A More Dangerous World...
Given the obvious nuclear aspirations of Iran and North Lorea, the spread of a radical Islamic fascism, the disregard for human life shown in a million places from the enforced mass starvation of Darfur, to the killing fields of American schoolrooms, one has to wonder just what kind of future the world faces.
I grew up during the height of the Cold War, where the two major superpowers pointed nuclear holhocaust at each other 24/7/365 , and where the threat of extinction hovered over every human activity you could think of. The destructive force at the command of both the American President and the Soviet Premier was held in check by a very slender set of hair-triggers, that at any moment, could fail and let loose the dogs of war. Terror maintained a balance of force on planet Earth. Neither side (although there were individuals that actively sought such a thing) was going to fry the other unless there was a good reason to do so. Reason, even in something as unreasonable as a nuclear weapon, was still in force.
Nowadays, we have some new players on the stage; Pakistan, India, China, and now North Korea and Iran. Pretty soon we'll be probably be seeing nuclear Brazil and Japan. Thatis the nature of the forcs unleashed by Messers. Einstein and Oppenheimer; once the genie is out of the bottle, and so on and so forth. And the world seems so much more unsafe now in 2006 than it did in 1976.
Of course, if you're a leftist, the reason for this is the conervative policies of the Western nations, and in particular, the United States. If you sit on the opposite side of the spectrum, the reason for this insecurity is the complete collapse of the collective security arrangements of the 20th century that ensured peace through mutual terror. This is an argument that will never be solved, if you ask me, although both sides seem to have merit in their position. The problem is not politics and policy, economics and dogma, it is human nature, a force which cannot be constrained by governments and collective organizations.
Human nature, not the policy of any nation or alliance, created Usama Bin Laden. Human nature encourages poor people who otherwise feel powerless to strive for what they construe as the measure of true power; nuclear weapons. Human nature dictates that when restraints on uncivilized behavior are removed, uncivilized behavior will result. And human nature also ensures that when minor incidents of uncivilzed behavior fail to have the intended effect (to frighten, to call attention to something, to affect the actions of others) then the scale and barbarity of such actions escalate. Hence, we go from hijacking to using airliners as weapons, from kidnapping to kidnapping/beheading on the internet. We go from postulating tenets of human rights and freedoms to sucking fetuses out of a womb via vaccuum cleaner. We advance from stupidity to stupidity, platitude to platitutde, inanity to inanity, horror to horror, and we can never, ever seem to figure out either the source or the engine.
WE are the source. WE are the engine. But to admit it is slightly embarassing. To do anything about it is even more horrible to contemplate: action is beyond the scope of most people, too self-interested as they are. Instead,they scream for "the government" to do "something" about this, that or the other crisis; so long as they can watch "Dancing with the Stars" and get gasoline at a reasonable price, why should they care if there's some Arab dude with a set of TNT boxer shorts? So long as they have the "right" to abrogate their responsibilities and surf internet porn without anyone looking over their shoulder, why should they care about philosophies and ideologies that are poisonous? So long as they can drink all the Bud Light and watch the Super Bowl, why does anyone care that there are people starving, dying of preventable diseases, who don't have freedom, who can't read, who own nothing, who have nothing and will never amount to anything, and who WILL take it out on us, given the opportunity?
Think about it. Then think about the great, unwashed masses, starving in Pyongyang, brainwashed in Tehran, struggling for decency in Baghdad, fighting to survive in Darfur, or ignorant and frustrated in Chicago.
The Cold War has ended, and in it's place a Pandora's box of hatred, stupidity, militancy, intolerance, ideology, hatred --- the entire, disgusting regime of inhumanity on display makes one gag ---- has been opened. In retrospect, it now appears that the Cold War wasn't such a bad thing, after all.