Hellenic News of America, PA
Jan 4 2008


Potential Threats to Freedom: Timely Political Thoughts

Ten years ago, I sent a letter to Bill Clinton, on the occasion of
his re-election and inauguration as President of the United States.1
The letter had some political thoughts which were timely and in a
sense prophetic. They are still timely, I think, and may be of some
use, to the present Bush Administration or the next Administration,
which will probably be a Democratic one (perhaps with another Clinton
in the helm). So, I would like to excerpt and publish them. In that
letter, among other things, I said the following.

`As a fellow Democrat, I feel joy for your re-election and the
auspicious beginning of your second term as President of the USA.
Judging by the way the first term closed, with a clean victory, and
the second term opened, with an excellent State of the Union Address,
I feel that your presidential performance will keep rising to new
heights with the passing of time and the gaining of new experience.
My only regret is that the House and Senate are still in Republican
hands, but we will work for their return to us by the time your
second term expires if not tow years earlier.

In the last five years I have received from you and the DNC, not only
your picture and the picture of the White House, but also several
letters asking for donations and my support of Democratic causes. I
have framed the beautiful pictures; I have cast my Democratic vote;
and I have sent my contributions as the modest means of my family and
the laws of my country permitted. But I have not written to you
before, and you may wonder about the reasons which prevented me
earlier, or those which compel me now, to write to the President of
the United States of America and to express freely my geo-political
views.

First of all, and I will be frank as befits a Hellenic philosopher, I
was not your supporter for the Nomination of the Democratic Party, as
long as another great Democrat was in the race, the Late Senator Paul
Tsongas. (May God bless and rest his noble soul in peace now!) In my
case, it was more than the feeling that I ought to support a fellow
Greek-American who was making a heroic effort, in spite of all the
odds, to succeed where our beloved Michael Doukakis had failed,
unexpectedly and disappointedly. His ethical character, his integrity
and sincerity, his clear ideas about the economy, and his humane
vision of the American society, attracted me and many thinking
Americans to Paul Tsongas� call for renewal.

Secondly, and I will be again frank with your permission, I was
deeply disappointed with the way your first term as President began,
especially the unwise policy of `Gays in the Military!' When we
Democrats look back and compare your actions then and now, we cannot
help but wish that you had started your first term with the same
clear vision of goals and the reasonable means of attaining them, as
articulated in the recent State of the Union Address. Most welcomed
for Democratic Americans is the emphasis you placed on the importance
of intelligence and education as legitimate and effective tools for
our peaceful competition in a unified future world.

Thirdly, it is part of my philosophy of life to avoid by all means
bothering people, especially people in powerful positions. So,
together with fellow Democrats, I shared in the joy of the many
successes, and in the pain of the few failures, of your
Administration during the first term. I was elated by your first
class performance towards the end of your campaign and your very fine
handling of Senator Bob Dole. I rejoiced for your clean victory in
the November election. But I did not deem it appropriate for me, or
any thoughtful citizen, to bother the President of the United States,
the busiest man in the world, unless I had something important to say
and ask for your undivided attention.

Today, after much deep thinking, I have reached the conclusion that I
have some serious thoughts which I would like to share with you, in
hope that you may find them helpful in your Herculean effort to shape
the destiny of our Planet. For you have to prepare the world to enter
the third millennium as a collection of Democratic States under the
aegis of USA, the greatest Democracy in human history. As a fellow
American, lover of wisdom, and ardent friend of freedom, it is my
sincere hope that your second term will be a great success. It should
be as great as the success of the second term of President J.F.
Kennedy would have been, had he lived to see his dream come true, the
dream which he had inspired in the hearts of so many young men around
the world, like you and me. In this congenial spirit, I offer you the
philosophical reflections that follow. Please receive them as a small
gift from a Democrat fellow American.

There is a real possibility, now for the first time in recorded
history, for mankind to achieve a political unification of the entire
globe. This can be accomplished not by the power of the sword, as in
the case of Alexander the Great, but by Democratic means, as was the
dream of the Athenian Pericles. This can be achieved under the
leadership of a great Democracy, such as the American Democracy, the
Athens of the New World. My sincere hope is that you, our President
at this rare historic moment, will be able to avoid listening to
calls for American isolation with similar vigor as displayed by the
Homeric Odysseus in his attempt to avoid the Sirens� sweet
song.

At the present, it would not be prudent for the President of USA to
listen to intellectuals, who despair easily and loudly preach the
abandonment of America�s hegemonic role in the new global
world. On the contrary, as patriotic Americans, we have the moral
responsibility to do our best to keep the flame and hope alive in the
hearts of mankind for a truly New World, economically connected,
culturally diverse, and politically unified. It can be achieved with
the guidance of the UN and the strategic aegis of the US. This is a
noble vision, which any thoughtful American citizen, and a President
worthy of his title, should serve with devoted dedication.

To the realization of such an ideal vision of the global future of
mankind, three major obstacles, as far as one can foresee, may appear
from, potentially formidable and uncontrollable, political forces,
that is: a post-Yeltsin Russia, a post-Deng China, and an awakened
militant Islam.

Regarding Russia, our hope and prayer at the present time should be
that it would not become a case similar to that of ex-Yugoslavia
magnified a hundred times or more. I had the chance to visit Russia
recently, and I have concluded from my experience that, to recover
>From the Socialist nightmare of Marxism-Leninism-Stalinism, it will
take the suffering Russian people at least as many decades as it took
them to dig the deep hole where they find themselves now. American
and other friends may try to help them as much as we can, but the
Russians will have to get themselves out of this miserable situation
slowly and painfully. One sensible way to avert the cataclysm, which
may erupt at any moment there and cause Europe and the world to be
drowned in its fury, would be to avoid giving any pretext to
Nationalist militarists to halt the process of reform and attempt the
re-establishment of tyranny.

I believe that NATO�s anticipated expansion, at this critical
moment, may very well contribute to bringing about such a horrible
outcome for Democracy. We risk too much there in order to achieve
what? It would be tragically ironic if NATO, that saved the peace for
half a century, were now to unwisely undermine its own great
achievement. A better policy would be to make clear to all parties
concerned that no members of the defunct Warsaw Pact will be admitted
to NATO until Russia is ready to join the Alliance. If we cannot be
of help, we should leave the Russians alone in their multiple misery
to work their way out of it, and give our undivided attention to the
greater threats of China and Islam.

I think that Marxist-Maoist China is at the present time, and will
continue to be in the post-Deng era, a much more serious challenge to
America�s long-term aspirations to a hegemonic position in a
world, which is economically unified and politically democratic.
China�s historical past, its manpower, and its economic
dynamism will make this country one of the major players on the
historical scene in the 21st century. However, if history is of any
help, in our effort to understand the present and predict the future,
it will be safe to say that the Chinese challenge would not, in all
probability, assume truly global dimensions.

The appeal of Chinese power will be limited as long as it remains
Maoist. It will probably exert and exhaust itself not far beyond the
Korean Peninsula and the South Chinese Sea, unless it succeeds in
exploiting our global mistakes skillfully. In that case China may
join forces with a militaristic Russia or, more ominously, with an
awakened, militant, fundamentalist, and united Islamic world. This
brings me to the third and greatest threat to American dream.
I believe that the world of Islam, with or without possible Chinese
aid and prompting, is destined to become once again in the 21st
century the most dangerous challenge to the West and its Hellenic and
Christian values, as it was twice before, in the 8th and the 16th
centuries. The Islamic threat, therefore, deserves at the present
time the undivided attention of the American people, the American
diplomacy, and our President, who may aspire to shape the destiny of
the globe for the next century, if not for the next millennium which
soon will dawn upon the world.

As I look at the global map, I see clearly, with the aid of
historical knowledge and insight, a sleeping Cyclops, the Giant of
Islam. Its limbs extent from West and North Africa, through the
Middle East and the Central Asia, through India and Indonesia, all
the way to Malaysia and even to America, where the power of the
Nation of Islam constantly rises. This Giant is driven by a fanatical
faith which, historically, has moved many mountains, covered immense
distances, and conquered many peoples, but has become lethargic in
the last two centuries for historical reasons. Recently, there are
plenty of ominous and bloody signs indicating that the sleeping Giant
of fanatical Islam is stirring and getting ready to strike again with
force, and shake up the Western world fundamentally.

If, God forbid, a formidable Prophet or Preacher of fundamentalist
Islam was suddenly to appear somewhere, with a renewed message to
preach, that would not be good. But if he was capable to unite the
military forces of the extended Islamic world with the economic power
of its petroleum resources and the fanatical force of its faith, then
the noble American ideal of a unified and democratic world would
remain for ever an unrealized dream. There are three potential
epicenters of such a dreadful, but likely scenario: the Iranian, the
Arabic, and the Turkic.

As you know, Iran has had its religious fundamentalist revolution
already. It now tries hard to export it, not only to Central Asia and
the Middle East, but also to Central Africa and the turbulent
Balkans. Without the Kuwait blander, Iraq would have probably become
by now the most serious center of attraction for the Arabic Moslems
and, by extension, the world of Islam at large in search for revenge
against America. Turkey is moving, under the Islamic guidance of Mr.
Erbakan and his fundamentalist followers,2 slowly but steadily away
>From `secularism' and its artificial pro-Western orientation. It
fraternally embraces both Iran and Iraq and, although a NATO member
and nominally secular, it openly preaches the gospel of Pan-Islamism.
If things in Turkey continue the way they are now going for a few
more years, USA and NATO will face the real possibility of another
Islamic revolution of the Iranian fundamentalist kind. It may be in
close collaboration with Iran for the exportation of the zeal of
revolutionary Islam into the Middle East and the Balkans. To prevent
such a dreadful outcome in a country, which is a member of NATO,
realistic thinking and bold political action is needed now.

The tough questions and big dilemma to be considered by farsighted
American diplomats and honest American citizens are the following.
Can we allow a revolutionized and Islamized Turkey to slip away from
NATO and the West? Can we allow it to join the awaking Giant of
militant Islam, after so much effort and expense that we have wasted
in the last half century in a futile effort to `westernize' this
Islamic and Asiatic country? Would not American political interests
and global hegemonic aspirations be served better, if this artificial
creation of the misery of World War I were allowed to peacefully
dissolve itself into its multiple cultural components, especially
Kurdish and Armenian? The vices of the first alternative are obvious;
the virtues of the second need elaboration.

If, hypothetically, the heroic and suffering Kurds were to acquire an
independent State with American help and recognition, they will be
forever grateful to USA. In that case, the strategically located new
Kurdish State would be in a position to serve the American interests
in the Middle East much better than Mr. Erbakan�s Turkey. The
citizens of the secular section of Turkey, will have every reason to
be thankful to USA, for they will not have to live under the Sharia,
and will be more manageable and adjustable to the moral standards of
European Union to which they could be then welcomed. The Armenians
(and the Greeks) will be very grateful to USA also, for a just
political arrangement, which will allow for some survivors of the
terrible Turkish genocide, during World War I, to return to their
homes at last. Thus the fundamentalist section of Turkey will become
less threatening, since it will be surrounded by these States which
will be friendly to America and most unfriendly to the fundamentalist
Islamic world.

Such a peaceful and diplomatic arrangement may also bring about the
desired reconciliation between the two historical inheritors of
Byzantium, the secular Greeks and the truly secular Turks. This happy
re-marriage of Greece and Turkey, as secular political entities will
not only serve as a stabilizing force in the Balkans, but will also
serve the American interests by frustrating perpetually any Russian
aspirations to political influence on the Slavic populations of this
volatile region. In addition, this policy will facilitate the just
and lasting solution of the Cyprus problem as a by-product, since it
would provide for a unified and independent Republic of Cyprus ready
to become a member of the EU and NATO.

But the most significant outcome of such a diplomatic arrangement and
peaceful solution of the chronic Turkish problem will be the historic
possibility that it will for ever frustrate the political, economic,
and strategic unification of all the forces of potential Islamic
power (Turkish, Arabic, and Iranian). So it will keep the Giant of
the Islam lethargic, disoriented, and powerless to significantly hurt
the interests of America and to block its legitimate and noble
aspiration to lead a unified, peaceful, and democratic world of
shared humane values.

Thus Pericles� democratic dream will become reality at long
last. Democracy and liberty will triumph globally for the benefit of
mankind as an integrated political and economic whole. Then and only
then, the President of the USA will have equal reason to be pleased
and proud of this great political achievement, as Alexander the Great
had of his eternal glory.

In that case, you can be sure that future historians, poets, and
philosophers, will have much to say and write in eulogy of a
fortunate and farsighted American President, who clearly saw and
firmly grasped the full meaning of his unique historical moment and
acted accordingly with justice for all.

I have finished my politico-philosophical discourse. I have written
more than I intended, and perhaps much more than the time of a busy
President would ever allow him to read and reflect upon. But I hope
that I have revealed to you my innermost thoughts about the present
geo-political situation and the global vision of a true friend of
Freedom and Democracy.

I will not bother you again by writing letters to you. But I shall
continue my support of the Democratic Party. I believe that it
embodies the hopes and the aspirations not only of the American
people, but also of the rest of the free world. This was especially
true at the fortunate moments, when young, dynamic, and bold leaders,
like Thomas Jefferson and J.F. Kennedy, led the Democratic Party.
You, Mr. President, can become the third person of this Democratic
Trinity.

May God bless America and the world by granting you and your family
health, courage, and wisdom to act and to lead the Planet in peace
and prosperity!'

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