Blind Trust: New book by Vamik Volkan
Blind Trust: Large Groups and their Leaders in Times of Crisis and Terror
a newly published book by
Vamik D. Volkan, M.D.
About the author:
Vamik Volkan is emeritus professor of psychiatry and founder of the Center for the Study of Mind and Human Interaction (CSMHI) at the University of Virginia, School of Medicine in Charlottesville, VA. He is a former president of the International Society of Political Psychology; and a former member of The Carter Center's International Negotiation Network; and is currently the Senior Erik Erikson Scholar at The Austen Riggs Center in Stockbridge, MA.
His book is written in an easy-to-read style for the layperson while including extensive footnotes for the scholar. It offers descriptions of field studies by the author alone and with members of CSMHI teams from locations such as: the US, Estonia, Macedonia, Turkey, Cyprus, South Africa, Croatia, Macedonia, and Georgia among others. The book introduces new theories structured in four parts:
" Theories of what comprises large group identity and rituals and what triggers large group regression;
" Studies religious fundamentalism from Waco to Iraq and terrorism;
" The role of leaders' personalities to either inflame or tame large groups and the use of political propaganda;
" A case example from Albania.
In praise of Blind Trust:
This book is the culmination of over three decades of profound immersion in the most pressing socio-political conflicts of our time, by a psychoanalyst with probably the most direct experience with such issues of any in the psychoanalytic world?the author applies his knowledge of depth psychology to the turbulent and destructive human experiences in the current cauldrons of the greatest unrest and disaster throughout Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
Volkan writes of activities of astonishing import, as he served as envoy, negotiator and consultant, on Commissions from the United Nations to the American Psychiatric, ...Israel to Egypt, Yugoslavia, Kosovo, Kuwait, both halves of post-War Berlin and the Soviet Union. Utilizing his psychoanalytic knowledge to illuminate the etiologic bases of war, revolution, massacres and terror, as these have disturbed the world from ancient times to modern civilization; his voice speaks for the imperative of reason, the application of modern analytic knowledge for conflict resolution at the highest levels.
Volkan's subjects are large groups and their leaders?the prophet Muhammad?Stalin, Milosevic, and Osama Bin Laden, or David Koresh are interspersed with examinations of religion and fundamentalism, separately, each from both sides, and a sober study, including the Moslem view, of suicide attackers. Volkan's detailed and scholarly description of regressive movements in large group identities, complemented by an equal attention to progressive and creative reparative forces, is perhaps the most significant expansion of psychoanalytic group psychology since Freud's original breakthrough.
- Leo Rangell
Past President, International Psychoanalytic Association; Past President, American Psychoanalytic Association
For decades, Dr. Vamik Volkan has innovatively brought together the political and behavioral sciences to help explore and understand the role of political leadership. In this book he studies that role in times of crisis and terror. With greater severity and increasing frequency acts of terror are being directed at civilians. The responses of governments are not always appropriate or proportionate. In these complex and worrying times this study could not be more timely. It is written in an easy and accessible style. I found it fascinating and learnt much of value from it.
- Justice Richard Goldstone
Former Chief Prosecutor of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda; Chairperson, International Task Force on Terrorism, The International Bar Association
Honor and America’s Wars by Bertram Wyatt-Brown
Please see Bertram Wyatt-Brown's rich and fascinating lecture "Honor and America’s Wars: From the Revolution to Mexican Conquest" further down!
The 2004 James Pinckney Harrison Lecture
Honor and America’s Wars: From the Revolution to Mexican Conquest
by Bertram Wyatt-Brown
Andrews Hall 101
22 March 2004
In the American lexicon the word honor has practically disappeared from everyday use. To be sure, in court we still acknowledge judges as “Your Honor,” and checks are given that citation when presented at the bank. Colleges sometimes have governed the legitimacy of exams and papers with student-run boards of honor. As the sociologist Peter Berger once declared, honor now has about the same relevance as the notion of chastity, a virtue that vanished with the arrival of the pill. In earlier times, long established elites ruled lesser folk, communities were small and parochial, and institutions, even the state and local law, weak or sporadic. Then, honor and shame were the polarities that provided imperfect but harshly enforced social conformities and a degree of stability in peace or even war. Now, for better and for worse, the forces of secularism, commercialism, industrialism, mass communications, institutional complexities of every sort have replaced the kind of face-to-face conventionalities of the past.
In the relationship of nations, however, the primitive rules of honor and dread of a collective shame still obtain as motives for aggression or defense. This is so despite attempts through the United Nations, international courts of justice, and multi-nation treaties to curb nuclear weaponry, chemical warfare, and other sources of mass destruction. In the three lectures to be presented each successive Monday at this same hour, I hope to explore the way we Americans have used and misused the old principles. Power over powerlessness, male over female, white over black, liberty over slavery–these were the eternal dichotomies of honor and prestige as opposed to shame and vulnerability. It is a complicated issue. Honor can motivate and rightly so. Yet, enthusiasts for war can also manipulate it to advantage because of its centrality in any form of patriotic ideology. Warriors on land, sea, or air, it always seems, must never be thought to die in vain. Their memory in the public mind must be treasured regardless of ultimate victory or defeat. The reasons for war must establish that obligation from the beginning.
In this lecture, the first, we begin with the American Revolution, a war for independence but also a war in behalf of patriots’ honor. We will then proceed to three later wars that were vigorously pursued and one that did not come off, all four of them with serious political consequences. Donald Kagan, the Yale historian, notes that we in the West tend to recognize only the so-called rational categories for war: territorial expansion, national security, economic booty of one sort of another. But, he says, the role of honor that we might deem irrational often provokes the outbreak of military action. Honor, Kagan continues, “in the sense of prestige, clearly plays an important role in the [never-ending] competition for power. But nations also react strongly to the fear of dishonor, to assaults on their dignity that are the result of passion and hatred, not calculation.” Before we go further I should say that I intend to be deliberately and outrageously present-minded in these lectures. We all have war on the mind, with the daily news of our unhappy dealings with those Middle-Eastern honor societies of Iraq and Afghanistan.
But now back to the beginning. With regard to the American Revolution, it has long amazed me that Gordon Wood and most other experts have not the vaguest clue how the ethic of honor played a role in the coming of Revolutionary fervor and in the conduct of the war itself. His famous Creation of the American Republic (1972) dwells on virtue and other ideals in a most profound and elegant way. Not a word on honor, however, can be located in the index. Wood’s more recent work, The American Revolution, A History also passes it by. Historians of the American Revolution have been uncomfortable with the bloodthirsty rhetoric that fill the hundreds of Revolutionary pamphlets, reports of political rallies and riots, and correspondence of the Founding Fathers. As Gordon Wood astutely noted some years ago, scholars have been preoccupied with the Revolution as a purely intellectual movement to the exclusion of other factors. We know much about the evolution of republican theory but little about the ardor that gripped the revolutionary soul. Wood has observed, “The objective social reality scarcely seemed capable of explaining a revolution.” I would argue that the Age of Reason was also an Age of Honor.
In dealing with the restive colonies, the British authorities undertook a disastrous policy that combined haughty condescension with military coercion, as if dealing with wayward youngsters. Under orders from Admiral Graves in Boston, Captain Henry Mowat of the Royal Navy, in October 1776, warned the Patriots of Falmouth, Maine, of his intention to raze their port. He justified the bombardment as “a rod of correction.” The people had too long defied “the legal prerogatives of the best of Sovereigns.” In once more appealing “decently” and “humbly” to “King, Lords, and Commons of Great-Britain,” we must assure them, the Tory naval officer continued, “that we dread the very thoughts of an absolute independency; and that we see no prospect of security or happiness but under the powerful protection and mild superintendency of the mother country.” American loyalists to the Crown adopted the same posture. In 1775 Thomas Chandler of New York warned patriots, “You must know, that singularity in right conduct will be an honour to you, and a shame only to them that act otherwise.” Another Tory denounced the rebels as ungrateful children and worse--detestable parracides [sic].” Yet, such language only drove home the Whig patriots’ that the Royalists at home and overseas haughtily denied the Americans--whatever their place in society might be--the honor due them as morally responsible adults.
In response to such charges, American Revolutionary pamphleteers seized the grammar, vocabulary, and style that bespoke the honor of their cause and the shame of submission. They did so with a regularity that suggests its salience in everyday colonial life. Since pride of male sexuality and the shame of its absence figured in the code, tract writers indulged in allusions that bordered on the scatological. Charlestonian John McKenzie raged that Britain had “insulted--bullied--” and generally treated Americans as “emasculated eunuchs.” Likewise, Thomas Paine in Common Sense stressed the ideals of virility in defense of family: “Are your wife and children destitute . . . ? Have you lost a parent or a child by their hand . . . if you have, and can still shake hands with the murderers, then you are unworthy of the name of husband, father, friend or lover, and whatever may be your rank or title in life, you have the heart of a coward, and the spirit of a sycophant.” How far the far the rhetoric deviated from fact need not matter in the polemical war.
Moving from the depths to sublime heights, pious New Englanders, more than Southern Patriots, tended to couple honor with lofty scriptural reference as well. They found the Old Testament especially appropriate as well they might. The ancient Hebrew nation, like the modern Middle East, was well versed in the dictates of honor. The irascible John Allen, a Baptist minister of Boston in 1773 took Micah 7: 3 for his text. He expounded on the right of a chosen people to protest and even overthrow the tyranny of evil rulers. Allen thundered: “Have you not heard the voice of blood in your streets, louder than that which reached to Heaven, that cry’d for vengeance, that was, said the Lord to Cain, the voice of thy brother’s blood . . . ?” Peter Thacher of Malden, Massachusetts, however, became so overwrought that he forgot the customary Biblical text for explication. At once he plunged into the heart of the matter. The preacher urged his flock to “spring to action, let us gird on the sword of the Lord and of Gideon, and determine to conquer or die! . . . Do not let us hear of any of you who behave like cowards.” Only in the summation did he remember to insert the requisite scriptural passage: 2 Samuel 10: 12. Yet it was quite appropriate: “Be of good courage, and let us play the men for our people.” Dishonor entailed an unmanly spirit. As a result, he continued, Americans should reject “the soft arts of luxury and effeminacy” and sacrifice the pursuit of wealth to the cause of liberty. Those who admire wealth alone, he advised, “almost deserve to be enslaved.” Behind these outbursts, of course, there were just complaints. The list is familiar: unfair taxes; official corruption; and unjust Parliamentary reprisals against the restive colonies. As the anthropologist Julian Pitt-Rivers has observed, honor is always the sworn enemy of taxation. Coerced payment involves a lessening of manhood and independence. From the dawn of history, defeated enemies and inferior people had to forfeit property as tribute or tax. Free peoples, however, contributed to the king’s treasury in terms of subsidy, freely rendered out of affection, real or feigned, for the ruler. In earliest times, revenues for the head of state was more or less a matter of gift exchange, in the fashion that Bronislaw Malinowski analyzed in the 1920s. The revenues furnished were traded for the benefits of leadership and responsibility vested in the king. So it had been understood by the Parliament, for instance, at the time of Charles I’s Ship Money crisis. The outcry against British taxation without American representation and voice in the process arose from this concept. It was based on the honor of grant or subsidy versus mortification of taxation. Ancient precedent served to buttress the rationale. James Otis, for instance, pointed out that in Periclean Greece, colonists were obliged only “to pay a kind of deference and dutiful submission to the mother commonwealth.” But, he insisted, nothing more demeaning than that was required of them.
As historians have long known, the Parliamentary exactions on Americans to help reduce British indebtedness for the Seven Years’ War were light by contemporary standards. By the rubrics of honor, cutting taxes is the supposed height of ethical conduct that rulers can perform. Sound familiar? Colonists smarted under the affront of taxation with no means to bargain, modify, or persuade the Parliamentary parties through colonial representation. In the Virginia Resolutions to Lord North in 1775, Thomas Jefferson argued that “Whereas, we have right to give our money, as the Parliament does theirs, without coercion, from time to time, as public exigencies may require, we conceive that we are alone the judges. . . . Because at the very time of requiring from us grants of Money they are” planning war against us, “which is a stile of asking gifts not reconcilable [sic] to our freedom.” Likewise, the Congress’s Resolutions of 31 July 1775, spoke of taxes as “gifts” not to be “wasted among the venal and corrupt for the purpose of undermining the civil rights of the givers.” The resolution further demonstrated the significance of the ancient prescriptions: “we consider ourselves as bound in Honor as well as Interest to share our general Fate with our Sister Colonies . . . and having in vain “appealed to the native honour and justice of the British nation,” a new course of action is necessary.
The category of involuntary taxpayer entailed reduced social and political status. Such exactions lessened one’s own and family’s independence--freedom from the control of or obligation to another. Machiavelli had long before warned that unwise rulers overtaxed their subjects at great peril, “for men forget more easily the death of their father than the loss of their patrimony.” In fact, by custom those who gained the most glory and authority from either military victories or officeholding were expected to pay for such honorifics. They should not burden marginal folk. Taxing Americans, however, had become popular in the home country, argued one pamphleteer, because the British had drained themselves while Ireland had been “impoverished to almost the last farthing.” Even Ireland, which, in James Otis’s opinion, had fallen into English hands as “a conquered country,” deserved “the same right to be free under a conqueror as the rest of his [majesty’s] subjects.” How much more worthy then, he asked, should America be when at no time was it a defeated province, but one created by “emigrant subjects.”
The second grievance, bureaucratic malfeasance and venality, stimulated almost equal fury. Such vices violated the honor code in two specific ways. Nepotism and favoritism in office seeking put Americans at more disadvantage than before when competing for titles and posts against placemen with contacts at Whitehall unavailable to the distant colonists. Second, corruption reinforced the sense of impotence that men of honor felt in the handling of political affairs. Their anger stemmed from the implied dependency and alienation from authority that the indignity of open corruption flaunted in their faces. The imposition of the Stamp Tax, of course, was seen as a further opportunity for gross corruption. In thunderous response to the crisis, the Rev. Enoch Huntington of Massachusetts preached: “Already do the avaricious courtiers of Great-Britain, with the numerous train of their . . . hangers-on, with the whole tribe of dissolute spend-thrifts, and idle deboshee’s, feast themselves” upon “the spoils of our future earnings. . . .” John Adams echoed the sentiment: “When luxury, effeminacy, and venality” have reached “a shocking pitch in England, when both electors and elected are become one mass of corruption; when the nation is oppressed to death with debts and taxes . . . what will be your condition under such a parliament? You would not only be slaves, but the most abject sort of slaves, to the worst sort of masters!”
The third objection intimately connected with honor was the outcry against standing armies. Not only were they potential instruments of lawless tyranny, but their presence also signified mistrust of the local elite and the general populace. The use of professional forces set at conflict the members of a locale against military inquisitors into their exclusive affairs. Such an opposition has been traced to the late seventeenth-century Commonwealthman John Trenchard and earlier to James Harrington. Suspicions of occupying armies, however, long predate that era. Clearly they violated the sense of local independence, the honor of the community. To the American colonists, the imposition of permanent forces, especially when quartered in civilian billets instead of barracks, signified humiliation and naked despotism.
Finally, how honor was a factor in the relationship between revolutionary liberty and what the Rev. James Emerson of New England called “vile ignominious slavery” has long puzzled American historians. “How is it that we hear the loudest yelps for liberty among the drivers of negroes,” asked Dr. Samuel Johnson. The Founding Fathers by and large saw no contradiction between ownership of slaves and the insistence upon universal freedom. Among other meanings attributable to the phrase “all men are created equal” is the notion that claims to honor are open to all members of the white fraternity upon an equal footing. So it was later understood in the antebellum South. According to the hierarchy which the ethic upheld, slavery, however, represented the most disgraceful, humiliating, and pitiable condition known to man. In the eighteenth century, slavery was only the most extreme form of social alienation. Other types of involuntary subordination--indentured servants, redemptioners, apprentices, landless laborers--were situated within the accepted social order. As a result, the notion of freedom implied some minimal social standing. The freeman was one capable of self-provision or enjoyed an autonomy from subservience to someone higher in rank. Hence the constant message of Revolutionary propaganda was to protest all marks of what Josiah Quincy called “the chains of vassalage.” I need remind no Virginian of the famous words of Patrick Henry, 23 March 1775: “Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me Liberty or give me Death!” For centuries in political thought, slavery and liberty were by no means considered antithetical. Henry might have said Give me honor instead of liberty for they were considered one and the same. Machiavelli and Algernon Sidney, John Locke’s contemporary, both believed that love of liberty so animated the warrior spirit that their countrymen had the moral right to enslave those without such a heritage. By such reasoning, liberty took the form of a hegemonic right to rule rather than a universal principle. The concept that slavery in the presence of liberty was corrupting to both master and servant was a relatively new one that few besides such thinkers as Montesquieu and Jefferson took seriously.
This sketch scarcely does justice to the relationship of honor and the revolution that overthrew the yoke of monarchy. It would take a book to do so. We must move on, though, to a war that did not happen, a call for honor but in the end went unheeded–that is, what’s called the Quasi War with France. What this episode demonstrated was that honor denied and peace restored can have a political downside. But that is the not way it looked at the start of the crisis. In the late 1790s President John Adams and others were ready and eager for war with France. They feared the Revolutionaries with a passion only equaled in the 1950s by the fear of worldwide Communism. The XYZ Affair, broken diplomatic relations, the riotous behavior of Republicans in opposition, and the belligerent godlessness of the French regime all conspired to arouse fierce panic and outrage, at least in Federalist circles. So alarmed was the administration in Philadelphia, then the capital, that a guard was posted outside the president’s residence., The John Adams roundly denounced what he called “this terrorism” abroad in the land. He commanded that a cachet of arms be smuggled from the war office to his house through darkened back alleys to avoid detection. The Cincinnatus at Mount Vernon was called up to leave the plow, as it were, in order to head the land forces. Civil liberties fell by the wayside with the passage of the infamous Alien and Sedition Acts, a common American reaction to war scares as later patterns would prove even unto our own day. High Federalists were sure that a declaration of war would silence and defeat the Jeffersonians as unpatriotic and cowardly. The slogan of the day was the outcry: “Millions for defense, but not one cent for tribute!” It represented a demand for nationwide unity and the upholding of the country’s self-esteem.
But not all Americans were wholly convinced. Moderate Federalist Robert Goodloe Harper argued that some thought war “the most manly and honourable course:” but others urged a home defense-building that would suffice for the moment. Congress dithered about and refused to act. Meantime France sent out strong peace feelers. All to the good, Federalist Alexander Hamilton wrote sarcastically. Negotiations with the perfidious French would soon and inevitably bring that nation’s “friends into power.” And sure enough it did. The Republicans won in 1800 and gradually drove the Federalists into everlasting oblivion. Adams had missed a grand opportunity to perpetuate Federalist rule for at least another four years, even if it had cost lives and huge outlays that the government, the beleagured president recognized, could hardly afford. With his right-wing thoroughly disgusted, his party divided, Adams had gained too little credit for leaving the “State with its coffers full,” as he wrote shortly after defeat, “and the fair prospect of a peace with all the world in its face.”
Of course, other factors were involved as well. Yet clamor for war usually unites a nation behind a leader in the short term by placing national security and national pride at the forefront. In 1979, Jimmy Carter also turned away from the rubrics of honorable revenge for insult in the Iranian crisis. A war to free the embassy hostages could well have furnished him a second term–whether it violated his moral principles or not.
In any event, Adams’s successor, Thomas Jefferson, being the Southerner he was, knew that a well-timed war offered great political benefits. Teddy Roosevelt had nothing but scorn for Jefferson as a commander in chief whom he identified as virtually a coward, or at least a “visionary” who “was utterly unable to grapple with the slightest danger.” But if Jefferson could locate a war that offered little expense and lots of glory, he could move as swiftly as a wildcat. As one author notes, “there was something about the petty despots of the Barbary Coast that triggered the redheaded Virginian’s temper and set his adrenaline pumping.” Could the same reactions apply to George W. Bush and the Iraqi dictator?
As in the case of the American Revolution and the troubles with the French Directory, the themes of honor versus enslavement, national pride against submission to foreign extortion and hostage-seizing were recapitulated. In the closing years of the Washington administration the United States was still forced to pay nearly a million dollars in cash, along with other valuable commodities to rescue over a hundred sailors from the Algerian dey. With an empty treasury and virtually nonexistent forces, the young nation had to follow European precedent. The issue remained, though, a question of tribute or bribery, itself a signal of disgrace and vulnerability. Britain and France were too preoccupied with their own rivalries and too powerful to let some pirates determine policy. So, payoffs were the most convenient resource to handle the minor vexation.
The United States, however, was new to the world scene, uncertain of its strength and, despite Jefferson’s opposition against extortion had continued to follow the European example of payments to the North African Islamists. Only five days into his administration, Jefferson took a forceful step that contradicted his dedication to low taxes and limited government, hallmarks of the honor code. He had had the Barbary pirates in his sights years before. As early as 1786, Jefferson had advised that “The [North African] states must see the rod,” a military undertaking requiring both naval and land forces. Two months after Thomas Jefferson assumed the presidency in1801, with warships already underway, he rejected the demands of Tripolitan Pacha for the annual tribute which he and three other Islamic rulers of North Africa had long extracted from even the most powerful maritime nations.
Other factors also may have played a role. Jefferson’s ascension to the high office presented no mandate; he had barely won by a mere eight electoral votes, although grandly calling the victory a second revolution. For that circumstance, he could thank the slaves counted as three-fifths persons. Without that margin Adams would have had a second term. Still worse, Jefferson had to fend off his own running-mate, who had accidentally tied for the top spot. Luckily, Aaron Burr’s unsavory politics permitted Jefferson’s narrow triumph in the House of Representatives.
In a recent journalistic account of the Barbary wars, Joseph Wheelan has subtitled it: “America’s First War on Terror 1801-1805.” He points out that within days of his inauguration the new president had ordered four ships of the line to the North African coast without seeking a war resolution from Congress or giving any prior notification to European powers in order to conduct what Wheelan titles “Jefferson’s War.” Years before, Jefferson had counseled James Monroe, “The motives pleading for war rather than tribute are numerous and honorable, those opposing them mean and short-sighted.” Sound familiar? One might question that piracy and hostage-taking constituted terrorism in the sense we use the term now. But clearly, a sense of national honor had prompted Jefferson’s contradiction of his own principles of limited, a virtually taxless government, weak navy, and tiny army. Even former president John Adams, who had paid off the Barbary states, albeit reluctantly, admitted that a war would be “heroical and glorious: at a time when the maritime European states have “made cowards of all their sailors before the standard of Mahomet.” But he was inconsistent. The Marquis de Lafayette reported that Adams preferred peace and payment, whereas Jefferson, he wrote, “finds it as cheap and more honourable to cruize against” the pirates. Before he died in 1799, George Washington had remarked “that chastisement would be more honourable, and much to be preferred to the purchased friendship of these Barbarians” who were simply heaping up “the highest disgrace”on their own heads.” Jefferson reaped the rewards of undertaking a war against a weak enemy, without much loss of lives or treasure. In that respect, he was more fortunate than a current war president. But they might yet come to share an advantageous outcome. Commenting on the possibility of war against France in 1798, George Logan, a Philadelphia Quaker, had warned, “wars created by ambitious executives have been undertaken more to their own aggrandizement and power than for the protection of their country.” The fight against bribery and extortion certainly helped Jefferson’s overwhelming 1804 reelection exactly two hundred years ago.
Turning to the next to last war for today, we consider the second conflict with Great Britain. The causes need not long detain us, but at the top of the list was the insult of British Orders-in-Council and the impressment of American sailors from both commercial and naval vessels, the Chesapeake incident being the most demeaning. In his 1882 account of the war, John Clark Ridpath had concluded that prior to the outbreak, the “insolence” of the royal Orders-in-Council” would eventually have to mean “retaliation and war” or else a continuation of “humiliation and disgrace.” Ridpath’s interpretation, though, did not last, and an economic and material approach followed in the inter-world-war period. In 1961 Norman Risjord reopened the subject. He reached the same conclusion that Donald Kagan has offered more recently. Twentieth-Century scholars had been “brought up on the disillusionment that followed the failure” of the Wilsonian dream of worldwide democracy, Risjord explains. Parenthetically, making the Middle East safe for democracy is the most recent test of this sort of nation-building.
Disenchanted or not, historians of the 1812 episode proposed economic motives–a western grab for land as the chief rationale for war. Risjord notes that only 10 Congressmen from the West sat in the House. It was the 39 Southern delegates who chiefly propelled the nation to- war. Jeffersonians fretted about the costs of warfare because it meant great expenses, higher taxes, central government expansion, and loss of rural virtues and family values, as it were. But when honor’s at risk, these problems had to become secondary. Not to take up arms, warned War Hawk Henry Clay of Kentucky, would stain the country “with shame and indelible disgrace,” after the “great injuries and abuses we have received.” Uniting the cause of personal and national honor, he urged “what would disgrace an individual under certain circumstances would disgrace a nation.” So far as Clay was concerned, “there was no intrinsic difficulty or terror” as we would be fighting only on our own continent. “If gentlemen please to call these sentiments Quixotic, he would say I pitied them for their sense of honor.” That redoubtable conservative John Randolph of Virginia accused Clay and friends of “Dutch courage” in this reckless zeal for war. Shaking off his Republican doubts on taxes and expanded government only reluctantly, however, John Smilie of Pennsylvania echoed Clay’s sentiments: “If we now recede we shall be a reproach to all nations.” Risjord concludes his fine assessment that the Republican party, particularly its Southern members, had slowly reached the judgment that “war was the only alternative to national humiliation and disgrace.”
Our final example and briefest example is the Mexican struggle of the 1840s, the first really large-scale foreign war that up til then the United States had ever fought. Honor, I fear, must take a back seat on this one. It was a grab for land and a most successful one, as Whig politicians charged. In the usual fashion, however, dissenters like Abraham Lincoln, John C. Calhoun, and Alexander Stephens had to vote for war appropriations to avoid accusations of unpatriotic betrayal of the boys in the ranks. Drowning out the opposition was a rhetoric of “Manifest Destiny” that proved the most savage chest-thumping in national annals. Southern exhilaration over the acquisition of so much western territory was overwhelming. Those who objected, like Abraham Lincoln, were branded as traitors in the happy fever of war and conquest.
In the war itself, romantic notions of death and glory flourished as never before as well they might. According to a New York newspaper, the counttry underwent a “poetic mania.” William Faulkner’s great -grandfather William C. Falkner outwrote most other versifiers with his epic, The Siege of Monterey, in 493 stanzas which he peddled at Mississippi county fairs. Poems celebrating gallant victories multiplied with a countless number of them titled “Monterey” or “Buena Vista.” Theodore O’Hara, a Catholic volunteer from Kentucky, penned a few once famous lines. They were later to grace the wrought-iron archways leading to Union cemeteries from Gettysburg to Shiloh.
On Fame’s eternal camping ground
Their silent tents are spread,
And Glory guards, with solemn round,
The bivouac of the dead.
Rest on, embalmed and sainted dead,
Dear as the blood ye gave,
No impious footstep here shall tread
The herbage of your grave;
Nor shall your glory be forgot
While Fame her record keeps,
Or Honor points the hallowed spot
Where Valor proudly sleeps.
The Mexican War provided as much inflation to the national ego as one might imagine. It was also the first attempt at a proclaimed nation-building–the absorption of a Catholic Mexican population, sparse thought it was, into the beneficence of democracy, freedom, and, at that time, Protestant hegemony. If Polk had had his way, all of Mexico could have been folded into arms of Dame Liberty. The war, however, lasted too long, as wars tend somehow to do. Toward the end, public support started to wane. As a result, the party that initiated and led it went out of power at the next election. Astonishingly it was the bloodiest war Americans ever fought, that is, with the highest ratio of death to those serving--a total of 13,788 out of just over 100,000 enlisted. Here was honor in its most arrogant attire, a victory over a poorly led, demoralized neighbor. Yet that conquest was to precipitate the greatest and bloodiest crisis in the nation’s history, the subject of the next lecture.
NGOs at the United Nations
The United Nations Association of New York Invites you to a briefing on
NGOs at the United Nations
Date: Thursday, April 15, 2004
Reception: 5:30 – 6:00 PM
Briefing: 6:00 – 7:00 PM
Church Center for the United Nations
777 United Nations Plaza – 2nd Floor
(44th Street entrance near First Avenue)
• Sylvan M. Barnet, Jr. - Rotary International Representative to the United Nations
• Meg Gardinier - Director, Non-Governmental Organizations, U.S. Fund for UNICEF
• Mildred Robbins Leet - Co-Founder of Trickle Up Program, Inc.
Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have become increasingly important in building strong relationships between the United Nations and civil society, enabling ordinary citizens to become actively involved in furthering the goals of the United Nations. An NGO is any non-profit, voluntary citizens' group which is organized on a local, national or international level. Task-oriented and driven by people with a common interest, NGOs perform a variety of services and humanitarian functions, bring citizens' concerns to Governments, monitor policies and encourage political participation at the community level. They provide analysis and expertise, serve as early warning mechanisms and help monitor and implement international agreements. Some are organized around specific issues, such as human rights, the environment or health. Their relationship with offices and agencies of the United Nations System differs depending on their goals, their venue and their mandate.
Over 1,500 NGOs with strong information programs on issues of concern to the United Nations are associated with the Department of Public Information (DPI), giving the United Nations valuable links to people around the world. DPI helps those NGOs gain access to and disseminate information about the range of issues in which the United Nations is involved, to enable the public to understand better the aims and objectives of the world Organization.
UNA Members – No Charge
Non-Members – $10.00
Students – Join UNA for just $10.00 at the door and attend for free!
(Non-students can join UNA for just $25.00)
Please call (212) 907-1353 by 3:00 p.m. Wednesday, April 16th to reserve your seat! Bring a potential new member to hear these outstanding speakers! There will be no confirmation of your reservation.
Lectures on Honor by Bertram Wyatt-Brown
I would like to draw your attention to Bertam Wyatt-Brown's fascinating lectures, please see his poster further down. Please see also a short presentation of his biographical background further down, as well as on our Advisory Board!
The 2004 JAMES PINCKNEY HARRISON LECTURES IN HISTORY
Lyon Gardiner Tyler Department of History
Richard J. Milbauer Professor of United States History
University of Florida
"Honor and America's Wars, An Overview"
Monday, March 22, 4:30 PM Andrews Hall 101
"Honor and American War: From Revolution to Mexican Conquest"
Monday, March 29, 4:30 PM Andrews Hall 101
"Honor, Secession, and Civil War"
Monday, April 5, 4:30 PM Small Hall 113
"Honor and War: from Spain to Iraq"
One of the chief principles of military engagement has been the rhetorical and causal elements of an ancient and still persistent ethic--the imperatives of martial honor. Its corollary is the determination of leaders to avoid honor’s polarity--the peril of being publicly shamed. To demonstrate weakness and indifference to gross provocation or assault not only diminishes world repute for valorous national action but lowers the self-confidence of the nation itself. No army can long survive without inculcating honor’s principles, but ambitions for personal glory have often proved divisive and demoralizing. In our history, untrained volunteers seeking notice for bravery quickly became disenchanted with war’s horrors and drudgery. Moreover, authorities have sent men to their death without seriously anticipating the heavy risks or unintended consequences. Yet, how little has been written or thought about this phenomenon. Honor has, however, influenced American foreign and domestic policies, past and present. The lectures will explore the issue from the Revolution to the Iraqi fight.
Professor Wyatt-Brown, Richard J. Milbauer Professor of History at the University of Florida since 1983, a recent Douglas Southall Freeman Professor at the University of Richmond, and past president of the Southern Historical Association, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the American Book Award (1983). His publications include Lewis Tappan and the Evangelical War against Slavery (to be featured next fall on PBS American Experience, WGBH); Southern Honor: Ethics and Behavior in the Old South; The House Percy: Honor, Melancholy, and Imagination in a Southern Family; The Shaping of Southern Culture: Honor, Grace, and War, 1760s-1890s; co-editor, Virginia’s Civil War (forthcoming) as well as over 150 essays and essay reviews. Wyatt-Brown is currently preparing two works: Lincoln’s Assassination: The Undoing of Union Victory and also Melancholy’s Children, Mental Depression and 20th-Century Southern writers.
New Site on Gender Equality and Development
On the occasion of International Women's Day, it is my pleasure to inform you that the Division for Human Rights and the Struggle against Discrimination launched a new Internet Portal on Gender Equality and Development.
Online Dialogue on Educating a Civil Society after Collective Violence
EDUCATING FOR A CIVIL SOCIETY AFTER COLLECTIVE VIOLENCE
This online forum invites reflection about education following
collective violence. We will learn from the experiences in the following
four case studies and discuss how the issues raised connect to our own
lives and communities as we seek to strengthen civil societies.
How do educators confront the past and promote reconciliation in
an effort to prevent future conflict? What are the opportunities and
challenges facing educators in the aftermath of collective violence? What
roles do schools, curricula and pedagogy play in the creation of civil
Please join us for a facilitated, online conversation that will
examine these questions through the exploration of four case studies from
Germany, Rwanda, South Africa and Northern Ireland.
When? April 5-15, 2004
Who? Facing History staff, hundreds of educators, students and
Why? Education is often an afterthought of transitional
processes, yet it is crucial to the development and maintenance of civil society.
Germany: Confronting Silence and Reckoning with a Difficult Past
In the 1960s, young people throughout Germany began asking
questions about the roles their parents, teachers and leaders played in the 1930s and 1940s. Many sought to break the silence and directly confront the
past. In this case study, we will explore how, decades later, Germany
continues to reckon with the legacies of the Holocaust and how this history
will be taught to the next generation.
Rwanda: Creating a New Historical Narrative
In 1994, one million Tutsi and moderate Hutu were murdered in
Rwanda in the short period of 100 days. After the genocide, the government
decided that history could not be taught in Rwanda until the events of
the past were carefully reconsidered and consensus could be reached. As
a result, there has been a moratorium on the teaching of history for 10
years. In June 2004, the Ministry of Education will convene a meeting of
curriculum specialists, historians, parents, students, teachers and other
stake holders to begin to address the history curriculum. In this case
study, we will continue to discuss the complicated questions related to how
and when a historical narrative can be created in the aftermath of mass
Northern Ireland: Integrating Schools and the Challenge of
Building Civil Society
Since 1969, Northern Ireland has suffered through periods of
extreme violence between the Protestant majority, who identify with Great
Britain, and the Catholic minority, who identify with the Republic of
Ireland. The conflict has inspired the development of separate school systems
and the teaching of different histories to each group. This case study
explores a critical issue: Is the integration of schools essential to
building a civic culture?
South Africa: Revising the Educational System
This spring, South Africa celebrates ten years of democracy. The
transformation from the apartheid state to a multiracial
democracy has inspired profound changes in the educational system. Teachers
are now required to teach about apartheid, human rights, the truth and
reconciliation commission, and citizenship in democracy. They are
also being retrained to teach more interactively and to embrace a
student-centered approach that models democratic processes. In
this case study, we will discuss how educational institutions, in the
aftermath of collective violence, are part of the transitional process.
Educating for a Civil Society After Collective Violence builds on
the work of previous Facing History conferences, which have examined the
challenges of healing after mass violence and genocide. This online forum
provides participants with the unique experience of engaging directly with
teachers, students and others throughout North America and around
the world. Mark your calendars now for this important opportunity.
For more information, contact Natasha Greenberg:
Special thanks to The Goldman Sachs Foundation, a global
philanthropic organization dedicated to promoting excellence and innovation in
education worldwide, for their support of this online forum through a
substantial grant to expand the global reach of Facing History and Ourselves.
Deadline: April 5-15, 2004 event
Op-Ed by Professor Shibley Telhami, Baltimore Sun, March 23,2004
Israel gains little, risks much with Yassin killing
By Shibley Telhami
Baltimore Sun, March 23, 2004
For years, one Israeli government after another considered but in the end rejected killing Sheik Ahmed Yassin, the founder and spiritual leader of Hamas, the militant Islamist Palestinian organization. This has not stopped the government of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon from doing just that.
In the end, it is difficult to discern what has changed this Israeli equation and even harder to see how any good could come out of this action.
Israelis have an understandable hate for Hamas as an organization, which has carried out horrific attacks against innocent Israelis.
But the logic in refraining from killing Mr. Yassin in the past was largely related to consequences:
· Such an attack would be less likely to reduce violence in the long term and probably would increase it in the short term.
· It would focus attention on Israel's "targeted killings" policy, which has been strongly criticized by many around the world, especially by human rights organizations.
· It would raise the stakes by targeting the highest levels of leadership.
· It would make diplomatic efforts more difficult.
Has anything changed to make the consequences any different at the moment? Not likely.
First, there is the suggestion that past attacks on Hamas' leaders have, in fact, deterred the group from escalating its attacks.
It is hard to know for sure what best explains Hamas' actions.
But even assuming that its leaders in part worry about retaliation, the consequences in this case are likely to go in another direction: Mr. Yassin was not just another one of many Hamas leaders targeted in the past, he is the founder of the organization, its symbol and its central political leader.
Hamas' credibility will be seen by its followers and others in the region to be on the line. It is likely that it already has a plan to respond, since this attack could not have come as a surprise; Mr. Yassin barely missed being killed by another Israeli attack only months ago.
Such a response could include an escalation such as targeting Israeli leaders, which would in turn generate a massive Israeli reprisal. It is difficult to see how diplomatic efforts could have a chance in an environment of escalation.
Second, while Mr. Yassin was the key political leader and almost certainly had much say in the strategic direction of the organization and even decisions related to its military branch, he was not a nuts-and-bolts operational leader. His killing is unlikely to affect Hamas' operational capabilities at the same time that it is likely to generate more recruits.
Third, the most important impact of his killing is likely to be in the vacuum it will leave at the top of Hamas' political leadership. This will make Hamas more unpredictable, less disciplined and less amenable to enforceable short-term deals, such as the cease-fire agreement that former Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas was able to negotiate last summer, opening the door briefly for some promising diplomacy. Mr. Yassin was able to enforce such discipline, but it is not clear that anyone else could do so at the moment.
Fourth, unlike lower-ranked and lesser-known Hamas leaders Israel has targeted in the past, Mr. Yassin was a well-known figure in much of the Arab and Muslim world. Although many in that world don't condone Hamas' actions, especially the suicide bombings, many others unfortunately do.
Still, one of the reasons Mr. Yassin was able to attract followers in the region was his defiance in the face of seeming weakness: He was a frail quadriplegic, a wheelchair-dependent old man who graduated from Israeli prisons and always sounded fearless.
He was for many a metaphor of the helpless state of affairs that Palestinians appear to endure in the eyes of most in the Middle East. This image, in the end, serves to garner sympathy for the wrong cause -- the cause of militancy instead of the cause of freedom through peaceful means.
All this comes as Mr. Sharon plans to visit Washington to coordinate his proposed unilateral "disengagement plan" with the Bush administration. If there was hope that such a plan could be implemented in the context of a modest tacit or formal agreement with the Palestinians, with the support of moderate Arab states, the prospects of such an outcome are now diminished.
The Bush administration's inclination to demote Arab-Israeli peacemaking in its priorities during an election year also will be reinforced as the death of Mr. Yassin serves to remind how diplomatic prospects remain at the mercy of violent events.
Shibley Telhami is Anwar Sadat Professor for Peace and Development at the University of Maryland and a senior fellow at the Saban Center at the Brookings Institution.
Copyright © 2004, The Baltimore Sun
The Ties That Bind: Americans, Arabs, and Israelis After September 11 by Shibley Telhami
The Ties That Bind: Americans, Arabs, and Israelis After September 11
From Foreign Affairs, March/April 2004
Summary, obtained from http://www.foreignaffairs.org/:
The war on terror has bound Israel and the United States closer together. But it has also deepened the rift between them and Arab and Muslim countries that rally behind the Palestinians. Peace in the Middle East has never seemed more elusive.
Shibley Telhami is Anwar Sadat Professor for Peace and Development at the University of Maryland and Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution's Saban Center for Middle East Policy.
Here you find the first 500 of 2,377 words total:
Since the tragedy of September 11, 2001, much has been said about how U.S. foreign policy, and especially U.S. policy toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, has bred resentment in Arab and Muslim countries. Far less has been said, however, about an issue no less central and consequential: how the attacks and subsequent events have reshaped the perspectives and strategies of Israelis and Palestinians themselves. Growing insecurity has pushed Israel to rely more than ever on its close relationship with the United States, whereas Arabs and Muslims have rallied around the Palestinian cause. As these alliances are reinforced, the divide between the United States and the Arab and Muslim worlds is inevitably deepening.
The suicide bombings that followed the collapse of the Israeli-Palestinian talks in the summer of 2000 sent Israel reeling. Far beyond their tragic human consequences, the bombings undermined the principal defensive strategy Israel has developed since its founding: deterring attacks by projecting an image of strength and resolve.
In recent decades, Israel has generally succeeded in deterring its Arab foes by maintaining an overwhelming advantage in conventional power and developing an implicit nuclear capability. To keep its deterrent credible, Israel has been prepared to pay a significant price. After the first Palestinian intifada in the late 1980s and early 1990s, for example, the Israeli military establishment rejected the notion of a unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, even though the occupation of Gaza drained Israeli resources and provided few direct benefits. Withdrawing in the absence of a political agreement, it was believed, would look like a retreat in the face of a few ill-equipped but determined Palestinian fighters -- something that would lead to more threats in more vital areas and eventually undermine Israel's very existence.
In 1993, when former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was mulling whether to sign the Oslo accords with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), the most serious alternative discussed was a plan for unilateral withdrawal from Gaza (advocated especially by a retired Israeli general, Shlomo Gazit). A major reason that Rabin went ahead with the Oslo approach was that, in trying to maintain Israel's deterrent, he decided that it was better to take risks through a negotiated settlement than to send a message that Israel was on the run.
Similar calculations explain Israel's reluctance throughout the 1980s and 1990s to pull its troops out of Lebanon. Even though the post-1982 occupation of a slice of Lebanese territory brought Israel no direct strategic benefits and led to a steady stream of Israeli casualties and growing public discontent, Israeli military and political elites were adamantly opposed to pulling back without a political agreement with Lebanon and Syria.
Even when Ehud Barak promised, during his 1999 election campaign, to withdraw from Lebanon within a year after becoming prime minister, he wanted to do so in the context of an agreement with Syria. This helps explain why, after assuming office, he chose to focus his diplomatic efforts first on the Syrian track of the peace process. Only after those negotiations failed did ...
Please connect to the following URL to obtain the entire article:
Chinese Identity and National Humiliation by William A. Callahan
Please see further down William A. Callahan's fascinating project "National Insecurities: History, Ethics and Chinese Identity," where he will consider how "national humiliation guo-chi" has informed Chinese politics and identity in the 20th century. His articles have been published in both Chinese studies and international relations journals, including the Journal of Contemporary China and Millennium.
Please read more about William on our Advisory Board!
National Insecurities: Ethics and Identity in China
Dr William A Callahan
University of Durham
To understand the role of nationalism in China, this project will examine how the national insecurity of National Humiliation constructs Chinese identity in complex ways. National humiliation (guo chi) is curious a phrase that unproblematically dots texts (in both Chinese and English) about China’s domestic and international politics. It is taken for granted that the meaning is clear: Chinese ‘nation’ was ‘humiliated’ by foreign aggression and domestic corruption starting with the Opium War in 1840 and continuing for a century.
Through a close reading of specialised national humiliation texts, this project will show how neither the ‘nation’, nor the ‘humiliation’ is so stable. The research will examine the discourse of national humiliation throughout the 20th century to see how its in meaning and importance shift depending on when and where it is written: the 1920s or the 1990s, in Shanghai, Taipei, Hong Kong or Beijing. Academic, official and popular culture materials from mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan will be gathered and analysed to see how historical memory frames the politics of nationalism.
Using these Chinese sources, the project will consider how traditional notions of state security and military security interact with non-traditional concepts of economic, cultural and identity security. Hence, though national identity at first seems to be an issue of domestic politics, my research shows how it directly addresses China’s role in the international system: reclaiming China’s ‘proper’ global role is the objective of many of these writers. In addition to a policy issue, national identity/security is also a theoretical issue: many Chinese international relations theorists reason that to be a great power, the PRC needs more than a grand strategy. It needs to a Chinese-style international relations theory. This research project thus examines the role of culture and identity in international relations, the role of domestic politics in diplomacy, the role of public diplomacy in national politics, and like my research on regional politics it considers the theoretical and policy impact of the ‘Rise of Great Powers’ on international politics.
On the one hand, the research will ask general questions such as
• What is the relation between history, nationalism and foreign policy?
• What is the ethical relation of self and Other in national humiliation discourse?
• Do alternative histories produce alternative nationalisms?
On the other hand, it will consider the specificities of the Century of National Humiliation through questions like
• Is national humiliation a definitively modern theme? What are its relations to previous humiliations such as the ‘barbarian’ Yuan and Qing dynasties?
• What is the relation between national humiliation and national salvation?
• How is the history of national humiliation written differently in mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan?
While most considerations of humiliation frame it as a problem that needs to be cured, this research will examine how humiliation is a productive part of the construction of community, in this case the nation. Hence the project will explore two important themes: the role of history in nationalism for China, and the role that memory, history, and ethics play in nationalism more generally.
This project started in 2001, and will be concluded in 2005. It has been funded by grants from the British Academy, British Council, and the European Commission. I conducted research for this project as a Visiting Fellow at Harvard University (2002-03), a Visiting Professor at Renmin University of China (2004), and a Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Hong Kong (2001).
Abstract: Processing Dynamics of Rejection Sensitivity
Geraldine Downey & Rainer Romero
The desire to be accepted and valued in one's relationships is widely acknowledged to be a central human motive. Consequently, it is not surprising that rejection by significant individuals and social groups triggers a variety of maladaptive reactions, including depression, suicidal behavior, and violence. Yet, although everyone experiences rejection at various points in their lives, such extreme responses are relatively uncommon. Why do some people respond to rejection in ways that compromise their well-being and relationships, whereas others do not? To help explain variability in people's responses to rejection, we have proposed a specific cognitive-affective processing disposition, rejection sensitivity (RS). We will review the literature, and then describe our efforts to understand more fully why people who anxiously expect rejection behave in ways that lead to the realization of their worst fears. First, we will describe research testing our guiding assumption that RS is a defensively-motivated system that gets elicited by rejection-relevant stimuli. Second, we will describe the effects of being in this defensive state on the perception of rejection. Third, we will describe laboratory research supporting the prediction that being in this defensive state triggers strenuous efforts to prevent rejection that involve over-accommodation, self-silencing, and excessive solicitousness. The final section of the chapter will discuss how the knowledge gained from this research program can potentially guide the development of interventions aimed at reducing the personal and interpersonal difficulties in which RS is implicated, including depression and interpersonal violence and hostility.
Sydney Symposium of Social Psychology: The Social Outcast: Ostracism,
Social Exclusion, Rejection, and Bullying, 15 - 18 March 2004.