Someone asked me this week why I haven’t been posting to my blog… “You need some new stuff up there,’ she said. “What’s going on, you have writer’s block?” ‘No,’ I smiled, ‘of course not,’ I replied without giving it much thought. “I’ve just been busy.” Well, here I am sitting at the keyboard and guess what? I’m blocked! Well, maybe blocked isn’t quite it – maybe it’s stuck.
There are so many horrible things happening in the world, so many dangerous hotspots, I don’t know where to begin much less pontificate about. Regrettably, I declare myself among the millions of uninformed or barely informed Americans who get by on CNN and online news briefs. But, I am aware enough to be worried … no make that horrified.
First, as examples of international impotence, there are those 200 missing Nigerian girls kidnapped in the middle of the night by the Boka Haram. Despite the huge international outcry and pleas for their return they are still out there somewhere. How can that be with our “eye in the sky” satellites that can detect a wisp of smoke from about a million feet in the air? It doesn’t make sense. They can’t be that hard to find! Where is our international A Team when we need them? Where are our Navy SEALs or Britain’s SAS or Russia’s Spetsnaz? There are specially trained tactical forces all over the place skilled enough to rescue a bunch of girls hidden somewhere. Where is everybody? If it had been government or political officials would we be sitting on our hands? What if the President of Nigeria had been taken? Would his family members be out there with placards crying out for someone to help find him? I think not.
When Malaysian Flight 327 turned up missing there was an enormous outpouring of international help, people were falling over themselves, trying to track and locate that plane. Helpers and experts from across the globe showed up to pool their talent and resources to find the missing plane. They didn’t, but at least they tried and they spent days, weeks, and months trolling the oceans, reviewing maps and theorizing about every detail. So, here are two groups of hapless victims, two groups of hysterical families, one generated a massive outpouring of international support, the other, not so much.
And what about our own immigration problem with hundreds of unaccompanied children and teens flooding in from Mexico, Central and South America, fleeing the terror and poverty of their homelands only to end up herded into temporary facilities and setting off a political firestorm between the already polarized liberals and conservatives. And with no easy solution in sight, those children are at the mercy of patchwork solutions and half-hearted compromises, which leads us to a much larger question. What it will take to stabilize their home countries so that their citizens feel safe enough to live there?
Then there’s ISIS, an Islamic militant group, determined to conquer the entire Arab world marching across the Syrian and Iraqi borders killing and conquering with impunity. And in spite of worldwide growing alarm and finger pointing they are proving that national borders are invisible when trampled over by intruders armed with conviction and weaponry (which by the way, we provided to the Syrians or left stockpiled in Iraq when we left after Iraqi Freedom.) This is a scary militant group seemingly without what we in the West would call conscience. They routinely commit mass murders, as they inch closer toward their goal of a caliphate (an Islamic state/empire headed by a supreme religious leader). ISIS plans to erase and replace currently recognized nations; each body buried in the sand moves them closer to their goal: rule the Islamic world, eliminate legitimate governments and replace them with a single caliph. Now that sounds scary as hell to me. With that kind of unchecked authority, the caliph’s powers are limitless. Again, where is everybody?? How come ‘this band of sociopaths’ has been able to get so far? Why isn’t the United Nations, Interpol, Mossad, The Arab League, Delta Force …. someone doing something to stop them? How come our world’s leaders aren’t all over this situation? Where are our International Secret Superheroes? Seriously what is everyone waiting for?
And while we’re in the Middle East…just look at what’s happening on the Gaza strip, again. Hamas and like-minded Islamic Jihadists bent on the destruction of the State of Israel are tunneling under the sand and shelling their hated neighbor who in turn is fighting back. In the process people, innocent ones and not necessarily innocent ones are dying. The eyes of the world are upon them as they cloud the skies with their explosives and public opinion swings back and forth with each kidnapped, murdered teen and each playground child torn apart by shrapnel. The tension is so high that the slightest action could catapult these two nations into all-out war. Our hearts break for those caught up in the struggle that theoretically brilliant world leaders should be able to resolve. But no! Peace conferences are dreams for future generations and the battle rages on as warring parties proclaim their innocence and defend their actions, while the bigger questions remain unasked. Bigger questions include: Do you want hatred to rule your lives? Can you look beyond your immediate situation and see a different kind of life free from embattlement? If you imagine a world beyond now, what are you willing to do to get there? Seriously, look at the sacrifices you are making fighting a war no one can win.
Then, if we have a speck of energy left we might cast our gaze to the right and take a peek at our former cold war enemy, recently thawing ally and quickly refreezing non-ally … Russia. Dear Lord what is happening there now? It appears that the Soviet Union is not dead and Russia cannot give up its dreams of yesterday. No it will reassert its Imperialist leanings! It simply took Crimea, with little more than a slap on the wrist from the world community and is working on reclaiming Ukraine. Cleverly it aligned with Russian-leaning Ukrainian insurgents who are fermenting their own brand of coup d’état. In the process of their fight, the Ukrainians’ shot down a passenger plane and now seem intent on keeping everyone concerned out of the crash site as the bodies decay and evidence is degraded. The world community now focuses on the crash site and those obstructionist rebels but really the bigger question is where are the thinking rational world leaders and what are they doing to stop Putin, who admittedly is hard to stop. Our leaders must know that the more he gets away with the more he will try to get away with. It’s simple behavioral science. But in the long run, no nation is an island (so to speak) and were the world community to unite (‘to dream the impossible dream’) they would be able to stop him and any other egomaniacal leader determined to thrust his will flagrantly upon others.
And then as if we need another example of short-sighted egomaniacal politics at its worst we have our Esteemed Speaker of the House, Boehner who has brilliantly selected this very moment of global catastrophe to attack our President – for attempting what no president before him has been able to do – provide healthcare to all Americans. And to make matters worse he managed to drag 225 votes from other members of the house, thus setting off a potential Constitutional crisis and managing to weaken the world’s most respected leader of the strongest nation on earth, at the exact moment that his competence and power must be irrefutable.
Well good for you, Boehner. You get the Idiot of the Year award. Even if Boehner and all his 225 cohorts were right on every point of contention, which stretches the imagination, this is NOT the time to do anything but create a united front presenting strength, rationality and peacemaking in the world. Do you members of the House of Representatives really not get that? Have you not watched CNN lately? Why would these global warring parties sit down at the negotiating table with when our own Congress refuses to stop their infantile backbiting?
Our Legislative Branch knows that we live in a world where chaos reigns, where war is breaking out all over the place, where polarized people cannot compromise on critical matters and then turn around and do the exact same thing? What is wrong with you people? This is just not the time for this type of infighting. The whole world is turning to the U.S. for help and leadership and you choose this time to cripple our leader? Really!? If you’re looking for someone to impeach try looking in the mirror – all 225 of you!
Then as if politics, war and deadly plane crashes aren’t enough we have an outbreak of EBOLA in Africa! Talk about scary! No cure, highly contagious and deadly. An Ebola carrier from Liberia got on a plane that crossed borders demonstrating that a simple flight could carry that virus across the world leading to a pandemic that will simply end all this infighting and nation building and kidnappings and mass murders.
Everyone needs to take a step back from tilling his own patch of soil and look at the bigger picture. We need to move from ‘I want what I want when I want it’ and think of ourselves as Jean Luc Picard did — as ‘earthlings.’ Though we are all different we do share this globe and we can blow it up or fix it up. These disruptive leaders suffer from extreme egomania which leads to extreme tunnel vision. World leaders and negotiators need to unify whichever nations still have a modicum of rationality and unite around several key points. Organizations like the United Nations, the European Union and the Arab League need to take a good look at reality. All of you! All at the same time! Get united behind strong interventions. Diplomatic Mr. Nice Guy isn’t working anymore and sanctions… ha! When dealing with individuals and groups who are lawless, blinded by their own passions you cannot expect them to cooperatively abandon their missions. You can’t expect masses of Palestinians to say ‘Ok this isn’t working for me. I’m going to relocate to Egypt or Saudi Arabia. You guys stay and fight over the West Bank as for me I’m outa here.’ And you can’t expect ISIS to say ‘You know, that whole Arab world under one Umbrella thing is not such a good idea after all.’ You can’t expect the Arab nations all of whom hate the Jews to say ‘Israel is a nice country and we’re glad to have them in the neighborhood.’ And you can’t expect Putin to say, ‘You have your country and I’ll have mine.’ You can’t expect any of these things to happen, at least not without pressure.
I know people like Secretary of State Kerry and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon are working their metaphorical ‘asses off’ trying to fix these messes and I respect them for all their efforts. But by themselves they can’t make anything happen. Hillary Clinton coined the phrase ‘it takes a village’ I’d suggest taking it just a bit further; try ‘it takes a globe.’