Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

Why Is the World Becoming Such a Nasty Place?

by Victor Davis Hanson // PJMedia

Photo via PJMedia

Photo via PJMedia

Border Disorders

Central American parents send their unescorted children northward in hopes of remittances and eventual anchor amnesty for themselves. Our friend Mexico facilitates the exodus through its own sovereign territory (hoping that no one stops along the transit, and happy that the border is further shredded). Central American governments seem happy too. More money will be sent back home. Fewer mouths will be left to feed. Possible dissidents will emigrate. A new generation of expatriates in the U.S. will grow fonder of and lobby for Central America the longer they don’t have to live there.

We utter “the children,” [1] and discussion about proper culpability, cynical manipulation, and disinformation ends. In such a fantasy world, parents don’t manipulate “the children” as pawns; countries don’t try to export what they see as their surplus population; Mexico doesn’t stir the pot; and liberal activists don’t cynically calculate electoral advantage. There are children in need at the border — but there is a great deal more as well. When the president of the United States renders his nation’s immigration laws irrelevant, people notice. And when he establishes a radical expansion in entitlements, those abroad likewise notice. And when he offers a narrative that “they” are culpable and owe much to the exploited, people arrive.

What If?

Try a thought experiment of extending the logic of the current border disorder. Imagine a growing disequilibrium between Chicago and Canada. (On the other hand, why imagine it since it already exists? [2]) Thousands of the children from the most violent areas of the inner city of Chicago — where shootings are approaching levels in Central America — decide to flee the misery for the chance of something better elsewhere. They head north. Some are preteens; some are teenagers; most are innocents; some gang members; some come with their parents; most do not. Most are poor and without resources and capital. They begin walking or getting on trains to Canada and soon mass there at the border in the thousands, as refugees from horrific conditions of the inner city of Rahm Emanuel’s Chicago. Some gang members have charged them transit fees. Imagine further that U.S. officials, with a wink and a nod, had encouraged them to leave, given the endemic violence, and the social costs of addressing it. Their parents likewise hope that they are adopted by the Canadians, given citizenship and that they soon become anchors for their own emigration out of war-torn Chicago. And imagine what might be the reaction if the children were not welcomed en masse by Canada. Would we then blast and damn Canada as nativist, racist, and uncaring for not openly bringing our “children” into their homes? Would the influx be a moral act on the part of the United States or American parents who willingly facilitated the transit, and would it be a fair charge against Canada for not immediately taking the arrivals in as likely future citizens?

Same Old, Same Old

Vladimir Putin is systematically gobbling up the expanse of the former Soviet Union. He swallows some land, regurgitates a bit, then slowly digests what he gulped down, burps, and then has another slice. Future targeted states, perhaps like Estonia, should understand that they are slated to play the 1939 role of Poland after the earlier Anschluss [3] and dismemberment of Czechoslovakia. Estonia should consider itself safe because it is a NATO member; but Russia thinks it is most vulnerable precisely because it is a NATO member: what better way to destroy NATO than to champion the Russian minorities of a NATO member as pretext to carving out territory, and to expect nothing at all in response?

The Dutch were outraged that the daughter of Vladimir Putin — whose surrogate thugs just shot down a civilian airliner bound from Holland – was living it up in a penthouse in the Netherlands, but then they quickly apologized [4] for being outraged. It is not like she was Jewish after all. (She finally left.)

Speaking of Jews, mobs of Middle Easterners in the streets of Europe are calling for the destruction of Israel, and at times the completion of the final solution [5] — 70 years after it played out in the streets of Europe. We are told Europeans are worried as these demonstrations become more virulent. But we are confused whether Europeans are worried that their guests are premodern — or instead worried that the world senses their guests are saying things that they would like to say but cannot (yet).

Christians and Jews — So What?

Christians are being exterminated and cleansed from Iraq and Syria. But we seem to think they are equivalent to bible-thumping Texas evangelicals and their killers exotic versions of Che, and so the ethnic cleansing is rarely condemned. If Barack Obama would just close his eyes and envision ISIS, Hamas, or Putin as the Tea Party or Fox News, and then react accordingly, the world would be a safer place.

Israel is trying to figure out an effective policy against Hamas. I say struggling, because Hamas is 7th century: using schools, mosques, and hospitals as missile storehouses, wiring up animals to be suicide bombers, stocking up handcuffs and syringes to capture Israeli soldiers for Aztec-like treatment, urging their civilians to become human shields.

In general, the liberal principle persists that when Arabs on the offense kill lots of Arabs it is normal, but when Jews in defense kill far fewer Arabs it is reprehensible.  If Israel were weak, Hamas would do to it what ISIS is now doing to Christians, and the world would react to the rout and slaughter of the Jews with the indifference that it shows to Christians. Wait, it does that anyway.

Yet victory is not an anachronistic ideal; it persists across time and space as long as the human condition remains constant. If the IDF inflicts a great deal of punishment on Hamas, as it did to Hezbollah in 2006, then eventually those whose homes were repositories for missiles and tunnel openings and are now junk will blame (privately) Hamas as much as Israel. Even Hitler lost public opinion [6] once he looked clueless amid the suffering he had caused all those who once cheered him on.

The reputation of Europe, such as it was, is shredded. It weighed Russian commerce and trade versus Russian barbarity, and so far profits have won hands-down. It trashed the interventionism of George W. Bush and now laments the isolationism of Barack Obama — the only constant being whatever America does, it objects to it. What then does Europe want from the U.S.? Apparently a huge American military subject to the dictates of European “soft power,” as an occasional back-up force when European sermons are laughed at abroad (e.g., “If you do not listen to our exalted Athenian logic, then we will turn loose our brutal blood-loving Roman legions on you”). Unfortunately for the Europeans, they got the president they wanted, and now rue that wish. The EU is being exposed as a self-indulgent socialist mess [7], full of class tensions, increasing racism and anti-Semitism, angry unassimilated immigrants and minorities, and as a proverbial baying lamb with a wolf next door.

United Barbarity

Secretary General of the UN Ban Ki-moon is blasting Israel [8] for retaliating against the barrage of Hamas rockets. He seems content that UN schools were hiding Hamas missiles. The UN has become a de facto ally of Hamas, and Ban Ki-moon’s rhetoric reflects that alliance. In terms of missiles, does he believe that his UN also prevents North Korea from gassing or firing on his homeland — or is South Korean safety due to the presence of the Neanderthal forces of the U.S.? Could not Israel lecture Mr. Ki-moon to be more tolerant of the next over flight of North Korea missiles, to worry less about Pyongyang’s bomb, and to please ask the U.S. to leave South Korean soil?

No-Drama Obama

The U.S. looks at the current global violence and then looks away, after a call for a “pivot” or a flash card calling for Boko Haram to give back the girls it has enslaved. Our generation’s version of the bad memories of the 1918 Meuse-Argonne Offensive is Iraq and Afghanistan. Like our grandparents of the 1930s, we feel that the dead lost abroad in the most recent wars were not worth it — and so ignore the gathering war clouds on the present horizon, as if ignoring them means they must disappear.

Glance about — Central America, Venezuela, China, Russia, Ukraine, Crimea, Gaza, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Turkey, etc. — and the world outside the West is mostly a nasty place.  The three common denominators in all these catastrophes are the usual demagogic leaders blaming someone else for their people’s own self-inflicted miseries, a comfortable West that shrugs that somehow all these depressing things and mean people will just go away — and a tired global enforcer whose community organizer leader went into retirement [9] and offers “make no mistake about it” warnings between swings on the golf course.

(Artwork created using multiple Shutterstock.com [10] images.)

Article printed from Works and Days: http://pjmedia.com/victordavishanson

URL to article: http://pjmedia.com/victordavishanson/why-is-the-world-becoming-such-a-nasty-place/

URLs in this post:

[1] “the children,”: http://www.stridentconservative.com/the-tyranny-of-cliches-how-liberals-cheat-in-the-war-of-ideas-a-review/

[2] since it already exists?: http://www.jammiewf.com/2014/rahm-emanuel-illegal-aliens-are-fleeing-violent-conditions-so-lets-move-them-to-chicago/

[3] Anschluss: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anschluss

[4] they quickly apologized: http://www.thewire.com/business/2014/07/putins-daughter-netherlands/374992/

[5] the completion of the final solution: http://twitchy.com/2014/07/27/anti-semitic-turkish-academic-tweets-in-support-of-treblinka-death-camp/

[6] lost public opinion: http://pjmedia.com/eddriscoll/2005/06/17/the-white-rose/

[7] a self-indulgent socialist mess: http://pjmedia.com/eddriscoll/2006/08/12/what-will-it-take-to-militarize-the-west/

[8] Ban Ki-moon is blasting Israel: http://pjmedia.com/rogerlsimon/2014/07/21/john-and-bans-not-so-excellent-cairo-adventure/

[9] went into retirement: http://pjmedia.com/eddriscoll/2014/06/06/obamaphoning-it-in/

[10] Shutterstock.com: http://www.shutterstock.com

 

Copyright © 2008 Works and Days. All rights reserved.

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About Victor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson is the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow in Residence in Classics and Military History at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, a professor of Classics Emeritus at California State University, Fresno, and a nationally syndicated columnist for Tribune Media Services. He is also the Wayne & Marcia Buske Distinguished Fellow in History, Hillsdale College, where he teaches each fall semester courses in military history and classical culture.

6 Thoughts on “Why Is the World Becoming Such a Nasty Place?

  1. Thomas on July 28, 2014 at 9:33 am said:

    Your try observation and statement “The three common denominators in all these catastrophes are the usual demagogic leaders blaming someone else for their people’s own self-inflicted miseries”, the same narrative of the “black situation” in this country that Obama has put in the minds of “his people”. and seldom do any see this today. It is promoted as “Justice” instead of the realization of political demagoguery.

  2. History is functioning like normal fulfilling its promise to repeat itself when those subject to it fail to learn from it. The question “How did it get so far before someone finally stepped in?” cannot be asked when all you have to do is watch the dithering, checked out, golfer in chief speak lies while quietly enjoying the disorder he has set into motion through implementing the Cloward-Piven strategy he internalized from his confused youth.

  3. craig evans on July 28, 2014 at 11:53 am said:

    Very astute paper, as usual.
    Accompanying artwork is excellent; could very well be the common sense vs. obama campaign bumpersticker.

  4. Karl Horst on August 8, 2014 at 9:59 pm said:

    England, Ireland and Scotland sent thousands to the US, including unescorted children and the elderly infirmed to your country for over 100-years, and no one complained then. Italians, Germans, Norwegians, Poles and Russians have all come to America to make you what you are today. They came from failed farms, grinding poverty, starvation and oppression. They were illiterate and poor. They didn’t speak English, they were unskilled and often very sick. They came from abusive societies, abusive cultures and abusive families. They risked crossing the Atlantic under conditions that often resulted in deaths at sea and even more horrors as they arrived on shore and were attacked, murdered and killed as they attempted to settle there.

    They left their homes and families and risked their lives only to find themselves under the heel of “freedom and capitalism” in the slaughter houses of Chicago, where abusive working conditions and child labor were the norm. They lived, worked and died along the thousands of miles of rail tracks as they build westward. They were the immigrants, outcasts, and foreigners. They were us, and now they are you.

    Yet now you complain and cry foul when someone else risks their life for the same thing? The same attempt for freedom and opportunity your own fathers and grandfathers risked their lives for is simply being repeated. Instead of criticizing the parents and families, why are you not standing at the border embracing these children who have risked their lives for very same the freedom and liberty you so proudly claim as your heritage. Or is it only for those you deem worthy? Did the hearts of Irish parents not break when their sons and daughters left their homes knowing they would never see them again? Did Lithuanian families not fear for their brothers or sisters who hoped to find refuge in your country?

    America has always stood as the promised land, it’s history and legend are THE light of freedom in a less than free world.

    Perhaps the time has come that you should take down the sign from the Statue of Liberty, “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

  5. J. Scott on August 18, 2014 at 1:47 pm said:

    Actually, Mr. Horst, many people complained then–even as people poured into the country through legal means. Immigrants haven’t always been welcomed into the United States with open arms; but the promise of freedom and opportunity has always served as a beacon for the suffering masses of the world. Today, despite the fact that legal channels allow record numbers of people from south of the border into the United States, illegal immigrants continue to take advantage of our lack of security. Remember that Mexico and Central America have also sent thousands to this country for over 100-years. If we were to reduce the levels of lawful immigration for Mexico and Central America to the levels set for European countries, there would be a public outcry. Current legal channels (despite being weighed in favor of these countries) are being side-stepped.

    Those “huddled masses yearning to breathe free” have victimized many people along our southern border and beyond. People with good intentions should enter the United States through legal means, period. Why should families from Mexico and Central America be treated so differently than the suffering masses of other nations?

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