We Americans are very good at lying to ourselves, being in denial, and assuming the entire world wants what we have. In our dreamland world we never see ourselves as brutes or bulls-in-a-china-shop. Here are some of the things we lie to ourselves about or are in denial about...
In Copenhagen there are lots of nice sounding words about global warming and what we are going to do about it. There are raised hopes for the new Obama administration to do more to help in this regard than the Bush administration did or didn't do. But nobody followed the guidelines of the Kyoto agreement when worldwide nations [except the U.S.] signed onto do something to combat global warming. Things only got worse. Empty words. What will happen at the current Copenhagen conference will be lots of show but nothing real. Western nations will be allowed to buy their way out of any serious changes, and some small amount of hush money will be offered developing nations.
As I have said from the beginning, the invasion of Iraq was a mistake. We like to kid ourselves into thinking that we have made things better in Iraq. We have not. And a growing number of Iraqis hate the USA. No clean water or electricity for huge segments of the population. Extremely corrupt government that is supported by the USA. Continued breakdowns in the democratic process. Iraq never was a united nation, and it is still splintered and will be for the future. At least three factions [Shiia, Sunni, and Kurds] will most certainly fight a civil war and there will be outbreaks of war into the foreseeable future. And all the American lives lost there, and all the money expended will be for naught. Very sad.
The war in Afghanistan was horribly handled from the beginning. It was easy for a mechanized military to roll into that backward nation. But we cannot occupy it. Billions and billions of dollars have been corruptly taken by the Taliban. Bush committed us to spend $800 million a year to try and irradicate the poppies used in the world's largest heroin production. It has gone for naught. It has been called one of the largest boondoggles ever; probably surpassed only by what Halliburton stole. Obama was left with this horrid mess, and there is little we can do to overcome the mistakes of the Bush years. You cannot close the barndoor after the animals are out; it doesn't work. We will use governmental public relations to try and paint over the pig, but it will still be a pig. It could have been so much different if it had been handled intelligently in the beginning. Much loss of life and many billions of dollars. Very sad.
Health care reform is dead on arrival. It is now so muddled, so compromised, so inadequate, so much was done by the right from the beginning to make Obama look bad, and by the left because of petty in-fighting. What could have been a simple solution [e.g. national health insurance as has been successfully done in Germany] is now a jumble of this and that without addressing the real needs of real people. There is enough blame to go around here. What a mess!
We have to get over our thinking that there are simple military solutions to all problems. Afghanistan is a prime example of what CANNOT be done militarily. What is needed is some alternative program to offer opium poppy farmers a chance to make a living in other agricultural ways, and to stop creating the enormous amount of money from heroin that is being used to fund the Taliban and other terrorist organizations. We need to build schools and other facilities, and then see that they are protected by Afghan groups that we train. We have to communicate with the Afghan people instead of shooting our way to making a statement. We are setting another horrible example by our focus on the military solution. Anyone who has studied and KNOWS the culture of the Middle East could have told the U.S. government long before decisions were made to invade and use our fire power that this was a mistake.
We have all kinds of "hero" posers who like to flash guns and try to convince people that might makes right. These are people who do not have the experience nor the intelligence to approach complex problems with insight, knowledge, and wisdom. The Marshall Plan won more friends for the U.S. than all our military might. Be strong, yes. Be stupid, no. How about some advice from two men who did have experience and know what it means to be a hero. And besides valor in the military, these two men served as President of the United States and understood the complexities of foreign matters...
"In the councils of government we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disasterous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist." -General/President Dwight D. Eisenhower
"The basic problems facing the world today are not susceptible to a military solution." -John F. Kennedy