1.17.2005

An anime foreign policy

Trigun, specifically: the story of Vash the Stampede, pacifist gunman extraordinaire. The hero who always manages to shoot the gun out of his enemy's hand without killing anyone. So why is a pacifist my example of a foreign policy leader? Because in the end, he realizes it doesn't work. He can only get by on shooting the guns out of people's hands for so long. There are signs as the show progresses. Midway through, he saves a town, but then re-arms it, so the people can defend themselves. Maybe he thinks that the mere posession of weapons will deter would-be enemies, but he knows that people must be able to defend themselves.

Later, he refuses to shoot, and is only saved when his partner kills the bad guy. Vash is crushed, but he begins to see that someone had to die, only because the bad guys were set on it. They wouldn't accept "no" for an answer.

Finally, Vash himself is forced to kill to save his friends. His enemies think that the experiencec of killing will destroy Vash. It nearly does. But after the pain subsides, Vash is able to move forward with a greater determination, and a greater strength.

Trigun is thus a parable of America's dealing with terrorism. Under Clinton, we tried the trick shots - negotiating with Arafat, a few token missiles launched at an al-Qaeda training camp. But we didn't engage. And so our enemies rammed airplanes into our buildings, and killed our people. They'd been doing that, of course, but we weren't psychologically able to fight back. After the weeping of September 11, many of us grew strong. We realized that trick shots are nice, that the promises of a liar still sound nice. But we also realized that sometimes, promises aren't enough. The bad guys are out there. They won't take "no" for an answer - they have no interest in negotiating, and they don't hesitate to kill. But the difference is, we're fighting back now, and we're re-arming the townspeople who couldn't defend themselves before. The liberals can keep trying for trick shots, but now people realize that a trick shot isn't the same as fighting back.