The most significant aspect of viewing an adversary is apprehending him not as you see him but as he sees himself.
Without this understanding one cannot anticipate his actions because one fails to comprehend his motivations.
Never is this more important than times of war – except perhaps in the times immediately preceding them.
Of the grave mistakes so often made by outsiders, the worst is they seldom view Americans as Americans view themselves.
A foreigner will watch American media, listen to American music and perhaps even read American books and consider he knows the American mindset.
Yet these things are all either produced by or shaped by corporations rather than individuals. As such they better represent the products made for Americans instead of the creations made by Americans.
Thus, these no more reflect what the typical American genuinely believes than your average Soap Opera depicts the lives of everyday neighbors.
Here is the reality:
1. Americans Want To Be Left Alone – There is a bit of a dichotomy, indicative of the ease for misunderstanding our psyche, as Americans have a reputation to being extraordinarily friendly.
This is accurate. At the same time this conviviality is conditional on a deep strain of independence – almost to the point of isolationism – among Americans.
Appreciating this explains how a generally socially conservative country also tolerates things such as homosexual marriage, transgender youths and rampant pornography.
American belief is essentially…Let’s Be Pals, But Don’t Judge Me And I Won’t Judge You.
If you want to be gay…or dress your boy as a girl…or basically anything else then so be it – but don’t disturb me in my own private life either. Also, come over for dinner some time or let’s go see a movie!
2. Americans Are Extremely Generous – The people of our nation give more…far more…to charity and worthy causes than any other country. Some will dismiss this by saying the United States is a wealthy land so they can afford it…except this misconstrues the reality.
In fact, when adjusted by income Americans are much more generous than any other people anywhere.
American philosophy is generally…I Want To Help.
The American will give to others in manners which astound citizens from abroad. It isn’t because they are wealthy, it’s because this is a vital component of their character.
Americans are a deeply compassionate people of which charitable giving is the foremost physical example; but that psychology informs much of the way they behave both in private as well as public.
It arises in relations such an enormous degree to the extent the theme of support for the American Underdog is now so ubiquitous it has nearly become a stereotype…a little assistance can help anyone overcome adversity..
When you go with an American to see a movie – this will likely be its plot.
3. Americans Are Morally Righteous – Not to say Americans are “right” in the sense of being correct about what we believe. That is a subjective judgment.
What is meant here is while an American wants almost nothing more than freedom to be left alone living his life as he sees fit, that same American will deeply involve himself in a matter if it is a situation deemed “unfair” to others.
This explains why Americans with no connection to China are deeply concerned with the Uighur minority in that country…or why Americans tolerate millions of Illegal Immigrants invading their own nation “seeking a better life”…or why there is a danger of Americans becoming involved in the Ukraine Conflict directly.
The sensibility is broadly…I Would Prefer to Mind My Business…But Will Absolutely Fight For Justice Anywhere in the World.
Americans will be associated with situations that objectively have nothing to do with them if they become convinced there is a Righteous element which must be defended.
After being convinced to enter a war the American typically will not exit until there is a Righteous conclusion.
Time and again one hears supposed “experts” denote Americans quit wars when casualties mount.
False. Contemptibly, Disastrously, Pseudo-Analytically - False.
How else to explain the vast divergence in casualties from one conflict to another in which Americans did not object?
No, the Casualty-Conviction is a false correlation.
More consequential would be the existence, and prevalence, of a military draft…which is incidentally the reason the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars were fought without conscription.
Yet most telling of all in when Americans will abandon a conflict has to do with the Psychology of Cause.
In other words – Why Are We Fighting?
As long as an American can reasonably answer the question in a Righteous manner the war will go on. When there is no longer a decisive response it will end.
Some examples of this premise:
What eventually caused Americans to cease support? A series of political coups and obvious corruption in the South Vietnamese government had made it clear there were no “good guys” or Righteous actors.
After Kuwait had been liberated there was no further reason to continue the war. It had been sold as a defense of nationality and with that accomplished public support came to a conclusion.
As with the others, what began with a straightforward reason for Americans to invade was slowly eroded to the extent few – if any – could tell you exactly the point of pouring money into the combat.
What occurred in the intervening period? They never got Osama. He left Afghanistan. Eventually few Americans could tell you any reason they were still there; particularly once Osama was killed in Pakistan.
Clearly in each case casualties mounted the longer the war went on, but there is no real connection between death tolls and time of extrication…except in every case the midway inversion was when Americans no longer considered their involvement to still be a Righteous Cause.
The entire purpose here is to illustrate who Americans are as people as opposed to media personifications.
They want to be unmolested – so leave them alone.
They want to be good people – so make sure you are not the bad guy in their perspective.
They want to assist heroes in an underdog story – so do not entice them into a Righteous Cause to kill.
Americans are gregarious, hospitable and above all kind…and they want to view others the same way.
Moscow must ensure Americans see Russians as they see themselves.
This is Part Two of a Three Part series on the Ukraine Intervention and how it affects your life.
Guy Somerset writes from somewhere in America
The Russian forces destroyed a column of NATO armoured vehicles that had been delivered to the Ukrainian army.