Tuesday, August 21

If you want to be the world's policeman why help your friends commit massacres?

Here in the United States police chiefs, even the dirty ones,  know that they and the cops under their command can't be seen as taking sides in neighborhoods they police if they want respect and cooperation from the residents. 

But American presidents in post-Soviet times don't think like a police chief. They think like a gang leader: I do for my gang; the rest had better watch out. 

The historical record is clear on how this happened. To stand up to the Soviets, who controlled a pretty big chunk of the world, Americans formed and led an anti-Soviet coalition of national governments. The catch is that every type of organization tends to devolve over decades if offsets aren't applied to keep the organization on track. The devolution of the anti-Soviet coalition became a downward spiral after the Soviet Union dissolved. And so the coalition mentality descended into gang thinking.  

There's no natural law against national leaders thinking like a gang leader. But this becomes problematical when they present their government as the world's peacekeeper, which in the tough neighborhood of the world requires being well-armed. 

Once the neighborhood perceives the armed peacekeeper as a side-taker, this is how you get Houthi fighters posting signs at the funeral for 40 massacred Yemeni children: "Look at what the Americans did to your children." And of course uploading to the internet graphic footage of what those children looked like after they'd been blown to smithereens.

Set aside that Americans didn't drop the U.S.-made bomb on the schoolbus and that other nations also sell bombs to the Saudi-UAE coalition fighting the Houthis. Who expects the British to be anything but two-faced rascals? But Americans are expected to at least put on a show of being reasonably clean cops. 

The troubling irony is that the more American leaders perceive the lack of respect for the U.S. around the world, the harder they work to save face. Any American police chief, any person with common sense, could predict the consequences.


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