Sturm und Drang

Certain “Just War” theorists and “Transitional Justice” experts would perhaps contend that absent true accountability, truth and reconciliation, transparency, and justice in order to compensate for a history of corruption, war crimes, and crimes against humanity, truth-telling on the part of certain individuals and regular people can have more of an impact and can perhaps do more damage to the corrupt and to the war criminals than actually dragging them into a court of law and into a prison cell. Although swarming Liz Cheney and John Bolton with tweets, sending Richard Haass and Eliot Cohen an article on black magic, dumping a thick and obtuse ‘Amnesty International’ report on top of the Washington Post, and pushing the envelope against Condoleezza Rice and Zalmay Khalilzad so that they can feel differently about Paul Wolfowitz and then turn against him will not take the place of actual “Transitional Justice” mechanisms, it still has an impact, and if sustained for the long haul and over the long run, concrete and tangible results might emerge from a sustained effort over the long haul and over the long run.

One may wonder whether these nimble and sublime strategies and tactics absent large-scale and comprehensive “Transitional Justice” measures from the top is even worth the time and energy, especially when the people at the “Department of Justice” (DOJ) or the ‘United Nations’ (UN) who are supposed to be in charge of implementing such measures are either busy rigging an election, examining pictures of people’s personal libraries, or worried that if they push too hard, their budgets will be cut. Essentially, there is no apparent material or monetary payoff for such efforts, so why waste the time and energy? The answer is that psychic income and peace of mind are more valuable and useful than material or monetary income over the long run, especially as one gets older and when the “diminishing marginal utility” of what conventional and shallow thinking actually prioritizes and values becomes more and more manifest.

Thus, rather than blind consumption and confoundment in the short run which prompts one to overlook and miss the underlying causes and explanations for broad and systemic phenomena which have been discussed in recent blog posts and in turn lead to general psychological and social turbulence, the focus should be on changing attitudes and perceptions over the long run. After all, there is the issue of where things once stood and how things were in the past, versus where things are headed and how things will be in the future. As Mao said, the whole point is to know where we are in world history in order to adjust and prepare for the present as well as for the future.

One should also consider the question of whether there can actually be peace and social tranquility absent of the “Transitional Justice” measures which have been discussed for some time now. The irony is that “Transitional Justice” is actually an American invention and an American concept which was contrived by none other than American intellectuals and scholars. Yet, when it comes to actually applying the concept and invention at home and where it is needed the most, everyone is hush, mum, and silent. And as mentioned before, the cost of fear and silence outweighs the cost of action and speech over the long run, even if the cost of fear and silence is not fully apparent just yet. But with the Trump experience and populism and so forth, it is hard to imagine or believe that the cost of fear and silence has yet to become fully apparent, just because we are experiencing a temporary respite and reprieve from the recent turbulence and strife.

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