The United States of America has become a domain where crazy and mindless ‘shoot-outs’ have become common occurrences. Mad men are roaming places ranging from kindergarten schools to high-security government offices, killing innocent people for no reason whatsoever. I am always surprised when the US issues advisories to its citizens about travelling to India, particularly when that nation itself appears to be so vulnerable. The US’s condescension towards countries outside Europe is unwarranted and farcical. Lunacy exists everywhere on the planet, including the nation which believes it is the best and most secure of them all.
The episode where the mighty US was preparing to attack Syria reminded me of the nerve gas and napalm that the Americans used on the Vietnamese people who were fighting for survival in their homeland that was being ruthlessly assaulted by a foreign power. The Vietnamese believed in an ideology that was opposed by the Americans, who mutilated Vietnam for years by using bombs and gas and other weapons. Add to this the ghastly truth that the US supported dictators around the world. It spoke of democracy but found reasons to protect dictators.
This simplistic engagement with the world led to some of the worst, most meaningless, conflicts in modern times. Great civilizations were destroyed because the US was limited in its comprehension of complex and ancient cultures that have survived historical turmoil over centuries. The arrogance of the ‘military might’ pitted against the intellectual and philosophical DNAs of extraordinary cultures and fragmented, diverse peoples, brought about militant responses to such an alien, unnecessary, intrusion. Military action by the US on non-European nations across the world has given birth to violent retaliations that have made the world a dangerous place.
Perhaps this ‘cowboy’ attitude comes from a deep-seated insecurity about old cultures and indigenous people. Physical might then becomes the only tool with which the insecure can batter rooted and entrenched cultures. When the British were compelled to retreat from India, they divided a great culture and were responsible for the deaths of millions. Their arbitrary and unthinking delineation of India’s borders was akin to infusing this country with a fatal virus in revenge for us having won independence from imperial rule. The next colonial dispensation, that of the US, added fuel to the fire by supporting Pakistan and endorsing its ‘dispute’ with India over Kashmir. Over the many decades that followed the partition of this subcontinent, the US created numerous ‘monsters’ in South Asia that are now taking their revenge on the declining super power.
We are witnessing and experiencing the horrendous repercussions of a brutal, exploitative and inhuman socio-economic and political policy followed by alien Western powers towards the largest pool of human creativity and skills left in this badly battered world. The Western and hitherto economically powerful nations have abused the natural environment in their race to achieve growth and power.
The horror that was inflicted is now coming full circle. Floods are destroying safe havens in Europe and America; pollution is spreading deadly diseases; individuals are venting their anger by killing people in shoot-outs. The powerful nations need to shift gear and become compassionate and caring, so as to act with humility. There is no place left for political arrogance and military might. They can only trigger further despair and retaliation. To reach out and embrace the unknown as well as the adversary is the only way forward and it requires intellectual wherewithal and confidence.