by Jeff Thomas, International Man:
The reader may be familiar with the Russian parable of the frog and the scorpion.
A flood occurs and a scorpion finds himself on a small, dry patch of land, but will soon drown when the water rises. He sees a frog and says to him, “Please save me, I cannot swim. If I could get on your back and you swim to the higher ground, I’ll be saved.” The frog says, “But you are a scorpion – you might sting me and I would die.” The scorpion says, “That would be very foolish of me, for if I were to sting you, we would both drown.”
The frog nods his head and lets the scorpion climb onto his back. He swims toward the higher ground, but before they reach it, the scorpion stings him. As the frog feels the sting paralyzing him, he says, “What have you done, you trecherous fool? Now we will both drown.” The scorpion says, “I could not help it. It is my nature.”
It’s an insightful parable. People follow their nature. We should not be fooled into thinking that they will do otherwise.
We’d like to think that all people have a sense of compassion and fair play, but this isn’t so. Roughly ten percent of all people, in any population, are estimated to have traits associated with narcissism. Roughly four percent are estimated to be sociopathic and one percent are estimated to be psychopathic.
Unfortunately, those people who possess these pathologies have a far greater drive to achieve power than those who do not. So, the longer a government exists, the more riddled with pathological types it becomes.
One of the shortcomings in those who are pathological is that they have very little patience for learning or understanding. They tend to place little value on the reality of a situation. They rely on dictatorial behaviour to obtain a desired outcome. So, for example, you have a president such as Donald Trump who doesn’t read books and knows little about history. He and his equally short-sighted support staff shout to other sovereign nations, “Get with the program, or we’ll destroy you.”
Those who learn don’t seek to rule. Those who seek to rule don’t learn.
As simplistic as this statement appears, it can generally be counted on to hold true.
If a political leader has studied history, he’s probably learned that it’s extremely short-sighted to attempt to dictate to other sovereign nations. Although it may work, in small doses, for a limited time, if it becomes a general policy, it will create ever-increasing animosity.
This would be true, even if the other leaders are reasonable people. However, if the other leaders share the same pathologies as the leader who is being presumptuous, they’re likely to be just as vain and stubborn as the leader who’s applying the pressure.
In mid-2017, the US decided to impose sanctions against Russia, and, of course, the US has every right to diminish its trade with Russia if it sees fit.
But for the sanctions to work, Europe would have to endorse and enforce the sanctions as well, so the US government announced to the EU that its countries would be expected to fully participate in the sanctions.
The reaction from the EU was immediate: If they were to enforce the sanctions, Russia would most assuredly respond by diminishing their delivery of natural gas to Europe, which Europe cannot survive without. The EU pointed this out to the US, but Washington insisted that, as top doggie amongst the Western allies, it expected Europe to toe the US line.
This, of course, created an impasse for Europe. They wished to retain as good a working relationship with the Americans as they could, but not to the point that they lost their lifeline of natural gas from Russia. The leaders of France and Germany, Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel, personally went to Moscow to assure President Putin that they would not be party to the US sanctions.
Fortunately, this was handled quietly and did not become a media issue; however, the EU were warned that Washington did not take kindly to its directives being ignored.