It has always seemed to me that the common definition of strength is not what it really is.
Many Americans this morning are celebrating that force is being used in the war-torn Middle East. The missiles fired on Syria were supposedly dropped because the administration, specifically, the president, were horrified by images of people who had been hit with a deadly gas.
Then, the Mother Of All Bombs (MOAB) was dropped in Afghanistan, killing a some members of ISIS.
Many Americans are rejoicing. They are saying that the moves made by the administration show “strength.” People are saying, “we are back in the game again.”
The game? What …game? Is it really a game that we seem to be on the brink of a deadly war?
Diplomacy, I guess, is a punk technique. In the presence of ISIS, the only way to handle this is to “bomb the —- out of them.” The way of the Empire is to engage in war, to force change by killing innocent people and destroying other countries.
People have been absolutely incensed with former President Obama for not engaging in war. It made him and the United States look weak, they say.
But this new president – this is the Popeye against the Brutus called terrorism. He really believes he can destroy ISIS with bombs.
Meanwhile, he is hurting his own people by proposing budget cuts that affect programs that help the poor, the elderly, and children.
It doesn’t matter, though. He does not see the irony of him and his administration being outraged about Syrians treated badly by their government while his own government is treating his own people badly, under the sanction of the law.
All that matters is that he is showing “strength” in a conflict which seemingly has no end. Americans will run to participate in a war against an idea, and in a war which has such deep roots that not even the strongest nuclear weapon would be effective.
Is it arrogance or hubris that makes a nation “strong?” That seems to be the message. In a world in which so many people profess to believe in Christianity, which touts the formation and preservation of community, the basic Christian message seems to be disposable.
Refraining from force is perceived as being weak. The strong do all they can to maintain power, a mindset which inevitably causes the less fortunate (or “weak”) to be trampled upon. The deployment of force is held more dear than is the exercise of compassion and restraint.
So, this American president is standing on a platform, beating his chest, bragging about his strength. He is Popeye; his “spinach” is the belief that using force means or defines that very strength.
Meanwhile, the huddled masses, here and around the world, will be trounced upon, and nobody seems to care.
So much for strength.
A candid observation …