Monday, March 28, 2011

There Will Be Blood

Why, yes, I do often examine movie titles when searching for a theme. While I'd have to re-watch the movie from a few years ago to give a completely coherent thesis on There Will Be Blood, it seems a recurring world theme that, as true with states, men will act to pursue and protect their interests and investments... many times, in an ugly way. In the movie, there was a man after oil, and he utilized and exploited all avenues to success. In the last decade, there were many accusing the American government of "going to war for oil" in Iraq. Many more villified a policy of preemptive action - a self-assertion of sorts that committed military resources (including my brother) into battle with an enemy that had yet to draw first blood. The American Left became furious, and empowered by them, so did many around the world.

I have to admit that I was mistaken. Prior to the last presidential inauguration, I predicted our policy would be "do not fire until fired upon". However reluctantly, our president has decided that engaging in warring activities unprovoked is necessary foreign policy. Who knew? Striking to me this Sunday, after a week of bombing campaigns facilitating a no-fly zone over Libya (something urged weeks ago by Senator McCain), was hearing our Defense Secretary Gates proclaim candidly that Libya is not "vital" to American interests. Who would have thought the US would be a dove flying with a flock of hawks? Furthermore, what happens when the terrorist Khaddafi (that's how we used to spell it in grade school) decides to fight back? Remember, guys like him fight dirty.

2011 has begun as a year of unrest. It seems, as President Bush declared, the natural yearning of the human spirit is for freedom. Whether the thirst is for food, security, prosperity, or democracy, oppressive regimes, when pressured, have given way to greater interests. We are witnessing a unique time in human history when peoples are asserting themselves in seemingly contagious revolutions, and communication technology offers a window of opportunity to do so. How unfortunate that we have gone from lone superpower, to world police, to sherriff, to side-lined bully and sugardaddy in a matter of twenty years. How unfortunate still that our values continue to pervade the world, yet it seems we have passed on our duty to lead.

There will be blood. That is certain. Whether for freedom, for resources, or for power, there are many actors pursuing their own interests. Change will occur with or without us. Our best days are when we shine for the world to see a fire we are proud not to let extinguish. I remember seeing a t-shirt depicting President Obama dressed as Superman; wouldn't that be interesting.

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