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Monday, May 13, 2024

No one is going to win that war.

Press reporting indicates that President Biden has access to information about the whereabouts of Hamas leadership that he will not share with Israel unless they renounce their all-out attack on Hamas militants in Rafa.

I have not talked to an Israeli official for over forty years, and I find the "news reporting" in both Israel and here in this country to be little more than thinly disguised, disgustingly partisan, opinion pieces.  During intense conflict, it is always difficult to identify the difference between fact and fiction.  Having said that, I do have a very strong hunch as to what is going on in both countries.  Israel is currently led by a group of people who adamantly believe that they must destroy Hamas as a fighting force.  This country is led by an ignorant, cowardly, vacillating, over-the-hill politician who is trying to get reelected.  I believe that the leadership in both countries is convinced that they can manipulate political opinion in the other country to their advantage.  You and I should read what passes as news in this country with this in mind.

President Biden's position on the conflict is, of course, ludicrous and can change in a heart beat if one or another public opinion poll in this country demands it.  If true, the fact that we are withholding critical information as to the whereabouts of Hamas leadership is appalling, but, unfortunately, also very possible, given this Administration's wrong-headed approach to our relationship with Hamas backer Iran.  On the other hand, Israel's determination to destroy Hamas is either unrealistic or openly vitriolic, depending on your basic orientation vis-a-vis the age old conflict between Muslim and Jew.  Every single Jew and Arab being killed today in Gaza will inevitably be building blocks for the next Arab/Israeli conflict down the road a bit, as all of their children grow up with very powerful hate a fundamental part of their education.

I see Hamas as being evil-incarnate, and I completely understand Israeli anger.  I reluctantly agree with the effort to eliminate Hamas as a security threat and, were I in a position to do so, would provide Israel with everything that they need in the way of munitions to finish that very difficult task.  I would also reiterate my belief that a long term improvement in the security situation will require rapprochement between Jew and Arab.  I see the Abraham Accords and the possibility of improved relations between Riyadh and Jerusalem as being an obvious step in the right direction, but even if some sort of rapprochement between Jew and Sunni Arab can be accomplished, we are still faced with the Sunni-Shia split within the Arab World and a militant Teheran increasingly aligned with China and Russia in a nuclear armed coalition hostile to our interests.

Americans have to get it through our thick heads that the next world war will include the use of nuclear weapons on a large scale and that no one is going to win that war.  Those weapons already exist and are primed for use anytime one or another idiot so decides.  I argue that fact is too important to be left to politicians.  I argue that it requires your and my attention.  The immature children and mindless activists currently acting out on college campuses all over the country indicates that the next generation is not going to be smart enough to play any useful role.  I increasingly believe that you and I are the last best hope for sanity and the fact that you refuse to hear me is even more depressing than listening to Trump and Biden and their supporters trade adolescent taunts.

Sunday, May 12, 2024

We are right. They are wrong.

The Washington Post has an article about the forthcoming national election in Mexico, out today, that says that "more than two dozen candidates have been killed leading up to the June 2 vote; hundreds have dropped out of the race. More than 400 have asked the federal government for security details. The campaign of intimidation and assassination is putting democracy itself at risk."  All of this is, of course, part of the individual cartels wanting to ensure that local officials are friendly to their interests.  Democracy in Mexico is not at risk, it is in the process of being destroyed, and the exact same thing is happening in other parts of Central and South America as well.  The most egregious case being Haiti, where open warfare has been ongoing for some time.  Add to this situation, all-out industrial war in Ukraine and Gaza, and Radical Islam on the march throughout Northern Africa and you have too much of the world involved in too intense warfare.  The idea that we are seriously considering another such conflict in East Asia is beyond stupid.  All of this while here inside what used to be the beacon of democracy, we are at each other's throats and in the process of destroying our own democracy.  South American cartels have a foothold in our urban centers, our police structure is in tatters, and our court system is crumbling.  The kiss of death may very well be that too many Americans seriously doubt the integrity of our elections, which will, if not genuinely corrected, inevitably lead to more mindless demonstrations, rioting and, eventually, actual insurrection.

I ask myself why and conclude that it is because society has changed not only here in this country, but throughout the world.  Society.  Not laws.  Not dictators.  Not crooks.  Society.  I believe that governments are created not by individual leaders, but by large groups of followers and that these followers generate the leaders that they willingly follow.  The fighting that erupts is the result of friction between the groups as articulated by the leaders.  Articulated, NOT given birth.  The America that I was born into went through the horrors of the Second World War and American society was formed by those people.  That society elected leadership that honestly tried to create a better world that would eschew violence.  They failed abysmally and the American people turned away from policies that tried to lift others and increasingly focused on ways to maximize our own prosperity.  In the process, we also grew used to being number one.  We took it as our due.  Others around the world came to resent our dominance and developed leadership that chose to confront our dominant position in the world.  You and I responded by ignoring and/or minimizing their success.  The idea that we ignore China's success in allying itself with Iran while simultaneously destroying the Uighur community inside China is absolutely amazing.  Hell, we don't even discuss the fact that both India and Pakistan are participating in BRICKS.  We save our anger for Mexico that permits the Chinese to sell us the illicit drugs that we American citizens are demanding so that we can better fuel the imaginary world that we live in.

We are at the point where our antagonists are growing stronger and we are growing weaker.  Coalitions are emerging that unite disparate societies around their dislike of us while we increasingly seek to isolate ourselves from "foreign entanglements."  The most dramatic recent example being Afghanistan, but there are a plethora of other examples.  Examples ignored by us as being inconsistent with the pretend world that we wish existed.  Haiti is where Mexico is headed and our only real concern is that it is no longer safe to go surfing in Baja.  We have more important things to consider.  We have to improve society's use of pronouns, we have to get the price of gasoline down while simultaneously protecting the climate, we have to increase the number of potato chips that money-grubbing companies put in their potato chip bags, we have to decide how old the fetus should be when we snuff it, and we have to ensure that everybody respects our feelings.

The fact that there is open warfare all around us is the other's fault and has nothing to do with us, because we are minding our own business and wishing everyone well.  We are the best educated people in the entire history of mankind, we are the beacon of democracy, and, most important of all, we are way too nice to be any part of the problem.  Our cities are really not as bad as people say they are even though business is moving out and citizens are too.  We have become suburbanites, working from home, buying our needs on line, and socializing with each other on Zoom and Social Media.  We wear our masks as a badge of honor and shun those that would see the world differently than do we.  We are not prejudiced.  We are right.

Tik Tok.  Tik Tok.

Friday, May 10, 2024

I am not s fan of President Biden's foreign policy.

 I am not s fan of President Biden's foreign policy or of any of the individuals involved in making and implementing it, but I see the greater problem to be the ignorance of the American people about the world around us.  That ignorance permits the likes of Biden and Trump to pursue poorly conceived foreign adventures, many of which are diametrically opposed to one another.  We choose presidents, not because they have the better policy vis-a-vis whichever foreign country, but rather how we think that they will approach abortion, our economy, domestic crime, and assorted other domestic issues that touch our lives directly.  Foreign policy is dismissed with the charge that a given candidate is either "weak" or "strong."

I increasingly see the on-going disintegration of American society as being a significant argument that democracy is unable to deal with success.  A success that breeds cowardice, laziness, sloth, greed, xenophobia and wishful thinking.  If Americans were to live up to the responsibilities of democracy, we would perforce be more interested in the welfare of our fellow human.  Although you and I don't see what is happening to us, the rest of the world does, and they are actively looking for different leadership.  The political scientist in me finds all of this fascinating.  The American in me finds it disgusting.  The price that I pay for admitting my disgust is intellectual shunning by my community.  Again, the political scientist in me finds that too to be fascinating.  I would love to be able to discuss it with Putin and Xi and one or another of the ayatollahs, about whom we know so little.  Particularly Xi, who appears to have thought about it more deeply than any of the rest of our antagonists.  (I would expect a chat with Kim to be psychedelic rather than informative.)

My detractors will say that I favor dictatorship over democracy and that goes a very long way to proving my argument that we are a stupid people.

Thursday, May 9, 2024

From Gaza to Michigan

 My guess is that foreign governments are involved in stimulating and supporting the anti-Israel demonstrations occurring all across this country and spreading to other countries world-wide.  If I were one of our antagonists, I would certainly do so.   I do not, however, believe that the majority of the participants in the various demonstrations are participating because they have knowingly been recruited by foreigners.  I believe that the majority of the students are unsophisticated, naive, good hearted folks, who are genuinely and rightfully aghast at the horrors of the Gaza conflict.  That mental state combined with youthful naiveté and a simplistic understanding of the world, makes them ready followers for skilled agitators, who have been in place long enough to understand and be accepted by their American friends.

The Pro-Hamas apparatus here in this country gives every appearance of being composed of very competent soldiers and sophisticated leaders, dominated by openly Pro-Palestinian activists who have managed to attain legal representation in Congress.  Given that they have obviously been in place for a considerable length of time, I am not surprised to find university instructors and professors among the protestors, nor am I surprised to see American money providing logistic support, even as I remain unclear as to why that is so.  I am jaundiced enough to even understand President Biden’s very real concern that these demonstrations might well cost him the 2024 election.  The severity of that last danger is such that the Biden Administration is currently demanding that Israel stop trying to destroy Hamas.  As a retired Cold Warrior, I give our Palestinian friends kudos for their skill in manipulating us, but were I to be discussing it with them as one professional with another, I would also point out that we are an absurdly easy mark right now, given our WOKE/MAGA mental illness.

As any who have read any of my various articles probably already knows, I am of the belief that our biggest problem is that we are a democratic form of government plagued by an electorate that is incapable of understanding, let alone dealing with the challenges that face us.  It is virtually impossible to conceive of any problem that would not see us divided in half as to how to deal with it, and with both groups offering inadequate tactical solutions to problems that require an intelligent, long term strategy.  Gaza is but one in a very long list of major problems that are falling afoul of this inadequacy.  It is one of the major reasons why our approach to any and all problems is tactical rather than strategic.  In my mind Hamas is a tactical flareup in a vastly more important issue - Radical Islam’s age old war with Judaism.  The critical issue facing America is not a bunch of naive citizens rioting on American campuses, nor even the plight of millions of Arabs and Jews caught in the current spate of fighting throughout the Middle East.  The more important issue is Arab-Jewish relations - wolrdwide.  Not from the river to the sea, but rather from Gaza to Michigan.

PS:  Teheran runs Hamas.  Teheran does not give a fig about Gaza.  Teheran is on the cusp of being a nuclear power.  Its leadership is dominated by apocalyptic thinking.  The reason that Teheran triggered October 7 was because of Sunni consideration of the Abraham Accords.  Raffa is not the critical battle, nor is the recent exchange of missiles between Jerusalem and Teheran, nor is the sit-in on whichever American campus, nor is the way Michigan votes in November.  Every single bit of that is tactical.  The strategic situation will not long be impacted one way or the other by the way in which we resupply Jerusalem's attack on Hamas.  The critical need is to find a way to convince Teheran's version of Shia Islam to stop trying to win the war with Judaism.  To think that can be done solely with guns and missiles is the height of stupidity, as is the pie-in-the-sky hope that it can be done without them.  They clearly have a role, but my concern is that we do not give enough thought to what happens when the shooting dies down.  We have the attention span of a gnat.

Wednesday, May 8, 2024 be continued.

Today’s news reports are talking about President Biden ordering a pause in arms deliveries to Israel.  Earlier press reports spoke of the United States slow walking arms deliveries to Ukraine and others spoke of our failure to deliver military equipment to Taiwan that they had bought and paid for.  It would appear that we are using our military aid to shape our allies’ actions.  This is not a new phenomenon.  It happens all of the time and is baked into the relationships that exist between us and our allies - all of them.  President Trump employs a version of it when he insists that he will withdraw from America’s long standing support of Europe, if European nations do not spend more on the common defense.  

I have been personally involved in a variety of similar efforts back when I was in government.  The question is not whether it happens or not.  The question is whether it is effective or not.  It is not a particularly pleasant experience in which to be involved.  The most painful example that I was personally involved in was Viet Nam.  I was there twice.  Once when we were engaged in pressing the war against North Viet Nam and once when we were in the process of abandoning South Viet Nam.  Doing the latter tour, I watched our allies struggle with inadequate amounts of ammunition as the North moved south.  It was a painful situation, particularly since I had earlier pledged my country’s support of their freedom and been part of the education of their military to fight battles according to our war making formulas.  Those formulas are based on enormous volumes of artillery fire and are therefore very vulnerable to manipulation by anyone with their hand on the resupply spigot.

Viet Nam was an education brought home by the fact that I had poured my heart into the American effort to build a strong South Viet Nam and then had been a principal in the disgusting abandonment of those that we had pledged to help.  I imagine that there are a lot of Americans that came out of Afghanistan that have similar feelings and I am relatively certain that many currently involved in Ukraine and Israel do as well.  Those of us that are back here in CONUS clearly do not understand any of this.  There is no way that anyone that has not been there can comprehend the magnitude of the injustice that political leadership engages in routinely.  Not just American political leadership - every nation’s leadership - no matter the form of government.  Some take to it readily, some reluctantly, but all engage in it, all the time.  Morality is never a consideration.  The human mind is capable of side stepping morality whenever necessary.

To be continued…  

Tuesday, May 7, 2024

Is suicide a more apt danger than annihilation?

Victor Davis Hanson has a new book out in which he argues that we may well be under threat of annihilation.  I really like Hanson and find myself worrying about similar things, as does he, but with less historic examples supporting my various arguments.  I do not follow his every word, but I do listen when I happen to run across one or another of his writings or interviews.  I am not scholar enough to argue his various historical references, but I am able to follow his modern arguments.  I don’t always agree with him.  The most recent example being his argument that the recent missile exchange between Iran and Israel might have deterred Teheran in some way.  I think that it did, indeed, once again, expose a huge technological deficit on Tehran’s part, but I see that as being quite obviously inadequate to deter.  I, in fact, see it as being wishful thinking on Hanson’s part and that surprises me.  If I understand the thrust of his new book, however, I am in total agreement and have been sputtering about it, less articulately, for several years. 

It is my belief that we are engaged in total war with several societies that are more vigorous than are we, and the balance between us is shifting unfavorably, because we, you and I, insist on ignoring the external threat as well as our rapidly accelerating inability to deal with it.  We are, instead, focused on comparatively minor internal issues and are letting those arguments tear our society to shreds, opening the door wider for our foreign antagonists.  I identify the primary external threat as being Russia, China, Radical Islam, and population, listed in ascending order of complexity.  I see the primary weakness, on our part, as being our inability to understand the threat posed, because we, you and I, refuse to discuss substantive problems, insisting instead that the only real problem is that the wrong tribe is in control of government and our vaunted democracy is under threat.

The result of this mindlessness, on our part, is a dithering America, a resurgent Russia, an emerging China, the spreading cancer of Radical Islam, and far too many people struggling for access to the limited amount of the materials necessary to sustain life.  As to our democracy, it is already well on its way to oblivion, primarily because the American people are no longer willing to do their part, insisting instead on blindly following whichever tribe happens to be dominant in their political division of the country.  Because our grandparents and parents gave us a vibrant economy and a dominant military position in the post Second World War world, we have grown used to being number one, and accept world leadership as our God given right.  Look at us from outside of the imaginary lines that we draw around our small part of earth, and you see an America dominated by greed, cowardice, and wishful thinking.  Our antagonists read us differently, depending on each of their own social/cultural/political peculiarities, but they increasingly share a commonality in their foreign policy objectives.  A coalition of antagonists is growing more unified, while our parents and grandparents’ coalition of allies is disintegrating.

I have never used the term annihilation in any of my arguments, but it is indeed an apt description of what I see befalling us.  Should we trigger an all out nuclear exchange with one or another of our emerging antagonists, it could conceivably be literal annihilation, but even if we manage to avoid that horror, I believe that it is increasingly probable that America will be culturally annihilated, unless we somehow manage to regroup.  I contend that the emergence of nuclear weapons has fundamentally changed the challenge facing us and we give every indication that we, you and I, will continue to ignore that fact of life.  Because we are a democracy, that means that we will continue to select leadership that wears the exact same blinders.  Were I erudite enough, I might try to argue with Hanson that suicide was a more relevant danger than annihilation.

Monday, May 6, 2024

Swimming upriver is harder than going with the flow.

 Swimming upriver is harder than going with the flow and it is easier to rationalize defeat than it is to pursue the dream.  Why bother when everybody else is telling you to shut up and conform?  Why risk being shunned?  Far easier and infinitely smarter to accommodate to the inevitable, sooner rather than later, and reap the rewards of conformity.  Granted, the rules change over time, but the process is gradual enough that it is simple to “fit in” and change one’s values along with the rest of society.  The fact that everybody else is doing it makes it somewhat easier to submerge the occasional twinge of doubt.

But which reality should one permit to shape them?  Choosing between the alternatives is baffling to those who mistakenly question authority.  Better to tuck one’s head and learn the catechism of your particular group.  But you ask, how does one sensibly select the right group to adopt as their own?  Not hard.  Merely conform to those around you, wherever you happen to be.  If you find that to be too difficult, simply move to another geographic location - either physically or mentally - and get on with life.  Understand that nothing beyond your own immediate intellectual and physical geography is relevant to your own life.  Putting dinner on the table for yourself and your family is hard enough without insisting on everything being fair and just for everybody else, particularly if they live outside of the imaginary lines that you draw around yourself and your group.

Should you be intent on helping the rest of the world understand life the same way that you do, it is admirable to become involved in your tribe’s efforts to convince the rest of humanity to live according to your rules.  The more intense your feelings, the more effective you will be in this endeavor.  In this regard, it is critical that you not waste a whole lot of time or effort in trying to understand the other.  Stay focused on your own tribe’s interests and rigorously eschew contact with any of the other.  Raise your voice, intensify your effort, even to the use of violence if necessary.  It is critical that your side wins.  The future of humanity depends on it.  Rigorously ignore any who preach discussion, compromise, and understanding.  They are merely trying to advance the lives of the other and are willing to sacrifice “our” interests to accomplish that irrational objective.

The beauty of the above advice is that it can be applied to whichever group you decide best reflects your personal interests.  It is a universal recipe for “success” in your personal life as well as your country’s position in the world.  It also goes a very long way to explain my own lack of success in life.  I mistakenly thought that enough was enough, and obviously did not grasp the critical importance of more.  I was so dumb that I thought the cultural melting pot was good social science.  I was blind to the need to achieve diversity by emphasizing race.  I thought that I understood the difference between man and woman and did not know that the age of the fetus was so critical in the decision as to whether it was alright to snuff it.  I do admit that it is easier to get straight on all of these confusing issues today than it was back in the dark days when we used to talk to each other.  I applaud the brilliant concept of the mask as visible proof that we refuse to talk to each other and I applaud the fundamental changes that we are making in our political system moving it away from ineffective democracy toward relentless authoritarianism.  Artificial intelligence is coming along just in time to save us from the inadequacies of human intelligence and improvements in the internet will facilitate our spreading our wisdom to the ends of the earth.  Given the existence of nuclear weapons, perhaps even to the end of the human experiment.

Tik Tok.  Tik Tok.

Sunday, May 5, 2024

Tik Tok, Tik Tok.

 Change is happening faster than I can accommodate to it.  The easiest place to see it is in the world of cyber whatever.   I was well into senility when the internet was created, and I am having enormous difficulty keeping up with routine administrative/technological changes in my various cyber devices.  I force myself to keep trying, but I increasingly dislike the effort.  My problem is that I remember a simpler time that I much prefer.  My younger acquaintances were born into the cyber world and take it for granted.  As a result, they adapt to it more readily than do I.  I suggest that is one of the principal reasons that they are more and more divorced from what I think of as the real world.  To that extent, it is understandable that they and I do not agree on the best way to resolve various problems between people.

NBC News has an interesting article out today that describes the network of criminal gangs that control the American immigration system.  The internet is central to that control, as various criminal organizations use it to control sections of the smuggling route into this country.  Immigrants are seamlessly handed off from one group to another all along their route, rarely interacting with them physically and paying for their services with their phones.  Sometimes governments are involved and sometimes only criminal cartels, but there is a system in place that stretches to every corner of the world and enables any and all dissatisfied individuals to travel to the promised land here in America.  I presume that a similar system exists to facilitate illegal entry into Western European countries.  Our response is to see the phenomenon as being either advantageous or disadvantageous to our own personal lives and we clothe our assessment with noble thoughts and endless chatter, but we do not do anything to change the basic situation.

Washington’s response is to assign the problem to the Vice President and the Border Police and then try to forget it as being irresolvable.  As a result, we are seeing virtually every stress point in American society under increasing strain.  Conservatives generally favor blocking access.  Liberals generally favor more “humanitarian” solutions that accept huge numbers of new immigrants into this country.  Because we do not have enough infrastructure to accommodate our existing population, the influx adds significantly to the disfunction of our urban areas where the immigrants tend to concentrate initially.  That, in turn, has led to an exodus out of our cities to our suburbs on the part of the segment of our population that controls society.  (Here again, the internet has made that possible as an increasing number of us work from home.).  

Unbelievably, the overall response to the challenge presented by all and sundry is to dither mindlessly.  Conservatives insist on closing the border.  Liberals insist on accepting all who claim, rightly or wrongly, that their life in their home country is intolerable.  Nobody suggests that we should make the rest of the world livable so as to stop the mindlessness that is destroying us.  I do indeed worry about another 911 implemented by malcontents being inserted into our country by malevolent groups, but I see a much greater danger that is dramatically contributing to the ongoing degradation of our lives.  We are bringing far too many strangers into this country far too rapidly for us to absorb them into society.  The result is additional disagreement about virtually everything imaginable - from the price of eggs to the proper use of pronouns.  Arguing about foreign injustices in foreign lands threatening to further harm this country is but one of the results.

Were I influential enough, I would close the border, remove all illegal entrants, and reinvigorate a program designed to help the rest of the world live a better life in their own part of the world.  My success would depend on our ability to achieve real progress in making other countries successful economically and that would risk angering conservative protectionists among us in exactly the same way that we are today worried about the “rise of China.”   More and more, I see our greatest problems to be intellectual and physical lethargy, stimulated by wishful thinking and intellectual cowardice.  We are used to being on top and dislike the thought that we might have to hustle to stay there.  World leadership is our rightful place and insurgents had just better understand that or else.  Wherever and whenever all of this becomes too obvious, we retreat into the make-believe world that is on our phones.  Tik Tok.  Tik Tok.

Friday, May 3, 2024

I see what is happening in Gaza and Ukraine to be horrible, unnecessary tragedies.

 I see what is happening in Gaza and Ukraine to be horrible, unnecessary tragedies.  I also see public opinion in this country to be grossly naive and uninformed.  Our inadequate support of Ukraine is unconscionable and our criticism of Israeli war-fighting tactics forgets that we fire-bombed German and Japanese cities not that long ago, and then turned around and nuked two Japanese cities full of people so as to avoid the human and financial cost of invading the Japanese homeland.  What Israel is doing in Gaza is child’s play in comparison to what red blooded Americans did to Japanese and German civilians.  The protestations currently disrupting our colleges and universities are nothing more than intellectual masturbation on the part of some very nice, ignorant children, stimulated by.some nasty political operatives, with the intent to contribute to the destruction of America.  The fact that we, you and I, can not see that fact of life is what is wrong.

I am not a great believer in the efficacy of our education system, but these protestations are clearly disrupting it.  Were I influential, I would use police to stop any and all illegal transgressions and then take legal action against anyone who damaged public or private property.  I would also encourage a civil, intelligent discussion of the various international issues that are causing so much very real pain around the world.  I would invite anyone who wished to express themselves peacefully to do so in open debate with anyone who held a contrary view.  Society’s acceptance of violence in lieu of debate is an extremely dangerous degradation of our political system in addition to being stupid.  Were I invited to participate in the discussion, I would argue that America is not pulling its weight in world affairs and that is because we, you and I, are refusing to understand, repeat understand, the very difficult problems that face humanity everywhere on this very small rock spinning in space.  Instead of understanding, we seek to blame, which convinces us that we are the one that is right and “the other” is wrong.  Given that stupidity, conflict is inevitable and war is never, repeat never, prosecuted according to rules.  War is, in fact, far nastier than any very nice American powder puff can possibly imagine.  We can not even cope with someone using a hostile pronoun when talking to or about us, how in the world can we be expected to understand what happens to our thought process in war.

Thursday, May 2, 2024

Life is a group effort.

 I continue to identify Radical Islam as one of the most serious problems facing humanity and the Islamic State is currently it's most virulent manifestation.  Our various security organizations are currently warning of another terrorist attack on our homeland, similar to the recent ISIS attack on the Moscow gathering.  Given the ridiculous open border policy that is currently in place, I do not disparage those warnings, but I am even more concerned that it is a lack of interest within the American public that permits the continued existence of Radical Islamist thought.  As is the case with so many of our other challenges, we are prone to focus on the superficial rather than the fundamental.  A group of idiots in Central Asia or the Middle East decide to stage a brutal attack on one or another country, and we harness ourselves to get retribution.  This involves killing a bunch of “militants” and blowing up one or another of their hideouts in some remote part of the world, followed by a bunch of speechifying that reminds me of the mindless taunts that followed one of my various childhood fist fights.  

We killed Bin Ladin and assorted other radicals, declared that we had won the war with ISIS, and are currently knocking down almost every single missile thrown at us by any and all Iranian proxies, but we still have not given a lick of thought to figuring out how to address Radical Islam - the idea.  Until we do, we are, at best, eliminating one leader or another while strengthening radical thought among an increasingly large group of people about whom we know virtually nothing.  It is only a matter of time before that ignorance stimulates hate toward us to erupt into violence again.  Back in the day, when Christian Knights rode into the Middle East on white horses we were engaged in the exact same strategy.  More than a millennia has gone by and we haven’t learned a single thing, except how to kill more people with more powerful, longer range weapons.  Humans are clever, small minded, greedy, cowards and our deficit in intelligence is going to get us into serious nuclear trouble.  I give you that the population problem is even more serious than Radical Islam, but I do not see nuclear war as being the most intelligent way to reduce overcrowding.

I see the current struggle in Gaza to be the culmination of several millennia of very similar misadventures and the solution currently being pursued to be more rationale for future bloodbaths.  The horrible situation that millennia of stupidity has put us in is that we do have to respond to events such as 911, October 7, and the Moscow Concert Hall attack with force.  What is lacking is any thought about the severity needed in our response, its’ target, and what we should do after that response.  How we manage peace determines the likelihood of war.   I firmly believe that it requires three things.  Maintenance of the strongest military in the world, the will to use that military, and a heartfelt interest in the well-being of all humans.  It is not adequate to continue to kill “leaders” with very fancy weapons from “over the horizon.”  Nor is it adequate to put a bunch of “radical insurrectionists” in rickety compounds in the middle of a desert.  Every single one of them has grandparents that were killed by “the other’s” grandparents and far too many of them have grandchildren that are already plotting revenge for the misdeeds of “the other.”.  In as much as I am one of “the other,” I have a very real interest in what we are planning to do about the mess that we are in.

I completely agree with those that warn about serious tactical problems such as our open border, our inadequate military, and the ignorant daze that purposely clouds our thinking as concerns our next tactical move in Ukraine, Gaza and Taiwan, but I see our complete lack of interest in developing a viable strategy to deal with the larger issues that endanger us to be the more fundamental problem.  As long as we fail to have a strategy to deal with the imbalance between resources and mouths, we will face the threat that one or the other regional conflict will boil over into nuclear war.  The details will always be different, but the basic threat remains the same.  In the past, we could fight a war with somebody and achieve peace for a time, but the nature of nuclear war has made that “solution” inadequate.  Today, everybody loses including you and me and our kids.  Nuclear war will not only kill a lot of people, it will also poison the very earth that we need to sustain life.

Unraveling the mess that humanity is in is going to be difficult, but it is possible if we could get unanimity as to the best way forward.  That requires intelligent thought, compromise, and perseverance and we will not ever accomplish those things unless we start talking to each other civilly about real issues.  Hiding in our intellectual basement, living in the artificial world that we are building in our “devices,” parroting the words of our tribal leaders, and explaining endlessly why “the other” is wrong is not going to cut it.  If humanity is to survive the invention of nuclear weapons, we must get out of the intellectual basement and start thinking about ways to build unity of purpose.  If you say that is too heavy a lift, you are accepting defeat.  If you say that is somebody else’s problem, you are accepting defeat.  The only way to “win” is to figure out how everybody can “win” and that requires everybody to be in the exact same game.  Quit hiding from your responsibility as a member of a democracy, let alone as a member of the human race.  Your non-involvement in thought is what makes both Biden and Trump possible, just as other populations in other parts of the world make Putin, Xi, and the ayatollahs possible.  Life is a group effort, whether we like it or not, and trying to hide in the basement is exceptionally dangerous as well as infinitely stupid.