Internationally renowned, best-selling author and inspirational speaker Deepak Chopra had a hard time explaining his comments about how Americans were to blame for bombings in Mumbai to the hosts of “America’s Morning News” radio show on Wednesday.
Mr. Chopra, a highly influential, self-help guru who counts Oprah Winfrey among his biggest fans, has sold millions of books published in eighty-five different languages about spiritual health attaining inner peace by becoming more accepting and tolerant of others. But his thoughts on foreign policy haven’t been as popular.
Mr. Chopra, who was born in India, said during a 2008 appearance on CNN that the United States was partially responsible for the bombings in Mumbai that year. “What we have seen in Mumbai has been brewing for a long time, and the war on terrorism and the attack on Iraq compounded the situation,” he said. “What we call ‘collateral damage’ and going after the wrong people actually turns moderates into extremists, and the inflammation then gets organized and appears at this disaster in Bombay.”
He went on to say that the bombings were conducted to terrorize Americans, not just Indians. “Ultimately, the message is always toward Washington because it’s also the perception that Washington, in their way, directly or indirectly funds both sides of the war on terror.” He also warned that the U.S. should be very careful not to alienate Muslims because “25% of the world’s population is Muslim and they’re the fastest growing segment of the population of the world. The more we alienate the Muslim population, the more the moderates are likely to become extremists.”
His remarks sparked a flurry of blogs and editorials, including one in the Wall Street Journal titled “Deepak Blames America.”
AMN hosts asked him on Wednesday if he still believed the United States helped perpetuate the violence. “It’s a misinterpretation of what I really said.” Rather, he said he supported “creative solutions” like cutting of U.S. dollars going to Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.
AMN then played the tape from his 2008 interview. Host John McCaslin then asked Mr. Chopra how he thought terrorists should be defeated.
Mr. Chopra, somewhat oddly, replied, “You don’t defeat the evil forces by throwing bombs at a wedding and then causing—”
“Americans aren’t throwing bombs at weddings,” interjected AMN host Melanie Morgan.
“No, no, we don’t do it consciously,” he said. “Imagine if some Mexican roadrunner was going after drug people in Mexico and accidentally threw a bomb on McDonalds? How would we react?”
“There is violence, there is accidental or collateral damage,” Mr. Chopra added. “You cannot deny that. You cannot deny that. So violence is not the solution to violence. Violence perpetuates violence.”