US Impact on World Problems

Here’s a provocative thought that I wrote in comment on a piece saying how the US had messed up the rest of the world with its interventions:

I think the US has often blindly gone into situations it didn’t understand in places the electorate can’t place on a map and know even less about. It has often created good/bad sides in complex messes. And it has often followed unenlightened self interest. Caused plenty of problems.

But it is not responsible for most of the problems of the world; neither is western colonialism. S E Asian countries like South Korea, Taiwan, China show what a country can do when it stops blaming its problems on the past, on the US or the West and gets off its backside and drives to become developed. South Korea in 1953 had suffered the worst of Japanese colonialism, been reduced to rubble by the Korean War, fought as a proxy fight between Soviet Union and US. It had the living standard of the Sudan. Yet within ten years it had built a modern industrial state, steel, auto and electronics industries that were soon world class. Yep with some US aid, but also needing to spend a lot on defense because of its next door loony neighbor.

And once you do that, once you build a modern industrial state, hey presto the US and the West can’t mess with you because you are no longer a failed state economic basket case. The US has played little role in for instance the Congo which has managed to kill 6 million of its own people since 2000 just as an example. Venezuela has screwed itself into economic oblivion with little help from the US. The middle east is an economic basket case with or without the US or Israel. And Suni Shia conflict has been around for 1400 years. Ditto Pakistan economically a basket case….and so it goes on.

I think it is Neo-colonialist to overrate the impact of the US and the West on the Rest for good and for ill. Countries for the most part need to take hold of their destinies, find decent leaders and get on with it. And yes the US and the West can help or hinder, but they can’t actually effect the fundamentals: develop or stagnate, empower women or not, educate the population or not, resolve your own civil wars or not, build competitive businesses or not….blame the past and others or not…

About creativeconflictwisdom

I spent 32 years in a Fortune Five company working on conflict: organizational, labor relations and senior management. I have consulted in a dozen different business sectors and the US Military. I work with a local environmental non profit. I have written a book on the neuroscience of conflict, and its implications for conflict handling called Creative Conflict Wisdom (forthcoming).
This entry was posted in Conflict History, Conflict Processes, Middle East Conflict, US Political Conflict, Ways to handle conflict and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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