Why does the U.S. need NATO? Well, how about size? The land mass of the world is about 197 million square miles. The land mass of the U.S. is just under four million. Do the math. We’re about the same size as Australia or Brazil. The U.S. from east to west is about two thousand miles while the world is 25,000 miles around. Not rocket science. The population of the world is around 8 billion humans, give or take a billion. The population of the U.S. is considerably less than 400 million. Technology has done wonders to lessen distances and also to give small groups of powerful people more influence over the rest. But you will note that the U.S. did not win a war in Korea, did not win in Vietnam or in Iraq or even Afghanistan. Given the immense technological prowess of the world’s most powerful country, why is that? Because the world is big and the people are so many and the ability to reach it all, or even touch, it all is simply not there, not yet anyway. So, the U.S. needs partners to extend its reach. Nuclear does not work except to illustrate and threaten. Nukes can’t really be used. That leaves other means of technology, but those means have been notorious for their failures. American’s don’t travel much, and when they do they tend to stay at the most excellent hotels and go in and out of upscale airports. What’s really going on in the rest of the world the American public remains mostly in the dark about. That’s why I loved Anthony Bourdain. He’d actually get inside a culture and report on what was going on around him. Dangerous. The news has figured out that it does not have to be the news. The news now mostly makes the news and it does so to force the direction of human actions.

Whereas once there were three main bodies of social influence that worked to control, modify and change the entire cultural order, there are now four. At one time the mass media reported on what was happening in the other three areas, and as a result of decisions made within them. Times changed, with the rise of technological innovation. Television changed everything. And then the Internet and cell phones came quickly after. This has all happened in the last sixty-five years or so. During that time, the mass media moved inexorably from reporters of the news to a creator of the news. As the owners of the media outlets consolidated ownership and came quickly to understand that by controlling the presentation of the news the mass media could become a force of social influence all of its own. Simply by choosing what to report and what not to report, whom to give coverage exposure and whom to deny, the mass media didn’t even have to lie. It could change the world, in its fashion, by selecting what it is that people get to know.

NATO is merely one example of how this new huge political force (the mass media) is able to effect change across the entire spectrum of human reality. Donald Trump went to Europe and obviously was displeased with NATO’s member countries for a variety of reasons, from trade barriers to amounts paid by these members for their own defense. Trump left the member countries and then traveled to Russia where he treated Putin, that country’s president as if he was an honorable man and his country’s behavior quite acceptable compared to that of the European allied neighbors. There is no point in going into the vast assortment of reasons why the U.S. should support NATO. They are too many. There is also no point in going into why the U.S. has been an enemy of Russia since WWII.

That’s what strange new arrangement seems to have happened. Now, what did the mass media do to report it? Nothing, really. The media allowed that, although Trump’s behavior was bizarre in almost every respect, the words criminal behavior and treason never came up. Russia never ended the cold war, not from its side, or it would not be fully up to its ears in trying to mess with American elections. America is tearing its friendships apart and going to be with its enemies. There is no better definition of what treason is for a sitting president. The clear and present danger is the appropriate words, but you will not see those written except in a newspaper as small and minor as this one.

~James Strauss


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