Skip to main content

David Brooks argues today that the US is suffering death by a thousand cuts.

As far back as the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648, dominant powers tried to establish procedures and norms to secure national borders and protect diversity. Hegemons like the Nazis or the Communists tried to challenge this system, but the other powers fought back.
But now, he says, that system is under attack.
China, Russia and Iran have different values, but all oppose this system of liberal pluralism. The U.S. faces a death by a thousand cuts dilemma. No individual problem is worth devoting giant resources to. It’s not worth it to spend huge amounts of treasure to establish stability in Syria or defend a Western-oriented Ukraine. But, collectively, all the little problems can undermine the modern system. No individual ailment is worth the expense of treating it, but, collectively, they can kill you.
This is what happened to the Roman Empire as well. No one factor destroyed it -- barbarian invasions, exhaustion of resources, a resurgent Persian Empire that forced the Empire to gut resources from the West, Christianity. But together, all these factors contributed to its downfall.

The problem, Brooks says, is selling the American public on the need to prop up the pluralistic system of international alliances needed to counteract these threats.

Moreover, people will die for Mother Russia or Allah. But it is harder to get people to die for a set of pluralistic procedures to protect faraway places. It’s been pulling teeth to get people to accept commercial pain and impose sanctions.
I submit that until we provide for our peoples' basic needs as a country, we are not going to get them to care about Ukraine or Syria or any other hot spot in the world. Here is Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. This is the updated version that he put out around 1970.
1. Biological and Physiological needs - air, food, drink, shelter, warmth, sex, sleep, etc.

2. Safety needs - protection from elements, security, order, law, limits, stability, etc.

3. Social Needs - Belongingness and Love, - work group, family, affection, relationships, etc.

4. Esteem needs - self-esteem, achievement, mastery, independence, status, dominance, prestige, managerial responsibility, etc.

5. Cognitive needs - knowledge, meaning, etc.

6. Aesthetic needs - appreciation and search for beauty, balance, form, etc.

7. Self-Actualization needs - realizing personal potential, self-fulfillment, seeking personal growth and peak experiences.

8. Transcendence needs - helping others to achieve self actualization.

First of all, there are far too many homeless people in this country. Yet cities are making laws against homelessness instead of providing for their basic needs. The second tier is security, order, law, limits, and stability. That might include such things as roads and bridges, water, electricity, and gas. Yet our roads and bridges are deteriorating, our highway departments are getting less and less money to keep our roads in good shape. And our country has $1 trillion of work to do over the next few decades as water systems built in the 19th century crumble and have to be replaced.

These are just examples; I could list many more. But a government like ours that has a responsibility to protect stability around the world has an obligation to first provide for the needs of all its citizens, starting with getting homeless off the streets and providing for everyone's basic needs as much as possible. The final point on the hierarchy is "transcendence needs." If you want to know why the people aren't sold on the need to intervene in Iran, Syria, or Ukraine, it is because people aren't going to start caring about the rest of the world until their basic needs are met. Don't get me wrong; this is not an argument to use force; this is an argument that we must create wealth and prosperity for all if we are to get people to care.

When Bill Clinton was President, he was able to sell the people on Bosnia and on containing Iraq precisely because we were in the process of creating 20 million new jobs, putting thousands of new police officers on the streets, and creating record budget surpluses. But now, after the Great Recession, it is much more difficult to sell people on the need to protect stability in part because there are too many people we know who have dropped out of the work force due to the inability to find a new job. And we know of too many people personally who are in that situation.

So when you hear a Republican advocating cuts to social spending so that they can line the pockets of their millionaire contributors, we can remind the people that their policies would enable Putin and China to continue their plots to undermine the social fabric that has been a restraining influence over the last four centuries.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Why Don't David Brooks Join The Military And (13+ / 0-)

    go fight in all those countries that he wants to throw our young military into.  It is easy to spout this nonsense when you know it won't be your fight.

    "Don't Let Them Catch You With Your Eyes Closed"

    by rssrai on Tue Apr 29, 2014 at 06:17:31 AM PDT

  •  Arithmetic Fail, As Usual. (16+ / 0-)
    It’s not worth it to spend huge amounts of treasure
    We don't HAVE huge amounts of treasure, as you conservatives have been pointing out, we have huge amounts of DEBT.

    We gave the TREASURE to the rich and their enterprises.

    Show the brains of Willie Sutton, Mr. Brooks, and go where the money is.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Tue Apr 29, 2014 at 06:21:21 AM PDT

    •  "Blood and Treasure" - I HATE that phrase- how did (0+ / 0-)

      it get into our common speech??
      Folks like Brooks are always talking about the "blood and treasure" (always those three words together) that we expend in war, and it's my sense that this phrase in a sneaky way to activate a knee-jerk "patriotic reflex".

      NPR commentators, everyone uses it. Don't!

  •  David Brooks career, suffering death by 1000 cuts (8+ / 0-)

    all of them self-administered.   I can't take him seriously.  I sometimes laugh, but sometimes I feel so sorry for his self-absorbed little self.

  •  maybe Brooks should be asking why his (14+ / 0-)

    republican buddies are so eager to push trade deals with these autocratic and totalitarian regimes.

  •  Empires inevitably reach a point where the (4+ / 0-)

    economic boon from exploitation of colonies can no longer offset the economic cost of maintaining security. The US his this wall in an instant on 9/11.

    The only solution is to abandon the imperial project.

    Anything else is madness.

    To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

    by UntimelyRippd on Tue Apr 29, 2014 at 06:38:17 AM PDT

    •  I've Seen It Argued We Hit the Wall c. 1970 (5+ / 0-)

      when the American people hit their all time economic ceiling and the oil shocks began, maybe in response to declining value of dollars paid for oil.

      The American people certainly hit the wall back then. Democracy and the American Dream are unknown to Americans who lack gray hair.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Tue Apr 29, 2014 at 06:53:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Gooserock, so true... (8+ / 0-)
        Democracy and the American Dream are unknown to Americans who lack gray hair.
        I see a lot of white hair in every meeting I go to. We have an entire generation who have grown up without either democracy or the American Dream.

        We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

        by occupystephanie on Tue Apr 29, 2014 at 07:16:38 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  We hit something in 1973, when OPEC got it (0+ / 0-)

        together and shut off the hose, but over the next 25 years the Empire really hit its stride and paid off pretty handsomely -- cheap textiles, cheap electronics, cheap everything.

        It started getting a bit gnarly in the mid-90s, but on 9/11 the fascists took control, implementing a security-at-any-cost state, both at-home and abroad. The moment those towers came down, the Empire became a negative proposition, and it will never run in the black again.

        To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

        by UntimelyRippd on Tue Apr 29, 2014 at 04:57:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Death by a thousand simple=minded pundits. (8+ / 0-)

    Brooks seems to be unaware of the effects of two world wars and the subsequent (to each) of "borderizing" which ignored ethnic and historical rivalries, while facilitating the scheming and jostling by the major powers for oil and other mineral wealth.

    Implicit in what he's saying is that he is one of those who wants to commit American farm boys to go off to far-flung nations to get blown up for Wall Street and he's concerned about the dearth of jingoistic turkey-twaddle sufficient to convince them to do so.
    Perhaps we should re-instate the draft.

    For any David Brooks column, one has to ask oneself, "What is he trying to deflect, distract, from. What is he trying to mask, obfuscate? "

    We are in a world where oil is becoming scarcer, and climate change is going to kill millions, if not all of us, and is going to reshape patterns of human habitation and civilization, if civilization is allowed to continue.

    The global Wall Street and its assorted governments are going to be happy to produce more guns and gin up more religious hysteria to do battle over that last drop of oil, but we can't afford to get sucked into that, even if they start meeting our basic needs here.

    I agree with the diary that we have basic needs to be met here at home, but we also have to understand we're all in this lifeboat together, and it's getting more crowded every day. The solutions to the problems in the Ukraine and Syria etc. are extremely similar to the solutions to our own problems.

    You can't make this stuff up.

    by David54 on Tue Apr 29, 2014 at 06:39:30 AM PDT

    •  Yes. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      David54, JeffW, MPociask
      We are in a world where oil is becoming scarcer, and climate change is going to kill millions, if not all of us, and is going to reshape patterns of human habitation and civilization, if civilization is allowed to continue.

      The global Wall Street and its assorted governments are going to be happy to produce more guns and gin up more religious hysteria to do battle over that last drop of oil, but we can't afford to get sucked into that, even if they start meeting our basic needs here.

      Thank you.  The world is quivering on the brink of unimaginable disaster, and the powers that be are sending a marching band past us so that we won't notice the cliff until after we're falling.  

      "My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right." -- Sen Carl Schurz 1872

      by Calamity Jean on Tue Apr 29, 2014 at 10:39:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Shorter David Brooks: (9+ / 0-)

    1. We need more wars!
    2. We need more corporate exploitation!

    (The second point is really a corollary of the first one, of course.)

    Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

    by corvo on Tue Apr 29, 2014 at 06:41:51 AM PDT

  •  Iran? Huh? (4+ / 0-)

    Admittedly, they have expanded their influence across the Straits of Hormuz of late, but, if memory serves, someone else did the heavy lifting there. Big fella, starts with a U...

    I live under the bridge to the 21st Century.

    by Crashing Vor on Tue Apr 29, 2014 at 06:54:48 AM PDT

  •  Babbling Brooks (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    occupystephanie, corvo, Calamity Jean

    MEGO

    "When dealing with terrorism, civil and human rights are not applicable." Egyptian military spokesman.

    by Paleo on Tue Apr 29, 2014 at 06:57:45 AM PDT

  •  Jingoist Tripe (7+ / 0-)

    If we need to create a new enemy to get our wartime economy mobilized again then we have already lost the battle against climate change.

    Be the change that you want to see in the world

    by New Minas on Tue Apr 29, 2014 at 07:04:35 AM PDT

    •  Well: (0+ / 0-)

      It's the other way around. We have to build our economy first, then we will be in a position to deal with the world's problems effectively. The right has it all backwards.

      "The cost of liberty is less than the price of repression." - W.E.B. Du Bois Be informed. Fight the Police State.

      by Eternal Hope on Tue Apr 29, 2014 at 07:09:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I refuse to accept the premise. (4+ / 0-)

        Why the hell do we need to deal with the world's problems? What other country thinks it needs to be the world's policeman or the world's nanny? No other country is as stupid and self-aggrandizing as we are to think we can impose our order on the whole world. We destroy cultures, religions, and the environment wherever we go. We demonstrate daily by the way we govern ourselves and how we treat our own people that our true values, not the ones we pay lip service to, are not worthy of export to the rest of the world. We are not good at peace. We are good at war. We are unworthy to lead the world in anything but battle.

        It is shameful of us and distressing to the rest of the world that we try to inflict our hegemony the whole world 'round. Let us tend to our own knitting. Period. We cannot solve the world's problems, especially not with the solutions we offer up. It is ridiculous for us to try.

  •  This is the same arguement.. (6+ / 0-)

    Bobo has been making for decades. "We must stabilize the world or we're dead!" The guy never learns and is forever wrong.

    The USA and the rest of the world face a dangerous enemy that not only threatens our freedom but our very existence. This enemy is deeply embedded within society and is actively working towards our annihilation. That enemy is ignorance.

    by Ex Con on Tue Apr 29, 2014 at 07:09:16 AM PDT

    •  And it's based on nothing (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ex Con

      Brooks is inventing an entire history of the world to support his argument.  The international community has tried to protect national borders and diversity since 1648?  That'd be news to the indigenous people of Africa, North and South America, and Australia.  Oh, and I nearly forgot, Asia also (India, China, etc.).  

      And, what, is he saying that it was Nazi Germany and "the Communists" that upset the otherwise noble European system of protecting borders and diversity?  You don't even have to leave Europe to see how wrong that is!  Does he know anything about the creation of Germany by a militant Prussia that gobbled up previously independent states?  The division of Poland?  The Napoleonic wars?  Heck, World War I itself, where every Great Power battled for global/colonial supremacy?  

  •  Brooks lives in an entirely different America (5+ / 0-)

    than we do. It is like getting bulletins from the white-privileged wealthy citadel. The real America we live in is just a caricature to him.

    We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

    by occupystephanie on Tue Apr 29, 2014 at 07:19:39 AM PDT

  •  Idiot (5+ / 0-)

    Someone supposedly so "learned" and "smart" should know this, and Brooks just doesn't seem to:

    a government like ours that has a responsibility to protect stability around the world has an obligation to first provide for the needs of all its citizens, starting with getting homeless off the streets and providing for everyone's basic needs ... people aren't going to start caring about the rest of the world until their basic needs are met.  
    Frankly, I have lost my capacity to be scolded and guilted into warmongering "For America". It doesn't do me a bit of good to care. I'm too busy looking for a decent job, so David Brooks and his ilk can fuck off.

    This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

    by lunachickie on Tue Apr 29, 2014 at 07:24:38 AM PDT

  •  and the end of the day (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    allie4fairness

    neither left nor right give a rats ass about human rights or the plight of anyone outside the US.  

    •  Human Rights starts at home. (5+ / 0-)

      We can't really be an effective advocate of human rights abroad until we get our act together at home and creating opportunities for everyone.

      "The cost of liberty is less than the price of repression." - W.E.B. Du Bois Be informed. Fight the Police State.

      by Eternal Hope on Tue Apr 29, 2014 at 08:33:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I suppose (0+ / 0-)

        Frankly, people in the US are far better off than elsewhere.

        The Egyptian dictatorship (which many here supported) has sentenced almost 1,200 political opponents to death.  Meanwhile we are turning our eyes away from that based on a very very small number of executions here?

        As I think you know, I'm more of an internationalist in my priorities than most.

        •  That's been all over both RT and Press TV. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          MPociask

          Anytime those two outlets are able to lecture us on human rights, it's an embarrassment. We should not support foreign dictators anymore; the ends simply don't justify the means and it creates blowback for our country.

          "The cost of liberty is less than the price of repression." - W.E.B. Du Bois Be informed. Fight the Police State.

          by Eternal Hope on Tue Apr 29, 2014 at 09:36:26 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  of course not (0+ / 0-)

            yet, with our collective silence, isn't that precisely what we are doing?  I know that you yourself have seen a lot of diehard support for aggression and dictatorships on these pages.  Somehow that is mostly given a pass here.

            •  FDR had a "good neighbor" policy. (0+ / 0-)

              What he meant is that we should be good neighbors to all the other countries in the world. He recognized the Soviet Union, for instance. We should cooperate with Russia and China on matters of maintaining stability around the world, but that does not mean we should give them a pass on aggression or human rights. That's why Obama is right to impose sanctions on Russia, for instance.

              "The cost of liberty is less than the price of repression." - W.E.B. Du Bois Be informed. Fight the Police State.

              by Eternal Hope on Tue Apr 29, 2014 at 10:12:53 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  This is the sort of thing I am talking about (0+ / 0-)

                Do what we can.  Many here feel that sanctions are wrong or somehow a conspiracy of the military industrial complex or something.  Even here we don't have a clear view.

                •  Right. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Mindful Nature

                  The sanctions are necessary, or international law won't mean anything. Just like the laws have to be enforced, or they won't mean anything. Somalia is a good example of what happens when that is not followed.

                  "The cost of liberty is less than the price of repression." - W.E.B. Du Bois Be informed. Fight the Police State.

                  by Eternal Hope on Tue Apr 29, 2014 at 10:40:37 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Sanctions. Richard Lyon has an excellent diary up (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Eternal Hope

                  concerning what sanctions have wrought thus far. I think you should read it. You can find it here.

                  Turns out, sanctions are about to turn around and bite us in the ass.

                  •  Tell that to South Africa (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    killjoy

                    Frankly Lyon is pretty wrong headed. His argument is essentially that business with Russia is simply to valuable to actually take a stand.  Heaven forbid we put some value other than corporate profits first

                    This is mostly concern trolling trying to provide more cover for Russia imperialism and really demonstrates my point that the US left couldn't give a rats ass about human rights. Any excuse for inaction will do

                    •  South Africa is not comparable to Russia (0+ / 0-)

                      You are clearly have no knowledge of global finance or you would recognize how ignorant your comment is. South Africa has gold. Russia has gold. South Africa has diamonds. Russia has even more diamonds. South Africa has coal. Russia has more coal. South Africa does not have oil and gas reserves. Russia happens to have the worlds largest energy reserves still in the ground, not to mention vast mineral wealth and the world's greatest forest reserves. The total land area of Russia is 13.5 times that of South Africa. South Africa is a mere blip in the global economy. Russia is a major player and about to become even larger.

                      Russia is about to ink a major energy deal with China comparable to the deal it has with the EU. At the same time Vladimir Putin will be in China signing that deal, China and Russia will be holding their "Maritime Cooperation-2014" drill in the East China Sea. Richard Lyon covered the big Russia-Iran energy deal in his diary. He didn't cover the energy investment deal Bahrain just inked with Russia. If Russia and China join forces to kill the petrodollar, our economy will be toast. That's not concern trolling, it's reality.

                      Here's a news flash: Russia has over $500 billion in gold and foreign reserves. The US has $150 billion. We print dollars and send debt and inflation around the world. They sell oil and gas to their neighbors and trade euros, yuan, and dollars for what goods they don't make themselves, but mostly they shovel their profits into the bank while they build their military. If the US and EU impose sanctions on them, they will retaliate and it will be ugly. It's a high stakes poker game and I'd rather be holding their hand than ours.

                      •  Much is beside the point (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        killjoy

                        China and Russia put together have a GDP of $10.4  trillion, roughly.  The US, EU, Latin America and the rest of Asia dwarf this.  Sure, RUssia has commodity resources, but needs investment to develop these resources.  Frankly, the Russian economy is currently stagnant and economic sanctions would deliver a major block to "becoming larger." The notion that China and Russia have the capacity to "kill the petrodollar" is quite a remarkable proposition, since Russia's oil production is predominantly from older Siberian fields and is set to decline significantly without western investment.  Russia also produces less than the US currently.

                        In any event, this notion of trading petrodollars for with the rest of the world is likely to be hampered by an economy that is stagnant outside of energy exports and is highly dependent on foreign investment.  Overall, the US economy is far less dependent on Russia than the other way around, and any sanctions war will inflict major damage to the already struggling Russian economy.  Would it get ugly?  Perhaps.  But then so is the ongoing imperialism by Russia.  

                        However, as I said, the US left will come with any excuse at all to not take action in the face of any issue overseas.  I see nothing to suggest otherwise.

                        •  That comment shows a total lack of understanding (0+ / 0-)

                          of the forex market (I doubt you even understand what "killing the petrodollar" means, let alone how it would be done), not to mention that much of your data is out of date, especially concerning Russian oil development seeing as how Bahrain just signed a deal to provide the investment funds needed in conjunction with funds from Russia's formidable sovereign fund, and there isn't a chance in hell Asia and Latin America would agree to sanctions. As a matter of fact, China, which is the only Asian country that really matters right now, has already said it won't. India is working with China and Russia on how to pipe Russian oil and natural gas to them through China to supply it's rapidly growing energy needs. It's highly unlikely they will agree to sanctions, plus they see themselves as a rapidly growing competitor of ours in information technology. They'd rather enjoy seeing American hegemony weakened. Venezuela and Ecuador are royally pissed at the US, Chile and Argentina are none too happy with us, and Brazil sees an opportunity to compete directly with us. They are all unlikely to agree to sanctions.

                          As for Russia's economy being stagnant, they are currently experiencing a minor cyclical drop in economic activity as opposed to the structural economic problems currently being experienced throughout most of Europe. According to global financial experts (as opposed to US plutocrat sponsored and disseminated propaganda) they will recover in short order. And the claim that Russia is highly dependent on foreign investment is more a dream of yours than reality. They could fund their own investments without foreign capital, but right now they choose to expand their military capabilities instead. Russia can survive US and EU sanctions. They are self-sufficient in food production and manufacture most of what they need. What they don't make themselves Asia will be happy to provide. Europe, on the other hand, would experience a major economic recession if Russia shuts off the gas.

                          It is most curious. You rail against Russian imperialism but turn a blind eye to our own. How hypocritical. Do you really care what happens to Ukrainians - all Ukrainians, not just the ones in the West? Do you even know any Ukrainians, or any Russians for that matter? Or is all this angst really about some revenge fantasy of yours against the Russians?

                          •  Ah yes (0+ / 0-)

                            Now I remember why I don't bother to talk to you

                          •  Pois e (0+ / 0-)

                            It is amusing that you strut your Paulite theories here. Gotta love a great conspiracy/ calamity theory

                            But I for one know something of history and unlike you do not provide neofascist talking points to defend imperialist aggression.  As I have repeatedly pointed out, unlike most kossacks seeming only oppose US actions while applauding those of other imperialists.   You are clearly in zero position to criticize anyone on this score.

                          •  Bwahahahaha! Your insults are laughable. (0+ / 0-)

                            If you have a charge to level against me, state your evidence. Otherwise you are clearly full of shit. I know European history every bit as well as you and I know economics and finance much better than you do. I consider people who level unfounded charges based solely on emotional response to be intellectual Pygmies.

                            For your information, I happen to be a democratic socialist in the mold of Bernie Sanders and an admirer of Noam Chomsky. I deplore authoritarian socialism in both its fascist and communist forms but am no fan of capitalism. I made my living in the world of institutional finance and investment and retired while relatively young. I saw capitalism's seamy underbelly up close and personal, which is why I am no fan. I find anarcho-syndicalism fascinating because it closely resembles my Christian ideal even though it is entirely based on radical humanist ideas, but I don't agree with its classical libertarian repudiation of the state. I am a registered Democrat, give money to and volunteer for Democratic candidates, and work as an election judge on election days.

                            I am a realist. I know how to assess a situation accurately based on evidence and act accordingly. I don't put my faith in princes or trust in men. I am, however, a practicing Orthodox Christian and my religion is very dear to me. It informs my pacifism. I really do sincerely and fervently believe in forgiveness, turning the other cheek, and the power of prayer. I also happen to be a Slav and, not surprisingly, love all Slavic peoples and cultures. They are, after all, my people. Nikola Tesla, the son of an Orthodox priest and one of the most brilliant men who ever lived, is my hero.

                            I'm a endlessly curious about the sciences, am married to a scientist/engineer/inventor/entrepreneur, and fully accept evolution, geological science, astronomy, physics, and all the other physical and biological sciences. Archeology and paleoanthropology fascinate me and I try to keep up with the most recent findings and theories in the popular literature. I am also a lover of both the fine and applied arts, though I have a special love of the decorative arts.

                            I am a lot of things, but I am no Paulist, no libertarian, and definitely not a consumer or purveyor of CT. You pulled those charges right out of your ass with absolutely nothing to back it up but your emotions and fantasies. Oh, I'm trouble all right. I'm not going to be cowed or bullied into silence by the likes of you just because you don't want to hear anything that conflicts with your belief that Russia is an evil empire, that Putin is the devil incarnate, and that Ukraine will somehow hold itself together under the tender ministrations of the the IMF and not rend itself in two. You are trafficking a fantasy, and I will not hesitate pointing that out.

                          •  Your math doesn't add up (0+ / 0-)

                            Without much in the way of Western and other Asian markets, China and Russia can't keep up.  

                            The younger generations in Russia, China, and Iran have no desire to live in dysfunctional second tier countries.  That's more important than economics in the next 10-20 years.  

                            I have a Russian-identifying former housemate from Kharkov and a Ukrainian-identifying former girlfriend who emigrated with her family from near Chernobyl.  It's sort of personal to me.  Well, mostly they got me interested in seeing the primitive and brutish elements of life and the conditions in which they originate get defeated or undone in that part of the world.  The Russian side is the conservative one in the current dispute; it's a not personal thing for me or for most people here.  It's not that we can't or don't understand their reasons; it's that we do more than they think, despite their inarticulacy, and we don't agree.

                            For folks like you it's a mostly a game of Industrial Age economics and political forms and political goals.  That would be persuasive if it were as relevant as you have been told and tell yourself it is.  But the things happening now are phenomena of the Industrial Age ending in that part of the world.  

                          •  My math is accurate, and it's personal for me too. (0+ / 0-)

                            I'm a Slav. I attend an Orthodox Church with mostly Russians and Ukrainians and American converts. My friends are immigrants, as am I. They have family there. My Ukrainian friends worry constantly about the safety of their families in Ukraine. They don't want to see the country torn apart, but they don't want it ruled by the fascists and oligarchs currently running the government (if you can call it that) in Kiev. They want a better life and more prosperity for Ukrainians but are under no illusions that the IMF is going to give it to them. The economic suffering has been great and is about to get worse. Is it any wonder that many of the older people look across the border at the Russians who earn two and three times as much as they do and become nostalgic for the socialist past?

                            If the young don't want to live in dysfunctional second tier countries, where do they want to live? I think you are proving a theory I've developed that what the young in Ukraine want is EU passports. Unfortunately for them, those passports will make them Western Europe's Guatemalans. Just ask the Bulgarians and Romanians who are changing sheets, scrubbing toilets, and wiping the butts of infants and elderly in Germany and Holland while possessing advanced degrees from top universities back home. Meanwhile granny is going to have her already inadequate pension cut and dad is going to lose his job. Just ask the Greeks. A rude awakening is coming their way, and when the full force is felt, the country will tear itself apart as the older, more conservative Ukrainians decide that secession is preferable to grinding poverty worse than they are already experiencing.

                            We don't yet live in a fully post-Industrial Age. For the time being we all must live within the current paradigm until it is replaced, but it's replacement is not yet on the horizon. Are the young so deluded as to think that life will be better if they accept western style neo-liberal capitalism? Have they been duped by western pop culture? Are they envious of western materialism? Are they so naive as to think that the economic shock treatment that is about to be imposed upon Ukraine by the IMF is somehow going to issue in a new post-industrial paradigm?

                            Why aren't the young seeking homegrown solutions, not neo-conservative World Bank solutions for their county's problems? Ukraine - and Russia - have an opportunity to develop a post industrial economy uniquely Eastern and not traditionally capitalistic. If the paradigm shift is going to come from anywhere, it's going to have to come from the young. Why would the young give up a chance to push for real change and instead help institute an economic system that is crushing the average Western citizen? It makes no sense.

        •  The 1200 death sentences are appalling, (0+ / 0-)

          but so was the mass killing if Coptic Christians in their churches by members of the Muslim Brotherhood. So was the assassination of judges and advocates committed by the Muslim Brotherhood. So were the imprisonment, torture, and executions of their political opponents committed by the Muslim Brotherhood run government. If they had not been so ruthless and bloodthirsty their countrymen would not have risen up against them. What goes around comes around.

    •  We are not the world's nanny. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      unfangus

      I have a hard time worrying about human rights in foreign lands when human rights here in our own fair land are being violated daily on a grand scale, and when our country is doing the violating of human rights in other lands through our corporate surrogates and our military. Let's wash our own hands before we complain about how dirty the next guy's are.

      •  Well: (0+ / 0-)

        It's an embarrassment to this country when we have PressTV (Iran) and RT posting regular stories about our human rights violations.

        "The cost of liberty is less than the price of repression." - W.E.B. Du Bois Be informed. Fight the Police State.

        by Eternal Hope on Tue Apr 29, 2014 at 09:24:42 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  on a grand scale? (0+ / 0-)

        A grand scale is sentencing 1,200 members of the political opposition to death.  A grand scale is dropping chemical weapons on civilian populations.  A grand scale is the kidnapping and probably rape of over 200 school girls.

        Frankly, yes, there are human rights abuses in the US, but that doesn't excuse those that happen elsewhere or our tepid response to those.

        •  And what, pray tell, do you think... (0+ / 0-)

          we should be doing about those horrors? What exactly is your solution?

          •  speaking out is a start (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Eternal Hope, Dr Swig Mcjigger

            and not providing cover or ignoring them.  Lobbying our own government to take action, and not lobbying our own government to ignore such things as has been done in the past.

            •  Ah, yes. The military solution once again. (0+ / 0-)

              As I surmised. It's always the go-to answer, isn't it?

              •  lol (0+ / 0-)

                how did you get from "speaking out" to military?

                I suppose people see what they want to see.

                •  Speaking is impotent unless connected to action (0+ / 0-)

                  Right there in your comment you say, "Lobbying our own government to take action, and not lobbying our own government to ignore such things as has been done in the past." What good does it do to say, "Look over there! That government is violating the human rights of its citizens," unless you want someone to do something, right? What is that something?

                  You want the 1200 sentenced to death in Egypt freed. How do you free them? You want the 200 girls abducted in Nigeria freed? Too late. Chances are they're already dead. They've almost certainly been subjected to multiple rapes and torture. Who's going to go find their bodies and bring their kidnappers to justice? You want Russia to give Crimea back? Who's going to make them? Talk won't get the job done, will it? Ergo, I see a not very veiled call for military intervention.

                  •  Of course you do (0+ / 0-)

                    Because you seem to have forgotten the lessons of history. King, Gandhi, Mandela saw change without violence.  Even so,it is beyond hypocrisy to provide cover for Russian imperialism and then pretend to be squeamish about military action

                    •  Go launch a peaceful demonstration then (0+ / 0-)

                      See what good it does in preventing civil war in Ukraine. Personally, I recommend lighting candles and praying for peace like I and my friends are doing.

                      Russians may be imperialists, but we, the US and EU, were the ones who couldn't wait twelve months for an election and just had to go foment a coup. When the country ends up partitioned after thousands lose their lives and thousands more are maimed, whose f#*king fault will it be, because as I recall, Russia was busy trying to keep the gas turned on through the winter after the EU refused to provide sufficient funds to be of any real assistance to the Ukrainian economy.

        •  Yes, a grand scale. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Eternal Hope

          We hold thousands in solitary confinement in our prisons, many for years on end, many for non-violent infractions of rules. It is a known form of torture, and yet it goes on in our prisons on a massive scale. We execute the innocent, the mentally deficient, the mentally ill, men who committed their crimes as adolescents. Those are violations of human rights on a grand scale. Don't speak to me of the violation of human rights abroad as if we weren't a major perpetrator of human rights violations against our own countrymen.

          Ginning up military intervention does not impress me as a serious desire to end human rights violations. It smacks of imperialism, of imposing the Pax Americana at the point of a gun barrel. If you want to work at solving human rights violations, there are many human rights organizations toiling here at home that would love to have any extra pair of hands and a little more money to help in their work. We don't need any further military adventures.

    •  If people in other countries have a living wage, (0+ / 0-)

      decent safety and environmental standards, etc. our jobs are less likely to be exported to them.  Their creative people can start their own businesses.  The rich folk might have to give up that second yacht, though.

  •  maslow has it wrong way. (2+ / 0-)

    the most important needs are a t the bottom of his list. Its better read in the reverse. At least sex doesnt belong in the No 1 category, noone yet died from not having sex, its maximum in no. 3 category. But anyways, the actual things that matter are no. 5 to 8, and no. 8 most of all.  

    brooks, is he not despised herearounds? I dont know the guy.

    dominant powers tried to establish procedures and norms to secure national borders and protect diversity.
    protect diversity? Does that mean what one thinks it means? I think not. Queer wording. He must mean the balance of power thing? For sure, Spain or Habsburg in 1648 did not care about "diversity".  
    •  But still: (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      marsanges

      I can see how it provided the basis for today's internationalism. The point is that we have to provide for our peoples' basic needs before we can become an effective voice for international change.

      "The cost of liberty is less than the price of repression." - W.E.B. Du Bois Be informed. Fight the Police State.

      by Eternal Hope on Tue Apr 29, 2014 at 09:23:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I thought so (0+ / 0-)

        i got your point, even if somewhat slowly

        and yes - i mean, thats obvious - provide for own peoples basic needs is obviously number one to do. Only real oligarchs would disagree - Dickensians who would maintain that the poor can care for their own needs and dont matter anyway, and that they are no business of the Empire, which is strictly only for those that can afford it.

        in fact I fear that such thinking is not so uncommon in your country.

        •  The problem is: (0+ / 0-)

          Certain right-wingers divide the world into winners and losers. "Winners" are the ones who become rich while the poor are obviously, in their twisted worldview, lazy slobs who simply cheat the welfare system. We all know the type of person who does that, but people like that are in the fringe minority. Like Cliven Bundy, for instance.

          "The cost of liberty is less than the price of repression." - W.E.B. Du Bois Be informed. Fight the Police State.

          by Eternal Hope on Tue Apr 29, 2014 at 09:38:35 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  David Brooks is (of course) wrong. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    whizdom, MPociask

    It's not the responsibility of the U.S. to police every dispute around the world. To embrace the absurd notion that the U.S. has to poke its cruise missiles into every international dispute from Crimea to Kiev to Timbuktu is to guarantee that America turns into a grotesque muscle-bound military power with every other feature of government eviscerated to feed the bottomless pit at the Pentagon. And we're far too close to that already.

    BTW, Rome fell for very concrete and logical reasons. Its ruling class became ever more corrupt, inbred and complaisant. Its tax base was destroyed when the well connected "1% of Rome" had the Senate exempt their massive estates from taxation, placing an ever-heavier burden of taxation on Rome's yeoman farmers and craftsmen, thereby permitting the ever richer oligarchs to expand their estates even further, removing even more land from the tax rolls.....lather, rinse, repeat until the Legions are no longer paid and the Empire collapses.
    Which is frighteningly similar to what's happening with today's 'carried interest deduction' and other methods of tax avoidance and progressive unearned enrichment for America's 1%.

    •  When that happens: (0+ / 0-)

      That's when people try and drag us into every new war that comes along. Ukraine is just the most recent example. And in Iraq, I wonder if certain Iraqi elements called in air strikes just to wipe out other Iraqi elements that they didn't like. Even Bush refused to play along in Georgia, thankfully. If that's not death by a thousand cuts, then I want to know what is.

      "The cost of liberty is less than the price of repression." - W.E.B. Du Bois Be informed. Fight the Police State.

      by Eternal Hope on Tue Apr 29, 2014 at 10:38:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Ummm ... David Brooks IS one of the cuts ... (0+ / 0-)

    he and each of his republican scumbag asshole buddies and all their scheming thievery and discrimination, yes indeed death by a million cuts.

    The solution seems obvious.

    1789.

  •  Brooks should remember John Quincy Adams: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MPociask
    America ... goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy.

    The free market is not the solution, the free market is the problem.

    by Azazello on Tue Apr 29, 2014 at 10:29:39 AM PDT

  •  The U.S. is suffering death (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MPociask, Eternal Hope

    by a thousand David Brooks columns.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site