Conversations with a friend

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  1. One of the unspoken assumptions we’ve got is that when people have self-determination, they’ll decide to do things that make sense to us, and that complement our interests. As we see in many, many countries, that’s not actually true. The Palestinians/Hamas example is a good one.
    As for saying, “They should stay home and fix their country,” well, I always think of how we prioritize our needs. I’m sure everybody would like to do that. Of course, making sure that you and your family can survive and are free of persecution is a bit higher on the list for everyone – including Americans.
    It’s just way too easy for an American, sitting here with all kinds of guaranteed freedoms, to suggest that to somebody facing the barrel of a gun.

  2. People will always come to this country because the standard of living is so much higher than most and the government, however much we complain, is much better than so many out there. That said, I can see some of what your friend meant. There will always be a country out there that if only there was a strong armed force to counter the one there, then those people could start over and maybe have a better governing system. The key here is that there will always be one. Other countries shouldn’t take a number and wait patiently on the US to come fix things up. Every few decades we get the grand idea that fixing other countries is what we should be doing, but it is only a success when the native people can collectively agree on what success will look like. Our use of force and money can only fix so much no matter how much we want it to.
    As far as situations like Hamas, I can understand people liking something that promises to protect you and to provide you with food. When your alternative is something that has not guaranteed that, then you go for what will. And keep in mind that people in non-western countries often don’t think of their government choice as something to be stuck with forever. I’m sure they don’t think Hamas is what will be there for 200 years. But it is providing them with what they want for now.

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