In the Saudi desert, a 26-nation military force has assembled under the leadership of the United States to stop the aggression of Suddam Hussein against Kuwait, a nation a tiny fraction of the size of its ravaging neighbor Iraq.
The level of world cooperation and condemnation of Hussein’s aggression is unprecedented in world history as armed forces from four continents have assembled to protect this Arabian land and force the surrender of Kuwait. Before a joint session of Congress President Bush issued a tough warning to Hussein, “Iraq will not be permitted to annex Kuwait. That’s not a threat, not a boast. That’s just the way it’s going to be.”
What has caused this unprecedented cooperation between nations in standing against an encroaching dictator like Hussein? Perhaps it is due to the lessons learned after the two world wars of this century. Both were large conflicts that engulfed the world which began from small, unanswered aggression.
As one Congressman put it, “If the civilized world had looked the other way, the Iraqi war machine could have rolled across the Arabian peninsula. It would be only a matter of time until Iraq had nuclear war heads, chemical and ballistic missiles that could reach Israel, Egypt and Europe itself.“1
The Danger of Unchecked Aggression
Hitler’s unchecked aggression in Europe and Japan’s aggression in Asia and China eventually involved more than 50 countries. More than 10 million Allied servicemen and nearly 6 million military men from the Axis countries died in World War II. Men fought in almost every part of the world – Asia, Europe, North Africa, the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and the Mediterranean Sea.
With every aggressive act and annexation of new territory, Hitler promised that he had enough and was satisfied, only to strike again. In both World War I and II the United States tried to remain neutral and stay out of other nation’s conflicts. However, when U. S. security was threatened and attacked the United States was drawn into both conflicts. U.S. entrance into both of these wars tipped the scales of victory for the cause of liberty and freedom.
These World Wars were ended by crushing the enemy. For six thousand years the method for ending war has been the same. But crushing one enemy does not put an end to all war, because war is not caused by the enemy. It is caused by Old World thinking – thinking that was overthrown in America at the time of the Revolution and dealt a death blow during the Civil War.
The Real Cause of War
Whatever the secondary causes, the primary cause of war is the ancient pagan Old World belief that Authority controls individuals, and must and should control them. “An Old World frontier is a bayonet-line that marks the geographical limit of a ruler’s attempt to control individuals. The Government’s actual use of force is stopped there, where the guns and garrisons of another Government face his.
“All Old World thinking about economics assumes that wealth cannot be increased, but must be divided. So the Old World ruler and his subjects assume that to get prosperity, they must take it away from someone else. They see no means of raising their standard of living beyond the farms and mines and factories that are already created.“2
This belief is in mind of the individual. Men are blinded by ignorance and no force whatever can change any man’s mind. Only the truth can make men free. War will end when a majority of men and women on this earth know that truth – that every man and woman is free, that they possess God given, unalienable rights – rights to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
“Each person must see for himself that everyone is self-controlling and responsible. So long as any group of persons, anywhere on this earth believe the ancient superstition that some Authority is responsible for their welfare, they will set up some image of that Authority and try to obey it. And the end will be poverty and war.“3
New World Thinking
Following President Bush’s address to Congress, Congressman Gephardt summarized America’s involvement in the Gulf:
“We are defending basic rights for families to be safe in their homes, for nations to be safe within their borders, the right of individuals to travel freely.”
The concept that men are free is New World thinking, rooted in the principles of Christianity and given birth through the American Revolution and US Constitutional government. It is a liberty based on the rule of law not a government of men. It is the right to be protected from oppression and injustice by good and just laws. As our founders conceived it, it is not a liberty to license, but a liberty that is “God given” and of necessity cannot violate the Creator’s laws.
Americans have taken up the leadership of the world against Saddam Hussein because Americans have an inheritance from men who once asserted, against the whole world, that men are free. That truth conquered slavery and oppression in our own country. And, to the extent that 26 nations have marshalled their troops to defend those rights, is the extent that the truth that all men are free has overturned Old World thinking.
To the extent that President Gorbachev has stood with President Bush in purpose against the aggressive acts of Hussein is the extent that the truth that every man and every nation has a right to freedom has conquered the Soviet Union. It is an idea that will one day conquer the world and set all men free.
The Hebrew Prophets
Abraham was the first to proclaim it. When he left Ur on the continent of Asia 4000 years ago, he left a culture that taught that many gods controlled all things. Gods of water made water flow, gods of air moved the winds, gods whispered in the trees, watered the crops, etc. These gods required services from men and these gods always controlled every human being.
Abraham taught his family that men are free. He said that none of these gods existed He taught that God is One Creator and Judge. While God judges men’s actions, God does not control any man, Abraham said. A man is free to do good or evil in the sight of God. This observation made little impression on the pagan cultures that filled the world at that time.4
Abraham’s descendants were numerous. They moved to the land of Egypt during one of the usual famines and wound up being taken captive into slavery. Hundreds of years later Moses rescued them. He got them out of Egypt, across the Red sea and into the wilderness in route to the Promised Land alive. However, six weeks into the trip, they turned on him because they were hungry and wanted food.
They never thought of doing anything for themselves. Having been slaves they were accustomed to being fed. Whenever Moses did not feed them they got mad. Moses continually told them that they were responsible for themselves, that each one of them was free. They were always wanting to be told what to do. Through the revelation of God, Moses gave them Ten Commandments. Yet, not one of these told them what to do; they were all negatives addressed to their motives. When slaves want a master to give orders, what do they make of such a command as “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbors’ goods?” Three of the ten prohibited making any image, picture or description of God.5
The struggle went on for centuries as leader after leader kept insisting that they did not need a king. Israel’s leaders insisted upon the fact of individual self-control, individual freedom. But these kingless people wanted to escape from the relentless responsibility of freedom until, finally, they prevailed upon Samuel to give them a king.
Samuel solemnly warned them that a king would oppress them, take away their liberties, take away their children, take away their produce and waste it in bureaucracy and war. But the people refused to listen and wound up with a king. From that time until the founding of America, 99% of the human race has lived its life out under the rule of kings and of men.6 God’s plan however for liberty and freedom would not be thwarted.
Isaiah and Micah, both Hebrew prophets foretold it long ago saying, “For the law will go forth from Zion and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem…and they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, and never again will they learn war.“7
It was at Jesus birth that the angels prophesied His ultimate intention saying, “Peace on earth, good will toward men.” It was Jesus Himself who proclaimed the liberty and freedom that His gospel would bring. It was Jesus who preached that men were free.
The Gospel of Liberty
As He began his earthly ministry Jesus read from the prophet Isaiah, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to the prisoners; to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.8
The message Jesus preached was the stone cut out of the mountain that was destined to destroy all kingdoms and fill the earth with fruit, according to Daniel’s prophecy.9 Echoing down the corridors of time the word of Liberty that Christ proclaimed unto men caused thrones to tumble into the dust, caused empires to be rent asunder, resulted in massacres and horrible outrages against the lives and liberties of men.
But through all of this, justice, truth and Christian liberty advanced and found their way to the shores of America. Here they were embodied in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution which have been said to be the greatest documents for the freedom of mankind which have ever been written apart from the Holy Bible.
Knowing that men are free will destroy the whole Old World concept of the universe and man. The Old World thinking that Authority controls all things from the economy to the thoughts of men is now being shattered in the Soviet Union. The idea that men are free will inevitably break up the foundations of Old World nations and states, and shatter the very basis of their subjects’ lives.
The League of Nations
Explaining his actions in World War I, President Wilson remarked, “The world must be kept safe for democracy.” It was Wilson’s desire after World War I to establish a “general association of nations under specific covenants for the purpose of affording mutual guarantees of political independence and territorial integrity to great and small states alike.”
Although it was Wilson’s desire for America to be a partner in a League of Nations, there was major opposition to it in Congress. The people of the United States did not want to join because they were afraid that it would obligate them to fight other countries’ wars. President Wilson was convinced that this step was necessary to enable the world to eventually live in peace and harmony.
Wilson, known for his Christian faith, referred to his fight for a League of Nations in his last speech to a group of friends outside his home 1923: “I cannot refrain from saying it: I am not one of those who have the least anxiety about the triumph of the principles I have stood for. I have seen fools resist Providence before and I have seen their destruction, as will come upon these again – utter destruction and contempt. That we shall prevail is as sure as that God reigns.”
Just before he died, President Franklin Roosevelt wrote a speech in favor of a United Nations, although World War II had not ended, he stated, “We must cultivate the science of human relations, the ability of all people, of all kinds, to live together and work together, in the same world, at peace.”
A New World Order
Refering to the Kuwaiti crisis, Congressman Gephardt reiterated, “We can see beyond the present shadows to a New World Order where the strong work together to deter and stop aggression. This was precisely Winston Churchill’s and President Roosevelt’s vision for peace for the post war era. Their hope suspended in time for 50 years has come alive in this new post-communist era.“10
Addressing Congress on the Suddam Hussein affair, President Bush observed:
“This offers a rare opportunity to move toward an historical period of cooperation. Out of these troubled times a world order can emerge, a new era freer from the threat of terror, stronger in the pursuit of of justice, and more secure in the quest for peace. An era in which the nations of the world … prosper and live in harmony. One hundred generations have searched for this elusive path to peace while 1,000 wars raged across the span of human endeavor.
“And today that New World is struggling to be born – a world quite different from the one we’ve know, a world where the rule of law supplants the rule of the jungle; a world in which nations recognize the shared responsibilities for freedom and justice; a world where the strong respect the rights of the weak.”
Bush’s response in the Iraq-Kuwait conflict is motivated by an idea as old as our Republic – the idea of America’s redemptive mission in the world. It was America’s role in World War I and II that secured freedom for Western Europe. President Bush remarked, “There is no substitute for American leadership.”
Though obscured from time to time through America’s tendency in the past to isolationism, the idea of America’s redemptive role runs deep in the American psyche. Gephardt summarized, “The moral component of American foreign policy sometimes is criticized as a weakness. In truth it is our greatest strength. When our policy has a moral center, we gain the unbreakable resolve that comes from standing for things we believe in.“11
It was present during America’s inception from the time those early Pilgrim Fathers and Mothers left the Old World and its pagan ideas and crossed the Atlantic to secure a land where freedom of worship, freedom of speech, freedom to pursue one’s own destiny and to enjoy the fruit of one’s own labors and property would be secured.
Reference to those “God given, unalienable rights” found their way into the Declaration of Independence as the stated reason for the Thirteen Colonies right to exist as a nation. Later, they were innumerated in the Bill of Rights as the first ten amendments to the Constitution. States were reluctant to ratify the Constitution unless these rights were clearly stated to insure the blessings of liberty for future generations.
It was believed that liberty, refined and established in the New World, would be taken back to the Old, reforming all its institutions and governments. This idea has motivated United States foreign policy throughout much of our history.
In 1861, Henry Ward Beecher spoke to our nation which was on the brink of civil war about what America meant to the world. The war that soon would ensue would test the meaning of American liberty. Beecher proclaimed:
“The American flag has been a symbol of liberty and men have rejoiced in it. Not another flag on the globe has such an errand, or went forth upon the sea carrying everywhere, the world around, such hope to the captive, and such glorious tidings. Where this flag comes, and men behold it they see in its sacred emblazonry, no ramping lions and no fierce eagle, no embattled castles or insignia of imperial authority; they see symbols of light.
“It means Liberty; and the galley slave, the poor oppressed conscript, the downtrodden creature of foreign despotism, sees in the American flag that very promise and prediction of God, ‘The people which sat in darkness saw a great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of earth light is sprung up.’ It has gathered and stored chiefly this supreme idea: divine right of liberty in man.
“Not lawlessness, not license; but organized institutional liberty, liberty through law, and laws for liberty. It was an ordinance of liberty by the people for the people. That it meant, that it means, and by the blessing of God, that it shall mean to the end of time.“12
Over one hundred years later a little old Dutch grandmother visited the United States for the first time and shared an experience that confirmed the truth of Beecher’s observation. A U.S. Senator told of a visit with President Regean that he had arranged for her:
As President Regean and the old Dutch lady sat around his desk, they were reminiscing about what the most exciting moments of their lives had been. Was it when she was married, he had asked her, or when she had her children? The grandmother responded that it wasn’t any of these things.
“The most exciting moment of my life is meeting you Mr. President. But, there is one other experience that was more exciting than this.”
“What was that?” the President asked.
“It was during World War II in Holland. I was looking out my kitchen window when suddenly I saw coming up the cobblestone street in front of my house those young American GIs. Their faces were all dirty, but they were grinning from ear to ear. The feeling was indescribable for the moment I saw them, I knew that I was free!”
Guardian of Liberty
Orator Henry Armitt Brown remarked concerning this idea of America’s responsibility as the guardian of liberty for the world in his Centennial Oration at Valley Forge in 1878. Speaking of the sacrifice made at Valley Forge during the Revoutionary War he observed:
“They who once encamped here in the snow fought not for conquest, not for power, not for glory, not for their country only, not for themselves alone. They served here for Posterity; they suffered here for the Human Race; they bore the cross of all the peoples; they died here that Freedom might be the heritage of all. It was Humanity which they defended; it was Liberty herself that they had in keeping. She that was sought in the wilderness and mourned for by the waters of Babylon – she of whom Socrates spoke, and Plato wrote, and Milton prayed.
“Driven by the persecution of centuries from the older world, she had come with the Pilgrim, and Puritan, and Cavalier and Quaker, to seek a shelter in the new. Attacked once more by her old enemies, she had taken refuge here. Nor she alone. The dream of the Greek, the Hebrew’s prophecy, the desire of the Roman, the Italian’s prayer, the longing of the German mind, the hope of the French heir, the glory and honor of Old England herself, the yearning of all the centuries, the aspiration of every age, the promise of the Past, the fulfilment of the Future, the seed of the old time, the harvest of the new – all these were with her.
“And here, in the heart of America they were safe. The last of many struggles was almost won; the best of many centuries was about to break; the time was already come when from these shores the light of a new civilization should flash across the sea, and from this place a voice of triumph make the Old World tremble, when from her chosen refuge in the West the spirit of Liberty should go forth to meet the Rising Sun and set the people free.“13
Historian, Charles Bancroft recorded in 1879:
“Our fathers cleared the ground and laid the foundation deep down on the living rock, that is to say, on Human Rights … We begin to see that Time, thought, and Experience have not wrought in vain, that Progress is not a phantom of the imagination, that the human race is essentially a Unit, that it has been growing through all the centuries and is now approaching the prime of its manhood, just ready to enter on its special career with its grandest work still to do.
“The energies of all the races are preparing for unheard of achievements. The world has never been so completely and so wisely busy as now, and America stands between modern Europe and ancient Asia, receiving from and giving to both. Her institutions are founded on principles so just and so human that when admininstered with due wisdom and skill, they will embarrass and restrain the proper activities of man at no point.
“America stands a model which other nations will carefully copy, in due time, as they can adapt themselves and change their institutions. there may be no literal copy or close formal imitation; but there is little doubt that the spirit and true sense of our Declaration of Independence will finally mould the structure and control the working of all governments.“14
“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end!“15
1 Congressman Gephardt following President Bush’s address to a joint session of Congress concerning our involvement in the Gulf.
2 Rose Wilder Lane, The Discovery of Freedom, The John Day Co. New York, 1943, p. 65.
3 Ibid., p. 69-70. 4 Ibid. pp73-74. 5 Ibid.
6 Cleon Skousen, The Making of America, The National Center for Constitutional Studies, Washington D. C., 1985, p.44
7 Isa. 2:3-4, Micah 4:2-3 8 Isaiah 61:1-2. 9 See Daniel 2.
10 Gephardt, Ibid. 11 Gephardt, Ibid.
12 Henry Ward Beecher, “The American Flag,” The Christian History of the Constitution, compiled by Verna M. Hall, foundation fro American Christian Education, San Francisco, Calif., 1966, p. 371.
13 Henry Armitt Brown, The Valley Forge Oration, 1878, The Christian History of the American Revolution, compiled by Verna M. Ha.., Foundation for American Christian Education, San Francisco, California 1976, pp. 66-67.
14 Charles Bancroft, The Footprints of Time, 1879, The Christian History of the Constitution, Ibid., pp. 5-6. 15 Isa. 9: 6-7.
Copyright © Bob and Rose Weiner 2007, All Rights Reserved