The First World War quite famously kicked off with the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo in 1914 and the Second World War with Germany’s invasion of Poland in 1939. The Third however seems to have been under way for some time and I am curious, given the perspective that history will no doubt award us, when we will consider it to have started.
There is little doubting that we are a world at war. Simply, there is an identified enemy who is clearly intent in taking over the world. A map of North Africa and the Middle East can now easily demarcate which areas are Isis controlled and which are not. They now control an alarmingly large portion of the region and it seems to be growing daily, even given the limited success that those who appose them might have here and there.
They are a ruthless and evil foe, almost caricature like in their quest to be portrayed as such. Their faces are covered and they have a flair for the dramatic. They have shown us the beheadings of children, the public sale of woman and people being burned alive.
Like the Nazis they understand the power of communication and they use it to their advantage. Unlike the Nazis little effort is made to hide the atrocities and have taken the alternative route by flaunting and utilising brutal imagery. They shove it in our faces and unable to handle it, we look away.
The recent release of a recording of a public beheading of 21 Christians on their knees dressed in orange, on a beach with the power of the ocean majestically in the background, their executioners poised above them, in black, was nauseatingly “picturesque”. It had a choreographed reality show “Survivor” feel to it, although tragically, we know how it ends, and no one did. What it exhibited was a fundamental understanding of marketing and film and of psychology. It affronted and confused our senses and then it devastated us with its brutality. We might want to convince ourselves that this war is against an unsophisticated band and hooligans, but nothing could be further from the truth.
As with any World War, the countries that appose the forces of evil place themselves at risk. Australia, for example, by joining forces, have brought the fight ashore and have experienced a taste of terror for the first time. There are sympathisers and sleeper cells and any indication of confrontation seems to awaken the beast. There is no doubting that Australia is meant to be a message to other countries that they should stay well away, whilst Isis covers more and more ground.
As with any World War, prior instability in a region provides fertile ground and one has to wonder what the Obama Administration must feel in looking at Iraq, Syria and Libya today. These are not success stories.
As with any World War, the machine that is bureaucracy is slow to warm, and while it does so, it is the innocent who die. The USA and particularly Obama has been sluggish and reluctant to recognise the reality. Call it what he wants, couch it how he wants, avoid it and dance around it, dilly-dally and procrastinate, this one is not going away. There will be no appeasement and there will be no peace. Not until it is recognised that we are a world at war and that if we don’t deal with it so much more will be lost.
Sadly it is time to accept that we are once again a world at war. While we weren’t paying attention, World War III had started. We can only pray for leadership and peace and for the help of God.