“Not everything is as it seems.” Those were the words spoken by the venerable karate master Mr. Miyagi to his student Daniel, when Daniel complained that painting Miyagi’s property was not teaching him self-defense. Little did Daniel realize that the simple “up and down” and “side-to-side” movements of a brush over a wooden fence would turn out to be the basics of an ancient martial art form that would result in his salvation from a group of teenage thugs.
Indeed, not everything is as it seems, and everything in life is connected—as well as in politics. The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria may have been the trigger that started World War I and ultimately led to the loss of millions of lives. However, it was a series of allegiances between several countries and other connecting factors that led up to all-out conflict. Although the attack on Pearl Harbor was a despicable act by Japan, which drew the United States into World War II, it did not come out of nowhere. American sanctions on machinery, other goods and ultimately oil in 1941 to Japan was a critical factor in that attack. Japan, a nation poor in natural resources, was bent on securing these goods through military domination and control throughout the Asian/Pacific Theater.
A comprehensive civil rights bill could not have been passed by the Democrats in the 60s if the Cuban Missile Crisis had plunged the United States into war. Kennedy and ultimately Johnson would have had a much different focus. Cuba was not an island unto itself either. Although the faceoff was between the United States and the Soviet Union over nuclear warheads in Cuba, if there had been no compromise, the ramifications would have been felt by our NATO allies in Europe had the U.S. kept a nuclear stockpile in Turkey, which was also a sticking point in the Cuba standoff.
After the disastrous roll-out of the Republican health care legislation, perhaps President Trump is beginning to see that the “Art of the Deal” should actually be “The Art of Compromise.” There are several connecting factors here, not only attempting to get The Freedom Caucus in his own party to “buy in” but also getting a helping hand from Democrats (thus the olive branch of sorts to Sen. Chuck Schumer at a recent bipartisan event at the White House). It is a tall order. Without the passage of a health care bill, there is a good possibility that every other promise Trump made to his base during the campaign might wither away. Minus a strong showing from the start, where will Trump get the money or support to move forward? Perhaps just as importantly, how will this loss affect his standing in the world community?
Everything is connected. Hot button issues such as immigration and race have been headlines for centuries. If history is any example, they have not been, nor will they ever be, solved by simplistic answers such as “build a wall” or “repeal and replace” because “not everything is as it seems.”
Unfortunately, the simple answers are owned by the ignorant and the misinformed. Those are usually the ones with the strongest opinions.
Julian Phillips is a journalist and author.