Tuesday, July 23, 2013


Gary Hart had a good level-headed piece up at HuffPo at the weekend: Diplomacy where it is Needed Most:

We currently have differences with Russia over Syria, Iran, missile defense, and, to some degree, arms reduction. There is also that pesky leaker, Snowden, hiding out in the transit section of the Moscow airport.

Some say, because of these differences, President Obama should not meet with President Putin in Moscow following the September meeting of the G-20, basically Europe plus Russia, in St. Petersburg. One opposition party Senator has even said that President Obama should not go to the G-20 meeting unless it's moved out of Russia. So much for diplomacy... and statesmanship.

The excessive anti-Russian sentiment within U.S. foreign policy circles remains a mystery. Left over Cold War resentments, more than 20 years later? Old grievances even before the Cold War? Failure of Russia to do what we want it to? Who knows. No one is saying.

I don't understand why many retain such hatred of Russia. Isn't it long past time that people of the USA began to realise that the only real enemies out there are the people leading: governments (any governments), military industrial complex, corporate power and big business, aided and abetted by complicit media ? People, ordinary people, all over the world are really just like the rest of us. Their priorities, as most of ours: to live as peaceful and contented a life as possible, care for family, meet whatever challenges come along, hopefully with good grace. Ordinary people are not interested in being part of an empire, they do not, left to their own devices, hate each other for any perceived freedoms, or for their different lifestyles.

I get that Joe McCarthy scared the living daylights out of y'all in the US regarding Russia, but that was long, long ago, in the 1950s. Not many who remember that time in any detail will still be around.

This built-in hatred, not only for Russia, but also for Islamic countries, China, and others - and for anything not fully understood - is fostered, encouraged, fabricated even, in order to provide dichotomies, stir up fear and confusion. All the while The Powers That Be are keeping the money flowing to the military and to the ultra-wealthy 1%, while the rest of the people are kept busily distracted, hating.

“... in a cycle as old as tribalism, ignorance of the Other engenders fear; fear engenders hatred; hatred engenders violence; violence engenders further violence until the only "rights", the only law, are whatever is willed by the most powerful.”
― David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas

Lines from an old post of mine (2009):
When we were in South Dakota last week, enjoying one of the many sights there, I heard a nearby group of tourists discussing the political situation. One of the group said "all Muslims are terrorists, and now we have one in the White House". On another occasion, in an antiques mall in Nebraska, another group of people stood discussing health care, and though I didn't hover too long, as I passed by them I couldn't help hearing just one sentence deriding what is, in the USA seriously misunderstood and looked on as a dirty word: "socialism".

From Rogers & Hammerstein's "South Pacific":
You've got to be taught before it's too late,
Before you are six or seven or eight,
To hate all the people your relatives hate,
You've got to be carefully taught!


mike said...

The individual has many choices to select a paradigm for their personal beliefs and what influences to allow in that process. It's hard to understand that the collective of personal beliefs is called culture and society, which determines what governs, entertains, merchandises, and disdains.

Just look at what currently influences the American public to bear an understanding of how we ultimately get what we deserve. The vast majority of Americans occupy their minds with self-dribble.

There is a counterculture that slowly grinds away at the echelons, but our complacent society is currently a vast majority. Your post yesterday regarding the lack of protest songs addresses this point, too. In the 1960s and 1970s, there became a huge counterculture that developed enough inertia to reshape society.

“We can spend our lives letting the world tell us who we are. Sane or insane. Saints or sex addicts. Heroes or victims. Letting history tell us how good or bad we are. Letting our past decide our future. Or we can decide for ourselves. And maybe it's our job to invent something better.” Chuck Palahniuk

Twilight said...

mike ~~ There's a lot of self-dribble (good description of yours!) around, which must be over-laying the impression people of the USA used to be keen to project to the world - more or less as I described
to live as peaceful and contented a life as possible, care for family, meet whatever challenges come along, hopefully with good grace - all apple pies and Moms and Dads, and summer camps and vacations at the coast, and a bit of John Wayne on the side (hold the John Wayne for me please!!)

Here's a theory - going back to around the 1950s, the people were really as I described in the previous para. The Powers That Be (or Were) saw in the populace an easy "mark" for their con games. "These people are sweet, kind and innocent - ripe for the plucking", they thought. And so began the slow-dripping mind-warp eventually flowing into to what we see now. A divided, mean-minded, hate-ridden nation.

It's a theory......

Time has come for another dose of counterculture.

DC said...

before I moved to Istanbul, I heard nearly every relative and most friends express their disdain of a country that they actually new nothing about.
I heard all the derogatory comments insults bigotry and just plain ignorance about the place where I was moving, and where I have lived happily for the past two years.
Turkey is a secular country, and yes predominantly Muslim....but even the average Muslim rejects extremism here, especially where Islam is concerned....just like an average Christian might resent a harsh Evangelical hard liner.
All people want or desire, like you said peace, tranquility and the basic pursuit of personal happiness and basic freedoms.

Early on (before arriving here)I would often look up travel quotes to hear what others had to say about foreign countries.
I won't bore you with too many but these always stood out to me and your post reminded me of them:

"Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends".

Maya Angelou

"To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries".

Aldous Huxley

"You know more of a road by having traveled it than by all the conjectures and descriptions in the world".

William Hazlitt

Twilight said...

DC ~ Thanks for your thoughts on this - coming from your own real life experience they are especially valuable and very welcome!

Super set of quotes too! :-)