The events of the last few weeks in Ukraine expose our soft underbelly on all sides of the world. Democracies and totalitarian regimes alike. We crave some sort of game plan and yet definition and acceptance is beyond elusive.
We had a presentation yesterday from a fellow member here in Flalaland in a series we call Foreign Policy. This one happened to be on Biden’s Agenda as it relates to the world but it would be folly to ascribe it to one man. This evolved more into a discussion on how we see ourselves in this contrast between democracy and totalitarianism. Not only what works but who wins?
I have had my doubts about democracy and its utility for a while now. Not the basic tenets of course, but its application in real life. All men and of course women are created equal and are able to express their opinion via the ballot box or elsewhere. In the US we have legislative elections every two years and a presidential one every four. This should indicate slight movements either right or left of center. How is that working out for you these days?
The dictator approach is much cleaner and simpler. You do it my way or else. No discussion. I know what I am doing and even if you have a better idea it will never see the light of day. We don’t vote on infrastructure or arming to the teeth. We just do it. Environmental, economic or psychological concerns? You have got to be kidding me?
Putin’s war is as much about the conflict of ideologies as bombs bursting in air. It is not the fight for territory but for your soul. He has seriously mistaken the backbone of the Ukrainian people as well as the free world. Will he succeed? Dunno. It depends on how fervent we really are and how good our memory is.
During the talk and my readings this week I find myself fascinated that one man can inflict all this carnage…in 2022. We are supposedly a more educated populace and yet we did not see this coming. Today we have Xi, Kim Jong Un, Maduro et alia looking to be not only a national but worldwide top dog. Have we forgotten about Hitler and Bonaparte, Stalin, the Csars and petty dictators throughout history? Our desire to play nice is admirable but look where it has gotten us? Look how we have fawned over these characters? Perhaps our desire for wealth has clouded our senses? In a lot of cases we have really given the store away. All in the name of diplomacy….and our own profit.
If you look at these dudes it is hubris, selfishness, arrogance, greed, and revenge all rolled into one. Maniacal or shrewd? Probably a little of both. Character flaws?
It depends on your beliefs. It sounds trite but we can look at them as villains or saviors and therein lies the struggle.
At this time we go back to their childhoods and find a bad parent or experience. For Putin he was a KGB agent exiled to rural Russia in a ridiculous farmhouse headquarters. He was a nobody. In a leaderless Russia, post breakup of the USSR, he ascended without many obstacles other than a drunken Yeltsin. By making all his buddies and enemies rich on the way up, he guaranteed their obeisance. The downfall of the Soviet Union was the perfect ploy to get the people to rally. I feel his paranoia of a European invasion to be as absurd as his propaganda. But it worked.
The bigger question in my mind is whether or not these guys are weird or is there a little something of them in many of us? Happy Days takes us back to a time of drive ins and neat lawns. People were well to do of a sort but not in the gaudy ostentatious realm of today. You had a nice house, got an education, a job and lived happily ever after. You might say there were standards of decency that covered a broad spectrum. What happened? Or better yet was that all just a facade?
Now some will say they never had it good and I understand and respect that. As some became more educated they became reluctant to accept their plight. They rose in stature, and wealth became a vague notion without limits. Now people of all walks of life wanted it all. Power was no longer in the hands of the few. And the few did not like it. They found their world order being turned upside down.
With a new cognoscenti and glitterati, they weren’t subtle but bold and brassy. Thoughts that were crazy and revolutionary in the 70’s and 80’s turned mainstream at the turn of the century. 9/11 was as much a total devastation of our senses as a statement of what our world was going to look like. We had a brief and almost euphoric unity exemplified by American flags and the singing of anthems. Then we got back to our own business and it became about me once again.
Instead of taking over countries we were taking over corporations. We were fortified by technology that grew exponentially, demonstrating incredible efficiency. The buck was beyond Almighty and we had new deity, We had our new commandments, We could claim to be in the best interest of our stockholders but if we are honest it was in the best interest of me.
We can argue a rising tide floats all ships. Fair enough. And yet we have started creating the unattainable for most and the middle class is a vague notion. In our own politics and industry we have our own petty dictators. Scorched earth is for the everyman. Come one TTG, get on board or be left behind. Whether it is Trump or Pelosi, or Diamon or Bezos, are we all drinking the Kool Aid? Perhaps we are creating a new world order of our own. Is this after deep thought or are we just going along for the ride? Thnk about it!
Ted The Great
Greed.. intense and selfish desire for something, especially wealth, power, or food.
Revenge.,,The action of inflicting hurt or harm on someone for an injury or wrong suffered at their hands.
Narcissism…Having or revealing an exaggerated sense of one’s own importance or abilities.
Selfish…lacking consideration for others; concerned chiefly with one’s own personal profit or pleasure.
I know none of us exemplify even a speck of these attributes…
Amazon has acquired over 100 companies over the years. Imagine if they were countries?
The 2021 edition of Freedom in the World, marked the 15th consecutive year of decline in global freedom. Of the 195 independent countries assessed by the report, 73 experienced aggregate score declines and just 28 made gains, the widest margin of its kind during the 15-year period. There are now 54 Not Free countries, accounting for 38 percent of the world’s population, the highest share since the decline began.