Day 36 – Transition

21 Oct

Over the past decade or so as I traveled around the world I noticed some things that make me question the massive investment we (society) make in our armies (and to a lesser extent our navies and air forces, but mostly our armies).

I thought of this while writing this post. The radio is on and within ten minutes they play Born in the USA (Bruce Springsteen) and American Pie (John McLean). That’s a lot of songs with a country’s name in the title – and there is nary a German-language tune to be heard. I guess my question is: would it have been possible to achieve the goals normally accomplished militarily by using culture?

I’m not going to claim to know what those goals are (does anyone?) but some of the things I have observed make me wonder. For example:

  • Once I met a guy who was from Kamchatka (Risk anyone?) and in the eighties he was one of the operators of the electronic wall that was set up by the Soviets to block American broadcasts of rock and roll music (there was some funk mixed in there too). I don’t think he really deserved his employee-of-the-year award because he was making recordings of the music he was supposed to be blocking and he was distributing them to his friends and anyone who he could trust. It’s difficult to believe but, Guns ‘n Roses is the reason communism collapsed.
  • Slash’s contributions during the cold war were significant, but he was no Larry Haggman. You see, in Romania, the state controlled the media and the only western show they were allowed to broadcast was, for some strange reason, Dallas. Instead of the people being disgusted by the decadence of the West (the goal of the broadcast) they were enchanted by it. In fact in one of their first acts of freedom, the people of Romania built a theme park replica (full size) of the Ewing Ranch. It must be true cause I read it on the internet.
  • In 2008 I was at the Holland Heineken House during the Olympics in Beijing (I love the three dotted letters in a row – one day I’m going to start a band and we will be called “Beijing Hijinks”). Actually I was there many times during that trip, and each night the bands (from Holland) were mostly playing English songs. And the crowd made up almost entirely of Dutch people just loved it.
  • I was in Utrecht this year for Queen’s Day (a must-do before you die, btw) and it was pretty much the same thing.
  • During my three visits to Japan I spent a lot of time singing Karaoke. Each place we went to had phonebook-sized books full of songs – again mostly English.

I’m not suggesting that armies are not needed, just that there might be more cost effective ways to accomplish ones goals – whatever those goals might be.

Baby, we were.

4 Responses to “Day 36 – Transition”

  1. Mati Calancha October 21, 2011 at 21:27 #

    I can’t believe you’ve met somebody from Kamchatka. I always try to get that country while playing Risk. Have you seen the movie?

    • Die Hard Three October 22, 2011 at 02:04 #

      I know! Kamchatka is the soft underbelly of North America. I have not seen the movie, but once I was in Japan and the volcano almost delayed our flight!

  2. Uncle Ross October 24, 2011 at 13:36 #

    When Paul McCartney played in Moscow for the first time, Putin (before he became Stalin Redux) came to the show and partied like it was 1917. Putin told McCartney that the Beatles were the reason that the USSR crumbled, “All you need is love. da-da-didi-da”

    • Die Hard Three October 24, 2011 at 14:02 #

      Who do you think would win in a fight between Larry Haggman and Paul McCartney? My money is on Larry. Any man with five livers must be unstoppable.

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