You know the expression it is a slippery slope, a few months ago I was reading a book by Austrian author, journalist, poet, historian Stefan Sweig, 1881-1942. The book was entitled The World of Yesterday, it tells the story of life in Europe prior to the First World War 1914-1918, a world ruled by Emperors, Kings and old Empires, genteel and elegant, a world vanished by 1919, replaced by a frantic and disillusioned Europe gripped by economic chaos, revolutions, violence and hate, preparing itself for an even greater disaster the rise of Fascism and the Second World War 1939-1945.
The events of the last week makes me wonder if the world has not lost it’s mind. We learned that the Great Barrier Reef off Australia is now dead, a terrible ecological disaster with grave consequences. We have been warned for decades that this was going to happen if nothing was done, well nothing was done, no one cared and here are the results.
A passenger on a flight beaten by security goons in Chicago in what I call the Airport Security Circus, an airline unable to apologize and admit its fault. Only after a Public Relation nightmare did the CEO of United finally apologize. But what does that say about the world we live in, no one is safe now, Corporations use the police to beat people with impunity. In Canada our Minister of Transport in Parliament announces new security measures at airports, when asked during Question Period what they are, he refuses to answer stating Security reasons and State Secret to justify his non answer.
In Syria more atrocities, gas used on civilian population, a clear crime against humanity. In fact the use of gas or chemicals is strictly forbidden under International Law for civilians and military. In response US President Trump bombs an empty air base, provoking a strong warning from Russia, not to cross that line again because they will retaliate against the USA. China also condemns the USA the day the Chinese President leaves Mar-a-Lago after his visit with Trump. Secretary of State Tillerson is unable to get the G-7 countries to back more sanctions against Russia despite Canada and the UK support. Tillerson uses un-diplomatic language calling the Russian incompetent in controlling their ally Syria. Tillerson is to visit Moscow on Wednesday 12 April, what will that achieve and for what purpose?
War ships are being sent to the China Sea to threaten North Korea over the ballistic Nuclear weapons dispute. South Korean government is so worried that Trump will launch a pre-emptive strike against North Korea that it has to reassure its own people that a military strike won’t happen. Trump finally tells China that if they do nothing about North Korea he will retaliate militarily, however if the Chinese cooperate they might get economic concessions, such talk angers the Chinese. So an erratic American Foreign Policy seems to be the way Trump wants to play this game, which is confusing to all and dangerous.
Wars are started on pretext and incidents usually after an escalation of rhetoric. Russia will not be impressed nor bullied by the USA and China can flex its own muscle to harm the economic interests of the USA.
Like many now I am worried about war and the behaviour of this President who fails to appreciate that World politics is complex and delicate. Russia may very well call Trump’s bluff and he will loose face. China has, through its official newspaper The People’s Daily already ridiculed Trump. It looks like a new Cold War but without the old reserve and careful maneuvering of the past.