09/05/2013 03:34 pm ET Updated Nov 05, 2013

A More Mature Approach to Syria

I would like to suggest a more mature approach to the Syria crisis than what is being contemplated.

When we, the U.S., had successfully invented the atomic bomb, a group of very prominent scientists sent a letter to President Truman. They suggested that rather than using it, the generals invites some representatives of Japan to witness an explosion of it. Then to request surrender or we would use it. Truman chose to use it.

We are confronting a similar situation with Syria's use of chemical weapons. My suggestion is that we take the approach of the scientists in the 1940s.

Have the discussions we are having. Not just in Congress but also among the nations of the planet and all of its people. This will raise the awareness of us all of both what actually occurred, if true, and of our rejection of it as acceptable behavior in war.

Then I suggest we reach the conclusion that we will not take military action at this time. Instead, we will inform the Syrian government, and all governments, organizations, and people, that this is fully unacceptable. Therefore, should it happen again from any quarter, and there is not a full and acceptable explanation of why it occurred, there will be a military response. In addition, the military response will be backed by many if not all nations on the planet. It will also be sufficient to assure that this group will not do it again. Thus, the potential military response will be accompanied by discussions that either lead to confidence it will not occur again or the elimination of the group's ability to have that option by agreement or military action.

We are moving toward a planet of nations that governs itself based on agreements. We are moving toward a planet that resolves its differences by negotiations and agreements instead of warfare. Lets turn what now appears to be a liability into an asset by using this situation to prove to ourselves that we are ready to sustain the governance of our lives together on this planet inside agreements.

When two human beings come together, they have two choices: to compete or cooperate. If they choose to compete, they have chosen to return to the highest layer of maturity possible for us before we created the elaborate languages that allow us to be self-conscious beings. If they have chosen to cooperate, they have matured to where they are using this skill of self-consciousness to make an agreement to give priority to the common good of the two of them. As far as we now know, this ability is unique to human beings. When more than two people have reached this agreement, we call it "a society."

It does not make any difference how the society is structured, as a democracy, communist state, or dictatorship. What is fundamental to them all is that the priority is an agreement to give priority to the common good. Fundamentally, they are all cooperative organizations called "a society."

Lets cease this challenge to enhance our governance as a planetary society based on operating at the layer of maturity possible for us as self-conscious human beings. Let's reach an agreement, more universally embraced and with a deeper commitment than before, with clear consequences if breached, of how we want to live together with the existence of chemical weapons and other weapons of mass destruction. Russia, China, and all those who support the current Syrian government will be able to join in this agreement.

Then, instead of responding at the level of maturity before we created the skills of our elaborate languages and the self-consciousness they allow, we will be operating at one of the higher layers of maturity of which we are now capable: as a planetary society that gives priority to agreements over military action, over an eye for an eye.