Wow. Classic Bacevitch. I suggest we call these unending wars ‘Mine!’ as this term suitably expresses the root reason for them, which is simply the toxic over-expansion of the normal human urge to establish the safety of one’s personal physical and psychical space. This over-expansion of the urge towards ownership of objects, environments, physical and psychic space is best exemplified by the behavior of 3-year-olds, who at their state of mental development, begin to realize that not only are they not the entire world, but that there are other people in the world with their own needs. The child gets instinctively grabby.
At this developmental moment, the job of the parent is to acclimate the child to the notion that collectively, everyone can get their own needs met. But there is that moment when the child fears his needs won’t get met, so he begins to grab everything around him – food, objects, people, air-time – and demand that all these cater to his own private nourishment and security needs. Psychologists of religion call this the internalization of the “scarcity model” way of thinking, wherein there will never be “enough” of something so you’ve got to dominate everyone and everything to “get yours.” Monotheistic religions counter with the theology that if you know God, you’ll always have enough. The secular concept of “sharing” is also a solution here.
There’s a wonderfully informative You-Tube video with 61 Million views of a 3-year-old explaining to his mother why he should be allowed to have all the cupcakes in the house irrespective of any guiding moral justification.
That’s pretty much the current state of American Foreign Policy – the United States is entitled to all the resources on the planet – there aren’t enough for everyone and if you try to grab our cupcakes we will smash you.
The interesting thing about the video is that you can see on the face of the 3-year-old boy that he really doesn’t completely believe that he deserves all the cupcakes – you can see his hesitancy and wondering expectancy about what his mother will say about his proclamation. He wants to see if he can gaslight her with his con, and in so doing injects no small amount of male privilege inculcated in him, likely by his primary male role model. Yet in his quest to garner a justification to procure all the cupcakes for himself, he is completely self-absorbed and 100% devoid of empathy for anyone else’s concerns. In his fear of being deprived of cupcakes, it never occurs to him that there’s no way he could eat all the cupcakes himself.
This false fear of a possible lack of nourishment is what drives all the U.S. Foreign Aggression. Notions of interdependence can terrify people (particularly men) who were socialized early in life to believe that it’s a dog eat dog world and that’s the start and end of everything.