You may already be aware that I love the question, "What if...?" for its ability to push me to examine a new perspective. To be clear, I'm speaking of potentially up-lifting "What if...?" questions, not the type that people call up when they worry. My favorite term for that type of "what if" is: "awfulizing". When I wrote the "Seeker's Guide to Internal Paradigm Shift/What if...? Cards", a favorite question of mine was, "What if... we are entering a time of peace?" It was this question that I found myself meditating on during my walk this morning.
What brought up this thought is the current state of international affairs regarding Syria. Today is September 17th. As I write this I am praying that the initial peaceful response to Syria's use of chemical weapons can continue to be negotiated in the world community, that it is put into place, and that it holds. I also hope that in a far-off-future history text book (perhaps one that none of us living today will ever see) this century will have come to be known as the one heralding in the era of peace. I long for a day when history books will be read, not just to learn what not to repeat, but also to learn what we want to repeat: peaceful conflict negotiations leading to win/win resolutions!
By the time this newsletter comes out we may know more about a potential turnover of Syria's chemical weapons stockpile. We may be seeing some real progress in that direction. For now, I feel a huge (but tentative) sigh of relief from diplomats, from Congress, from President Obama, and from the American people. Also, the Syrian people who feared upcoming attacks from U.S. military strikes, who feared more chemical attacks, and becoming displaced...all are able to breathe more deeply, and, for now, to remain in their homes. It is beyond sad that so many have already been killed, injured, or displaced. I can only hope that a future historian's broad view back to this time sees that this was the moment the world shifted and became serious about making peace, not war.
P.S. I'd be fine with changing the West Point curriculum from battle strategies to peace-making strategies. What if... the Defense Department budget was no longer needed and those monies became available for education, for mental and physical healthcare, and for environmental care and repair? Worth imagining!.