The Decade of the “Troubled Teens”

We love name giving and categorising anything and everything. If something is deemed serious and scientific it not only gets one name,it gets two. One Latin the other local to demonstrate its significance. Not only does this hold true for the animate and inanimate world  but for time its self. Decades and centuries are given names to which we believe illustrate what we feel marked them out.

Some stand the test of time. Like the Roaring Twenties , or the Swinging Sixties of the 20th century. Looking around  at the madness that seems to be engulfing the world in the second decade of the 21st Century I am already confident of the name it should carry, even though we are less than half way through it.

This decade should  be remembered as the  “Troubled Teens.” Just like that faced by a child entering their teen years with the dazzling world of adulthood beckoning.  This journey is rarely smooth even without taking  into account the acne spots and pimples,the bane of every teenager’s life. Suddenly these youngsters are thrust into a world they do not understand and many want to change. Its a mixture of rebellion and unsteady hormones. What better way is there to describe the pubescent antics of those who currently lead and govern  us. They should know better. From World leaders, to journalists, and Generals. They plod on seemingly oblivious to what is happening around them.Always taking the line of least resistance and going with the flow. Its all rather like the story of the “Kings New Clothes,”  where the king is eventually found not to be wearing any clothes at all.  But still all around him  admired the non existent finery as none wanted to admit they could not see them at all. It tool an innocent young child to point out that the King was in fact naked. Like today’s world leaders they would rather avert their eyes rather than embark on the right but difficult road.

Lets start and finish with the Middle East. Where else when writing for the “Times of Israel. ” should we go.  Surely there can be nothing more ironic than one world leader after an other trotting off to Iraqi Kurdistan pleading with these intelligent sophisticated  people, who have long buried their ambitions for independence,  to continue to make the best of a bad deal and not split from Iraq.  They are even being asked to militarily support  those who have long persecuted them. This same Iraq which almost from the first day of its independence has presented a troubled and brutal face to the world.

The Kurds are in many ways the Muslim world’s Jews. An ancient people living in a homogeneous group. There misfortune was to have a homeland which straddled the borders of a number of countries. Here they were  a majority no where and consequently a minority every where.At various times and in various countries they have risen up to strike for independence only to eventually be beaten and slaughtered.

Now with Iraq falling apart you would think The West would be falling over it self to encourage a stable country in a troubled area. One which lives under a Parliamentary system and enjoys a level  of democracy  not seen outside the Western World.  Here surely is a potential beacon for the Arab countries around them emulate and learn from.Not a bit of it.

First in to glad hand the Kurdish leaders was John Kerry, fresh from his failure to bring about peace between Israel and the Palestinians. No matter that the Kurdish lands are in almost within clear and indisputable borders Kerry message was ” stick with Iraq.” Not even a promise of new weapons was made  This could leave them to defend themselves against the cruel menace of ISIS who proudly display the modern American weapons captured from the dispirited Iraqi army.

Just a few days after Kerry’s departure the British Foreign  Security William Hague made the self same journey. Where an American Secretary of State treads you can be sure as day follows night a British minister will not be far behind. As the Iranians might put it Little Satan always follows in Big Satan’s foot steps.

I wonder how Kerry and Hague tried to persuade the worldly wise  Kurdish leaders that despite their being 200 million Arabs in 22 separate countries there could not be a single Kurdish state. Perhaps the Secretary of State, whose country traditionally displays rightful contempt for the old European Imperialist order told the Kurds the British and French in the shape of the diplomats Sykes and Picot had split the Middle East into a set of new countries by carving up the old Turkish Empire a hundred years earlier and this act of Imperialism , to the detriment of the Kurds, should stand for ever more.

This of course leavers you to wonder what he previously  told the Israelis when he tried to convince them that despite there being 22 Arab countries a twenty third should be carved out of territory claimed by Israel. The great Greek orators of ancient times took pride in arguing equally adroitly both sides of an argument. As Kerry made little or no effect on either the Kurds or Israel its clear a Greek orator he isn’t, though I would have liked to have been a fly on the wall when he made his pitch.

But surely someone would pick out the weakness of these arguments. What about the heavyweights of the world’s top newspapers and broadcasting stations.  They must be able to see the contradiction and b intelligently inform their audiences that the hare was out of his burrow and  running at top speed unlikely ever to come back.

But no most of these journalists were trotting out clichés of how Israel was continuing to stoke up animosity among the Palestinians in particular and the Arabs in general by doing their best to stay alive and hunt down those who would kill them and theirs.

In Britain sections of  the journalists union tried and failed to introduce a boycott against  Israel. It was defeated not because of good sense or love for Israel but a realisation by  foreign correspondents that Israel was the only safe and open country to broadcast from in the Middle East. Here they could report on Lebanon , the civil war in Syria, and Iraq, without being in fear of their lives. They could at the same time indulge in some Israel bashing to entertain the chattering classes who believe every bad word written about the Jewish state..

There are almost six years left of the ” Troubled Teens.” I really hope by then the leaders and intellectuals of this world will have grown out of this  terrible folly.Lets hope so. can you really imagine the teenage years lasting for ever!

About the Author
Adrian Needlestone quit sixth form at 17 to follow his dream to become a journalist. So desperate was he that he accepted a wage of £6 a week for six days work as an office boy at what was then London largest independent news agency, The Fleet Street News Agency. After making tea and buying sandwiches for six months he was given the opportunity to cut his working week down by one day and cover the East London Crown courts in those days known as Quarter sessions Courts. The bread and butter work was the local paper contracts the agency held with the occasional national story being cream on the top. During 18 months covering the courts stories in the nationals became the norm rather than the exception and he was quickly switched back to the main office in Clerkenwell to work with the news team. At the age of 21 came his first big break when Murdoch took over the Sun newspaper and promptly hired the agency’s news editor and most of the senior staff. In a leap of faith the agency head promoted him to news editor but confided many years later that it was the “cheap” option which if he sank that was life and if he swam so much the better. Seven years later after working regular evenings on the Mirror and the Mail he joined the Evening standard on the news picture desk. From there he moved on to the National Enquirer in America, the News of the World, BBC national radio and ran the news section of the Derek Jameson TV magazine programme on Sky. After 25 years in the business he decided to slow down and turn his hand to business but he never enjoyed the success in that world to match his career in Fleet street. Semi retired he has now taken to the internet and is writing a blog as well as simultaneously trying to write three books, one about his time on the News of the World which he hopes to launch through Kindle in about six weeks.
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