War might be the inevitable condition of mankind.
By this I’m not saying humans are bad. Humans are humans. Even if you believe they were built by G-d, keep in mind they were built of the “clay of the Earth.” In a more evolutionary sense, we have, in our construction, lizard and ape and from what my son tells me, when he discusses structures in the brain, some of which still cause us to react, other things, too, like fish, and shrew.
Upon all this, we impose a structure of rationality and we say we’d like to have peace. (Like who wouldn’t? War sucks.)
But Freud, wrong on most things, was right on one thing at least – our thought processing doesn’t go on at the rational level, or at least not most of it. There’s a ton of stuff going on at the backend, stuff we’re not even aware of except vague feelings and ideas.
Complicating the situation for lasting world peace are two problems: the first is that most people aren’t really well acquainted with the contents of their own mind. This also isn’t a criticism. No, seriously. It’s a professional hazard that I have to spend way too much time examining how I think and come to decisions – because it’s important to create characters that sound real.—Spend too much time in the grey stuff, and you start being able to justify just about anything. If you haven’t had a very strong formation, you will entertain five heinous things before breakfast. OTOH spend too little and join in tribalism and the effects on group cohesion of attacking the same person, and war at any level is all too easy.
The other problem is that there is no over-authority that can prevent this. Every hope that an international body would do it missed the fact that international bodies are made up of humans in tribes. So, in the end, they worsen it.
Blame for war after the long war in Europe was placed on many things. The Europeans think it’s the fault of nationalism, and so have refused to stand for their own homelands, have instituted open borders to hostile immigrants, and have generally been committing suicide.
They blame all sorts of other things, too – militarism, the existence of armament’s, science (“If only we hadn’t invented the nuclear bomb.”) etc.
But none of that matters, because what causes us to go to war is what causes us to be humans. There are good sides to tribalism: without it we’d each be loners in a state of nature and the species would long since have died out. And there’s good sides to bellicosity. Without it, that mutant shrew who’d lead to us would have been someone’s lunch and we wouldn’t be here.
The same war like impulse that kills unprovoked, also defends the defenseless. The same nationalist impulse that caused the Nazis to goosestep (and frankly focusing on nationalism as the driver there is insane. As well focus on New Age Theories.) causes a country to provide mutual assistance to the weakest people, and to try to make their territory safe for their citizens. (And btw, the impulse to help others goes down as the surge of unrelated – blood or beliefs, including national allegiance – people come in.)
So even the best, most benevolent overseeing body in the world couldn’t stop war. It could at best, make them regional, smaller, and probably more vicious.
Actually we know exactly what a benevolent body can do. The US, poor Aspergers nation among nations, took seriously the “peacekeeper of the world” mission. Americans have not only bled in battlefields where there was no American interest involved, they’ve bled in contravention of objective American interest. For those following along at home and impressed by the “No blood for oil” slogans, it might interest you to know not even our oil companies benefited. We let France and Russia take all the contracts. Which either makes us prize patsies or well meaning people. Or yes.
And what the US has done is a) keep bleeding and dying b) impoverish itself while nations that no longer needed to defend themselves called us war-mongering. C) botched a few things, because in war as in commerce, you can’t make a decision for other people on what they want. Not in the end.
Which is why at long last, the US elected the man other nations wanted us to elect, the man who would make us just the same as the other nations. One in the group.
So, we’re disarming while Russia is on the march, China is testing weaknesses, and the middle East burns.
The first impulse is to say “well done, you prize idiots” and to step in and calm things down. You see, we don’t want war anymore than anyone else. And if we step in and calm things there will be fewer/smaller wars.
But here’s the thing: we’re broke. And the rest of the nations of the world haven’t been particularly thankful. In fact, they predictably hate us for not letting them slug each other to death.
Fine. If we’re going to be a peer among peers, we have to do something other nations have done since the dawn of time, to secure a generation or two of peace: “Let you and him fight.”
I.e. Russia and China? If they’re fighting each other we’re (relatively) safe from them. The Middle East? Protect Israel (our ally. Allies are important when we need them, and we will because war is inevitable.) and let the others fight.
Unsightly you say? Heartless? The world will burn and there will be piles of dead? And think of the children?
Look, bub, I don’t like war any more than you do. And I have very strong objections to dead children.
But there is no third option. Humans are not malleable. They can’t be posed into something they’re not.
There’s been war since Ogg beat Mogg over the head and stole his mammoth steak. There will always be war.
We’ve proven – and proven and proven – there’s no such thing as an impartial international body, and the US has done better at being impartial than the rest of those organizations.
So, you can let the US be the world’s policemen, with all the ugly stuff that entails, including anger and resentment from those we protect.
Or you can promote “lets you and him fight” and tend our garden, and look after ourselves, while the rest of the world burns.
Both solutions are unpalatable, but no one ever said life was fair, and heck, this administration might have closed the other door for us, and we might be down to “lets you and him fight.”
Most of us haven’t lived in a world without Pax Americana, and if we have to, we’re in for a bumpy ride.
But it could work, which rubbing the lamp and wishing for peace doesn’t.
As could – as does – Pax Americana. It doesn’t work perfectly, but it works better than anything else.
So – what is it going to be? Unpalatable one or unpalatable two?
A hated giant bestriding the nations, or a meek equal quietly saying “Let’s you and him fight?”