Education, responsibility needed for understanding

Davood Dadfar and Davood Dadfar

It would have been hard to come across a newspaper article or 140-character news tweet that didn’t mention Ukraine and the foreign relations that the U.S. has had with Russia recently.

The events in Ukraine have been unfortunate for both the inhabitants in the country and those that have fled to avoid conflict.

Yet I believe that most Americans still fail to grasp the concept of the underlying problem, which happens to be cultural.

The recent events highlight some of the important aspects of foreign relations.

Far too often Americans assume they are the righteous power of justice that must enforce democracy and stability throughout the world.

We’ve witnessed this during the past several decades and have seen it fail and succeed with mixed results.

Even through all we have endured, Americans still continue to feel a sense of understanding of foreign politics and cultures.

This isn’t to imply that Americans lack any understanding of other cultures, but merely that they generalize and assume too much.

The current cultural problems involving Ukraine and Russia date much longer than many Americans can remember.

After all, most don’t even remember what was happening in Syria a few months ago.

Aside from our lapsed memory, we also tend to criticize when it’s unworthy, too. Many of the criticisms coming from Americans have been regarding the lack of action coming from President Barack Obama.

While the President is clearly not perfect [as he’s shown in the past several months], his actions and observance of the matter should be viewed more as strategic instead of being indecisive or passive.

I have no doubt this is due to the comprehension of the seriousness of the situation combined with consideration of cultural factors for which American interference can do little to alter.

The root of many of these conflicts is a result of fear and misunderstanding. Americans have some of the greatest opportunities on the face of the earth and have even contributed some great things to humanity, but we still aren’t perfect. Today’s youth, including college graduates, have more opportunities than the generations of the Obamas or Putins of the world.

Today’s youth has the accessibility to travel, study abroad and get in-depth cultural knowledge firsthand before their reflective perception of the world has been hard-wired.

These opportunities are so accessible today that they aren’t even considered a luxury anymore.

Unfortunately, they do go unsought from time to time, which is why today’s generation of students need to become more cognizant of cultural trends than underlying technicalities.

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