“Don’t you understand what I’m tryin’ to say
Can’t you feel the fears I’m feelin’ today?
If the button is pushed, there’s no runnin’ away
There’ll be no one to save with the world in a grave
Take a look around you boy, it’s bound to scare you boy
And you tell me
Over and over and over again my friend
Ah, you don’t believe
We’re on the eve of destruction”
–Second verse & chorus of Eve of Destructionwritten by P.F. Sloan
Sung by Barry McGuire, 1965
As Yogi Berra said: It’s déjà vuall over again. The President says we may retaliate sooner or maybe later for the gassing of civilians in Syria. I also heard him say over the radio that it is a shame the world is like this. Yes, it is. A cryin’ shame.
Here is my admittedly limited understanding of the current situation: The Syrian civil war began seven years ago with people taking to the streets in a peaceful protest demanding democracy and regime change. President Assad, whose family has ruled the country for decades with an iron fist, cracked down and jailed, tortured, and killed protesters. The result was civil war where thousands died and thousands more displaced. ISIS, who came to power in Iraq after our invasion, jumped in on the side of the rebels, as did the Kurds and the U.S.—kind of.
It was awkward because we have vowed to crush ISIS and Al-Queda, and now we were on the same side—kind of? Assad’s forces bombed the hell out of rebel strongholds, and even used chemical weapons, which is a no-no. In response, President Obama drew a red line and ended up lobbing a few tomahawk missiles into the country. Assad hunkered down, undeterred. His forces, backed by Russia, Iran and Hezbollah, made steady progress in crushing the rebels, using bombs and now poison chlorine gas. Civilians, including innocent women and children are collateral damage. And Turkey, our NATO ally, doesn’t like the Kurds and object to us helping them. Finally, Saudi Arabia and Israel are somehow involved as well. Our current POTUS indicated that we would be getting out of Syria soon, just before Assad’s latest chemical attack. Now he is calling Assad an animal, wags his finger at Russia, and promises to respond—sooner or later.
It’s complicated. Our Commander in Chief doesn’t do complicated. Wasn’t Jared Kushner supposed to straighten out the Middle East?
All this is happening while the Prez is hearing hoofbeats as Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference into our elections and other malfeasance is getting closer and closer to DJT. He came unhinged after learning about the FBI’s search warrant entrance into his lawyer’s office and apartment. They apparently convinced a federal judge and his own Deputy AG that there was probable cause they would find evidence of a potential crime in their raid. Trump exploded, called the raid despicable, un-American, and said “many people” think he should fire Mueller.
Did you ever notice how often he uses the phrase “many people?” Almost as often as he says “we’ll see”. Who are these “many people?” Certainly not Senators and Congressmen, even some from his own party, who say firing Mueller would be political suicide. “Many people” must be Fox News commentators.
In the meantime his EPA Administrator is jetting around first class, staying in luxury hotels, hiring twenty person body guards, paying discount rates for a Washington apartment owned by the husband of an energy lobbyist, all the while dismantling over forty years worth of environmental regulations.
Madeline Albright, former Secretary of State, has written a book on Fascism. Her contention is that Fascism crept up on Germany and Italy in the 1930s. Parallels to today are a dictatorial hot-headed leader who believes he is above the law, bashing the press, and mercilessly taking out after his enemies.
I could go on, but you get the drift. We’re on the brink of something. Hopefully not the eve of destruction.
In the meantime take a deep breath and tell me why there is still reason for optimism.