Axel-In-Charge: Extending "Secret Wars," Excitement for a "Totally Awesome Hulk"
We must harness the revolutionary Poles in the fight against Russia, we must promise the separation of this land from Russia even if it means sacrificing Galicia, so that this giant may be weakened and driven back on Asia, unless the whole earth is not to be sooner or later divided between two powers: the North Americans and the Russians. (Field-Marshal Franz Kuhn von Kuhnenfeld of Austria, 1870)
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Sipping drinks on the porch in the sunset, Farsheed Shomloo, an immigration lawyer, pointed to a book on the patio table and told Jim, “You should read this new book about Iran, it’s really interesting.” Jim replied:
“I don’t want to read it. I know the outcome already. In Iran, there is beautiful poetry and everything turns out a disaster. Here the poetry is not so beautiful, but people are free to discover the best in themselves; that’s why America has happy endings. Here it’s a negative system: there is no entrenched despotism, no will to dominate. We immigrants can remake the whole country if we want to. It’s ours for the taking, as if there is a perpetual clean slate where nobody is ever owed anything. I’ll tell you, the Iranian revolution was a disaster for Iran and a success for America, because it brought a lot of talented, ambitious Iranians here. Every time there is a disaster in the Third World, it’s a good thing for America, since the best of the middle class finds its way here.” (Robert Kaplan, from An Empire Wilderness)
She said, “In every age, there must be truths people can’t fight – whether or not they want to, whether or not they will go on being truths in the future. We live in the truth of what Freud discovered. Whether or not we like it. However we’ve modified it. We aren’t really free to suppose – to imagine – he could possibly have been wrong about human nature. In particulars, surely – but not in the large plan –” (A. S. Byatt, from Possession)
Indeed, the Republican Right, while it worries plausibly about the loss of traditional values in an era of peace, is an example of the deformities it decries, since historically prosperous societies which perceive no outside threat have been the only ones that have the luxury to preoccupy themselves with discussions about such things as sexual values. The problem, though, is that we have no such luxury. The peace we think we have is only an interregnum before another cycle of conflict. The narcissistic isolationism of the congressional Republicans – who call for enforcing democracy abroad while denying the State Department the tools it requires for our own security interests and who refuse to pay our U.N. dues – comes at a time when the world vaguely resembles what it was before the outbreak of World War I. (Robert Kaplan, from The Coming Anarchy)
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