I was asked recently after giving a talk on engaged politics, what I thought of peace as a political orientation.
What came out of my mouth made me laugh.
“I’m pro-peace,” I said.
The young man just stared.
I then went off a little bit on how an attachment to peace can be viewed in the same way as one might view an attachment to non-peace. Without going into great detail, the conversation was an interesting one.
Carter Phipps writes of this issue in a recent blog post. The issue of peace versus war
…it is one where the Left, with its nonviolent and pacifistic tendencies, too often cedes the wrong kind of ground to the Right, whose enthusiastic embrace of military might too often shows little of the subtlety, nuance, and complexity needed in this age of political self-determination.
He goes on,
for all the failures of war, peace hasn’t always been a good alternative. Krishna knew it 2500 years ago, and it is still true today. Witness the tragedy in the Balkans or Rwanda, or the slaughter in the Sudan, or World War II not that many decades ago. No one has yet convinced me that there is or was a nonviolent solution to those conflicts, as much as we would like there to be. In the long term, of course, anything is possible. But we can’t allow our dreams of peace tomorrow to cause us to make fatal and disastrous mistakes today. Obama spoke directly to this in his speech. And moreover, I’m convinced that the very idea that peace should be the goal of our human endeavors—politically, socially, and even spiritually—represents an outdated context for our moral and philosophical life. And this is where I would take a step, philosophically and theologically, beyond what the President offered.