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Deportee

April 7th, 2007

IMG_2243.jpg

Proof of my status as a Deportee from Russia. At least the return flight was on the house!

6 Responses to “Deportee”

Well, voidness.com was my website for a time, but it has lapsed. Now it is used for some buddhist teachings or discussions and owned by someone else. That’s ok. Sometimes I call myself a Buddhist.

Your tale of getting to Moscow was quite interesting to me. I saw a very large picture book of the Kremlin, and spent some time contemplating the architecture, and also the awkwardness that must have prevailed when foreign dignitaries visited Communist Russia when religion was forbotten. With all the religious images, statuary, and history that the Kremlin embodies, it must have made Soviet Party leaders schizophrenic when they were attempting to conduct business.

Your comments on Americans are interesting: obviously written by an outsider.

The truth of the matter is that Americans did try to stay out of war in the past, and it never quite worked out. If you go back to World War I history [The Great War], you will find that the US really didn’t want to get involved. If you thoroughly research the topic, Americans at the time were isolationists. Woodrow Wilson won his second term on a platform of not getting involved in The Great War.

World War II had a similar mentality. America really didn’t want to get involved, other than supplying arms through the lend-lease act and things of that nature.

The only thing that you really miss is that America and Americans really don’t want to think about the rest of the world. Most prefer thinking solely of America, and the US specifically, as being the world, and commerce with another nation is hauling hopps to Texas.

I am a historian, and my view of history is somewhat different than most Americans. Most people wonder why I self flagelate myself with the incredibly depressing state of affairs of the world as a whole, and very few people are able to discuss politics or history with me without getting angry. [They get angry. I just mumble something incoherent about indigestion, and retire to my study].

A major conflict in the middle east was inevitable. And 2000 was about the time it was supposed to happen. Another historian prophecysed this back before the Korean war. He was a nut, but he was also right.

The middle east is a mess, the area between and around the Med and the Persian Gulf has been quite war dessicated for some time. A while back, I was doing some research on Ronald Reagan, and that brought back the crisis with Momar, Beirut, etc.

More recently, we had the clusterf*ck of an op that ended up as a movie called “Black Hawk Down”. Ok, that was in Somalia, and if we had strikers deployed instead of HumV’s, we would have faired better.

All military operations cause misery. Ask any soldier. Looking over history for the last several thousand years, and all of the military operations, military personnel, political powers, etc. involved keep making the same mistakes over and over.

The only exception that I can think of is World War II. Hitler, Stalin, and Mussolini were all monsters, and the only way of stopping them was through military force. Of course, if the German brain worked differently during the rise of Nationalism [Nazi], perhaps the people could have collectively said, “Neine, we aren’t going to do this.”

I can only conclude that such folly is part of the human condition, and until we evolve past what our brains currently manifest, we will continue to see such pain and atrocities. I don’t mean to sound callous or without feeling, but from an objective, all seeing point of view, what I have said would appear to be true.

The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. Fear plays a major factor in all political/military conflicts, as well as barriers to communication.

As to older history, imperialism, etc, I take the Fifth Ammendment to the Constitution.

Actually I am American, born and raised in the South — though a fairly liberal town by southern standards. I have lived in Europe and Asia but I would not consider myself too out-of-touch with America.

I know that America was traditionally isolationist, Washington set the status quo with his farewell address and while off and on tested it passed the test of time up until the 20th century. By the Spanish American War one can already see the pattern starting to emerge, that of a few at the top — perhaps better informed, perhaps more noble but perhaps selfish or hawkish — lead the rest of the nation inevitably towards war. Through propaganda, adept politicking, fear mongering or plain yellow journalism the nation is led to war again and again. Though the play becomes better choreographed with each new war, the USS Maine, the Lusitania and Pearl Harbor seem to me to be just the final acts in a long saga leading the US people into war after those in power, in government, had already made up their minds.

Looking back some of the wars appear to have truly been noble causes — there is little room to argue against America joining in the fight against Nazi Germany, perhaps America should have acted sooner. The Spanish America war seems more dubious and that pattern continues — Vietnam and our current adventures in Iraq seem to me to fall into the same mold. Ill-advised, ill-planed, ill-fated adventures chosen by a few. Be they idealist, drunk on patriotism and it’s dark cousin manifest destiny/Pax American, war hawks looking for an enemy or the worst kind of capitalist.

I think this does show that either Americans have become more easily tricked or politicians have become better are propaganda. My own belief is that politicians have become better at using the media to their advantage and that the American publics attitudes are easily influenced by sound bites and choice quotes.

The post WWII boom times and the rampant capitalism it spawned seems to have lead to a situation where the average person is too busy to be well informed and we take for granted that we will be taken care of by our elected leaders. Too often they have lied or coerced, they have served their own ends and not the greater good.

Meanwhile Americans have forgotten they are citizens in the wider world. During the Cold War we were the light of freedom in the world the greatest nation on earth and the protector of freedom. All this praise seems to have gone to our head and like a once great leader we have become corrupt and self absorbed. We — as a nation — care little, in fact know little, about what happens beyond our borders unless it threatens us or was done by us.

I do have faith in the American system, but I think like all systems it has its ups and downs. We are far from perfect and the sooner we learn that and learn to act like we know it the sooner we will be deserving of the praise we have for ourselves. A humbling is what is needed we need to trip and fall before we can get back up and brush the dust off.

“We — as a nation — care little, in fact know little, about what happens beyond our borders unless it threatens us or was done by us.”

I would argue that many Americans know little about the history outside of our borders even if it WAS done by us. Looking at a list of US led military ventures, there are quite a few that I think many people don’t know about or have forgotten. There are several on that list that I’ve never heard of and I consider myself [maybe incorrectly] a relatively informed citizen.

On a lighter note: getting kicked out Russia, very impressive. First temporarily banned by Yahoo, now a whole country. Very impressive Beggs, moving up in the world. ;-) Do you Yahoo?

Hmm. Some of your position seems to be based on a conspiratorial view of history.

Some conspiracy theories have evidence to merit worthiness, others don’t.

From all of the historical documents about Woodrow Wilson, I have a difficult time believing he was part of any conspiracy regarding the Lusitania.

Is the Lusitania wreckage suspicious regarding the possibility it was carrying munitions?

It is very curious taking into consideration the cargo and passenger list.

Was it part of a conspiracy to get America into World War I, or merely the commerce of the munitions of war under a cloak of secrecy exercised by fiscal interests?

Good question.

The most curious aspect of current political thought is the polarization of political viewpoints of the mass populous, at least in America. The viewpoints of people outside the US vary between social liberalism or theocratic conservative fascism.

Was going into Iraq a mistake? It all depends on the outcome. On one hand, Saddam Hussein was a very bad bad man. By comparison to other middle east countries, Saudi Arabia included, he was still extremely hostile to his own people. The Kurds suffered after the first Gulf War, and is one of the few success stories that the US can point to as a victory in the current conflict.

Much hypothesis follows.

If Iraq were made into a stable democracy, if the Israeli government was truly our friend, if Afghanistan were to maintain its stability and the Taliban element controlled: from a military/political viewpoint that would be an enormous coup for the United States and the cause of Freedom.

Does anyone have a magic crystal ball that can foretell the outcome of a military conflict before events happen? Yes, but very few people believe in or listen to precognatists. Buddhism states in not so many words that war never results in a positive outcome, and that violence is not the means to reach the goal of peace.

My only problem with the Buddhist view is that it has elements of isolation from current world events, and despite Sakyamuni’s hand touching the ground to symbolize his grounding in the here and now, I find it difficult to resolve that with groups of people [radical moslems and other terrorist elements] that only want to spread fear, misery, terror, and death to all unbelievers of their viewpoint. How do you cope with it? If you are a Buddhist, you run away, and wait for the transitory nature of things to bring a natural extinction to your problem. If your adversary has no access to you, it is very difficult for a conflict to occur. Eventually, mad crazy people and societies run out of steam, and the anger dissipates of its own accord due to the lack of an adversary. The skillful means necessary to carry this out is truly a miraculous power, but can only be witnessed over the course of many many lifetimes. Most people do not hold this view. Both Judeo Christian and Moslem beliefs focus on one shot at life, then you die and are punished or rewarded for eternity as appropriate. I wonder who scooped this load of poo into the mass population of the majority of the world. It definitely leads to limited and tunneled viewpoint that focuses on very short term results. This is ultimately the foundation of the problem in the current conflict. People’s minds are confused, and they forget that they have died before, will live and die again, and even if everything they believed was accurate, the actions they take are not in keeping with the belief systems they purport to observe. The result of such muddled thinking is not very encouraging, but then again, the first noble Truth of Buddhism is that the world is full of suffering.

From a military viewpoint, our Psy Ops have probably been woefully ineptly exercised in the current conflicts, otherwise I would think that the current state of world affairs would be much better. Unfortunately, I do not have access to the Psy Ops that have been tried and the intel on that facet of the Iraq and Afghanistan military operations.

I think that the language barrier in the middle east has been a significant obstacle to attaining and keeping a lasting understanding and peace in the region. Religious rifts and other differences in thinking have likely made this into a perpetual mess that will take millenia to resolve.

Ultimately, the human being is a transitory vessel, and someday our species will reach extinction. If that is the result of our inability to communicate and think rationally, maybe intelligent Sentient Being Mark x will fare better.

I don’t intent to suggest that there is any great conspiracy or cabal running America. Perhaps the sinking of the Lusitania was a coincidence — whether it was carrying arms or not — either way I don’t think the administration wanted the Lusitania sunk and all those people killed, but I do think that when it happened it was seized upon to be the cornerstone of the final propaganda drive to push the American people into a war which the administration has already decided was the ‘right’ thing to do. I think those in power choose a course of action, for whatever reasons, and then mold reality through all means at their disposal to convince whoever they need to go along with their chosen plan. I think politicians learn from previous leaders how to do this and so we arrive where we are now… with leaders possessing a single minded mentality that will bend the truth and use all means of persuasion and subversion they believe they can get away with to get what they want.

One of the things that makes this easier in foreign affairs is the average Americans lack of concern, empathy and understanding of the world beyond the boarders. This, I believe, is the problem, not single minded, idealistic or corrupt leaders, those exist in all places in all times, but rather the ease at which they can manipulate the populace combined with the apparent self importance of America and it’s own perception of itself as the world’s police force (the fact that we don’t listen the rest of the world be damned, we know what is right!)

I like your thought on the short sightedness of the major monotheistic religions. Perhaps if everyone expected to be reincarnated and therefore to have to deal with the long term repercussions of their actions, they would have a better sense of responsibility. This short sightedness can also be seen in market driven capitalism; the short term desire to make money (for yourself or for ‘shareholders’) trumps any sense of responsibility for the long term consequences of your actions at all levels from the future of the company to the future of the planet. Though I see some encouraging signs that this might be starting to change where the future of the planet is concerned.

As for the Middle East; I have little hope for a peaceful settlement to any of it’s problems. People have been fighting over the land and over their ethnic and religious differences in that part of the world for as long as recorded history can tell — and no doubt much longer.

nichlas wall Says:

You see, I am not an American, but I still would not consider American to lack empathy, understanding or concern.
Everything is contextual and there is never a simple view of our history or actions and there is never one view which is totally correct. Here we also have to remember geo/political/economical development in the USA which in its on way has forced/allowed Americans to be more “introspective”. A smaller country can not allow the same type “cutting out” the rest of the word since they essentially would end of like North Korea.