By Victoria Lynn Hall
I think one of the most challenging things about understanding foreign policy, as well as other aspects of politics, is accepting that it isn’t simply a matter of good versus evil – no matter how much the media keeps spinning it that way.
Rarely is any one side in a conflict above reproach, so we can always be convinced that either side is to blame by people with an agenda or a myopic focus. To know the truth, we have to zoom out far enough to look at the big picture and see all sides of a situation. Unfortunately, that is not an easy task to do for ourselves much less for someone else.
As Jesse said to me right after we finished recording this episode, explaining these things sufficiently in 45 minutes is impossible. It has taken him years to understand what he knows; to research and find trustworthy sources that then challenged him to rethink what he thought he knew and accept depressing truths. And as he often points out, he’s still learning and assumes he always will be.
Though I am still behind him in knowledge and understanding, the work he has done has saved me a lot of effort and it is my hope that the work we do together can save others some time and effort as well. However, there is a certain level of awareness people must reach on their own. Jesse can give us the facts, the history and draw his own insightful conclusions for us, but we each have to decide how much we are willing to open our minds to the contemplation of the uncomfortable realities he and others expose. So, too, we must determine how much we are willing to risk our hearts to the realization of the vast amount of needless human suffering that is happening in our world and why.
Because once you set out on that path, there is no going back. However, I’m really starting to feel that if more of us don’t, there will be nothing worth going back to anyway.
Please take note of one correction: in this episode Jesse mistakenly refers to Dana Stroul, a key figure in Middle East Policy at the Pentagon, as “Dana Houle.”
Like I said in my intro to this episode, we talk about foreign policy a lot but there are two episodes I feel were pivotal to my current understanding of it:
One was Episode 10: Michael Brooks & Empathy in which Jesse said:
“A lot of the time our foreign policy, if you’re just thinking in terms of what is moral and what is just, seems very irrational. If you start looking at foreign policy as a way of protecting corporate interest, it starts to make more sense.”
The other was Episode 17: Focus On Foreign Policy. in which I asked him: What does every American need to know about foreign policy?
His answer: “That it’s economic policy.”
For more on Syria, I recommend following dedicated and respected journalist Aaron Maté and disregarding any of the smears made against him (or at least taking note that none of them ever address or dispute the facts he reports).
I found his recent interview with Katie Halper to be informative and enlightening:
In this episode, Jesse referred to this interview of Professor Stephen Cohen on Democracy now:
Jesse also mentioned this video with Rania Khalek explaining sanctions:
I mentioned this article which describes how the media omits or obscures information about sanctions when reporting on the crisis in Venezuela. This also applies to much of the reporting around Syria, Yemen and other countries sanctioned by the United States.
For more about the sanction that the U.S. is imposing on Syria and what you can do to voice your objection to them, read Jesse’s article: Awareness & Syria
At the end of this episode I mentioned my most recent Wonderland Campaign Discussion Group meeting, you can view a recording of that here.
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A Los Angeles native, Jesse Crall graduated from UCLA’s English Department before working as a copywriter, script reader and project manager for an engineering firm.
A self taught artist and creative entrepreneur, Victoria Lynn Hall lives in the Kansas City area with 4 spoiled cats. She believes in art and the magic of kindness.