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Some Impressions on the War on Terrorism

In foreign affairs, the citizen is sucked into the final drop of calculation the state is capable of; out of bureau's stacked one on top of the other. The citizen is helpless before the onslaught and protects himself with mythology, either of perfection or of fear. Understanding foreign affairs entails understanding a great deal about the rest of the world: that is, the forms of state and the forms of the people. What are the aims of the state? What are the problems of the people? What is the world striving for? Where is conflict apt to break out? What, exactly , is the self-interest of the U.S. or, for that matter, any country?

  • A map and a few good magazines are a place to start.
  • The world is greater than our abstractions but, somehow, we have to live with the abstractions.
  • Predicting anything is a dangerous affair.
  • It is necessary to have some definite grasp of history.

People and nations have not had to lug around so much material and processes as they have in this period of time. The fact that every coordinate of the world is "covered" by an expert or some interested party and, certainly, by a camera opens things up as never before. Knowledge, then, is at a premium and, one would guess, wisdom in some guise is sure to follow.

The mind, so extended, does not solve anything. But it is less apt to be swallowed by lies as long as it returns to the prime center and renews itself at the core of things.

Posted August 23, 2003

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David Eide
copyright 2003
March 27, 2003