Pax Americana…Good Morning Vietnam!…

…The first war to intrude into my living room was Vietnam. My generation grew up in the Cold War. The movies we watched were about the Nazis. Hitler, Auschwitz, Dunkirk,and Steve McQueen escaping from a prisoner of war camp were the images crowding my brain as a child and competing for storage space with Bambi and the Wizard of Oz. Yet it was the relentless and depressing intrusion of Vietnam that seemed to overwhelm our evening’s television viewing. Today it is Iraq. Baghdad has replaced Saigon. The machinery of war is big business and the killing fields are good for corporate profits. The human tragedy that is the focus of the drama matters little to the cynical. As the Wikipedia puts it, “Culling is the process of selection of surplus animals from an animal population. In a wild population the selection is often done by destroying the animal immediately, in a domesticated situation the culling process involves selection and the selling of surplus stock. The selection may be done to improve breeding stock.” Well they sure did some culling in Vietnam. It was the first televised war in human history. Iraq is the first blogger’s war. The front line is hosted by Google. Not content with this the Pax Americana is determined to do a rerun of the cold war. Cold War II. By planning to place missiles in eastern European NATO member states the Americans have provoked Vladimir Putin into threatening to target western Europe for the first time since the fall of the Berlin Wall. The Bush Administration has lost all grasp of the fundamentals of geopolitics. History has taught us you do not isolate Russia. The Monroe doctrine has it’s eastern European equivalent, the cordon sanitaire. Yet trying to contain instead of engage Russia is a very dangerous game of poker. Putin is not a megalomaniac like Stalin. He is an intelligent statesman acting in Russia’s best interest, who is trying to regain the losses that the country suffered in the days of the Yeltsin sellout. Demonising Putin in the media will not make Europe a safer place. I lived for a short period in East Germany and know and love Dresden, the city where Putin worked for the KGB. The jewel on the Elbe is a potent reminder of the horrors of war with both Slaughterhouse Five and the Frauenkirche to remind us of the Faustian dilemma we face in modern society. Bertrand Russell said in “In Praise of Idleness”, 1935 that, “Modern methods of production have given us the possibility of ease and security for all; we have chosen, instead, to have overwork for some and starvation for the others. Hitherto we have continued to be as energetic as we were before there were machines; in this we have been foolish, but there is no reason to go on being foolish for ever.” The Pax Americana has yet to take up his advice.

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About Leighton Cooke

The Original Cookiemouse
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