Reading “got some insight into my own psychology and how it colors things,” by a friend who confronted a business challenge, I recognized that what Buddhists call karma is what in the West we call psychology, our emotional and conceptual biases that lead us to misunderstand.
My focus right now is on the Nepali young woman whose education I support but I do still notice other things.
Ukraine, for example. Psychology, which is individual karma, and culture, the karma we share, shape our ideas about current affairs by connecting them with past events that we also misunderstood. Psychology, culture, karma, whatever we call it, is always distorting what we see and in ways that keep changing. What is shaping our ideas now about events in Ukraine?
Having suffered 20 million or more deaths in WW2, the Soviet Union established deep buffers against another invasion — the Baltics, Belarus, Ukraine, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, all the way to the center of Germany. It lost those buffers when the Soviet Union collapsed and would face an overwhelming threat if the Baltics, Belarus or Ukraine in particular were to become hostile.
When the Baltics were admitted to NATO, the alliance advanced to less than 100 miles from St. Petersburg. If Ukraine and Belarus follow, NATO will be only 250 miles from Moscow.
NATO is weak now but Germany transformed from much greater weakness in 1932 to massive power by 1938. Russia must stop NATO from absorbing Ukraine.
Why would the US government encourage enticement of Russia’s borderland nations into NATO? Who could that benefit? Only our weapons manufacturers and military contractors.
Do they control the US government? No. But they do have influence just like other wealthy lobbyists and they have at times had insiders like former-VP Cheney whose roots are in for-profit military business. But even then military contractors do not control foreign policy. There’s more going on.
We, by which I mean we the American people, have come to believe it is our job to punish other nations. And because we did not lose our Cold War fears even though the Soviet Union collapsed, we are especially ready to believe we should punish Russia’s leader.
We do not consider President Putin’s reasons for concern about Ukraine. We simply accept the lies by our politicians and media.
Why do they lie? Some have financial incentives but most are like us, deluded.
John McCain, for example, is always eager for military action. Remember President Bush’s axis of evil — here’s McCain in that context wanting to “bomb, bomb, bomb — bomb, bomb Iran.” He later believed, as did President Obama, that we should bomb Syria. We’re fortunate he was not elected President because unlike Obama, he would not have been automatically blocked by Congress — and McCain now wants to take military action in Ukraine.
The majority of Americans oppose our military involvement in Ukraine and perhaps recognize that Russia had to maintain control over its Crimean naval base, but few see the great risk in Ukraine is civil war and it was our own and European Union governments who triggered that potential disaster.
I realize that even if he heard them, my words would not outweigh President Obama’s long-formed biases or the nonsense he’s now being told. There’s little I can do on that front.
What we all can do, however, is work every day to eliminate our own emotional habits and misconceptions. That really does make a difference.