Wrestlemania and the Return of American Greatness
The United States of America ain’t what it used to be. The expansive, frontier energy of our past is a lost dream. Good fortune is assumed, taken for granted, leading to laziness and arrogance. Imperialism on the down-slope is not pretty. The long, festering list of shortcomings symbolized by the nation’s neglected infrastructure has a cost. For someone like Donald Trump, it’s an opportunity.
The rocket-like advance of technology dazzles us as it gnaws away at the dignity and integrity of our lives. Fear of the other and outsiders rules from the NSA down to local police departments; it’s a favored flogging topic for pandering politicians. Power is never static. The world created out of the ashes of World War Two -- when the US assumed the mantle of top dog -- is shifting before our eyes. People dream of getting it all back in the box. Formerly colonized nations now compete directly in a globalized capitalist market against former colonizers. Resentment from abuses of the past strain relations. This is especially true in the Middle East. Citizens flee for their lives into the perceived safety of Europe from the confusing wreckage that was once Syria. And let’s not forget Iraq and Afghanistan as they both try to sort out the aftermath of US intervention and occupation.
Russia, which exists not all that far away from Syria, has announced it’s sending troops and establishing a military base in Syria. President Barack Obama, whose nation is 12,000 miles away from Syria, is debating whether to talk with President Vladimir Putin about Syria when he comes to speak at the UN September 28th. According to The New York Times, “Mr. Putin views Mr. Obama as weak, and Mr. Obama views Mr. Putin as a thug.” Not a lot of rapport there. Donald Trump, on the other hand, said during the recent debate, “I would talk with (Putin) and I would get along with him.” He probably would.
Elton John, the gay British rock star, was recently scammed with a phony call from a putative Putin. Once it was clear the call was bogus, Putin said he’d be glad to chat with John, who said, “I’d love to sit down with him and talk to him. The world faces much bigger problems than gay people.”
We can only hope Mr. Obama shares Mr. John’s willingness and will schedule a long, no-nonsense and complicated conversation with Mr. Putin in New York. Talk is good. Mr. Obama doesn’t have to arm wrestle Mr. Putin -- just talk with him directly and candidly about how to facilitate fixing the god-awful mess created in Syria, much of it the result of a vague but determined US policy of regime change ala Saddam and Gaddafi. The idea that our leaders cannot talk with leaders they disagree with and may even see as an “enemy” has become a major hurdle to sanity in the world. The Iran Deal is a rare exception. Likud Israel and Republican America would rather talk tough, posture in the mirror like Robert DeNiro in Taxi Driver and build more weapons -- than actually enter a mature dialogue.