What do history's most notorious despots have in common with many of the flag-waving, patriotic politicians of our day? Both groups rise to power through the exploitation of fear, which has become a societal plague. There have been widespread casualties. We need an antidote. Feardom offers its readers a much-needed immunization.
photo credit: Jokull
While shrouded in layers of propaganda and political intrigue, the foreign policy of the United States of America is really not too difficult to understand. In discussions with others, I have often employed the use of an analogy I created to demonstrate its core circumstances. It is simple to understand, and I have not yet encountered anybody who disagrees with its premise or implications (perhaps this blog post will change that streak). One might hope that this child-level analysis would be clear enough for politicians to comprehend, but it seems that their constant quest for campaign contributions clouds their cognitive capacity. But I digress.
Consider, if you will, a beehive. This beehive, like any other, is home to a community of bees focused on production, productivity, and survival. Left alone to pursue their private endeavors, the bees enjoy a symbiotic relationship with the rest of the world by obtaining nectar and assisting in the process of pollination. But one day, a new threat introduces itself into the beehive. A curious teenager named Derek was looking for honey, and, thinking of his Winnie the Pooh cartoons growing up, decided to shove his hand into the beehive.
Naturally, the bees go into defense mode and begin to retaliate. After all, it’s their home and their honey; Derek has no claim to what he is forcibly trying to take. So, he gets stung repeatedly. Shocked at this display of aggression on the part of the bees, he runs home and quickly returns with his pockets containing an arsenal of bug sprays and repellents—but not before crying to his mother in a grand display of self-pity, and rallying his family members to the cause of vengeance. Ready for the attack against what they now unanimously consider as pests, the family moves in on the wounded beehive from several angles—the mother whacks it off the tree with a broomstick, a sibling throws a rock at it, and Derek and his father attack the fallen community of bees with their weapons of mass fumigation.
Before this occurred, though, some of the more angry bees decided to strike back. They had departed the beehive in search of the family’s home, and finding the family absent, began to pursue and sting the unsuspecting and innocent toddler left behind in his bouncy chair. When the victorious family members returned, they discovered that poor Tommy was horribly swollen; the suicide bees were found only inches away.
The father took pictures to document this attack, and created a stirring video set to emotion-inducing music. He emailed it to his neighbors in an effort to tug at their heartstrings and elicit support for an all-out neighborhood offensive—a war on stinging. In Tommy’s name, the humans and bees were from that point in a never-ending conflict.
And to think, it could have all been avoided had Derek kept his hands out of the beehive…
While this simple analogy might be viewed as simplistic by some, its premise is sound and its implications are even sounder. An honest historical assessment of America’s foreign policy—especially in regards to the middle east—betrays a power-hungry, testosterone-driven (like a teenager, of course) collection of decisions that have killed, injured, displaced, angered, and offended countless millions throughout the world stage. Upholding dictators, dethroning democratically-elected leaders, supplying weapons and drugs, distributing foreign aid to corrupt leaders, giving consent to offensive military engagements, withholding support as a result of others’ decisions, passing resolutions regarding external affairs, training and supplying rebels, and a litany of other interventionist actions have all contributed to and resulted in a seemingly never-ending conflict between the American military machine and countries who lose our favor and blessing.
True, our hand has already been shoved into others’ beehives. But even the youngest of children can understand the logical action to take when being stung by a swarm of bees inside their own beehive. Remove your hand! Only then will the stinging decline in frequency and intensity. As a consequence of our initial, aggressive action, there will no doubt be subsequent stings from vengeful bees looking to teach us a lesson. But in this situation, we are not justified in using their retaliatory attacks as just cause for again fighting back. Remember—we started it.