A new blog post after a three year hiatus, considering that this type of post doesn’t fit the lighter side of life feel of my blog du jour since November 2017, MsHausfrau. And FromMyPantry has just the right category for this type of commentary: theGARBAGEbin.
On May 8, 2018, the incumbent president of the USA, Donald Trump, a real estate developer and show business personality, decided to go against the wisdom of traditional European allies of the USA and move his country to abandon an Iran nuclear agreement also known as the Joint Comprehensive Action Plan. American-imposed sanctions are back on the table: against Iran and anyone doing business in Iran. Media reports that European companies have six months to get out or Iran or suffer USA sanctions. The powerful policy of the USA, with Trump in command, shall in democratically indiscriminate fairness slash friend and foe alike. Ha!
The truth is, most of us know next to nothing about the Iran deal, the motives for withdrawing from it and the ensuing consequences. For all we know, feeling recently slighted by French president Emmanuel Macron might have negatively weighed in on Trump’s mind on something completely unrelated to the Iran deal (or maybe a little bit related since France is a big European nuclear power and it was a French guy who discovered natural radioactivity in the 1890’s. And let’s not forget Marie Curie who died of the thing.)
But we know very little. Besides having a huge desire to be in sole control of things, we don’t know why president Donald Trump decided to withdraw from the deal. We speculate about but don’t know which sanctions he or his advisers might be devising for Iran and anyone doing business there. We assume – and this is an assumption – that one side of the Iran deal scale is about lifting economic and trade sanctions that make life harder for common people in Iran provided that – the other side of the scale – Iran stops his nuclear enriching program. Enriched uranium, by the way, is used for various things from powering homes, schools and hospitals, as an alternative to fossil fuels, to making nuclear weapons.
Very few know the full terms of the Iran deal or the motivation for Trump to walk away from a difficult to reach deal in typically show-business savvy Trumpian form. But why must we continue to care about these things so much? Why must we keep distracting ourselves with these recurring Trumpian tantrums, adored by media on both sides of the North Atlantic (the South Atlantic has fresher fish to fry) but not useful or uplifting to our lives and that of our children?
We need to stop distracting ourselves with Trumpian antics and focus on the reality we live in – to be able to change it.
We (in the West) now live in weakened and weakening versions of democratic civilization. We live in an oligarchic, techno-financial civilization. Oligarchies are neither transparent nor democracy loving – hence the rise of populism on both sides of the increasingly frazzled North Atlantic fraternity. In techno-financial oligarchies, democracy is tolerated , not desirable; an annoyance that must be put up with. We vote to elect people who don’t tell terms of deals and don’t dare to talk about our shared humanity and better world ideals (“look what happened to Merkel!”)
Along comes a seasoned showbiz opportunist who gets elected to the top job of the largest country of Western civilization, and glibly proceeds to embody the anger of the times in unheard of presidential tantrum style. And our Western world who is not a citizen of the USA and can’t vote for or against him, shudders. Tantrum after tantrum, like some live global reality YouTube show.
How feeble minded. How cowardly. How arrogant, really: we, the West, are not and have never been the World. We Westerners only stomped all over it. My birth country of Portugal had a first go at it. Then Spain, Holland, Britain, France, Belgium, Italy, Germany and more. And most recently, since World War II, the USA.
There’s little use and much hypocrisy in Europeans blaming the USA for having their go at stomping all over the world. There’s a saying in Portuguese about this: “Those who own glass roofed homes don’t cast stones at the neighbors.”
If the rest of the world – and now I really mean the World, not just the West’s grandiose vision of itself – that is keen on diplomacy and compassion for all common humans, including those living in countries that elected politicians consider foes and strangers, really wants something good to come out of this, it will. Every shake up of humanity anytime in history has been and continues to be an opportunity for humanity to embark more together on a better course.
But an opportunity is not a certainty. Many times in history, humanity and their leaders, elected and not, did not or could not take that chance because of misery and myopic divides. And also, because of Enlightenment based morals that say that it’s better to be rewarded in this life than the next. Which effectively disabled much of the desire and ability to care more for all our children’s future than for our own personal lifespan.
The bottom line is, we, the common people, don’t know much about the meaning of this deal or its absence. But we can and must know what we don’t know, recognize the chance to change for the better, and have courage: to not make decisions based on fear, to outspokenly avoid calling fear-based decision making as wise, and to grab the chance to change society for the better. (For instance: Donald Trump just made it a lot easier for, say, Boris Johnson, to take the initiative to pull the plug on Brexit, didn’t he?)
Meanwhile, maybe it’s not a bad idea to treat tantrum politicians like one treats a tantrum kid. “Go to your room.” Or, in this case when the tantrum kid has locked himself in his room:
“If that’s how you want it, that’s what you’ll have. Stay in your room and don’t come out till you calm down. This behavior is unacceptable. No sitting with us at dinner tonight. I’ll bring you water and a sandwich. We’ll talk and play once you’ve come to your senses.”