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Common Sense: A Relic Of The Past? – OpEd


By Tomislav Jakić*

Fairy tales usually begin with the words: “once upon a time. This is not a fairy tale, but once upon a time people used to talk about common sense, and they used to think based on common sense. It was never a totally ideal time, but whenever it seemed that the lack of common sense and the evil in us was about to draw the world into the abyss of self-destruction, common sense would wake up and rebel; most usually in combination with pragmatism. Mankind paid dearly in the ensuing battle; it went through unbelievable horrors, but eventually common sense would prevail. And so it went until the year 1990, when the Cold War ended. World peace was saved only due to the fragile, but at the same time efficient balance of fear, namely on the knowledge that an open armed confrontation would end without any party being victorious. However, as from the beginning of the last decade of the 20th century, when East-West confrontation ended, and due to the fact that the Soviet bloc disintegrated, when the “dawn of democracy” begun shining on countries previously ruled with an iron hand from one centre and by one and only party and its repressive system, we witnessed a constant and steady downgrading in all sectors of life. Because of this, and despite democracy as a system, it is unavoidable that we put to ourselves the question: Does common sense belong to the past; is it a relic of the past?

All indications point toward a positive answer.

In international relations, we are experiencing the revival of the Cold War – a new and increasingly more dangerous confrontation between the United States and the Russian Federation. But in fact, this is nothing more than the almost desperate striving of neoliberal capitalism to “rule the world.” In order to be able to achieve this goal, to gain the support (of previously manipulated citizens, but – alas – in the best democratic form) for the policy of expansionism, regardless of anything, neoliberal capitalism needs an enemy. Because having an enemy is the best way to homogenize one’s own flock. And the enemy has been found, or better to say it was projected in the picture of Russia, although – and this is ironic indeed – it is the democratic West that is today practicing the policy of hegemony, once a trademark of the Soviet Union. All basic principles upon which the architecture of international relations were built have been abandoned. Nobody even thinks of speaking about the principle of equality, or the principle of not meddling in internal affairs of other states, not to mention the right of every country and nation to develop as they think it suits them best. In a globalized world – and we were made to believe that only such a world could exist – everything must be “cooked following the same recipe.” If this is not the case, with or without the blessing of the UN and under the disguise of the war for democracy and for human rights, then bombers will start their deadly missions, mercilessly killing those whose human rights they are supposed to be protecting. Whole states are pushed into chaos and internal fighting; whole regions are destabilized and heads of states are killed (just remember Hillary Clinton and her words, when she received the news that colonel Ghadafi was dead: “We came, we saw, and he is dead!”). At the same time, for billions of dollars, modern arms are being sold to states whose record in the field of democracy and human rights is – to put it mildly – very poor. But they are “ours.” With growing speed, the world is being divided between the ever smaller part of privileged and rich, those who are governing not because they were democratically elected to do so, but because they have the power to do so and the ever bigger part of oppressed – in every sense – and poor, those who are being governed. While thousands and thousands of people are dying from hunger in the undeveloped countries, Europeans waste in one year so much food that every hungry human being on this planet Earth could be fed. And the US president says that climate changes and their evident results are just a hoax. Is there any common sense in all this? No, there is none!

So, what can we expect? Let us put forward two scenarios. The first is the armed confrontation between East and West, be it direct, or be it as a consequence of some action of the unpredictable US president-amateur (for example a missile attack on North Korea). The consequences would be disastrous, not to say suicidal. The second scenario is slightly “milder.” It is based on the presumption that the oppressed, the hungry, and the poor would conclude that they have nothing to lose but their lives, and a tornado of revolution would hit the whole world with a highly uncertain result. Indications pointing toward this scenario can be detected in attacks whose perpetrators are more and more often terrorizing the countries of the West. While it is true that these attacks are – at least – disguised as being religiously motivated, it is not less true that there is no religion that could motivate suicide attackers were it not for the basic and deeply rooted feeling of being pushed to the margins of the society, of being deprived of some basic rights, such as the right to be educated, the right to be medically cared for; in short, the right to live a decent life, as a human being.

There too we confront the results of a policy lacking in common sense, a policy that recruited the oppressed, the poor, but pathological killers too, trying to use them as an instrument for achieving its goals, only to meet now the murderers it produced as its own enemies. There can be no doubt about it – they, the terrorists, were produced by the policies of the West; they were armed and supported thanks to this policy – either directly, or through smaller countries, satellites of the “Big Brother” from the other side of the Atlantic. And now this same policy is confronting them globally. Still the West will not, or cannot accept the fact that the terrorists are the greatest danger for the world as we knew it and that the fight against them should be the prime – and common – target of our civilization. It will not, or cannot accept Russia as an ally in this war. On the contrary, it is continuing to present Russia as an enemy (adversary), adding – if it seems to be suitable – Iran, North Korea and sometimes China. Is there any common sense in all this? None whatsoever!

And is there some common sense in the policy of the so called transition countries? Absolutely not! Former Soviet satellites only changed their master, they became champions in the battle against (non-existing) communism, because it suits neoliberal capitalism, for which the very idea of communism is the worst imaginable enemy. At the same time these countries are deeply engulfed in historic revisionism, “writing” the new history of World War II and the anti-fascist struggle, while “forgetting” their collaboration with Nazi-fascism. The Republic of Croatia, to name one example, invented the formula about “all totalitarian regimes being equal evil,” thus putting on the same level antifascism (labeled for this purpose as communism) and fascism, while the Republic of Serbia – just another example – rehabilitates in court procedures the leaders of the Chetnik movement which collaborated with the occupying forces during World War II and fought against Marshal Tito’s partisans.

The prevailing atmosphere in the world is one of fear for the future, of growing intolerance, of hate not only toward those who are in any way different, but toward those who dare to think differently and to voice their opinion. In the creation of such an atmosphere the once respected journalistic profession played a shameful role. Not only the mainstream media, but social networks too are transformed into a snake’s pit of intrigues, lies, and disinformation servicing the policy that forgot what common sense is.

The rest is silence.


*Tomislav Jakić is a journalist who served as foreign policy advisor to the second President of the Republic of Croatia, Mr. Stjepan Mesic.

The opinions, beliefs, and viewpoints expressed by the authors are theirs alone and don’t reflect any official position of, where this article was published.

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