FREEDOM, DEMOCRACY AND HARMONY DIPLOMACY
Noble ideals do not occur as isolated incidents in human civilization. Rather, they result from our collective inspiration and wisdom. They are derived of keen observation of the interactions between humans themselves as well as with nature. Often they become important movements of necessity calling for correction of inequity in our midst. More often than not, because of the universal truths they contain, they propagate by resonance and become the common human heritage.
When the pressure of inequity builds up unchecked to unbearable proportions, these ideals are bound to release the human energy necessary for correction. This system of cause and consequence is similar to the balance between wind and waves correcting for differences in air and water pressure. It is nature’s way to seek dynamic equilibrium and human activities cannot escape the order of nature, as intelligent as we are. Our misguided intellect has, from time to time, actually created more dynamic disturbances, such as wars, slavery and economic imbalances that are more destructive than any natural calamities like hurricanes, earthquakes or tsunamis.
Freedom, Democracy and Harmony are three ancient universal human ideals that belong to the world and not to any one single nation. They are not entirely independent but intimately related. As a matter of fact, there exist fascinating relations among them that warrant immediate global study. Some may wonder why freedom and democracy have been so widely promoted during the last 400 years of human history, while harmony was barely noted on the world stage.
In fact, Freedom and Democracy have been the most successfully used tools to promote international diplomacy in the 20th Century. The scenario for the fall of the Soviet Empire at the end of the last century was due mostly to the effective propagation of Western freedom and democracy diplomacy as well as the Soviet’s economic collapse. Harmony, as a great unifying force in the on rush of globalization, has now come of age. Harmony is mankind’s greatest common value. The conflicted world of today urgently calls for international democracy through the practice of harmony diplomacy. To grasp the importance of harmony diplomacy a review of freedom and democracy diplomacy can be most revealing.
(II) FREEDOM DIPLOMACY
Nature imbues us with the instinctive knowledge that we are born free. The mountains, the wind and the lions are born free, not to mention any other of the myriad animals that remain free until captured. Despite being born free, powerful groups desperately yearn to enslave us. More than 2500 years ago the most ancient cultures scattered about different continents prohibited slavery seeing it as hideous. The institutionalized slave trade was most egregiously practiced in the new world until the American civil war put an end to it. During the Cold War Era freedom became a convenient slogan used by much of the capitalist world, right or wrong, especially by those countries that felt the threat of Communism.
The world then was arbitrarily divided into the Free World and the Communist world. It was during this Cold War Era that the word freedom got more mileage in the media than at any other time in human history. Freedom whipped up the world to such a fever pitch that half of the world was willing to die for it whether it was called for or not. I recall as a young child in Hong Kong, when our American teacher gave our senior class the topic “The best things in life are free” the whole class dutifully wrote how great freedom was and that it was worth dying for without fully understanding the topic.
Immediately following 9/11, George W. Bush conveniently thrust freedom centre stage to rally Americans with the resounding cry. The logic was that the terrorists hate our freedom and they are intent on taking it away. To be fair, American democracy as put forth by our forefathers, guarantees each citizen freedom from undue infringement through law and order. Freedom as an ideal is politically neutral, neither good nor bad. However, modern democracy is designed to prevent minority individuals from exceeding their rights granted by freedom.
Bush’s call for freedom diplomacy after 9/11 is neither necessary nor appropriate. Terrorists have not been empowered to take away our freedom, but the resulting regulation to counter-terrorism has. As warned by President Eisenhower, the military complex created by war may seriously threaten our democracy and hence our individual freedom. The greatest threat to our freedom today is our enslavement to the military and the industrial complex through their hijacking of democracy.
(III) DEMOCRACY DIPLOMACY
Since time immemorial, the protection of human rights has occupied our consciousness. The fear of the all mighty unknown that sparked religious teaching was likely the catalyst for this type of thought. Teaching morals and common values developed along with harmony while democracy followed behind. Democratic systems as a means to guarantee individual rights and freedoms reached new heights when the American Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights were signed, giving way to the system of laws being enacted. Western diplomacy spread far and wide and profoundly changed the world during the 20th century.
During the cold war era U.S. democracy diplomacy successfully faced down Soviet expansionism. Its influence on foreign policy has now diminished as fear of communism has significantly decreased. Democracy, in different forms, has now become a generally accepted governance system. Democracy grows best in the fertile soil of each individual nation without outside interference or occupation. American chastisement of other nations only offends their dignity. Many developing nations, after years of domination by imperialism, have nothing to cling to other than the very dignity being spoken of.
Democracy is also no longer an import export item, as pointed out by Ban Ke-moon, the current Secretary General of the U.N. Due to the debacle of the U.S. occupation of Iraq, democracy as an instrument of foreign policy has lost its lustre and appeal. Diplomacy works best in these conflicted times when harmony principles are employed. Harmony diplomacy is a win-win, no-fault conflict resolution approach. It is time to minimize confrontations in today’s conflicted world by using harmony diplomacy. It certainly is worth a try. Mutual win-win development can be more economically viable than war. We have spent close to 400 billion dollars on the Iraq war, fast approaching our expenditure on the Vietnam War, with no end in sight.
When unity is needed human beings have proven quite capable. International unity can be reached only through international democracy, not unilateralism. International democracy will be the end result of major nations practicing harmony diplomacy. In her recent book “The Mighty and the Almighty” Madeleine Albright suggested that world harmony is the end goal of a more peaceful world. To achieve world harmony her solution was for major nations to practice faith diplomacy based on the tradition of Judeo-Christian-Islamic tradition. Faith diplomacy is an extension of U.S. democracy diplomacy to win the Islamic world.
(IV) HARMONY DIPLOMACY
George H. W. Bush senior, in a speech before a joint session of Congress, on September 11, 1990 said “A new partnership of nations has begun, and we stand today at a unique and extraordinary moment….. Out of these troubled times…. A new world order can emerge…. In which the nations of the world east and west, north and south, can prosper and live in harmony.”
Major religions of the world all practice harmony, as discussed in my previous papers. As noble as any religion may be, faith diplomacy has fallen short of uniting the world in harmony evidenced by the countless tragic faith-based wars of the past as well as the current conflict between the West and the Muslim world. Faith diplomacy on unity in diversity was most noticeably practiced by the Bahai faith for over 163 years with limited success. Despite attempts by the Bahai faith to be inclusive of all religions, its propagation is slowing. Religions as we know them today all expect blind faith and acceptance of ethnocentric almighty images, quite often unique to a specific culture. Neither the Bahai faith nor religions based on Judeo-Christian-Islamic tradition can escape this prerequisite of blind faith.
No matter how broad religion’s attempts to be all embracing, as proposed by the Bahai faith and Madeleine Albright in her book, faith diplomacy will not be a universal solution for the world’s conflicts because of religion’s inherent violation of the sensitivity of the spirit of individual truth seeking. Harmony’s premise is tolerance, acceptance and respect for other cultures. It is all embracing, endearing and enduring. It neither dictates blind faith nor does it force acceptance of an institutionalized and ethnocentric image of the almighty. No particular personal attachment to the almighty is prescribed either. Personal attachment to the almighty is a double-edged sword. It draws those with faith closer, while alienating those without.
Harmony is discovered through observation of nature as discussed in my other papers. It is nature’s preferred way of propagation. Nature is all embracing and human beings are very much part of nature. It is possible to believe in as wide a universe as one chooses without adhering to blind faith. Our very survival and sustainable development is now urgently dependent on our harmonious relationship with nature. We deny our very existence by not working to improve our threatened ecology. Most of us agree about the vision of world harmony and international democracy. We can all participate in the harmony movement by speaking and practicing harmony diplomacy in all facets of our daily lives. We can practice goodness for goodness sake without preaching religion. Why use faith diplomacy, an indirect approach, when the direct approach, harmony diplomacy, is readily available? Harmony’s resonance is growing and propagating. The Harmony Renaissance is the unavoidable tide. It is time to reawaken our innate human desire for harmony and to begin urging others to recognise the value of this noble ideal.
(V) HARMONY DIPLOMACY CONSENSUS
I have discussed world harmony and harmony societies in some detail in our website www.worldharmonyorg.net and blogsite www.worldharmonyforum.blogspot.com . The basic idea of world harmony is in common with all popular theories of world governance. It hopes to build a more understanding world through tolerance, respect, equity and acceptance of diverse cultures and governance systems as destiny for all mankind.
Through harmony diplomacy major nations will support a stronger UN. A more democratic world will advocate the solution of world conflicts through consultation and harmony consensus. Unilateralism is to be rejected and peaceful resolution will replace war and violence. Harmony diplomacy will be the foundation of lasting peace. Without harmony peace will not last.
In the pursuit of world harmony it is important to narrow the gap of the North-South/rich-poor disparity through win-win mutual development. This will create a world with a level playing field, which will enable the citizens of the world to enjoy all of the achievements of our great societies.
In the democratization of international relations, just and equitable international political and economic orders can be established through dialogue, negotiation and reaching consensus. The end result of international democracy will release a new wave of world creative energy. Human accomplishments can thus reach a new height of development beyond European Renaissance.
The Order of Nature is Harmony and Harmony is the Order of Nature. A harmony world is essential to save our ecology. To rally major nations to commit to a cleaner and better environment, harmony diplomacy must advocate a common ecology consensus. Central to harmony diplomacy consensus is built in awareness to curb global insatiable appetite for consumption. Continuation of current trend is not sustainable. Without harmony consensus, the resulting catastrophic global fight for resources will be more immediate than the effect of climate change. It is time for all to advocate less confrontational harmony diplomacy. May Harmony Prevail in the World.
Francis C. W. Fung, PH.D.
World Harmony Organization
Freedom, Democracy and Harmony Diplomacy: A Review by Morgan Steacy, York University, Toronto, East Asian Studies.
Have you ever heard someone say, “Can’t we all just get along?”, and thought that it sounded reasonable? This is exactly what I believe happened to Dr. Francis Fung, Director General of the World Harmony Organisation. Dr. Fung has written an article entitled, Freedom Democracy and Harmony Diplomacy that essentially asks this very question. The difference here is that he answers with a resounding, yes.
Up until now no one has ventured to explore the reasons that people have so often asked this question, but have never actually dealt with why the answer that should be YES seems determined to remain NO. So, how does this article evade the puerile nature of the question that it deals with?
Dr. Fung has chosen the USA, as the major world power, to be the primary focus of his urgings. He links historical downfalls of people quite succinctly with the current situation of the world. He describes a world that is so overcome with the notion of “spreading freedom” that there is never a moment to stop and think about the hypocrisy of deciding to “bring freedom” to another nation.
He describes this as “freedom diplomacy”, a process which is detrimental to societies because of the fact that they are not determining their own freedom, making it inherently flawed. He further points out that while terrorists have acted in order to destroy our freedom, their success in actually doing so has been ineffective. He claims that it is our reaction to terrorism that has actually limited our freedom. He is not claiming that countries should eliminate counter-terror measures. The point he is making is that we are dealing with the symptoms of a problem rather than the problem itself.
Some believe that the answer to the problem lies in the style of governance that persists in regions where terrorists are able to survive. The answer, to these people, is simple. Spread democracy. If democracy’s impact has been felt to the extent that it has in so many other parts of the world, then surely there is no reason for it to fail elsewhere. The truth, unfortunately, lies far from this simplistic view. It is impossible to deny that democracy has been a boon to many societies, and has even been the backbone of success in the modern world, but there are differences in the way that each nation practices democracy. The flexibility that democracy allows within a defined structure is one thing that makes democracy such an amazing concept. Unfortunately, it is often the case that narrow-mindedness and a lack of true cultural understanding inhibits the propagation of actual democracy, and it is only imperialism that perseveres.
Finally, Dr. Fung, having illuminated many of the problematic approaches currently being undertaken, leads the reader to the solution. Harmony is an approach that supports rather than censures, it is tolerant rather than judgemental and it is inclusive instead of being exclusive. Harmony is meant to encompass the fundamental principles that one ought to adhere to in all facets of life. Decision-making processes would be geared towards harmony, rather than personal gain, from an individual level all the way to a global plain.
Dr. Fung has taken a concept that is so seemingly simplistic and breathed a palpable life into it in this essay. The statement that he is making is direly needed and I hope that he continues to make statements like these so that people will start to realise that the solutions that are currently failing to solve the contentious issues of global peace will continue to fail until we realise that it is our very goal that is misguided. We need to establish global harmony before thinking about global peace. Harmony does not imply agreement, only tolerance. It is possible to bring harmony about quickly through education and compliance. Once the people of the world commit to harmony as a means to solve problems, the problems of the world will finally become manageable, and maybe then we will all “just get along”.