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Adversarialism AND Mutuality

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Caliifornia State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Created: September 17, 2001
Latest Update: September 17, 2001

E-Mail jeannecurran@habermas.org
E-Mail takata@uwp.edu

Neither Adversarialism Nor Multuality Espouse,
But a Cautious Balancing of Both

Copyright: Jeanne Curran and Susan R. Takata and Individual Authors: September 2001.
"Fair use" encouraged.

On Sunday, September 16, 2001, Gordon Fellman posted to the Transcend Art and Peace List:

I have seen this [America: Good Neighbor] at least a dozen times by now, on e-mail. The sentiment is moving. It is true that the US has done lots of good in the world. It is also true that the US has sponosored, paid for, and initiated terrorism that has killed millions of people, devastrated cities and countryside, and generated hatred for the US and its myopic foreign policy that is part of what lies behind the recent actions in New York and Washington, DC. The Canadian author implies one should not knock the US because of all its wonders. I say one can appreciate the wonders and is also ethically and politically obligated to criticize its directions that have led to counntless deaths, this beginning with treatment of American Indians and African slaves, going through the Spanish-American war, and the numerous inteferences that resulted in overthrowing something like 22 elected Latin American governments since the end of World War II, arming both sides in Iran and Iraq, selling arms with abandon to whomever will buy them, forcing other countries to buy US goods they do not want, etc., ,etc., etc.

Please see the US as wonderful (part of its global appeal) and also as the exceptionally cruel super-power that has wreaked vast damage upon so much of the world and is about to wreak more. It is all of this.

Here, for TAPers: the thought arose in a conversation last night, suppose instead of spending billions of dollars to kill lots of Afghanis, which at the moment seems likely, we spent those billions building housing in Afghanistan. It would upset the adversary applecart that governs so much human behavior, reduce rather than increase Aghani and other third world hatred for the US, and do something truly wonderful for needy people. Can others help expand this idea into a policy that could actually be presented somewhere?

Gordie Fellman, Brandeis University.

P.S. The idea put forward here comes partly from my book RAMBO AND THE DALAI LAMA: THE COMPULSION TO WIN AND ITS THREAT TO HUMAN SURVIVAL (Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 1998)

On Monday, September 17, 2001, jeanne commented:

Gordon,

Thank you for letting me put this up on the Dear Habermas Site. I suspect that one of the best ways to teach our students to engage in the dialogue of civil discourse is to invite them to share in our own efforts at such discourse as we ponder and cope with this new reality.