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I have always opposed US intervention in the Middle East, finding it not only immoral but counterproductive. It obviously makes it probable that United States citizens, both at home and abroad, will be targeted in retaliatory attacks. Remember 9/11 but remember it with introspection and logic rather than emotional reaction. Why did it occur? How? Who were the perpetrators? Where did they come from? Who are their friends in the United States? All not only interesting questions but all too relevant.
Still, while I’m an active proponent of open immigration whenever reasonably possible, I find it both dumbfounding and distressing that the probability that our inappropriate actions will have very dangerous consequences at home was not the major consideration in the decisions by the Bush and especially by the Obama – Clinton administration to destabilize the governments in Iraq, Libya, Syria and elsewhere. Such activities precipitated massive refugee crises and in doing so facilitated the infiltration of revenge seeking people we denominate as terrorists, but terrorists we created, directly (think Al Qaeda and ISIS) and indirectly (families of people we’ve murdered).
The role of the mass media in all this is worse than inept, it is malevolent. It cheered on, indeed demanded and orchestrated such interventions and then, while considering restrictions by the Obama – Clinton administration on the entry by foreign nationals from countries in disarray (caused by us) as reasonable and proper, it has participated in a massive public relations and legal campaign to prevent similar restrictions by the Trump administration from going into effect. A campaign incongruously led by the leaders of the Obama – Clinton administration that created the crisis. They picked the countries that posed unacceptable danger,
This evening, the 3rd of June 2017, Europe was again subjected to improvised terrorist attacks virtually impossible to prevent. Again in the United Kingdom, again in London. But it could easily have been in New York City, or in Chicago, or in Los Angeles, or in San Francisco, or in hundreds of other United States cities. The terrorists would in all probability die but that would hardly matter to their victims’ families. That the terrorist might well have had reasons for their actions would also be irrelevant to innocent victims. We have long passed the two wrongs do not make a right stage and are now in the realm of tens and tens and tens of thousands of wrongs not making a right. And it may be too late to make things right, even if we wanted to. Can you imagine a meeting in Geneva prior to May of 1945 where the Nazis sought to iron out there problems with the few remaining European Jews?
In our own case, we ought not to have engaged in our Middle Eastern foreign military adventures at all but we did and we continue to do so. Where does that leave us? Sadly; hoping there is no Hell for one thing but also, disregarding any applicable ethics or morality, our leaders need to take prudent steps to keep our citizens safe without focusing on political opportunism. That includes assuring that appropriate vetting (erring on the side of caution) is required (and possible) before potential people with a strong interest in making us pay for our crimes are provided the opportunity to do so. And the members of our judiciary cannot become so enmeshed in supporting their political mentors that they place us and our children in harm’s way in order to score political points.
Too many progressives have permitted ourselves to be stampeded into participating in massive incoherence by political and mass media leaders who only care about generating crises they can use for political purposes, cynically evil people who manipulate us in the name of causes we care about but whose policies have in fact sidelined us from the goals that matter to us. People who mislead us with deceptive sleight of hand proposals that seem to address our cares while in reality assuring that necessary actions are sidetracked (think single payer health care and real environmental reform).
Rather than massive protests to block implementation of the Trump administration’s demand for assured vetting of people entering the United States from specific countries deemed unusually dangerous, we should have been massively protesting throughout the past decade and a half against foreign military intervention and regime change, against the murder of tens of thousands of innocents through cowardly drone strikes. We should be doing it now rather than responding to the continuing stream of emails demanding our political contributions, one dollar at a time, contributions that eventually just feed our corrupt politicians and our even more corrupt mainstream media.
Obama – Clinton Democrats are not liberal leftists as so many on the right perceive them although too many liberal and progressive leftists have permitted themselves to be manipulated into marching under their banners, into trolling social media in their names (the Russians have nothing on us in this respect, American exceptionalism rules the roost). The most relevant and objective critics of both Obama – Clinton Democrats and the GOP come from the real left, people smart enough not to buy into the purported Russiagate manufactured scandal or the attempt to overthrow our government through a Deep State led soft coup and smart enough to understand that the changes we need will come through the ballot box but only when we reform our democracy by ridding ourselves of the two current major parties as well as of what passes for journalism in the mainstream media.
But we are too few.
Let’s engage with our friends and acquaintances who are direct victims of the emotional manipulation that is destroying our national fiber, not by insulting them or belittling them but by educating them using facts and logic and kindness and tolerance, and perhaps, most of all patience. By not reacting to their parroted talking points in an offensive manner. By really listening to what they have to say and considering it.
And let’s do it before it’s too late.
© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2017; all rights reserved
Guillermo Calvo Mahé is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia. Until recently he chaired the Political Science, Government and International Relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales. He has academic degrees in political science, law, international legal studies and translation studies and can be contacted at [email protected] Much of his writing is available through his blog at www.guillermocalvo.com.