Why Humans Do What They Do

 By Jim Berlin

The driving dynamic at every level of human interaction – from personal relationships to nation vs. nation – hinges on a single word: territory.

Specifically, the protection and preservation of territory against all comers: My religion, my opinion, my politics…my boyfriend, my girlfriend, my spouse, my kids…my school, my city, my country…

…And if covetous space aliens ever come calling – my planet Earth.

The defense of MY and whatever word follows is why husbands and wives love and fight, why people go nuts at sporting events and countries go to war.

This is mine, what’s mine is me, and I will not abandon any part of it without a fight. And no, the theory doesn’t suffer when someone points to the pacifists and cheek-turners who bow to bullies and tyrants just to keep the peace. The territory those folks are

protecting is a conceit of the mind, the defense of a philosophy they think will set them apart from the barbarians.

To them, that philosophy is just as real as a country’s borders or a teddy bear hugged to the chest of a sleeping child.

So…if you want to know why you or anyone else does what he does – from President Obama to the neighbors next door – look first for the territory at stake.

It’s always there.

Why the Ukrainian Army
Won’t Fight the Russians

 By Jim Berlin

The Ukrainian army and police have yet to raise a finger or fire a single shot in defense of their country against the Russian invaders, and I may know the reason why.

Flashback to the Serb Republic, Bosnia, a Monday morning in ’98. I awake to frantic pounding on the farmhouse door and there stands Sergei, my 23-year-old Ukrainian patrol partner. His eyes are red, uniform disheveled, a weekend’s growth of beard. He is frantic.

“Do you have wodka?” He asks.

“Have what?”

“Wodka, damn it! I’m out of wodka.”

“No, I don’t drink vodka.”

“They sell wodka at the Czech fort,” Sergei says. “I have a map. You drive, okay?”

I patiently explain to Sergei that the Czech fort is 70 kilometers away, most of it over bad road, some of it through unfriendly neighborhoods.

“I’m out of wodka,” he says. The discussion is over.

Two hours later I find the front gate of the Czech compound and pull to the side as several armored vehicles leave the fort. Sergei rushes into the soldiers’ PX and returns minutes later with three liters of vodka. He is cracking one of the bottles as he walks.

I start the UN truck, but Sergei has second thoughts and tells me to wait. He races back into the fort and returns with two more liters of his life’s blood. He is all smiles…

Now we go on patrol,” he says.