Europe appears to be hell-bent on committing suicide and not exactly taking the slow road about it. The introduction was all Angela Merkel with her promise to have room to absorb 800,000 Syrian refugees a year for the foreseeable future. The invitation appeared to reach a few more than the planned 800,000 and apparently somewhere towards three or four times as her presumed limit. The response was so monumental that every European country could have been a new home to their own half a million and some received that gratis before they could act to close their borders. A few countries saw sanity and kept their borders closed except for those on a train passing straight through without even stopping for a break and a brew. Now Europe in many parts is experiencing the pleasures of refugees running wild, and it is not a reality show title but the reality running loose on their streets. New Year’s Eve celebrations had some extra and unwanted gusto especially for any native women venturing out anywhere, especially the central train stations in any city, sizeable or quaintly small. There are many looking to the United States hoping that the electorate will realize the threats now straining the bounds of civility poised to dissolve all sanity along with all the Western World’s graciousness. The threat is impolite, boorish and horrifically violent. But the American public appears to be enamored with electing a high school senior class president than a leader of the democratic, free, liberal Western World.
There were seventeen Republican candidates and four Democrat candidates well into the campaign and we are now down to four apparent survivors and three of the four would be just as Americentric as President Obama has been with a similar isolationist policy outlook. Their presidential outlook would stop at the border and would only differ in their treatment of the southern border with Mexico where one promises to build a wall while the others would install an easy access walkthrough with neon lights claiming open for business. The only one who understands the threats facing our world and the distinct possibility of a new dark ages shrouding any further scientific advancement ending the hopes for a bright future with promise of medical miracles and exploration reaching out and taking the first baby steps into the cosmos all hanging by a thin thread which requires our constant vigilance and protection, our constant mending and reinforcement; otherwise it breaks and we plunge back into the darkness of suspicions and loss of curiosity. That begs the question of what are the possibilities that civilization which prizes curiosity and ventures into the unknown always striving to find the next challenge and then meeting it with inventiveness and spirit constantly striving to know more, to understand why, how and sometimes even what might be the next discovery, the next level to strive and reach beyond what the last generation accomplished. That is what hangs threatened and with it the hope for cures for diseases, crop yields and fresh water derived from land now unusable and water unpotable, new energy generation which is green, plentiful and affordable. The world of machines with artificial intelligence and automation replacing tedious jobs freeing mankind to chase dreams and pursue that which was beyond belief just a few decades back. What is at stake is whether we will continue to strive for new technical heights and progress matching or exceeding that which took us from Kitty Hawk and a flight of 12 seconds and 120 feet to the moon in 66 years. Where will man be when the next sixty-six years has passed and it is 2035? Will we be reaching Mars and have built a space station with space dock for building the next generation of space travel built in space purely for space and have a moon base with monitoring telescopes of every variation taking advantage of the lack of interfering atmosphere? Will we be chasing a thousand dreams or will we be locked in an eternal conflict pitting one against his brother where no one wins and society and advancement are the biggest losers? Where do we wish to go with the future? That is the only question which should be on the minds of every voter in the United States, Europe and the entirety of the advanced industrial and information world as there truly are clouds on the horizon and that horizon is falling closer and closer and in some places it seems to have arrived bringing the threat of an eternal darkness. We have choices. They neither are not necessarily pleasant choices nor are they easy choices. Nobody enjoys even discussing the choices but we have been here before and we had better not make the same mistakes again as the consequences are far more dire this time around the merry-go-round.
Every election which comes will be the choice and we need to choose studiously and with great caution. The last time we faced such a threat it was from amongst our own house and we almost threw away our last hope. We cannot afford to make such a mistake again as the weapons of war have changed and even an intelligent high school science whiz-kid is capable of building an atomic bomb for his science fair project. Such a bomb would be clumsy, large, and require a cement truck to carry it making it undeliverable, but such could still be driven in said cement truck to its target. We played games and pretended that it is beyond the scientific and industrial ability for North Korea to produce a deliverable weapon and we now realize how wrong we were as they are capable of placing a device on a medium range ballistic missile and striking anywhere in Japan, South Korea, China, Hawaii, Australia or anyplace within that radius and within a few years that missile will be an ICBM capable of reaching anywhere on the planet with a thermonuclear warhead. We are pretending currently that Iran is thus limited and that is a pipe dream which could be turned into a nightmare at any time. The reality is that these countries have scientists just as capable as any in the free world as they attended the same universities often at our expense as a matter of if we allow them scientific advancement they would be less likely to wage war. What if we were sorely mistaken? After all, we allowed North Korea to advance and produce such weapons and the means to deliver them very soon to anyplace on the planet, likely they already are capable of such. While we are listing nations in some of the trouble prone areas known to have nuclear weapons we can add Israel, Pakistan and India to the list. These are in addition to the United States, France, Britain, Russia, China and with the technical knowledge we can add Japan, Canada, Taiwan and likely quite a few more if they felt a pressing need. All in all the world is armed to the brink of turning much of the planet into a smelting pot of smoking ruins incapable of supporting much if any life, let alone human life. The world has never been closer to the theme of the movie On the Beach as it is today and the one guarantee is each day places that alternative that much closer. Where nuclear disarmament is a wonderful idea and would be a great stride towards a safer world, until there is a surefire method of assuring complete compliance worldwide it is just that, a nice dream.
The time is approaching where we begin to be on the wrong side of the warning given by Winston Churchill when he explained the choice fast approaching his England and the free world of the 1930s, the same world which relegated him to obscurity as they called him an old fool and a war monger and then turned to him to save them when they realized almost too late the monster they had allowed the time needed to become all but unstoppable. We should heed that warning as well as Winston Churchill stated to his peers saying,
Still, if you will not fight for the right when you can easily win without bloodshed; if you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may even be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than live as slaves.
My driving question is where is and who can be our Winston Churchill as we need to find that individual before it is too late. Reviewing the leaders of our carious nations and there are a few candidates but none who possess the full range of guts, intellect, eloquence, command of language and that spark necessary to lead into the teeth of adversity with steadfastness and audacity all while bringing forth the nest from others elevating all in their midst. The combination required comes around only once a century and I pray it is not so soon that Winston Churchill was that person for our time as well. One need remember that he warned of Hitler when none cared to listen, he warned of communism and coined the phrase Iron Curtain which he said had fallen over half of Europe and opposed FDR and the virtual surrender to Stalin but bowed to necessity of a second front and he warned of another dehumanizing catharsis which took on the disguise of a religion. Perhaps he was the man for our season as well and we will have to take his guidance and fight for his memory and allow his words to steel our nerves for the storm that approaches. There is a storm brewing on the horizon and we can only hope there will be sunlight when we reach the other side.
Beyond the Cusp