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Do We Really Need "Enemies" in an "Us v/s Them" View of the World?

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Dave Lefcourt
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There are many problems in this world, most of which are man- made and therefore solvable.

Of course there are natural disasters, tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes, earth quakes, volcanic eruptions and the like all of which can't be prevented but with modern warning systems, upgraded construction methods and world wide relief efforts, the human costs of these disasters is often limited.

But then we have the man-made calamities that are the real problems for which we have been mostly deficient and often unable to solve.

Hunger and starvation, adequate food, drinkable water, clothing and shelter, the basic needs of everyone could be made available. That they are not is a man-made catastrophe, but not impossible to solve.

War is obsolete, made so by the development and the one time use of nuclear weapons. There can no longer be winners of world wars and with the demise of the Soviet Union 20 years ago there is no rational basis to contemplate their use. Nuclear weapons can only bring the ultimate destruction of mankind and possibly all life itself.

The real problem is "enemies". Since man has walked the earth he has had "enemies" with which to contend. He had to protect and defend those closest to him from natural "enemies" (large animal predators) the natural environment that required shelter as well as defend against other human "enemy" antagonists.

Today man is no longer threatened by animal creatures and though natural disasters occur, they are mostly manageable through international relief efforts. But we have yet to solve our problems with "others", those other cultures (enemies?) with different values, ethnicities, customs and of course their "different" religious beliefs.

To digress somewhat, this writer came across a report in the mid 1960's called "The Report from Iron Mountain". To my knowledge it was never substantiated as a legitimate treatise but it did maintain a very interesting concept. It said it would take an attack by aliens from outer space as the only way to unite mankind to fight against those alien "enemies". Why?   It's because man needs "enemies" to fight against.

Now the idea of an attack by aliens from space may reside in the minds of science fiction fans but that likelihood is beyond infinitesimal; it isn't going to happen!

But the idea that man needs "enemies" has to be honestly considered and faced squarely. Do we really need "enemies" to defend against and fight to the death, in an "us v/s them" view of the world?

As was said earlier, the cold war ended 20 years ago. There no longer are credible, imperialist threats anywhere on the horizon. China is an economic colossus. Do we need to elevate them as a potential "enemy" threat to our existence or make Iran, which hasn't initiated a war in over 200 years, a credible "enemy" threat to our way of life? Why are terrorists, al Qaeda in particular, elevated to world wide "enemy" threat because they were capable of flying a few planes and use them as missiles in destroying two buildings and crashing into the Pentagon? This wasn't imperial Japan attacking Pearl Harbor or Hitler conquering France, invading Poland, bombing Britain and then invading the Soviet Union.

There are no imperialist "enemies" out there capable of threatening us. The ONLY power with imperialist notions and exercising worldwide hegemony is us. In fact the terrorist "enemies" we have elevated as a "fight to the death" threat to us were created by us and our policies conducting clandestine activities including assassinations, coups and propping up dictators that supported us while oppressing their own people.

This whole idea of others as "enemies" (or any outside challengers to our current way of life) prevents us and the world from solving our man-made problems.

Take global warming; it is a reality that we and the world are doing little if anything of consequence to halt the ecological disaster man created. Example: The melting of the tundra in Russian Siberia and the subsequent release of methane gas, supposedly 20 times more lethal than carbon dioxide, is reducing the amount of oxygen we breathe which is caused by mans use of carbon based energy. Is it alarmist to say this needs to be rectified before we reach the point of no return and it all becomes irreversible? Yet there are those who deny this reality and see those who advocate for and recognize the need to reduce global warming as an "enemy" that would hurt the economy and reduce jobs.

The current "food fight" in Washington over the debt crisis is just a microcosm of a man-made problem that Congressional "humans" created but can't (won't?) solve. Each side sees the other as the "enemy".

The point of it all is this; it is infuriating and exasperating that our problems, domestic and international are solvable. They are within our capability of solving but the ways and means remain elusive because of imagined and presumed "enemies" out there, so we don't come to grips and face the reality that truly exists.

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