Tuesday, February 22, 2011

News Overload...

There's so much happening in the world right now...I'm overwhelmed.  I have the sense that we're all witnessing something that potentially is of the same historical import as the fall of the Soviet Union.  It seems like the world's attention isn't particularly focused on the events in the Middle East.  They're in the news, but for a lot of it I have to dig a bit on the inter-tubes.  But the news is there, though it's very hard to be sure what to place credence in.

Libya, Yemen, Iran, Bahrain all appear to have active revolts taking place (though with greatly differing prospects of success).  Gadaffi is slaughtering hundreds of his subjects.  The governments of Syria, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar, and UAE are all taking various actions designed to tamp down any revolutionary efforts – though for most of these it's not clear how much those actions were actually needed to maintain the current regimes' power.  Our president says nothing at all about the situation; offers no support, exhibits no leadership either domestically or internationally.  This shames me, as this is exactly the sort of situation in which the world looks to the U.S. for leadership.  Where will the leadership come from?  China?  Russia?  France?

One thing that keeps running through my mind are the predictions of the “domino effect” in the Middle East by a host of neocons in the early 2000s, and by Natan Sharansky.  The scenarios they outlined as likelihoods bear a striking resemblance to what's actually happening...

This morning I read of the earthquake in New Zealand; as I read the death toll stood at 65, with hundreds still unaccounted for.  I visited the city of Christchurch back in the '70s, while I was in the U.S. Navy; somehow my having been there makes the devastation seem a little more real than the typical news report.  There's little any of us can do to help; all we can do is hope for the best...


  1. Quake in Christchurch New Zealand. 65 dead and toll likely to rise. http://goo.gl/dfNtF #quake

    I visited Christchurch in 1980. Hard to imagine the devastation and loss of life.

  2. From what I can gather, Even relatively stable places like Morocco and Bahrain are having protests. China again as well. In some places like Libya the military is actively firing on protesters. I would say this has to rate even far higher on the "historic events scale (tm)" than even the fall of the Soviet Union which I remember very well having been in the Marines at the time. I spent years training to fight a war against the Soviets and was stunned when they fell. Protests against their governments in not just the Middle East but Europe and even some here in the US. The interesting thing will be what happens after. The former Soviet Union ended up largely controlled by former KGB and the mafia. There were people poised to take advantage of the chaos. In Iraq that happened and in Afghanistan. Whether it is the Muslim Brotherhood or just common thugs, you can bet similar events will happen in these other countries as their governments fall. The "common people" that protested for change may find themselves wondering what kind of change they actually got..... sounds pretty familiar actually.