Inclement April

It is a cold and wet morning; raindrops are dripping from budding stems and starlings are sitting on the bird feeder looking very damp. The squirrels are very busy, scampering around to hide the nuts we left for them. Occasionally they chase away a competitor, only to return to their little treasure, which they eagerly bury. It is an April morning in a time when war is raging not far that from here and people are worried that it could spread. The birds and the squirrels are happily oblivious of the atrocities that war has always produced, and only human beings seem to be capable of extreme cruelty for cruelties sake, following goals that only they will understand.

It has become abundantly clear that some countries still tend to use armed force to impose their will and change the direction that a population has overwhelmingly chosen. There is ample evidence that the economic strategies of groups of countries are far from peaceful and that they can become aggressive to the point of armed hostility. The balance between competition and cooperation is still one-sided and based on the diversity of concepts for individual societies, which are seen as in competition with other concepts. The concept of consensual coexistence does not seem feasible for anyone outside the EU, where such conflicts have become unknown. There are still territorial issues that seem unresolved, at least from the perspective of some countries. This does not seem to be limited to collectivist-oriented regimes, although the smaller the countries involved, the less likely they are to cause a conflict.

Global diplomacy has clear objectives. Until we can agree to live together in harmony around the world and put aside border issues, we will be forced to defend the values we cherish credibly in alliances, even if we know that this can get out of control. As rational as humanity believes itself to be, we are in danger of destroying our environment through armed conflict. Inevitably, this means that different ideologies will border one another. Expecting countries to become independent buffer zones to reduce tensions is unrealistic. Who has the right to force others to take on this role, and who can deny countries with shared values the partnership they seek?

I have come to the conclusion that wars are not only caused by despotic personalities who gain power and exercise their control in a way that is detrimental to others. This is certainly true in areas of the world where people live in isolation and are unaware of developments taking place elsewhere that could threaten them. This war was caused by politicians who have long had no respect for other people, their freedom and well-being, their autonomy and self-respect. The politicians who caused this war, have regularly imposed their will on others simply because people had chosen to live their lives in a way they did not agree with.

But the war was also caused by people who were not politicians and who, despite their freedom and privileges, also had no respect for others and imposed their will on them, for profit or out of prejudice and bigotry. Some of these individuals abuse people, mistreat people, kill and maim people, rob people and take away their livelihood. Some of them sell people and spread drugs and fear. They have no respect for the law or any order that could restrict their activities. The war was also caused by people who pay these criminals or are paid by them to keep quiet.

Wars are caused by all of us, to the extent that we do not care what politicians or criminals do, if we are informed and have some degree of control over our lives. If our only interest is our own happiness, what we allow to happen elsewhere will eventually happen to us. Democracy doesn’t work when people are complacent and only voice their displeasure in their living rooms or when intoxicated, getting their information from social media. Governments must be controlled by voters, and voters must be informed by an independent press that seeks the truth, not by partisan propaganda sources that promote the policies of individual parties.

In the words of Dwight D. Eisenhower:

“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron.”

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