Beyond the Cusp

June 17, 2017

Some Cataclysm This Way Comes

 

The feelings always come before the dark clouds and the increasing wind where the storm is filled with steel rain and exploding hail. How far in advance we can never say, but the storm is a brewing. The question is, are you sensitive or equipped emotionally and spiritually to recognize the problem. To figure this out, there are other items about ourselves we need to understand, and the question is how we can reach this understanding. Is there such a thing as evil? Can a person be evil? Can a group of people be evil as in a tribe or club or gathering? Can a society be evil? Can a religious group be evil? Can the entire world be turning towards evil? You have probably noticed that the recognition of what makes something evil is required to see coming disasters, and that is basic. Evil is fairly recognizable when witnessing an act or judging one from the past, especially when the evil is overt. Jeffrey Dahmer opening his freezer and pulling out dinner reveals obvious evil. But Hitler offering the German people jobs, the right to be proud of the Fatherland, rebuild their military as in Europe a military meant safety, return them to having the basic rights of pleasure every human being deserved, freedom from false civil moralities, freedom from the conscience (that annoying little voice in your head that tells you not to do something you really want to do), to free them from the Judeo-Christian ethic and to return everyone to the age of the barbarians when Germany defeated Rome and its false Christian idea was less detectable as evil. Evil brought into a society slowly and using words and phrases which everybody knows and each time corrupting their original meaning just slightly can bring an entire people, an entire country, an entire continent or even a significant and possible majority of a religion to do and practice horrific evils all because they couched everything in pretty frames and used the words from their holy books in selective order choosing those phrases which supported their ultimate goal. And if your nation, religion, sect or any other civil group has written somewhere in their liturgy the need to spread the culture, religion, dominion or whatever defines the intended audience to the entire world, that can be stated as conquer the world and make all like ourselves or they must die if they refuse as your central tenet which is another evil.

 

To put it as an analogy for the lighting of several billion tons of high explosives, the fuse has been lit and we know not its length nor do we know if it is cannon fuse or fast fuse. The fuse could be five-hundred miles long and be the slowest cannon fuse burning about a foot per day or it could be three-feet of fast fuse which once lit we would not get to turn, let alone run. The coming conflagration could start between the writing and the posting or it could wait a decade before boiling over and igniting, or even longer. That is the ways of such things. Still, looking around the globe and the problem is not seeing the growing chaos but picking where the world is unravelling the fastest. Figure that out, then you might believe you have found the flashpoint, not true. The world is tricky with such things. Often the trigger comes from the most unexpected places and other times it becomes so obvious to all only in hindsight. Take the two world wars, the first the trigger is obvious but only after the event while the other built upon pressures put in place to prevent such but instead guaranteed another war. On the other hand anyone studying the world and conflict would have been concentrating on the splits occurring in Islam and been blindsided by the Mongols. Then, looking back you can only shake one’s head and wonder, what was the Caliph thinking when he sent back the severed heads of the emissaries sent by Genghis Khan attempting to set up trade relations. Well yes, we know he believed he had the strongest forces in the known world, which was the problem; they knew nothing about the Mongols and underestimated their strength. It would have been wonderful to see the look on his face as the Mongols road in from over the horizon. Their reaction must have been similar to the Germans on the defenses at Normandy when the fog lifted and they saw the invasion fleet (see picture below). This was amongst the largest of any invasion fleet in human history in numbers of men, ships and definitely in tonnage of equipment, manpower and supplies.

 

Small Part of Allied Invasion Fleet off Normandy Beach on D-Day

Small Part of Allied Invasion Fleet off Normandy Beach on D-Day

 

Looking around our world today and the obvious flash points are the crumbling order of the Middle East and North Africa and the expansions of China; yet a closer inspection also brings in Iran and North Korea. Still, the bet is that whatever is coming will come from elsewhere with one safe bet being out from Europe yet again. But Asia has its history of conflicts with China central in most of them either as conqueror or as victim. One of the longest but least studied in Western schools are the many wars between China and India. Then there are the conflicts which included Japan, the Koreans (they were not always split), Vietnamese, Siam, Philippines, and the Mongols. China was the ten-ton nation in the center and thus a major part of any conflict. Interestingly, within the next decade it is predicted that China will have to surrender its title as most populous nation to India. India has played a part in much of Western history despite it barely getting notice in modern classrooms. India with their sheer numbers formed the eastern wall denying the Persians expansion forcing their thrusts westward where they made their most fateful enemies, the Greeks. After Alexander had handed the Persians their revenge from the Greeks and then struck the same wall, the Indian army and sheer numbers. Perhaps India might be credited with dividing the world between Asia and Europe with the Middle East the fields where the wars would be fought because attacking India was suicide. The Middle East was once the starting and ending place of uncountable wars but two most devastating wars such that they are remembered as World Wars I & II. These were the final two wars between the powers of Europe where, in some combination or another, France, Spain and Britain fought for centuries. The warring between these three nations spread world wide as they conquered the New World and much of Asia becoming empires. It was once boasted that the sun never set on the British Empire. The British had India as a colony and shared the oppression of China during the Opium Wars. The Opium Wars were two wars in the mid-19th century involving Anglo-Chinese disputes over British trade in China and China’s sovereignty. Then there are the largely unstudied wars between the Native American tribes as well as the tribes of Central and Southern America. Where will the next great conflagration originate is anybody’s guess? We need to remember that World War I was started in what has to be one of the most convoluted series of events. Yes, there was an assassination of Archduke Ferdinand and his wife, Duchess of Hohenberg Sophie, who were assassinated in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914 by Gavrilo Princip, a Serbian patriot fighting for Bosnian independence. He sat waiting in a position which was not supposed to be traveled by the Archduke as the main ambush was set on the planned route but this young and overly excited youth demanded a part and those planning it placed him in this out of the way spot to end his constant demands to be included, or so the rumors put it. Archduke Ferdinand and wife Sophie ended up on the alternate route as their driver, unfamiliar with the winding roads, had taken a wrong turn and was attempting to find a turn to return to the desired route which likely led the driver to drive at a slower speed than usual which probably made the shooting easier than had they been at speed. From this intricate entanglement of events came World War I.

 

This accidental conclusion of missteps brought two people into the path, though unintended, fatefully resulting in the shot that started one of the most devastating wars in human history. This was the first mechanized war where the machine gun ruled the early battlefield only to be outdone by the first land dreadnaughts, the early tanks. These tanks were undependable but would usually function just long enough to reach the opposing trenches free from the slaughtering horizontal hail of machine gun bullets. The machine gun made the war stagnate until the German and Austro-Hungarian troops introduced poison gas into the conflict. The Allied powers of Britain, France, Italy, Russia and Japan responded with the same and these toxins proved a double-sided sword as a change in the winds could turn your side’s gas attack right back onto your own troops. Both sides responded with gasmasks making the gas attacks mostly irritants and mildly dangerous as troops learned how to survive these attacks. The tank was the final weapon changing the battlefield and its introduction brought the war closer to its end. The final shot to the heart was the entrance of the United States whose troops proved to make the difference in the end. The treaties ending World War I gave birth to the Arab states, and a Christian nation, Lebanon, and a Jewish nation, Israel. The Christian nation is in conflict with a series of civil conflicts which has caused much of the Christian population to flee. Christians were over 60% of the Lebanese population in 1970 and that percentage fell to under 35% by 2010. The Jewish nation is unfortunately also in conflict but with a different outcome (see timeline below). The History is a bit longer and more twisted with two exiles, one the Babylonian Exile of seventy years followed by a return to the land but ruled from outside as a tax paying province of successive empires followed by the seriously long exile of approaching two-thousand years caused by the Roman Empire destroying the lands, spreading the Jews throughout their kingdom and some even ejected to the foreign states beyond, renamed the region to erase the name of the Jews, something the Palestinian Arabs are attempting to do today, all in an attempt to erase the Jews as a people from the world. There are historians who claim the Roman Empire had done this to a number of other peoples but there is a problem, the Romans succeeded in erasing those tribes and peoples from the world and their names are forgotten with the exception of the Carthaginians whose names is remembered but who as a people have disappeared (they were originally called the Phoenicians it is believed but they were forced to move after wars with the Israelites under King David). Somehow, the Jew managed to retain their oneness and their identity and have started to return for hopefully the final time never again to be uprooted. The series of treaties ending World War I shattered two empires, the Ottoman Empire and Austro-Hungarian Empire. From the Austro-Hungarian Empire we have the Balkan States as well as Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, Croatia, Herzegovina, Serbia, Slovenia and, of course, Austria and Hungary (see map below). Germany lost much of their eastern and western lands to Poland and France respectively. Losing a war has consequences but Germany was so financially crippled that the Weiner Republic was unable to maintain or even establish a functional economic core which led to the rise of a disgruntled population, especially the so-called underclass who were the largest segment of the unemployed. This led to the rise of a leader who promised to tear up the treaty, build a renewed and strong Germany and end the domination of the French and the British and repel the Communists from taking over Germany, as the Soviet Union replaced Russia as one of the most detested and suspicious of countries by whom Germany felt threatened.

 

Jewish Historic Timeline

 

Austro-Hungarian Empire Break-up into Independent Nations

Austro-Hungarian Empire Break-up into Independent Nations

 

Now, let us return, if you will pardon the witticism, back to the future. From our little jaunt through some diverse history and statistics, we hopefully learned that wars have been the norm over the entirety of the planet and human history. It started way back when one tribe saw some women, cattle, stored grains and good land which only had one small problem; they belonged to this other tribe. The one tribe decided to alleviate the other tribe of their land, women, crops, cattle and other belongings so they killed all the males over the age of around nine or ten and any women who proved too resistive and all of the tribe’s people too old to be of any productive service which would make up for the food and other provisioning they would require. This has progressed such that the wars we wage in modern times are not claimed to be to take the other tribes’ women, but that may not mean that is not part of the equation which we purposely refuse to mention. The one other thing we have learned from history is that as war has progressed they have become more and more efficient killing machines. War deaths had been constantly increasing in lethality until World War II and the newest ultimate weapon (see below graph). The weapon was the atomic bomb which convinced the Emperor of Japan to end the war rather than see his nation destroyed. Despite the deaths and effect over time by their use, it is estimated that by ending the war without the need to invade the Japanese homeland saved as much as one-million American and Allied lives and potentially far more Japanese lives including potentially hundreds of millions of civilian lives as the Emperor had demanded that Japan fight to the last person, initially believing the allies would rather surrender to his demands than take such losses. The other thusfar lasting effect over time of the destructive power and lethality of nuclear weapons has been a decline in war related deaths. The one problem is that there exists no weapon, no matter how lethal, which once invented did not become used generally in war other than poison gas and nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, we are witnessing the dawn of a resurgent power which did not suffer or be included in the war where poisonous gasses and nerve agents were utilized nor the one where nuclear weapons were used and thus are not intimidated or bothered by their effects nor the suffering which they cause. This could lead to these weapons both becoming weapons of choice in a war in the future. Imagine a war where cities are leveled with thermonuclear weapons and the battlefield is reeking of dead animals and people, mostly civilians trapped without the necessary protection while soldiers move about in hooded coverings, gloves, boot-covers and gas masks seeming to skulk and lumber from position to position with sporadic gunfire dulled by the deadly heavy gaseous smoke permeating the battlefield lying thickest in the gullies and trenches. This could be a coming future were these weapons to become used commonly across a wide battlefield covering every continent. That is how civilizations die.

 

Estimated War Deaths per Year 1916-2006

 

This is not what is feared to be on the near horizon. Still, the signs and tensions in the world keep climbing with hardly ever any sign of relief. Things can only be stretched so far before they break. We can only hope that the leaders of our world continue to inspect their areas and assure that nothing reaches a breaking-point. Leaders must keep the peace but that can become difficult to the point of impossible. Would that all leaders of the world desired peace more than expansion and seeking some intractable, uncompromising goal then the problems could be resolved peaceably and through negotiations and not through violence. Problems arise when some have visions of greatness and a world which by right belongs to them and only them. Such visions and beliefs allow for no compromise. The unfortunate reality is that not every civilization, not every group in the world has forgotten their goals of world conquest. The developed world once believed in world conquest which drove their colonialization, a period which was surrendered decades back and all the colonies returned to local rule. There are those in this world who still believe in conquest and expansion and that can only increase tensions very possibly to the breaking-point. The recent elections in Europe we saw resurgence of nationalism and saw the far left demand that they be granted control of all media so they could prevent any further strengthening of the nationalist camps. Such distrust could result in even more strife in an already stressed environment. It does not matter where violence starts, it only matters where it leads and how it ends. Avoiding violence is preferable whenever possible. There are points for every society beyond which there will be no retreat and those are dangerous places. There are already those in places around the world who are starting to feel pressured and pressed already. There are others who care little who they press and one has even taken to making new land on which to place military sites. In a time when we should be talking and treading lightly, we have some who are charging forward ignoring those they may be threatening. We need to find compromises but in order for this to occur there needs to be reasoning and compromise, not threats and demands. The world is too full of threats and demands and far too short on talk and compromise. Where it leads right now appears frightening with little promise and that can be intimidating. Intimidation causes mistakes and mistakes leads to worse. I wish we were more perfect a creature, but we still act more like beasts than intelligent beings that are presumably civilized. These things frighten many of us and unfortunately do not frighten enough of us to make those who would utilize violence change. That is the unfortunate truth and that means that violence is inevitable. That will not end well with the knowledge and abilities human kind has for destruction, even against his own kind. But then, those who would use violence as their means of solving differences because they believe it is their right to claim superiority over all, that leaves everyone under threat as weapons have gone well beyond limited usage. Let us hope everyone knows that war no longer produces winners, it can only send us all back to the stone age, if we survive, if we survive.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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