As I blog this, it is nearly a full day since that first report. "Third World War" is one of the trending themes in Twitter. Turns out that it was after something that Pope Francis said:
Left behind in Paris were the latest scars, said Pope Francis, from the “piecemeal Third World War.”If we really want to talk about a Third World War, then I would submit that it already happened, and it was in a different context--Congo:
Between 1998 and 2003, an extremely complex and chaotic civil war engulfed the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) -- a vast, thickly-jungled nation in Central Africa the size of Western Europe -- and spilled over into neighboring countries, including Rwanda, Angola, Burundi, Zimbabwe and Uganda.It was the deadliest since WW II.
While the estimated 5-million death toll from this war pales in comparison to the 15-million lives lost during World War I, and the 60-million who perished in the Second World War -- the DR Congo inferno was nonetheless was one of the ten deadliest wars in recorded history.
Moreover, given that the DR Congo war erupted in such incredible violence during the turn of the 21st-century (amidst the global internet communication phenomenon), its relative obscurity is puzzling, to say the least.
In addition to the terrible tragedy of loss of lives and traumatic injuries--physical and mental--to many more, another problem arises, as Nick Gillespie wrote five years ago:
The problem isn't with the current moment's rhetoric, it's with the goddamn politicization of every goddamn thing not even for a higher purpose or broader fight but for the cheapest moment-by-moment partisan advantage. Whether on the left or on the right, there's a totalist mentality that everything can and should be explained first and foremost as to whether it helps or hurt the party of choice.How can we begin to engage in constructive dialog in such contexts? I do not mean a dialog with ISIS--those are irrational actors who are beyond any dialog. I mean a dialog amongst the overwhelming majority of us who, thankfully, do not think and act like how ISIS and other terrorists do. "It’s a simple strategy. It’s just not easy to implement":
[Reframing] political arguments in terms of your audience’s morality should be viewed less as an exercise in targeted, strategic persuasion, and more as an exercise in real, substantive perspective taking. To do it, you have to get into the heads of the people you’d like to persuade, think about what they care about and make arguments that embrace their principles. If you can do that, it will show that you view those with whom you disagree not as enemies, but as people whose values are worth your consideration.
Even if the arguments that you wind up making aren’t those that you would find most appealing, you will have dignified the morality of your political rivals with your attention, which, if you think about it, is the least that we owe our fellow citizens.
Yep, easier said than done. The inability to engage in a constructive dialog is why responses include stuff like this:
I hope some day we will learn how to talk with each other and take care of our common problems like ISIS. Until then, it seems like this pacifist will have only stress-filled days :(