Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Darkening Clouds

Gerry Caplan begins the New Year by asking the question, "Is Doomsday really upon us?" He recalls the last time we came to the brink -- the Cuban Missile Crisis:

We are rapidly approaching the same kind of escalation that led the world to the Cuban missile crisis of 1962, with humankind on the very brink of nuclear war and nuclear destruction. I still recall it quite vividly. It was a uniquely terrifying moment in the lifetime of the world. Like everyone else, I too kept a sharp eye out for the very latest news to see how long we had left to exist.

I was in my first year of high school back then. I left to catch the bus that day, not sure I'd come home or if I'd have a home to come to. When the Russian ships turned back, the school pumped a radio broadcast through the intercom. The administration made no introduction. The report came on and we all breathed a little easier. But these are not times to make one breathe easier:

Surely no one would willingly entrust Mr. Kim and Mr. Trump with the future of humanity, yet neither seems controllable in the slightest. Who knows where their bizarre game of chicken may end up? It's perfectly plausible that one or another may stumble his way into launching the armed missile that would demand immediate retaliation by the other. The consequences, as we all knew back in the Cold War days, would indeed be mutual assured destruction. Who believes Mr. Kim and Mr. Trump can be trusted to choose sanity over nuclear Armageddon?

And, if Kim and Trump somehow manage to avoid running into each other, there is the explosion that is brewing just south of us:

There's no reason to believe that this summer's outbreak of violent anarchy in Charlottesville, Va., will be the last. Countless Americans are ready to erupt. It's estimated that hundreds of heavily armed neo-fascist militias threaten to unleash their power, knowing they have an ally in the White House. Both furious African-Americans and frustrated whites have had enough. America feels ripe for its second civil war, which, like the first, would unleash forces that can hardly be imagined. How can any normal sensible person fail to be shaken? 

Something to think about.

Image: The Daily Beast


Steve said...

There will be no war with Korea. Period. Its all Military Industrial Complex hype. Maybe Korea can successful launch a nuke. But Kim knows if he does that is it for North Korea, a minute later its glass. We like to portray all foes as crazy and irrational. Just look how easy it would be to portray past American presidents, let alone Trump.

Owen Gray said...

It's not a matter of being crazy, Steve. It's a matter of miscalculating. Human beings have a reputation for that.

The Mound of Sound said...

Trump is a potent, if erratic, catalyst for much of what America's "bought and paid for" Congress has put in motion at least as far back as the election of Barack Obama. I think Steve would do well with a course in war studies. Perhaps if he understood the complexities of the situation and the dynamics that can trigger wars neither side wants he wouldn't be so naively dismissive.

Owen Gray said...

The old adage still remains true, Mound. It's much easier to get into a war than it is to get out of one.

Toby said...

We get incredibly bad media reporting on North Korea. Kim has very good reasons for what he does. Yes, he's a tyrant but at least he is reasoned. Trump is a fool.

Neither Kim nor any other North Korean wants to wage war against the United States. That would be a totally lopsided conflict and the North Koreans know it. They just want the Americans to understand that they cannot attack North Korea without repercussions as they did with Iraq and Libya. If you kick a sleeping pit bull expect it to bite you.

Owen Gray said...

The present situation calls for a severe dose of realism, Toby. If these guys make it personal, there will be big trouble.

Anonymous said...

Realism?! Trump wouldn't recognize reality if it bit him on the keester. The man will finish his term as demented as Ronnie Raygun, which is the excuse they'll use once again to avoid prosecuting the president.


Owen Gray said...

And, becaue he is divorvcd from reality, it will be a miracle if we survive his time in office without a catastrophic incident, Cap.