Role of Governments in Promoting Peace


Charles Mercieca, Ph.D. – TRANSCEND Media Service

Governments of all kinds seem to have at least one thing in common. They want to convince everyone that all their actions are performed in the best interest of their respective population. Of course, experience demonstrates that this is not necessarily true in any way whatsoever. All we need to do is simply to analyze their behavior in terms of results, since actions are stronger and more credible than words. Unfortunately, there seems to be not one government in the whole world that could be termed as perfect.

Need for Good Government Officials

At least, we need to do our best to create the best government possible. We need government officials who genuinely and sincerely try to do their very best to alleviate problems and diminish needless suffering as much as possible. Every government has the potential to contribute by all means toward the promotion of peace or war both within the nation and the world at large. In other words, government officials must make it a point to do everything in their power to perform actions that are merely positive and constructive.

Besides, they must keep in mind that the whole world is one single unit where all people from every walk of life and profession live. If the water and air of one nation is polluted, other nations are going to be affected as well. This means that all people of all nations tend to be physically strong or weak on a mutually beneficial or destructive basis. Hence, no government in the world has the right to perform actions that are harmful to people’s health in any way whatsoever. This would be abusive and criminal.

In view of this, we may realize and understand that those who seek governmental positions out of lust for power should not be there in the first place. The only government officials that seem to be fit for the position they hold are those who genuinely and sincerely view the government’s job as a means of good and effective service. Those who occupy governmental position are merely the servants of the people. They must listen to what the people have to say.

Afterwards, they must try to fulfill the people’s needs by all means. Like good parents, government officials are obligated to look after the vital needs of all the people without exception. Among such vital needs, which may be viewed as sacrosanct human rights, are health care, education, and adequate home facilities. A nation may be viewed as strong or weak by the health of the people. When people are healthy and strong, then we do have a healthy and strong nation. When every citizen is given the opportunity to develop one’s talents to the maximum possible, then we will have an affluent nation.

Fulfillment of People’s Dire Needs

When all people have adequate home facilities, then most of the anxieties are soon gone before we even know it. This way, people are enabled to spend their full time performing positive and constructive work. As a matter of fact, they are given the opportunity to become more creative in the best interest of the entire nation and even, very often, the whole world. Yet, we do have a number of governments, whose philosophy does not seem to be healthy at all that, very sadly, view weapons and wars as their source of hope and security!

They seem to forget for all practical purposes, as revealed in a recorded history of 6,000 years, that weapons and wars have always served to create nightmares and to make people suffer mercilessly. We learn from history that weapons and wars have always instigated more weapons and more wars. Besides, like Pope Pius XII said on the eve of World War II to both the Germans and the British: In a war everyone is a loser and no one is a winner. Germany lost the war and its economy collapsed and people were poor everywhere.

On the other hand, the United Kingdom won the war and its economy equally collapsed. People were, likewise, poor everywhere. Not only so, but the victorious United Kingdom lost its British Empire as a result. This means that the choice is crystal clear. Governments, as a whole, are faced with a dilemma. They must view their role as one that promotes war or as one that promotes peace. As the Romans used to say: Si vis pacem para pacem and si vis bellum para bellumIf you want peace prepare for peace and if you want war prepare for war.

One US President, whose name was Richard Nixon, tried to reverse this 2,000 years traditional dictum by saying: Si vis pacem, para bellum – if you want peace prepare for war. This explains why the USA, at this stage of history, gives top priority in its expenditure on the manufacture and sales of weapons and the never-ending development of the military industrial complex. And we know the rest of the story. The USA is today the greatest debtor on earth with trillions of dollars in debt and the American people are suffering immensely as a result.

The world at large is convinced that the two wars the USA waged on Afghanistan and Iraq could have been avoided. Instead of accumulating trillions of dollars in debts, the USA might have accumulated all of that money in surplus. But the American addiction to war is so deep and so strong that this nation continues to build up more military bases around the world, in addition to the 746 foreign military bases it already accumulated. Jesus of Nazareth was right when he said: Homo hominis lupus — man is his own worst enemy. The USA emerged to become its worst enemy with its belligerent policies.

Achievement of Permanent Peace

Ironically, in statistical studies made among people in countries around the world, it was found out that almost all of them prefer peace than war. They all feel safer when they live in peace than in war. If such is the case, then why is it that a substantial number of governments continue to accumulate more weapons and never cease to resort to war each time they find an opportunity? Many answers were given to this question. The most popular seem to be the fact that those in government that promote war tend to make a lot of money.

They view war as a business venture and for money they seem to be ready to do anything conceivable, including the needless suffering and massacre of their own people! If governments want really to create in the world an atmosphere of perpetual peace, they must take the initiative, the sooner the better, to take drastic steps to have the very concept of war erased from the surface of our planet. Let us keep in mind that in our earthly community only governments create and promote war, which they could always avoid.

Similarly, in this world governments have the power to create and promote peace on a perpetual basis. In his farewell speech to the US Congress, former US President Dwight D. Eisenhower reminded the entire members of the US governments saying emphatically: Remember that all people of all nations want peace, only their government wants war. Unfortunately, the words of this famous US President seemed to have been taken lightly by both the news media and the members of the US Congress as a whole.

Let us keep our hopes up and never be discouraged. All of us have the opportunity to make substantial contributions, both by both words and actions, to enable our government officials do a more positive and constructive job. We should continue with our effort to help them see that they would reveal greater wisdom in their efforts to promote disarmament and arms control than the other way round. As stated earlier, let us bring once more to our mind the words of Pope Pius XII: In a war everyone is a loser and no one winner.


Charles Mercieca, Ph.D. – President, International Association of Educators for World Peace, Dedicated to United Nations Goals of Peace Education, Environmental Protection, Human Rights & Disarmament.
-Professor Emeritus, Alabama A&M University.
-Hon President & Professor, SBS Swiss Business School, Zurich.
-Member, TRANSCEND-A Network for Peace, Development and Environment.


This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 24 Sep 2012.

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