It is Time to Move Past the "We Can't Talk to Them" Propaganda

By Grant Lawrence

I am a child of the Cold War and endless propaganda, leading to terrible fear and trauma, was drummed into me from nearly birth. We were all told that the Communists were evil doers and we could never negotiate with them. They were not to be trusted and they were willing to destroy themselves and the world to see that freedom and religion were lost.

We were always under spending on defense and the Soviets were always moving ahead in virtually every aspect of society. I never understood how such a twisted and broken system could produce such amazing results. But I wasn't supposed to reason. Like the rest of the American public, I was only supposed to accept and be really really afraid.

Then there came a thaw in the Cold War and Nixon found that he could negotiate not only with the Soviets but also with the Chinese. He could do that because he was strong on "fighting communists." But other American Presidents found that they could negotiate as well with the Communists. Soon there was a lot of negotiating going on and before I knew it the Communist menace was not so menacing. Then one day, the evil doers fell and I rejoiced that the world would be free and that there would finally be peace.

But I was naive back then because I didn't know that there was big money to be made in enemies, war planning, and weapons.

So now as I move past middle age, I am told that there are new enemies that we can never talk to. That they are willing to destroy themselves, their families, their countries, their societies and everything because they are "hate our freedoms." These enemies, like the communists, exist all around the world and are also here with us. Although we have enough bombs to blow the world away many times over, it is never enough. More weapons and wars are needed since we can never be secure with those you can never talk to.

So its always the same old fear game based on the fallacy that somehow are enemies are not human. They don't care for themselves, their families, their friends, their societies because they don't feel like we feel and they don't care like we care. It is the same argument the European Americans used to destroy the Native peoples. That the Native peoples were somehow not human and that they only wanted to kill the whites. They were not to be trusted because they were "Indian Givers" and the only thing they understood was the gun.

The argument that somehow our enemies are not human and don't have the same wants and desires as we do has been used by American propagandists to continue endless wars and promote obscene military spending for the last couple of centuries. It has also been used by the war profiteers to promote a game of "No Talking with the Enemy".

It is now time to move past that game. It is time for Americans to come to the basic understanding that people are human and want and need certain things--just like Americans. Humans have a tremendous capacity to communicate and to understand each other, but first they need to accept each other as human. Once we do that, then we will be able to join in a mutual relationship based on an open dialogue.

Granted a foreign policy based on communication, basic psychological principles, and humane values will not make a war profiteer any more money. It will likely upset our military industrial complex. But it will make for a safer and more peaceful world and it won't cost trillions upon trillions.

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