Saturday, December 12, 2009

Americans Turning Isolationist

One of the premises of this blog is that the Bosnian war was about more than a brutal conflict in southeast Europe; it was a trial run of what the world might look like in the post-Cold War era, and a test of how the democratic world would meet (or fail to meet) these new challenges.

One of the lessons I believe we should take from the Bosnian experience is that the world needs to become more, not less, cosmopolitan and internationalist in orientation. From the dangers of global warming and Islamic fundamentalist terror, to the challenges raised by widespread immigration and an increasingly global economy, we need the regard ourselves more and more as global citizens, and to regard all our fellow humans as our brothers and sisters. In Bosnia, we were told that "they" were none of our business, and in Kosova we were told that Serbia's national sovereignty somehow trumped our obligation to the Kosovar Albanians. Fortunately, in both cases we (belatedly and not always forcefully enough, it is true) did not listen.

But unfortunately, lessons learned can easily be forgotten:

Pew Poll Showing Americans Retreating Inward

It will be a very interesting test of the Obama Presidency to see how he deals with a public which wants nothing to do with the world beyond our borders.

3 comments:

Srebrenica Genocide Blog Editor said...

Lessons get forgotten quickly. One would expect that the Jewish people would be a bit more compassionate after the Holocaust, but that's not the case in the state of Israel. The cause of Islamic terrorism is deeply rooted in the horrible and inhuman massacres that Jews committed against Muslims in the occupied Palestine and Lebanon. You all heard about the Qana Massacre of Children in Lebanon. I don't even have to mention numerous massacres that Jews committed against Muslims in Gaza and West Bank. It really breaks my heart that the humanity have not learned the lessons of the Holocaust. What can we learn from the Holocaust? We can learn to be more compassionate and more tolerant. But instead of compassion and tolerance, the Simon Wiesenthal Institute (for example) spreads hatred against Muslims. If you look at some of their press releases, you will be shocked. They serve as apologist for Israel's war crimes.

Owen said...

I don't associate Chomsky too closely with the word "accuracy" since he's not a great one for checking the substance of reality. However there is a core of truth in his argument that "humanitarianism" may be used as a cloak for self-interest.

Chomsky's followers have their own self-interest and selectivity of concern, but that shouldn't blind us to the danger of our humanitarian concern being manipulated and directed.

As Dan has pointed out, the selectivity of concern shown by the international community suggests that "humanitarianism" is often simply the political vehicle for a wish to see the return of stability and predictability, whatever the underlying humanitarian situation.

Anonymous said...

"suggests that "humanitarianism" is often simply...[a]...political vehicle"

Indeed, see the opinions expressed here: a) the USA should intervene in the affairs of other states b) Islamic terrorism, no - Israeli terrorism, no - Islamic terrorism.