Mutually Assured Destruction
Winners and Losers
I am glad that President Trump called the Manchester bomber a "loser". Salman Abedi was a suicide bomber. Therefore, he never planned to survive. The loss of his own life is not the full extent of what the president meant. He was calling the whole enterprise to which so many Jihadists have signed on a losing proposition. So it is. I have no doubts. The West is not going to collapse. Neither is it going to become the footstool of a new and improved 21st century Caliphate. The same goes for any group or collection of ambitious fools who think both Europe and the United States are up for grabs. One can add to the pot what one will. South and Latin American nations, by way of cartels, too, for instance, might temporarily collaborate with Jihadists. You know the expression, "thick as thieves". Drug profits and gun running are inseparable. Dealers and terrorists are both well-funded and masters of deception. Nevertheless, the whole Western Hemisphere is not going to repudiate their ancestries and embrace Islam -- for diverse reasons. The real point is what to do with our liberal policy of granting every human being perfect equality regardless of how he or she is defined? Well, this heavenly ideal might have to change. I believe we are fortunate to have the right man in the right place who will make the hard decisions a typical politician cannot. That said, what do our leaders have in mind to break the terror infecting Continental Europe and Great Britain before it reaches us? Actually, it has already infiltrated. There has to be an overarching plan. Otherwise, we are simply on the defensive, forced to react mindlessly to every incident the best we can. For certain, waiting for things to happen is not going to save us.
It might seem as though ISIS has been among the winners, along with so many other like-minded terrorist groups. We rarely hear about an Arab Spring anymore. The affected region has indeed been shaken up, but it has always been thus and will go through still more convoluted twists and turns in the future. Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq all exist in a state of flux. Egypt is recuperating from uprisings. Libya is a haven for anti-Americanism. Iran wants to be a bigger player while Saudi Arabia makes moves to preserve its greater status. For the American TV audience, it has been an education the reception of which none of us ever planned on. We learned about Sunnis and Shiites, Alawites and Wahabbis, and the Muslim Brotherhood. We wanted to be tolerant and understanding, but it has been too much of a strain. Last I heard, we were arming the Kurds. Only time will tell who the winners and losers are, though I have a feeling violence only promotes the latter.
WAR means war
Forecast for 2027
Ever wonder what the world will be like ten years hence? If you are like me, you can't form a visual. I am fairly certain the world will still be here, only in what condition, especially as regards the United States, I would only be able to guess. I am reasonably positive that the U.S. will remain superior in power, if not influence. As to the latter, religious fanaticism is striving to gain the upper hand. It is more convincing to the brothers and sisters of its proponents than democracy. As I write, Western nations have been warned by means of national television that Ramadan could ignite further acts of terrorism. It would be naive to think acts of violence will eventually die down. The inability to prevent them creates an image of incompetence. At present, terrorists, not law-abiding, peace-loving citizens have been calling the shots.
The more I contemplate the problem, the stickier the issue of religion becomes. A couple hundred years ago and then some, the practice of religious freedom was a radical idea. Exactly a hundred years ago, the revolution in Russia kicked priests out from sharing in matters of government. Then, much later, Afghan rebels drove Russian troops home following a long, bloody, drawn-out battle. Before they did, Afghanistan was known mainly for its magnificent growth of opium poppies. Soon thereafter it became Osama bin Laden's quasi-religious home base. I think the role of an Islamic gun-touting, bomb-making blended religion has to be accounted for in order to understand the enemy's personal and collective sense of justification. They are ready and willing while the West prevaricates. At some point, God willing, terrorists will either be eliminated or forced to quit. But here is the bigger question: how do you declare war on countries divided against themselves, where no one faction is in complete control, and with various terrorist groups coming and going, depending upon the shifting sands of Middle East hospitality? I am thinking mainly of Syria, since it is being both attacked and defended along conflicting lines, depending upon affiliations, ideologies, nepotism, and the interests of client states.
Pick a Card, Any Card
The Trump Card
I can only conjecture that this is what we are waiting for. The President has any number of options. He has yet to play a decisive card. So much the better. While we falter, as the case might be, within a worldwide puzzle of hunches, the best I can come up with is to call what we are engaged in a global civil war -- with nations instead of states pitted against one another. If Kim Yong Un is just another loudmouth, then I am merely exaggerating. But if he isn't, and he has copy-cats, as well as wannabes, then it really puts the entire planet at risk. But the trump card is always available, pun intended, since we can play this game, too, far better than anybody else. Whatever the choice, the Trump administration is going to have to take note of a new, perhaps mercurial European factor.
As Spiegel Online reports, the haze has not yet cleared from yesterday's Beerfest in Munich. Chancellor Merkel voiced doubts about whether or not the U.S.A. is trustworthy following a historic presidential tour to the Middle East as well as the Vatican and Brussels. Apparently, in Belgium, Trump put Germans down not for the usual reason, their penchant for starting wars, but unfair trade practices. I am glad he said it so I do not have to state how very often what starts out as political turns into economics. Nonetheless, Trump stopped short of declaring war on Germany, which, let's face it, might have spiked his approval ratings. Unfortunately, we have too many new scores to settle without trying to settle an old score that is never going to happen. About NATO, I would not be too worked up. The President is right, but a more stable Europe perhaps makes up for its pretense of impecuniousness.
Testing 1 . 2 . 3.
If I were a praying man, I would pray more for North Koreans than Americans. The former are way out of their league. I feel sorry for Kim Yong Un. He is headstrong, but in every other respect, weak. Even were he to somehow hit a nearby Japanese target or South Korea, odds are the event would only backfire. Asia already has a reputation for being advanced in terms of business, technology, and, in general, education. These are accomplishments fostered by peace. Their young are apt to spend as much time studying as their American counterparts do lifting weights and jogging. But exercise versus study is not the whole story. Asia rising gives Kim Yong Un no advantage whatsoever over American perseverance and Yankee ingenuity. Still, the real underlying theme of a feud no one in the Western Hemisphere invited is that there is no necessity for the use of arms.
I could not say at what point diplomacy was downgraded nearly to the point of abandonment, but it appears to have somehow cleared the way toward hostilities. Only this morning a car bomb in Kabul amassed an enormous amount of casualties and injuries. These weapons of either modest or massive destruction are fast becoming the devil's favorite playthings. How long will it take before North Korea, Iran, or another rogue state reaches for more powerful weapons readily available simply because they are there? If it happens, will it be over fast, regardless of the damages? Or, will it inaugurate a pandora's box full of unexpected missiles that will encircle the earth like the cartoon up above? My hope is that our minds, not these "things" will ultimately determine our inter-planetary fate.
An Understated Danger
The Dangers of Intercepted Devices
An intercepted ICBM sounds so comforting, but it will undoubtedly pose a health hazard. This is another subject, however, that has been going on for a long time. The recent threat of America pulling out from the Paris Climate Agreement can only be an economic decision with the best of intentions to make America great again. It is not just climate but interference with Mother Nature. We live and die in a highly polluted world of our own making. Adding radioactive fallout into the mess is not going to help. Like everybody else, I am watching and waiting. For the record, I think nuclear war is about as big a mistake as possible. If it happens, I would not count on anyone being on the other side, in the calm aftermath, to pronounce a clear-headed assessment of what just happened.
All in all, if diplomacy or some magical use of Force Majeure can turn the situation around, then so be it. My article only serves to express what most people feel about international grievances and their helplessness to stop the madness. If America can become great again, then so can the rest of the world, if it so chooses. There is nothing standing in the way but the will to contain the impulse to resort to arms when they can only bring greater tragedy. The only advice I have would be for Kim Yong Un, no one else, to cease and desist. He already has an enviable position as sole leader of North Korea, totally within his grasp. To seek greater dominance through conquest is not realistic. It is fatalistic. Already, the idea that acquisition of nuclear weapons will change a hum-drum nation into a vastly more important nation is getting old.