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call of the wild literary response essay

call of the wild literary response essayCall of the wild literary response essay -Both Somoza and the Shah enjoyed long tenure, large personal fortunes (much of which were no doubt appropriated from general revenues), and good relations with the United States.But he is rapidly changed by his exposure to a new environment.Although the Shah very badly wanted to create a technologically modern and powerful nation and Somoza tried hard to introduce mod- ern agricultural methods, neither sought to reform his society in the light of any abstract idea of social justice or political virtue.The stronger wins control, and the weaker must submit and serve the will of the conqueror, or be killed. Since he is the fittest, he is the one who survives in the "ruthless struggle for existence" (chapter 2).Not one of them can withstand close scrutiny.lthough most governments in the world are, as they always have been, autocracies of one kind or another, no idea holds greater sway in the mind of educated Americans than the belief that it is possible to democratize governments, anytime, anywhere, under any circumstances.In the final chapter, for example, when he makes friends with the wolf, "Old memories were coming upon him fast, and he was stirring to them as of old he stirred to the realities of which they were the shadows." Man-Dog Relationships The novel is concerned not only with dogs but with their changing relations to humans.Each had what the American press termed “private armies,” which is to say, armies pledging their allegiance to the ruler rather than the “constitution” or the “nation” or some other impersonal entity.Should the incumbent autocrat prove resistant to American demands that he step aside, he will be readily overwhelmed by the military strength of his opponents, whose patrons will have continued to provide sophisticated arms and advisers at the same time the U. Only after the insurgents have refused the proffered political solution and anarchy has spread throughout the nation will it be noticed that the new head of government has no significant following, no experience at governing, and no talent for leadership. will have been led by its own misunderstanding of the situation to assist actively in deposing an erstwhile friend and ally and installing a government hostile to American interests and policies in the world. assisted the Shah’s departure and helped arrange the succession of Bakhtiar.During his life, Buck experiences many different kinds of relationships with men.Between the murder of ABC correspondent Bill Stewart by a National Guardsman in early June and the Sandinista victory in late July, the U. State Department assigned a new ambassador who refused to submit his credentials to Somoza even though Somoza was still chief of state, and called for replacing the government with a “broadly based provisional government that would include representatives of Sandinista guerillas.” Americans were assured by Assistant Secretary of State Viron Vaky that “Nicaraguans and our democratic friends in Latin America have no intention of seeing Nicaragua turned into a second Cuba,” even though the State Department knew that the top Sandinista leaders had close personal ties and were in continuing contact with Havana, and, more specifically, that a Cuban secret-police official, Julian Lopez, was frequently present in the Sandinista headquarters and that Cuban military advisers were present in Sandinista ranks.Both these small nations were led by men who had not been selected by free elections, who recognized no duty to submit them selves to searching tests of popular acceptability.Relations with the Shah were probably also enhanced by our approval of his manifest determination to modernize Iran regardless of the effects of modernization on traditional social and cultural patterns (including those which enhanced his own authority and legitimacy).S., sending their sons and others to be educated in our universities, voting with us in the United Nations, and regularly supporting American interests and positions even when these entailed personal and political cost.In his essay on , John Stuart Mill identified three fundamental conditions which the Carter administration would do well to ponder.In the thirty-odd months since the inauguration of Jimmy Carter as President there has occurred a dramatic Soviet military buildup, matched by the stagnation of American armed forces, and a dramatic extension of Soviet influence in the Horn of Africa, Afghanistan, Southern Africa, and the Caribbean, matched by a declining American position in all these areas. As if this were not bad enough, in the current year the United States has suffered two other major blows–in Iran and Nicaragua–of large and strategic significance.The Sandinistas in Nicaragua appear to be as skillful in consolidating power as the Ayatollah Khomeini is inept, and leaders of both revolutions display an intolerance and arrogance that do not bode well for the peaceful sharing of power or the establishment of constitutional governments, especially since those leaders have made clear that they have no intention of seeking either.The “Marxist” presence is ignored and/or minimized by American officials and by the elite media on the ground that U. sup- port for the dictator gives the rebels little choice but to seek aid “elsewhere.” Violence spreads and American officials wonder aloud about the viability of a regime that “lacks the support of its own people.” The absence of an opposition party is deplored and civil-rights violations are reviewed. Requests for help from the beleaguered autocrat go unheeded, and the argument is increasingly voiced that ties should be established with rebel leaders “before it is too late.” The President, delaying U. aid, appoints a special emissary who confirms the deterioration of the government position and its diminished capacity to control the situation and recommends various measures for “strengthening” and “liberalizing” the regime, all of which involve diluting its power.It is at least possible that the SALT debate may stimulate new scrutiny of the nation’s strategic position and defense policy, but there are no signs that anyone is giving serious attention to this nation’s role in Iranian and Nicaraguan developments–despite clear warnings that the U. is confronted with similar situations and options in El Salvador, Guatemala, Morocco, Zaire, and elsewhere.Voluntary, non-official institutions are needed to articulate and aggregate diverse interests and opinions present in the society.The process as seen by Darwin was ruthless and amoral; there was no beneficent God overseeing it and ensuring justice or tempering it with mercy.call of the wild literary response essayAmerican history gives no better grounds for believing that democracy comes easily, quickly, or for the asking.This is a continuing theme in Buck's regression (or development, it could be argued) into a wild animal.The environment shapes him, but heredity also plays a large part in the transformation.Liberal columnists question the morality of continuing aid to a “rightist dictatorship” and provide assurances concerning the essential moderation of some insurgent leaders who “hope” for some sign that the U. The emissary’s recommendations are presented in the context of a growing clamor for American disengagement on grounds that continued involvement confirms our status as an agent of imperialism, racism, and reaction; is inconsistent with support for human rights; alienates us from the “forces of democracy”; and threatens to put the U. once more on the side of history’s “losers.” This chorus is supplemented daily by interviews with returning missionaries and “reasonable” rebels.Each of these beliefs was (and is) widely shared in the liberal community generally.With the judge's sons, whom Buck accompanied on hunting trips, he had "a working partnership," and with the grandsons, "a sort of pompous guardianship." But when Buck is owned by Perrault and Francois, and later by the Scotch half-breed, there is a harsher relationship between man and dog, governed by the realities of power-they are stronger and Buck must obey them.“We personally prefer that the Shah maintain a major role in the government,” the President acknowledged, “but that is a decision for the Iranian people to make.”Events in Nicaragua also departed from the scenario presented above both because the Cuban and Soviet roles were clearer and because U. officials were more intensely and publicly working against Somoza.Moreover, leaders of all major sectors of the society must agree to pursue power only by legal means, must eschew (at least in principle) violence, theft, and fraud, and must accept defeat when necessary.Neither attempted to alter significantly the distribution of goods, status, or power (though the democratization of education and skills that accompanied modernization in Iran did result in some redistribution of money and power there).London appears to have had Darwin in mind when he wrote The Call of the Wild.The Shah and Somoza were not only anti-Communist, they were positively friendly to the U.The pattern is familiar enough: an established autocracy with a record of friendship with the U. is attacked by insurgents, some of whose leaders have long ties to the Communist movement, and most of whose arms are of Soviet, Chinese, or Czechoslovak origin.Both relied for public order on police forces whose personnel were said to be too harsh, too arbitrary, and too powerful.he failure of the Carter administration’s foreign policy is now clear to everyone except its architects, and even they must entertain private doubts, from time to time, about a policy whose crowning achievement has been to lay the groundwork for a transfer of the Panama Canal from the United States to a swaggering Latin dictator of Castroite bent. has never tried so hard and failed so utterly to make and keep friends in the Third World.Therefore, more Americans were more aware of the Shah than of the equally tenacious Somoza.“No end to the crisis is possible,” said Vaky, “that does not start with the departure of Somoza from power and the end of his regime.Survival of the Fittest Charles Darwin, in The Origin of Species (1859), developed a theory that life on earth evolved through a process of natural selection.But it seems clear that the architects of contemporary American foreign policy have little idea of how to go about encouraging the liberalization of an autocracy.The rise of serious, violent opposition in Iran and Nicaragua set in motion a succession of events which bore a suggestive resemblance to one another and a suggestive similarity to our behavior in China before the fall of Chiang Kaishek, in Cuba before the triumph of Castro, in certain crucial periods of the Vietnamese war, and, more recently, in Angola.These were, first, the belief that there existed at the moment of crisis a democratic alternative to the incumbent government: second, the belief that the continuation of the status quo was not possible; third, the belief that any change, including the establishment of a government headed by self-styled Marxist revolutionaries, was preferable to the present government. call of the wild literary response essay It is not necessary for all citizens to be avidly interested in politics or well-informed about public affairs–although far more widespread interest and mobilization are needed than in autocracies.In neither Nicaragua nor Iran did they realize that the only likely result of an effort to replace an incumbent autocrat with one of his moderate critics or a “broad-based coalition” would be to sap the foundations of the existing regime without moving the nation any closer to democracy. Authority in traditional autocracies is transmitted through personal relations: from the ruler to his close associates (relatives, household members, personal friends) and from them to people to whom the associates are related by personal ties resembling their own relation to the ruler.Yet no problem of American foreign policy is more urgent than that of formulating a morally and strategically acceptable, and politically realistic, program for dealing with non-democratic governments who are threatened by Soviet-sponsored subversion. (That the administration has not called its policies in Iran and Nicaragua a failure–and probably does not consider them such–complicates the problem without changing its nature.)There were, of course, significant differences in the relations between the United States and each of these countries during the past two or three decades.Two or three decades ago, when Marxism enjoyed its greatest prestige among American intellectuals, it was the economic prerequisites of democracy that were emphasized by social scientists.The relationship between him and Judge Miller is one of companionship and mutual respect, "a stately and dignified friendship" (chapter 6).Decades, if not centuries, are normally required for people to acquire the necessary disciplines and habits.In addition to an appropriate political culture, democratic government requires institutions strong enough to channel and contain conflict.These are: “One, that the people should be willing to receive it [representative government]; two, that they should be willing and able to do what is necessary for its preservation; three, that they should be willing and able to fulfill the duties and discharge the functions which it imposes on them.”Fulfilling the duties and discharging the functions of representative government make heavy demands on leaders and citizens, demands for participation and restraint, for consensus and compromise.In short, both Somoza and the Shah were, in central ways, traditional rulers of semi-traditional societies.The solution can only begin with a sharp break from the past.” Trying hard, we not only banned all American arms sales to the government of Nicaragua but pressured Israel, Guatemala, and others to do likewise–all in the name of insuring a “democratic” outcome.But still there is an underlying concept of fairness.What is necessary is that a substantial number of citizens think of themselves as participants in society’s decision-making and not simply as subjects bound by its laws.Something deep inside him, inherited from the distant past, teaches him how to fight and how to use all the tricks of survival that the breed to which he belongs possessed of old.Both rulers, therefore, sometimes invoked martial law to arrest, imprison, exile, and occasionally, it was alleged, torture their opponents.His deeper, inherited instincts remain hidden because the environment he lives in does not bring them out.Buck adapts so well because he inherits from his ancestors the fiercer instincts he needs to survive: "[N]ot only did he learn by experience, but instincts long dead became alive again. In vague ways he remembered back to the youth of the breed, to the time the wild dogs ranged in packs through the primeval forest and killed their meat as they ran it down" (chapter 2).And, of course, the Shah was much better looking and altogether more dashing than Somoza; his private life was much more romantic, more interesting to the media, popular and otherwise.Otherwise, the formal governmental institutions will not be able to translate popular demands into public policy.The embassies of both governments were active in Washington social life, and were frequented by powerful Americans who occupied major roles in this nation’s diplomatic, military, and political life.This relationship has a long history, going back to the earliest times, as is shown by Buck's vision of the cave-man who is accompanied everywhere by a dog, for protection against beasts of prey. call of the wild literary response essay In contrast, Charles, Hal and Mercedes, who have recently arrived in the north from the more civilized south, fail to adapt to its demands, and as a result, they perish. That is, he believed that life was conditioned entirely by heredity and the environment. As long as Buck lives a comfortable life at Judge Miller's ranch, he remains a domestic dog.By then, military commanders, no longer bound by loyalty to the chief of state, will depose the faltering “moderate” in favor of a fanatic of their own choosing. At best we will have lost access to friendly territory. And everywhere our friends will have noted that the U. cannot be counted on in times of difficulty and our enemies will have observed that American support provides no security against the forward march of history.o particular crisis conforms exactly with the sequence of events described above; there are always variations on the theme. However, the President’s special emissary, George Ball, “reportedly concluded that the Shah cannot hope to maintain total power and must now bargain with a moderate segment of the opposition . .” and was “known to have discussed various alternatives that would effectively ease the Shah out of total power” (, December 15, 1978). In Iran, the Carter administration’s commitment to nonintervention proved stronger than strategic considerations or national pride.After the Somoza regime had defeated the first wave of Sandinista violence, the U. ceased aid, imposed sanctions, and took other steps which undermined the status and the credibility of the government in domestic and foreign affairs.This notion is belied by an enormous body of evidence based on the experience of dozens of countries which have attempted with more or less (usually less) success to move from autocratic to democratic government.In the case of both Iran and Nicaragua, tangible and intangible tokens of U. support continued until the regime became the object of a major attack by forces explicitly hostile to the United States.These men have no understanding of the needs of their dogs, and their incompetence imposes on the animals an unnecessary hardship.London calls this the "law of club and fang," a succinct phrase that describes in a nutshell the survival of the fittest. This sets the pattern for the remainder of the novel.The law of the club is that man, having access to greater force, is the master of the dogs. Buck proves himself to be the strongest, the most resourceful, and the most courageous.Democracy, they argued, could function only in relatively rich societies with an advanced economy, a substantial middle class, and a literate population, but it could be expected to emerge more or less automatically whenever these conditions prevailed. While it surely helps to have an economy strong enough to provide decent levels of well-being for all, and “open” enough to provide mobility and encourage achievement, a pluralistic society and the right kind of political culture–and time–are even more essential.He first sees this at work when his friend Curly naively tries to make friendly advances to the other dogs. Perrault and Francois, Buck's first owners, are shrewd men who have adapted to the demands of their environment.Buck understands this very quickly, after he is beaten by the man in the red sweater, and he adapts to it. He also adapts to the "law of fang," which applies to the dog world. The primitive law of the survival of the fittest also applies to the human world.Both did tolerate limited apposition, including opposition newspapers and political parties, but both were also confronted by radical, violent opponents bent on social and political revolution.A war of independence, an unsuccessful constitution, a civil war, a long process of gradual enfranchisement marked our progress toward constitutional democratic government. Terror, dictatorship, monarchy, instability, and incompetence followed on the revolution that was to usher in a millennium of brotherhood.Many of the wisest political scientists of this and previous centuries agree that democratic institutions are especially difficult to establish and maintain-because they make heavy demands on all portions of a population and because they depend on complex social, cultural, and economic conditions.In Britain, the road from the Magna Carta to the Act of Settlement, to the great Reform Bills of 1832, 1867, and 1885, took seven centuries to traverse.In the relatively few places where they exist, democratic governments have come into being slowly, after extended prior experience with more limited forms of participation during which leaders have reluctantly grown accustomed to tolerating dissent and opposition, opponents have accepted the notion that they may defeat but not destroy incumbents, and people have become aware of government’s effects on their lives and of their own possible effects on government.Finally, as the Sandinista leaders consolidated control over weapons and communications, banned opposition, and took off for Cuba, President Carter warned us against attributing this “evolutionary change” to “Cuban machinations” and assured the world that the U. desired only to “let the people of Nicaragua choose their own form of government.”Yet despite all the variations, the Carter administration brought to the crises in Iran and Nicaragua several common assumptions each of which played a major role in hastening the victory of even more repressive dictatorships than had been in place before.In each country, the Carter administration not only failed to prevent the undesired outcome, it actively collaborated in the replacement of moderate autocrats friendly to American interests with less friendly autocrats of extremist persuasion.And the Shah and Somoza themselves were both welcome in Washington, and had many American friends.hough each of the rulers was from time to time criticized by American officials for violating civil and human rights, the fact that the people of Iran and Nicaragua only intermittently enjoyed the rights accorded to citizens in the Western democracies did not prevent successive administrations from granting–with the necessary approval of successive Congresses–both military and economic’ aid.With Charles and Hal, the man-dog relationship deteriorates to its lowest point, into cruelty and abuse of power. call of the wild literary response essay Although the Shah very badly wanted to create a technologically modern and powerful nation and Somoza tried hard to introduce mod- ern agricultural methods, neither sought to reform his society in the light of any abstract idea of social justice or political virtue. call of the wild literary response essay




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