Gnomicon 129

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Introduction to Gnomica.

Gnomicon  129
Saturday 15 September 2012

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Russians can give you arms but only the United States can give you a solution.
Anwar Sadat (25 Dec 1918 – 6 Oct 1981)

The comment has an especial poignancy today, filled as all the headlines are with the tangled web of outrages spinning out of control on a daily basis in the Middle and Far East and in North Africa.  Just take a quick glance in the Los Angeles Times, the Denver Post, the Chicago Tribune, the Miami Herald, the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Boston Herald, the … .  Get the general picture?

There isn’t much I can think of to say except for one thing:  it hardly matters any more who is ‘in the wrong’, who is ‘intolerant’, who is ‘out of control’, ‘who is in control’, ‘who is a fanatic’, and so forth.  I have this feeling that the whole business has turned post-verbal – all calls on both sides for war, for peace, for wait-and-see to the contrary notwithstanding.  Simple reason has left the building.

I do have one suggestion, however (I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again): end America’s naïve enablement of all those feckless international welfare cheats!  Immediately stop squandering everybody’s money (that the government in fact does not have) on all foreign aid, and pump those uncounted niagaras of dollars disappearing into the world’s secret bank accounts owned by dirty despots and thankless thieves into efforts to shore up bankrupt cities in decay here at home and clean up the financial chaos in the United States: yes, yes, I know — all that was in large part caused by the piggy greed of American officialdom at all levels, but at least they were our crooks!

And, as they say, charity begins at home.

Of course I realize such desperate measures will never be put into practice, but the fact is that we live in a desperate age and it’s probably about time desperate recourse were had to what ails us.  The old ways certainly do not give evidence of effecting positive outcomes for any but the connected few.

When Anwar Sadat came to power in 1970 he had to deal with the mixed legacy of his predecessor, Gamal Abdel Nasser, whose socialist economic policies had been much influenced by Moscow.  One’s view of the latter man and his presidency (23 Jul 1956 – 28 Sep 70) is of course a function of one’s own view both of the Cold War and of Egypt’s mixed domestic policy as well its relations built by Nasser across the Muslim world.  My recollection of the period after Nasser is that Sadat was moving in a conciliatory direction vis-à-vis the West, especially America, and that may well have been the reason for his assassination on 6 Oct 1981.

In any event, during Nasser’s love affair with Moscow – which Sadat eschewed — Sadat had certainly seen enough of the Russian way of doing things and of the American way that, however unpopular in his own country the sentiment of the epigraph, it captures to my mind a retrospective truism of the era.

Today, it seems less and less the case that America will be giving anybody any kind of solution to anything in that inflamed world.  And for my money, we should accept this reality and stop trying to weed the rank gardens of other nations by means of rampant bribery, and simultaneously keep those bribes stateside and start to pay more attention to cultivating our own failing gardens right here at home.

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