Governments have always believed that force is all that is needed to govern, which forces reformers to use force, too. This is usually a generational battle. The elders like the status quo. Because they finally survived, they don't want to let go of their gains.
The cycle begins when the government is incompetent and deaf. People are excluded from the decisions, but not from the ill-effects of those decisions. When the people complain, they are ignored. If the people strike out using force, they are ignored again, and then force is used against them. The original problem is left to fester, and the two sides spend all their time plotting against the other, in a cycle of anger and paranoia. History has shown that the rebel always wins eventually, but the root problem is never solved.
Why does the rebel always win? Because the more the government refuses to negotiate, the more capable the resistance becomes militarily. If effect, there is an arms race between the people and government. The young grow stronger than the old. We saw this play out on America soil when the colonists armed themselves at Lexington and Concord. The British objective was only to remove the weapons, but they would have been far better off dealing with the diplomatic problem of why the colonies were arming themselves. Rather than responding to the complaints, the British imposed harsher rules and a heavier hand, thus fueling the resentment they were trying to control. By the time Britain knew to correct its behavior, and more rational and compassionate voices were heard in British government, the impasse had grown too much on the colonial side. The rebels no longer wanted diplomacy, they wanted only victory. We are seeing a similar growth of military sophistication in terrorist attacks. Perhaps the opportunity for diplomacy is fading, too. I hope not.
Reports from Mumbai indicate that the terrorists understand the politics of the situation perfectly. They attacked rich foreigners, not the locals (except for those working in the hotels.) Let's face it, most people don't really care if the Ritz Carlton burns down. It is a world apart from their own. This attack, coming as it does after the extravagant opening of the Atlantis hotel in Dubai last week, just shows that every action has a reaction. A French king built Versailles, but eventually he had his head handed to him. You cannot consume more than what you produce forever. Nature and God abhors this imbalance. Like the death of Scrooge in A Christmas Carol, the masses are more likely to rejoice rather than shed a tear when their landlord drops dead. The masses lose their humanity, just as the landlord lost his.
Why is the problem never solved? By the time the rebel takes power, he is more competent militarily than the government he overthrew. Like his predecessor, the new government will trust in force and be heartless toward all who disagree, and be deaf to all pleas of mercy.
Rather than repeating this history, we need to have diplomacy between generations and cultures and get to the root of our differences. Every war is a civil war. Our Left-Right divide is no more wholesome than the divides in these other countries, and the stakes are just as high. As India modernizes to become an American clone, it shares and spreads our consumptive habits.
It is not possible for every country in the world to consume more than what it produces. Terrorism, likewise, is a consumptive practice, albeit through destruction. If we want an Earth of peace and commonwealth, then we need to respond to this attack with something other than a call for better security measures. A consensus based on fear is what we have now. We know what it looks like. It's ugly. What we need is a consensus based on mercy.
We must help down those who are perched above us, and help up those who are below us; only then can we all be happy and free as equals. Revolutions seek to trade places, but that should not be the goal, otherwise you maintain the same false hierarchy. Every country on the planet has been borne in the blood of violence.
The rebel and the government both make the same mistake: not understanding the importance of mercy and patience, and putting too much faith in systems and themselves. 9/11 was an attack on four locations simultaneously. In Mubai, it was an attack on eight locations simultaneously. The rebel will grow with sophistication. And though he will suffer defeats, it has never been possible to kill an idea. The truth will win out in the end, but we must help it along. Peace and prosperity is a mutual goal, and we must communicate peacefully to make it possible.
Only the merciless have need of mercy. If you won't give it to the merciless, then there is no one else to give it to. Mercy is a responsibility we all must share. Mercy is the truest revolution, since it changes people from within. Mercy is the beautiful revolution. In Mubai, we have yet another example of the ugly revolution, but it is no better nor worse than our own history of revolution and civil war. Why do we glory in that?
Give evil nothing to oppose and it will disappear by itself. -Lao Tse
A better world is possible.