"The US is on the Wrong Path"

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US foreign policy must obviously be redirected. At presdent the policy is to bridle the horse by the tail. A solution is only possible by solving the Palestinian problem.


Hans Kung urges a Rethinking in the Dialogue of the Religions

Interview with the catholic theologian Prof. Hans Kung

[This interview from September 2006 is translated from the German on the World Wide Web, http://www.zeit-fragen.ch/.]

In view of the fifth anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, the theologian Hans Kung criticized the deficit of tolerance in Islam and Christianity. The religions could also be part of solving conflict. The religions should call people to rethinking, Kung said.

German radio: Pope Benedict XVI is continuing his visit in Bavaria. The minutely planned program leads him today to Altotting, Merkel’s birthplace. In his sermon yesterday, the pope thematicized the relation of the religions to one another and the place of religion in a secularized world, a very political sermon one day before this year’s anniversary of September 11. After the terror in New York, deep tears appeared between the Arab and the western world. All too often Islam is denounced in the US and outside the US. Many warn of false tolerance. On the telephone we have catholic theologian Hans Kung. His “World Ethos foundation” is occupied with this dialogue between the religions and his book “Islam” (Der Islam) was published two years ago. Mr. Kung, everybody knows where you were when airplanes crashed into the World Trade Center. How did you experience September 11?

Hans Kung: Just before I was in Katar in the Gulf in a small group convened by Kofi Annan to discuss the new paradigm in international politics. I sat at the writing desk where I am now sitting. I turned on the television. I saw how the second airplane crashe4d into the World Trade Center, a terrible catastrophe.

Q: Did you immediately grasp the effects of these attacks for the coming years?

Kung: No, I did not think there would be such a counter-productive reaction by America because this could have been interpreted very differently. The causes could have been explored. A rethinking could have occurred. The center of American economic power and military power was attacked in New York and Washington, not any Christian center. A military reaction was not simply inevitable. I did not expect Bush to declare a war.

Q: Since that day, the American president and his land have seen themselves in a state of war, first in Afghanistan and now in Iraq. Do you see the US superpower on a wrong path?

Kung: The US is on a very wrong path. In America, it has slowly become clear that many of these reasons were not true. Another strategy could also have been introduced in Afghanistan. This could have been a secret service action. In any case, a terrorist network cannot be fought with aircraft formations and navy squadrons. Meanwhile two things were made clear in the Iraq war. Iraq did not possess weapons of mass destruction and did not work on nuclear weapons. The second is that the cooperation of Saddam Hussein with al-Qaeda was also a pure invention. Americans have also slowly understood this. This insight has now been made public in the American congress.

Q: Mr. Kung, George Bush according to his own declaration is a deeply religious person. He is supported by a powerful religious rightwing. Religion plays a very important role in the United States. Is a conflict raging between Christianity and Islam?

Kung: No, this is not simply a conflict between Christianity and Islam. On one side, protestant fundamentalism has helped. However many Jewish intellectuals, these neocons, were responsible for this strategy. In 1993, a document was published that outlined this strategy. A new imperialist, geopolitical total calculus was developed. This was a calculus that used military force to gain hegemony over the oil wells in the Middle East.

Q: Yesterday, pope Benedict XVE called believers to tolerance toward other religions. Do you see a tolerance deficit in Islam and Christianity?

Kung: Each of these two religions has a tolerance deficit. If one considers this from the Muslim side, one sees that several Islamic countries were attacked: Afghanistan and Iraq. The central problem is obviously the Palestinian problem. A Palestinian state was prevented for decades. Very different measures of the West are now taken against Islam.

Q: If, as you say, religions are not part of the problem, could they be part of the solution?

Kung: The religions are obviously part of the problem but they could be part of the solution. I have returned from the World Conference of Religions for Peace in Kyoto. The chief rabbi of Israel and the highest judge of the Palestinians appeared on stage. The religions must call to rethinking because that is what is basically lacking. One must go to the causes, why is the US hated? This has very concrete reasons. US foreign policy must obviously be redirected. At present, the policy is to bridle the horse by the tail. We try all possible solutions in the Middle East and do not see that the solution is only possible by solving the Palestinian problem. The state of Israel must face this demand. With this surprise attack on Lebanon, the matter has only become worse. Perhaps a rethinking is now underway in Israel that all this was a wrong way.

Q: “No peace between the nations without peace between the religions” is one rule of your “World Ethos foundation.” Does this peace between the religions presently exist?

Kung: A dialogue is entirely possible. That politics constantly instrumentalizes religion for its purposes is terrible.

Q: George Bush recently spoke of Islamic fascists in connection with the terror attacks planned and then thwarted in London. Do you think these two terms are connected?

Kung: This is all threatening political rhetoric to disguise Bush’s false policy. People act as though a front exists against the United States. The United State4s was beloved for a long time in Arabia. Thus this is a false term and is only used as a threatening word to justify this mad military policy of the Bush administration.Relatedhttp://www.mbtranslations.comhttp://www.truthout.org


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