Happy Birthday, John Lennon!

 
This is a repost of a blog I published on 11/27/2013 for Thanksgiving. Things have changed in Syria, but my sentiments are the same and John Lennon provided the sound track for those sentiments.)
I
came of age in those amazing times when America learned to hate war and long
for peace. I grew up chanting “All we are saying, is give Peace a chance” along
with John Lennon and many blue jean clad peers. We all boarded the “Peace
Train” and pinned our hopes on a world that wanted peace as badly as we did. We
recognized war as a terrible thing, tearing people, families, children, homes,
villages, cities, and nations apart and emphasizing the fault lines of hate
that run through human history. We did not want to go to war in Vietnam.

As we
aged our anti-war message mellowed. We learned the lessons of expediency.  With Katie we watched two planes fly into the
Twin Towers; we watched those proud towers which pierced our skies burn to ash,
melt, and fall over our iconic city. While many of us peaceniks did not want to
go to war in Iraq and had real doubts about those weapons of mass destruction,
we felt that if we seemed unprepared for some military style of retaliation we
would only invite more attacks. We recognized the need to mount a good defense in
terms of domestic security systems, and a good offense in terms of a
willingness to find and hunt down our enemies and to be ready to meet them on a
battlefield. War reared its ugly head again and our chorus of “give Peace a
chance” dwindled until it was almost just a silent wish. But that refrain is
still there; it is the bass line of our existence. When our strong yearning for
peace was met by the revelation that anti-American sentiment around the world
was about to become the treble line of our existence, we girded our loins (well
the loins of our soldiers) to do more war, war seemingly without end, as it is
unclear how all the hostilities that face us around the globe will ever give
way to tolerance and peaceful coexistence. It looks as if our contretemps with
Islamic extremists will be quite hard to unravel, and then we face other
unhappy campers in far flung corners of the world. It looks like we will become
way more weary of war before the people of earth will ever reach some kind of
equanimity and détente.
So
when I saw what happened with the chemical weapons in Syria; when I saw that a
peaceful solution was found that seems to be functioning; when I see Syria’s
chemical weapons being destroyed by Syria without our having to brings our
missiles to bear, then it does not matter who looks weak and who did or didn’t
get to strut their hawkishness. I am simply thankful and since it is
Thanksgiving, what better week is there to express my thankfulness. And when I
see Iran asking us to consider a bargain, a deal, however small that deal may
be, I am again thankful, although with lots of reservations – a kind of wait
and see thankfulness that that little bass line, John Lennon’s line, “give
Peace a chance” just got a little bit louder; not rocking the car louder, but
the car next to you knows you are listening to the tune louder. I guess you
could say that I am tentatively thankful, hoping this will turn into full blown
thankfulness and that this trend of working things out will continue. Happy
Thanksgiving! Listen to the bass line.
 and
Imagine…

Imagine

By John Lennon
Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people living for today
Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace
You, you may say
I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will be as one
Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people sharing all the world
You, you may say
I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will live as one
© LENNON, JOHN /
For non-commercial use only.
© Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

This
is the view from the cheap seats.

 By Nancy Brisson

Love Peace: Prepare for War

No Time to Stand Down
I know that America must make it clear to the world that we can
defend ourselves. We must make it clear that we are in a merely tactical
withdrawal. Our military resources must not be allowed to get rusty or decline
in numbers or readiness. We must stay battle ready. We should even continue
with military innovation. The world is hardly at peace yet as we can see and we
have enemies, mostly foreign, perhaps a few domestic, who would delight in
catching us unprepared. Our allies must stay prepared to fight also. This is no
time to stand down.
New Kind of War
However, this is the time to stand back when we can, to
analyze, to accept that future wars in some ways may not look like the wars of
the past, although many of the same sad truths will apply. It is time to
regroup, to brainstorm, and find innovative ways to target each enemy with
tailor-made plans in the same way we now target certain cancers with
personalized drugs. We can’t afford to ignore our enemies; we don’t really want
to be isolationists who wake up one day to find themselves deprived of this Democracy
we treasure.
Can’t Waste Our Best Assets
Committing ourselves to send huge forces of our young men
and women off to war as America’s soldiers is not a strategy that will work. We don’t
have the human resources for this or the heart. 
Our people are too precious to us and we don’t have an enormous
population to waste. Our human resources are hardly endless. We have no “clone”
army. We have no robot soldiers. How do we fight well without expending large
numbers of our most valuable resource – our people? I think we fight exactly as
we are learning to fight now. “Designer” wars targeted to a particular enemy
are a good start, although our long distance tools are limited. We need to
rewrite those classic books on military strategy, to 2K reboot them, so to speak.
What We Stand to Gain and Lose
We may not love drones but for a while they are the
only nonhuman long distance resource we have outside of nukes which we
absolutely can’t use and chemicals, which we also can’t use. Collateral damage
is always a bad thing in a war. Wars are not supposed to kill civilians. They
are about deciding how those civilians will live after the war. If no civilians
survive, war is pointless, unless you are simply trying to depopulate the
planet and fortunately we aren’t there yet. I’m a civilian. I don’t want to be
killed by accident; therefore I don’t love drones that kill civilians anywhere.
I don’t love war either for that matter. We must use the new tools we have to
prevent our Democracy from being swallowed by a world of power-mad people who
hate freedom. We must not allow ourselves to be easily crushed by those who
would have us live according to religious beliefs and customs that are not our
own and who would deprive us of important rights. Women would especially be
deprived of freedoms that we hold very dear. Our brains would once again cry
out to be used and we would end up using them in petty competitions and
cruelties among ourselves.
Police, Use Military Gear to Defend Locals, Not Police
Them
I do deplore the fact that our police departments own
equipment that is military in nature, but I only deplore it if they use it on
our own people to enforce laws that can be enforced (and have been enforced)
without turning our hometown police, our neighbors, into hostile strangers
hiding behind riot gear. We don’t want to escalate violence against each other.
We want to be trained to recognize a true enemy if it presents itself and we
want to be prepared to fight such an enemy anywhere in America. (I am trying to
get used to calling America the homeland, but it doesn’t sound quite right to
me yet.)
Flexible, Targeted, and Deadly
We need to have strategies that allow for flexibility,
for travelling light but being a deadly force regardless of the size. We need
ways to get into war zones, where the outcomes may affect us or our allies,
quickly and to get out quickly. We don’t have many of these technologies in our arsenal.
They may not even have been invented yet or we may not have decided yet whether
they are technologies we want to use. However, if we can design things as toys
for movies I am guessing we can eventually design real ones. Drones cannot be
the only robot or long distance tool we have and drones need to continue to be
refined until our enemies can be more exactly targeted.
The Paradox

I want peace. I have no faith that mankind has any gift
for peace and I still want it. Until the whole world wants it too, is dedicated
to it absolutely, I am a war monger who only wishes to make it clear that we
can and will defend ourselves. We will try in every way not to defend ourselves
with the frail flesh and blood of our fellow Americans. We have to try to
invent the most effective techniques we can find for fighting wars from a
distance. If our ways are effective enough maybe war will end; it will be too
deadly to fight wars and we can have peace. If we can invent the internet we
can do this. Meanwhile we must stay lean, mean and keep as much distance from
our enemies as humanly possible. We can hate war, in fact it is better if we
do, but we must know how and be prepared to fight. This is the paradox of the
world as we know it, the paradox that I hope we can someday put behind us forever.
By Nancy Brisson

Will We Ever Have a Prolonged Peace?

Brutality, aggression, competition are part of all
humans, probably hard-wired in as survival skills for hunters. We see most
brutality in this age from men, but we are beginning to see more dangerous
women, and those Amazonian women of legend still have quite a reputation (not
to mention the Borgias). Women may be sneakier in their attacks (perhaps to
make up for smaller size and different musculature due to female hormones), but
women can be vicious also. Men often confront life head on and in the moment,
but brutal men who are better known for cool-headed strategizing may get to
exercise their power over longer periods of time. I don’t know that we will
ever be rid of brutality and, if it’s not the trait that brings about our
ruination as a species, it will probably continue to be useful in the future.
Even the ancients could list the negative human traits
that can plague our cultures if given free rein. We have the Ten Commandments
from the Bible (and, it seems, every religion has similar rules or cautions).
These lists of religious rules have helped rein in the worst traits of human
behavior and they still do. Even people who are not terribly religious see the
sense of these rules and try to abide by them for social reasons either of
conscience or of law. However, there consistently arise, in positions of power,
those humans who seem driven by mad ambition or mental aberration to use
brutality to cow various groups into accepting them as leaders.
Goethe wrote Dr.
Faustus
which became an enduring morality play, still relevant centuries
later. He gave us the Seven Deadly Sins (greed, pride, envy, gluttony, wrath,
sloth, lust). It is easy to trace the calumny triggered even in the 21st
century by these sins of excess. (Catholicism lists seven virtues (chastitiy,
temperance, charity, diligence, patience, kindness, humility) which we often
have serious trouble adhering to also. There are prices to pay both large and
small when people are unable to follow the path of moderation.
History and current events prove that human nature has
changed very little over the centuries. And while I often hope for
“enlightenment”, I should be hoping for evolution, because we are still quite
primitive really and perhaps we still need our flaws. It is possible that in
certain situations these flaws are strengths, but this still turns morality on
its head because bad people often seem more successful in human societies than
kind, benevolent people do (nice guys finish last).
I guess my larger point is that avoiding battles and even
wars is just about impossible given our natures. Right now there are so many
flash points in our world that I don’t see anywhere we can jump in without
having mayhem erupt somewhere else. This very volatility gives us a breather.
It’s unclear which fray needs our attention the most. But that head-on
brutality crowd is still out there, calling forth our defensive instincts.
Future battles and war seem inevitable and we all expect to be sucked into them
eventually. We know isolationism is even less possible now than it was in the
past.
Perhaps we will invent a drug that soothes the savage
beast in us, and the gluttonous and greedy bits, etc. Of course, just when we
do that the aliens will attack.
We really need to work on ways to change that
hard-wiring to a more civilized “motherboard” if we are ever to experience a
prolonged period of peace on earth. But we are not the creators of the human
machine and our brains are still largely a mystery.

So, perhaps, no peace for us.
This blog post is also available at http://brissioni.com/
By Nancy Brisson

Tipping the Balance Towards Oblivion

 

Part One: Quick
quiz:  Find a pen and some paper. Take one minute and list as many
wars as you remember.

 

Here’s my
list if you want to compare:

·        
The War of the Roses

·        
The Peloponnesian War

·        
The Hundred Years War

·        
The Boxer Rebellion

·        
The American Revolution

·        
The French Revolution

·        
The Russian Revolution

·        
The French and Indian War

·        
The War of 1812

·        
Custer’s Last Stand

·        
World War I

·        
World War II

·        
The Spanish American War

·        
The Crimean War

·        
The Crusades

·        
The Iraq War

·        
The Afghanistan War

·        
Desert Storm

·        
The Civil War

·        
The Arab Spring

·        
The Boer War

·        
The War in Bosnia

·        
The Korean War (military action)

It is very,
very difficult to imagine a world with no wars. Peace and prosperity that
persists over time is not something we trust or believe in, although it is
definitely something we long for.

PartTwo: Make
a list of countries you thought would likely upset our hopes for a peaceful
world.
 

 

Here’s my
list (in no particular order):

·        
Iran

·        
Afghanistan

·        
Israel and Palestine

·        
Syria

·        
Egypt

·        
Nigeria

·        
Somalia

·        
Congo

·        
Sudan

·        
(many African nations)

·        
China (expansion in South China Sea)

·        
Thailand

·        
North Korea

·        
Venezuela

Unless you
are Tom Clancy (Command Authority) you probably would not have placed Russia on the list of nations
likely to be troubled and troubling until just last week.

As I have
heard people say on the internet and television, you may have felt that Putin’s
behavior has seemed somewhat pathological recently, arrogant one moment, pouty
the next. President Putin makes me (and others) nervous. I don’t know if he
makes me more nervous than Ted Cruz, but I can’t think of a cartoon character
to compare him to and, for me, that’s a bad sign.

Who would
have thought, given all the other nations where unrest seems ready to explode
into violence at each and every moment, that Russia would add to and trump all
the rest of the world’s burdens – not because of any horrors that were
perpetrated, but because of what this action portends for the future. We don’t
want another monster on the loose. We already have Assad who would rather
obliterate “his” country and its people than let go of the reins of government.
We already have the prison camp drawings that came out of North Korea recently.
Crimea went to Putin easily, but if he goes on to try to annex Ukraine will they
prove to be as agreeable (scared)?

I understand
that President Putin wants a sea port. It seems clear that the people of Crimea
do not mind rejoining Russia. Why did Putin, who I wanted to put in the ranks
of modern, enlightened leaders, have to resort to using troops to scare the
Crimean people? This seems to be a case where diplomacy would have worked. Yet Putin
did not even try it. With all those foreboding troops around it is really hard
to guess if the people of Crimea are truly happy to rejoin Russia.

Now we have
to add Russia to that long list of countries with political stresses that could
affect the entire direction of the world. It looked like we were headed, slowly
and rather explosively, towards that peace and prosperity we all long for, that
modern, civilized global community where we all get along and work together to
explore the enormous universe that surrounds us. Now this goal seems even
further away than it did last month or last year. It would be so easy to fall
backwards into a new Dark Age. Now we have a new and really giant nation, with
plenty of nukes, to add to that list of worrisome nations who could send us
spiraling backwards at any ragged moment. Can we figure out a way to take a
long, long vacation from war? It sure doesn’t look promising.
 
 

This is the
view from the cheap seats.

This blog
post is also available at http://brissioni.com/

By Nancy
Brisson

 

Thankfulness and John Lennon

I came of age in those amazing times when America learned
to hate war and long for peace. I grew up chanting “All we are saying, is give
Peace a chance” along with John Lennon and many blue jean clad peers. We all
boarded the “Peace Train” and pinned our hopes on a world that wanted peace as
badly as we did. We recognized war as a terrible thing, tearing people,
families, children, homes, villages, cities, and nations apart and emphasizing
the fault lines of hate that run through human history. We did not want to go
to war in Vietnam.

As we aged our anti-war message mellowed. We learned the
lessons of expediency.  With Katie we
watched two planes fly into the Twin Towers; we watched those proud towers
which pierced our skies burn to ash, melt, and fall over our iconic city. While
many of us peaceniks did not want to go to war in Iraq and had real doubts
about those weapons of mass destruction, we felt that if we seemed unprepared
for some military style of retaliation we would only invite more attacks. We recognized
the need to mount a good defense in terms of domestic security systems, and a
good offense in terms of a willingness to find and hunt down our enemies and to
be ready to meet them on a battlefield. War reared its ugly head again and our
chorus of “give Peace a chance” dwindled until it was almost just a silent
wish. But that refrain is still there; it is the bass line of our existence.
When our strong yearning for peace was met by the revelation that anti-American
sentiment around the world was about to become the treble line of our
existence, we girded our loins (well the loins of our soldiers) to do more war,
war seemingly without end, as it is unclear how all the hostilities that face
us around the globe will ever give way to tolerance and peaceful coexistence.
It looks as if our contretemps with Islamic extremists will be quite hard to
unravel, and then we face other unhappy campers in far flung corners of the
world. It looks like we will become way more weary of war before the people of
earth will ever reach some kind of equanimity and détente.

So when I saw what happened with the chemical weapons in
Syria; when I saw that a peaceful solution was found that seems to be
functioning; when I see Syria’s chemical weapons being destroyed by Syria without
our having to brings our missiles to bear, then it does not matter who looks
weak and who did or didn’t get to strut their hawkishness. I am simply thankful
and since it is Thanksgiving, what better week is there to express my
thankfulness. And when I see Iran asking us to consider a bargain, a deal,
however small that deal may be, I am again thankful, although with lots of
reservations – a kind of wait and see thankfulness that that little bass line,
John Lennon’s line, “give Peace a chance” just got a little bit louder; not
rocking the car louder, but the car next to you knows you are listening to the
tune louder. I guess you could say that I am tentatively thankful, hoping this
will turn into full blown thankfulness and that this trend of working things
out will continue. Happy Thanksgiving! Listen to the bass line.
 and Imagine…
 
 
 
This is the view from the cheap seats.
This blog post is also available at www.brissioni.com
 

 

Surprises of Globalization

Photo credits: taken by Shamil Zhumatov, Reuters; shared by Fadhel Hawramany on Google+; Cheese-making in Kazakhstan
 
 
The admonition of our forefathers that “all
men (and women) are created equal” does guide a lot our decisions as Americans
and lately seems to keep leading us back to another old adage, that one that
says “no good deed goes unpunished”. The fact that it seemed wrong to many
Americans to enjoy relative prosperity while many others around the world
seemed to languish in poverty led to a belief that, although Americans lost all
of their jobs, the jobs that were created in places where no boom has gone
before (in recent memory) convinced us that this was, in some twisted
self-effacing way, a good thing for the whole world in the long run. Allowing
others to make puny wages doing jobs that provided Americans with great incomes
could be justified because it would eventually lift up workers around the
world, assuage our national guilt, and usher in a future that guaranteed human
rights for all. Not that we necessarily had a choice. Globalization happened. Actually,
of course, average Americans did not send their jobs to other nations; their
jobs were yanked away and bestowed elsewhere. Still it is somewhat comforting
to believe that losing our jobs makes us better Americans, adhering to the
ideals that formed the basis of our nation and the ideals that people around
the world have found admirable and desirable.

I don’t think we have been quite as happy
with the realities of the road to globalization. It will take many generations,
probably, for global economics to raise the standard of living for everyone. In
the meantime, Americans are left in a sort of economic backwater, a zone where
all but the wealthiest Americans are stuck treading water, and rather brackish
water at that. We don’t really want to be in this financial limbo and we may
not stay here for long. Hopefully we will find a way up and out, a way back to
the prosperity that makes America hum, that calms twitchy Republican
plutocrats, and gives us back our optimistic spirit. What we can’t know is how
long it will take for this to happen, and whether we will be able to pull
another rabbit out of our magic hat and find the next thing or things that will
take us to a new prosperity. Perhaps on our enforced hiatus from prosperity we
will learn to enjoy a bit of languishing, to slow down a bit and embrace a
simpler lifestyle that values intangibles like family and friends and leisure and
that does not so much rely on collecting more and more stuff, things, objects
we never have any time to appreciate.

Must everyone in America have granite
countertops and stainless steel appliances? I just saw that photo that you see at the top of this post, taken by someone at Reuters and shared
on Google+ that shows a Central Asian mother and daughter making cheese. They
are squatting in a hut with a straw floor forming perfect mounds of fresh
cheese on a wooden board probably getting ready to sell their cheeses at the
local market. Obviously the contrast between these two “kitchen” scenarios
exposes the distance the world must travel before there is any real economic
global equality of opportunity. If we find a way to restore the upward
trajectory of our economy the distance among nations will continue to widen or
at least maintain its current proportions. However, I don’t expect that we will
lag behind on purpose waiting for people in other nations to catch up.

In addition, economics is not the only
sphere of human activity that has been stirred by globalization. An absolute torrent
of hostility has been released, most of it religious in nature between people
who adhere to a set of stern religious laws and have practiced this demanding
religion since antiquity.  So we find
ourselves in the midst of a religious firestorm, a maelstrom that was
unforeseen by most of us. If you read science fiction, especially Frank Herbert’s
Dune books, the idea of jihad probably
did not come as a total surprise, but still, who knew; not us “ugly” Americans.
We did not know that modern communication devices like computers and especially
cell phones, and the penchant for tourism that arose with transportation
advances and increased prosperity would, just like disturbing a hive of
hornets, produce culture shock after culture shock, foment anger and violent
reactionary responses that would lead to the threat of terrorism that has
arrived on America’s (and the rest of the industrialized world’s) doorstep and
which has become a new fact of life.

Who knew that there are many people who
would want to resist globalization, who treasure their traditional lifestyle,
their religious isolation and who, once change began to rock their world, awoke
to a passion of missionary zeal that Allah requires once the infidel is right
in your backyard. Christians ought to understand the often unintentional
cruelties of the call to carry a foreign religious mission to “pagans” and “nonbelievers”.
Many of us did not foresee that what seemed like just simple economic change
would resonate through every level of the diverse cultures around the world and
make diversity one of the largest issues involved in globalization. Untangling
these belief issues and lifestyle issues requires delicacy and time, not strong
weapons in the American arsenal. We are spontaneous, well-meaning, earnest,
clueless; bulls in the china shop of global human interactions. We are not
known for either patience or delicacy.

Now that globalization has begun, it
probably can’t be stopped unless we go into another “dark” age which seems
unlikely. But the globalizations we are experiencing will probably not do away
with nations, nor will it probably do away with religions, at least not in any
of our lifetimes. Can we wend our ways through the minefields of culture shock
and religious intolerance and economic rises and falls to form a more perfect
union of the world’s nations that could bring to our little planet health and
peace? That is the challenge of this particular era of human history. Will
environmental forces trump all of it and drown us in global environmental
crisis? We live with that challenge right now. Yikes. I wish I believed that
this all arose from our belief that all men are created equal (and perhaps some
of it did) but most of this nexus of change arose from greed. Oh well, we are
what we are. Surprise! The key words here are delicacy and time.

 

Peaceful Coexistence or Escalation?

It is be very difficult for the American people to know what approach we should take in the Middle East. We have just ended one war that killed too many American soldiers, maimed too many others, and killed too many Iraqis also. We are still involved in another costly war where more American soldiers are dying or coming home with extreme injuries they must learn to live with. We haven’t exactly been appreciated in our role as “liberators” who saved Iraq and Afghanistan from what basically amounted to “domestic violence”; from an extreme leader in the case of Iraq and an extreme religious sect in the case of Afghanistan. Of course we were accidental “liberators” who interfered in domestic violence because it was spilling over into attacks on America and Europe, in increasingly escalating terrorist activities that we could not afford to ignore. We do seem to have bought ourselves a temporary lull in explosive attacks outside of the Middle East. How long this will last we cannot say as the hate that lies behind terrorist attacks does not seem to have abated.

Now, as we prepare to leave Afghanistan and amid the irony of having the troops we trained kill their trainers, we are facing new trials in the Middle East. In Libya our ambassador was murdered with malice, it seems, and in Syria we have an absolutely sorrowful mess, with innocent people dying every day and a leader basically committing genocide against his people in order to retain power. If Assad wins now, Syria will probably be locked down tighter than a maximum security prison. Egypt is now a Muslim nation and it is one of our greatest dilemmas right now to learn how to distinguish the extremists who hate America from the moderates who would be happy to try peaceful coexistence. And we have Iran, Iran, Iran, with a government that seems to enjoy taunting America and Israel and taking us all to the edge of war. I don’t know about you, but I am not a “hawk”. I do not want another war in the Middle East right now. We need some time to recoup from the last 11 years and more. We need to let the troops who fought so bravely retire to a more peaceful life with their families. We need to train up new troops who will be fresh and ready to go at some future date. Do we have any time to catch our breath? Will we have to come up with a strong response to the red line drawn by Israel in relation to Iran’s nuclear goals? Will we send a drone or do a pre-emptive strike? Will it be enough to almost send a drone or threaten to do a pre-emptive strike? What does Israel have in mind in response to the red line? I’m certain that if a stern response becomes absolutely necessary then America will do what it must.

Is there a quick way to end hostilities between American (and other western nations) and the Middle Eastern nations where terrorists find safe harbor to harry surrounding countries? Will it take decades to learn to share our crowded and suddenly small planet and to accept each others differences? We want to see families in the Middle East living ordinary lives in the home towns they love but with the rights they deserve.

As for why we don’t know why our President didn’t realize or didn’t share that the death of Chris Stevens in Libya was the result of a terrorist attack, I only know what we are told by news outlets. Was this situation set up to make Obama look clueless so close to the election? Anything is possible. Were our national security agencies guilty of withholding information? Why would they do this? Did Obama chose to ignore the intelligence for some reason? If so, what reason? We’ll probably learn the truth about this some day. Could it have been prevented? That we will never really know. It is clear that we did not believe our Ambassador to Libya was in imminent danger and it was a very sobering lesson to learn. 
It is clear that living for decades with the  uncertainties we are facing in the Middle East recalls the years of the cold war and doesn’t sit comfortably with any of us who lived through those times. It appears that these particular tensions will resolve slowly, unless the red line kills us all. Most of us, except for a few warmongers, don’t have a clue about what America should do. We are dreaming of peaceful coexistence, however, we accept that we may not get this particular outcome at this particular time.

Why Does Iran Act Like a “Hater”?

Iran is now providing us with the newest “Fear Factor” episode in the daily parade of aggressive world leaders who hate America and want to inflict pain on America. Iran wants nukes. We are not sure why Iran wants nukes, but we are sure that letting an aggressive nation who hates America develop nukes is probably not a good idea. (I am not even including Iran’s dysfunctional relationship with Israel in this discussion.)
Iran says they want nukes to use for peaceful purposes. They want to provide energy to the people of Iran. This is a laudable goal. Why would anyone need to be secretive about it? I can see that it might provoke anger when the world will not believe what you say, when they want to enter your country and poke around to see if you are being truthful.
But why are your borders closed in the first place? What are you doing in there that the world is not welcome to see? I know the culture of the 21st century can be invasive, as we are seeing in other Arab nations. I am guessing that you are trying to keep out these cultural influences so Iran can remain Iran. But in trying to hold off the world and stop progress Iran seems to us to be keeping its citizens in the prison of a time warp. It seems to us impossible, controlling, and artificial to hold the world out forever.
Is Iran like the “small dog” who barks a lot because s/he feels threatened or is Iran imperialistic? Does the nation want to be “top dog” and rule the world? This is what we worry about. We are not sure, based on the hostile rhetoric we hear, about what Iran’s true goals are. This is why we worry that Iran is developing nukes as weapons and not just for peaceful purposes.
Iranian leaders project hate, they project paranoia, and they project a chauvinism that often leads nations to attack other nations. They keep defying the world and taking it to the edge of war, as in their current threats to close the Straits of Hormuz. It may just be the protective stance of a beleaguered nation, or it may be a set-up to hostilities that involve more than an exchange of hateful words and threats. We want to like you Iran, but as things stand, we cannot know if your bite is worse than your bark.
The sad thing is that it is difficult to imagine any Iran scenario that does not eventually involve armed conflict. I hope we find another way to relate to Iran. Of course, we cannot really exclude Israel from any discussion about Iran because Israel is our BFF and Iran refuses to even admit their existence. Any solution that involves only Iranian-American relations is unacceptable. Any solution that involves Iranian-American-Israeli relations seems impossible. So far we have not come up with any ways to turn Iran from a “hater” into a friend.