Almost exactly one hundred years have passed since the following things occurred:
June 28, 1914.
An important political leader was assassinated by an insignificant little man in a tiny country in Eastern Europe.
July 28, 1914 (just one month later) war broke out.
The world’s largest powers lined up to start killing each other, in search of their own leaders’ dreams of empire:
U.K… France… U.S.A… Russia vs. Germany… Austria-Hungary… Italy…
Ultimately, the U.S. entered the fray, and war came to an end with a poorly written agreement to stop fighting on November 11, 1918. The armistice was designed to disable Germany’s ability to recover.
4 years… 11 million faceless young soldiers. Millions of face-full families destroyed.
German and Russian dreams of empire ceased. For a while.
Little was really settled, leading to the outbreak of World War 2 on September 1, 1939.
5 years on, and one day… and this go-round, over 70 million of the faceless were killed.
Britain’s Chamberlain tried to avoid the death and destruction. So did Germany’s Rudolph Hess. Churchill and Roosevelt personally felt otherwise, at the expense of millions of young lives.
Hitler had tried to change the balance with Darwinian intent. What if he’d succeeded?
Today, there would be no Israel, and no mid-east flash-points.
However, there would still be almost exactly a 50/50 cultural divide in the world. For the last ten years, the West has tried to ignore that fact, although it did get a wake-up call on September 11, 2001.
The big question facing us today, as the richest of the world’s leaders, is: Do we need a Chamberlain (Obama), or a Romney (Churchill)? We have the weapons, right?
Having lived through the eyes of my father (WW1) and myself (WW2), I’m for Obama. Why? Because he understands how the world works, and how it has to figure out how to survive because we all need each other as a species.
This time, there is hope that young people and their families will refuse to abdicate their lives as pawns and play-things of and for political and military leaders. Superior weapons be damned. In the long run, leaders will be helpless to hold back the tsunami of change.
What’s lining up for us today?
Here are the probables: The U.S. plus Canada plus Australia plus U.K. plus Europe plus Israel plus S. Korea plus Japan plus India vs. Iran plus Egypt plus Palestinian regions plus Syria plus Pakistan plus Russia plus China plus N. Korea. Sidelines for now will be Cuba plus Afghanistan plus Libya, plus the U.A.R. plus most of S. America plus New Zealand … and so it goes.
Do you have children? Do you have grand-children? Do you have great grand-children? Will they learn how to live with each other? Do you want Heroes? Cowards? Winners? Losers?
What do you teach them? And how do you do it? By personal example? By economic privilege? By trust in law? By religious view? (What’s your religion?)
Afterthought: The war with aggressor Japan ended after another 4 months with an unconditional surrender just as it was with Germany. But the winners learned. With great statesmanship (based on foreknowledge) on the part of MacArthur, Truman, and Churchill, there was no attempt to disable the vanquished, but, rather, reconstruction was offered, and accepted, to allow both Japan and Germany to get back on their feet, which they did with highly ironic success.
We wonder how the current world chaos will unfold. How should we conduct ourselves? The embassies and consulate offices should be kept open. And they should be defended by large numbers of heavily armed coalition military, similar to the arrangements at the recent Olympic Games in London. And political and religious leaders should not be visiting hot spots, unless absolutely necessary, without the heaviest of visible protection. And that includes the Pope and the Queen. One assassination could set off the next war.
The internet has taught most thinking young people, the students, the inheritors of the world’s wealth, that we share this planet equally, and they will want the freedom to give and to take in equal measure. Only then can we justify our joint and shared existence. Without that, we are gone, we will leave behind us a scorched earth devoid of intelligent life, and you know what? Mother nature won’t care, won’t give a shit! There are a trillion other planetary systems out there for her to experiment on. She may even be laughing at us.