Note: This is the second part of an article that will make very little sense if you don't read the first part. So save us all some trouble and read the first part. Otherwise, continuing where we left off…
The Cold War, Korea and Vietnam
Now, before you say anything, let me explain why I'm lumping 50 years and dozens of countries into the same section. First of all, they're all Communist, and that had a big influence on the whole situation. But the second thing is that the Korean War and the Vietnam War were both indicative of our reaction to the Soviet Union. Even though we were fighting Asian people, it's not like we started resembling them.
Well, most of us anyway.
So this story starts at the end of World War II. After every country had suffered grievous loss at the hands of their enemies, no matter what side you were on, reconstruction had to begin. And nobody had lost more than the Russians. Our alliance with them was shaky to begin with, so when every other country was forced to give up their Empire, Russia said "No thank you." Either because we were afraid of the consequences, or because we felt bad because they lost fifty times the number of soldiers we did, we just let them have it. Thus began the Cold War.
I'm not saying that the Cold War could have been prevented in that moment. I have no idea what I would have done in Truman's shoes. What I will say is that the Cold War sucked for everybody, but it sucked a lot more for everyone in the USSR. They were a poorly run communist collective of countries, trapped in poverty and ruled by Stalin, whose very name evokes fear and jokes about starvation and secret police.
So the USSR were communist, self-destructive and the population was depressed. But we were in a predominantly psychological war against this foe. Would it have the same effect? Well, we became ultra-capitalists, so there's that. Suddenly more capitalist than we had ever been before! And not only that, but we were crazy anti-communist. If you know anything about Senator Joe McCarthy, you'll be aware that we were almost as bad to our people for fear of communism as the USSR was to their people for no reason at all. Almost.
But that's the thing. They had no hope. We were fighting a psychological war against people who already had no hope. So what did we do? We had to have all the hope. ALL OF IT. Suddenly, we're gonna go to the Moon, and every household will be in the upper-middle class, and we will quash communism wherever it springs up. Well, except Vietnam.
But the point is everyone in America felt like they could accomplish something. Family men thought they could retire at 55 with good health and unlimited cigars. Hippies thought they could end the war by taking acid and copulating. Some moderately talented Actor who ran California's economy into the ground can be elected President. Anything could happen. So thank you, depressed communists, for being the opposite of exactly what America needed.
Though I guess that particular phenomenon may have already been public knowledge.
The War Against Terrorism
Now we get to the nitty gritty. I've been listing a lot of really good reactions America has had, and that might partially be because I grew up reading American history books. But history books can't sway your opinion of things you've seen with your own eyes. I grew up with America's so called 'War on Terror', and I have never been more disappointed in us.
Would you like to know why? I was in New York, the city where I was born and raised, on September 11th. That shit was horrifying. It's still affected me to this day, and that's with me being perfectly aware that many other countries experience similar trauma bi-weekly. But I don't think you can ever get over the thought that you might be breathing people.
So yes, it was scary. Our enemy seemed organized, though now we know they weren't, really. Our enemy decided to fight dirty. Our enemy told us that it wasn't afraid of anything.
Apparently they should have been a little more worried about Seal Team Six.
But, if you've seen our country over the last decade, and you've been reading this article, you know exactly where I'm going. So let's take it slow. Stop and smell the terror-poop, if you will. If our enemy was organized, then we had to be disorganized. Suddenly the country was disagreeing on all fronts, getting into seemingly unnecessary and unproductive wars, and haphazardly trying to claim the upper hand. There were ten years where our three balanced branches of government could have been called Larry, Curly and Moe.
Then, responding to our enemies dirty tactics, we had to become the honorable ones. This is similar to when we fought the Nazis, but much more debilitating. Rather than letting our honor empower us, we let it tie our hands. We can still barely do anything without spending ages discussing the ethical ramifications, and accusing each other of being just like the terrorists.
But that's not the worst part. The worst part is that we had an enemy that would gladly die for it's cause. An enemy so dedicated, so sure of itself, that fear seemed obsolete. Clearly, our only possible response was to turn into a country of whimpering children. Sure, we put a brave face on, and waved the flag, but inside we were terrified. So terrified that we became cannibalistic, and fell apart. We are a country suffering from PTSD. The opposite of their genuine unified fanaticism is false passions that divide us and make us easier to conquer. So how do we fix it?
We've started to pull out of all the wars that terrorism built. It'll take a few years, but it seems like we're on the right track. And considering how long we've been occupying these countries in the Middle East, it seems rash to go right back to war. But, if this article has taught you anything, we just need to find an enemy that is the opposite of what we need to be.
You can probably guess by now that I have a candidate in mind. Well, I do. North Korea. We're already gearing up for it anyway, and let's think for a moment about Kim Jong Il. He is a self obsessed psychotic. Maybe if we fight him, we'll develop humility, and become a little less schizophrenic as a nation. Even better, we can all agree that Kim Jong Il is completely ridiculous, but he takes himself completely seriously. If my theory is correct, my ultimate goal for America could be realized- that we become a country that acts in a rational, logical, humane and intelligent manner, but doesn't take everything so seriously. Simply by declaring war on a comic book super-villain, we will become a nation of superheroes. And if that's not worth it, I don't know what is.
He's not even being discreet about it.