While bombs and missiles rain down on Israel and Gaza, in what is being called a "revenge" war on both sides, resulting from the deaths of three Israeli young men and one young Palestinian, there is news this morning out of Bagdhad, that ISIS has taken control of a chemical weapons facility several miles northeast of the capital. Stored there are about 1000 sarin-filled rockets plus some other chemicals, allegedly weakened by time from having being stored this past decade. Foreshadowing, in this case seems so facile as to be almost redundant, given that, should these specific weapons be even severely weakened, their deployment could nevertheless wreak havoc on any areas and people on which they are fired. Given the Iranian determination to acquire nuclear weapons, and Iran's determination to play a significant role in both Syria (supporting Assad) and more recently in attempting to assist the Iraqi push-back against ISIS, an initiative for which only President Maliki can be held responsible for his failure to assemble a coalition government of Sunnis, Shia and Kurds, how long can it be before either loose nuclear material, stored in regions like rural Russia, or more dangerously, specifically licensed and regulated nuclear weapons in Pakistan, where the Taliban are daily increasing their influence over the situation, apparently in collusion with the Pakistan military and perhaps even some elements of the Pakistan government, fall into, are seized by the hands of the Islamic terrorists and thereby become an active ingredient in the current conflicts that are being waged throughout Africa, the Middle East, and potentially in North America and Europe.
We are just recently learning that citizens of the European Union, who may have travelled to "training sites" in Yemen, or potentially in either Syria or Iraq, do not require visas to return home and to then bring their newly acquired skills in weaponry to America.
Downplaying the danger emitting from the discovery that ISIS has taken control (with apparently no resistance from Iraqi military or security forces "guarding" the chemical facility, and basing that "no alarm" approach on the age of those chemicals, as the United States government is currently doing, though both the Pentagon and the State department, will do nothing to assuage legitimate fears among ordinary Americans, ordinary Europeans, and even ordinary people in both North and South America, that the ISIS "hurricane" can and conceivably will blow ill winds into many countries whose people wonder about the capacity of their governments to act decisively, collaboratively and effectively to protect them.
We have already heard from such "insiders" to the current geopolitical machinations as former UK Prime Minister Blair, that radical Islam is the greatest threat facing the world community, including all nations. In their current "spats" over Ukraine, Syria, Iran and their competing assertiveness in Iraq (allegedly both on the same side, attempting to push ISIS back, Russia and America are demonstrating precious little evidence by way of a common front against what is clearly a common shared enemy, albeit with different implications for both countries. The major countries in the "west" including the UK, EU, France, and the United States, do now require active and committed participation from both Russia and China, as well as India and Southeast Asian countries, also considered by many to be hotbeds of radical Islam terrorists.
The worlds very faltering, at best, attempts to deal collectively with an agreed and proven enemy of all citizens of the planet, global warming and climate change, do not provide encouragement for ordinary people that the leaders of the world's most powerful and most populous and most economically independent and most educated and "sophisticated" countries, are willing or able to set aside their nationalistic ambitions and pettinesses, in favour of a strong, collective, international, sustainable approach to combat what most people agree is a monstrous threat to the future of humanity. And there is no single face or ideology or sacred text branding global warming as a specific culprit, cause or target. So it would seem, at least on the surface, that it could be more feasible to mount a conjoint campaign, without worrying about assigning blame, or enhanced responsibility, except perhaps by tonnes of toxic emissions. However, we do not have time for "the blame game" on the environment, just as we do not have time for a protracted intellectual analysis, including doctoral theses, think-tank discussion papers and diplomatic ruminations, to design a strategy with tactics, budgets, accountability and oversight through which to combat Islamic terrorism.
Never before, in the last decade have I found common ground with people like Senator Lindsay Graham of North Carolina, who has publicly stated his belief that if the world does not successfully confront and defeat ISIS, AlQaeda, AlShabab, Boko Haran, and all other derivatives of radical Islam, their attacks will inevitably be turned directly onto U.S. soil and people, not to mention the people of Europe, and too many other regions of the world to contemplate.
For those doomsday-fixated prognosticators, the world currently looks like a dangerous and unavoidable race between two vicious and unforgiving enemies, Islamic terrorism and rising temperatures, tides and climatic extremes, and all of the fall-out that each entails.
For those less steeped in the dark clouds of unforgiving nights of interminable disaster, the world is still taking on the colours and the sounds of impending danger, militarily and from the perspective of human survival.
Never in the last half-century at least has there been a greater need for activism to demand positive action by elected leaders of democracies, and also from leaders of states whose governments are non elected, to take bold and effective and decisive and measured collective action to provide a safe place for all humans to live our lives without the anxiety and the fear of demons denied, avoided, rejected and medicated.
Nothing about either of these collosal threats is hidden, so mysterious as to be avoided or denied in good conscience, or insoluble, no matter how loud the cries of their complexity.
We each owe it to our children and grandchildren to step up to the plate, demand action from our leaders and pay the price of being "outrageous" in our actions and our demands, in order to penetrate the fog of denial that blocks the ears, the eyes and the consciences of those empowered, through our votes in many cases, to act "in the best interests" of those who cast ballots to put them in power. Political correctness is no longer an option, on either of these two fronts.
Inaction and "head-in-the-sand" ostrich avoidance is clearly not an option.
Budgetary debts and deficits are no longer any excuse for failing to take action.
Intellectual uncertainty, ambiguity and the fog of an unclear diagnosis must not impair our efforts.
Nationalism, political and religious ideologies, too, must be set aside in our efforts to preserve "life" including the lives of those currently living, and those generations about to be born to our children.
For those charged with governing, including the responsibility for forestalling panic, we are already hearing calls for restraint and calm, just as Nero did (fiddling) while Rome burned....today it is not only Rome that is in danger, but London, Washington, Berlin, Moscow, Bejing, Lahore, New Delhi, Athens, Paris, and even Kiev and Warsaw...
We are all, inevitably and hopefully, sharing the same planet, including its natural resources like air, water and land, and its legal protections....and increasingly the national "insurance" will have to surrender to the shared threats.
Are we up to the challenge?