|By Eva Lyman|
A certain prestigious group in the United States has compared the current global policy to the charge of the U.S. Cavalry in conquering the Indians of the American West.
This is a fascinating, but unfortunate, comparison -- almost like a Freudian slip. One cannot help but wonder if this present-day version might not, in the long term, end up as Custer's Last Stand rather than a global victory.
Even in retrospect one must ask whether the U.S. Cavalry really resolved the Indigenous issue by attempts to bury them -- first by brutal force, then by continuing neglect of the constitutional issues. The Native Americans are still around, still fighting for their rights.
The real question is whether one can resolve cultural and political issues by force.
If this is the plan the U.S. wishes to pursue in the world, it is a worrisome model of "might makes right" -- not one of democracy and reliance on international law. No wonder the U.S. is so opposed to the new International Criminal Court.
What is the likely reaction from the rest of the world to U.S. plans of first strike? Is this arrogant policy on the part of the U.S. the beginning of a slippery slope to the demise of its greatness? Is it the beginning of global neo-feudalism, negating centuries of battles for human rights and freedoms? Must these battles be fought over again?
An over-arching ambition to be the sole super power and ruler of the world is bound to bring the U.S. into conflict with the Moslem world, the European Union, Russia and China, at the very least. Can Americans really defeat these four large blocks which cover a significant portion of the northern hemisphere and include about half of the world's population?
Let us look at some of the issues in turn. Consider first the 1.5 billion Moslems world-wide whom the U.S. is busily offending with its policies toward Palestine, its past and future wars on Iraq, and the recent war on Afghanistan. Most independent observers suggest that this policy is probably motivated less by a love of freedom than by an excessive reliance on oil. This would seem to be shortsighted, given the limited reserves remaining. It is also a policy that is influenced by Israel -- a country that must feel threatened by the same 1.5 billion Moslems who hate them and vastly outnumber them in a crescent stretching from Palestine to China.
Many of the Islamic countries are technologically backward. However, they seem to have a messianic resolve to fight the infidel -- and as can be seen by recent history, death is no deterrent.
How could it be that the man who dies in battle is rewarded with membership in the highest heaven, and with many joys not available in life on earth? Such promises result in an almost reckless bravery that is most difficult to combat by force. Here is, definitely and in the long term, a potential Custer's Last Stand for the latter-day cavalry.
Europe must also be looking at the U.S.'s aggressive stand with considerable dismay. Here is an ally who seems to be hell bent to be the bully around the world, already trying to discourage any counterbalancing European military developments that could rival its sole hegemony.
What can be the long-term outcome of this new relationship?
It is reminiscent of a family where the son, upon becoming a young adult, suddenly becomes an aggressive bully. He rushes here and there, helter skelter, beating up various smaller kids, alleging that they threatened him. The parents see the folly of his acts but are urged by the offspring not to get involved because, after all, they are old and don't know what they are doing any more.
In the end, the kid may even decide to kill his parents. What a tragedy that would be. No wonder the parents are beginning to feel they should arm themselves for their own protection. Just in case.
The destruction of history and cultural heritage, including centuries-old cathedrals and mosques, is no problem for this latter-day cavalry. Such things are seen as irrelevant to making money. When oil is at stake, the cradle of western civilization, Baghdad, will be bombed. The bombers are essentially devoid of a sense of either civilisation or history.
Russia and China are interesting sleepers. Neither country has a history of aggression against large adversaries. Both are huge countries, diverse in populations and unique in culture and history. The two have plenty of examples of resistance to enemy invaders, however, both in ancient and recent times.
If the U.S. decides to attack these colossi, it may face a different Custer's Last Stand. One would suspect that these nations would do what they have done in the face of past invasions: suffer, and passively, yet diplomatically resist whatever comes their way.
"To win you must first yield," says one Chinese proverb. Both nations have been around much longer than the USA. Together Russia and China comprise more than 25 per cent of all humanity. They may well be around much longer into the future.
Who will care if the U.S. expends its energies and, like a spent star, implodes inward? Who is really urging the U.S. on in its global adventures? Apart from the advocates for an industry that is bound to wane with diminishing supplies, is there anyone else who might benefit from the elimination of Moslem populations from the Middle East? From a bankrupt America?
Military expenditures are in the trillions of dollars. Essentially, this is money that is not constructive. It clearly benefits some financially, even creates jobs, but it is still a negative and dead-end approach to a vibrant economy. The costs and dangers are so horrendous that only madmen could think they are a long-term option.
Planners of policies that rely on pain and death must have a substantial dose of pathologies in their mental makeup. How some of them can call themselves Christian is simply not comprehensible. The central tenet of Christ's teaching is "Love your neighbour as yourself," is it not? Is it love that plans holocausts through biological, chemical and neo-nuclear weapons on any "who are not with us"? Will anyone who is not a boot licker, but chooses to follow an independent national policy be so labelled?
The U.S. should redirect its energies rather than pursue wars against fictitious enemies, claiming "we know they're out there". It should revamp its industries for the benefit of its own nation and all others. It could even be the same sectors, the oil companies and the military complex, who could take the leadership in new directions. In the end the U.S. would realise economic savings, even if it first subsidized this about-face through tax breaks.
The oil companies should save the remaining oil resources for use in more expensive and profitable plastics and other high grade manufacturing. It makes no sense to burn a scarce, non-renewable resource. They should also (perhaps with taxpayers' help) enter the renewable energy fields with vigour.
American industry has always shown vigour in new undertakings. This is an area where the "first comers" will reap great benefits. Research and development, manufacturing, sales, distribution -- all the aspects of this emerging new field -- would offer continuing profits and prosperity for many years.
The era of oil will surely end with the depletion of finite reserves. Whether that time is marked by chaos or an easy transition depends on whether the U.S. oil industry takes action now to vigorously pursue alternatives that are sustainable and non-polluting.
If there was a real will to combat poverty, the military/industrial complex could have taken up some aspects of the global war on poverty long ago. That this has not been done since the 1960s, when the war on poverty concept first came up, suggests that the will was never there and that the slogans were just empty words.
Nevertheless, it is not too late for change.
Industry might build prefabricated homes instead of war planes, for example. These could be exported around the world, promoting better lives for millions. Unfortunately, there is more interest in creating weapons of mass destruction. No doubt they are more profitable. And of course, to ensure continued profits, the product must be used up; therefore they need wars.
Here comes the new cavalry: the riders of the Apocalypse!
The long-term problem is that depleted uranium bombs -- such as were used in Iraq, Yugoslavia and Afghanistan -- are creating increasingly greater swaths of our earthly habitat that are becoming permanently unliveable. Not just inhabitants, but ground forces on both sides of the conflicts, are contaminated by the nuclear material, suffering sickness and earlier death. Worse, the threat is that this contamination will eventually spread to people all over the globe, so weakening them that normal offspring will no longer be possible.
Extinction will be the end result.
It has been suggested that those in control of the world's destiny are fully aware of what they are doing. Word has it that they have bought land in the southern hemisphere, which has so far (accidently? by design?) escaped contamination.
The universal biosphere is totally interconnected, however, and northern contamination will move south in time. Given that the half life of radioactive materials is measured in thousands of years, the earth will, all too soon, be totally inhabitable for people. Glow worms, insects in general, will inherit the earth!
I would prefer a less psychopathic world where leaders do not suffer from paranoia, a persecution complex and greed. Rather, they should follow the basic teachings of most every religion known to man that ask us to be ruled by love and respect for life. I am not alone in this desire. Few of us want to end up massacred -- as were the Native Americans after a successful cavalry charge.
In fairness, perhaps the leaders of the new cavalry are good and responsible people who only suffer severe myopia. Let us give them the benefit of the doubt for the moment. Perhaps we can convince them of the error of their ways and lead them to a different scenario.
It has been said that "people united can never be defeated". Citizens all over the world need to network and speak out -- perhaps we North Americans more loudly than others. We first need to determine the kind of world and what forms of governments we want. To this end, we must look at alternative models. Consensus will need to be through many groups.
Let me end where I began: with the old cavalry and the Indian wars.
It's a real pity that the indigenous cultures were so put down in the past, for those in North America had many interesting concepts of governance. Some had apparently been used as a model for the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Since we now seem to be busily demolishing these copies, we might perhaps revisit the originals before we again hit bottom and feudalism.
Communication with the First Nations' elders is easier today because most indigenous North Americans now speak English. We should see if the circle could not replace the pyramid as a decision-making model. And we need to deliberate on ways to update the circle for the 21st century.
Today's leaders will suffer irreversible cardiac arrest when they discover that their cherished plans for global power are doomed to result in global collapse. And then we, the people, will need to be ready to take the lead.
|Formerly a planner in governmental agencies across Canada, Eva Lyman now lives in B.C. where she devotes her time to environmental advocacy projects and freelance writing.|