Abstracting is the process of reducing something to its most basic and elemental part. When I consider my topic of observing, analyzing, and evaluating the perspectives within current events, I know this cognitive skill of distilling stories to their essence is critical to discern meaning and significance. I believe there are several themes that show up again and again in current events and that each story can be broken down into simple concepts.
One of the big stories in current events news right now is China’s unilateral declaration of an air defense identification zone that stretches into areas controlled by South Korea and Japan. There is now an overlap of these countries’ air defense identification zones which includes some disputed islands. Immediately upon China’s announcement, many governments, including Japan, South Korea, and the USA, said they were not pleased with this announcement and that it would be raise tensions. All three of those countries have tested China’s resolve on enforcement by flying military planes through the area. China has responded and continues to ramp up their policing of the area. You can read more about the story from the perspective of Japan, China, USA, and UK.
I think this issue and many stories like it can be distilled to a single word: FEAR. First of all, the media plays upon the emotions of the populace to solicit viewers. This is part of the reason that the media tend to report on mostly bad news. Both Japanese and Chinese governments rally their citizens in nationalist fervor with these gestures. The world watches in fear of what might happen if this row escalates into military conflict. The ancient sage Yoda once said, “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” Living in China for six years, I have seen the anti-Japanese hatred that is often kindled in schools and in the media. For instance, in 2012, 70 of the 200 primetime dramas on the major TV networks were about the Sino-Japanese War, which are decidedly anti-Japanese.
Why, you may take the most gallant sailor, the most intrepid airman or the most audacious soldier, put them at a table together – what do you get? The sum of their fears.—Winston Churchill