27. Why Do We Fight with Other Countries?

Why do wars and foreign conflict happen? Today, Connor and Brittany explain why countries sometimes fight and how a principle known as the Golden Rule can help make our world more peaceful.



  • Blowback: the unintended consequences, unwanted side-effects, or suffered repercussions of military operations that fall back on those responsible for the aforementioned operations.
  • Non-aggression principle:  initiating or threatening any forceful interference with an individual or their property, is inherently wrong. BUT if someone initiates force or violence against you, you have the right to defend yourself. 


Here is the transcription of our conversation:

Connor: Hey, Brittany.

Hey. Throughout history, we’ve seen something happen over and over again that I wanted to talk about today. And this is a heavy topic, but it’s such an important topic, and that is, you know, peace versus war. Aggression versus defense. People throughout world history have fought, I mean, as you look back over the world’s history, it is a history of wars, basically. Right? People fighting, and I feel like a lot of people just accept that this is the way the world works, but I personally feel like it doesn’t have to be that way. And, and frankly, we should reject the idea that that’s just the way the world works, right? Yeah. And so I wanna talk today maybe about, you know, why people fight and what individuals can do to help promote a, peaceful world. So Brittany, I know you feel very passionately about this a lot of us maybe might consider ourselves anti-war.

Right? But I really love turning that into a positive. It’s not just being anti-war, it’s being pro peace. It, it’s standing for something. It’s not just standing. I’m against war like that, you know, that’s like saying I’m against abuse. Well, of course, everyone, right? But, but peace takes work, right? It, it’s very hard to, to, you know, in the event that you’re attacked or someone’s threatening to attack you, to promote peace. And so let’s unpack that a little bit. What are your thoughts here before we dive in, in terms of, you know, peace and war?

Brittany: Yeah Well, you reminded me of one of my favorite quotes, and it actually comes from a musical. And the the quote is, it’s from a song, The opposite of war isn’t peace, it’s creation. And that reminds me of a lot of things, also what we talk about with entrepreneurship, right? And there’s also that quote what is it when goods don’t cross borders, armies will, right? And, it kind of reminds me of that as well, that it’s almost like war is lazy. War is what happens when we’re not doing more productive things with each other, collaborating with each other, and working together. Trading, trade I think, is the greatest collaboration we have. But, but getting back to kind of the point of this is why do people fight? And I think any of us who ever even had a friend or talked to any other human being, know how easy it is for disagreements to come up, right? We’ve all been in fights with people, but when you know, you and I get in a fight, you and or me, and, you know, my siblings get in a fight that’s just two people. War is a little bit different because of how many people are impacted.

Connor: Right? And I, think most people think about war in the sense that, well, there are some bad people, and when they attack other people, then those people have to defend themselves. And that’s a very probably simplistic way of looking at war. That there are some people who are trying to dominate another group of people. Maybe they want to take their land, right? Yes. Or maybe they want to take their resources in their land, Like if they have, you know, lots of corn or oil or, you know, whatever. And so they, Hey, we want that. We’re gonna come take it. Right? And that’s clearly wrong, and it would be okay for those people who are being attacked to defend themselves. But I feel like war is often a little bit more complex. And this gets into a little bit of an advanced idea.

So we’re not gonna talk about it too deeply, but it’s important to understand that in war, the reasons that are given for the war are not always the real reasons why it’s being fought, right? People know that the people in power in the government know that people don’t like going and fighting people across the world. They don’t like being apart from their families. They don’t like dying, right? No one really likes, And so in order to get people willing to fight other people, they have to kind of make up excuses that are gonna get people angry and, Oh, I’m gonna go fight. And I have a, an example to share that a lot of people don’t know about. And there was a, it’s a document called well, it’s a, it’s a doc, it’s a government kind of plan called Operation Northwoods.

And this is a government plan that was declassified some years ago. What that means is it used to be a secret, and then the government said, Okay, this isn’t a secret anymore. Here’s what happened. And this is a plan that the people in charge of the military came up with. So, President John F. Kennedy he was the president at the time, so this is several decades ago. And Cuba, which is an island to kind of the southeast of the United States, was involved in a lot of kind of political battles with the United States. There was a lot of tension, right? Because there were people across the world who wanted to use Cuba as kind of like a, staging ground or an area to maybe launch an attack against the United States. And the Cuban government was making friends with some really bad people across the world, right?

So people in the United States and the government were like, Hey, we’re really nervous about having someone so close to our country who can attack us. And so there was a lot of tension, right? About, Cuba at the time. And so the people in charge of the military got together and said, Hey, we have a plan, and here’s what the plan is gonna be. They said, You know, we know that there isn’t public support right now for attacking Cuba. The American public doesn’t wanna go to war against Cuba. There’s, there’s not really enough opportunity for us right now to launch an attack because people would criticize us. So here’s what we propose. And they proposed this to the president of the United States. They said, Hey, President Kennedy, here’s what we wanna do. It’s called Operation Northwoods. We want to drop some bombs in American cities.

We want to shoot some people in boats. We want to kill some people in America, and we’re gonna blame everything on Cuba. We’re gonna say, Cuban military people did this. And then, so that’s what the American public is gonna learn about, and they’re gonna be really upset, right? And so they’re gonna say, Hey, government go attack. You need to go fight and stop this cuz that’s wrong, that they would attack America. So here’s the people in charge of the American government, the American military, the very top leaders of the American military, and they proposed to the president of the United States to kill Americans and hurt Americans. And blame it on someone else so that the public would say, Let’s go fight. Now, here’s the crazy thing. President Kennedy of course said no, which is why this never happened. But had he said yes, had he got along with this and that, that happened, we probably never would have learned that it was all a lie?

Yeah. That people were deceived into supporting a war that we, we were, our emotions would’ve been played with, Right? Of like, Oh, of course that’s wrong now, now we’re defending ourselves, which is why war is okay, we need to defend ourselves. That to me, Brittany is one of the most interesting things that I’ve learned as an adult, is really trying to understand the real reasons for the war in Iraq and the war in Afghanistan and in Yemen and in all the countries that we’re told it’s about one thing. But in reality, I think it’s about something entirely different. And so for those of us who care about peace, we need to do that homework and we need to really study what’s going on and tell other people, otherwise we’re gonna be duped into supporting these wars as well. You know, that, that I think is an important topic. Brittany, I want to throw it to you though, and I want to introduce into this episode something that we’ve talked about in one of our Tuttle Twins books  in The Tuttle Twins and the Golden Rule. And that is the non-aggression principle. We’ve talked here that it’s okay to defend yourself. But what is the non-aggression principle and what does it have to do with this Job?

Brittany: Yes. So the non-aggression principle basically says that if, you and I are walking down the street and no one is doing any harm to each other, we’re just walking by, we’re existing, it would be wrong for me to come up and push you. Right. I think we can both agree to that, right? If I were just to come up to you on the street and push you for no reason, that would not be very good on my part.

Connor: Absolutely.

Brittany: However, once I have pushed you, once I’ve aggress aggressed upon you, do you have the right to defend yourself?

Connor: I do.

Brittany: You do have the right to defend yourself. And that’s kind of what non aggression principal, non aggression principal talks about. So that non aggressive principal basically says that you don’t hurt anybody else. You don’t take their things, you don’t hurt them unless they do something to the you. And then you have the right to aggress back. But that doesn’t mean you’re gonna  go, it doesn’t mean you go. It’s kind of a proportional aggression, which I, it’s kind of a hard thing to explain, but, So if I,

Connor: If you, if you push me, I’m not okay to get a machine gun and shoot you to pieces. Right, You have to respond in in Yeah. You have to push back. Your, your response has to be similar at a similar level.

Brittany: Right. Exactly. Now, another thing would happen, and I think this kind of plays into this, is Connor, you’re a beekeeper, right?

Connor: I am a beekeeper.

Brittany: So what would happen to you if you went up to a beehive and just swatted it? Gave it a good smack.

Connor: Oh a

Brittany: And you weren’t wearing your pink suit. You weren’t wearing your suit. Okay. You’re just Yeah.

Connor: You know, even if I was wearing my suit, they would be angry enough that some of them would probably still be able to sting me through the suit. They’d be very angry. They would feel like they’re being threatened and their, kind of livelihood and lives are, you know, in jeopardy. And they would come out of the hive and see that I was the responsible person. So they’d attack me back in fear of me smacking their hive again and potentially doing more damage to them.

Brittany: And this happens all the time, not with beehives, but what sometimes what we do as a country, and I say we as the United States, not you and I, sometimes our country will go in and maybe somebody, maybe someone gives us a nudge, maybe they don’t nudge us or push us at all. And we go in with those machine guns that you were talking about, and we, we do unproportional aggression. Right. And get mad because a lot of times these people are angry justifiably so they lose their parents. Maybe they lose a child and they take up arms and they fight back. And then when they fight back, we or our government comes to us and says, Well, now we need to go to war. But wait a second, wouldn’t you fight back if your family was put in harm’s way, if somebody came in with guns and weapons, you’d probably wanna fight back. Right?

Connor: Hmm. Yeah. It’s so interesting too that that one like when I think about my kids, right? One of them might start something and so the other kid kind of slaps him or pokes ’em or, you know, nudges him or something, which then that other kid feels, Well wait a minute, you just poked me, so now I’m gonna poke you back. Yeah. And it becomes this cycle of, you know, not violence. It’s not like they’re horribly hurting one another but this in their case, it’s this cycle of conflict that they each then feel justified. And it gets to the point where when I find out about it or their mom finds out about it after we have the hardest time trying to get to the root cause of what started in,

Brittany: You Don’t even know who started it because it’s been going on for so long that you look like, you forget why

Connor: That’s exactly right. They kinda lose track and they each have a, a grievance. Right. They each have it. Well, she did this to me. Oh, but he did it to me. You know? Yeah. But you did it first. And, and you know, this happens as you point out so often in history, I think of the Middle East, where, you know, there are soldiers now in the Middle East, in the American military who weren’t even born when nine 11 happened. Right. It’s, and nine 11 is kind of the excuse or the justification given for all this kind of war on terror and all this fighting in the Middle East. But if you really rewind the tapes a bit and go back to the, like, what started the ball rolling, Right. Just like the example with my kids, a lot of it stems back from when the American military, the CIA went into Iran and got their citizens to kind of topple their dictator.

They were kind of orchestrating this coup, basically where they had this elected person in Iran that the American government at the time didn’t like. And so they, you know, gave money and strategy and advertising and all these different things to get these people to topple this dictator and put in the shaw, this this leader in, in place of the person that the people of Iran had elected on their own. So now they had this kind of puppet, it’s called this person in charge of the Iranian government who would be more friendly to America. He would give Americans the oil that they wanted that was plentiful in Iran. But he was a brutal, brutal dictator. He was very mean to his people. And so this created a lot of problems. Years later there was the Iranian hostage crisis. Right. Where some Americans were basically kidnapped and held hostage. And it’s led to, you know, Saddam Hussein then Iraq and all of these spillovers, these consequences

Brittany: Today we’re still dealing with this today with sanctions and everything.

Connor: Absolutely. And then it’s, you know, tit for tat they do one thing and then we, you know, we do one thing and back and forth and terrorism and then military and then counter-terrorism. And it’s so sad to think back, you know, how that cycle got started And Britney, I feel like it takes kind of an adult, what I always tell my kids is one of you needs to stop the cycle. One of you has to say, Yeah. Even though I feel like I can, like I’m justified in, defending myself or getting back at you, I’m gonna be the bigger person here and not respond. I’m gonna walk away. I’m gonna stop the cycle. And we talk about it and the Golden Rule book it, there’s this drawing in there where it’s two arrows kind of going in a big circle showing how this is just a cycle that happens again and again. And it takes the adult in the room, Right. To stand up and say, You know what, Yes, they attacked us. Yes, they did something we don’t like, but they’re doing it in response to something they didn’t like, which was in response, you know, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Let’s just stop. Let’s just have peace. Let’s just, you know, stop the cycle.

Brittany: Well, you bring up a really good point. I think you bring up the Golden Rule, which there is a Tottle Twins book about. Yes. where being the adult in the room kind of takes treating other people how you want to be treated and not responding to how they’re treating you, even if they are treating you poorly.

Connor: This is a hard thing for a lot of people, Brittany, because you remember when Ron Paul was running for president? Yeah. And there was a debate in South Carolina. He, when he’s on stage with a bunch of other people and they’re talking about foreign policy, which is how the military treats other people in other countries. And they were talking about this topic and Ron Paul said, You know what? I think we ought to practice the golden rule. We should treat other countries the way that we want them to treat us. How would we like it if you know China or whoever was in our land Yeah? And shooting us and flying drones over our country, we wouldn’t like it very much. So why are we doing it to their people? And Britney, what was the response of the audience?

Brittany: They Booed. They booed him. They did not like that answer.

Connor: Isn’t that insane? Isn’t that crazy That, I mean, the golden rule, it seems like something that we as parents teach our kids. It’s, like a basic moral lesson of life that people totally agree with. Maybe on like a personal level when we’re talking directly to other people. Right. But when you start to say that this is how it should apply, people don’t like it. Governments Yeah. Or between people, you don’t like. Yeah. Then people boo. That was really amazing to me.


I think it was really sad too because it shows how, how much we forget like kids sometimes I think are smarter than adults cuz they take these lessons and they remember that if they want friends on the playground, they need to be nice to other students. Right? They need to treat other people as they wanna be, be treated. And then we grow up and we kind of forget that. And it’s, it’s really sad and it’s, it’s frightening because that’s why we keep having these conflicts repeat themselves over and over again.


I think that’s right. And hopefully, you know, for our listeners, we can find ways to be pro peace and stand up and stop those cycles. I think it’s gonna take a lot of us advocating for that. Sodo your part share the Title Twins podcast with others. Let’s make sure a lot of other families are learning this stuff too. Head to TuttleTwins.com/podcast. Make sure you’re subscribed, tell your friends to do the same. And Brittany will see you next time.

Brittany: See you next time.

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