Why do we appear so willing to go to war with Iran and other countries?
I was watching the presidential debate and each time I do I’m struck by the amount of war mongering. Does not help that I think it’s largely done to get votes. And listening to the responses does not make me feel any safer.
The big why appear to be the fear of them setting off a nuclear bomb or something on US soil. Personally I think it’s to a large extent being afraid of the unknown, and of course the love mainstream media has for articles that scare people into buying their copy, accurate or not.
Foreign politics appear very mysterious so much so that it appears that the common man could not possibly understand it. (Of course there are a LOT of vested interests involved which tend to have the muscle to get their spin published. Which adds to the confusion.)
Looks like a recipe for war.
Have you ever had views of someone who you did not actually know, that changed once you got to know them? Once you spoke with them you discovered that they were very similar to you. Not to say that you had to agree with everything, but you now understood them and misconceptions that you had were corrected?
It happens to most of us. The interesting thing is that people are all the same when it comes to basic things. We love our family, group and country. We dislike being oppressed and made to do things against our will. We are willing to fight, and taking the risk to die, for freedom.
Having been fortunate to have visited several continents and met with people from literally all across the world, these are basics that have been shared by all. It did not matter what their politics were, what social, or educational, or any background they had.
The US constitution is unique. In fact every foreigner I’ve ever discussed it with wished they had it. Again, regardless of political views, etc.
Because in the end we are all people.
So why are we so willing to go to war? I’m not talking about vested interests which cook up some story so that they can invade someone and retrieve oil, or whatever. I’m talking about every day citizens.
There is a thing which people across the world are afraid of. The great unknown.
It can be the person next door, the people in the other part of town. Certainly people who live and speak differently and maybe live across the world. Because if there is unrest in Syria, or some other country, then we should just remover the “noise” by bombing or nuking them, according to some. Besides the obvious wrong, many people are way too eager to cause harm to others without having ascertained the correctness of their desired actions and proper use of force.
Sure we’ve been upset by someone and “wished they were dead!” But it’s simply an expression over how upset we were. Once calm and collected again we would not cause that harm.
Let’s switch it around a bit.
Let’s for arguments sake say that some countries did not like that we, oh lets say something very fictional such as, “drive too many cars”. Our use is threatening their way of life. Could be the extra gas consumption, how it ruins the air quality.
In this scenario most of the world is upset with us. Tourism drops as it’s seen by them as being supportive of our irrational ways. And we must be monsters for putting out all these fumes, threatening the ozone layer and so on. Indeed they all realize that they did not really know us after all. Because nobody they know would cause such harm.
(Similar to how people realize that they obviously did not know their spouse after all, after he or she did something, or was believed to have done something terrible or unreal.)
OK, so here we are. Countries around us start to move military closer to our borders because they know we can be a big threat, and clearly we don’t care about them. They decide to boycott us. Place sanctions to make us lower the number of cars we make and drive.
We are becoming more isolated, China wants to be paid for all the money we borrowed, and are now having harder and harder time paying back as other countries no longer want to buy our products.
In this scenario the world is no longer looking up to us, and indeed are heavily against us. Our neighboring countries are scared and putting up armies facing our borders to defend themselves from the fascist who are poisoning the planet.
Imagine what your response would be. You might would want to put up armed forces around OUR borders because they are so upset and might invade us! Let’s say a coalition of countries in Europe and Russia are year in and year out demanding we stop using cars. Talks about bombing the USA floats around in the media and the internet forums across the world.
You would feel threatened and uncertain about what would come next. Just look at the Cuban missile crises to see a real example.
If it was your neighbor next door who talked about taking your car away you might just tell them that you will kill them if they touch your car! You would poster up in an attempt to scare the person from touching your car. Never mind if they said that about your kids. You would be talking WAR!
The simplicity of it is that in order to know people and actually understand them, you need to communicate with them. Find out what their considerations are. Why they said what they said.
We already insulate ourselves from each other in cities because we “know” there are a bunch of scary people so we attempt to isolate ourselves. Build fences and if possible use barbwire around our homes. Resulting in less and less communication. And what we do get is from the media so we get even more scared and communicate even less.
The way out of that fearful and horrible life is to be in more communication with the environment. I’ve been a bouncer at disco’s and restaurants. Not because I’m this big guy, which I’m not, but because I can handle the situation verbally. When the other big bouncers could not handle a situation I was called in. OK, so I practiced martial arts for years and I have a certain confidence that goes with it. But I never threatened the “bad” guys. Typically I simply showed them how their behavior scared the other guys. By consulting their understanding I never had to result to force and always resolved the situation. (I’ve been face to face with cop killers, gang members etc. When we part ways we are best friends. Even though I did not in any way support their criminal activities as solutions to their problems. But I can communicate with anyone on any subject without getting antagonistic or copping an attitude. And I’m willing to understand others. See it from their point of view. Which, by the way, being a friend makes it much easier to point someone in more positive direction.)
The simplicity of foreign policy is that you need to treat others the way you want to be treated. Show others respect and you’d be surprised how much respect you would get back.
If you have done something wrong you don’t actually mind being corrected if you can’t figure out how yourself. It’s how you are being handled, and spoken to, that make the difference.
We as a country need to treat others the way we want to be treated. You don’t start a fight unless they throw one first. Which means if a drunk comes and assaults you, you don’t immediately start beating him/her up. You simply step aside or handle the immediate danger by holding them down so that they cannot hurt anyone. You don’t hit them. They are obviously not operating at full capacity. Posturing is a sign that you are weak and insecure. If you are strong and secure you don’t bother posturing. You simply handle things as they come up.
Some of you might even have the experience of saying you were wrong in order to make it easier for the other party to be realize they were wrong. By showing that you could be a reasonable person others feel it’s OK to open up. And thus you can initiate positive relationships, or at least have respectful disagreements.
The same applies to groups. Treat other groups the way you want your group to be treated. Countries are big groups. Treat them the way you want them to treat your country.
That is the basics of any foreign policy regardless if that means your family, neighbors or other countries.
Sanctions are not necessarily very workable. If you have a democracy then the politicians can be voted out of office or forced to change their policy by popular vote. However, sanctions against countries that are not democratic only hurt the civilians. South Africa under apartheid became a strong and resourceful country after the sanctions were placed on them. That is to say that blacks, coloreds and Indians did not get better conditions. Because many of the whites were ignorant and thought lack of western education meant people were less than them. Sanctions in their mind were simply seen as ignorance of the South African “situation”.
When you are the little guy you handle yourself the best you can. However once you get in a position of power you immediately inherit big responsibilities. You now have to set a good example, or you will destabilize your zone or area. USA must be very gentle and safe in dealings with other nations, or we’ll become the massive bully others want to take down. Usually by covert means as they cannot win any other way.
That does not mean we give up our muscle. It means we strike fair and firm when needed to. The trick with force is to only use it to get someones attention. Once you got it you back off. Resume communication and resolve it without force. Try it next time you end up applying force to handle someone. And by the way, your voice can be very forceful as well.