politics


It was no surprise that the right-wing response to Keith Olbermann’s Special Comment criticising Bush’s out of touch statements (lores version at C&L) would be both vociferous and personal. However, much to his credit, Olbermann acknowledged in his response to these personal attacks that a key principle in depth psychology was at play.

(Original at MSNBC, lores version at C&L)

It is perhaps instructive, that to the right-wing commentators, and the right-wing blogs, those terms should first evoke not the war-mongers of the Pentagon or the gun-men from Blackwater but U.S. troops.

“I cannot imagine that kind of evil knee-jerk reflex. I feel very sorry for those who have shown it.

It seems to me that these right-wingers have inadvertently shown their true colors, their instinctive hatred of and contempt for, these self-sacrificing Americans, who have been needlessly placed in harm’s way by these very commentators and the politicians they support.

They hear criticism of our nation’s collective conduct in Iraq, and immediately assume it’s the fault of the soldiers.”

Olbermann recognised that his critics were projecting their own subconscious hatred for US soldiers onto him, and then attacking him for carrying what is essentially their own shadow. In the words of depth psychologist, C. G. Jung:

“We still attribute to the other fellow all the evil and inferior qualities that we do not like to recognize in ourselves, and therefore have to criticize and attack him, when all that has happened is that an inferior “soul” has emigrated from one person to another. The world is still full of betes noires and scapegoats, just as it formerly teemed with witches and werewolves”

Those who fail to recognise they are subconsciously projecting their shadow on anyone they disagree with are often considered to be, in Jungian terms, not totally enlightened and self-realised:

Every person who is not totally enlightened and self-realised has an “ego” (that) is full of lower emotional poison (toward) its own ugliness and imperfection… it cannot acknowledge this ugliness in itself, because to do so would shatter the narcissistic illusion of its own wonderfulness and specialness, and confront it with its true nature. The result would be either madness or a spiritual self-judgement by which the ego is forced to confront its own negativity. Therefore, in order to maintain its own equilibrium, its own sanity in other words, as psychological defence mechanism, the ego has to constantly project its ugliness onto an appropriate scapegoat.

This is how they cope with their unacknowledged and repressed psychic contents, which can only be tolerated as hatred for another, for a pereceived enemy who has slighted them or their family or tribe or culture or ethnicity or nation or religion or ideology.

This happens everywhere, prejudice, bigotry, intolerance, xenophobia, fear and hatred of the “other” are universal. … Only one who has totally gone beyond the limitation of their finite self, and realised their identity with the Supreme, will no longer project their ego-ideal onto those they identify with, and their shadow onto all those they choose to scapegoat, whether out of prejudice picked up from parents or peers or social condition, or whether these are people who have slighted or insulted the object of ego-identification, or who even if they haven’t are paranoidly misinterpreted as wanting to or actually doing so.

Prolonged failure to acknowledge one’s shadow can lead to what Jung termed possession:

A term used to describe the identification of consciousness with an unconscious content or complex. The most common forms of possession are by the shadow and the contrasexual complexes, anima/animus. A man who is possessed by his shadow is always standing in his own light and falling into his own traps. Whenever possible, he prefers to make an unfavorable impression on others.

What sort of impression does this Olbermann critic prefer to convey?

According to Gerhard Wehr, those possessed by their shadow act out in the voice of the shadow without consciously choosing to do so and often without realizing this is happening. He mentions that mob psychology can make one particularly vulnerable to shadow projection. Psychology of the mob may be the best explanation for why those most likely to misinterpret criticism of the Bush administration as an attack on the troops, are the very same people who defend actions that would increase US soldiers’ exposure to danger and who refuse to support improvements in veteran benefits.

According to Wehr, an essential step towards the path to what Jung calls individuation, is to acknowledge when one is projecting or being possessed by one’s shadow, and refusing to let our personality be dominated by this. Many cultures have historically provided spiritual support for this journey through shared rituals. Many are starting to believe that modern western civilization fails to provide this much needed support. Perhaps all the scapegoating that pundits carry out night and day over mainstream media are a reflection of a society lacking in meaningful ritual. Through shadow projection visible enemies are conjured up so that the mob can commence a verbal stoning of the devil. It is as if the unindividuated have substituted their own inferior rituals as a release for a spiritual calling for inner reflection that they refuse to acknowledge and yet cannot ignore.

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I sometimes observe that the initial knee jerk reaction by some environmentalists to attacks on the climate change science is to favor an ad hominem approach. Find out if some fossil fuel industry is funding the attacker and expose them. Often I have found such a strategy unsatisfying. Not simply because it better to evaluate arguments on the merits of what science actually does say (which does take more time but one can learn a great deal in the process), but because in the event that one fails to uncover any financial links to an “evil” oil company, does this somehow lend greater weight to the argument of the attacker? Are scientists who have not sold their soul to any oil, gas, coal, or automotive company, really that much more trustworthy as commentators on scientific issues?

In a lecture titled, “The American Denial of Global Warming”, Professor of History, Naomi Oreskes, reveals to one of the root causes motivating many of the attacks on climate science. And surprise, surprise. It is not Exxon.

As it turns out, it is the unwavering ideological belief that free markets, unhindered by government regulation, can solve all problems that is subverting the public dissemination of science. While the laissez faire market ideal is quite popular amongst the rightwing republican conservatives, where it is really held up as gospel truth is amongst the libertarians. This is consistent with what I’ve often observed on libertarian websites and blogs where the pro-capitalism arguments of Ayn Rand, Milton Friedman and Julian Simon are quite popular. Where the Austrian School of Economic theory rules the land, and Keynesianism is the devil at which stones are to be thrown. I recently stopped listening to a libertarian podcast that specialised in anti-Keynesian attacks, supported Ron Paul and questioned the certainty of global warming. Curiously, the publishers of this podcast, Financial Sense, do believe in peak oil theory, but not as an argument for sustainability and environmentalism, but instead as a means by which Keynesianism will ultimately fail.

Incidentally, Ron Paul frames environmental concerns as a pollution problem that can be solved by strenthening private property rights. It’s a pity he doesn’t have much chance at becoming US president as I am loooking forward to finding out how global warming emissions could be dealt with in this way, given the fact that most environmental damage is indirect and non-local in nature (melting icecaps flood tropical areas, storms form over warmer water far from where they make landfall, etc). Perhaps this explains why he’s popular among technologists — some believe free market driven technological development is the best way to solve the global warming problem.

Ray Kurzweil: None of the global warming discussions mention the word “nanotechnology.” Yet nanotechnology will eliminate the need for fossil fuels within 20 years. If we captured 1% of 1% of the sunlight (1 part in 10,000) we could meet 100% of our energy needs without ANY fossil fuels.

At least this shows that some pro-technology libertarians have begun the process of resolving this internal conflict: denying science, while at the same time, hyping technology that is often based on the same science — a line of reasoning which I’ve seen far too often on technology blogs and news sites. It is not surprising that this conflict is at the heart of the George C. Marshall Institute, the think-tank that Oreskes investigated; it was originally formed to promote Star Wars technology but attacked the physics needed to make it work.

It is good to see that there is at least one person in Trinidad and Tobago that is peak oil aware. Mary King, a columnist for the Trinidad Express, wrote a column a week ago that urges policy makers to consider peak oil in their energy resource utilisation plans. Regular contributors to the peak oil blogs at Energy Bulletin and The Oil Drum must have been doing Google News queries to find it, or somehow got to heads up from their membership and others who frequent their blog. Mary King’s follow-up column includes the resulting responses from the worldwide peak oil movement. Unfortunately, according to her articles, the government of Trinidad and Tobago has adopted an energy policy that is at the opposite end of the spectrum to that of her next door neighbour, Venezuela. The natural gas wealth is being sold to and drained away by the highest bidding multinational corporation. As an illustration of how important the Manning government considers the foreign investment that will extract and export the nations finite reserves as quickly as possible, they recently highlighted the “constant dialogue with energy companies about security” as a way to reassure potential investors that terrorism would not be a problem in the wake of the recent JFK bomb plot. The T&T citizens see some benefit from trickle down economics, but as is typical of Third World resource exploitation, the vast majority of the population see themselves as largely missing out on the island nations energy-driven prosperity. The endemic stratospheric violent crime rate is likely a direct consequence of this.

The sea cucumber is a very strange creature with a rather peculiar method of defending itself. When attacked it will auto-eviscerate, sometimes expelling its entire
digestive system as a defense mechanism.

According to the article, “Predator Defense Mechanisms in Shallow
Water Sea Cucumbers (Holothuroidea)
“, by Jessica A. Castillo of the University of California, Berkeley:

Immediately after evisceration, the sea cucumber rapidly crawled away from its intestines. This is an extremely effective defense behavior especially for predators that prefer to only eat part of the cucumber, such as fish or crustaceans (Francour, 1997). The predator is distracted by the intestines and the sea cucumber has a chance to escape, however this is an extremely high energy cost to the cucumber and that is probably why I only observed it after persistent agitation and removal of all Cuverian tubules.

The sea cucumber will eventually regenerate the lost organs if it finds a safe place where it will be left alone for a long enough time. In effect, it is a defence of last resort that relies on its enemies choosing the convenience of an easy meal over the effort of devouring the originating organism. But it would be insane for a civilized society to ever adopt such a strategy as a defense, now wouldn’t it?

(You need only watch the first half. The important bit is also shown here.)

According to the “logic” of Dick Morris, U.S. soldiers are being sent to Iraq so that insurgents can find an American to kill within easy reach, and so they won’t attack mainland USA. This is the “fight them over there so we don’t fight them here” mantra that the pro-war side forever repeats. This is typically followed with the “if we withdraw the troops the terrorists will follow us home” reasoning. For this to make any sense, the
pro-war side has to wish for a sufficiently high death rate among its soldiers otherwise, by their logic, the terrorists will get frustrated with not being able to kill enough Americans “just around the corner” and will start attacking the mainland instead.

What is particularly sad about Morris’s mention of preventing attacks on Wall Street by deploying Americans “within arms’ reach”, is the implied admission that the rich are using the poor as a human shield. Many US soldiers are poor young adults who were enticed by recruiters with promises of college tuition. Perhaps the wealthy pundits that frequent Fox News have done the same risk calculation as the sea cucumber. The poverty class recruits can be “regenerated” provided enough time has been bought by sacrificing them to our enemies. Stretching this spineless analogy even further, the warmongers are well advised to heed the following advice:

If the cucumber was stressed enough to eviscerate in your aquarium in the first place, chances are slim that conditions are ideal for them to regenerate their gut, either.

A few weeks ago there was a debate on the proposition that “Global warming is not a crisis” that featured scientists and authors on both sides. More of the audience left the debate supporting the proposition than did at the start partly due to the complexity of the issue playing into the hands of the doubters of anthropogenic global warming. The team arguing against the proposal lost the audience mostly due to the climate modeller, Gavin Schmidt, coming across as condescending to the wider public:

Brian Lehrer: But Gavin Schmidt, you seem to suggest that the other side does not have a real scientific argument, but a culturally or politically constructed one. You don’t think they’re sincere?

Gavin Schmidt: I don’t think that they are completely doing this on a level playing field that the people here will understand.

Gavin Schmidt should take a few lessons from Bill Chameides, Chief Scientist, Environmental Defense. Listen to Bill Chameides, when challenged on a phone-in radio show by a caller with 3 well known contrarian talking points (20 minutes 45 seconds into the podcast), in a very respectful but authoritative manner deliver reasonable but brief explanations. A few of these classical talking points featured in the debate. Philip Stott brought up the global cooling myth and cosmic rays. Richard Lindzen hightlighted uncertainties and questioned whether consensus was meaningful. However, what was really revealing was how much ground the no-crisis supporters had given up over the past couple of years. Michael Crichton, whose book, State of Fear, was filled with bad climate science, brought up very few of these arguments now that he was faced with a climate scientist. What is remarkable was the emphasis on non-climate science arguments:

Michael Crichton: And so if – if it were only gonna do symbolic actions, I would like to suggest a few symbolic actions that right – might really mean something. One of them, which is very simple, 99% of the American population doesn’t care, is ban private jets. Nobody needs to fly in them, ban them now. And, and in addition, [APPLAUSE] let’s have the NRDC, the, the Sierra Club and Greenpeace make it a rule that all of their, all of their members, cannot fly on private jets, they must get their houses off the grid, they must live in the way that they’re telling everyone else to live. And if they won’t do that, why should we. And why should we take them seriously. [APPLAUSE]

This is the well known “He who is without sin” argument for not even taking the first tentative steps toward a solution. We’re all living in the same greenhouse so no one is allowed to throw stones. A similar strategy is being deployed to counter Al Gore.

Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) attempts to silence Al Gore by highlighting his above average energy use. The rightwing media outlets have orchestrated a similar attack against Gore. The hypocrisy argument is an emotionally satisfying way to justify inaction, but it is counter-productive in practice. Imagine if the US was asked by other UN members to halt all trade with nuclear weapon capable countries that have not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (India, Pakistan and Israel has yet to sign up) before they would participate in sanctions against Iran. One may think this a flawed analogy since nuclear proliferation is different in nature from pollution. However, since fossil fuels are fungible resources in the global economy, Jevons Paradox comes into play. If a minority stop buying gas, the price of gas drops due to lower demand which makes it more affordable to the majority who are still burning the stuff so they end up burning more of it. Maybe this is the real reason behind Crichton’s and Inhofe’s demands.

Even if Gore jumped through these arbitrary hoops, the denialist can always move the goal posts or point to other hypocritical environmentalists. This childish playground attitude has been used against other celebrity figures who raise the issue of poverty and unfair trading practises. Those opposed to Bono’s Make Poverty History public awareness campaign attack his wealth and refusal to take a vow of poverty. What is obvious about these demands is that the real intent is not for the celebrity take a vow of poverty, but a vow of silence.

In addition to silencing critics, The Poor Excuse is also used to justifying inaction through a prioritisation argument:

Michael Crichton: This doesn’t need to happen. We’re allowing it to happen. And I don’t know what’s wrong with the rich self-centered societies that we live in in the west that we are not paying attention to the conditions of the wider world. And it does seem to me that if we use arguments about the environment to turn our back on the sick and the dying of our shared world, and that’s our excuse to ignore them, then we have done a true and terrible thing. And it’s awful, thank you.

Philip Stott: Everyday 30,000 people on this planet die of the diseases of poverty. There are, a third of the planet doesn’t have electricity. We have a billion people with no clean water, we have half a billion people going to bed hungry every night. Do we care about this? It seems that we don’t. It seems that we would rather look a hundred years into the future than pay attention to what’s going on now. I think that’s unacceptable. I think that’s really a disgrace.

This argument parallels that of statistics professor, Bjorn Lomborg, who poses the question: “If we had $50 billion to spend over the next four years to do good in the world, where should we spend it?”

Small wonder that under these restrictive spending conditions global warming is at the bottom of a list of priorities. But this question can be turned on its head. If the lowest priority problem in the world has such dire consequences to civilization why do we limit ourselves to $50 billion? This is less than one tenth of that spent on the war in Iraq over the last 4 years. Lomborg also wishes we would spend this much on the big problems as this removes some of the tough choices from his prioritisation issue. Perhaps he should stop attacking Al Gore and instead help him to convince governments to free up the funding necessary so all problems can be given priority. Richard C. J. Somerville, debating on the pro-crisis team, would agree:

“You know, I cannot imagine why Philip Stott and Michael Crichton seem to think that doing something about these terrible crises is impossible if you do something about climate change, or even made more difficult, climate change need not be in competition with or be an alternative to doing something about the terrible toll that poverty and preventable disease take.”

Furthermore, Lomborg’s higher priority problems are not independent of climate change. Poverty, malaria and AIDS may be more difficult to solve in a warming world due to displacement of populations and regional changes in the ecology. Further justification for inaction arises from his view that robust economies can insulate against any climate calamity:

To finally answer the question, let me repeat a story told by Nobel Laureate Thomas Schelling. The UN climate panel expects that the average person in the developing world will be much richer in 2100 than the rich world is today (just like a hundred years ago, Denmark was a poor, peasant state.)

So, imagine an average Chinese, Congolese or Columbian in 2100 thinking back on 2007. Maybe he will be amazed we cared so much about him that we were willing to spend vast sums of money to curb global warming, helping him out just a little bit. But he will likely also think: “How odd that they cared so much for me, who is now rich, but cared so little for my grandfather and my great-grandfather, whom they could have helped so much more, at so much lower a cost. These were the men who needed help most desperately.”

Indeed, Thomas Schelling does think the effects of climate change are best mitigated by rapid economic development:

“What we must recognize is that the real victims of climate change are going to be in the developing countries, where a third of the gross national product may be agricultural and maybe half the population practices subsistence agriculture,” Schelling said. Probably the best way for them to defend against the adverse effects of climate change is to develop as rapidly as they can, he said. The sooner Malaysia can become like Singapore, the sooner it can worry less about the impact of climate change on health, comfort, and productivity.

Echoing Thomas Schelling, Richard C. J. Somerville:

“in fact, it’s exactly the poorest and most vulnerable people on the planet who will suffer the most from the consequences of global warming which goes on unabated.”

And this maybe in some perverse way be the real reason behind the unwillingness of richer nations to act on climate change. It is seen as a problem primarily affecting the poor. There are two important questions one must answer if the Lomborg-Schelling vision is to come to pass:

  1. Is it necessarily true that given enough economic development, all countries can adapt to climate change and minimise it’s effects?
  2. Is it even possible for all poorer nations in 100 years time to become as rich as today’s wealthy?

Jorgen Randers, coauthor of Limits to Growth, attempted to answer both questions in the 2006 Templeton Lecture at Sydney University:

This is what I wanted to get to, the boring thing of self-reinforcing effects of climate gas emissions.

So the second reason why it is dangerous to have delay in strong action on climate is that the world, sadly, includes what are called self-reinforcing mechanisms, that, once triggered, start driving up the temperature, basically, of the ecosystem and the atmosphere, and there is nothing you can do to stop it once it starts.

He is refering to the real risk of breaching climate tipping-points that may initiate a run-away greenhouse effect. It has happened before.

Sadly, even the poor do not seem to be a high enough priority today to warrant heroic actions from wealthy nations. The unwillingness to seriously pursue the UN Millennium Developmental Goals was the subject of a speech by the president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, John Holdren, at the AAAS Annual Meeting in January:

For example, he said, efforts to meet the UN Millennium Development Goals have been uneven, at best. Child mortality levels show improvement, but remain “really appalling.” And he described the United States as the “second stingiest” among nations in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in providing assistance as a percentage of gross domestic product. [Only Italy ranks lower, he said.]

But in addition to the problems of developing nations, John Holdren also mentions climate change, the liquid fuels crisis and nuclear proliferation. Any one of the three has the potential to limit economic growth to a crawl over the next century, even send it into reverse. It seems dubious to claim that all of the worlds poor today will be in 100 years time as rich as today’s wealthy. The common wild card that the cornucopians love to trumpet in support of unending growth is the limitless potential of human ingenuity and advances in technology. They will probably find that they have something in common with those that believe Singularity is near which requires one accept Ray Kurzweil’s Law of Accelerating Returns. Near the opposite end of the technological spectrum is David Edgerton, author of Shock of the Old, who sees the vast majority of inventions as making only trivial to very modest steps toward the advancement of civilization. What advances he considers as truly significant or revolutionary will be surprising to many.

Despite Jorgen Randers holding views on global warming that the denialists would consider alarmist, he does believe that economic and technological growth will overcome the challenges of peak oil:

that sooner or later if this transpires, namely the decline in oil consumption, oil availability and oil consumption, prices will gradually increase and gradually they will fund a transition into alternatives and I think this will happen in a manner where the total energy available every year will not decline and so we will not have collapse, not even in the oil consumption. It will be a flat portion before it rises.

However, he seems to have a high threshold on what would classify as disasterous. He considers 30-50% increase in energy prices to scrub the CO2 from power plants as being easily affordable. (He does live in Norway.)

In the big picture in my book the only thing that really matters, and I am pushing as hard as I can, is carbon capture and storage. It’s technologically simple, the only thing it does is increase the cost of power by something between 30 and 50 percent, which actually doesn’t matter an iota at our income levels.

Thomas Schelling would be the first to admit difficulties in economically quantifying the consequences of global warming: “We’re still trying to learn how to think about – especially to think collectively about, internationally – how to deal with global warming and the impending climate change and some of its consequences.” One of the first attempts at this, the Stern Review recommends, “There’s still time to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, if we take strong action now.” The longer we wait the more costly it will be. Unlike the climate science behind global warming, such policy reviews
are easier to pick apart
.

Will economies and technology develop rapidly enough to counter the negative effects of that development? Or will nature eventually overtake our ingenuity and overwhelm our own inventiveness? My humble blog cannot possibly have a conclusive answer to so important a question, so I shall conclude with the wise words of author, Arthur C. Clarke, who once posited the following three laws:

  1. When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.
  2. The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.
  3. Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

The first two can equally apply to technology as it can to climate, but the last law is revealing. Investing all our faith on a future possessing technology sufficiently advanced to effectively tackle the consequences of climate change is little different from a belief in magic.

Keith Olbermann explains once again why we have Godwin’s law. This time Tom Delay is the target.

It was only last month when Olbermann gave Condi Rice a history lesson on why her Godwin transgression was so serious.

Olbermann’s obsession with the bad Hitler analogies invoked by the right has a long track record. When Rumsfeld was still in a position to entertain the press he likened his role to those who fought Fascism, but Keith Olbermann challenged this view of history, comparing his absolutism about Iraq to that of the Neville Chamberlain government in Britain who appeased Hitler based on faith rather than evidence.

Before moving up to such big fish Keith Olbermann practiced his Godwin Law enforcement skills on smaller fry such as the conservative talkshow host, Bill O’Reilly. In defending the US actions at Haditha, Iraq in 2005, Bill cited the events of Malmedy during World War II where a war time massacre occurred. Unfortunately for O’Reilly, he was in effect equating US soldiers with the Nazis.

For the record, it was at Chenogne that US soldiers shot German POWs. Many believe that this was in retaliation for Malmedy. Perhaps Bill O’Reilly found “Malmedy” easier to pronounce/remember.

Keith Olbermann now recommends anyone tempted to invoke a poor Nazi comparison to go do some ressearch on the Internet (his favorite search engine must be Google, despite working for MSNBC). I’ve already done some of that research for them and found what could be a fitting successor to the Nazis when it comes to historical analogies:

The Stasi – sounds like Nazi and plus, they’re German – East German to be precise. They maintained a civilian network of informants both home and abroad. Their domestic spying operation is estimated to have had 1 in every 50 citizens collaborating with the secret police, monitoring politically incorrect behaviour.

The Stasi compiled dossiers on East German citizens. The files found after the regime fell would make a stack 112 miles high. (And God knows how much material had already disappeared; in the final days before the Berlin Wall fell, the Stasi destroyed paper with such manic enthusiasm that every shredder in the country burned out, forcing agents to cross to the West on one last hard-currency shopping spree.) Virtually every living person in East Germany had a file in the Stasi archives, up to and including Communist Party chief Erich Honecker—who, when the files were declassified by the government of the new unified Germany, quickly asked to see his.

The Stasi knew everything about you, including your smell. Its agents routinely broke into apartments to steal soiled underwear, which it would store in sealed jars, to be used later by sniffer dogs prowling the sites of illegal meetings.

The agency was authorized to conduct secret smear campaigns against anyone it judged to be a threat; this might include sending anonymous letters and making anonymous phone calls to blackmail the targeted person. Torture was an accepted method of getting information. They employed sleep and sensory deprivation in the interrogation process. Does this sound like someone you know today?

Despite all this surveillance the Stasi failed to predict the fall of the Berlin Wall, though they did manage to realise the Orwellian nightmare. The problem of the vacuum cleaner policy for national security is likened to finding a needle in a haystack by adding more hay. Agents get swamped with too much information they waste valuable resources investigating dead ends.

The caveat with any historical analogy still applies. One can only take it so far before the parallels no longer hold up.

The ex-Empire sends love to the current holder of the Empire crown:

I love how all that’s good about US imperialism can be reduced to a few sound bites so easily. I must find out if it is just as easy to frame the opposing opinion. I look forward to many a YouTube video that will be posted in response to this one. Hopefully they’d point out some facts that were obviously overlooked:

  • Initially Israel was supported mostly by Britain and France – They deserve more than a little of the credit for the complicated mess that is the modern Middle East. America inherited the Israeli-Arab problem from them, and they are no doubt most thankful that USA takes most of the blame too.

The question that the video suggests we ask is a false comparison. America’s role in the past although important to historians is not the issue here. Rather, it is what contribution America will make to our collective futures and is the price we all pay worth it?

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