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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

David Brooks, "Tales of the Super Survivors": Can Nations Recover From PTSD?

PTSD? A doctor once told me that I showed signs of it; however, I've never cared much for psychological pigeonholing. Personally, I prefer the diagnosis of a dear friend who determined, "You're crazy, but in a good way."

In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Tales of the Super Survivors," David Brooks discusses the ability of some human beings to "experience surges of post-traumatic growth" following terror attacks. Brooks goes on to conclude his opinion piece by relating to the ability of nations to rebound from mass casualty atrocities:

"It’s interesting that this age of terrorism calls forth certain practical skills — the ability to tell stories, the ability to philosophize and define a meaning to your life. Just as individuals need moral stories if they are going to recover, so probably do nations. France will most likely need a parable to make sense of what happened, just as the United States still has competing parables about the meaning of 9/11.

This is why foreign policies that pursue amoral realpolitik are always impractical. If a country can’t discern a moral purpose in its foreign policy, it will lack resilience. It will lack the capacity to bounce back from an attack. It will lack a satisfying narrative and lose the ability to thrive in terror’s wake.

The good news is there is no reason to be pessimistic during the war on terrorism. Individuals and societies are tough and resilient, and usually emerge from attacks better than before."

France? Its demographics are changing, and its Jews, who have recently suffered repeated anti-Semitic incidents, are leaving. France will emerge "better than before"? I don't think so.

A "moral purpose" in America's foreign policy under Obama? The foreign policy of Obama, who couldn't even bring himself to condemn the conviction and sentencing of Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, is best described as one of malign neglect.

Is America "better than before" post-9/11? As the US nears an election between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, i.e. something akin to "King Kong vs. Godzilla," a horror from which many PTSD-afflicted persons might not find the will to recover, I have my doubts.

1 comment:

  1. Sorry,Mr.Brooks,I won't be thanking the bloodthirsty terrorists for making me a better person or my country a better place.Neither will I be assuming responsibility for not bending over backwards to provide jobs and means of assimilation for the self invited immigrants so that they won't go down the wrong path,be radicalized,and kill me and my fellow citizens.No one is forcing them to stay.
    Twenty first century liberal thinking and eighth century century thinking won't mix.Modern society has to turn back the clock in the dealing with these threats.I favor biblical notions -as in an eye for an eye.Force will be reconized.Vague talk,accepting blame, will only be seen as weakness.