President Obama likes to claim that anybody on the world stage who disagrees with his philosophical truths or refuses to act in the manner the President approves is simply acting in a manner which is unacceptable in the twenty-first century or remaining in the eighteenth or nineteenth century. This was his response to Russian President Putin’s actions provoking violence and using provocateurs instigating situational conflict which would demand and facilitate Russian intervention allowing the reabsorption of the Ukraine once again by the Russian government. This has also been his latest accusation against ISIS and their beheading of American photojournalist James Foley which they claimed was a message and a threat being issued to the United States. Where I really do wish that President Obama’s proclamations were valid and actually applied to our world in this the twenty-first century, the popularity of the first Saw movie which spawned a complete series of follow-on Saw films may be a closer commentary on the state of appetites and morality than President Obama’s expectations. Meanwhile, there was a pair of photos depicting a hooded youth decapitating a doll presumably showing support for ISIS and their murder of James Foley. The implication of such a pair of pictures on Twitter is that while in the United States there is a sufficient market for gruesome films depicting the torturous death or deaths of victims of sadistic captors, the story-line of the Saw series, a series my son claims were great and entertaining cinema, proves that perhaps there are those among our populations whose taste bends somewhat to ad absurdum and sadistic violent content. Whatever such might define about our society, the popularity of such proves that there are all sorts making up our own societies, so how can we make statements about what other cultures find acceptable which do not strictly apply to our own peoples. That is part of the absurdity of the President’s commentary on the gruesome decapitation of photojournalist James Foley.
The rest of President Obama’s statement included a reference that the future belongs to those who build and not to the destroyers. Sometimes leaders make statements which sound fantastic but only serve to prove they either have no knowledge of history or are simply making grand and sweeping statements simply to sound optimistic and provide a reasoned approach which does not require actions, especially if they are reluctant to use military force even in the most dire of situations. There are numerous examples throughout history of how those who espoused violence and sewed destruction were not only victorious but left a great swath of smoldering ruins in their wake. Such was the result of the Mongol hordes sweeping westward out of eastern Asia and across the Middle East finally stopping at the eastern edges of Europe. The Roman Empire eventually became builders over the stretches of their empire but initially the advance of the Roman Legions meant that your city was very probably going to be destroyed and still lose the battle. Further, becoming some of the greatest builders of their era did not prevent the fall of Rome and Rome fell to barbarians who spread destruction in place of Roman building. The one consistency that many an archeologist will tell you is that many of their excavations find ruins and charred remains and other signs of violent end which put an end to whatever building the previous society might have been performing as part of their growth factors. Yes, the most advanced nations are typified by building rather than destruction, but that does not make them survivors into the future against those who are willing to use violence as a means to their ends. The civilizations which became successful builders also built strong armies with the most advanced weaponry of their period and only when they reached the point where they came to believe that they were so dominant that they no longer needed to build sizeable armies, or even worse, that they could hire others to fight their wars and guard their borders for them that these civilizations fell, often falling to the barbarians who were given access to the soft underbelly of the advanced empire by those very same guardians they had hired to keep them safe in place of manning the border walls themselves.
Losing the will to fight to retain ones society is by far the fastest route to destruction. In the recent past former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, addressing the Israel Policy Forum in 2005 stated the absurd announcing, “We are tired of fighting, we are tired of being courageous, we are tired of winning, we are tired of defeating our enemies, we want that we will be able to live in an entirely different environment of relations with our enemies.” This defeatist attitude prevailed through the administration of Ariel Sharon which was responsible for bringing the catastrophic Israeli disengagement from Gaza in August of that year. The refusal to remain strong and act boldly but rather to claim that Israel would rely on building the future and that their answer to terrorism and violence perpetrated against the state by building more houses which many believe is the reason that there have been three wars with Hamas including the present situation since those dark days. Thankfully those days are behind us and hopefully the future will elect those ready and willing to do what is necessary even in the face of a world demanding Israeli surrenders as the answer, the same demands which led a series of tired Israeli leaders to attempt retreat to end Palestinian terrorist violence. That did not work all that well as even many who approved of the surrender path to peaceful coexistence by Israel were soon to realize. One wonders how long it will take for the people of the United States to realize the falsehoods of these platitudes about builders defeating the destroyers. The destroyers, especially those who believe that a beheading best represents their position and is an acceptable means of expressing your beliefs and threats to your enemies, are not intimidated by building of anything other than an army capable of ending their reigns of terror. The United States has the military might and the capability to strike down ISIS if only the will to do so is realized and acted upon. Unfortunately the United States appears to have grown tired of fighting, tired of being courageous, tired of winning, and tired of defeating their enemies. President Obama desires honestly to want to be able to live in an entirely different environment of relations with those enemies, even ISIS. Unfortunately, those enemies which include ISIS do not desire a different or new approach to relations; they simply desire to destroy everything built by the builders.
Beyond the Cusp