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Portents

May 15, 2014

The Great War (now known as World War I) began because major world powers had arms, armies, and the ambition to prove something.  Technically it was the world’s biggest domestic dispute as well, since the royal families of Europe were all related.  Millions died because of bald ambition and pride.  These deaths were increased, in part, because of alliances made between countries when international mediation should have been tried instead.

World War II saw the same thing: alliances of world powers reaching outward and ignoring fair play.  Millions more died, more than in the First World War.  I say these things because there are parallels happening right now we should not ignore.  In both world wars, it was the entangling alliances helping exacerbate the threat of conflict instead of an approach of international dialogue should such disagreements arise.  Apparently we still haven’t learned that lesson, as we have an alliance of exactly the same type on every continent, military leagues like NATO- which, by themselves are not bad- but we also have a United Nations that is all but useless to prevent war between member states, outright usurpation in states neighboring founding members, and apparently no diplomatic clout to prevent things like flagrant violations to international law.  Hundreds of children are abducted and sold into slavery in a member nation of the U. N. and neither the nation nor the U. N. seem to have the ability to respond effectively.  A Christian woman is facing the death penalty for using her right to choose what religion she wants to be, and the law condemning her is still on the books in several countries despite the fact the U. N. is supposed to enforce international law all member states signed.  These things should not be happening.

None of these are the real danger, though.  In the years leading to the Second World War, most passive powers looked on while Imperial Japan started provoking wars with China for its resources.  The Soviet Union gobbled up Finland because it wanted to- but got its hindquarters kicked at first, because no one messes with feisty armies, however small, in northern Europe without getting a black eye.  Mussolini’s Italy tried reclaiming some misbegotten sense of greatness by attacking in eastern Africa with tanks, who were about as badly matched as the Polish army against Panzers in 1939.

Why bring all this up?  Now, the Rome of modern times- the United States- has made policy of toppling governments when they didn’t suit our interests.  We invade countries on flimsy, inadequate pretense and no one stands in the way.  Putin sees this and takes charge- conveniently during a terrorist bombing campaign much like the Reichstag fire helped the Nazis become powerful, one that only he could stop upon election- and Putin uses his revamped Soviet Union to gobble up South Ossetia (during the Olympics, no less, to rub everyone’s nose in it).  Then he steals parts of Ukraine in exactly the same way Adolf Hitler annexed the Sudetenland and the world, including the U. N., looks on.  China is bullying its neighbors in the South China Sea pretty much like Japan did in the 1930s and 1940s.  Again we have major players being jerks around the world kicking the bees’ nest, while the world at large does nothing.

Does this seem familiar?  It should.

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