No society on this planet was more fiercely protective of neighborhood privacy that the American frontier rancher. It remains the consummate instance of Cowboy culture. In a place where distance and isolation bred wildly eccentric personalities, live and let-live was the dominant social mantra.
Yet amidst this fierce independence, when one rancher lost his barn to desiccated prairie fire, every man's uncle from a hundred miles around showed up, unbidden, tools and materials in hand, to rebuild that barn within days. It was an extremely rare uninvited crossing of borders, but deemed an essential element of preemptive survival.
There was one other exception. Just as fierce and even more rare.
If word got round among young cowboys that one of their number was routinely abusing a mother, or sister, or defenseless animal, those young men tried a little diplomacy in the form of a group sanction or two, or even three, after church some Sunday morning. But if the abuser persisted in his bullying, then quietly and rather mercilessly, without further warning, perhaps during a festive community gathering, the abuser would suddenly be discovered behind an isolated building having been administered the beating of a lifetime.
This wasn't vigilantism. It was brothers and husbands protecting sisters and wives.
So Barack, next time you have a hankering to travel to Cairo, Stockholm, Beijing, or Bogota, tone down the jesuitical apologetics and ramp up a little brotherly love. Let the world know that unconditional sovereignty was an extremely useful step while the community of nations learned to deal with strangers. However, since that time, the neighborhood has gone global.
The neighborhood is Humanity. Earth, air, water and morality flow and blow everywhere.
So try this speech next time Putin plays holier than thou with al Assad.
“No territorial ambition involved Bashir. No more wussing about property lines. Just a quiet little message from one bully to another. You are still beating on your sisters. So, I'm about to bust every tooth in your face and there ain't a fucking thing you can do about it.”