I sensed right away that this was possibly a transforming moment. So I "noodled" on this idea for several hours. And here are some thoughts and reflections:
- When was the last time we teamed up with another country to make peace, instead of war? Certainly there has been no true peace initiatives since 9/11 - i.e., 2001. I suspect the last major peace initiative was the Dayton Accord in 1995, ending the Bosnian War. Americans cherish peace, yet we clearly engage in a lot of war. Why? Am honestly not sure: Perhaps we think that peace only comes after the war has been won. Perhaps Reagan's continuing use of the Peace Through Strength motto has been seared into our consciousness, regardless of Party. We have witnessed great leaders who "waged peace" highly successfully: Gandhi in India; Mandela in South Africa, and King here in America. But these were neither shooting wars nor conflicts between nations. On balance, most of us in the US and elsewhere have a binary view of conflict: if you win, I lose, and vice versa. And we are completely immersed in the consciousness of scarcity, resource conflict, and fear of the other. Clearly, Gandhi, Mandela and King operated from a different level of consciousness, where abundance, peacemaking, and trust were the qualities seen first, and were part of each leader's basic operating system. Developmental psychologists call this level of consciousness integral, and tell us that less than 5% of the world has attained this consciousness level. Obama, I believe, is part of this small percentage of people who see things whole; who trust the complexity of events to reveal deep structures and patterns, not single point answers or finite solutions; who know with absolute conviction that truth is found not in resolving paradox, but living in its tensions; that flow and generative action requires letting go of ego; and that all people, at every developmental level have something important to say, even your adversaries and enemies, because the brain is not capable of 100% error. In the precise sense that I believe Jesus meant it in the Beatitudes - "Blessed are the peacemakers...", Obama is a peacemaker, while also remembering that Jesus told us to be "Gentle as a dove, and shrewd as a serpent."
- We see with the consciousness we have. That is perhaps why most commentators simply cannot see what Obama's up to. They are looking for the binary juxtapositions: winner or loser; strong or weak; enemy or friend. The idea of engaging your enemy as the one and only way to find a solution for the conflict you both share an interest in - simply doesn't compute; you can't see it. Running parallel and entirely oppositional strategies simultaneously can also be hard to detect, especially if it hasn't been openly declared. Letting your opponent/adversary/enemy get all the credit for whatever breakthrough is achieved - even going so far as to "plan a gaffe" that your Secretary of State will offer as a seemingly offhanded proposal, which can be accepted by your opponent in such a way that he gets all the credit - none of this makes sense to our pundits - that operational mode doesn't compute - power is everything; the powerful are always the winners; never let your guard down; he who has the gold rules, etc, - so folks just cannot see it when something like what has just happened, occurs. And central to this: Obama truly does not care. He is not attached to being the "last man standing"; he is attached only to the result, to the outcome, to the vision - the North Star he has been following. You may not believe me, or really understand what the hell I am talking about. But this is what has just gone down, and the actions, the patterns, the apparent sudden reversals, the willingness to look the fool - all these are products of an integral consciousness. Obama is an integral leader.
- We now have a peacemaking template. It will be used a good bit in the next three years - first in Syria to eliminate their CW and get to a negotiated peace; then in Iran, where I am convinced the leadership will understand this as non-proliferation through peacemaking, and not through threatening or making war; then in North Korea, where we will work with China to deweaponize the North Koreans; and finally Israel-Palestine. I predict all of these will be partly or largely solved by the end of Obama's second term.
Needless to say, a glorious day!