- Politics and Social Issues
Stop All War
The Insane Causes of War
The war we are fighting in Iraq right now is not a war of liberation. It is not a war of freedom, or a war of liberation. It is a cultural war. That last statement will probably cause you to put me in the ranks of those "nuts" who believe it's a war of Christianity against Islam. From a certain (very very limited) point of view, it can be seen as such. But that is not the point, nor is it the main topic, of this little essay.
The war of cultures I am talking about is the war of western (called that by those who live in - and named - the western hemisphere) capitalist consumer culture on cultures who are tired of being exploited, and are rebelling, or are simply misbehaving.
The "western" capitalist consumer culture is a culture which destroys more than it creates; it is laid out to further enrich the already rich, on the backs of most everybody else. Granted, there are also good sides, such as the fact that if you're is lucky enough (and almost inevitably, this means "born in the western culture"), you can make it big on the backs of others too.
The culture itself, however, is based around the fundamental concepts of capitalism and consumerism - concepts which go hand-in-hand in a vicious circle. The capitalist needs a base of clients or customers to sell to. The customers need to work for the capitalist (or a capitalist) in order for them to have money to buy. Not only that - the capitalist is also looking to make a profit. And that is where war comes in.
The western culture constantly needs an inflow of supply in order to meet demand. This demand is often a "created" need, be it fashion, the newest car, or whatever. If a fad is no longer in, it is dumped. Western countries are the only countries in this world who routinely dump huge amounts of food in order to keep demand (and therefore prices) high.
Where does all of this come from? How do we have the resources to constantly consume? The answer to that one is painfully obvious: the resources come from the "other" cultures out there, who are being systematically exploited in order to feed the needs of the west.
The "Other" Cultures
History is a long story of oppression and exploitation. In recent years, the results of these policies are becoming more and more obvious: mass famines where western powers replaced all local crops with tea or coffee. Instabilities where western powers simply carved up the land on a map, little realizing that a map is not equal to a territory. Striking poverty in nations where the upper class is incredibly wealthy, and sympathetic to the west.
These are countries that are being gouged by the west. They are force-fed the western consumerist culture, breaking them out of their own rural existences. Western corporations then come in, offering a pittance for labor and land, and replacing sustenance crops with cash crops, which are then shipped back to the west. The workers may now have money (but mostly only very very little), but have nothing to buy. Borders in their own countries must be open to allow the influx of western corporations, but their own people, living in extreme poverty and constantly on the bring of starvation, have no-where to go. The western castle doors are closed.
Wealthier nations (those with oil, for example) are also being gouged, but in a different way. They are threatened by the military over-might of the western powers (which include one hyper-power) to continue trading oil at prices and in a manner which is detrimental to their ultimate profits (they still make massive profits, but could be making more). The super-powers make sure that rulers friendly to themselves are in power, regardless if these rulers are homicidal maniacs.
The Process of Capitalism
But not only are these poorer states exploited - western states are too. The common population has to work very hard to make a living. One of the reasons I say "living" and not "fortune" (in a 'developing' nation it would be a fortune) is because the products that are bought in developing nations for a pittance are sold in the west for a much higher sum of money, benefiting the corporations even more.
Robert Newman's History of Oil - A Must-See
War of Cultures
The western world is constantly embroiled in war. The reasons behind such wars should be plain by now: if a 'subject' nation takes it upon itself to demand a little more freedom to determine its own destiny, it is made an example of. If the exploited rise, they are executed. This may destroy the production capacity of one nation, but most certainly serves as an example to other nations.
Geopolitically important targets (such as Iraq, and, to a lesser degree, Afghanistan) are extremely important in this realpolitik. Iraq was, and still is, a major supplier of oil. The western economy, and, mainly, western military might, is extremely dependent on this resource, and are absolutely paranoid about defending it. If the rulers of one of these nations so much as hints that supplies will freeze up, they need to be made an example of.
Oil is a precious natural resource - only few nations possess it. Most of these nations are not friends of the United States. But they supply oil to the hegemon, and Iraq serves as a good example of why they should continue doing so.
It is incredibly depressing to see otherwise sensible people applaud a war which is being fought to retain geopolitical dominance - and nothing else.
Stop the War
It is not enough to simply stop this particular war. There is never an excuse for war, for human lives to end, for masses to die so that others might drive their cars or tanks for one more day or one more month. The problem, however, is not just this war, or any recent war.
The problem is more deeply rooted than that. Quite simply, it is the consumer culture that is the currently dominant paradigm of cultural governance. We in the west grow up thinking that food magically appears in supermarkets. We are taught otherwise, and might even have visited a farm or two, but do not understand what is really behind it. We are born into a culture which teaches us, from day one, to be consumers.
I'm not saying that the elimination of the consumer culture and a move back to the stone age are the answers. What I am saying is that the western culture must evolve. It must grow out of this infantile state, and become much less belligerent.
It's not as if the war enjoyed much support to begin with. Many people demonstrated against it (~7,000,000 in Rome alone). But the governments decided to represent their corporations instead of their citizens. And I strongly feel that this was a mistake.
Terrestrial culture must re-form to become a culture which is all-encompassing and completely participatory. We have enough money in the western world to feed and clothe everybody on the entire earth. We have enough money to ensure that all human beings can live as equals, more-or-less equally wealthy, and that all can truly contribute to society to the fullest of their capacity.
No, I am not a communist. Communism doesn't work, as we've seen, because it is inevitably usurped by corrupted individuals. However, a world in which all nations are more-or-less evenly developed is a world in which mankind can finally be at peace with itself.