I keep searching for something that will explain everything – or at least a big part of everything. And it seems to me that hatred explains a lot.
Hatred is a subtle emotion that can become addictive. We do not realize how dangerous it is, or how common it has become. Love, by contrast, has become difficult – and even seems dangerous.
I spent some time reading the Sept 27 issue of the New York Review. Keeping up with this is an education in itself – but a pleasant education, since you can chose what to read.
Although I get a preview of every issue sent to me online, I still get more out of looking at paper, marker pen in hand. But the online version (you need a subscription to view the whole thing) does allow you to make copies of text you want to refer to. Such as this from The Return of ‘The Runaway General’
Many journalists and commentators have predicted that war will break out once the Americans leave [Afghanistan]. The simple but startling outcome of the NATO summit in Chicago in May was that there is apparently no “Plan B.” Every source I have consulted has made it clear that there are no contingency plans if the promised withdrawal of Western forces by 2014 becomes very difficult to carry out; if US and NATO efforts to stabilize and strengthen the Afghan regime fail; if efforts to reduce rising ethnic tensions between the Pashtuns and non-Pashtuns are unsuccessful; if the 350,000-strong Afghan army and police do not hold together; if neighboring states like Pakistan and Iran step up their battle for influence; and if Pakistan does not stop giving sanctuary to the Taliban. A lot of things have to go right before the withdrawal can be seen as successful. On the other hand, only a few things have to go wrong to turn it into a debacle.
Do Americans care? No, most Americans do not read the Review. They are satisfied with hating the Taliban – even though they have no idea what it is. If some magical way were available to eliminate Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran (plus a few other Islamic trouble-makers) instantly – Americans would not hesitate to demand its use.
I hesitate to recommend the next article The Tragedy if the European Union and How to Resolve It, by George Soros because it is so long. I think it would be reasonable to state that the formation of the EU was a matter of love (self-love, perhaps, but still love) and its destruction is a matter of hate – or at least a disinterest on the part of the rich countries of the EU for the poor countries.
Perhaps the EU had benevolent intentions when it admitted these countries – perhaps. But it did not realize what problems this would entail. And once these problems became apparent, it (mainly Germany, that is) could not resolve them – largely because it didn’t want to.
Now for the book It’s Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided with the New Politics of Extremism. Here again, Americans are not interested. This is about reality, and they are no longer interested in that:
As they say, the “the most powerful potential leverage in any democracy is the ability of the citizenry to ‘throw the bums out,’” but the reality is that “during difficult times such as the present, [voters] tend to broadly condemn Washington or Congress, which is more likely to reinforce the structural dynamics that produce gridlock than to generate a constructive call to action.”
The prose is too academic for my taste, but I cannot argue with its conclusion.
China comes in for its share of attention too, in China’s Lost Decade. China was once regarded as the country that could do no wrong (economically, at least) – but now seems to be doing everything wrong.
And closer to home Mexico at War. My family has close ties to Mexico, we used drive there all the way from Illinois for every year-end vacation. It was a nice place to vacation then, and I developed a deep liking for the people.
I can hardly believe how bad it is now – only fifty years later! And much the same could be said about Guatemala and Honduras. Their problems are partly their own – but they were made much worse by their big neighbor to the north.
America was not interested in helping them – only in using them. This attitude cannot be described as hatred – but was something close to it.