When reading of the US administration(s) adventures in the Sudan, Sir Walter Scott’s famous lines from Marmion come tumbling through:
Oh! what a tangled web we weave
When first we practise to deceive!
Why do it? Why put one face this way and another the other way? So you can please Peter without offending Paula? Grow up. You cannot please all of the people all of the time. Does the Obama administration support the despotic government in Khartoum, or the Southern Independence Movement. Never mind the religious connotations: The USA is secular, right? As in non sectarian. Right? So shame on you, Christian Obama: one face at a time please otherwise you will be found out. Well you knew that. Before WikiLeaks you knew that because you worship a god that knows all. You worship a god who monitors your conscience, knows all, and will tally it up on your day of reckoning. Or will he . . ?
Diplomacy is always at risk of turning to deceit. It should not be confused with telling Peter one story, and Paula another. Showing Peter a view not shown to Paula is not deceit; that is simply taking more than one view of established facts. To say we do not support a rebel movement, and then secretly supply them with arms, is not diplomacy; it is deceit. Don’t do it because even if your god isn’t watching, someone is, and will leak it all over the Internet and bang goes your credibility.
Isn’t the Internet wonderful? A tell all outlet for everyone to use. It’s better than religion. There is no secret confession in a dimly lit booth to a man in a dress. This is broad daylight revelation for all to examine. Given such a large audience only broad judgement can be reached, so all the hot head extremists are quickly seen for what they are. Equally the back room deals are soon exposed, and the bribers, and blackmailers, soon come to the surface.
The more it goes on the better it becomes. Fox News’ outright liars such Sean Hanitty, and Glen Beck, are quickly seen for what they are and soon lose credibility. In time only that which contains substance will remain; the rest will be scanned and dismissed. The hyped rhetoric will be swamped by earnestly reported facts.
World leaders, especially those of the largest nations, might find all this honesty too much for their secretive constitutions but they will adjust. Given time they will come to open honesty as easily as they slipped to the convenience of deception.
Religious leaders are facing a tougher time. For them there is no honesty back on which to fall. You can believe in the almighty, in a secret friend, and sing and chant until you grow dizzy, but without substance, all credibility will slip away. We should not forget the lines that preceded Scott’s famous quote about deceit:
Yet Clare’s sharp questions must I shun,
Must separate Constance from the nun
Clare retired to a convent rather than face Lord Marmion’s attentions and Constance, described as a dishonest nun, was walled up for breaking her vows. Had she been Moslem she would likely have got away with a stoning.