Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Unintended consequences

Have you ever pulled a loose thread on a sweater and found that instead of just breaking off, it starts a chain reaction that causes your sweater to unravel right before your eyes?

That's essentially what is happening right now around the world, particularly in Europe and the Middle East.  We've been pulling a string for some time now expecting it to break, but it hasn't.  

For years much of the "progressive" (Western) world has tried to either help the oppressed people under the boot of some of the most notorious dictators ever, or has tried to help themselves to the assets (oil) of those same evil Mid East dictators, depending on your degree of skepticism.  

What is now happening is the implosion of many of the institutions that we've taken for granted for the past half century.  They call it "unintended consequences".  We may have wanted to take down those evil dictators, but I doubt we wanted to destroy entire countries.  Remember what Gen. Colin Powell said:  "You break it, you own it."  Ouch!

The bad news is the world is unraveling right now, and it's going to get a lot worse.  The good news is, this is truly a battle of "good vs evil", and just as in WWII, I believe good will eventually prevail. 

Our politicians keep talking about reestablishing some degree of stability in the Mid East so that all those millions of refugees now on the move can go back home.  

HA!  Dream on!  Not gonna happen!  

There are too many competing clans and tribes and sects for [the countries formerly known as] Syria or Iraq or Libya (and probably a few others) to ever be put back together as they were.

Those Mid East countries' utter collapse appear to be the first of the unintended consequences.  Next might come the collapse of the European Union.  For decades they have welcomed oppressed refugees from vastly different cultures to their shores, then patted themselves on the back for their compassion.  Then they segregated them in essentially ethnic ghettos where their isolation led to them becoming "second class citizens".  Next came their radicalization, and now violence.

After the attacks in Paris last week, French President Fran-swa O'lon (aka Frank Holland) has invoked the European Union protocol that requires the EU to come to France's aid in their war with ISIS.  Most will, with varying degrees of enthusiasm.  

Some EU countries are worried about stirring up their own Muslim populations, and some lack the financial means to contribute very much.  All this on top of calls for each member country to accept their "fair share" of the  Muslim refugees now streaming in.  And to add even more to the Continental stress, this is also on top of the recent financial crisis that saw a massive transfer of wealth from the northern tier to the southern tier.  

The European Union is slowly but surely moving towards "every man for himself".  They simply have different fundamental national interests.  We'll see how they react to the considerable casualties likely coming their way.  Just as in WWI and WWII, Europe is going to bear the brunt of this latest war, too.

So will the United States be able to absorb the violence that will sooner or later find us, too, or will we be so "casualty averse" that we quickly throw in the towel a la Neville Chamberlain?  We talk a mean game for sure, but when we're faced with physical violence right here in our back front yard, are we going to cut and run?

I believe we still have the integrity and intestinal fortitude to see it through....barely.  The alternative will be so heinous that we'll have no real choice but to suck it up.  The war against ISIS in the Mid East is proving successful.  We're shrinking the territory they control and their casualties are mounting.  But desperate people do desperate things, and the more we hurt them there, the more they'll attack us here.  Hold on....this isn't going to be pretty.  

Just never forget....



  1. I read a very interesting article in the Atlantic about ISIS. Here is the link: .
    It was a pretty scary scenario of what they are trying to accomplish. It's very difficult for me to understand anyone (let alone millions) who see the future only in terms of destruction.

    1. Hi Sharon,

      Thanks for the link. It was outstanding and contained much detailed info I had never heard before. What is interesting is to now compare what is happening in the Mid East and Europe with what this article says/explains about ISIS. Fascinating!

  2. How is ISIS financed? A big chunk of money comes from oil. We need to make oil unimportant in the entire world. Maybe ISIS, Al Qaeda, etc. wouldn't exist if we had stuck with pursuing alternative energy solutions way back in the 70's. It'll take a loooong time to switch from oil to something else now. Other than that, I'm fresh out of ideas. I'm afraid that sweater is far gone.

    1. From what I've read ISIS collects millions, by now billions even, from extremely high "taxes" extorted from residents of the areas they control, and from the clandestine sale of oil from wells they control. It isn't sold on the open market as sanctions would quickly be placed on any buyers. But you're best I can tell the ONLY thing we want to do with this hellish region involves oil. We need to ween ourselves ASAP.

  3. The problem is in WWI and WWII you had actual nations at war with traditional armies and the like. As we've seen in Iraq and Afghanistan is that you can sweep in there with your tanks and planes and troops but all you do is scatter the cockroaches until they can regroup again. Let's face it, the ideal scenario for us and Europe and Russia is not to spread democracy in the Middle East; it's to set up a bunch of banana republics like we tried to do in Central/South America and when we reinstalled the shah in Iran back in the 50s--see how all that worked out.

    But yet getting rid of oil dependence would be an important step. The Middle East without oil would be like most of Africa and you see how much we care about all the genocide and civil war there.

  4. Agreed. In fact, from what I've read/heard, Islam has no place for democracy. They don't strictly separate religion from state. To the devout, sectarian government is the enemy of Islam. And even the average guy on the street doesn't have a clue what to do with democracy. It sounds good perhaps, but given to them, they squander it. Why bother?