It is ironic that this is written as Trump decided to bomb Syria.
Buuuuuut, what if we start to analyze the situation in Syria as a public health crisis and NOT a warfare problem? We could look at it, like the ebola/zika outbreak, as an epidemic of male violence. What kind of analysis could we do? We could look at intervention like with any other disease, say start with analysis of causes, quarantine, look for super-carriers (“Warlords” seem to be super-carries of male violence behaviors), etc.
Now, since male violence is the core symptom, we would need some form of physical restraint and remediation, using military or police actions, similar maybe to the treatment of criminal and addiction harmful behaviors. We can even speculate that the core, and somewhat hidden, problem is male self violence and self harming behaviors, similar to addiction/criminal behaviors.
Then we could walk thru remediation/treatment approaches applying variations of speciality medical approaches and practices/behaviors. For example, CDC types of problem definition and analysis, emergency medicine practices, pallative care, etc.
In the full range of medical analysis and problem-solving and treatment maybe behavior-brain science would be valuable, maybe not but that resources is more available under a public health and medical approach.
Medical Not Military
The medical behavioral epidemic approach has a natural advantage since the effects of the violent behaviors require medical treatment anyway. A change is instead of medical care being supportive of a military solution, just creating more male violence in the area, for good or bad reasons, the military is supportive of a public health and medical approach. The UN and NGOs take this kind of approach. That is literally the approach taken by the richest – men – in the world! An approach at odds with popular, media and political military-first approaches.
The change, effectively impossible for pop and political culture to make, is that the UN peacekeeper/UNICEF approach is adopted by a individual national governments, rather then by NGOs and a global governance institution. Let’s remember that nation states militaries were invented #1 – to defend the nation state and #2 – for colonial conquest. Those uses are obsolete, although the pop culture language is still used in rationalizations such as “defending the homeland” and “brining democracy and values” to other countries. These are very powerful rhetorical tactics to justify what are essentially obsolete military goals.
While the pop/mass/political and academic culture beliefs will change the most slowly, at least take decades and perhaps century+, the professional problem solvers can change behaviors more quickly.
The knee-jerk bombing seems the main approach now. History tells us that is pretty ineffective if we look at other situations, like Vietnam, etc.
Spitballing, if male instincts to get hysterical and violent in protection of boundaries and borders is the underlying brain and biological driver and syndrome the “kill or be killed” instinct is going to be very hard to quarantine, but it is infectious and may, we don’t know for sure, just spread the violence and destruction to further areas and peoples.
Certainly “kill or be killed” instincts and behaviors are the path of least resistance for males and have massive cultural and pop media/political support. In most ways possible violence to “protect/defend” personal, community and societal/national borders is the sole theme of all pop culture and media – it is the definition of heroic. Alternate ideas and approach would be instantly defined as “crazy”, unmasculine, traitorous and felt to be instantly and mortally threatening to a small but very aggressive minority.
Don’t Need No Stinking Ideology, or “Badges”
You’ll notice we don’t need to evoke ideology in the TREATMENT of the medical problems, and we are redefining male violence as a medical problem. Certainly male violence causes massive medical problems! Mainly the the violent men, being hurt themselves and hurting themselves, but also in victims. Then you add in the property damage which causes additional medical problems, and on and on. Male violence has a massive add-on effect, aka “infection” at epidemic levels.
But like in the treatment of other acute and chronic public health problems ideology is pretty irrelevant. How are ideologies used in treating zika or ebola? Ideologies are, by definition, statements and claims of faith, or imaginary things, using everyday language. Beliefs are statements and claims that have no evidence to back them up. They are beliefs, not facts. They are also called values. You can have values, but you can never prove them, or disprove them.
So, one of Western culture’s core cultural beliefs is the ideology that beliefs, values and ideologies cause behaviors. Now, beliefs MAY correlate with behaviors. Beliefs and values MAY even predict behaviors, but we don’t yet know. While we all certainly presume and assume, and take as intuitive truth, that beliefs, ideologies and values cause and predict behaviors – they may not. Right now, this is all faith-based and no more proven then a “god”, or angles or aliens, ghosts, or life after death, or the tooth fairy.
We say we go to war to defend our ideologies/beliefs/values, but military and war fighting behaviors are more easily explained by just more boundary and border protection instincts.
BTW, biologically, across all animal species, the boundaries and borders the males are protecting are mating ones, of course. All biological and behavioral, and physiological, and social and institutional and cultural, etc, behaviors and things have to support mating and reproductive success. If you don’t have kids you don’t pass on anything to the future so that is a biological – “fail!”
Finally, we can predict violent and aggressive reactive behaviors to these ideas and change in practices, by men, precisely because they would trigger intense and instinct and unconscious fear and experiences of vulnerability going against the biological imperative to protect boundaries and borders where mating and reproduction occurs. As a coralarly let’s remember the intensity of the defense of male reproductive boundaries, self-interest and control in the reproductive rights fight – and it is a fight!
But we can also see the reactive defensive behaviors as similar to other behavioral symptoms of treatment say like harmful secondary behaviors with addiction or smoking, e.g., stealing, drinking to much with smokers, lack of physical exercise, etc. Of course, the cry will come that reactive/defensive behaviors are justified and the result of core values of freedom and individual autonomy, etc. All well and good, but we can focus on the behaviors and not the words and see what he problem-solving value of the reactive behaviors are.
Taking On the “Terrorist”
Logic and facts tell us we can also look at so-called “terrorism” as a medical problem of male violence as well. However, it seems less a problem or group violence then individual mental illness symptoms. What pop culture/media/politics calls “terrorism” as a group violence problem is really just individual young men engaging in suicide-slayer behaviors. They kill themselves and other people. Now, MAYBE the argument can be made that recruiting and logistics and other male group behaviors are involved, and they sometimes are but stripping the problem done to who does what it is mainly young men, of a narrow age range, killing themselves and others, pretty randomly.
The group behavior model and theory, and it is just a theory, is argued further citing ideological claims made by the sucide-slaying young men but – honestly – who ever believes what a criminal says to justify their behaviors?! These are , at core violent criminal behaviors. Is the suicide-slayer behavior of school killers any different from that of those that cite ISIS/ Basque/Palestine/Irish/Nigerian/Indonesian nationalist/religious/drug cartel ideologies? Maybe. Maybe not. Certainly the medical results are the same! Death and destruction and mainly self-harm. If we look at violent young male behavior, gang behavior is also epidemic and follow the same patterns.
What research and journalistic evidence shows is that suicide-slayer young men are universally suffering physical or neurodevelopmental brain disorders. Well, it’s all physical damage to the brain, but some is from inherited genetic abnormalities at birth or head or emotional trauma in childhood. They and their pals can claim whatever ideological justification they want but the brain disorders are facts, regardless.
To end let’s remember the male brain and biology is the same AAALLLL over the world. Every, especially young, male brain wants to aggressively defend and protect it’s mating territory and borders of that territory. Some default to violence. A tiny, tiny infitesimle few default to “kill or be killed” behaviors including crime, gangs and suicide-slayer mass/serial killing – except in war.
In war killing becomes the norm along with, torture, robbery, crime, rape, genocide, etc. – the most extreme of the male territory protection instincts – same as chimps, BTW. When the most primitive and destructive human biological drives causing destructive behaviors become normal for men – that a public health crisis.
[Note: Below are notes for follow-up and further editing.