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THE POLITICS OF FEAR: BOTH REAL AND MANUFACTURED

December 16, 2015

THE POLITICS OF FEAR: BOTH REAL AND MANUFACTURED

I viewed both segments of the Republican “debate” on CNN last night and watched the war hawks manufacture fear by the truckload as a rationale for their election in their desperate lusts for power. The environment was mostly that of an echo chamber of bullies on the appropriate use of American military power, ranging from carpet bombing of women and children already terrorized to World War III with Russia if one of their planes violates a no-fly zone we will establish.

It occurred to me that the moderators of the “debate” could and perhaps should have asked what our response should be if Putin established a no-fly zone over ISIS territory and shot down American planes who violated it, or if Assad established a no-fly zone over America and somehow found the military withal to enforce it (domestic terrorists with shoulder-held missiles, for instance).

Have these Republican echo-makers decided to amend our calling card from the United States of America to the United States of Bully? How does that win friends and influence people in an increasingly global society we are trying to put together? This is not (read 19th century European imperialism in Africa) Khartoum and Gatling Gun slaughter time for latter day imperialists and hawks today; some of the people these hawks apparently wish to slaughter have atomic bombs and missile delivery capabilities themselves. Somebody should tell these Republican hawks that times have changed; that this is the 21st century, not the 19th, and that imperialism has had its day that we should be talking to these people, not killing them in our eternal quest for oil.

An old saying goes like this: A man convinced against his will, is of the same opinion still. The Republican hawks apparently think that soldiers can root out ideas; that if you beat somebody up he or she will change their minds. Not so – you only further nurture disguised hatred – as we should have found out with our Iraqi adventure and Bush’s alignment with the Shiites there, taking sides in a centuries-old religious dispute with the Sunnis. This miscalculation has led directly to the formation of ISIS and, sad to say, however ISIS is handled (even if successfully by our standards), there will remain old hatreds that can blossom into new political expressions adverse to “our interests,” aka the interests of Big Oil (outside of polite company).

Eradication of ISIS for the long haul will not be accomplished with military force, and expressions of political hatred will linger even if ISIS is effectively eradicated. Republican hawks are proposing 19th century tactics for a 21st century realignment of political reality in a new world of globalization under the umbrella of the politics of fear, which I for one reject. The purpose of war, as my old World Politics professor insisted, was to “make the other guy do what you want him to.” By such standard, we have lost the war in Iraq, and are set to lose the war with ISIS, whatever the military outcome. One must win the peace following military victory, as history has shown we did after WW II in the now democratic Germany, Italy and Japan. We won the war AND the peace. I heard no plans for peace last night.

The only non-hawk in last night’s conclave of bullies was Senator Rand Paul, denounced by the bullies on stage as isolationist, but no matter. He is otherwise disqualified for the presidency because he holds to the libertarian principles of his father which champion Gilded Age and Social Darwinism economic views and refusal to be bound by the will of the majority, one of the bedrocks of democracy. Libertarianism is the thinly disguised forerunner of nihilism, the exact opposite of policies we need to enact and tactics we need to follow to bring a measure of peace and prosperity to our country and the world in dire need of cooperation and not conflict (see global warming, bad air etc.).

Net result? Every Republican candidate whether a member of the echo chamber or not is disqualified from holding forth in the Oval Office because (take your pick or combination of picks) they are toadies for Big Oil, Big Money and Big Defense Contractors, bullies, libertarians (see Cruz and Paul), hold antiquated views on the uses and outcomes of military power, ignore wage inequality and other vital interests of ordinary Americans etc. I could go on and on because the list is painfully long, but won’t due to limitations of time and space.

Last night some of the post-debate pundits were talking about who we should fear most, i.e., China, Putin, ISIS etc. The first word that came to my mind was Republicans, speaking, if we must, of fear. I will not be voting for any of such hawks and libertarians and trust those reading this will join me.   GERALD    E

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