Dear President-elect Obama,
I was not disappointed when you said that your foreign policy would be similar to that of previous administrations. Although I was unhappy, I was not disappointed because what you said was what I expected. I do not believe you can make big changes in foreign policy.
But when I (no doubt along with three million others) received from you a personal invitation to participate in turning our campaign organization into a social movement I was really happy. We are going to join you in organizing for change in every corner of America.
Domestic change might work, and if it does work, we might make it possible to move the reality of foreign policy closer into line with the democratic and progressive ideals Franklin Roosevelt expressed, and which all presidents have expressed to some extent.
Deepak Chopra is another volunteer advisor who has been giving you free advice lately. In a recent letter to you he pointed out that for over half a century the USA has been functioning as a military economy. Being a specialist in mind/body relationships he has observed that although at the level of mind American foreign policy is about peace, democracy, and rights; at the level of body it is about how the global economy works, how the USA fits into it, and how the sub-sector of the global economy known as the US economy works.
America has to change before the main features of its relationships to the rest of the world will change.
Cause and effect. The main cause of what America does is what America is. Deepak Chopra was quite right to base his letter to you on the premise that our role in the world will not substantially change until we cease to be dependent on the military-industrial complex for our daily bread.
It just might happen. The collapse of our war economy is an opportunity to create a peace economy. I do not believe you yet realize how serious the “economic” problem is, nor do you yet realize that it is not in the last analysis an “economic” problem at all but a paradigm problem. Nevertheless, you are on the right track in moving in the direction of converting big business into public-private partnerships planned for ecological and social responsibility.
You are also on the right track in repeating frequently that government alone cannot solve our problems. The real power to change America is in civil society, not in government.
You were on the right track in running your campaign as a grassroots citizens movement, and on the right track in proposing to keep the momentum of that movement going to organize for change.
Cause and effect. If we want to rewrite America ’s script in the global tragic farce that Noam Chomsky, Stephen Zunes and others have documented in great detail, we need to begin where you began as a young community organizer in Chicago. We need to begin with the ethical reconstruction of neighborhoods.
Peace and all good,
p.s. I have posted a document whose relevance the wise will immediately see. It is located on my main website, http://www.howardrichards.org It is an account of how ordinary citizens in Argentina worked together to meet each other’s basic needs when the Argentine economy collapsed in 2001.