The great majority of people in the world do not seem to respect
the principle of non-violence that India appears to uphold as the
ideal way of action. This includes most religious and political
groups in the Western world. Most people believe in self-defense and
even in preemptive strikes against those who may threaten them.
This attitude is obvious among the people of the Middle East,
where the tendency is to resort to violence as the first rather than
the last thing in a confrontation. Americans and Europeans are
slower to respond with violence, but they will not hesitate if they
feel their economic or political security is at risk, as occurred in
the Gulf war against Iraq in 1991. Many people claim that
non-violence does not work and allows one to be overcome by hostile
or tyrannical opponents. They say that violence is better, if
righteous in its aims, as long as its basic motive is protecting
ourselves against those who are evil.