Wednesday, November 07, 2007

From Pakistan to Finland, Wussup?

NOT that the world, at large, is ever a settled place. If you admit a wish or even a desire for "world peace" these days outside the confines of a Christmas card, you get a smirk, a rolling of the eyes, a glazed turning away to the next tipsy loon.

But the past week or so has certainly been rattling Atlas' chains.

From calls for riots and revolution "at all costs" in Pakistan to an American-styled school shooting in Finland, of all places, to the boiling rancor of the Middle East, angry heart of the world, this is not one of our better seasons.

This time has been fermenting for decades, of course, since China started sending out its imperial dragons, since the Turks started riding the fence between Europe and Asia, since Palestine unwittingly helped give birth to Israel, since India and Pakistan starting sticking swords into their turf wars, since the United States starting policing every seedy hotbed of ethnic and imperial strife -- and every land it could pilfer for natural (and unnatural) resources. There has been, as they, "a large sucking sound..."

But this week, it seems to me, it is coming home. Some of us have been saying these things for decades (and a prescient few for centuries): the world will not END. It will still be here. Many of US will still be here. But the times ahead may make these seem like the good ol' days, the days when indeed, by comparison, the world did seem like a "settled" place.

Maybe, give or take a few ill-wrought wars, a few genocides, a few ethnic cleansings, a few hundred million people killed, and the worst-yet plundering of the planet, maybe, just maybe what we had between 1945 and 2001 was world peace.

Maybe that was as close as we can get, cold, hot, in between and nothing quite right but about as right as it ever could be, at least in our recent memories (the last few generations) and in the prospects for our future in the decades ahead.

Americans have become bipolar about money. Many may not see the scenario apparently at hand, where the U.S. dollar sinks even lower and is dumped, where the debts are called, where the military and consumer debt bankrupt the country. "We're rich, and the rich get richer: somebody will lend us money. They won't let us sink. They need us to buy their things (and to protect them)." Would you lend money to Paris Hilton?

Would you willingly fork over your taxes to George Bush? To G. M.? To corn subsidies? To B-52s over Vietnam? To a nuclear arsenal most likely to be used because of the "Holy Lands?"

Oil, at $100 a barrel, and the coming of $5 and $6 and $8 gallons of gasoline might not be a bad thing for global warming. But think of the strife; we are bludgeoning our way into the waning days of the status quo. Civilization is not looking so good right now. Wars (or more wars) will be fought for $150 and $200 barrels of oil. The Nobel Prize committee was right to associate climate change (and really an assessment of our own greed and lifestyles and waste) with world peace. The times they are unsettling, meaning they will become less settled, and this may seem, in hindsight, like peace.

I am hoping for something better -- and for leaders who will lead us there. There, I said it, and weeks before the Christmas cards start fluttering down from the sky.


At 11/29/2007 5:48 PM, Blogger 1rfruth said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 11/29/2007 7:20 PM, Blogger 1rfruth said...

Whats up with the Citigroup Abu Dhabi 'deal', did they go shopping with our money or what !?


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