Sunday, April 19, 2015

War

- There's this problem that's been bothering me for some time.
- What's that?
- You know how the European Union is destroying its weaker member countries by austerity policies, even though its own research institutions have reported that the only outcome of these policies is destruction. What I realizes is that, of course, the leaders of the EU don't believe in all this stuff they talk about, free market, tolerance. But what they do believe in is the punishment of austerity, at least when it is another's austerity. For the last hundred years or so wars, though generally involving a lower percentage of population, have been becoming more and more frequent.* This is because with the breakdown of colonialism there are more countries. There are also more democracies, and democracy don't fight wars at all with other democracies. They do however fight wars with non-democracies, and there are more of them too just as there are more democracies. Financial strength and high technology reduce costs and make it more likely that a country will start a war. Wars, ever less destructive and more frequent, with an average 60 percent chance of losing once initiated, still are a good investment if the rewards of success are high.
- And what new do you conclude out of all that?
- In The United States and the European Union the rich, through their control of political and economic institutions, are waging war against the rest of their people. That is the meaning of the neo-liberal austerity policies being imposed. The people don't realize what is happening. With the government approving monopolies and granting subsidies there is no free-market, and there is tolerance of your life style as long as you don't wake up and pay attention to something other than lifestyle, for example to the economic war that is being waged upon you. And do you know what really is interesting?
- What?
- The reason we poor deluded souls are being warred upon is because we are not democratic!
- We're in a democracy but we are not democratic?
- That's right. Our efficiently power sharing leaders look down upon us poor deluded souls with our tolerance and idiotic swallowing whole their free market lies. Democracy is the sharing of power between people but we have been rendered impotent: because we tolerate everything we cannot communicate with each other any suggestion of better or worse political action, we can't even communicate the idea it might be better not to be waged war upon by the class of democratic rich who control government and economic institutions.
- And the solution is?
- Obviously we have to become democratic too! I was talking to a geography professor at UCLA about these things. He told me that most wars now were civil wars. As new countries are being created, new wars have started within them. Ethnic and religious groups which were getting along fine dredged up memories of past grievances.
- Even if they had been democracies they, like the EU and the United States, found a basis to define a group as non practicing of democracy and thus the valid target of war.
- Yes. He gave Israel as an example. I told him how that day I'd had a conversation with an book editor and journalist and all around well connected big shot in Israel about his country's carelessness in defending itself against the charge it was occupying the Palestinian Territories, Gaza, and Golan Heights. He said,
- Israel is occupying those lands.
- They were taken in a defensive war.
- The UN passed a resolution in 1967 stating that lands won in war have to be returned.
- Against all previous historical practice.
- The idea is to maintain post World War II borders.
- Except for civil wars? The Chinese and Vietnamese communists took control of and have been allow to retain their whole countries.
- Israel isn't engaged in a civil war.
- Isn't it? It is true that the lands you mentioned were obtained in defensive war. But the people who want them back from Israel wish, openly state, even put it into writing, their demand that Israel totally cease from existing as a state. Both sides living in the same territory want permanent control of all of the same territory. Looks like civil war to me.
- The international community doesn't see it that way. Israel took the lands after invasion, and that is absolutely rejected.
- But you are looking at it wrong. It is true the land was taken in invasion. But then? The international law says 'give it back', but are these people, themselves not remotely democratic, really members of that in principle democratic body of states in which Israel is included if they openly deny the right of Israel to exist? Isn't it ridiculous to apply the law in this case? 
- The argument is that the Palestinians have been defined as outside the democratic community and so become legitimate objects of attack.
- Yes. Israel has no hesitation launching its own economic and social war against its own people, an assault at least as strong as ours and the EUs, but it is determined to not fight with the powers that be. The only way it can do that is to show its power to be a democratic member of that community in good standing, and they do that by refusing to be patronized and by not caring much about defending themselves against the rhetoric of the weak.
- How can we save ourselves? When trade and technology only make wars easier and more common, when though democracies don't wage war against each other they more and more often wage war within themselves?
- As I said: by being determined to become democratic ourselves.
- But how?
- By recovering our power.

Further Reading:
The Unconscious
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The Frequency Of Wars, Harrison & Wolf, 2011