Whenever I am losing focus or doubting my motivations for trying to get into the security/international relations/etc sector of politics, something like this pops up.
I do have other true, honest, strong interests. Science, Astronomy, Psychology, History, philosophy, journalism, domestic politics. But something like this reminds me of what I think of myself, What impact I think I can have....
Honestly, i don't know how we can effectively fight in this conflict with Islamic extremists/whatever you want to call them considering our policies and the size of our government/military. The military-industrial-congressional complex, among the other complexes, is so pervasive and deeply rooted now that I think we are constrained. All the parts reinforce each other in pushing America towards military action during international situations. And now this is just the latest article about how financial considerations influenced contractors who also happened to be "news analysts."
All of these things reinforcing themselves, instilling a subtle militarism in society, a reluctant semi-empire, a bitter Vietnam memory, and idealogical goals all in government. How can we actually fight an enemy the right way if we are constrained by dogma, conflicts of financial interest, and overbearing idealogical interests?
....I remember in my American Foreign Policy course sophmore or junior year that when we were talking about history in the 1st part of the course we got to WW2. We touched on one point on arguments of, barring the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, did we really need to go to war for ourselves? Ignore the plight of those suffering in Europe, Africa, and Asia, but was it necessary in our own self-interest to go to war. Japan was in no condition to actually invade. They never had a chance of fully conquering China and never tried. Maybe after a generation or two they could see what the situation was. And in Europe Hitler would need years and years to utilize all of its resources to mount strong attack all the way across the Atlantic. Our isolation from these other concentrations of power helped buffer us. The ocean walls really.
But one fear of not going to war was that we would have to live in defensive culture. Surely we could defend ourselves from most any Europe-led Nazi attack because as defenders its easier strategically with air forces fuel, etc. As long as we had access to an area of natural resources in central and northern South America, combined with a recycling program we could be fairly self-sufficient with regard to war material. And the region was realtively secure to defend against enemies having to cross an entire ocean as long as we continued to develop military technologies. In that sense we may not have HAD to go to war.
But the difficult part was that we would have to become a militaristic culture. Always on the defensive, always looking to stunt any threat of attack. That ideal and culture would lead to a repressive culture, perhaps. Insular. We would lose civil liberties in the name of security. Shred the Constitution a little. Start to lose our role as a republic. A democracy.
But we did go to war, and we did win it. Then we had the Cold War. Perhaps that has led to a similar effect. A generational conflict that led us to build institutions to be secure against a strong enemy. An arms race. A culture change. Perhaps the fears of the downside of the non-WW2 entry militarism/isolation did occur, to a much lesser extent during the Cold War.
Which brings us to now. The Cold War built up this military institution. In the past we always built up a military in times of war, but let it shrink in times of peace. In the Cold War, however, we had to keep a relatively large military fore, constantly aware. As President Eisenhower said in his farewell address: (paraphrasing) In the past people who made plowshares and tools could, in wartime, temporarily make swords and weapons of war. But after WW2 we needed a much larger scale of warfighting production. This has led to the necessary military-industrial complex. it is necessary, but we must always guard against its undue influence over our democratic government.
Hasn't this come to pass? Doesn't the military-contractor-congressional connection become so entrenched that it can hardly be rooted out? It seems to me that it stifles debate. Restricts options. Closes minds.
This leads me to wonder: how much of a democracy do we really have? Leaving alone the egregious acts of this administration, with such a complex in place, how much can the voice of the people be heard? Or even more dangerously, the people are swayed to believe what their leaders want them to believe, in order to pursue their agendas (idealogies, political motives, honest good fthe nation interests, whatever)?
What kind of government is that? Money interests are so deeply intertwined with the government on so many levels, in so many sectors, beyond the military, that I am led to question the very status of our government. Can an officially corrupt, money-interest led government on nearly all levels truly be considered a democratic republic? I know Jefferson and Jackson would reaaaallllly disapprove, but whatever we would have now is beyond their wildest predictions in any direction.
I read a book for my American Politics intro-level class back in sophmore year, I believe. In it the autor goes through the lobbyist/special interest relations with government, specifically the legislature. It is so intracate and connected to everything, this structure, that its corrosive. No, not corrosive. Things still get done in Congress, indeed more than ever in some sense. Butwhat gets done means less. It accomplished less. The gears are clogged with clutter.
But what can be done? Its nearly impossible for such giant structural change to unclog the system, realign priorities with whats best for the people, interests be damned, repercussions on elections be damned. His answer that it seems to be some sort of cataclysmic event. A gint natural disaster or a war. A big war, not a little one with a long insurgent campaign. A World War type of thing.
Well I don't see any major wars on the horizon (China's not much of a military threat and it makes no economic sense to have any sort of conflict with such interconnectiveness). So our only hope seems to be disaster. Of course, that implies lots of people and things are lost first. Cue Global climate change/warming. We may have to lose a few million people to it, but maybe we'll get our act together.
Maybe, just maybe humanity will finally more efficiently use its resources to both counter a destructive force and heal itself. Finally bring Africa and the rest of the utterly poor countries into the rest of the modern world. Live in a sustainable world. Maybe we will have to shift our priorities into a sector that does not have this money-interest dominance once we see the great major cities of the world begin to fight off flooding and sea level changes on unprecedented scales. Once hurricanes change paths as water and air currents change. As there are more Katrinas. As the Southwest in America becomes dry to the bone. As th west catches fire more and more each summer. As there is flooding a drought everywhere. As we lose ice shelf after ice shelf. Millions of species of plants and animals. As the great tropical forests of the planet wither and die by human consumption and environmental degradation The smaller island nations might be submerged, losing a population to whoever will take them.
Perhaps the greatest danger to humanity (outside of a celestial object or force impacting us) will finally force us in time to geto ur act together. To realize whats important and what great potential abilities we have.
So....our government is messed up to the core. Money in politics is corrosive, clogging, corrupting, unseemly, and immoral.
Someone ha to try to do what is right. DO things based on what is constitutional, legal, ethical, moral. Not what is profitable. I love capitalism and i know it is ver efficient if given the right regulatory structure, but our government should not be for sale.
And I want a governemtn I can be proud of. Maybe if I am ethical in government, somewhere, I can help....just a little bit. Be sensical. Not be mired in bureaucratic nonsense turf wars. Not choose financial incentives or interests or necessities over what is right and just.
Gotta start somewhere....
Maybe Plato/Socrates were right and an enlightened philosopher king ruler is the best type of government and leadership outside of small communes. But since that seems to be damn well impossible, unworkable, infeasible, and somewhat amoral, I'll take what we've got. Democracy may be the worst form of government, after all the others, but its what we've got.
And I'll be damned sure that I try to make it better. Somehow. Somewhere. I think I can help make this country better. This planet better, even in the tiniest of ways. If I think that, then I have an imperitave -no, a duty to do so. I may want to do this, but it is not a desire. It is my duty to try to help if i think I can.
Maybe then others can have fun in zero-g. Lucky.