world at large, rather than to pander to their jailors and abusers for political gain.

By reflecting on the fact that regimes still in power around the world, and enabled by the United States, actively aided by them and supported by them, still use the aid given to them to act in ways that are undemocratic and (besides that) are hostile to the well-being of their own people as a whole, we ought to reflect very carefully in the consequences of our behavior for generations after our deeds begin. We may have justified to ourselves, those of us who were responsible for making such decisions, that the support of strong militaries was necessary in nations that lacked a tradition of self-rule or a large amount of self-restraint within their populations. And yet instead of educating and teaching people the character and virtue necessary for self-government and freedom, the people in charge sought to preserve their own power, line their pockets, and consider themselves indispensable for the “freedom” and well-being of their nations by preserving their populations in a state of enforced ignorance and childhood. Such corruption ought to be exposed, rooted out, and the wrongs ought to be faced and overcome.

It is deeply lamentable, even tragic, that this world is continually faced with false dilemmas between military dictators and Communists or Islamists, where neither of the extremes cares about the well-being of the people they seek to rule but merely for their own selfish interests and those of their cronies. All too often instead of seeking the best options, we are content to select between the least of the evils and to deceive ourselves (and others) into believing that we have chosen a positive good. Oh, that we could repent of our own self-deception, and face up to the actions we have committed and endorsed. For truly we have blood on our hands for the deeds we have endorsed and supported. Turkey is merely one of the countries that is wrestling with different strains of evil, unable to find the good it seeks. The whole world stumbles in blindness, and those who could have pointed out the standards of behavior expected of leaders who wish to be legitimate servants of God have not done their job, but have all too often become blind partisans in the warfare between different strains of evil. Hopefully there is the time for us to repent and seek to atone for our wrongs, and undo some of the folly we have gotten ourselves into.



About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in American History, Christianity, History, International Relations and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The Unseen Deeps Of A State

  1. I am intrigued by this blog–especially for its insightful viewpoint and honest commentary of how Mr. Armstrong’s cultivated friendships with the leaders of Thailand, Indonesia and South Africa–and other oppressed countries appear to a generation once removed from his evangelism. His letters to the WCG membership during these years reflect His boldness in preaching the gospel to them of a coming kingdom in which the world would be ruled through a way of “give” rather than “get.” He spoke to them of a spirit within man that is contrary to the worldly type of rulership. He never endorsed their dictatorships. God was granting him favor by mellowing their hearts and allowing them access to the truth so that, when the right time comes for them, they will remember his words in their full meaning and proper context.

    His example should be how we live our own lives. He fulfilled his God-given role: to speak boldly to heads of state. Ours is to live God’s way just as boldly. We go where God leads us and live a personal evangelism. Some, like you, have or continue to experience life under the dictatorships of those who were exposed to the truth but do not yet heed it. Their eyes are not yet opened–but God wanted them to hear it just the same. Our examples may not cause people to change their own lives, but they should cause them to remember us when they hear the truth in its proper setting. We should stand out as people who are truly convicted as “Christians” in word and deed; full of integrity and honest to a fault; those that people are ashamed to curse in front of, and those that people will not share gossip with. We should be individuals that people come to when they have deep, probing questions about true morality, belief systems, and why our country is so lacking and short-sighted. As usual, your blog is penetrating and deeply thought-provoking. As someone who had met and spoke with Mr. Armstrong on one occasion–as well as read his letters, which were in fact journals of his many trips to these areas–I know these things to be fact. However my own experience is merely that. It is first-hand, eyewitness testimony, for what that is worth.

  2. Pingback: Book Review: Answering Jihad | Edge Induced Cohesion

  3. Pingback: Back To The Foundations: A Novel Application Of C.S. Lewis’ Trilemma | Edge Induced Cohesion

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