One of the reasons that countries fail is that collective memory is continually destroyed as older generations pass away and are replaced by new ones who are disconnected from what came before.
Initially, the disconnect was handled by history and by discussions around family tables. For example, when I was a kid there were still grandparents whose fathers had fought for the Confederacy. They had no slaves and owned no plantations. They fought because their land was invaded by Lincoln’s armies. Today if Southern families still know the facts, they would protect their children by not telling them. Can you imagine what would happen to a child in a public school that took this position?
Frustrated by the inability of the Union Army to defeat the Army of Northern Virginia led by West Point graduate Robert E. Lee, Lincoln resorted to war criminals. Generals Sherman and Sherridan, operating under the drunken General Grant, were the first modern war criminals who conducted war against civilian women and children, their homes and food supply. Lincoln was so out of step with common morality that he had to arrest and detain 300 Northern newspaper editors and exile a US Congressman in order to conduct his War for Empire. The Tyranny of Good In... Best Price: $6.27 Buy New $5.00 (as of 04:50 EDT - Details)
Today this history is largely erased. The court historians buried the truth with the fable that Lincoln went to war to free the slaves. This ignorant nonsense is today the official history of the “civil war,” which most certainly was not a civil war.
A civil war is when two sides fight for control of the government. The Confederacy was a new country consisting of those states that seceded. Most certainly, the Confederate soldiers were no more fighting for control over the government in Washington than they were fighting to protect the investment of plantation owners.
Memory is lost when historical facts are cast down the memory hole
So, what does this have to do with the lesson for today? More than history can be erased by the passage of time. Culture can be erased. Morality can be erased. Common sense can disappear with the diplomacy that depends on it.
The younger generation which experiences threats shouted all around it at Confederate war memorials and street names—Atlanta has just struck historic Confederate Avenue out of existence and replaced it with United Avenue—at white males who, if they are heterosexual, have been redefined by Identity Politics as rapists, racists, and misogynists, at distinguished scientists who state, factually, that there are innate differences between the male and the female, and so on, might think that it is natural for high officials in the US government to issue a never-ending stream of war threats to Russia, China, Iran, and Venezuela. Secret Empires: How th... Best Price: $9.00 Buy New $13.96 (as of 06:40 EDT - Details)
A person of my generation knows that such threats are unprecedented, not only for the US Government but also in world history. President Trump’s crazed NATO Ambassador, Kay Bailey Hutchison, threatened to “take out Russian missiles.” President Trump’s crazed UN Ambassador Nikki Hailey issues endless threats as fast as she can run her mouth against America’s allies as well as against the powerful countries that she designates as enemies. Trump’s crazed National Security Advisor John Bolten rivals the insane Haley with his wide-ranging threats. Trump’s Secretary of State Pompeo spews out threats with the best of them. So do the inane New York Times and Washington Post. Even a lowly Secretary of the Interior assumes the prerogative of telling Russia that the US will interdict Russian navy ships.
What do you think would be the consequences if the Russians, the Chinese, and the Iranians took these threats seriously? World Wars have started on far less. Yet there is no protest against these deranged US government officials who are doing everything in their power to convince Russia and China that they are without any question America’s worst enemies. If you were Russia or China, how would you respond to this?
Professor Stephen Cohen, who, like myself, remembers when the United States government had a diplomatic tradition, is as disturbed as I am that Washington’s decision to chuck diplomacy down the memory hole and replace it with war threats is going to get us all killed. See here.