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Selling a Vision of Hope: A Refreshing Alternative to Armageddon

Look inside Nissim Dahan's book Selling a Vision of Hope with Google Books.

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U.S. President Barack Obama delivers a speech during the opening of the Hannover Messe industry fair in Hannover, northern Germany, Sunday, April 24, 2016. Obama is on a two-day official visit to Germany. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)
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Listen to an interview with Nissim Dahan on the Tom Marr Show.

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Vision of Hope
Category >> national budgets
file under: national defensenational budgets 18 Sep 2007 5:25 PM
Democracy and The Military Industrial Complex Posted by Nissim Dahan
I think it was Winston Churchill who once remarked, "It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except for all others that have been tried."


Why, exactly, is democracy the greatest form of government?


Democracy is great because it places the greatest amount of confidence in the wisdom of the common man. It challenges him to use his common sense to elect leaders who will serve his best interests. And if those leaders don't measure up, it empowers him to kick them out of office. Whoever invented democracy, must have believed that the wisdom of the common man, as reflected by the wishes of the majority, is the best way of insuring the long term wisdom of government.


And yet, as ingenious as democracy is, it must be protected at every turn. While it is true that the ideological extremism of the Middle East poses a grave threat to our democracy, it is also true that we should be ever mindful of the threats from within. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, in his farewell address, said that "the military industrial complex," a term he coined, posed one of the greatest threats to our democratic form of government, as envisioned in our Constitution.


In the wake of World War II, and in response to the needs of the moment, a huge industry arose in this country for the purpose of producing and selling arms. The various interests of these huge and powerful companies were made known to our representatives in Congress by lobbyists who effectively protected the best interests of their clients.


The burgeoning relationship between industry, the Pentagon, and Congress, was of immense concern to President Eisenhower. He feared that the military industrial complex could result in policy decisions which were not in keeping with the wishes or best interests of the majority of American citizens.


Could a president, for example, be coaxed into war because it served the best interests of industry, as opposed to the best interests of the American people? Should war be declared by Congress, the representatives of the people, as envisioned by the framers of the Constitution? Or should war be initiated by the president, and remain undeclared by Congress?


Selling a Vision of Hope may require a reworking of national budgets, as we plan for our national defense. Like a general fighting on the battlefield against a fierce enemy, we will have to make use of all our weapons to win the fight that lies ahead. Since the fight against ideological extremism is about winning hearts and minds, and not about winning territory, we will need to fund new programs, and new "weapon systems" which are a bit alien to the current approaches toward defense. In broad terms, our new approaches will be: ideological, economic, spiritual, diplomatic, and military.


Resources will have to be allocated appropriately, even as we restructure some of our priorities. Since the solution to ideological extremism is not exclusively a military one, the allocation of resources will have to take that into account, as we make funds available for a multi-faceted approach toward our national defense.


There is no question that the military industrial complex, as predicted by President Eisenhower, has become an entrenched reality in our political system. The importance of a strong military defense establishment cannot be overstated. However, accommodations will have to be made to the new reality on the ground. Funds will have to be allocated, in the face of competing claims, and in the face of past arrangements, to fund the various programs that will be needed to Sell a Vision of Hope.


Hopefully, we will find it within ourselves as a nation, to make the changes that need to be made, and to face the challenges that lie ahead, with the strength, and the unity of purpose, that have defined previous generations.