Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Into the Maelstrom: Converging crises
Can't you feel it? Events are moving faster and faster now. We're sailing into the whirlpool. Threats which once seemed faraway and merely hypothetical are now growing exponentially, swirling around us, drawing us ever closer into the vortex. And we seem helpless. We procrastinate and equivocate. We can't make up our minds. We're lost in a hopeless labyrinth of ambiguities and euphemisms.
Meanwhile, circling us like sharks sensing blood, our enemies are sensing our weakness. Ahmadinejad steps up his threatening rhetoric: They will become nuclear, they will have their bomb. The UN and NATO are either anti-American or useless. The hopelessly conflicted IAEA is impotent: pro-Muslim Al Baradi faults the West and sides with Iran. Kim Jong Ill drops out of the non-proliferation talks and give the rest of the world the finger. Russia and China sense their main chance and are eagerly building up their arsenals. All of the petty potentates are rattling their sabers. The ragtag Somali pirates, the motley teenage Al-Shabaab, are calling our bluff and threatening revenge. The reinvigorated Taliban is busy with their bloody Reconquista of Afghanistan. The crises are converging. Can't you feel it?
Alas, our captain and crew are woefully inexperienced and morally conflicted and the helmsman has lost his grip on the wheel. Are we really doomed to founder? Where is that brave pilot to guide us through this dark night and bring us into safe harbor? Where is that barely remembered voice of manliness and courage? Who will replace the fallen helmsman before it is too late?
We call out but no one answers. Are we really all alone? Abandoned by an incompetent captain and a useless crew? Are we, the passengers, our only hope of salvation? To save our great ship must we all become mutineers?
The great whirlpool is drawing us steadily into its deadly grasp. Soon our decisions will be made for us by forces beyond our control. Our enemies grow more emboldened while our nominal allies vacillate or turn their backs. Terror groups will become nuclear. Israel will be crippled or annihilated. North Korea will develop long range nuclear capability and blackmail the world. Russia and China will thwart us at every turn. Western Europe will fall to the Muslim menace and sharia law will be incorporated into our legal system. Our street gangs will run rampant and our borders will remain porous. Americanism will become a lost idea.
Is this how our great ship will founder? Are we truly helpless in the maelstrom? Someone please tell me I'm just being melodramatic, that things aren't as perilous as they seem, that the maelstrom is nothing but an overblown metafor. That we'll pull through somehow, we always do.