It could be argued that North Korea qualifies as a failed state. The regime is so unstable and insecure it requires a totalitarian grip on every citizen in order to survive. The government aspires to control every aspect of life to ensure the perpetuation of its power. It mainly achieves this by indoctrinating its citizens from birth and maintaining an atmosphere of fear and constant battle against invisible foreign enemies.
In reality, the allegedly perfect regime is ludicrously incompetent and inconsistent. Supposedly, there is housing for everyone, but no citizen can choose where to live. Supposedly, there is schooling for everyone, but no one can choose what they want to learn. Supposedly, there is universal healthcare, but there are no medicines to cure patients. On the one hand, individual initiative of any kind is stamped out, on the other hand, the government cannot provide basic necessities for its citizens, most importantly, food. On top of that, dissenters, nonconformists, critics and others who are considered traitors to the regime are regularly imprisoned, tortured or executed, often together with their entire family. (The list of known human rights violations is too long to go into any further.)
This begs the question, with such a tenuous grip on power, how does the North Korean regime manage to survive? Continue reading →
The Just War Theory also known as the Jus ad Bellum is a dubious theory on the basis of which, through the ages, nations have sought to legally and morally justify the taking up of arms. The foundation for the Just War Theory was laid by Augustine in the 4th century. About eight centuries later, during the high middle ages, Augustine’s reflections were codified into the distinct criteria by Thomas Aquinas. These criteria remain the basis of the Just War Theory as it is known today. They are:
Just Authority: Also known as Competent Authority, Just Authority states that a just war must be initiated by a political authority within a political system that allows distinctions of justice.
Just Cause: In order to produce a justification, an authority must be able to show that some wrong has been committed by one nation for which war is thought to be the proper response.
“I strongly believe that there is a Christian doctrine of just war.”
– Ron Paul
Just Intention: A warring state is prevented from going beyond the boundaries of its justification by acting according to its justified intentions.
Last Resort: War is morally permissible only when there is no other course of action open. This means that the nation considering war has exhausted all potential solutions, including political and diplomatic.
– Courtesy of oregonstate.edu
“Violence and arms can never resolve the problems of men.”
– Pope John Paul II
‘The idea that Islam is a “peaceful religion hijacked by extremists” is a fantasy, and it is now a particularly dangerous fantasy for Muslims to indulge. It is not at all clear how we should proceed in our dialogue with the Muslim world, but deluding ourselves with euphemisms is not the answer. It is now a truism in foreign policy circles that real reform in the Muslim world cannot be imposed from the outside. But it is important to recognize why this is so—it is so because most Muslims are utterly deranged by their religious faith. Muslims tend to view questions of public policy and global conflict in terms of their affiliation with Islam. And Muslims who don’t view the world in these terms risk being branded as apostates and killed by other Muslims.
But how can we ever hope to reason with the Muslim world if we are not reasonable ourselves? It accomplishes nothing to merely declare that “we all worship the same God.” We do not all worship the same God, and nothing attests to this fact more eloquently than our history of religious bloodshed. Within Islam, the Shi’a and the Sunni can’t even agree to worship the same God in the same way, and over this they have been killing one another for centuries.
It seems profoundly unlikely that we will heal the divisions in our world through inter-faith dialogue. Devout Muslims are as convinced as you are that their religion is perfect and that any deviation leads directly to hell. It is easy, of course, for the representatives of the major religions to occasionally meet and agree that there should be peace on earth, or that compassion is the common thread that unites all the world’s faiths. But there is no escaping the fact that a person’s religious beliefs uniquely determine what he thinks peace is good for, as well as what he means by a term like “compassion.” There are millions—maybe hundreds of millions—of Muslims who would be willing to die before they would allow your version of compassion to gain a foothold on the Arabian Peninsula. How can interfaith dialogue, even at the highest level, reconcile worldviews that are fundamentally incompatible and, in principle, immune to revision? The truth is, it really matters what billions of human beings believe and why they believe it.’