Beyond the Cusp

April 4, 2014

News Roundup and Commentary in Bits and Bites

Some days offer either too many items of relative importance or simply lack any one item which offers sufficient angles for a complete article and the recent past has been a perfect example of both. The most pressing story is also the most sad as it combines the horrors of recalling past horrors with a similarly horrific series of events in the present. I am referring to the mass shooting at Fort Hood Texas where an emotionally scarred and unbalanced soldier presumably experiencing PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) went on a shooting spree where he murdered three innocents and injured reportedly as many as sixteen others with nine requiring extended hospital treatment before turning his weapon on himself almost immediately after armed enforcement personnel appeared on the scene. This event occurring as it did at Fort Hood brought back the sickening memories of the “work place violence” committed by Major Nidal Hasan. Despite the United States Military classification of Major Hasan’s murder spree, many commentators and others expressed their belief that that shooting should have been classified as a terrorist attack, especially when reports revealed that the Major had been shouting “Allahu Akbar” as he murdered his victims. The one truth this horrific and senseless shooting spree will produce will be the inevitable references and comparisons between the two shootings which will hopefully not result in any excuses or insensitive statements minimizing the horrors and emotional tragedies attached to either incident.

 

Another crisis which is continuing on its rise in temperature and getting dangerously close to boiling over, emitting some loud and unignorable blasts this past week is the ever-present Korean peninsula’s low-grade war. It began in its usual fashion with the North Koreans informing their neighbors in South Korea that they planned on holding some military exercises. They cautioned the South Koreans to avoid approaching even the offshore maritime zones of North Korea. Once their war games began, predictably and unsurprisingly the North Koreans lobbed numerous shells and armed projectiles south of the demarcation lines between the two nations striking in South Korean waters. As has been the custom, the South Koreans responded with expressed indignation and stressed their displeasure with a few well-placed rounds into the North Korean maritime waters. The reason for alarm over what is not exactly a new occurrence is that the new, young, neophyte North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is still very much an unknown quantity. It has definitely not served to lower the blood pressure or lessened tensions with the recent revelations that Kim Jong Un had carried out a purge which included his hanging family members. This along with other signals that the new North Korean leader may be quite unstable and unpredictable leading many to fear that he may not be easily predictable and thus an unknown quantity which presents a far more troubling situation than the already problematic relations between North Korean and the rest of the world, and especially for South Korea. Just add one more possible war-mongering megalomaniac onto the list of such players on the world stage. Where Kim Jong Un will not be as threatening a potential menace as Russian President Putin, known in our office as Vlad the Invader, or as dangerous as the slowly ever reaching tentacles from China slowly eating up all the disputed islands in the South China Sea and other area off their coasts and included in their newly declared enlarged maritime borders; these rising threats make one question, who will represent a viable opposition to these opportunistic hegemonic imperialists.

 

There were reports of some last ditch efforts to resuscitate the Israel Palestinian peace negotiations. Reportedly, Israeli Chief Negotiator Tzipi Livni and Palestinian Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat met with United States Mediator Martin Indyk in what was described as a very stormy session where the two required repeated separating by Mr. Indyk as they exchanged threats, curses and excessively abusive language in efforts to allow them to cool their jets and hopefully calm their animosity and belligerence. Eventually Mr. Indyk called an end to the session as everything he attempted proved ineffective and the atmosphere was proving beyond rescue making any hopes for any reconciliation being obviously impossible. In other developments, the Palestinians released updated requirements, actually conditional demands, upon the Israelis if any chance would exist for them to return and extend the negotiations. Their demands for a building freeze remained the same, an absolute freeze on all Israeli building within Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem including any areas the Palestinians define as rightfully belonging to their future nation while their previous demand that the Israelis release four hundred additional terrorist prisoners above the final twenty-six from the original one-hundred-four that were to be released as a condition for the Palestinians to even attend any negotiations was increased demanding the release of one thousand terrorist prisoner with the release terrorists Ahmed Saadat and Marwan Barghouti heading their lists. Finally, the Palestinians added one last threat that should the Israelis be perceived to have taken any undesired actions concerning the Palestinians that they would “pursue the Israelis in all international forums and make sure they were branded as war criminals.” At the end of everything that has occurred since Israel initially postponed the final release of twenty-six Terrorist prisoners, Israel finally announced that they were officially cancelling the final release reacting to the application to fifteen United Nations and world bodies and agencies by Palestinian Chairman Abbas carrying out his threat to seek world affirmation to establish the Palestinian state. One wonders how such might eventually be resolved as even with all these memberships the Palestinians will still lack some of the requirements of an actual nation under the Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States as stated in Article 1 which states, “The state as a person of international law should possess the following qualifications: a) a permanent population; b) a defined territory; c) government; and d) capacity to enter into relations with the other states.”

 

The Earth has been shaking all over with Chile suffering aftershocks and what was potentially a second earthquake yesterday registering 7.6 on the Richter Scale following a larger earthquake the previous day which measured a destructive 8.2 on the Richter Scale. Further north, Panama was struck by an earthquake measuring 6.2 on the Richter Scale. In the past day there were reportedly sixty earthquakes considered notable, 2.5 or higher on the Richter Scale, by the USGS (United States Geological Survey) with the most significant being: 4.6 Richter Scale in Nobeoka, Japan; in ascending order, 4.5, 4.6 (x2), 4.7, 4.8 (x4), 4.9 (x6), 5.0, 5.1 (x4), 5.2 (x3), 5.5, 5.6 (x2), 5.8, 6.2, 6.5, 7.6 Richter Scale in Iquique, Chile; 4.9 Richter Scale in Putre, Chile; 5.3 Richter Scale in Lambasa, Fiji; 4.5 Richter Scale in Gura Teghii, Romania; 5.6 Richter Scale in Bengkulu, Indonesia; 5.0 Richter Scale at the Southwest Indian Ridge in the Indian Ocean; and 5.6 Richter Scale in Kamaishi, Japan. The news covered the two major earthquakes near Iquique, Chile while mentioning there had been numerous aftershocks while the figures above shows how absolutely horrified the people living in the area have been suffering almost constant earthquakes and aftershocks since the initial jolt reported earlier this week. The one thing writing commentary and reporting news daily does is give you a perspective on how fortunate most of our lives are when we compare them to the miseries or disasters which strike so many fellow earthlings each and every day. It has given those of us who have this perspective reason to thank G0d that our lives have been blessed with a steady diet of what could be classified as boredom but is actually blessed calm and persistent quiet.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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