Pope John Paul II said, “Another name for peace is development.”
How does this statement hold up when tested against the current global state of affairs? For nearly 20 years, our world has been in an almost constant state of emergency, and it seems to be getting worse.
American scholar Noam Chomsky points out that before 9/11, Al-Qaeda was a fairly insignificant, marginal group operating primarily in remote and isolated regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan. They have now morphed into even more extremist organizations and mushroomed all over the world. Each time one of these groups commits a crime, the west responds with a greater act of violence, and radical Islam is strengthened.
There are indeed times when armed intervention is necessary, as was demonstrated in World War II. We need to keep in mind, however, that this war happened largely because of the failure of the Treaty of Versailles, which sought to punish Germany at the end of World War I.
Lasting peace was finally established at the end of World War II largely because the victorious Allies changed tactics and invested in the rebuilding and development of both Germany and Japan.
Though the current political climate may inhibit efforts to bring effective aid to certain nations, there is still a great deal that can be done. Instead of exporting weapons, for example, we can build schools, and invest in other projects which benefit local populations.
We will always need armed forces in place to ensure our safety. If we want lasting peace and true security, however, we need see beyond our own fears and prejudices and invest in global development which promotes a just progression for all humanity.