Violence leading to more violence

Too often those who pursue power act as if the imposition of their will must result in the capitulation of the other. Not so. But we are America the Amnesiac. We forget our own history, and we forget how we humans are all too frequently wired: there is no end to getting even, one blow leads to the next. In affairs of state, that blow is a bomb or a missile or a WMD…

Noam Chomsky in his most recent book, Failed States: The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy, makes this point in reference to the ongoing Middle East conflict:

There is no mystery here. Unless enemies can be completely crushed, violence tends to engender violence in response. A violent and destructive response to terrorism helps the “terrorist vanguard” mobilize support among the far larger constituency that rejects their methods but shares much of their resentment and concern…” p. 23

The ever more urgent political question is what will it take to get leadership that recognizes this and can move differently and more productively on the world stage?


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