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Multi Dimension Thinking Needed
Yesterday I wrote that black and white thinking is not consistent with the United States as a superpower going forward. Today I found a blockbusting cinema illustration of how black and white thinking does not get us ‘Left of Bang’ or in the movie’s case, ‘Left of Fang.’
The iconic Jurassic World scene contains a rough analogy to a situation the United States leadership finds itself in today as reengineered 20th Century threats rise in the new millennia.
The dinosaurs of the Dictators’ Club have breached the containment of last century and returned with new tech to become Alphas for a group of velociraptors once called rogue states and terrorist groups. This, in a bid to make this a Jurassic World if they can.
In the movie, Jurassic World employee Barry (Omar Sy) says to leading man Owen (Chris Pratt), “Something’s wrong. They’re communicating.” To which the dino-whisperer Owen intones with noise discipline, “I know why they wouldn’t tell us what it’s made of…that thing’s part raptor.” Both are heavily armed and told “Light ’em up!” Whoops, the lethal Dinos scatter into their milieu to become the hunters.
In the real world today, it is worse than that. The Dictators’ Club dinosaurs are communicating through us politically, as if part of us, influencing our perception of each other. They are using information triggers, algorithms, psychological manipulation of emotional thresholds, blind internet echo chambers, and coercive threats to take advantage of Americans’ dichotomous thinking habits developed in part as a defense mechanism to information overload. The agitative spell has too many Americans barking like raptors in thrall to alpha leaders, ready even to attack each other at their command. Is that freedom?
How Black and White Thinking Developed in Nixon’s China Engagement
Flirtation with authoritarian fiat goes back some time to longtime Trump advisor Roger Stone’s first political love, Richard Nixon, whose bust is tattooed on Stone’s back and whose image covers his walls.
Nixon implied a disregard for Democrat fellow Americans in favor of a close relationship to Chinese dictator Mao Zedong in their February 21, 1972 first meeting. There, Kissinger also told Mao that the American left was pro-Soviet, impliedly bifurcating dual U.S. party loyalties to two dictatorships. What could go wrong?
Kissinger’s was a sort of black and white thinking during the Cold War which ultimately led to a deep industrial and defense supply chain entanglement with authoritarian, communist China. Today, this black and white strategy of playing Russia and China off of each other clearly did not seriously address what would happen if China and Russia began working together against U.S. security, defense, and freedom.
Consider the nuances of Nixon’s and Kissinger’s interchanges with Mao as seem to have got the long march to U.S. industrial dependence started:
Chairman Mao: Those questions are not questions to be discussed in my place. They should be discussed with the Premier. I discuss the philosophical questions. That is to say, I voted for you during your election. There is an American here called Mr. Frank Coe, and he wrote an article precisely at the time when your country was in havoc, during your last electoral campaign. He said you were going to be elected President. I appreciated that article very much. But now he is against the visit.
Chairman Mao: DeGaulle is a different question. They also say the Christian Democratic Party of West Germany is also to the right. I am comparatively happy when these people on the right come into power.
Chairman Mao: Exactly that. Some are opposing you. In our country also there is a reactionary group which is opposed to our contact with you. The result was that they got on an airplane and fled abroad.
Note also at the link Nixon’s promise to Mao that the meeting’s communications would be kept a secret. Does this sound familiar? The existence of tapes, letters, and communications of dictators and officials inveigling a U.S. president’s agreement with authoritarian sentiments and power plays?
Nixon’s boast that “those on the right can do what those on the left talk about,” prompted Mao to respond that Democrats opposing Nixon’s move toward China were like Chinese “reactionaries” whose opposition to Mao’s meeting Nixon resulted in their exile. This was Mao’s suggestion that Nixon should consider treating the Democrats similarly, adopting China’s way.
Not only Republicans snuggled up to foreign dictators for political points. To try to discredit Romney-Ryan in 2012, Obama-Clinton publicly accused Mitt Romney of being stuck in the Cold War for calling Putin’s Russia a threat. Obama-Clinton was in agreement with Dmitri Medvedev who said the same. And yet Romney was right all along. Indeed, it was Putin’s unaccountable nation state soft-money that helped Donald Trump beat Clinton in 2016.
Where We Are Now
The U.S. GWOT and seemingly compelled trust in the long-developed U.S. economic entanglement with China led to U.S. blindness and dependence on Chinese manufacturing, atrophying the U.S. defense-industrial base, with adverse effects on U.S. capabilities as set forth in this report.
With black and white thinking the United States had in the 1990s disregarded Russia or China as serious threats and focused instead on so-called “rogue states” until 2000, shifting after 9-11 to the global war on terror (GWOT).
Like a smoke ring in the jet stream, vigilance against near peer dictatorships had nearly dissipated during the 1990s and GWOT, and the United States lost perspective on its missions, exit strategies, and Weinberger-Powell Doctrine rules.
The U.S. is now playing a catch-up game to secure itself as a unified nation and superpower facing aggressive gray and kinetic warring activity by China, Russia, Iran, Russian PMCs, Chinese maritime militias, smaller dictatorships, terrorist organizations, and criminal proxies. China and Russia use extremists and fringe political actors to harass, drain, distract, and divide Americans, including those in the Armed Forces, the IC, state, and local governments. To divide and conquer is their goal.
Creative Statesmanship and Innovative Adaptation Are Key
The United States is adjusting slowly, however, has undertaken workarounds for its deficits that involve innovations in technology, adaptation of strategy, tactics, and use of instruments of power to keep a deterrent balance of power with the rising dictatorships of the East.
To succeed in this renewal project requires principled domestic leadership, creative statesmanship and innovative defense-industrial adaptation. It requires ramped-up domestic investment in production capability across the nation and mutual trade arrangements with allies to cover joint needs.
U.S. national unity calls for creative, effortful ways of thinking effectively and accomplishing good goals together. This relies on changing American minds to engage in multidimensional thinking, relating, listening, speaking, investigating reality, learning, curiosity, fact finding, empathy, honesty, and enterprising action. Black and white thinking and feeling will not suffice to bring the country to a youthful state of growth and esprit d’ corps.
E Pluribus Unum and In God We Trust should both remain important mottos for Americans working in common interest. In our best times, both faith and reason, courage of heart and science in practice, and endurance for the long race together have proven sound bases for keeping our living Republic in its constitutional, republican, and representative democratic hues.