HawkinsOpEd
Maj Gen US Army (ret) John R. Hawkins III

The French have an expression that when translated states “…the more things change, the more they stay the same.” We as a global people can ill afford to continue to live that saying given our past of killing one-another in the name of religion or political differences.

If this new year is to be a globally happy one, the underlying principles of loving one-another through our words and deeds as called for in the Quran and the Bible as well as in other religious written doctrine, must become the touchstone of our actions and policies. We can ill afford to act insane (often defined as doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results).

The term “global happy new year” may mean many things to many people. To the United States Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Airmen and Coast Guard members, it means that people of the world and their leaders decide to discuss their differences and come to potential positions of comfort and security without having to war. The individuals who actually have to prosecute the battles caused by political leaders have no interest in having to use their weapons while putting their own lives and the lives of others in harm’s way. While we enjoy being the most powerful country in the world, those who actually must fight when called, do not want to have to use the might. It is an absolute fallacy that the military wishes to use their weapons of war.

Not one member of the US military wants to lace up his or her boots and go into the fight; although they will when called. We as human beings must learn to understand that when the time comes to go to war against your fellow man, leadership has failed.

Clearly, to enjoy a global happy new year, the bastardization of religion as a false reason to fight over religious, race, borders and natural resources must be curtailed. I say curtailed and not stopped because after 37 plus years in the U.S. Army I am a realist.  I understand that an immediate cessation of hostilities globally is not realistic; however, it is something worth working for, not fighting over.  The sad part about our current plight is that those who perpetrate armed conflicts and terrorist activities for their own personal reasons are aware that they depend upon inequalities and inequities in societies to grow their hatred and recruit.

Terrorist recruitment reveals a need for all of us in every community to immediately examine what we can do to do away with the inequalities that allow some to become a part of terrorism. We must actively work to reduce hopelessness in those returning citizens from prison. We must do all we can to reduce the inappropriate actions of law enforcement which can cause the disenfranchised to view them as the enemy as opposed to those who serve to protect our safety. We must provide an atmosphere of hope for those with addictions and those experiencing economic deprivation. We must insist on quality education so that they may read for themselves what religious readings actually say; and empower themselves for success. We must ensure that our politicians hear our concerns, act accordingly and if not, are voted out.

From my foxhole, if we are to enjoy a global happy new year, we must empower it.

Maj Gen US Army (ret) John R. Hawkins III, JD, MPA is President and CEO of Hawkins Solutions Intl., a government relations and lobby company. His last military assignment as a “two star” was Dir., Human Resources Directorate for the Army world-wide and prior to that Deputy Chief Public Affairs for the Army, world-wide.