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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Bad News Day

Malaysian Airline Flight 17 went down today, a victim of a Russian surface-to-air missile.  There were 295 souls on board, of which none survived, at least not on this plane. They were innocent victims of a senseless use of a high-tech weapon. Quite a lot of risk of more such events these days, is there not?

Israel, after weeks of unabated rocket attacks by Hamas radicals in the Gaza Strip, has chosen today to invade Gaza.  I wish the IDF well, for throughout the Cold War, Israel has been a staunch and reliable ally of the West, and of the U.S.A. But, they are too small a country to hold out against a concerted attack by their hostile neighbors without using their nuclear arsenal. Would that not bring about Armageddon?

A few years ago, I predicted, regretfully, the end of the Pax Americana. Today I fear that period of skirmish-scarred, but correctly-described peace is well and truly over. I hope I am wrong, but my recent trip to the beaches of Normandy and the battlefields of World War II has made me aware of how real, recent, and horrible were those days.  We lost as many soldiers on D-day alone as we did in ten years of war in Iraq. But at least that earlier sacrifice was not then squandered.  (The European rebirth following WWII has been a near-miracle; the collapse of Iraq into civil war has been quite the opposite.)

Americans are rightly war-weary, but in the perspective of the World Wars, these recent wars have been mere skirmishes on the borders of the Free and Modern World.  I fear that we have not seen the worst yet, not by a long shot (no pun intended). A major war is likely within the next year or two. And if the nuclear abstinence that has so nobly been maintained by the major powers since 1945 is ended, the deaths could exceed those in Iraq, on all sides, a thousand-fold.  The deaths in Iraq were on the order of 100,000.  The deaths in the next World War could easily exceed a hundred-million, if not a billion.

Sorry, dear readers, for this God-awful downer.  But on this bad news today, I feel compelled by my sense of reality, and by my sense of history, to write to my Romanian friends, as follows:
Dear Romanian Friends,

America is not wielding her superpower, anymore.  The bad guys know it, and are running amuck. And you are living too near the front lines to be complacent.

Please counsel your folks and friends in Romania to keep their cars' fuel tanks full.  Put a stash of water, dried pasta, chibriţi, canned meat, canned veggies, first aid supplies, and essential medicines in the trunk of the car, and be ready to flee westward.  

Putin is a world class megalomaniac.  No telling when the invasion will come.  Survive if you can, and hope for the best.  Maybe God will spare us, so we can maintain our loving culture, and again rebuild.  

I wish I were joking, but I ain't kiddin'.

With love for Romania, and for America, and for all people of good will,



  1. A moving article, indeed. However, I deem the entire issue is rather about a cultural misunderstanding than about doomsday or a re-enactment of 1956 or 1968.

    At the beginning of the 1990's,there had been agreements that Eastern Europe should be left as a gray zone, between the West and Russia. Tacitly and bit by bit, these agreements were sidelined, with NATO and the EU pushing eastwards.

    From the economical perspective, Romania was fortunate, as being part of the last wave of extension before the Great Recession brought all the years of growth to an abrupt still.

    However, none of the newly-Europeanized countries was Russian in ethnicity (apart for minorities in the Baltic states, which had nonetheless been part of Poland or Germany for most of their history). Ukraine, on its Eastern part,is inhabited by a Russian majority, though.

    Therefore, we may infer the situation is more similar to what happened when Mexico seemed to turn to the German side back in World War I - and the US asserted its commitment to the Monroe Doctrine by sending its fleet to block German shippings of weapons - than to a revival of the Brezhnev Doctrine. And, most likely, if the people of Eastern Ukraine have the desire to separate, they probably will, as the nations of Yugoslavia had done.

    1. Thank you, Luci, for your command of history, and for your cogent expression of your views. While I understand your point about the cultural aspect of the separatist movement in Eastern Ukraine, and while I hear your prediction that that movement will ultimately prevail, and form a new Russian, or Russian-culture territory, I think that Russia should step up immediately and arrest, try, and convict all those individuals responsible for the firing of a SAM at a passenger plane. Unless they do so, they are in effect a state that supports terrorism. Mistake though it may have been, it was inexcusable.

    2. Further, I believe that if Russia now admits that the shooting down of MH17 was done in error, it can save face by arresting and punishing the people who gave the order to fire at the plane. That alone would take much of the onus off of Putin & Co.

  2. Yes I am concerned, and I too felt dread at the sheer stupidity of those pro-russian rebels aiming at a jet at 32000 feet. What kind of callous and perverted world view would give these rebels that kind of weapon and power. My fear now is that Islamic terrorists will buy several of these things and start shooting at all western commercial airliners. What then?

    David Hadaller


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