As the world burns

No, I am not referring to a soap opera of the past, nor am I referring to this week’s climate change conference, although were I President Obama I would be, considering nothing seems to get his ire up except for that topic, and guns, and Republicans.  The whole world could be going to hell because of Islamic radicalism – and it is, and our poor president finds that he is bored to death with it.

When I was growing up, the Cold War between the West and the East was the biggest threat and the biggest problem.  But although there was always the worry of possible conflict between the two superpowers – the United States and the Soviet Union, the doctrine known as MAD or “mutually assured destruction,” prevented nuclear war.

Neither side wanted to destroy each other, so aside from a few regional proxy wars and a scary showdown or two, there was a stalemate.  Not pleasant of course, but for all the danger, there was some kind of control, some semblance of stability.

Today with no Soviet Union, and the pretty much unchecked advance of Islamic terrorism groups and states – crazies who see no need to live, as long as they can make others die, the lack of American leadership is creating vacuums within vacuums, and US friends, be they in the Middle East or Europe, believe, and with good reason, they have no reliable superpower ally as in the past.

The world looks to America for leadership and those who run this wrong priority show we call the United States Government either do nothing or they dawdle.

Perhaps if the terrorists said they loved Republicans and hated the earth’s climate, and not hated Christians and Jews and sundry Muslims different from themselves and democracy and modernized women and gays and the arts and chocolate and indoor plumbing and whatever else irritates them, Obama might do something.  ISIS, Hamas, al-Qaeda, Al-Shabaab, Boko Haram and the rest of the Muslim Jihadists already have the guns, so that part works for our disinterested and disinclined president.

Vladimir Putin, our Russian friend, he of Crimea and Ukraine annexation and border incursion fame, saw that he could enter the Syrian vacuum and make a bigger mess out of an already terrible mess thanks to US leadership dereliction.  It is complicated for sure over there in Syria where Hafez al-Assad holds part of what was once a complete country as he continues his obliteration of those men, women and children who detest his dictatorship.

And it is where ISIS holds the other part of the fractured country as it continues to destroy whoever and whatever they don’t like, peoples going back many centuries, as well as ancient structures whose only crime was to be a testament to civilizations past.  But the uncivilized hate the civilized.  In all its forms.

The rebels, stuck in the middle, remain pretty much abandoned.  A quarter of a million Syrians are now dead, probably many more.  Millions have fled, straining the European Union holier-than-thou countries along with the world’s conscience, and we already know that even if only one refugee had an evil inclination, he could assist in the killing and maiming of hundreds in Paris.  Because at least one did. And the refugee situation that didn’t have to be, is yet another disaster.

One of the first headlines I saw last week after a Russian warplane was downed by a NATO member state, was “Turkey shoots down plane.”  Because Thanksgiving was only a couple days away, I thought some insurgent, gallinaceous fowl was finally taking revenge for the millions of his or her relatives whose flesh had been used to fatten the flesh of others on a feast taking place each last Thursday of November.

But no, it was the country whose president has become more “Islamicized” over the last number of years who would be nuts enough to make the shoot-down order, and don’t think he didn’t.  It’s lucky Putin didn’t snap.  So far.

Take a look at the map on this page showing a list of ongoing conflicts.  The Middle East won’t shock you but what is happening in Africa might.  Of course, it is the Middle East that raises the most alarms.  And the tentacles of those who continue to destabilize that area stretch into Africa and other places.  If you include Islamic terrorist attacks, untouched lands are even fewer.

Look again at the map.  Perhaps one day Antarctica will be the only continent where one might find safety.  It is a tad cold, but the penguins are cute and they all look like they are going to a formal society dinner.  They seem so polite and friendly, those wobbling, aquatic, tuxedo-wearing birds.

Last January, in an interview with Vox Media, in answer to the following question: “Do you think the media sometimes overstates the level of alarm people should have about terrorism and this kind of chaos, as opposed to a longer-term problem of climate change and epidemic disease?” President Obama said, “Absolutely.”  That damn media.  Why all the fuss about terrorism when the polar bears are disappearing?  What?  They aren’t?

In February, towing the we-don’t-care, nothing-to-see-here, administration line, US National Security Advisor Susan Rice, delivering the White House’s 2015 National Security Strategy said, “Too often, what’s missing here in Washington is a sense of perspective.  Yes, there’s a lot going on.  Still, while the dangers we face may be more numerous and varied, they are not of the existential nature we confronted during World War II or the Cold War.  We can’t afford to be buffeted by alarmism and an instantaneous news cycle.”

You know, come to think of it, on 9/11, al-Qaeda only killed 3,000 Americans out of 285 million at the time, so I guess she’s right.  The threat of terrorism is not existential so why give a crap?  When they can kill 300 million at once, then we can be “alarmed.”  Now I have a better sense of perspective.

Everyone knows that Obama said ISIS was contained only hours before it struck in Paris.  True, Obama did add the terrorist group had not gained any ground in Iraq.  But he also said, “You don’t see this systemic march by ISIL across the terrain.”  And that is accurate.  If you don’t include the new ISIS locales of Afghanistan, Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Yemen.  In more countries, they just kill and bomb.  And of course, that doesn’t count either.

On November 17, a few days after the latest Paris attack, US Secretary of State John Kerry, explaining why that terrorist attack was different than the one that took place in Paris last January said, “There’s something different about what happened from Charlie Hebdo, and I think everybody would feel that.  There was a sort of particularized focus and perhaps even a legitimacy in terms of — not a legitimacy, but a rationale that you could attach yourself to somehow and say, OK, they’re really angry because of this and that.”

So that’s it!  They are really angry, and that’s also why they added Jews to be slaughtered.  And so, we just have to be nicer.  I say we send all the Jihadists cups of hot cocoa.  And we should add those delightful little marshmallows to make the homey drink more soothing and heartwarming.  That should do it!  Next problem!

Doubling down on the global warming “alarmism” and letting anyone with half a brain know he still had his head buried deeply in the sand, Obama said this last week, “Next week, I will be joining President Hollande and world leaders in Paris for the global climate conference.  What a powerful rebuke to the terrorists it will be when the world stands as one and shows that we will not be deterred from building a better future for our children.”

Why use military force or any kind of force to battle the terrorists?  Just go to climate change conferences!  That will show ‘em!  There was so much raucous laughter coming out of the “contained” ISIS “JV team” bases, I could have sworn I heard the guffaws all the way here in Los Angeles.

As the world burns, Nero continues to fiddle.

About the Author
Shia Altman who hails from Baltimore, MD, now lives in Los Angeles. His Jewish studies, aerospace, and business and marketing background includes a BA from the University of Maryland and an MBA from the University of Baltimore. When not dabbling in Internet Marketing, Shia tutors Bar and Bat Mitzvah, and Judaic and Biblical Studies to both young and old.
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