Sunday, April 4, 2010

The importance of the world

We had a lovely Easter today. Gorgeous weather, if a bit warm. Good church fellowship and all you could eat pancakes. Then 7 people over for Easter dinner, which was delicious and not too hard to make. Afterwards, we had the quiet older-adult room, populated by my dad and his wife, Dwaine's sister, and Dwaine (when he wasn't cleaning up). Then there was the young-adult/youth room, where Rock Band was blaring and there was lots of rollicking laughter. I hung out in there quite a bit.

Andrew had one of his random moments tonight where he was asking me a million questions and was completely receptive to hearing the answers, so I tried to talk very quickly before the moment passed. He first asked if there was any running water in Darfur; I explained that was a region of Sudan, so then he asked the same question of Sudan. I said, probably, in the presidential palace or lair of the dictator there. (Revealing my ignorance) He asked about the dictatorship in Sudan, how the elections could be rigged, and why the U.S. didn't go overthrow the dictator. I tried to explain that it would take some work, and effort, and we couldn't just snap our fingers and then leave. And that the U.S. has a hard time doing that without some other compelling interest besides just a brutal dictatorship. (Look at Iraq and Afghanistan.) I didn't tell him this, but when has this country ever acted with truly altruistic motives toward any other country? The Marshall Plan, rebuilding Europe, rah-rah-rah, but that was in our economic and military interest to have stable governments with workable economies. So, if there were a way to spin Sudan to make it in our self-interest to go there, we would.

Then he asked about Afghanistan -- why we went there, why Obama is keeping us there, why some people are angry with Obama for not withdrawing. So I answered as well as I could with my limited knowledge. I said that there are remote, mountainous areas of Afghanistan, and Pakistan, which border each other, where there is essentially lawlessness and tribal groups control different areas, and that is a prime location for Osama bin Laden to hide out. We talked about al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

These are the times I wish I knew more history, because my kids really do look to me and Dwaine and our knowledge. These are not things we typically discuss over dinner. We're fat, happy Americans, and why talk about all those problems in the rest of the world?

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