Black and white thinking is inconsistent with the United States as a superpower with a future. Reality is waveform and continuous, not a black and white still-life.
As in viewing features on a landscape and noting linear patterns that almost always give away human activity, so black and white choices before us suggest likely erroneous human preparation of choices for decision makers, voters, office holders, lawmakers, and military leaders. This, instead of choices discovered through and despite the appearance of dichotomized futures.
Often, ‘Black and white’ choices are false dichotomies presented as necessary or inevitable when they are not. Not because one of two of the choices or values represented are necessarily wrong or don’t exist, but for falsely assuming they are the only choices. There are often custom, alternate options to discover or create.
However, limits in time and resources can pressure thinking toward the black and white dichotomy. Sometimes human intent or negligence unethically or immorally invites the pressure.
Morals, ethics, and honor codes are not black and white thinking, however, they tend to be black and white rules, guides, and blazes aiding navigation to realistic values in international and domestic human relations, political, diplomatic, or otherwise.
After morals and ethics help preserve national unity behind war, peace, defense, deterrence, irregular warfare, security, and the like, simplifying the nation’s position, chances for whole of nation cohesion improve. Simplicity invites new complexity as human beings seek new solutions. Complexity arises from simplicity, and simplicity from complexity in a waveform existence.
Who we are as a unified nation matters, however, we must not assume ourselves the rightful influencers wherever we go in the world. We should be made of superpower stuff regardless, but not poison our unity, military cohesion, and international legitimacy with imperial premises, talk, or behavior.
Black and white thinking about black and white rules and guidelines, even moral and ethical ones, is how the reference points can become means of self-destruction and that of others. Wisdom calls for living behavioral principles guiding the powerful to rightly handle black and white morals, ethics, and codes of honor past, present, and future in the spirit of the laws.
Handling these ambiguities and complexities is a roller coaster ride through reality in its waveform. Harmony between mercy and judgement, carrots and sticks, and with strong solutions of war’s causes will re-establish leadership and statesmanship in United States governance of its superpower without the self-administered poison that is the hubris of empire.