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Are We There Yet?

Aug 1, 2008
If you pay close attention to the news it will begin to dawn on you that we are on a one-way highway to a series of disasters that will probably alter the course of human history in a way that will be detrimental to our way of life. Vice president Al Gore finally managed to make us aware of the dangers we are facing after a long and hard-fought campaign.

His opponents were the nay-sayers who insisted that everything was a-okay and that environmentalists were deranged tree huggers, and of course the indifferent public who were too preoccupied to pay attention. Isn't it interesting the way the spin doctors manage to demonize anyone they dislike or oppose? "Tree hugger" why doesn't she find a boyfriend to hug?

Many years ago I had the good fortune to listen to a social commentator philosopher and comedian named George Carlin, he made an interesting point that resonates especially now. He was commenting on the raping and pillaging of the environment when he said in so many words, "the earth does not need saving, no matter what we do the planet will survive." He went on to say, "even if we wrap the planet in Styrofoam, plastic, and foil mother earth will shrug them off, evolve a new species, and carry on as if nothing happened." Carlin concluded his remarks by saying, "we don't need to save the planet, we need to save ourselves," so true, so prophetic.

The human condition is of more immediate concern, if we pause long enough to look around us we will discover that we are in conflict with each other in so many places that concern should be elevated to alarm. Here are a few examples of hot spots that could boil over.

Iraq, unstable and bleeding us dry in terms of causalities and treasure. Kurdistan, sitting on substantial deposits of oil and fighting for their independence, and in constant conflict with Turkey. Afghanistan, a thorn on the side of the coalition forces, more blood and treasure lost, and by the way, has anyone seen Osama Bin Laden recently? India and Pakistan have fought three wars since their separation in the forties. There is an uneasy peace between these two nations but we all know that it only takes a spark to start a fire, and the next time around (God forbid) we must remember that they are both armed with nuclear weapons.

North Korea is an enigma, are they posturing and bluffing or are they for real? Does North Korea really want to join the nuclear club? And if the answer is yes, what possible reasons would they have? Invade South Korea? Defend themselves against an invasion from China or from the American and South Korean forces protecting the 38th parallel? You tell me. There is a theory that if you threaten to build nuclear weapons the rest of the world will bend over backwards to stay out of your way and aid will flow in large quantities. Does this make any sense? Perhaps it does.

The list of hot spots is long and complex but to hammer home the point I will add a few more. The Israelis are sitting on a powder key, and every attempt at peace so far has failed. Anwar Sadat, the former Egyptian President was assassinated by his own military officers for making peace with the Israelis, and of course the Palestinian problem continues to be a intractable. I could round it off by pointing out that the pot is being stirred and perhaps coming to a boil in places like Iran, Lebanon, Syria, and Tibet.

We are destroying our environment and polluting the very air that we need to breathe. The melting of the snow caps in the Artic and the cyclone (hurricane by another name) that may have killed 60,000 people in Myanmar (former Burma) are stern warnings that all is not well, many experts are predicting that oil production will plateau in ten to twelve years. If this unhappy event occurs, the oil producers will cut production and the price per barrel will skyrocket, think 400 dollars per barrel and 12 dollars per gallon at the pump.

We are into 2008 and the populations of Darfur and Sudan are experiencing widespread famine. In other parts of the world hungry, desperate people are rioting and looting anything they can put their hands on to feed their families. I cannot recall any decade following the Cold War when there was so much uncertainty and fear in America and around the world (911 is probably the exception). There appears to be no end in sight to the escalating drama of rising prices looming inflation and the threat of the starving masses breaking out their breeding grounds in search of sustenance. Are we there yet? I think not but we are not too far away.

Note: The reference to Beirut was made on the 5th April, 08 a few days before trouble erupted once again in Lebanon.
About the Author
Bernard Steele is a veteran law enforcement officer (operational and administrative), now retired. He was the former chief security officer of the National Banking System of Guyana S.A. To learn about his new book visit Death in Small Doses.
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