Saturday, July 29, 2006

THE "PERFECTION OR NOTHING" MENTALITY

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Condi is making the Tea and Cake for peace circuit. And, after talking with “everyone” in the whole world, the US took a stand of all or nothing at all. Condi explains it in laughable terms by citing the need for an urgent and lasting cease fire.

Steve Clemons of The Washington Note captures Bolton’s response to pressure by Lincoln Chaffee to transcend the simplistic term “terrorism” as the whole of the problems plaguing the Middle East peace process:

"Bolton gave a long and convoluted response but also stated: 'There is no basis for peace in the Middle East right now.' He suggested that one of the reasons why the US has resisted calls for immediate cease fire in the region is that it wants to generate a 'comprehensive solution.' He said 'we need to use current circumstances as a fulcrum to move towards a more stable, longer term solution.'"

The pattern here is to hold out for the desired outcome. Wonderful you say? Upon first inspection, such terms sound strong and they sound decisive. By all outward appearances this stance looks noble.

This approach is deceptive. Let me show you how. Let us consider a person walking in the woods. Maybe they are even in the habit of walking in a portion of the woods that is steep and too challenging for their abilities. One day you come across this person and they have fallen and broken their leg. Well, you say, "I will not splint your leg or help you get to the doctor because it is a temporary fix. I will wait here until a doctor shows up to put on a permanent cast and to also garner a promise from you that you will engage in no more walking on the dangerous portion of the path."

That is silly, obviously so. The temporary fix of the splint is necessary to relieve your suffering now to get you to the doctor in order to get the permanent fix. And, in the future we can come to terms regarding your afternoon stroll.

Consider the motorist who has a flat who rails against the car company because they have a donut for a spare because it is only a temporary fix. Instead of simply using the spare, they stand in traffic refusing to budge until they have a real tire in perfect condition. Or the person who has cut themselves and refuses to apply direct pressure and instead demands stitches immediately.

On a lighter note, it is tantamount to saying "I cannot kiss you dear, we do not have time for sex just now." Or, "Dr. Doe, don’t bother with that temporary crown, just forget it if you cannot give me the real thing today." I am sure you can come up with a host of examples here.

In my college years I experienced this on a more sophisticated level. This story is for you doubters who think my analogy is too simplistic and does not work in matters of peace and diplomacy. The Women’s Studies Department of the university was undergoing difficulties. We were trying to establish a major in addition to the minor which we already had in place. We needed resources and had other difficulties to work out. The department was controversial in our conservative area. It was not favored by our conservative president.

The meetings to solve the problems were a study in Condi’s and Bolton’s method of obstruction in that we were distracted by the Dean telling us that they were considering instituting a Masters program in Women’s Studies. Why the people involved were floored. Of course, wonderful! But, here is the meat of the issue. If we could not solve the matters before us on a smaller level, how were we going to solve the larger issues of a instituting a Master’s program? What we needed was an effective accredited Bachelor’s program. Needless to say, they took the bait. They really wanted a Master’s program. It was highly desired. But, what they got was neither.

A cease fire is a measure to save lives. Period. A cease fire is not a lasting anything. It is simply a stop gap that might save someone’s child or husband or mother or father. It might save the life of my friend. It might sooth the people enough to assure them that someone cares enough to stop the suffering, even if it is for an hour or a day or a month, until something that is enduring in nature might be established. A cease fire is the splint, it is the direct pressure on a bleeding wound, it is the donut. It is the bridge from hostility to an agreement.

It is typical operating procedure for the policy makers today to set out some idea of perfection and hold the world to their fantasy of what it should be like. They are the ones who told us Iraq would greet us as liberators. The war would "probably not last 6 months." They will not stand for what they see as imperfection on any level. They refuse to acknowledge that people are born gay. They will not acknowledge that teens have sex and will always do so. If reality is unpleasant, they will simply legislate it away. Or berate us all until we conform.

Condi and John Bolton have the same dilemma, they cannot envision a world other than one that matches up with their ideological perceptions of perfection. And, if they can’t have that, then we will all just have to suffer until they do. Theirs is an ivory tower policy. They do not roll up their sleeves and work with the parties involved. They dictate. And, they will hold to this method and this ideology, no matter how many innocents die, no matter how many wars ensue. They will not let go of their delusions.

It is up to the sane to help them. It is up to us to stop allowing them to make their delusions into policy and tidy nonsensical media blurbs. Perfection does not exist. The work will never be finished. There will always be a problem after this one. But, knowing that arms us to solve the next one and the next one. We have to stop buying the line that this war and the next war will end the next war. No matter how tired we get, working to save every life is worth it. Working to solve the impossible is worth it. Bolton and Rice are simply lazy. They have decided to throw bombs at the problem in hopes that it will go away. It will never go away. Relationships always take work. They always have. They always will.

The end to which we aspire is peace. I say we start there and figure out how to keep it rather than promoting war and figuring out how to stop it. We have tried the other way.

-Mags

3 Comments:

At 4:57 PM, Blogger Timcanhear said...

Bush has already shown his plan for peace in Lebanon and Israel at least.
As he said to Tony Blair at the big 8 summit ... "if hezbolah would just stop this shit, it would be over" or something to that affect.
We live in a comotose society. The fascist's wet dream. Dumb down the people, it's the path to least resistance as they reform an America where only they decide.
The republican fat cats own the media and the republican fat cats own the corporations.
Our fight has to go towards the media as truth is being sacrificed for profits. And everytime we hear a lying ass republican we need to get in his face. All hell is going to break loose on the streets of America in August and I swear, it's a fight that is long overdue.
This is our fight. The fight for truth AND justice.

 
At 10:06 PM, Anonymous teach said...

Really when one thinks about this, it is more like a perfection or nothing ruse.

 
At 8:41 AM, Blogger keninny said...

Excellent point, Teach, because we all know that the policymaking U.S. neocons haven't meant that you CAN'T get a ceasefire now, but that you SHOULDN'T--not until the Israeli army can change the facts on the ground.

Of course the Israeli military can't change the facts on the ground, unless you count lining up the entire world except the U.S. behind Hezbollah. But apparently being a policymaking U.S. neocon means always being wrong, and never learning a damned thing from it, thank you very much!

(It's still a swell piece, Mags--the case you make holds well even with the undeservedly charitable assumption that there is some sort of principle underlying the U.S. no-ceasefire position.

K

 

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