Retirement may be looked upon either as a prolonged holiday or as rejection,
a being thrown onto the scrap heap.
Simone de Beauvoir.
If events follow the bluster and speculation raging in the media, one B. H. Obama will join the ranks of Nobel Prize winners that are also (alleged) war criminals. I’ll leave it up to you to do the research and form your own conclusions.
If only every politician would read--and understand--the following wise words:
Unfortunately, Democratic presidents are constantly goaded by Republicans, who suggest weakness on defense and national security, into taking foolish military action. Any hesitation is seen cowardice.
If only Simon Jenkins ruled the world....or me!
The raging debate about the urgency of doing something foolish in Syria usually contains the words “surgical missile strike”. Supposedly intelligent men and women seem to think that lobbing a few missiles into Damascus will solve all the problems, because the current Syrian government will cower and capitulate. Things don’t work that way, despite weapons manufacturers’ advertising claims.
I visited Belgrade a few years after the Balkan War ended. Time had passed, peace had arrived, but economic growth had yet to come, so damaged buildings had not been repaired.Surgical bombing by the US military played no role in ending that conflict, but it did destroy a few buildings. I learned that surgical missile strikes can drop buildings, leaving structures on either side standing, albeit with broken windows and shaken residence. The former Yugoslavian Ministry of Defense building in Belgrade proved this.
Another lesson I learned during that trip to Belgrade is that missiles can be used to send a message. One missile landed on the Chinese Embassy, which the US Government claimed to have been a mistake caused by an old map. Only the gullible believe this. I am certain that the Chinese did not, but accepted the apology, obviously not wishing to make an international incident out of it. Unknown to most westerners, they had long supported the Yugoslavians as means of insinuating themselves into the Soviet sphere of influence. I do not know what message was sent, but damage was done to the building. The interesting point is that the Chinese Embassy sits alone on a plot of land outside Belgrade with no other buildings nearby. At the time, Yugoslavs chuckled at the incompetence of the United States.
The point is that missile strikes do more harm than good to people on the ground and are worthless in resolving the conflict. Unfortunately, the wrong people do not care and love to play with their toys.
Teddy Roosevelt allegedly recommended that the government “walk softly, but carry a big stick”. Current leaders prefer to talk a lot, blunder around the china shop, and wield a huge stick (which has grown is size and explosiveness since Teddy’s time).
I am exposed to much UK media, therefore must endure a great deal of posing and bluster. It seems that English politicians do not know that the Empire has been lost and that no one (except a few isolated souls on Gibraltar or the Falkland Islands) care about their opinion, and no one wants their meddling. Only the United States appears to appreciate a lap dog and yes man. Unfortunately, old systems linger in place, so the Brits still have a seat on the UN Security Council, instead of some nations that have grown in stature and importance, not shrunk to insignificance.
I wrote the above paragraph yesterday. This morning, I discovered the following headline in today’s Daily Mail. It seems that even some Brits feel the same.
Why do we still fool ourselves that Britain is a great power?
Visiting heads of state are always forced to parade in front of a troop of soldiers, a spectacle repeatedly shown on television. Most look uncomfortable and out of place, whereas some try to act the part and pretend to be proud or attempt to look macho. Perhaps, this form of perp walk even boosts weak egos or massages large ones. To me, this is an outdated and ridiculous pageantry that perpetuates militarism.
And, I am certain that most--if not everyone--are wondering if the soldiers’ weapons are loaded...
I discovered an interesting sentence in a recent New Yorker article:
“A recent study found that the easiest country in which to establish an untraceable shell company is not a tropical banking haven but the United States.”
The United States! That beacon of financial purity that rails against corruption and tax evasion. I wonder how many members of Congress control a shell company. Is anyone still surprised about the hypocrisy?
The article is about mineral wealth in Guinea and an Israeli business, who has acquired the rights to its iron ore.
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.