Sometimes I try to analyze complex systems, to articulate cause-effect laws and to describe mechanisms accounting for them. For example, what is evil, and what are its causes?
Basic drives to preserve and enhance the self characterize all living things: single cells, plants, animals, families, species, religions, ethnicities, geographic regions. Selves typically relate to nonselves (others) competitively, predatorially and/or selfishly. Thus, our natural drives often cause suffering. Unnecessary or unjust suffering is evil.
Generosity toward offspring is common and constitutes preserving and enhancing the self. Truly altruistic relations among non-spousal adults are rare.
Typically we, ourselves, lack the empathy to appreciate the evil done to others. We are even thrilled by the sight of competitors, enemies and perpetrators harmed by our agents (military, law enforcers). We even dream of inflicting such harm. Concern for our enemy’s suffering seems unpatriotic. Concern for a perpetrator’s suffering seems misguided, though perfectly consistent with understanding of scientific determinism.
Sadly, my tribe has made many harmful mistakes over the years. For example, we as White People should have treated non-whites more justly for centuries. We as Americans should have behaved more rationally in Palestine, Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Grenada, Afghanistan, Iraq, Egypt, Lybia and Syria. Many of our actions were in response to and for the sake of wealthy insiders. Some were criminal. Many could have been avoided by application of ethical standards, including Just War Principles, UN Charter and Geneva Conventions.
Our sanctions of Venezuela are irrational and spiteful. We, the USA, are causing unnecessary and unjustified suffering in Venezuela, and that makes our actions evil. By the way, their economic woes are due to the oil-price drop and amateur leadership, not communism. The Russia embargo might eventually raise oil prices and help Venezuela. It would be in our interest to help them get their oil industry up and running.
Likewise our sanctions of Cuba for the past two decades are irrational and spiteful. Their attempts at managed economy haven't threatened us or anyone else for several decades. Back in the Bay-of-Pigs and Missile-Crisis days, we had real conflicts, but that might have been avoided had we respected Cuba's sovereignty.
We should reconstruct our relations with these two struggling neighbors along ethical lines.