Diplomacy, WikiLeaks, and a spiritual view
A Christian Science perspective.
When I worked in the diplomatic service, there were many times when, in the field, I penned cables back to Washington that provided a frank assessment of the local situation. There were also occasions when a high-ranking official spoke candidly to me. The time wasn’t right, and maybe never would be, when that information could be made public or appear in the morning newspaper. So these cables were sent and received in a secure way meant to minimize the possibility that misunderstanding or hostility between my country and the host country would occur.
Perhaps we were assessing the strengths or weaknesses of local democratic institutions, or gauging the success of an opposition party. Sometimes we received return instructions via these secure channels to deliver certain information in a confidential manner to a member of the host government or others with whom we interacted. Such information processing is a normal but quiet means of government-to-government communication, and at its best it builds trust and understanding between nations. So having been a professional in the field, and sometimes in tricky situations, I confess that I was dismayed at the WikiLeaks dissemination of diplomatic cables to the media.
I realize that there are many views – some more extreme than mine in opposing the publication, others in favor of even more openness, no matter where the chips fall. Since the release, I’ve pondered how there might be a Christian, prayerful approach to all sides of the question.
That led me to think about what a spiritual view of diplomacy, if there was such a thing, might be. For me, spirituality has to begin with God. So a spiritual view of diplomacy must recognize the omnipotence and omnipresence of God as a starting point. It’s a viewpoint contrary to the conventional wisdom of diplomacy, which posits that inevitably there are conflicting national interests, conflicting human wills, the possibility of confrontations and wars.
Here it’s helpful to consider that one of the biblical names for God is Mind. This one divine Mind governs all of us, and all of us live in the one kingdom of God. In fact, we are the image and likeness of this Mind (see Gen. 1:26, 27). As ideas, we live in this one Mind in harmony. In this prayerful, God-affirming view, the one Mind – not mere national interest – is what must really govern. Perhaps this is what is implied in a verse from Psalms: “He [God] ruleth by his power for ever; his eyes behold the nations” (66:7).
In God’s sight, then, peace and reconciliation are natural outcomes of His all-inclusive love for us. The Mind that beholds the nations can also direct us to look to God as a true basis for peace and security, and will guide our steps to that goal. Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of the Monitor, remarked in her major work, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” that “there is but one Mind, and this ever-present omnipotent Mind is reflected by man and governs the entire universe” (p. 496).
Prayerfully considering the one Mind can lead not only to ideas for improved security in the storage of classified documents, but also turn thought to the only spiritual action that is possible – the production and circulation of good. This uplifting of thought to the divine, rather than the humanly strategic, must have an effect for good in the general atmosphere of human thought.
St. Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (8:28). This working “together for good” is an all-inclusive action, embracing all in God’s design for peace and reconciliation. Praying to see that the oneness of Mind is truly expressed by all parties will help avoid instability and provocation. And Mind’s purpose is that of peace and brotherhood, the natural outcome of God’s government of His universal family.