I wrote a blog but didn’t post it yesterday. It was filled with rage against my country’s ongoing violence abroad coming home; how we overwhelmingly think destruction is the appropriate response and escalate violence almost as an autonomic response. The idea is that whatever they were doing will be stopped by fear. The nukes we dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima got an immediate and unconditional submission from the Empire of Japan and they’ve been our puppies ever since. We see it works wonders against the “bad guys” in our movies and video games. And we think it’s working overseas because we thank our troops for “fighting for democracy” even though they don’t create democracy or the regional stability democracy requires in their high-tech violent intrusions into the lives and communities of foreigners.
The undeniable message to our youth is “Violence is the solution to any problem.” Want to make money to buy more healing potion? Break pottery, chop down trees or kill “bad guys” (that stay in their own areas while we go to them.) Our troops, though praised now, are traumatized by the awful experience of urban warfare and constant peril. And our children and grandchildren are internalizing this, taking weapons into schools and causing a lot of damage to each other and themselves AND TO THE STABILITY AND COHESIVENESS THAT DEMOCRACY REQUIRES!
The world no longer reacts as it did in 1945 and we haven’t adapted to that change. We’ve got quite a few fantasies and misconceptions to overcome before any of us can see reality clearly.
The North Koreans could be bribed into pretending to toe our line in the sand for a while and maintain the threat (and our excuse for many thousands of troops in South Korea and Japan and an overwhelmingly massive “Defense” budget), but our sanctions haven’t gotten submission out of them. I strongly suspect that both our bribes AND our threats have helped consolidate Kim’s Dynastic Dictatorship’s brutal power rather than weaken it.
Even the Cubans 60 miles south of Florida won’t submit anymore even though we’ve shunned them and embargoed them since Che and Fidel took away our own spicy version of Britain’s Bermudas and it’s Third World condescension to Big Daddy Warbucks. Our fictions about the brutality and repression there are maintained by wealthy refugees who have seized a great deal of political power in our southern-most continental state and continue to demand a tough-on-Cuba policy despite the facts. We’ve strengthened the Cuban government in the eyes of ordinary Cuban people who get government-provided excellent health care and education as a right.
Cuba’s health care doesn’t have to be negotiated with a vast network of extremely wealthy health care insurance providers who have purchased the Republican Party and its conservative base with massive advertisement, lobbying and a shell game to take a gigantic cut from various sources: employers, employees, patients; health care workers and providers; and, of course, our tax dollars from the US Congress. Since Hillary’s failed attempts to fix health care, the AMA has lost almost all its enormous political power to these far more wealthy and virulent economic/political parasites. We pay way too much for health care, but we don’t see that it ultimately comes out of our economy and our pockets. Cubans just go to the doctors and hospitals who do an excellent job of keeping them healthy and the government owns everything and has a monopoly on it all — but the Cuban Government (no longer led by Fidel or his brother) isn’t socking away money in a Swiss bank somewhere but is giving it back to the Cuban people in salaries and supplies for hospitals and schools. I personally believe they’ve got something the wealthy expatriates in Florida don’t want the rest of the world to see because it is working despite their form of government or the brutal embargo by their nearest neighbors and former landlords and employers who lost the economic and social advantages held selfishly by their families for the last 500 years. The average Cuban family in Cuba isn’t pining for the “good old days.” They are living their lives and learning to trust government once again.
Instead of fear, think of what friendship has done.
We rebuilt Japan and Germany. Of course, we’re now overstaying our welcome, but the good will we created after World War II (rather than the the punishment of Germany by the Allies after WWI or the high-tech threats to Medieval Japan in 1852 and 1853 where we forced them to industrialize) created vast wealth within the middle classes of all three countries and thriving trade and economic success.
We sent wheat to starving Soviet Russians after their bureaucratic farm management forced farmers to harvest wheat too wet to preserve and caused famine and their government lied to them about Chernobyl and sent their sons and daughters off on a brutal and foolish campaign in Afghanistan. And the Soviet people and the Soviet dictator lost confidence in their government and its policies.
We made China a “Preferred Trading Partner” despite Communism and their brutal suppression of civil liberties and gave back Hong Kong after the 99-year lease was up, honoring the agreement and communism is no longer the state religion of China. China is now using economics and trade agreements to take over the world rather than brutality and doing a pretty good job of it. They already own a substantial foothold in our own economy and carry a significant portion of our national debt.
It isn’t what we think that matters! It’s what we do, especially to our “enemies” and each other that matters! And a government being socialist or capitalist, dictatorship or representative democracy doesn’t matter half so much as where the money goes and what the government does with that money.
If we just followed the money and the perquisites, we get a much clearer picture who is taking more than their fair share out of the Gross Domestic Product that we all (socialists, capitalists, and freeloaders; conservatives, liberals; workers, managers, and financiers) collectively produce.