Just last week, the Obama administration approved the largest-ever weapons sale to Saudi Arabia: $60 billion in F-15s, missiles, night vision goggles, and Apache and Blackhawk helicopters. The sale apparently is to help Saudi air force’s ability to “defend against regional threats” (Iran??).
“We want to make sure that they have the tools that they need to be able to defend themselves,” he [Andrew Shapiro, Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs] said of Saudi Arabia, a key regional ally . . .
U.S. officials say the Israelis are increasingly comfortable with the sale because the planes will not have certain long-range weapons systems. Also, the Israelis are in line to buy a more advanced fighter, the F-35, which could start arriving in Israel in 2015, the same year the Saudis would start to get the F-15s.
I can’t help but shudder in despair as I read such news. This is yet another example of our misguided foreign policy which is driven by the belief that our “national security” is best served when we arm all sides of an already well-armed, unstable region of the world. We keep investing in more and more sophisticated technology and weapons thinking that they will serve as a deterrent to our enemies and keep us safe. Did nuclear weapons make the world a safer place? Defenses have their place, but we need to stop and think about why we need the defense in the first place. Progress is not simply creating ever more sophisticated defense mechanisms. We need to take the time to take a breath and reflect on the true purpose behind the defense. Does it serve us by keeping us safe or does it imprison us? Why do we have so many enemies in the first place? How is our behaviour contributing to their anger and fury? Is our approach sowing the seeds for lasting peace in the Middle East (and the world)?
This is partly what we’ll be exploring this Saturday, October 30th at Finding Peace: When security comes at too high a price. Whether at a personal level or a societal level, we need to recognize that true security lies in honest, healthy relationships with each other and that peace is something we find when we can grieve our deepest losses and genuinely rise above our defenses. Unless we do that, we can only expect to continue on the same path and find more chaos and violence.
I sincerely hope you will join us. Our goal with this workshop series is to remove any and all barriers for attendance. If there is any financial hardship, please do contact us. This is a not-for-profit event and no one will be turned away for lack of funds. All details are on the website.