Foreign Entanglements

George Washington warned of “foreign entanglements.”

FDR gave it a context, “Our national determination to keep free of foreign wars and foreign entanglements cannot prevent us from feeling deep concern when ideals and principles that we have cherished are challenged.”

Obama brought it home, “America is not the world’s police man. Terrible things happen around the globe. And it is beyond our means to right every wrong. But when, with modest effort and risk, we can stop children from being gassed to death, and thereby make our own children safer over the long run, I believe we should act.”

The key to watching a president is hitting the mute button the second after he walks away from the podium. Otherwise, the pundits will tell you what you think about what you just saw.

Instead, I discussed it briefly with a friend and went for a swim in Lake Michigan. It was 90-degrees last night and the lake felt like air conditioning. When the sky is black, and the lake is black, and only your thoughts are colored with the pensiveness of reflection, then and only then, can you begin to see things for yourself.

That last sentence was heavy. I apologize. But contemplating war is deserving of heaviness.

I don’t know what to do. And I’m not here to convince you. I don’t have a crystal ball. Those who predict the future turn me off. Using the past to forecast the future with absolute certainty is the calling card of charlatans.

Bombs don’t make sense to me. Drones don’t make sense to me. Guns don’t make sense to me. Wars don’t make sense to me. Winning, and the uncontrollable desire to win, are best left on the racket ball court.

These aren’t games. You can’t keep score with lives. At the same time, in my adult life, I’ve noticed an ease of abusiveness which can only be met with force, preferably deadly.

I’m not a violent person. That’s a lie. I’m capable of immense violence. All of us are, if we’re honest with ourselves. I choose to take the impulse out on myself by pushing myself, always pushing myself, to write better, think more clearly, land the joke with just the right twist of phrase.

Mostly, I fail. But my intention is in the right place, which is all you can ask; otherwise, you’re chasing a result, which is the mad-dash to nowhere, best left in your 20’s.

Today is September 11th. It’s the anniversary of the day my life ended in New York City. The world around me changed and what little momentum I had managed to build for myself crumbled.

The architects of the attack thought they were liberating us from the tyranny of capitalism. They weren’t.

In reality, it was nothing more than a violent disruption from above, a foreign entanglement with no strings attached, Hell.

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13 Responses to Foreign Entanglements

  1. vince says:

    Obama is a diplomatic fox. John Kerry acted it out perfectly. He slipped in an opportunity, yes a difficult one, to use diplomacy to avoid acts of war (and certainly death). Russia was not going to allow the UN to take action. They have veto power. Russia has a close allegiance to Assad (big$ and strategic regional ally they don’t want to lose to a potentially US friendly government). Putin, being a bully and stubborn, would never change his mind and vote for UN action to punish Assad; even with smoking gun proof.

    Obama knows something I learned a long time ago. When you are dealing with someone like Putin, you put your idea into their mind and then give them credit for thinking of it. Brilliant!

    Putin took the bait from Kerry/Obama. Assad agreed to “Putin’s” demands and we are on the verge of a peaceful solution. And if all goes well, Putin will back a plan through the UN that will authorize the use of force if Assad doesn’t comply with the disarmament.

    If Obama is successful, he will remove an enormous amount of very dangerous chemical weapons from a very unstable country; ensuring they don’t fall into the hands of people even more demented than Assad.

    Notice how Obama and his administration keeps making this the Putin Plan? Nice touch. Putin must feel really globally important for a change.

    • Gregor says:

      I love all of your observations. I see exactly what you mean. As I type these words, I’m not sure if they’re mine, or your words placed in my mind, for me to feel good about expressing.


  2. Claudia says:

    Beautifully written!

  3. Vlad says:

    “Alarming that military intervention in internal conflicts in foreign countries has become commonplace for the United States.” He added that “Millions around the world increasingly see America not as a model of democracy but as relying solely on brute force.”

    First truth in the NYTimes about our foreign policy since the pentagon papers…

  4. Steven says:

    Just a bump in the road. Assad will go.

    We have just declared today. We are using the CIA and arming the rebels, some of them Al Qaeda.

    We don’t invest money for no reason. Soon you will start hearing how Syria is going back on their word, and they are not showing all the weapons.

    For whatever reason, Assad has to go.

  5. Wesley Clark says:

    MEMO: how we are going to take out seven countries in five years. (Seems like it is taking longer, but no rush. Right?)

  6. David Icke says:

    What Syria is Really About: brown faces playing off brown faces so white people can steal their land.

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